…They ask this when they are standing in my shop amidst the furniture and home accessories that are displayed in The Whistling Elk.
I usually just shrug off this question because I have never really thought much about it – until recently…you see I just sold my home. A short few words but a lot of meaning!
Taking stock and packing I realized just how consistent I really am…there is a resemblance in that I really love to be surrounded by beauty. I guess if I am one thing…that is…Consistent !!
I have lived in my home for 28 years…it feels like a part of me. It always felt good just to be there. Over the years I have brought home pieces that I loved and integrated them into the mix. Some things came and went while others I cannot imagine parting with ever.
My list of belongings reads like a list of the companies that I have done business with over the years in the shop.
I have a J.M. Paquet sofa…they are out of business now being one of the ones to go early in 2008. but the sofa lives on and when the time comes I will have it reslipcovered yet again. Its so comfortable and I still love it so it will go with me to my new home.
My Habersham buffet is another piece that I love. It makes me happy every time I just look at it. It houses my grandmothers dishes which will be going to my niece for safekeeping. The buffet though goes with me. The savonnerie carpet is from Feizy…and it was chosen because…well, I just fell in love with it.
I love this room and have spent many, many hours here! The mantel I bought when a 1890’s home in New Brunswick was demolished. It was a wreck all chipping and dirty. I took my hand sander and sanded all the dirt and loose paint off and then had it attached to the wall.
Since I have always wanted to live in an old fieldstone house I mimicked that with the faux painted fieldstone wall on which that mantel is mounted. I loved this look and am sorry to leave it behind. I guess I will have to paint a new wall!
Another favorite room is the Master Bedroom…and Master Bath off of it…
I purchased a really crummy pair of shutters and nailed them to the wall on either side of a large window and it created just the right look to go with the Dutch Caribbean bed. I cannot remember the name of the company that this bed came from but it is solid hand carved mahogany.
The beautiful painted lingerie chest fit just perfectly in the corner of the room…it’s shape is what makes it special. It’s rounded across the front. It came from RH Home…they were a California company which is also gone. Sadly.
The walls I faux painted to resemble my take on old crumbling Italian walls…and you can’t see it in the picture but on the wall at the foot of the bed is a huge 5 foot x 4 foot picture of a hotel on Lake Como Italy which I have to say I loved waking up and seeing every morning. Perfect way to start the day!
The Linen Press next to the bed is an antique piece from England circa 1880…my niece will be picking up this piece tonight and it will go to live in her bedroom. It came from a company called ARK Antiques which is also out of business…so many great companies over the years have come and gone. Sadly our economy is not good for small business these days.
I really got fanciful with my master bath. The Alma Slade draperies are chenille and were perfect with the colors in the Nourison carpet. But my favorite piece is the Danish Vanity from ARK Antiques…circa 1910. So pretty! And of course I just had to have a little vintage chandelier in there…Right? Absolutely!
I have a thing about old doors and I managed to get my fix with that too in the dining room where I leaned two heavy old French doors to flank a 3 panel screen…an oil from Andrew Kolb & Sons depicting a hillside village in Italy. That’s the only non-bling (Stone County Ironworks) chandelier I own over that table!!! I always meant to hang some crystals on it…
So I guess this is my tribute to my pretty little home that I am leaving behind. I will miss it. A little place always filled with light from all the large windows. But I am also so excited to start over and to what I am going to create next!
I am still chuckling over the Small Business Saturday video featuring Miss Piggy (it’s posted on chesterstreettalk.com.)
Very Cute! Thanks for sharing Jess!
And yes, the Christmas Season is almost here…
Thanksgiving is next week! Wow! I can’t wait to enjoy the food and the family gathering!
At The Whistling Elk I am ready! The tree is up and full of Mark Roberts Fairies and beautiful ornaments…
and, of course, we are well stocked with our favorite jewelry line, La Vie Parisienne…
A new shipment of Sloane Fine Tea Merchants Teas came last week so we have some favorites in stock like Heavenly Cream and some new ones like Vanilla Bean Rooibos….I tried this one last night and it is delicious and healthy to boot…full of antioxidants and anti-inflammories…yummm!
Sadly you cannot eat these beautiful cupcake ornaments!
Our famous Throw Blankets always make a great gift…Soft and warm they are also a beautiful addition to your home décor!
Lots of pretty decorations around the shop to help you get into the holiday spirit!
Oh my, our Lampe Berger shelves are packed with amazing fragrances, lots of beautiful Lampes to choose from or Gift Sets at special prices so you can give the gift of scent to friends and family!
You will find the shop is full of beautiful artwork, mirrors, lamps and small accent tables for the home…we are still a wonderful source of home furnishings and accessories! So come and find out what shopping Small Business is all about…great service, friendly faces and, of course, CHESTER is in itself is a beautiful location for shopping…so full of old world charm!
The latest shipment of artwork came yesterday. There were two boxes (one of them over 6′ high) on a big skid….it was a hot day to contemplate opening that much freight.
But as always when I started to take out all the different pieces of artwork I got excited because it was all beautiful and nothing was broken…that in itself was a miracle since this particular shipment was actually on the road for 20 days. So now there is lots of beautiful artwork again at The Whistling Elk!
Here’s a sampling of some of the pieces that arrived…come check them out…there’s more!
Walls are a big part of your home…and your home décor plan should include lots of beautiful artwork on the those walls.
We’re doing our part at The Whistling Elk! We have shipments of beautiful wall décor every other month! This month we brought in a double shipment so there are over 45 new pieces in the shop. Come check it out and spruce up your home décor!
A shipment of art just arrived late yesterday afternoon. After the initial flurry of activity required to take in the shipment, unpack it and examine it then price it….I got to thinking of how the walls of a room define the space within it and how decorating the walls brings the room to life and enhances and complements the other furnishings.
I began thinking about how certain pieces of art just make your heart beat…and how the enjoyment of looking at them directly contributes to your feeling of well being and enjoyment in your home!
So on that note I am excited to share a few pictures of some of the art that came in….its a diverse collection this time…mostly smaller pieces but all beautiful. Maybe one or two will touch your heart and will take its place in your home!
We have some elegant crowns right now too…couldn’t resist putting one in the vicinity of this print….they just seem to resonate! The Chandelier print is studded with little amber crystals.
There are more beautiful pieces in the shop so stop by and see what catches your eye!
Our artwork is always elegant, always beautiful and always 20% off every day.
I love not only the taste of a delicious tea but the whole ritual!
In this crazy world there is nothing better than to brew some tea, wait while it steeps, and then pour it from a pretty teapot into a pretty cup! and of course you should do this while relaxing in your beautiful home!
I know you think you don’t have the time. Well, I say make the time – you will be the better for it. Sip it slowly and enjoy the whole ritual. I admit it took me a while to get the hang of it but now I look forward every morning and evening to my private little ritual that relaxes me and helps me to remember what life is really all about.
I did a lot of research on Tea as I was looking for a new line to sell in my shop…and what I found is outstanding! Sloane Fine Tea Merchants. It wasn’t easy as they are in Toronto and I am now actually their first customer in New Jersey. It’s a little tougher to import product…I haven’t done a lot of that in my shop – but if you give it a try you will agree – it is worth it!
Here’s what they say about their Tea :
“The tea in your cup is a result of a delicious journey. At Sloane Tea Company we traverse the world in search of only the finest teas that would delight even the most discerning of palates.
The Sloane story is about beauty. Beauty as told through the senses of taste, smell and sight. Beauty as experienced through the remarkable taste of our teas, as well as the beauty of the colour in your cup and the enticing fragrance of our perfumed teas. Sloane’s signature line of teas and tisanes (herbal teas) combine the finest loose leaf teas, exotic ingredients and artisanal techniques.
Tea sourced & blended by Certified Tea Sommeliers
Each Sloane Tea is individually sourced. Chosen from hundreds of tea gardens, Sloane Teas are carefully processed using centuries old artisanal techniques. Our scented and blended teas are custom created by our own team of Certified Tea Sommeliers and culinary experts. As part of the development of our products, we have consulted with the Maître Nez (Head Nose) of one of France’s foremost perfumeries and trained at the Studio Des Fragrance in Grasse, France.”
The tea is absolutely delicious! My favorite right out of the gate was the Heavenly Crème – I am already addicted to it. It really is heavenly. And then I enjoyed it so much I already ran out!!!! So I decided to try the Jasmine Pink Lemonade and I have to say I love it also and for me that is saying a lot. As a general rule before sipping this tea I would have said “No Thanks…I just don’t like green teas” but I was wrong – this one is delicious! It’s blended white and green tea and one of Sloane’s “Signature” blends. It has the sweetness of fresh jasmine and an unforgettable pink grapefruit finish…and it is superb as an iced tea also! I have been drinking it both hot and cold and look forward to it almost as much as the Heavenly Cream….you simply must try these teas!
So now that I have found these delicious teas from Sloane, I am stocking them and found that I wanted to sell a delicious honey to use with them. So again I have done exhaustive research and found some sources of Raw honey which I will also be stocking. For the teas I love the Star Thistle Raw Honey the best because it has a very subtle flavor and doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the tea…but I have many varieties of raw honey available now:
Star Thistle, Orange Blossom, Wildflower, Bamboo, Buckwheat, and Clover….all Raw and delicious! And there will be more….
Ohh, and of course you must drink your tea from a beautiful cup…
At The Whistling Elk you will find not only home furnishings and accessories but also lots of other products to enhance the way you live your life! We believe your home should be your sanctuary…that is one reason why I love our Tea products! They will be in good company with our other home products like our Lampe Berger! Come in an see what is new! It’s our 25th anniversary this year! and we are celebrating!
It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago just about this time I was collecting merchandise in my garage in preparation to taking possession of my first shop location in Chester on May 1st, 1990. It has been a wonderful 25 years and I have hundreds of photos taken of the shop over the years. So take a walk with me down M.E.M.O.R.Y. L.A.N.E…
The first home of The Whistling Elk was at 9 Main Street, Chester. I hung a lace ceiling in this shop…it had a really ugly ceiling and the lace really improved it but I still had to cut holes in the lace for the air conditioning vent… It was a small shop just three rooms in 800 square feet. In those early days I remember that we sold a huge amount of silk flowers and vines.
Sadly, I don’t have a lot of pictures of the 9 Main Street Shop – this was before cell phone cameras…gosh I didn’t even have a computer then!! This location had two entire walls of windows…no where to hang anything…hmmm that must have been tough for me!
Here’s a few more shots of The Whistling Elk at 9 Main Street.
Below is a shot taken at a Showhouse that we were invited to participate in – early 90’s. We painted Adirondack chairs for the pool area which was surrounded by a beautiful garden of rhododedrons…the chairs were painted a light blue to reflect the blue of the pool and had beautiful purple rhododendrons painted across the backs. It was a pretty effect!
Two years after I opened The Whistling Elk 44 Main Street became available and I was able to secure that wonderful location. 44 Main Street was about double the size of the 9 Main Street shop. This move entailed moving about 60 feet from the end of Main Street closer to the center of town.
I remember selling an iron canopy bed because someone drove by as we were walking the headboard down the street to the new shop. We were selling a tremendous number of beautiful hand wrought iron beds at the time. The iron beds were probably among the first larger pieces of furniture sold at The Whistling Elk.
Here’s a shot of the front of the 44 Main Street shop. On this particular evening in 2009 we were hosting our Charity Evening.
I remained at 44 Main Street for 21 years – it changed sizes a couple of times over that period going from 1800 to 3000 square feet. During that time we sold oh-so-many furniture lines along with accessories, artwork and mirrors and lighting. Many lines we still sell today. Sadly, some important vendors were lost due to the recession over the last 6 years. We are always adding new lines though so things are never dull at The Whistling Elk!
We have participated in many showhouses over the years…here’s a Showhouse photo taken sometime in the 90’s at a showhouse in Chester. The room was a garden room..I think it was called “Holiday in Paradise”…as I recall the event was in December.
I used a mop and a bucket of watered down green paint to swab the walls of this room…I was going for a watered silk look. The walls had cracks all over and I didn’t want to repair them so I used a feather to enhance and make them look like cracked marble. This was my second showhouse but it was the first time I did a whole room.
I regret that I have no pictures of the beautiful showhouse that I did with Patty Fastook a few years later called Brookwood…in Montclair. It was a spectacular room but somehow I lost the disk that housed the photos…*sigh*
Here are some shots of some of the beautiful merchandise that flowed through the shop over the last 25 years….
and by contrast here is the bedroom at 50 Main Street Today!
Below…our custom cabinetry model….a beautiful bookcase over cabinets with slider to hide the TV…we moved this piece from 44 Main Street and had it re-built into the 50 Main Street shop.
We had a lot of room at the 44 Main Street location so we had up to 9 sofas on the shop floor all the time…this is a beautiful Hancock and Moore sofa…and it looks beautiful in front the model of our custom cabinetry. We still carry Hancock and Moore and Caracole sofas today although it is definitely harder to display them! We are still creating beautiful custom bookcases and furniture for our customers today also.
Ah! and PARIS…who could forget our fabulous shopping trip to Paris and Les Puces de St. Ouen….we brought back so many beautiful pieces for the shop!
I still dream about all the beautiful items we had to leave behind at the Paris Flea Markets because there just wasn’t a container large enough (or a wallet for that matter) to bring them all back to the shop…
Then a little more than 2 years ago we moved again! This time the move was about 20 feet into the building right next to our old location at 44 Main Street.
I feel very blessed that I still see customers today at the 50 Main Street location who started shopping The Whistling Elk at the 9 Main Street store 25 years ago!!
Wow, that amazes me and I am so appreciative for the support of the community and also the whole state…and beyond! Customers come from all over New Jersey as well as from New York, Pennsylvania and as far as California & Europe! It even seems when people move they don’t forget you – they stop by and shop when they are back visiting…even when they have left the country!
Here are some shots of the 50 Main Street Location of The Whistling Elk…and I am not moving again!
You will still find lots and lots of amazing home accessories at the 50 Main Street shop!
We still carry sofas….the Caracole line is one of our favorites with great quality and fair prices – although we don’t always have room on the shop floor for one. This was one that we did squeeze in!
Over the years many merchandise lines have come and gone. There are some some products that we have carried for a very long time. Like Kennebunk Weavers (our famous throw blankets) – 25 years! and Mark Roberts Fairies – 20 years and Lampe Berger – 17 years! We still love them today!
Our Paint Couture!™ line of furniture and cabinet paints and glazes is new for us…and have been a wonderful addition to The Whistling Elk along with our Paint Workshops. Painted furniture though is something that has always graced the shop floor at The Whistling Elk…we were painting back in the 90’s when we opened!
I am also humbled by the 2007 Award the shop received – “one of 50 Stellar Stores – Nationwide from Home Accents Today Magazine. That was an honor I never saw coming but it was sweet. Here’s the link 50 Stellar Stores Nationwide in 2007 – Here’s a little bit about that from the press release at the time…
“CHESTER SHOP NAMED ONE OF TOP 50 RETAIL STORES
Chester, New Jersey – The Whistling Elk has been named one of Home Accents Today’s “50 Retail Stars” by editors of the premier trade magazine for the home accents industry. The Retail Stars List recognizes enterprising home accents retailers who are experiencing success in their respective markets with innovative strategies and creative merchandising while maintaining a strong presence in their communities.”
Very cool for The Whistling Elk!! One of my prouder moments!!
One thing is for sure…you will always find casual elegance at The Whistling Elk – It is interesting to me that in all this time I have never really changed my focus which was to provide “…distinctively different home furnishings and accessories…with an elegant European flair.”
They were mostly smaller boxes so it wasn’t as scary as it could have been…
But inside were t.r.e.a.s.u.r.e.s. Oh my!
Lots of pretty mercury glass…boxes, urns, tealight holders and frames. The little flag is from my new French company…
And wonderful little jeweled clocks…they are very sweet.
There is a very elegant small tray under the clock with the pink crystals. This tray is a champagne silver and has fabulous gold etching on the glass…the perfect piece for a dressing table or on the bathroom counter.
Of course we have more new artwork. This pretty piece has a mate…hidden behind it! You will have to come in to see how beautiful they are. The frame is exquisite!
Off to the right is another set of prints…gates with jewels and a unique ivy border.
Don’t forget to stop by and take advantage of the Mother’s Day Special from Lampe Berger. With the purchase of any lamp you will receive a free 500 ml fragrance!
Just finished up another batch of tables…these are light and easy to move around…so you can have a little table almost anywhere on which to place a drink or a cup of tea! Come by and select your favorite…or choose a paint color that works for you and we will paint it especially for you!
I’m getting to be such a sissy. I think I used to enjoy the winter….now I only like it if I am skiing…
Well, at least it is good for getting those indoor projects accomplished.
I just finished putting the hardware back on this pretty chest. It was a medium brown stain when I started and of course I forgot to take a “before” picture. My client brought it in for refinishing…
We decided it needed to be black so I used my Paint Couture! Baltic Black then glazed it with Black Walnut. It really looks very elegant and the hardware which was a rich brassy gold looks perfect – I didn’t even embellish it!
Sometimes refinishing a piece doesn’t call for a lot of fuss…there really is nothing like Simple Elegance!
Chase Away the Winter Blues…
Make plans to take a paint class at The Whistling Elk!
You see a customer brought me an old mirror with a top trimmed with lifesize acorns hoping that I could fix it….hmmm! She brought it all the way from Massachusetts! There were a couple of acorns missing so being commissioned to make repairs I took the challenge. Sometimes I wonder “what was I thinking”. My customer was totally thrilled that I would even try because she said she had taken it many places and no one would give it a shot!
After she left I was looking over the situation and got the idea to try to find some small wood component that I could “doctor” to fit the shape I needed. Ok the challenge was on!
First I went to Michaels and looked around and amazingly found some small pieces of wood that I could carve into the shape of an acorn. This was not easy as I am definitely not a carver and do not have “carving tools”…I used a sharp box cutter and sandpaper and hoped for the best. After I got the basic shape and size that I wanted…I used Paint Couture!™ Embossing Medium to enhance the shape and fill in where needed.
The Embossing Medium was fabulous because I found that when dry I could actually carve that too! Great! It really carves nicely!
Then I painted the acorns I made with Paint Couture!™ Pale Gold…let them dry and then sanded to smooth them as much as possible. I put another coat of paint on, dried them then used Van Dyke Brown Glaze to “dirty up” the gold.
Since my acorns weren’t perfect I moved the acorns around on the mirror so that the original ones were all in the front and put my “replacements” in the back. I think it turned out pretty good…here it is complete! My “faux” acorn is the one at the far right!
When you love something it is always better to paint it or repair it to make it “new” again! My customer loves this piece so I know she will be thrilled to see it repaired…glad for her sake that I wasn’t afraid to “bite the bullet” and give it a try!