25th Anniversary – A Walk Down Memory Lane with The Whistling Elk

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.

The Whistling Elk
A Customer and I standing in the front room of the shop at 9 Main Street, Chester NJ in the early 90s.

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.

Chester NJ
Looking out toward Main Street in the first Whistling Elk location at 9 Main Street
Chester NJ
The Whistling Elk 25 years ago

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!

The Whistling Elk
Showhouse in Clinton – Pair of Adirondack Chairs Painted for the Pool Area

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.

The Whistling Elk
We rolled out the red carpet for the 2009 Charity Event
The Whistling Elk
our mantel at 44 main street decorated for Christmas 2009

 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*

Showhouse Chester NJ
A Showhouse on Main Street in Chester….I remember this was a garden room with a lovely fireplace…it was cozy and very pretty.

Here are some shots of some of the beautiful merchandise that flowed through the shop over the last 25 years….

sofas and upholstery at The Whistling Elk
JM Paquet Sofa and Ottoman 2005 – Sadly this company went out of business in 2008…I carried them for many years and they made the most beautiful sofas!
elegant home furnishings and accessories
This was another JMPaquet sofa….used in a styling photo for advertising the Elk…We still carry many of the merchandise lines shown in this photo from the year 2000.
The Whistling Elk, Chester NJ
This was one of several Showhouses that we have participated in over the last 25 years! This room was titled “My Sister’s Bedroom and the showhouse was in Lafayette, NJ.
The Whistling Elk Chester NJ
Vanity in “My Sister’s Bedroom” at the Lafayette Showhouse….one of several showhouses we participated in over the years.
The Whistling Elk, Chester NJ
This is the bedroom at 44 Main Street…the walls were the most beautiful shade of purple called “Bonne Nuit” or Good Night….we always had gorgeous bedding at the shop and still do!

and by contrast here is the bedroom at 50 Main Street Today!

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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.

Custom Cabinetry at The Whistling Elk
Hancock & Moore Sofa and in the background our custom built in bookcase over cabinets. We have built  many custom pieces for customers over the years.

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.

Textillery Weavers at The Whistling Elk
Another gorgeous, made in America, sofa by hancock & moore…and a gorgeous Textillery throw…still carried today.
The Whistling Elk, Chester NJ
A beautiful Habersham buffet and the carpet is Loloi….gorgeous.

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…

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The Whistling Elk
Early 19th Century Bronze Sconce – I brought back a pair of these from the Paris Flea Market

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!

Home decor and furnishings
The Whistliing Elk Chester NJ

You will still find lots and lots of amazing home accessories at the 50 Main Street shop!

The Whistling Elk, Chester NJ
A shot of 50 Main Street around Jan. 2013…

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!

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Chester NJ furniture
Home Accessories at The Whistling Elk
The Whistling Elk
Jan 2013 – Just moved into 50 Main Street…
Artwork at The Whistling Elk
Lady in Red
La Vie Parisienne Jewelry
Spring flowers, Jewelry, Lovely Art
Artwork, Mirrors & Clocks
Artwork, Mirrors & Clocks

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!

chester nj
The Whistling
Elk Home Furnishings stocks beautiful throws
Lampe Berger at The Whistling Elk in Chester NJ
Lampe Berger at The Whistling Elk in Chester NJ
The Whistling Elk
Mark Roberts Peace on Earth Fairy – I think he is my all time favorite!

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!

Paint workshops
Paint Couture Products at The Whistling Elk in Chester NJ

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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.”

Expect More of the Same Going Forward

and

Thank You So Much for 25 Wonderful Years!

Everyone Wants a Beautiful, Cozy Home – Don’t They?

Find beautiful home accessories at The Whistling Elk…

Chester NJ furniture
Home Accessories at The Whistling Elk

 It takes many bits and pieces collected over time to make your statement.  Create your beautiful, cozy home…start here! 

Atlanta Market – Shopping for Spring Merchandise

I AM READY TO GO TO ATLANTA AND SHOP!

I have been working madly to plan for the next four days….so much fun!

I leave tomorrow morning – so the shop will be closed for 4 days while I am gone…

Having just completed a major floor move in the shop — I am ready to fill in with new exciting merchandise.

The shopping words for this season are OPULENT and GLAMOROUS!

Oh so exciting!!!

The Whistling Elk sofa
Schnadig Sofa

The shop is set up with a completely different floorplan for 2014.  This pretty Schnadig Sofa is taking center stage in the shop….Its so pretty and versatile.  You can go in so many color directions with it…in fact you can change the colors for the seasons of the year by using pillows and throws in colors you choose.  It’s so reasonable in price also!

Shop The Whistling Elk
The Whistling Elk – Wall art

Space is at a premium in the shop so every inch of wall space must be used to display the art work … here’s one of the collage walls (with a floor lamp shade showing in the foreground).  The artwork at The Whistling Elk is always 20% off so its a good investment and as you know we all have lots of walls!

The Whistling Elk painted furniture
Paint Couture! embellished mantel

You may remember my post regarding the painting of this mantel…I used Paint Couture™! paints and glaze to make it so beautiful…but I think I am going to re paint it for the spring.  That’s right!  Another mantel facelift is on the way…I just have to settle on color.  I am thinking of doing something with the Pantone Color of the Year 2014 – Radiant Orchid….that would be something with Brilliant White over top!  WOW…just sayin.

Soon we will begin our Paint Workshops again – so keep posted and plan to attend to learn how to paint furniture!

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Pine Cone Hill at The Whistling Elk

Our Paris Boudoir is still the room in the shop that everyone wants to move right into!  The bed is layered with Pine Cone Hill products – why?  because it  is such a well priced bedding line…love it!  Lots of soft soothing color combinations for the bedroom.  I’ll be visiting Pine Cone Hill in Atlanta to see what is new for 2014.  Meanwhile still loving this soft palette of color including Madeline Café au Lait, Louisa, and Candlewick designs.

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Home Accessories at the Whistling Elk

Sometimes the things that really make a room are the little things…like a sweet arrangement of glasses on a tray, a cocktail table book strategically placed to accent some colorful flowers! The tray is actually my favorite thing right now…its antique silver with a mirrored base…which has been antiqued to look so old…just love it!

Well my head is swirling with all the things that I am going to be looking for at market…all the plans, colors, objects and vignettes to come. Can’t wait to translate it all to the shop floor so that you can share in the excitement for 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Fashion is the name of the game in our new shabby chic bedroom

Our new Paris Boudoir at The Whistling Elk is showing off our new Pine Cone Hill bedding line. The bedding in the bottom left of the picture is Bella Blue which is draped over our pretty Caracole french ottoman and the queen bed is wearing a combo outfit Madeline Cafe au lait quilt and a Louisa Ivory duvet. I am in love with the Louisa ivory duvet! This room is painted in Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray and when the morning sun shines in it is beautiful!

The seasons are changing…time for cozy details at home

It’s that time of year when having a throw blanket to curl up with is really important.

I love piling up a group of  throws in soft, natural colors with some of our custom pillows –

It’s hard to resist going by this chair without stroking the throws which do not disappoint!

They are soft & luxurious – so cozy!

kennebunk weavers throws

The iron canopy bed in our Bonne Nuit colored bedroom is virtually packed with custom made pillows…

Textillery throw blankets are piled here…they are acrylic chenille and just exquisite.

I have several at home and can’t bear to actually use them – I just love to drape them everywhere – ooh la la!

custom pillows, bedding and draperies

Below a gorgeous purple silk drapery embroidered with sprigs of leaves shimmers with a reddish tinge when you move it…

a fabulous multi-colored bullion adorns it as it hangs over the entrance doorway to this bedroom.

I love the way the ready made 100% cotton organdy embroidered floral drapes hang on the other side of the doorway

creating a multi-layered elegance and depth – very pleasing to the eye (mine anyway).

ready made drapes

Both The Whistling Elk and Little Paris are ready for season change…are you?

 Shabby Chic Sofa is sheer elegance

sofa
off white shabby chic sofa

Friday we got a new sofa for The Whistling Elk shop floor!

 Its very beautiful and comfortable and has that shabby chic appeal which means it also works for Little Paris.

It’s sheer elegance for your home!!

The main fabric is an off white and the decorative pillows have  embroidered designs in icey blue.

shabby chic pillow
pillow with embroidered design shabby chic

It’s simple and elegant – just what i like for good interior design and will work in either a formal or informal room. Perfect!

I set it up in the back of the shop near the custom cabinetry and my favorite picture of an elegant lady – just love her.

sofa custom cabinetry and lady picture
shabby chic sofa and elegant lady print

The sofa is grouped with a gold chenille swivel chair from Hancock and Moore ….

shabby chic sofa with mirrored cocktail table
sofa, chair, cocktail table

I love the way the mirrored cocktail table reflects all the color around it.  It adds a special elegance to the whole setting.

The sofa was worth waiting for….It was supposed to arrive around noon and instead showed up after 7:30 pm….

Sometimes in retail you have to have a very open schedule and be very, very patient!

the shop still looks pretty…we still have gifts for all!

It’s still christmas here at The Whistling Elk and Little Paris…things are still sparkling!

and vibrant and happy colours are everywhere….

The bedroom is all dressed for Christmas….so inviting!

pretty soon it will all be over again, sigh, i will miss it!

Little Paris Opens Quietly Today!!

Well, today was the day!

We opened Little Paris to the public – we still have a few kinks to work out but we decided to go ahead and softly greet the world!

Here’s a little virtual tour….its better to click on each picture to see everything – I didnt want to shrink them too much!

Have fun!   Here’s the entrance foyer/staircase.

Going up the regal staircase…

Looking up the staircase into the French Country Estate Room. 

The Paris Boudoir

Remember this Vanity that we purchased in June, I think…

There are two of these prints in Little Paris….so amazing! 

venice window pictures


This next series of pictures is from our Paris Apartment Room

We are calling this last room the French Country Estate Room…

as it just kinda took on its own easy going relaxed  feeling.

Well, that’s it….I will finish up the details and have the Grand Opening in Early September!!

Little Paris Boudoir nearing completion!

the window treatments for the Paris Boudoir windows are almost complete…i have a few touches to add to the cornice boxes…but that is a surprise!

Last night I hung  readymade (!!) sheers which i trimmed with a 5″ bullion fringe and the drapes which are a beautiful striped silk  trimmed with a ball tassel beaded fringe…i must have fiddled with them for an hour  to get a look i liked…i got in these pretty little crown buckles and they look fabulous on the cord that i used to hold the drapes back…in the picture i have them scotch taped on (sorry bout that) – after i decided i liked it i attached them better!!!

My mom sewed all the pillow cases for the bedding…she does a beautiful job!  These are all Fabricut fabrics and the pillows are all filled with a 90/10 down fill – very nice and squishy! The beaded tassel fring is Robert Allen and the bullion fringe is from Brimar.  The little tassel at the top right corner is Trimland.

Under our beautiful casual swag (also made by my mom, Pat) I hung an shaped mirror that has a very vintage feeling.  

Everyone needs a little pink

I just finished painting the “Paris Apartment” in our Little Paris shop…

it’s a beautiful shade of pink called Cotton Candy!

 If you ever told me i’d be painting pink walls in any room of mine – I’d have laughed….

but yes people can change and adapt.  I really love it.

Here’s some pink inspiration for you!

 

via http://bellafayegarden.tumblr.com

Yes I am truly loving the pink!!!

So now two rooms of Little Paris are on their way to completion….

Happy Father’s Day all.

Sometimes you just need a good chair

Beautiful chairs are a weakness of mine….along with about ten thousand other things.  This hancock & moore chair makes me want to curl up with my cup of tea and snuggle with that soft throw.

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Hancock & Moore
Actually, I’d love to curl up on any of these luscious seats….especially today – a good day for a nap!
hancock sofa
Hancock & Moore Parisian Sofa
hancock sofa
rugby club sofa

so many beautiful fabrics

I found so many beautiful fabrics for the Paris Boudoir that it is overwhelming.  I decided that money was no object and so selected every fabric that made my heart beat!  Most are silks…and the trims are just amazing.

my pictures

I find that photographing fabrics never does them justice….but i tried…some of these fabrics will comprise the bedding, draperies, swags, skirts and pillows.  Here’s some trims laid out on my antique danish oak desk.  Some of these beauties will make it into the final mix!

my pictures

Each day is one closer to the grand opening!