Thursday, November 7, 2013

Madame's House

For years I have called her just "Madam"  or "darling".   Others refer to her as Auntie Mame.  I haven't read the book or seen the movie so I can't say if that fits,  but Ellen and I go back 25 years from our first meeting when we lived in San Francisco.  She has visited Monsieur and I at least 15 times in England, Italy, France and even Spain so it was strange that I would wait so long to visit my good friend's home in the south.

But sometimes, life intervenes…..

 Let me take you on a tour of this collector's treasure trove, Madam's Charleston home. But let me explain:
  Ellen lives in what was called the kitchen house. In the plantation era, a "kitchen house" was a separate dwelling next to a huge southern home, used by the "help"( i.e. slaves), to fix the food for the main house. Many of the plantation owners kept large dwellings in Charleston and there are still some of these kitchen houses to be found in the historic district.  The "big" house that was adjacent to Ellen's property has long since been destroyed.  If it wasn't one of the fires, or sieges of war,  it was just old age that killed it. 

Before we start, I want to point out that many of the paintings in her house were bought at flea markets or antique fairs ( especially in Nice) while we were together.  And I proudly note that there are 9 of my art works in the house too.  It was lovely to see them again, and this time, framed!  

Again, within one week,  I felt like I was staying in a five star…. this one a "bed and breakfast inn". 

The entry through one of two doors from the garden.

The parlor

The great wall….(I know the provence of 16 of these paintings. )

Two of the paintings in this photo are my oil sketches done with a palette knife, can you guess which ones?  Madame seized them from my sketch book and we bargained just like we always do at the flea market. 

In case you want to know, I did this one, "the nude", and "the pear and carafe" sketch.

There are lots of buddhas and mirrors in this place. 
 Ellen's father ( an engineer by profession), made all of the curtains for the house. Each curtain is lined with contrasting brocade or silk from fabric lovingly chosen in France or Britain. 

The dining room has a gas fireplace.

The painting "en bas" is a Van Gogh copy that I did and had framed in Nice.  

                                   The upstairs sitting room .  

the master bedroom….

and bath...

….hey that's an original I painted. ( I can't get over seeing my work on a wall in Charleston!)

The guest room  ( my room) with a view out over the trees in front.

I had fun capturing the many "still lives" that I found throughout the house, Madame's little objects….  I just wouldn't want to dust them.

  Well, darling, I will be back if you please.  Save my room for me. 

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