The Queen Of Muchness

IMG_8953

Yes, it is I, The Queen Of Muchness, so crowned by my good friend, Mary

Randolph Carter, otherwise known as The Girl Who Loved Too Many Things …..

Picture+1-1

A while back, Carter, best-selling writer of interior design books, style maker

and long-time Ralph Lauren VP came to my house with photographer, Carter

Berg (the other Carter!), to take photos for her new book …..

IMG_7505

The greatest attention was paid to every detail, while, at the same

time, Carter, in her Amish beekeeper’s suit, saved it all from feeling

too much like work …..

_H2G4333

In May, the book was launched:

Never Stop To Think…Do I Have A Place For This?” …..

IMGP7611

And in June, we had a festive book signing at The Hudson Mercantile’s

202 Allen Street store …..

 

 

IMGP7626

It really is a fabulous book, just chock full of the private houses of

inveterate collectors, those who buy only with their hearts. There

are no interior-designer spaces here, just places that are comfortable,

lived in and loved. And full of every kind of collection imaginable.

It’s available at Amazon, Rizzoli, book stores and at The Hudson

Mercantile, both the 318 Warren Street and the 202 Allen Street

stores. And we can have it signed and shipped right to your door!

IMGP7910

Thank you, Mary Randolph Carter, for the fun and, most of all, for your

friendship. And, thank you, Carter Berg for making it all look so good!

It’s Coming

It’s coming…..

 

IMG_7660

Any time now in April-May…..

IMG_7513

Meanwhile, we’re gathering it all, the stuff in our barns…..

IMG_1236-1

And our storage spaces…..

 

IMG_1466

We’re loading it up…..

IMG_0537

We’re moving it to the workshop…..

IMG_0832

Where Ken is working night and day to get it all ready…..

IMG_1111

Then, we’ll box it…..

IMG_1193

Wrap it…..

IMG_1022

And, tie it up tight. With wire…..

IMG_1403

With string…..

IMG_1821-1

And, giant thread…..

IMG_7342

To be delivered to:

The Hudson Mercantile…the 8,000 sq ft warehouse store

202 Allen Street (corner of 2nd Street)

Hudson, New York  12534

518-828-3432

info@TheHudsonMercantile.com

IMG_0891

So, put it in your date book:  Opening April-May, as soon as renovations are complete.

IMG_7881

We will also be in our current store:

The Hudson Mercantile

318 Warren Street

Hudson, New York  12534

518-828-6318

info@TheHudsonMercantile.com

Two stores…same cool stuff… just lots more of it.

 

More Crazy Wonderful

This handmade, rough-cut steel table is a folk art treasure. I don’t know if its

creator meant for it to be so quirky or if he just wanted to make something nice.

Either way, he succeeded. And, it’s a keeper…

IMG_7480

A cupboard full of stuff, collected over time in England, Belgium and, of course,

here in America. These won’t be going to The Hudson Mercantile any time soon…

IMG_8197

A painted crate, a model house and an old golf marker, one of a set of six, from Scotland…

IMG_8232

Two little gifts from Jennifer Lanne: a tiny ca. 1930s painting of sheep on a

papier mache plate, probably the work of a member of  a women’s group, and

a fabulous log cabin in the woods, painted by Jennifer, herself. I love them…

IMG_8142

Him…

 

IMG_8202

Birds and cards in an old wooden sorting tray. A giant depression-era ball of string…

IMG_8190

Lots of drawer units in an old warehouse (now in my barns and in

The Hudson Mercantile)

IMG_8038

Mugsie, with his big mutton chops, smiling like a loonie tune, just ’cause that’s

the way he was…

IMG_8024

I guess I might have to just keep posting more and more of the crazy wonderful

things that make my heart sing.

Merry Christmas

The wreathes are all hung.

On the cupboards…..

On the barn doors…..
On the telephone booths…..
All that’s left to do is to say that we wish you, good friends, old and new, near and far,
the Merriest Christmas ever!
The items in the photographs above were all in my space in The Hudson Mercantile.
If you are in the neighborhood, please stop in. We promise to be of good cheer.

What’s New In The Hudson Supermarket?

.
MORE SPACE = MORE FUN.
.
.
That’s what I keep telling myself as I gobble up more and more space in the world’s
most super market, the Hudson Supermarket.
.
.
I love it here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
.
.
And even though I have just added on again, I still look past my now-very-long run
of booths and see how much more stuff I could put in here if I only had just another
30 or 100 feet.
.
.
I could have more factory cart furniture. I’ve been making upholstered seating from
carts for more than 10 years and I never get tired of them. I don’t have one myself
because I  have to replace these faster than I can have the upholstery completed. But,
someday….
.
.

I could have more chickens!

.

.
And, more of the world’s largest flags.
.
.
More French chaises. This one is upholstered in a vintage heavy linen, embroidered
French sheet, natch.
.
.
There would be room for more deconstructed American chaises. This one
started out as a fainting couch…covered in that  fancy-schmancy shiny stuff,
stuffed with uncomfortable horsehair. It had one of those upholstered curved
things (to keep fair maidens from toppling as they fainted dead away, I
suppose) along what is now just an open side. The thick, hand woven linen
and piles of down invite cat naps and other activities that don’t necessarily
require passing out.
.
.
And, another few Frenchy day dream daybeds.
.
.
I designed the pair of fireside benches (the frames are built from the ground
up) and had them upholstered in the most beautiful ca 1900 Swedish drop
cloth material, complete with all the markings and fantastic hand worked
repairs and patches.
.
       
.
They’ve already been copied by a well-known retailer. Whom I shall not
name.
.
.
Their mass-produced fabric is unusual and really wonderful.
.
.
But not as nice as mine!
.
.
The 1930s steamer chair is upholstered in the last of the drop cloth material.
The grommets, old rope and other parts of the drop cloths are left intact and
look  incredible….so there, big international retailer!
.
.
I really like small stuff, but only if it is old and different from the run of the
mill things that are everywhere. These jars, new-old stock with wonderful
labels, are sure to be reproduced and will show up in a retail store near you
very soon!
.
.
These fabric sample books, ranging from 1887 to 1912, are loaded with
pieces of wool and the most wonderful old hand-written notations and
labels. They are real treasures and are hard for me, a lover of textiles, to
let go. The wavy pages of the book in the middle of the table is like art to
me and, thus, even though it is the newest, is my favorite.
.
.
Other textiles, samples of linen and cotton duck.
.
.
.
And an old artist’s apron.
.
.
Piles and piles of old bags…
.
.
of all different kinds.
.
.
I have dozens of old Swiss Army bread bags, perfect for slinging
over a shoulder. The leather loops were meant to hang on the handles
of a bicycle.
.
.
Canvas of all kinds gives me a thrill! The thermos cover is full of buckles
and ties and do-dads, including the owner’s initials.
.
.
In a departure from my mostly masculine look, I couldn’t resist a load of pretty
1920s-40s lingerie and jewelry bags from a stone house in Vermont.
.
.
Old advertising, there’s nothing like it anymore. Here, a heavy paper
electric light! I wonder if anyone really believed that the Easy Washer
and the Easy Ironer were  easy?
.
.
 A 1950s paint bucket! I love the embossed numbers and the
happy housewife.
.
.
Even old oil cans looked better back then.
.
.
The window at my post office is nowhere near as good looking as this one
with its gilded lettering, patterned glass and lack of junk mail.
.
I have a hundred cultivator parts that make perfect little shelves now that
their farmer has gone modern. The 1937 orange paper “license plates” in
the chrome holders are fillers, merely meant to show how they would look
on a brand new Chevy.
.
.
A see-saw turned bench. Something fun for a front porch.
.
.
A pair of 1800s iron rabbits.
.
.
And a mid century papier mache panda.  Animals. Still the loves of my life.
.

.

But, best of all, paintings by my friend and the greatest living artist,

Jennifer Lanne (JenniferLanne.com). This 6 foot x 6 foot depiction

of country life is the way we would all like it to be.  As much as I would

like to keep it for myself, I have it on 1st Dibs for all the world to see.

(1stdibs.com  >   click “Hudson” in the “Cities” column on the right  >

type “Stephanie Lloyd” in “keyword search” on left.

.
.
I think this one is my favorite with its farm animals, barn, baskets and view.
.
.
But what about this one? The color! The sheep! Is that a Swedish drop cloth
I see on the chair? Picking a favorite is hard for all of us. We really just want
it all. In the end, I guess it comes down to space. We always need just that
extra 30 or 100 extra feet.
.
All photos and written materials are the legal property of Stephanie Lloyd
and Stephanie Lloyd At The Hudson Supermarket.  Please do not copy,
reproduce or in any way use without express written permission.

‘Cause Doesn’t Everybody Need A Price Tag Room?

I think that deep down, no matter how lackadaisical we might be, we all
really crave organization. It just feels better when everything is in its place,
when the scissors are in the drawer where we need them, when the car keys
are there when we’re ready to roll.
.
.
Even more, many of us want special places for doing the things that give us
pleasure: a place to wrap presents or to paint. And, in truth, we are so
affected by our surroundings, that we  experience a better time in spaces that look
nice than we do in chaos. Who wants to do laundry squeezed into the corner of a
damp basement when an attractive, sunny place would be so much more appealing?
.
.
Trends come and go but the most interesting and, to me, astounding one a few
years ago was the advent of Costco Rooms. These large, expensive additions were
purely for stockpiling purchases made at the discount store, Costco. I still find it hard
to believe that the savings gained by the bulk purchase of discounted paper towels
would ever off set the price of the room itself.
.
.
However, my own recent brainstorm for using a small barely-seen room in
my house has made me see that maybe I was too quick to scoff at the Costco Room.
For I am now the happy owner of a Price Tag Room…..
.
.
Tucked in a cranny, under beams in the 1790 part of our farmhouse, the space has
been an unused bedroom, an unused sitting room and an unused writing room in our
time. One day while I was dragging my price tag bag around the house, trying to
decide where I should set myself up, I got the idea that this nice little room was the
perfect place to be. All I had to do was find a perfect table in the barn and I’d be ready
to go. Everything else was already there: an old wicker waste basket, decorated with
papier mache swags and fruit, paintings and other decor that I love.
.
 
.
Store display cow heads, organ pipes with the most amazing patina. Beams!
.
 
.
A commodious and oh-so-comfortable English wing chair…
.
.
The walls were painted a few years ago to look like a forest by my friend, artist Jennifer
Lanne.  They are covered wall-to-wall with my favorite paintings of farm animals…
.
.
Below, a study from Sweden…
.
.
And this sweet-looking trio…
.
.

But, what is going on here? Where are these barnyard friends going by the light of the

moon? Are they off to a seaside vacation? A night on the town? They say every picture

tells a story but this one, delightfully, leaves me with many questions left unanswered.

.

.
Below, a farm wife in a blue apron pours fresh cool water for her pretty girls. I
place myself in her wooden shoes and feel the joy of her spectacular surroundings.
I know it is work! But just look at the expression on her face! She is providing something
nice for those who provide for her. While wearing cool clothing! All that beauty just
has to make her day brighter.
.
.
Below, all is primitive and perfect, from the ladder leaning on a thatched roof to the
chickens enjoying breakfast in the sun.  Someday, when I become a painter, I want
to be just like this artist who (imagining two suns or just not planning ahead), cast
shadows from the trees and from the ladder from two different angles.
.

.
Cows in art are always wandering down country lanes.
.
.
Wandering down lanes. Drinking cool water. Eating fresh green grass.
.
.
In beautiful places.
.
.
Places we would like to be ourselves.
.
.
It all seems so wholesome, so simple, so easy.
.
.
So peaceful.
.
.
Is it any wonder that century after century artists want to paint these scenes and
we want to own them? They make us feel so good.
.
.
What else makes me feel good? Sitting at my desk, looking at this fabulous
6 foot x 6 foot painting (below), another by Jennifer Lanne. I asked her to paint me
something with a bookcase and a chair. She knows me well so there’s no need
to say more. There are two paintings within this painting: one of sheep
on the middle shelf on the left side of the bookcase and the other a painted
pillow on the chair (the pillow’s scene is hard to see in this photo).
.
.
And, of course, the reason for the room:  the price tags!
.
        
.
I guess it begs the question, why a Price Tag Room?
.
       
.
It all goes back to the price tags themselves. I have been in the antiques business
for many years and have always wanted my tags to be as unusual and interesting
as the pieces they represent.
.
.
Just like the desire to have my surroundings be appealing, I want the work
I do to please me, to please my eye, to be fun for me and, hopefully, be fun
for the customers in the Hudson Supermarket where I have my public show
room. Writing price tags isn’t a chore for me. It is part of what makes me love
what I do. Having a perfect place to do this enhances the experience in ways I
didn’t expect when I decided to give myself this room.
.
.
In the early years, I made price tags from photos and other printed paper
of heavy stock. There were old tattered hand-made linen maps, restaurant
receipts and anything else that caught my eye.
.
.
When I started selling industrial furnishings, some of the private pickers with whom I had
developed relationships had items, such as the metal machine labels (pictured above),
which I couldn’t resist. I asked for more and now have such a huge collection that, even
if I never purchased another tag, I would be set for life! While a Sharpie does work on the
metal tags, a paper sticker on the back side does an even better job and looks nicer.
.
.
The one above is my all-time favorite. I use it for pricing my most favorite pieces. It has
everything going for it… Money! Trouble! An old car! I just know the waving driver of
this 1940s dream car is having fun, maybe even looking for trouble. The speed lines
behind the car seem to prove me right. I don’t mind at all that I have to reinforce the
string hole. And speaking of string…
.
.
The string is important, too! I use everything from heavy electrical wire to fat cotton fishing
line. The brown waxed twine is from France, the brown with pink at the bottom of the photo
has copper wire inside its cloth webbing. I match the string to the mood of the piece of furniture
and the tag. This is all very time consuming but so much more satisfying, for me, than
writing on the same old, same old, same old little white Office Max tag with its wimpy white
string.
.
.
Storage is a key component of my happy life! Interesting containers make all the difference.
Which brings me right back to that Costco Room which, suddenly, doesn’t seem so weird,
after all!

“What Are Those Things?”

A customer came here the other day, a set decorator I’ll call D, who I really like

a lot. She was looking for mostly workbenches and industrial pieces for an up-

coming movie she is designing.  She brought her friend along, another set designer

from California, who I will call S.  After my house, they were continuing on to the

Finger Lakes where they both have family. 

As we wandered through the house, on the off-chance that something for the movie

was lurking around inside, S asked “what are all those things you have everywhere?

I love them!” 

  They were, of course, grain sacks.

But why had she never seen grain sacks before?  A set designer! From California!

Well, she just hadn’t!  But, now that she had made this miraculous discovery, she

wanted two for some chairs.  So, while D and Ken went out to the barns to check

out the big stuff, S and I went to work picking out the two very best sacks in the

bunch.

This was no easy task given the hundreds of choices and, at some point, S said  “I

wish you only had two!”   We started with the new-old stock (like the ones above),

which most people who are new to grain sacks prefer for its less well-worn presence. 

      

And, graduated quickly to the old-old sacks.  S is a set decorator, from California,

after all, and was thrilled with the old hand-worked repairs, the darnings and

patches that I love.

    

We tried different ones on the back a chair,  made piles on the floor and, in what

felt like no time ’cause I was having such fun,  found the perfect two. 

Customers always offer to help put the grain sacks back on the shelves and I always

decline.  There’s nothing more relaxing than being alone with my grain sacks, folding,

stacking on the correct shelves : wreathes with wreathes, plows with plows. A bonus

that day was finding Mitten, sound asleep and not even pretending to help. I guess I’m

not the only one who relaxes around grain sacks.

It’s A Guy Thing

Ok, so we’re driving along and we see this thing (below) on the side of the road.  Knowing

it will make an incredible table base, we pull over and we buy it.  The guy says “I’ll get my

fork lift and put it on your trailer.”

So, what is it about machinery that attracts guys like a magnet and causes them to stand

around watching as if Something Really Amazing were going to happen ?

Not that I’m complaining. It would have been way less than amazing to load it ourselves.

It’s the same thing with cars. 

I guess there’s just something about the power of an engine and its ability to make things

happen that draws those fellas in and keeps them looking instead of, like me, saying

“uh huh” as I walk on by.

A Circle of Friends

It started with my friend, Jennifer (www.jenniferlanne.com), procurer of much that

is good.  She  purchased a  banner that practically shouted, because of its 15′ length,

“Elm Tree Farm”.  She had the “Farm” part made into a huge pillow for herself and gave

me, pal that she is, the rest of the banner.  I picked up her finished pillow from our mutual

friend, Jerry, the upholsterer since I would be seeing her before he would. 

While I still had it,  Diane, a friend and customer of both Jennifer’s and mine,

from Washington DC, was at my house and took a photo of a bunch of us holding Jennifer’s

pillow. A few days later,  Diane  showed the photo to yet another friend, a picker (also

named Diane, so we’ll call her Diane #2), who is from Pa. and from whom both Diane (#1) 

and I buy.  Diane #2  was, with good reason, crazy about the pillow and called me right

away. To make an already-too-confusing story short, I had Jerry make “Tree” into a pillow

for Diane #2 using a plain grain sack for the back.  Above is what it looked like on my sofa. 

–Lucky me :  I have “Elm” tucked away, so there might still be a pillow in my future.

–Too many people?  From too many states?  Too many Dianes?  Too many pillows? Never!

My Garden Of Metal and Stone

In 1990, when we moved to this rural farmhouse, I had great plans for my property. I wanted steps going down the hill and through the woods to my stream, where there would be a lovely rustic terrace for lolling in a hammock, dangling hot feet in the cold, clear water, sharing simple meals with laughing friends.  There would be charming  paths through the meadow out to the big rocks that border our back woods.   A guest house in the pig barn. A workshop and studio in the horse barn.  A large pond. Oh, and landscaping, the old fashioned country kind.

But.

In the 1970s, this was still a working farm. There was no electricity, no plumbing (although there was a very fancy  three-hole indoor outhouse) and no central heat. When the last member of the original family died,  there were 27 rooms… many flapping in the breeze,  over 200 acres, 20  barns and outbuildings and almost half of the more than 7,000 sq. ft. inside the house was piled from floor to ceiling with stored family antiques.

When we got it, the place was a disaster and nothing worked. The house, which had been empty for a few years was full of bees, flies, red squirrels, carpenter insects of all kinds. There was not one nice room or even a corner that was ready to use.

On the other hand, there were large, low-ceilinged rooms and lots of them!  Three staircases! Eight working fireplaces!Exposed beams! Wide plank floors. The people who had inherited the property had taken a shot at fixing it up but had, understandably, thrown in the towel. But, they had put in 5 bathrooms! Heat! A laundry room! Not a bad start.

In the 6 months before we moved in, the floors were refinished, a new kitchen was hand built by a local master carpenter-violin maker who also built a library in one room and  new fireplace surrounds. Over the years, we have moved walls, relocated the entrance to a staircase, replaced all of the porches, ceilings and bathroom fixtures, added a second library,  rebuilt the dining room and included a wall of (yet more) bookcases and glass doors for collections, relocated squirrels, bats, bees. Every room needed something or everything… and we’re still not done.  

So, back to the great plans for the property! In keeping with the most noticeable section of the house, we built a Greek Revival well house. It does shelter one of our wells, but its main function is wall space for the 8 foot diam. antique  clock face that our 7′ 6″ ceilings would not accommodate. Ken lugged the stones from a nearby farm to build  wonderful low walls around a court yard. Dozens of large trees were planted. A blue stone front walk replaced the dirt path to the front door. A new fence, and then another when carpenter ants took up residence in the first.

As I write this, even with the many things I’m sure I’ve forgotten that we’ve done, I know that we’ve done a lot.

But, the outside is still so unfinished. Even though I have a set of fabulous plans, drawn up by a professional who got that I wanted everything to be old fashioned and in keeping with a farm in the country, even though I still dream of paths through meadows, there are things that derail me. There are gnat-like bugs here almost year round which makes a stroll to the stream unthinkable.   A thicket has taken over the meadow and,  knowing how little shelter is left for our wildlife, the thicket will have to stay. The barns are chock  full of our inventory of industrial stuff waiting for Ken’s loving touch. Ken’s lacrosse field is in the only area big enough for a pond. And, as for the landscaping, I go from one season to the next,  putting it off because we’re never around to water it or we’re never around to supervise the planting or some other excuse. I admit that part of me just doesn’t relate to fixing up a yard. I’m good at the inside. The outside I don’t get.

No, I don’t have the flowers or shrubs or anything like that.  But, I do have this.

And this.

And these.

And this other stuff.

 

And,  for now,  it is enough.