Grand Old Ladies

Stately old houses have a unique charm.

This Queen Anne was part of a large estate built in the late 1800’s.

In 1926, it was sold for $7,000.  The original third floor tower with a finial was removed for safety reasons.

The woodwork throughout the house is stunning.

The magnificent parquet floors are in excellent condition.

Just look at the craftsmanship and challenging detail.

A large group of people were touring, so I couldn’t get many pictures inside this house.

This Queen Anne is a well-known landmark that sits on a hill beside a main highway at the edge of Weatherford.  Its location on a hill provided breezes that kept it cooler in the summer than most homes.  Five fireplaces kept it warm in the winter.

Detail woodwork added to the grandeur.  The house has ten bedrooms.  Originally, it had only one bathroom.

Many stained glass windows lets in some light without allowing the hot Texas sunlight inside.

I love old style stained glass – very nostalgic.

The house is currently a bed and breakfast.

The rooms are furnished with large scale beds.  Closet space has been turned into small bathrooms for each room.  One room has access to a hot tub in an enclosed area just outside the room.

A Greek Revival house build in 1890 suffered severe damage in a 2008 fire.  New owners restored the house with careful detail to keep its original style.

They made some concessions on material, covering the wraparound porch with this new, modern metal that is stronger and is fireproof.

These stained glass windows are hung as art pieces along with the old wooden panel.

Sorry for the blurry picture.

While doing renovation, this glass mirror was found under the house.  H. P. Newman company was founded in England in 1909 but the name was changed to Dorothy Perkins in 1919.  They specialize in women’s clothing and fashion.  The company was adept in changing styles in each decade and still manufactures women’s clothing.

The purses belonged to the homeowner’s aunt.

Cute way to utilize old family pictures.

This is the last of the Weatherford Christmas home tour.

Hope your Christmas is celebrated with friends and family and merry and bright.

“The reality is that old houses that were built a hundred years ago were built by actual craftsmen, people who were the best in the world at what they did. The little nuances in the woodwork, the framing of the doors, the built-in nooks, the windows—all had been done by smart, talented people …”  Joanna Gaines

Christmas Tour

The Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Weatherford usually features older 19th century homes.  However, the first home we visited was built in 2015 in the craftsman style of the late eighteen hundreds.  The builder is a well known local contractor who restores older homes and builds reproductions of those styles.

The wooden mantel actually is an period piece.

Plop some berries in a pencil holder and it looks Christmasy.

This is a decoupaged trunk to mimic the Victorian style.

All ready for Christmas dinner.

Nice touch with Magnolia leaves and a ball of berries.

I have a thing for stained glass lamps or stained glass anything that is good quality.  The small manager looks like Fontanini, which is very collectible.

The faience girl looks French.  Marie Antoinette? Its bright colors draws your eyes right to it.

Outside on a small upper balcony this display caught my attention.

Striking combination of red and white Poinsettias in a deep blue pot.

The back driveway made this a small yard.  But this side flowerbed provides space for a great Christmas vignette.  Pansies in front give it a little color.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Credited to John Wesley, but disputed by some

Last View at Chandor Gardens

A few more pictures from our quiet stroll through Chandor Gardens.

Garden paths lead to calming scenes with water.

And some rather bizarre scenes of Chandor’s obsessions with Chinese culture.  This looks like volcanic rock used as a display case for oriental statutes.

Another display of red panels gives a suggestion about the importance of red in the Chinese culture, where it represents luck, joy, and happiness.  Brides wear red to ward off evil.

About eight Staghorn Ferns hang from a large oak.

Ah, back to a soothing pool surrounded by greenery.

Rare for this area is a pot of Kent’s Beauty Oregano with its fluffy flowers.

A lush area with lots of foliage.

As we head to the Chandor home, more water and assorted plants.

More potted plants topped off with a new variety of Coleus.

On the back side of the house is an enclosed patio area that has an intimate feeling.

Inside the walled area is a long planting of Pentas and Caladiums,which are cheery and refreshing.

One of my favorite features is this gate leading out of the patio.

The story goes that Chandor admired the gate at a friend’s house.  His friend then gifted it to him.  From the note, they may have been used over windows at Vincent’s home.

Now these lovely gates can be admired by all who visit this public garden.

What a special place Chandor Gardens is to this small town situated in a dry climate.

“At the heart of gardening, there is a belief in the miraculous.”  Mirabel Osler

Visit Chandor Gardens

Another look at what Chandor Gardens has to offer.

There are surprises along the pathways and stairs that climb to different levels of the garden.

Some of the newer structures don’t exactly fit in with the more formal sections, but are unique.

For the waterfall, the original builder and owner, Douglas Chandor, had to haul in soil and large rocks.  This was done without large equipment and one helper.

Pentas were in bloom and placed in several places in the garden.  They didn’t show any wilting from the heat but were fresh and lovely.

Maybe Bleeding Heart but don’t know for sure.

Stepping stones across a shallow pool.

Tied Bamboo poles give the illusion of sails on a small Chinese sampan boat.

Chinese statuary in different spots all around the garden makes me wonder why Chandor was so taken with that culture.

Chinese Button Bush (Adina Ruella) looks a little like the North American Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).  But it’s parts are more distinct and pop out against dark foliage.  This was in a mostly shady area on the edge of a small stream.

Chandor’s home is used for special events.

This Magnolia looks healthy, even in the extreme dry heat.

One of the many water features, this Pixie Pond is another place to relax and enjoy the sound and sight of water.

Cast stone pixies in different poses are placed on top of the stone (or brick) edges around the pond.  Chandor chose them and placed them himself, probably in the late 40’s.

The next post will be the final one on Chandor Gardens.

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”  Thomas Fuller

Chandor Gardens

One of my favorite public gardens is Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX.  The travel time from our house to the gardens is two and a half hours, so it’s an easy day trip.

Another reason we enjoy it so much is that it’s mostly shady with some open areas that are sunny.  Even in the summertime, if the mercury hasn’t shot up too high, it’s comfortable to visit there.

Originally, the gardens were private and the result of the dream of one man.  He and a hired hand did most of the construction.  An Englishman, Douglas Chandor, married a Texas gal who wanted to live in her hometown.

Work on the garden began in 1936.  Chandor was a renown portrait artist, who painted presidents, famous people, and a queen.  He brought that artist eye to the garden that he labored on for many years.

Chandor built the Chi-Ling fountain using statutes found in New York city, Coke and 7 Up bottles, colored marbles, and his handmade ceramic tiles.  Because the original fountain was crumbling apart, restoration was completed this year re-using as much of his materials as possible.

Two rows of soda bottles continue around the base of the fountain.

I was glad to see that they saved the original parts from the fountain and have them displayed in a section of Mondo Grass.

Every time we visit, new items have been added, like these twisted glass accents that pop right out of the white Caladiums.

Usually, Canna Lilies have red, orange, or yellow flowers.  These are the first pink ones I’ve seen.

Monkey Grass and Little Ruby Alternanthera form a thick groundcover.

The large concrete pot gives nice height to the ground covers.  There doesn’t seem to be any bare ground in the gardens.  The only places without plants are walkways.

Chandor was enchanted with China and Asian art and styles.  I don’t care for the
Buddhas, but his use of water and rock is admirable.  He embedded marbles in the  Buddha Niche and decorated the rock walls with lotus blossoms created with cut rocks. Water pours out of the blossoms.

Six of these dividers form a line between two sections of the garden.  I don’t think these are original.

Chandor’s love for the Orient is evident everywhere.

Moon Gate was built in 1949 and was constructed by the artist with mortar, stone, roof tiles, split sewer pipe, bottles, and handmade ceramic figurines.

Looking up, these figurines look authentic.

Chandor Gardens is a fascinating place and has a peacefulness to it.  We usually visit on week days, so it’s extra quiet to stroll the meandering pathways.

The work of one man is enjoyed by many visitors.  Just thinking of all those years of back breaking labor, as well as continuing with his portraits of the famous is overwhelming.  It’s a good thing he spend half of each year in New York painting.

The city of Weatherford now owns the estate and keeps up the gardens.  Quite a chore for a small town.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

Candlelight Tour at Weatherford

After 37 years of a tour of homes at Christmas in a small town, it’s no surprise that it’s difficult to get people to open their homes.  At least, that’s what I assume, since most of the homes this year were small and not unique.

Tickets can be purchased at Doss Heritage and Cultural Center, so we always start at the museum.

Tickets can be purchased at Doss Heritage and Culture Center.  So that’s where we always start.

The western tree is always impressive.

One of the trees is this small pencil tree.

The Loving- Pinner house was built in 1857.  The house is well known because Oliver Loving, the cattle rancher who started the Goodnight-Loving trail, lived there from 1862 to 1866.  This small house with two bedrooms was where he and his wife raised nine children.

Fortunately, most of the year in Texas is warm or hot, so the children could have slept outside on the covered porch.  During the winter, they must have been stacked like firewood on the floor.  The cabinets with the glass doors were in the master bedroom.  The house still has the original porch, doors with hardware, high ceilings, and glass transoms.  But I’m not sure when these cabinets were installed.

This panel has older looking scenes, but there was no mention of age.

This Second Empire French Neo-Renaissance style house was constructed of hand quarried native stone.  Therefore, the outside walls are 20 inches thick.

In the small entry, a spiral staircase was handcrafted.  The banister was made from a single pine tree.  Using heat, it was twisted to fit the curve of the staircase.

The staircase in the back of the house leads from the upstairs down to the dining room.  The house features curved walls in most rooms.

The chandelier over the dining room table is original to the house and is from France.

Bathroom sink installed in old sewing machine cabinet.

This piano is old and extremely heavy.

The gingerbread man on this pillow is three dimensional.

It was a cold, rainy, blustery day outside, but people still came out to see the homes.

“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking bout how it is soaking in around your green beans.”

Houses on Tour

Usually Weatherford’s tour of homes features some Victorian homes that are creatively decked out for Christmas.  This year these were the only two houses that were older and nicely decorated; both have been on the tour before.

This house was originally a dog-trot house with an open air space in the middle and two rooms on each side.  Major restoration in 2001 transformed its look.

I think I took a picture of this pillow before with the intent to make one.  Hasn’t happened.

Botanical prints always catch my eye.

All working fireplaces were removed in the renovation, so this mantle is just an accent.

In place of traditional wainscoting, this embossed material has an interesting look and provides texture.

I’m a sucker for old wooden boxes holding almost anything.

Sloped ceilings make bed placements upstairs a challenge.  It looks like this spot is the only option.

The heavy, freestanding tub was moved upstairs and required reinforcing of the floor to handle its weight.

Next door a Queen Anne style home, that was constructed in 1902, also has had several renovations with a master bedroom and bath built at the back of the house.

Another wooden box with an old look used to decorate.

The crown molding has an interesting ornate piece of wood that extends out.  That would cover up any mistakes in cutting miter corners.  We have miters for crown molding, which are tricky.

The bottom molding also has an inset center of molded wood.

This is interesting and has a rustic look, but personally I think the wood pieces should all in the same color family.

Main hallway, where the old dogtrot space was, is nicely decorated.

The kitchen is dark with only light from doors.  I like the door bows but don’t know how practical they are if doors are opened often during the holiday season.

A long hallway runs across the back of the house to the new bedroom and bath.

A few pictures from another house.  The small sled hanging near the entry provides a cheery greeting.

Although I do not like the color scheme, this pillow is a reminder of how aging changes our perception of ourselves.

Wonder who bought this plaque – husband or wife?

This is the last post about Christmas home tours.

Thank you for reading my blog in 2016.  Have a happy New Year and keep safe.

“People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  What they should be worried about is what they eat between New Year’s Day and Christmas.”  Unknown

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Cowboy Christmas Decor and Tiny House

On December tenth, the 35th annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Weatherford came on our first really cold day with a sharp, biting wind.

Inside the Doss Heritage and Culture Center Christmas cheer was in the decorations, greetings and refreshments.

This western tree was my favorite.

A saddle and a saddle blanket and other cowboy items replaced a tree skirt.

A cow hide and cowboy rope finished out the “ensemble”.

The different elements of cowboy and traditional decorations came together for a pleasing whole.

The weight and bulk of the saddle on top had to be held up with cord to attach it to the ceiling.  Just love the look.

In the bathroom was another striking decoration that screamed Texas cowgirl.

A more usual sort of Christmas arrangement was bright and welcoming.

A tiny house parked downtown across from the court house was our second stop.  The ladder was used as a handrail because those steps were rather high.

A young couple built this and is trying to get a business off the ground.

The house is 19 feet x 6 feet with 174 square feet.

Just inside the door to our left was the seating of the house.  This sofa faced a flat screen TV hung on the wall in front of it.  For me, it was too close for comfortable viewing.  Although it doesn’t look like it, surely there was storage under the cushions.

This small window was above the couch and higher than my eye level.

This triangular shelf above the front (and only) door provides a small place for decorations or storage.

The kitchen counter has two stools at this end for dining.  There were cutting boards piled on top of the stools.  Don’t know why.  To the right is a refrigerator and small stove with a sliver of a closet.

Beyond the kitchen is the bathroom.

Up the stairs is a crawl in space for a bedroom.

This tiny house concept is definitely not for me.  My opinion:  only the young could handle this lifestyle, even as a vacation getaway.

Many questions:  Where are clothes stored?  Where does one put those clothes on?  Where do you store anything?  How do you not feel claustrophobic?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.  Thank you for reading my blog.  A special thanks to those faithful readers who make me feel that this is worthwhile.  I love to hear from you.

“Dear Santa, I want a new birthday suit for Christmas.  My current one is old, wrinkled, and sagging.”

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Chandor Gardens

One of the stops on the Weatherford tour of homes in December was Chandor Gardens.

chandorThis is one of my favorite gardens.  You can read more about it and its history in the link above this picture.

chandor1I don’t know what kind of holly this is, but it has been trimmed into a tree, as seen in the previous picture.

chandor2This might be a salvia, but I’m not sure.  It sure is blooming late.  Even though Weatherford is north of us, we’ve obviously had harder freezes this season.  Or it could be that this garden is more protected than mine since we’re on a hill in the open with lots of wind.

chandor3There are several water areas.  Since we were with family, I focused on enjoying the garden with them and not so much on pictures.

chandor5Every time I visit this garden, I’m reminded that I need more evergreen bushes in my yard because this looks lush even in the winter.

chandor6That is probably a small rose bush still in bloom.

chandor7This is a larger pond.  As I remember, it has a concrete bottom.

chandor8Another great aspect of Chandor is the hardscape that enhances the greenery but also draws ones eyes into the garden.  This serves to create a desire for more exploring.

There are other posts about this garden with more information.

“The problem we have is that 47% of Americans who pay zero income tax is voting on what to charge everyone else.”               Steven Crowder

Rewind December

The middle of December we attended the 34th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Weatherford.

museumThe first stop was the Doss Heritage and Culture Center.  You can read more about this stagecoach and the museum from a previous post.

One of the docents demonstrated how the movement of the stagecoach felt to the paying customers inside the coach by rocking it back and forth.  Although the inside was plush with tufted velvet seats, the ride would have been bumpy with the passengers tossed to and fro.

museum1These collectibles brought back memories of Saturday mornings at the movies.  The cowboy movies of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry, etc. seemed so exciting at the times.  In reality, they were pretty bland.

museum2

museum3The local ranching history exhibits are in the permanent collection.

museum4The chuck wagon was an important fixture of cattle roundups and drives.

museum7

museum6Homemade quilts provided some warmth on cold, blustery days on the open plains.

museum5And a reminder of how tough life was in Indian territory.  Note the epitaph “Killed by Indians.”

museum8The longhorn represents how much the livelihood of the people in this area was dependent on cattle for many, many years.

This is a great little museum and well worth a visit.

museum9The first house we toured was the Jim Wright home, which now houses the Fire Department Headquarters.  Actually, Wright only lived here for two years as a child.

museumaLots of fire department memorabilia throughout the house.

museumb

museumcThis picture was taken to show the fine handcrafted wood dowels and other parts of the banister.

museumdI think this is Lindheimer’s Muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri).   Such a beauty.  When the sunlight hits the seed head, it has a shiny glint.

“Perhaps the most important thing we can ever give each other is attention.” Rachel Naomi Remen