Stories: people, places, ideas / americana

Old and New: Mixing it up

Old and New: Mixing it up

Mixing the old with the new has always been my style but I also love to find new uses for old things.

My husband gave me this beautiful pine window frame from Danish Country Antiques, located on Charles Street in downtown Boston.  He gave this to me when we were dating so it was 25 years ago.  Back then I lived in Boston and was always in and out of local antique shops.

Fast forward to our home that many years later.  We inherited some finishes in our kitchen that I would possibly change but I do love the built-ins originally from Scandia Kitchens. To warm up the all white look I took the antique pine window, blew up a few black and white photos of our children and had them matted into the window.  It's one of my favorite pieces in this kitchen.  It fits the space at the desk perfectly.  

I find it's sometimes challenging to display family photos or a collection because it can look messy unless you know what you're doing.  I often hang very symmetrical collections of frames because it looks clean but this is a nice alternative if you have a window frame that is in good condition and is an unusual or larger size.

Tracy Foley
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Red, White and Blue

Red, White and Blue

I don't know when it happened that I fell in love with American flags but it happened. I obviously love navy blue and definitely love stripes so it's no surprise that I love to incorporate vintage flags in design.

More interesting is that the actual history of the American flag goes beyond how many stars are on it and which states were incorporated.  There are many flags from individual state flags, Navy flags, Indian flags and flags for specific regions of the country. We all know that Betsy Ross hand stitched an American flag in 1776 but did you know that in 1775 American ships in New England flew a flag called the Liberty Tree Flag which showed a green pine tree in the center of a white background? I saw one for the first time last summer at an antique show and had never seen one before.

As states were incorporated the pattern of the stars would change and would not be as symmetrical as they are now with 50 states. For instance, a thirteen star flag would have five columns with a 3-2-3-2-3 patter of stars. 

I have a small collection of American flags that I find everywhere. I find many at estate sales that are perfectly folded in a triangle because a family member was in the service. Antique shows have them in abundance - cotton stitched vintage flags, newer nylon flags or cotton with a flag pattern printed on it (these are usually the smaller flags that everyone waves on the fourth of July.)

Although, Ralph Lauren has used Americana in their styling forever, you don't need a big budget to get the look.  Share your American flag designs with me on instagram (@waterandmain)

If you're interested in reading more facts on flags here is a great resource http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagfact.html

Tracy Foley
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