Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Game Night in the Digital Age

Games have certainly changed in the last few decades.  Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled by my very first video game, the classic Atari 2600,  but it didn't replace the stacks of boxes in the closet, each filled with hours of endless possibilities.  There is something I appreciate in the ritual of setting up a game board, feeling the weight of the game pieces in your hand, watching that stack of Monopoly money grow.

Some may disagree with me but games today have grown impersonal - a player and their box, connected to another player somewhere else and their box. And heaven forbid the Farmville server go down, lest two thirds of Facebook users stage a coups.  So let's put down the Angry Birds for a few moments and go back in the not so distant past and talk about a few classic games that not only make beautiful additions to your home, but can be enjoyed with friends and family.


Tic Tac Toe, or Noughts and Crosses if you are from the other side of the pond,  is one of the oldest games played in history, dating back to the Roman Empire in the first century BC.  Called Terni Lapilli, it was a simple two player game on a 3 x 3 grid, with each player only possessing three game pieces, allowing the game to continue rather than end in the usual draw in the modern version.  Because of its straightforward nature, and limited number of game result possibilities, Tic Tac Toe was the first game written to be played on a computer.


In spite of its name, Chinese Checkers was invented in America in 1884 by a Harvard surgeon who called the game Halma, from the Greek meaning "to jump." This first version was played on a square board, allowing for a maximum of 4 players.  The object of the game is to hop or jump your marbles from your corner to the opposite corner using single hops or jumps over other marbles.  Pieces always remain in play, so no worry of "losing your marbles". The clever Germans adapted the board in 1892, making it in the shape of a star, allowing for 6 players and calling the came Stern-Halma or Star-Halma.  When the Pressman Game Company wanted to market this game as a toy,  they called the game Hop Ching Checkers sheerly for marketing purposes and the name Chinese Checkers developed from there.


In my house, we were big card players.  I learned to play Solitaire while barely in grade school, though my Barbies will never confess how many times I cheated.  We grew to trust that a deck of cards could be counted on for hours of entertainment.  Laughter and healthy rivalry over a game of Spades or Pinochle frequently appeared at most family functions - and I cherish those memories more than any game of Wii.

In these times of financial difficulty, some say the inexpensive tradition of family game night is making a comeback. I say - bring it on!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Weep not that the world changes -

- did it keep a stable, changeless state, it were cause indeed to weep." William Cullen Bryant

There have been a few changes here at The Source Collection;  so I set out to compose a blog about CHANGE and all I can think of is David Bowie's rendition of "Changes".  But Emily is partial to a well chosen quote, and so in her footsteps, I opted for a New England poet.  I think she will approve.

We are sad to say that as of last week, our little pixie, Miss Emily Brooks, is no longer with The Source Collection.  Although we are excited for her new opportunity, we will miss her presence here.  I'm sure our readership has come to recognize that she's a natural comedienne and she sparked quite a bit of laughter in the office.  We will miss her energy but we all wish her the best of luck.

Of course, that means this blog is no longer written by ERB!  While, I'm sure you'll be hearing more from each of us as The Source Collection moves into a new chapter of its existence, this installment is brought to you by Amy. *curtsies*

Change is a constant, without which, things can never improve.  Change is good for the soul and helps us to see things in a new light.  The ladies of The Source Collection (Chris, Bobbie and I) had a roundtable discussion and came up with a few quick fix ideas for changing up your living space, to see the rooms we inhabit in a new light as well.

A beautiful vase or cachepot with fresh flowers is an inexpensive and easy way to bring color and life to a room.  Bobbie's trick is to bring home a fresh bouquet each week for the dining table centerpiece.  Last week's stems get trimmed to fit a small vase easily tucked on a porch, in a powder room or anywhere in need of an unexpected pop of color.

Which reminds me, we're giving away a Spring Cachepot on Monday to one of our lucky Facebook fans, so if you haven't Liked us yet, now would be a great time!

More than a "quick" fix but with a few hours and a can of paint, you can make quite an impact.  Even less time, if it's just an accent wall, nook or alcove.  After the paint dries, consider having a little fun with Washi or Japanese paper tape! It comes in an endless variety of colors and patterns and the internet is "awash" with inspiring ideas. (ok, so I don't have Emily's flair for puns!)

Maybe that table in your living room would look much better in your foyer tucked beside that chair no one ever sits in anyway? I've been meaning to give my Libris Book Stand a turn as a bath organizer. Moving pieces from one room to another gives a new spin on an old favorite.

A breath of something new, a hint of lavender, a whisper of warm patchouli; fragrance is certainly a quick and easy way to change the way a room feels. We've got a great selection of candleware, including our natural soy candles made in California.  Indochine is a favorite. Chris is our resident candle queen, but if you aren't in the market for a candle, a quick trip down the home fragrance aisle at your local big box store might pave the road to just the change you were after.
This one is truly a no brainer but I thought I'd "throw" it out there as long as we're on the subject of quick changes. (Again, with the bad puns...).  Truly, new pillows or a throw blanket can change the entire look of a room, especially if the bones of your decor are solid timeless pieces.  I put a new throw on my living room sofa and suddenly we're all fighting over the sofa as the best seat in the house, when it once was the chair with the better view of the television.  If you need a nudge in the right direction, these two are in our Private Stockroom.
Dynasty Fringed Pillow
Camel Heather Throw

And you want to talk about a creature that
epitomizes change, how about a
It loses a limb and grows a new one; forever adapting.
Which is the best any of us can do in the face of 

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Barry's Big Before & After

I have a not-so-secret addiction to decorating shows. I'm shameless, really. My poor fiance. I devote about 40% of my DVR space to all things decorating and his shows are at the very bottom of our "series manager."

Really, I love to see what designers can do with a space. I am always amazed with their vision: "I never would have thought of that!" "That color looks great, I never would have known to pick that!" and "Where did they get that?"

And so, it is with great excitement that I present Barry's vision - his big BEFORE and big AFTER at Ventfort Hall.  His selections and arrangements, his room challenges and advantages - all part of our story and what makes us unique! Read: Barry researches, selects and designs every product in our collection - just him!

You'll see it all - the heavy boxes! the heavy secretary! the stairs! the small doorways! the scary, we're-not-sure-if-the-sofa-will-fit-through-the-door-and-we-may-have-to-hacksaw-off-the-legs moment!

All of this was captured by our friend and talented photographer, Sarah Edwards - click here to visit her site (she's amazing)

Before! Facing the fireplace 

 Before! Some challenges - the size (when we scouted, it had a full-size antique canoe in the middle of the room), the color of the walls (freshly painted, we did not want to re-paint!), and the flow of traffic, because after all, this is a show house open for tours.

Some advantages - the windows (are they coolest, or what?), the condition of the floors, the amazing restored fireplace, and the shape (we were able to create four distinct areas, or, "rooms" within this one space.)

Before! Opposite the fireplace
And here we go -

We had to wait for another designer to move their enormous truck out of the way.  And you know how patient we are...

Patiently waiting. Not really.

Dennis from Berkshire Stone was nice enough to help us

Here is our "sister company" Berkshire Stone. They were nice enough to let us use their truck ... and labor.  (You'll see.)
Barry and Dennis start unloading the truck

And here we go!

Unpacking is not really the hard part. Packing this truck up was tough!

 The truck was packed beautifully! It was like a puzzle. (a very expensive puzzle)

Good thing nobody was headed down the stairs. I wouldn't be able to see them.

That's me. 

Recognize those bags? If you do, you know they are  indestructible, and excellent for moving. 

Incredible stairway!

Regarding that incredible stairway - it was also one of our biggest obstacles. Our new Baroque Painted Secretary is HEAVY. Getting it up the flight of stairs took all of us. 

Stairs approach.

Note, Barry is doing the heavy lifting. (He does it all, folks!) My head is on the opposite side. Looks like I'm hiding behind it, or like I'm about to sneak up on Dennis. 


(By the way - this secretary is shipped to our customers via "white glove" delivery service. It is brought into your home, placed where you want it, set up, and all of the packaging materials are taken away.  This is done at no extra charge. Totally worth it!)

Getting ready to lift into place

 The top was not such a big deal. I say that, and yet I did not carry it. 

Nearly complete

Almost there...

Love the inside. Very striking!

And, voila!

Our second-greatest obstacle was the main doorway into the room. After receiving help from the building manager, we removed the door from the hinges and in a series of twists, turns, and rotations, moved the Marrakech Sofa safely through the doorway.  

Barry never lost faith. Me? A little bit.

 If this didn't work..Plan B was to hacksaw off the legs. Glad it didn't come to that.

Time to relax


See? It always works out. Like nothing ever happened...

Now, down to the accessories...

(This was taken from Day 2) Barry is fitting our new Blanc de Chine Tulipiere with faux flowers atop our new Concave Chest of Drawers. He put his Pavillion Print from his private collection on display. Above, the reproductions that were inspired by his original.

I'm unpacking our Deco Pewter Owl Pitcher. He is placed atop our new Eugenie Side Cabinet, Coral Beaded Cocktail Napkins, next to our Imari Porcelain Lamp. I'm using our Moroccan Garden Table as a stand.

(Taken from Day 2) We are unwrapping our newest designer matchboxes for their close up.  Barry is taking a load off on our new Directoire Side Chair at our New Boston Games Table.

The room, as shown here, is nearly complete. We have some roman shades and a new "Horn Table" that still need to be photographed. (This will happen very soon!)

If you remember, here is the artist rendering from Barry's description: 

And here is the actual room!

Remember the big before?

Here is the big after!

An interior design dream come true: take one empty room and one amazing designer, and you come out with a space that evokes luxury, tradition, comfort, and high style. Well done Barry!

The Berkshire Designer Showcase is open to the public Monday-Thursday 10-5; Friday 10-7; and weekends 10-3. For more information, visit Ventfort Hall's website: http://www.gildedage.org/

Hope you stop by!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gilded Source Collection

We are getting ready for our NEXT catalog - yes, it's getting warmer outside but we are gearing up for Fall and Winter 2011!  And what better backdrop than a Gilded Age Mansion in the Berkshires?!

Our Creative Director, Barry Webber will participate in Ventfort Hall's Designer Showcase, with opening reception scheduled for June 4th, 2011. His invitation is our chance to showcase our latest offerings and add three new "rooms" to our collection.  

"Ventfort Hall is one of Lenox’s (Massachusetts) largest Gilded Age mansions, a 28,000-square-foot summer cottage built in 1893 for George and Sarah Morgan, the sister of legendary financier J. Pierpont Morgan. Nearly demolished in the mid 1990s, Ventfort Hall has undergone massive restoration at the same time that it has become one of the county’s major cultural venues offering tours, lectures, theater, exhibitions, concerts, children’s programs, dances, a gift shop, Picnics on the Porch…and now a Berkshire Designer Showcase."
- gildedage.org

Fabled Front Porch, note the restoration work - to the left

Historical Image of Porch, overlooking the sprawling front lawn

Exterior View

Historic Interior View of Staircase

Historic Carriage House

"Described at the time of its completion as “one of the most beautiful places in Lenox,” the house had “28 rooms, including 15 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 17 fireplaces.” Typical of the period, the interior features a soaring three-story great hall and staircase with wood paneling detailing. Other rooms include an elegant salon, paneled library, a dining room, a billiard room and bowling alley. It was designed with all the latest modern amenities, numerous ingeniously ventilated bathrooms, combined gas and electric light fixtures, an elevator, burglar alarms and central heating. The property contained several outbuildings, including two gatehouses, a carriage house/stable and six greenhouses."
- gildedage.org

Barry is outfitting a room formally believed to be a gentleman's dressing room with selections for a "Traveler's Study." Here is an excerpt from the program:

"Just as homes of the Gilded Age were ripe with the finest finishes, exotic woods and fine craftsmanship, our room brings a refined, luxe collection of eclectic furnishings and accessories back to Ventfort Hall. Inspired by the world travels of the Morgan family, we envision the discerning and selective eye of Sarah seeking out superior examples of craftsmanship that shaped Ventfort Hall’s opulent decorative appeal. Although not a period restoration, our Traveler’s Study exemplifies a new traditional style befitting of period architecture.

Centering our room is an exquisite custom upholstered sofa in rich brown leather, a quilted velvet bench cushion, and spice-toned bespoke paisley and cat-print pillows finished with a brush fringe. The tight back of our sofa emphasizes the character of the room’s unusually shaped windows. We chose a traditional wing chair in non-traditional tiger print velvet to oppose the sofa and flank the period fireplace. A perching chair in brightly-hued Indian crewel motif alludes to fascinating travels and finishes the seating area. The generous fireplace and proportionate furniture grouping provides an ideal setting for what we can imagine are lengthy conversations about exploration, discovery, and enlightenment."

Artist rendering of "Traveler's Study"

Would you like to visit? The opening reception is on Saturday, June 4, from 3pm to 8pm. Thereafter, the Showcase will remain open daily for nearly eight months until January 15, 2012, weekdays from 10am to 5pm, on Fridays until 7pm and weekends from 10am to 3pm. Visit the Ventfort Hall website for more information. -ERB

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's New!

It's not a question - it's a statement!

What's new with The Source Collection: more unexpected decorative accents, more coastal and chinoiserie inspiration, and new upholstered pieces for any home. We love love love our latest collection. And, little by little, we are releasing our "New for 2011!" collection, every Tuesday. Here's a synopsis of what we've released so far. Our catalog is scheduled to be in homes in April!

Our Fishy Dish! In our latest room, the "Coastal Great Room," we've placed this decorative accent atop a "martini table" and filled it with shells as an unexpected and quirky accent.

I can also see this as a catch-all in your front hall (keys, lip balm, small flashlight, a wayward paperclip or two - at least that's what I have atop my entry console...), a soap dish in your bathroom (filled with monogrammed hand soaps, natch), a chic place to keep your sponges and scrubbers by the kitchen sink (much much cuter than plastic-y or stainless steel soap dishes), and a handy dish for your jewelry by the bathroom and kitchen sinks, or on your dressing table.
Click here to see our Fishy Dish, for just $35.00

Allegro Bud Vases! We tend to gravitate toward bud vases - they are great for accessorizing a room, and we love this collection of graduated sizes and fun shapes. I can even see these used as candle holders...just a thought...

Nautilus Needlepoint Pillow! High quality, 100% wool needlepoint is becoming more and more difficult to find. We've chosen this rendering of a large Nautilus Shell with beige, dusty rose and aqua accents to accessorize our "Coastal Great Room." We also chose a feather and down insert to up the luxe factor...
Just the right size to center a settee, add interest to a sunny breakfast banquette, or accent to a side chair.
Click here to see our Nautilus Needlepoint Pillow for $105

Ocelot Tabouret! Both the red and the beige "Alexandria Tabourets" have had a strong, long run in our collection; however, like many upholstered pieces, the red velvet fabric is no longer available (the beige is still available...so far....) Barry decided to update the classic piece with a very chic cat-inspired print, that he dubbed "ocelot." We cannot believe just how soft the fabric feels! I've seen similar styles used in entries, at the end of a bed, and as both extra seating & tabletops in living areas.
Click here to see our Ocelot Tabouret, for $1100

Playful Retriever Tote! This tote is handmade using all non-electrical tools by the Amish Community. Think about it. All of the hardware is harness grade. Seriously, think about it. Little details like nickel feet, two outside pockets, one interior pocket, and a zippered closure make this a REALLY special bag.
Click here to see our Playful Retriever Tote for $575

Spring Floral Porcelain Cachepot! What better way to show off the first blooms of spring? the lush flowers of summer? the harvest reds and oranges of autumn? Why, with this cachepot of course. We can really see a pair of these on a mantle, or on the hearth, as a focal point on a kitchen island, flanking a console in the entry, holding an orchid in a bathroom, or on a table behind a sofa. The squared shape and pierced base are classics!
Click here to see our Spring Floral Porcelain Cachepot for $50

Indigo Starfish Prints! Okay, I'm not going to lie, when I first saw these - I thought they looked like they were dancing. Grooving to the beat..in fact. But now, I get it. We are so used to seeing starfish as shells - just the exoskeleton. But what about in their natural habitat? What about in the ocean so blue? Well here they are ... and yes, they are probably dancing "unda 'da sea."
Click here to see our Indigo Starfish Prints for $225

We've been buying from this one particular porcelain manufacturer for YEARS. We love all of their unique, artisan-created pieces and always try to incorporate them into our rooms. This year we chose three mini-vases in a lovely turquoise glaze to accent our "Coastal Great Room." The interior is a luminescent, contrasting bright white. And, each comes in a fabric lined box - so authentic and so special.
Click here to see our La Mer Porcelain Vases, $20 each

So many beautiful accessories so far - we can't wait to share what's next! Next week I'll reveal our catalog exclusives and offer pre-sales just for you! ~ERB

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pinterest Piques my Interest

If you follow us on facebook, you may have heard about Pinterest already. We discovered that some Pinterest members had "pinned" some excerpts from our blog and images from our website to their boards...so we had a look-see.

Now, I can't get enough.

For example, search the word "coral" and...the be-u-ti-us jpegs will light up your screen... (too much?) Coral lipsticks, jewelry, pillows, undersea photography, paint color, upholstered pieces, even a super cool "coral cubby" all appear. (And as your page loads, the message cleverly says - "fetching pins.")

You can follow Pinboards, search by keyword (above) or by category (ie "Everything") - like photograph, design and gift guides, and you can search by "most discussed."

The "About" tab on the site describes Pinterest as a "...a social catalog service. Think of it as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can post collections of things you love, and "follow" collections created by people with great taste." It was created by "Paul, Yash, and Ben...proud members of Cold Brew Labs, a startup in sunny Palo Alto, CA. We get lots of help from our very talented friend Evan."

At our offices, we have a (good ol' fashion) storyboard, we pin (yes, actual pins) up pictures, fabric samples, sketches and product information for our upcoming photo shoots and catalog design. Now this site, me thinks, is a neat-o way to virtually post "what's inspiring us." I'm really liking that I can share this with our customers. Here's a handy link:

View Emily's PinsSee my pins on pinterest

You have to request to join and - lucky me - I was accepted into this super fun community a week or so ago. I was stunned to see so many people had so many different boards...now...I can see why!

I'd like to pin all day, instead - I must get back to work - our Spring 2011 catalog is due to the printer in two weeks!

Until next time my peeps. ~ERB