Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Finds in Washington: The Arctic Club Hotel

The Arctic Club's amazing exterior with carved walrus's.

I just returned from a short vacation spending a few days in Seattle in route to Spokane to visit family. I had never been to Washington before and discovered some great places that I wanted to share. From great antiques to historic hotels, there is a lot to see in that state!

The front desk

The hotel is filled with framed photos of the members of the old Arctic Club.

Awhile back I had blogged about the Arctic Club Hotel in downtown Seattle. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and thought it would be a great idea to stay there before heading to Spokane. I was not disappointed. This hotel has so much old world charm!

Two amazing old glass domes with vintage shirt collars flank the front desk. The domes are lit and really stand out with the hotel's dim ambiance.

Wonderful display of antique top hats & derby hats behind the front desk

I just love these valet chairs that Candra Scott uses in some of her hotels. So stylish and masculine. I'd love to have them as dining chairs.

The newly renovated hotel was an exclusive gentlemen's club formed in 1908 and filled with members who had made their wealth in Alaska with Klondike gold. The building ranks #1 spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Walrus door numbers outside the guest rooms

I just love this vintage-inspired glass "bath" door in the guest room. And, all the rooms have Kiehl's products, which is a treat. Don't worry about having to bring your own shampoo or conditioner!

The lobby has Deco-style sofas and chairs. They have these wonderful old "airlplane covers." A great touch. Of course I asked if the hotel sold them, but unfortunately they don't.

Designer, Candra Scott did an amazing job with this hotel. There are extra-special touches such as room keys with the photos of the club members and antique-style newspapers in each guest room with old advertising. Love it!

Even the room keys have vintage photos of the club members

Decorative "Do Not Disturb" signs

If you want to use the hotel's computers, the lobby has these cool desks. Old books and newspapers around. Love the lamps.

If you're traveling to Seattle you should definitely check out this hotel. It's a small hotel full of charm. It feels as though you've gone back in time.

Little Vito loved it!

Play on Words

Di over at Designer's Block posted about this clever website, Wordle. You can input a selection of words or the URL of your blog and it will come up with random "word clouds" from your text. You can also change the colors and fonts. See what I did here with my blog address. Fun! Try it out here...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

John Lattimer: A True Collector of Oddities

The late Dr. John Lattimer

I just stumbled upon this interesting story from the New York Times. Evan Lattimer, daughter of the late prominent Columbia University urologist, John Lattimer, is having to sift through her father's estate of over 3,000 eclectic items. Lattimer was a renowned collector of relics, many of which are quite quirky to say the least. Some of the items include a bloodstained collar that Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was shot and the severed penis that may or may not have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte. Crazy, huh?

Items owned by Abraham Lincoln, like these glasses, were particularly sought by Dr. Lattimer.

W. C. Fields loved a good top hat. He wore this one during the filming of "Poppy" (1936).

Evan recalled childhood memories inspired by artifacts of her fathers like Lee Harvey Oswald’s letters. When the siblings were adolescents in the 1960s, she said, “he’d put us at the correct distance and angle” to fire a rifle at a cadaver from the barn roof, to demonstrate the lone gunman theory, she said. “He’d say, ‘Well, there’s your target, see how you do,’ and we could do it when we were kids!”

Lee Harvey Oswald's Marine Corps score book documented his accuracy.

You can read more about the story here.

Photos and captions from the

Merci Denise!

Photo from Martha Stewart Weddings

I just wanted to give a big thank you back to Denise Sharp for her post about Paris Hotel Boutique's shop and blog. I really appreciate it!

More on Denise...she designed these beautiful ring boxes that were featured in Martha Stewart Weddings.


Photo from Martha Stewart Weddings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Conversation with d. Sharp

Today we have the pleasure of talking with Portland-based artist, Denise Sharp. The multi-talented Denise is the creator of exquisite paper tiaras, candy containers, letterpress cards and cake toppers that have been featured in over 200 boutiques and galleries across the country, as well as national publications such as InStyle, Country Home and Martha Stewart Weddings. In addition to Denise’s fabulous line, she has an enchanting blog, journal.

Please read on as Denise shares her experiences of starting as a collector/antiques dealer and eventually launching her successful business.

Denise, when did you start buying antiques/vintage?

I went to college in the Bay Area and really loved the flea markets there. My husband {then boyfriend} and I would buy stuff, but looking back on it now- it was all pretty bad. We had a big garage sale before moving back to Portland and were so thrilled that all of this stuff kept selling that throughout the day we kept running back upstairs to grab more things. We had rented a big moving truck but ended up with very little to actually put in it.

Photo: NessPace Photography

It wasn’t until my husband and I were back in Portland fixing up our first house and looking to furnish it that we started hitting the estate sales pretty hard. I became good friends with a woman with great taste and knew the ropes, so we would just hit it every weekend.

Our 1906 house was such a fixer, no bank would mortgage it, and for four years my husband and I did nearly all of the work on it ourselves. Sometime in the last two years of working on the house I had somehow crossed the threshold from collector to antique dealer - suddenly I had “inventory”. Here in Portland there are some pretty nice antique malls, so I started with a small spot and eventually had three larger spaces going before I had my first son.

Any stories?

At that time, it was mostly estate sales and {to be in the first 20 or so in a sale} you had to wait in line the night before to get the newspaper early, then race around town to, 1. sign up on a list to get in the next morning, 2. see that there was no list and decide to go back and wait the next morning. It was a lot of craziness, like watching another dealer take a ladder off his truck and take a peak into the second story window. With a flashlight. At eleven at night.

Denise's first globe of her collection

I know how that goes. It's so much work. What were some of your favorite finds?

Sometimes my other dealer friends would just laugh. Here they had purchased a beautiful Aesthetic Movement sideboard and, although I had also bought some nicer things in addition to my funkier finds, I am waxing poetic about the little vintage horseshoe magnet that I found for a quarter.

Number one, I am cheap. So once something becomes too expensive to collect, I move on. I am also an ‘adopter’. If an object seems like it might be overlooked because it is too humble, a little too strange or not perfect, it seems to call out to me.

On my blog d. sharp journal, I have a feature called Behold where I share photos of some of my favorite finds.

How did you get started with creating your beautiful paper creations?

With all of the estate sales and auctions I found myself with a small studio of papers and ephemera that I felt compelled buy and stash to one day make things with. As I found time and occasion, I would create some paper work for birthday gifts or Christmas ornaments - most of my product line started out as gifts that I made for friends and family.

My business kind of started on a lark - after I made elaborate paper top hats and tiaras for all of the guests at a party of ours, encouragement and orders from friends and acquaintances soon followed. I approached my first store later that year.

Photo: NessPace Photography

Photo: NessPace Photography

Photo: NessPace Photography

After having my first child, I was also interested in finding something that would allow me to work at home. At our second house, we built a small garage with a studio up top for me and a workshop below for my husband. I juggle my work week to be home as much as possible with our two sons.

Denise's studio

Denise's studio

Denise's letterpress creations

What influence does vintage have in your creating?

My collections are inspiration. We started collecting trophies for centerpieces for our wedding, and one day it just occurred to me to try to make a paper one. I also collect vintage metal landmark souvenirs, which sparked the idea for the Eiffel Tower box and my other architectural pieces. I gave my mother and stepmother one of the first few that I made for birthday gifts.

Other items are collected as source material, I love old books and ephemera, or for reference, like vintage fabrics, antique candy containers, or even old spools of silk thread - I love the richness of the colors.

Photo: NessPace Photography

Any advice/tips for collectors?

Have fun. Collect what you love to look at or that invokes good memories, not necessarily what has provenance. Don’t overlook the humblest of objects for visual potential.

Thanks Denise for the inspiring and informative chat!

You can purchase d. Sharp's paper creations at Studio Sharp, letterpress creations at Etsy and visit her blog, d. Sharp Journal.

Photos courtesy of Denise Sharp and NessPace Photography

Friday, August 15, 2008

Vies de Chiens: Lives of Dogs

I'm frequently asked about antique dog-related items for sale, and yes, we have them at Paris Hotel Boutique!

I just love vintage dog items from portraits & engravings, to books & collars. When I came across this out-of-print French book, Vies de Chiens, I was astounded by the beautiful photos of old precious kennels, collars, leashes, clothes, dogs in royal courts and lists of dog owners from the 16th-19th centuries.

The book is entirely in French, but the photos are great, and if you read French, all the better! I own a white toy poodle, so I love the cover too.

The book was published in Paris by editor, Alain De Gourcuffin with 150 pages featuring an exhibition of canine accouterments and art that was held in Paris between the 15th of December 2000 and the 31st of March 2001.

I would love to amass a large collection of vintage dog memorabilia. Imagine a wall of old dog portraits!

Antique French Dog Collar from

Antique French Dog Collar from

Currently at Paris Hotel Boutique we have antique French dog collars for sale here and here. We have a copy of this book available as well here.

Hope you enjoyed the photos!

Photos from Vies de Chiens book &