The Sacred area and a few cats

Since I’m still on a little bit of a travelling high since I got back here’s some more photos from my trip.

This time from Ancient Rome – smack dab in the middle of the current modern Rome – it is quite strange to be just be walking around and then right in front of you is some ancient ruin.



And that is how we stumbled upon The Sacred Area of Largo Argentina.  As you can see it is alot lower than the current street level and hence it is fenced off.



It was discovered in 1926-1930 during the construction of a new building.  It is an ancient roman square with four temples that faced a courtyard.


The four temples are very different and they are known as Temples A, B, C & D now.  Temple A is the best preserved one of the four as it was incorporated into a medieval church, S. Nicolo dei Cesarini in 1132.  There were at least two earlier temples detected beneath this temple.

Temple B was the last one built and it’s foundation is even with the built up pavement of the others.  It is circular – you can see in the middle of the above photo. Six of its original 18 columns are still there.  There was a circular plinth that supported a large cult statute (the head, arm and foot are now displayed in the Capitoline museum).  It is thought to have been dedicated to the Goddess Fortuna “Good fortune for Today”.


Temple C is both the oldest and youngest of the temples on this site.  Its foundation predates the lowest level of Temple A but the floor and surviving structures date after 80 AD.  There was a large goddess head that was discovered nearby and it is thought that it was originally in this temple.

Temple D is the largest, however most of it is still hidden under the current street.

BUT THE BEST THING OF ALL IS THAT NOW IT IS A CAT SANCTUARY!  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a little cat crazy and I am thrilled when I find places like this.


How many cats can you find in this picture?

Street cats were attracted to the area when it was opened up during excavations in the 1920s.  I guess they felt safe being seven metres below the street level.  Unfortunately, then people started abandoning their cats here.  To the point that there are no feral cats they are all house cats that have been left there by their owners.

The sanctuary was founded in 1993 by two cat lovers who found that many of the cats were dying from disease and malnutrition.  Now international volunteers organize the medical treatment, sterilisations and adoptions of approximately one thousand cats, who come to live in this square every year.

After threats of eviction from the City of Rome there is now a special Roman law that protects this and other cat colonies and stray pets are deemed to be the property of the state and it is illegal to mistreat or move them.  This sanctuary relies solely on donations from tourists and visitors to buy food and medicine.

Here’s some more photos of the inhabitants….

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Yet another treasure

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer about the little painting in my previous blog.

Well this little painting was found in the bunkie with a broken frame and glass and I thought it was so lovely that I had it looked at by an antique dealer.

Here’s an up close shot:


Well, it was deemed an original watercolour in very good condition. The colours are quite vivid with very little damage considering it was kept in an unheated bunkie for at least 10 years. It is dated 1871 and has an original signature of E. Batt or Bait.  The antique expert said it was done by an amateur painter, probably a woman and that it was likely painted on site but that the people in it were probably added in.


I just thought it was so charming that I had to get it professionally framed with archival glass and matting, and then I brought it home.

I’d love to know where exactly it was painted – the dealer thought maybe eastern Canada.  Does anyone recognize the landscape in the painting?

There are still a couple of other items there that I haven’t gotten too.  One, I pulled out a few weekends ago while my friend and fellow decorator and blogger, Sonya Kinkade was up at the cottage with me.  Well, she was practically ready to arm wrestle me for it, so stay tuned for another post about yet another treasure from the cottage…….


A couple of treasures found

My hubby and I purchased an old cottage about six years ago.  It was in very rough shape and needed to be gutted and rebuilt.  But that’s for a bunch more posts.  Anyways, the previous owner left many items that she didn’t want to move and so we became the recipients of many interesting items.

I insisted we keep some of them much to my hubby’s despair and a few of them have turned out to be precious little treasures.

The first piece was this desk that had belonged to the owner’s grandfather.

I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, I think I was more sentimental about it than she was.  Anyways, an antique dealer has told me that it was a library desk made in the early 1900’s of oak – in the mission style except for the scalloped edges at the front – a decorative touch the carpenter decided upon.

It has these cute little shelves on each side to place books on from the side.

It has it’s original finish with marks, scratches and drops of paint but I’ve been told not to refinish it as that will negatively affect it’s value.

So now it has a special little spot in front of the window at the cottage with it’s finish intact.

Then there was also an old 1920’s chair that I refinished and blogged about here.


If this wasn’t enough there was also a tiny Gibbard drop leaf side table which was in sad shape.  There were cigarette burns on the top and a piece of the leg was broken.  While I refinished it my Dad (the handy guy) fixed the leg and now it resides in my living room.  Gibbard was too good for the cottage!!!


Isn’t it a cute little table.

(P.S. Don’t look at the wing chair upholstery that is on the list to be redone.)

Now see if you can see what is in the frame in the above photo – it’s another little treasure from the cottage. Stay tuned for a post about it soon.


It’s finally finished

I have a finished powder room!

After living in this home for three years and hating the powder room, can you believe it was too big!  Just felt like a big cavernous hole especially with the puny pedestal sink.  Anyways, I made do for awhile by wallpapering a couple of walls (the wallpaper from Graham & Brown called Charming – that I blogged about last week) and changing the light fixture to a much prettier one.
Here’s the before pictures:

This last one shows the wallpaper from Graham & Brown.  Check out how Kelly’s used this wallpaper in her gorgeously finished master bedroom over at Design Ties.

But now, I think it is my favourite room in the house!!

So what did I do, well first I must give my hubby lots of credit as he did all the hard labour and had to sacrifice himself and go buy some new power tools – it was tough but he hung in there and finished it quickly! 😉   I was also trying to stay on a budget as we will have four children in university and college in the fall and we’re trying to be responsible parents.
A couple of months ago I found the perfect 1920’s mahogany dresser at an antique sale for the great price of $300.  I had been looking for one to convert into a vanity that was the correct size, shape and finish.   It looked like this when we got it.

Then I went looking for the sink and faucet.  Well I wanted an oval sink to mirror the bow in the dresser and I had wanted a bowl sink but the dresser was already 34″ high so I had to find something else otherwise as a vanity it would be too high.  After much looking I finally found a Kohler sink for that was oval, the right size and had about a 1 1/2″ lip to make it feel more like a bowl sink. Here it is:

Then the faucet, I originally wanted a more modern style faucet but I felt that since the sink, light fixture and wallpaper were quite modern that I should go with a more vintage feeling faucet to tie the vanity into the space.  Here’s the faucet I chose, a bit of a splurge but it’s beautiful – it’s a Showhouse (by Moen) and it’s called Waterhill in a chrome finish.


And the Waterhill matching toilet paper holder…so pretty!

Okay I have the two pieces that hubby needs to get started and here’s the work in progress. This is our supervisor Milo always at the ready to lend a paw.

Now him and hubby are discussing the plumbing and what needs to be done….
Any mice back there?
And here’s how it looks now!!
Here’s a close up of the vanity and the mirror that I found a Home Sense that was perfect. The photographs are mine from Paris (of course)….


Even Milo was pleased with the results and gave it his Paw of Approval!
I don’t know if you noticed but I didn’t stick with one metallic finish.  The light fixture, faucet, towel and toilet paper holder and glass shelf are all in a chrome finish.  The orchid bowl, mirror, vase (on floor), picture frame above the toilet and the medallions over the toilet are all in an antiqued silver finish.  Because the handles on the vanity are the original brass ones (which I didn’t want to change) and the wallpaper has an antique gold in it, I felt that bringing in some warm yellow tones would tie everything together.
And my budget, well it came in around $1200 which I think is pretty good.  That included the vanity, plumbing pieces, mirror, sink, faucet and accessories.  It doesn’t include my hubby’s new tools as apparently we needed those anyways!! 😉  Well, I’m so very, very, very pleased with the results and that I have one room in the house completed… what’s next????

Reupholstering my old chair

Since everyone is trying to renew, reuse and renovate – here’s my contribution! This chair was left in the cottage we purchased a few years ago and I resisted my husband’s suggestion to throw it out. I loved the lines of it and figured I could somehow renew it. I found out from an antiques expert that the chair is from the 1920’s, the upholstery was sitting on top of the chair and the filling was straw!

Here’s the before photo

Well – skip ahead to many years later and I finally got it finished. I spent a good deal of time searching for the “perfect” fabric and finally found it at Rockland Textiles. I then painted the frame black and had it professionally reupholstered. I love it and my husband can’t believe it is the same chair. So now it has a new life in my family room!