We're on the train to New York, two hours in total. That's just enough time to backtrack a bit and recap the party reader Debra Phillips hosted for us at her store Scentimental Gardens earlier this month. After a quick change from flip flops to bowties, we headed from Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles, Illinois to nearby Geneva, where in a 1905 Queen Anne home on State Street, Debra set up shop.
Connecting with readers online is amazing, but it's even better when we're able to meet in person. Debra, like most others we get to see these days, came on a flea market shopping trip, but what a surprise when she emailed us offering to host a party for us at her store! Cocktails with the Vamp down in New Orleans was such a blast (and Valorie herself so sweet) that we immediately accepted Debra's invite, packed our best pastels, and headed straight for the party after the flea market.
Scentimental Gardens really is such an adorable shop, full of beautiful and unusual things for the home and garden. And what's better is that everybody who works with Debra is so warm and welcoming that whether you're spending 2 or 2000 dollars, you're treated the same way. In that regard, it's a little like buying a 10-dollar hand towel at Bergdorf's. No matter how deep your pockets, you can still walk into Debra's store, buy a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift, and leave with that special, satisfying feeling of money well-spent. Here's a peak at the store's cool mix of home furnishings and garden ornaments. I love bringing garden elements indoors, and it's something Debra does extraordinarily well.
Some of the concrete pieces, like this faux bois planter, are fantastic, but it's the mushrooms that I'm obsessed with! I think they add such a fun but sophisticated quirkiness to any garden.
This chic faux bois chair I imagine near a reflecting pond or inside a foyer flanking a painted demilune. And the frogs remind me so much of our friend Margret Roach's blog frogboys. We were colleagues back at MSLO and were even on Martha's Blogging Show together in September.
I love all these mossy terracotta pots Debra has. They're great for planting, but I might even use them for summer entertaining. Just line them with kale or cabbage and do a pretty crudité, perhaps like this.
Gilt letters like these are super fun and graphic. They're great on bookcases, in mudrooms, and in kids' rooms as monograms above a bed.
Check out what Debra spelled on the hors d'oeuvre buffet!
Now my only regret is that I didn't snap a picture of the fabulous spread of food, including jumbo shrimp, a wonderful fillet, asparagus wrapped in phyllo, and chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries. I think I was so chatty at the party, meeting all of Debra's friends, customers, and clients that I got a bit distracted trying to balance camera and plate. I assure you, however, that everything was beautiful and delicious! Check out this cool outdoor fountain Debra used as an icing tub for beer and Pellegrino. Love it!
After grabbing a drink from the fountain, I was on my way upstairs when I ran into Sharon, one of our other readers who had joined us at Kane County, then made the special trip to the party. She works for Paper Source in Chicago, so it's no surprise that the gift she gave me was packaged exquisitely.
It's actually a flea marketing journal Sharon wrapped herself with beautiful vintage monogrammed ribbon! How sweet is that? Thank you, Sharon!
The shop really is a beautiful, old house. Here, guests gather, sipping Pimms, in what was once the foyer!
Upstairs, there's a great mix of modern and antique furnishings with a fresh, curatorial feel. How cool is this bentwood table topped with vintage globes? And the gray of the painted floors, too, reminds me of the palette in our old city apartment.
These crest back chairs I think are fantastic, and these old street signs make for such cool, modern art.
Speaking of chairs, how cute and thoughtful are these?
Even the way the pictures are hung on the wall with the objects is a great idea for displaying art. That Roman etching, too, both Jaithan and I were coveting. And do you see that pretty arrangement of flowers on the table?
You'd think they're fresh cut from the garden outside, but really they're silk! And doesn't this look like the most beautiful, fresh floral room in an upscale shop? Everything here is silk, but they're all done so tastefully, from the vessels to the choice of flowers, that you'd never know!
I love flowers, especially peonies, so this painting definitely caught my eye as well. I think I'm drawn to the moody, muted colors in the work. It feels antique, like the flower variety itself.
And finally, for the last image of the evening, how cute are these? They may look like matchbooks, but they're actually miniature notepads, perfect for jotting down thoughts, measurements, and whatever other musings come to mind.
How scentimental indeed!