Hanging Pictures on a Staircase, Creating a Gallery Wall.

Hanging a Gallery Wall on a Staircase.

Hanging a visually interesting grouping of pictures, on the wall alongside a staircase, is not just about getting out your hammer, picture hanging hooks, the framed things you want to mount on the wall and randomly going at it.  Creating a gallery wall is all about lining up the edges of frames, either vertically and-or horizontally with each other, so you can make a presentation of, sometimes diverse images, that hopefully in the end look good next to each other.   This blog post shows how easy it is to create a gallery wall that looks thought out and has some structure to it. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles | 11 Comments

Arranging furniture in a 16 foot by 20 foot Living Room with Four points of Entry

Arranging furniture Eight different ways in a 16 foot wide by 20 foot long Living Room.

Recently one of my readers typed a note in the comments, asking for my help with her decorating dilemma. Summer R. has a 16 foot by 20 foot living room with four points of entry, and a fireplace built into one of the corners of the room and she is having a hard time arranging furniture in the space.

I asked Summer to measure each wall starting at the left corner, working to the right side of that wall. I instructed her to write down the distance from the corner of the room to the first window ( if that was what it was), the length of that window, the amount of inches of space after that window to any door in the room, its width, and the amount of inches from the door (it here was one on that wall) to the right corner of the room. I told her to do that for each wall, and make sure she labeled the walls for north, south, east and west; so I would know which walls were which when making a scaled drawing of her space.

I then asked her to take measurements of any furniture she had, for depth and length, that she would be working with in the space.  Summer supplied them and asked for suggestions for anything else that could be added, to make for an interesting and comfortable arrangement of furniture.   Now let’s look at the eight different ways of arranging her furniture that I came up with. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 26 Comments

Mix up Shapes of Legs and Feet on Furniture when Decorating a Room.

Looking at the different shapes of legs on furniture, and some ideas on how to create a room that is visually interesting.

In 1950 when my parents married, buying furniture that was all matched was an ideal. People at that time grew up during the depression and had lived through the Second World War and times were tough. If you could buy a full room of matched furniture at the time, it said that you now had some money, and things were looking up. But, that was then, and opinions on decorating have changed. What was once considered fashionable, is now looked at as unimaginative and boring, or like you went to a furniture store and just said “I’ll take all of that”, and you never gave the decorating of your room a second thought again. This blog post shows you the different shapes of legs used on furniture, and covers how easy it is to mix things up when decorating a room. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Bedroom Furniture, Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 10 Comments

Visiting The Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) Dorinda Medley’s home, Blue Stone Manor, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Dorinda Medley and me in her Living Room at Blue Stone Manor, on the day of the Lenox Garden Club Tour.

Garden tour patrons approaching the front door of the mansion.

On July 15, 2017 The Lenox Garden Club held its biennial garden tour, and one of the show-stopping properties visited was Blue Stone Manor. Blue Stone Manor is the country home of Dorinda Medley who is a reality TV star on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City. Dorinda and four other property owners were kind enough, to open their gorgeous homes and spectacular grounds, for the day, as a fundraiser for The Lenox Garden Club. People from far and wide traveled to Great Barrington, Massachusetts for the “sold out” tour. This blog post shows some of the well-appointed rooms and grounds at Blue Stone Manor, decorated by the super tasteful, effervescent and charming Dorinda Medley. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Summer Garden | 10 Comments

Floating (Arranging) furniture in a 20 foot long by 20 foot wide Living Room

Twelve different ways of arranging furniture in a 20 foot by 20 foot living room with a fireplace in the corner and french doors.

Twelve different ways of arranging furniture in a 20 foot by 20 foot square living room with a fireplace in the corner and french doors.

Recently a reader asked for my help with the placement of furniture in her 20 foot square living room after reading my blog post titled “Arranging furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room“. Initially I thought the space would be easy to lay out, but because of a corner fireplace, french doors, three entrances into the room, and windows on two walls, there was not much wall-space to put furniture against. So my readers dilemma became the inspiration for this article, which is a topic that I had not yet covered here at FGGH. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 28 Comments

Arranging Furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom

Sixteen possible ways of arranging bedroom furniture in a large bedroom.

Sixteen possible ways of arranging bedroom furniture in a large bedroom.

In recent years, in many parts of the country, grand houses have been erected, some with very large rooms. A while back, a viewer of this website posted a question about how to arrange furniture in a large master bedroom; her inquiry inspired this post. I’ve come up with 16 possible floor plans for arranging furniture in such a space. The ideas that I’ve come up with can also be applied to a space that is a bit bigger or smaller. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Bedroom Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 22 Comments

Arranging Decorative Accessories on a Sofa Table, Buffet, Sideboard, or Credenza

Arranging Decorative Accessories on a Sofa Table and other  pieces of furniture.

Arranging Decorative Accessories on a Sofa Table and other pieces of furniture.

The arranging of knickknacks (decorative accessories) on a sofa table, buffet, sideboard, chest, credenza or even on a fireplace mantel can be an easy task once you know a few different ways of grouping your elements.

For this post I made 12 different drawings (thirteen really if you count the cover illustration for this post) that I hope get you thinking about making arrangements with things that you already have, or inspire you to go out and find different things that you can put together and compose a tablescape with that’s eye-pleasing. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles | 11 Comments

Step-by-Step Instructions for Hanging a Gallery Wall

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Two views of one of the Gallery Walls in my cellar.

Two views of one of the Gallery Walls in my cellar.

The idea of assembling many different kinds of artworks on one wall, or even on all four walls in a room has been around forever. We all have seen photos of the great houses of Europe with walls soo covered with things, that hardly, if any wall color or covering is even seen between what was hung up.

Recently after going through my mother’s cellar and looking through things at my own place, I decided to hang my own gallery wall, or should I say gallery walls, in one of the rooms down in my basement.

Between all of the things stored at my mother’s place and mine, I found a large collection of samples of different kinds and styles of artworks that I had made over the years; some going all the way back to the 1970’s. Those pieces, now hung up, are a visual history showing different periods of my creativity. The instillation of the gallery walls went pretty quickly, after I figured out how to hang things; here are the steps I took Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles | 2 Comments

Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room

Some ideas for arranging furniture in a long and narrow living room with many entrance doors, archways and windows

Some ideas for arranging furniture in a long and narrow living room with many entrance doors, arch ways and windows

If you possibly are the inhabitant of a row house or town house that was built somewhere around 1890, you could now have a living room that measures about 12 feet wide by 24 feet long. Your living room, back in the day, most likely started out as two 12 foot by 12 foot rooms. One of the rooms was a formal parlor and the other one was a living room. Those two spaces were probably once divided by a non-load bearing wall with pocket doors, or there was an archway. In one or both of the rooms could have been, or still is a wooden or marble mantelpiece, which is a decorative non-working fireplace. I have found that many of my readers have rooms like that which also have many doors and windows cutting up the wall spaces, which makes it a challenge arranging furniture. For this post I’ve come up with 12 possible ways of arranging furniture in the space, and I hope one or more of them you can apply to your home. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 28 Comments

Matching the Right shaped End Table with a Table Lamp

Picking the right styled table lamp to go with your end table

Picking the right styled table lamp to go with your end table

This post is the second in a series of two articles which covers the pairing of an end table and a table lamp.

In the first post for this series, Looking at the Different Shapes of Lamps Bases (click here to read that post), I went over the four different styles all lamp bases fall into, no matter if they are country, traditional, transitional or contemporary styled. This post is all about looking at the end tables you will be placing lamps on, and studying visual weights. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting | 8 Comments

Looking at the different Shapes of Lamp Bases

The Four different Styles of Lamp Bases

The Four different Styles of Lamp Bases

This post is the first of two articles that will cover How to Pick the Right Shape Lamp for your end table.

When it comes to looking at different styles of lamps, the two things that make them distinctive are the shape of their bases and their height. This post is about lamp bases.

When it comes to lamp bases, there are basically four distinctive shapes and I’ve come up with words to describe them; they are candlestick, pillar, torch and urn. The shape that is classified as candlestick has the thinnest silhouette, with pillar and torch becoming progressively wider, and urn having the thickest / widest base silhouette of them all. In lamp base design, different shapes are not designated to certain categories; some of the shapes overlap each other as they go from one category to another. A shape that is classified as candlestick might inspire something in pillar, and pillar might translate into torch, and torch might blend into urn. As said before, when looking at the four categories, each of the lamp bases are getting thicker and heavier looking. Now let’s look at the four different shapes of lamp bases. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting | 13 Comments

Picking the RIGHT paint colors to go with the wood in your home…Color Theory

Picking the Right color paints, fabrics, and carpeting to go with your wood furniture and woodwork

Picking the Right Color paints, fabrics, and carpeting to go with your wood furniture and woodwork

Too often people don’t give a bit of thought about the color of their wood furniture, or woodwork in their home when interior decorating. They pick out paint, fabrics, wallpaper and carpeting, put them in the room they are decorating, and for some reason something is off, but they can’t put their finger on it. The truth is wood is a color too; not the neutral element people think it is.

When picking paint colors, fabrics, carpeting colors, etc, a person has to first figure out if their wood furniture is either yellow based (warm) or blue based (cool), and adjust their color choices from there. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles | 70 Comments

It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a Tall / High Ceiling

Decorating a Room with Vertical Tension in mind

Decorating a Room with Vertical Tension in mind

When most people go to decorate a room with a tall ceiling, they seem to arrange their furniture and decorative accessories around the bottom half of the space. A lot of their choices for decorations seem to be horizontal format (wider than tall). By choosing horizontal format furniture, art works and accessories, those items are not / can not in any way accentuate the most important feature in the space its height. When you pay extra money for taller ceilings, or are lucky enough to have a room(s) with high ones, you don’t want your furniture and decorative choices going against, in a negative way, the asset of height that you have. You want to accentuate height, not diminish it. In this post, my objective is to get you thinking about ways of adding vertical tension to your rooms. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 37 Comments

Interior Decorating with TABLE LAMPS

Table Lamps, the most used source of lighting in interior decorating

Table Lamps, the most used source of lighting in interior decorating

In the world of surface placed lamps (end table, chest, dresser, etc) there are three categories; they are Accent, Table and Buffet. This is the second in a series of three articles covering the different kinds of lamps. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting | 14 Comments

Fireplace Safety, Using a Fireplace for the first time, and Tips for Stacking wood to make, what I think is, a Picture Perfect Fire

How to use a fireplace for the first time, and Fireplace tools I recommend having

A fireplace is not a toy, and operating one should be taken very seriously. When you start a fire in your fireplace you are working with something that can look quite beautiful, but, at the same time you are facing wood that is burning at a high temperature and that is giving off carbon monoxide gasses, which if not properly vented could be deadly.

If you are new to owning/having a fireplace, it is of the utmost importance that you know how to properly open your fireplace’s damper, and how to start the draft going, before you ever start a fire. Continue reading

Posted in How-to, Interior Decorating Principles | 21 Comments

The answer to …”Can you put a Floor Lamp next to a Sofa”?

12 possible places to use a Floor Lamp when decorating your house

The Floor Lamp is a very versatile light fixture that you can use in many different rooms in your house. The light fixture comes in an assortment of styles and finishes, and stands 58 to about 64 inches high, with a base that takes up only about eleven inches of floor space. The floor lamp is a decorating element that you can easily places in spaces where large end tables or chests would take up too much room, if they were used as stands for table lamps. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting | 18 Comments

Arranging Furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room

Nine different way of arranging furniture around a FOCAL POINT in the corner of a room

Every so often a person comes across a house with characteristics that are not common-everyday. One of those different kinds of features is a fireplace in the corner of a room. Having to arrange furniture around it might be a daunting experience for the amateur decorator. I hope that through this post your uncertainties are erased. I know that once you look at the illustrations you will be inspired, and it will be a snap to arrange your furniture and create a space that is a warm and inviting place to be in. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 58 Comments

Arranging Living Room furniture, so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do

Grouping Living Room furniture to promote Good Conversation

When it comes to arranging furniture in a living room, most people really don’t think much about balance and that sofas should talk to chairs. Furniture is placed in the room with no thought about making it easy for seated people to have conversation. The two topics covered in this post are balance and grouping furniture. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 31 Comments

Interior Decorating..Looking at the different Sizes of Patterns used on Wallpaper and Fabric

A Trade Secret..Measuring Small and Medium sized patterns on Wallpaper

This post is the second in a series of three articles covering the topic Using Pattern in Interior Decorating.

In my first post in this series titled Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating on Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting, I covered the six basic pattern / design motifs and variations on the six patterns. This article is all about looking at the different sizes of patterns used on wallpaper and fabric. I have come up with an easy way for you to measure them, so you know what size patterns on wallpaper and fabric you are looking at. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles | Leave a comment

Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating on Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper, and Carpeting

Color ties DIFFERENT patterns together, a secret of the pros

This post is the first in a series of three articles covering the topic Using Pattern in Interior Decorating.

Mixing fabric and wallpaper patterns has always been something that is considered a difficult thing to do by most people. Being visually bombarded by, what seems to be endless options of pattern choices, has struck fear into the hearts of many would-be home decorators. This post I hope will demystify the myth, and help you see how easy it really is.

In the world of fabric and wallpaper patterns there are really only six basic design motifs, and variations on the six patterns. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles | 7 Comments

Picking a Color for Your Front Door

How to Pick a Paint Color for Your Front Door

So, you live in a white house, with black shutters, and a gray roof. In the back of your mind your thinking that the outside of your house needs something. A bit of color to brighten it up, give it some pizzazz, personality, and curb appeal. You think maybe by introducing some color on the front door, that will do the trick. But, What Color, You think?? In this post, I have a solution that I hope will help you with your color selecting dilemma. Continue reading

Posted in How-to, Interior Decorating Principles, Picking Paint Colors Interior / Exterior / Front Door / Roof | 13 Comments

Picking the Right Paint or Siding Color(s) for your House

Newport Art Museum, Griswold House, Newport, Rhode Island

When it comes to picking the color(s) to paint or side a house, most people don’t take into consideration the roof. The roof probably has the second largest amount of surface space (color and texture) next to the front, back and side walls of your home. Continue reading

Posted in Picking Paint Colors Interior / Exterior / Front Door / Roof | 40 Comments

Hanging Pictures over a Sofa

Hanging Pictures over a Sofa

An Assortment of Groupings, that would look Great hung over a Sofa

The number one thing most people do wrong, when hanging pictures over a sofa, is they hang them up too high. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 7 Comments

It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall

Hanging Artworks up on the Wall

In the previous two posts, I covered lining up edges, making groupings, and the natural directed action artworks have. This post is all about getting your pictures, photos, mirrors and paintings hung up on the wall.

Positioning your picture hook ..Let’s say you want the top edge of your picture or mirror’s frame to hang 18 inches below the ceiling line, or any crown molding in a room, if you have some.

Step 1 ..Mark the wall 18 inches down from the ceiling / molding with a light horizontal pencil line. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles | 6 Comments

Making an Interesting Arrangement of Pictures

Right, Center, and Left Directed Action

Center focus is an Ideal

All pictures, photos, paintings, mirrors, etc have a Natural Directed Action/Movement. By Natural Directed Action I mean, the way the painting, photo, etc moves your eye along from one place to another. There are only three naturally directed actions. They are Left Directed Action, Center Directed Action, and Right Directed Action.

Look at all the pictures that make up Illustration 1. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles | 2 Comments

Picking and Hanging the RIGHT size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace

The right size Picture or Mirror for over your Fireplace

When it comes to picking the RIGHT sized painting, picture, relief sculpture, mirror, etc. for over your fireplace there are four possible width options for you to choose. Those options relate to the Natural Lines in an Environment. Natural lines in an environment direct your eye from one place to another, hopefully in one smooth movement. Natural lines run both horizontally and vertically in an environment. In the case of the fireplace, they are vertical lines. Lines that direct your eye upward. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 11 Comments

Arranging Your Decorative Accessories (Knickknacks and Collectables)

Arranging Your Decorative Accessories.

Well, if you are reading this post, then you want to know the best ways to arrange your decorative accessories (knickknacks and collectables) to show them off in their most favorable light.

Many people have collections. They could have collections of ceramic dogs, plastic frogs, Chinese blue and white porcelain, the list could go on and on.

When putting together a tablescape there are two ways to assemble your display. Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles | 4 Comments

The Right height of a Table Lamp for your End Table.

Table Lamps, End Tables, and Floor Lamps

There is a similarity between the height of a floor lamp, and an end table with a lamp on it. Floor lamps, measured from bottom of base, to top of finial, if they have one, are usually 58 to 64 inches high. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Lighting, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 71 Comments

The Right Way to hang Curtains and Drapes.

Hanging Curtains and Drapes…Stack Back

When a person goes to hang a pair of curtains or drapes, they will most likely attach a bracket to the outside edge of the molding that frames the window, attach the rod, hang the curtains or drapes, and call it a day. There has always been one problem with hanging window treatments that way… Continue reading

Posted in Hanging Curtains and Drapes, Interior Decorating Principles, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 160 Comments

Pick (Use) four colors when decorating a room.

Picking four colors from an inspiration piece.

“Four colors and the flow.”
When decorating a room, using four colors is an ideal. There should be one Predominant color: color that you see first, and is used most in the room. One Subordinate color: second most used color in a room. AND one, but no more than two Accent colors. Accent colors are used sparingly as they work around a space. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Picking Paint Colors Interior / Exterior / Front Door / Roof, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 16 Comments

Interior Decorating is all about Equal Balance

Equal Balance is an Ideal.

Interior decorating is a lot like a two-sided scale. When you have a two-sided scale, your objective is to have equal balance on both sides. Look at the first drawing in the illustration for this post.

On one side of the scale you have a ONE POUND block of chocolate. On the other side, to counterbalance it, you must come up with another one pound measurement. You could counterbalance the one pound block of chocolate with another one pound block of chocolate. You could also counterbalance the one pound block with a One Half Pound block of chocolate and one half pound of chocolate chips. Another counterbalancing option could be one pound of chocolate chips. It does not matter how you do it, as long as you have equal balance on both sides. If you can understand this concept, a lot of what interior decorating is all about will come easy to you.

Now let’s take the concept of equal balance using chocolate, and relate it to interior decorating. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 26 Comments

Full Overlay, or Partial Overlay on Kitchen Cabinets, the choice is Yours.

Full Overlay Doors and Drawers on Kitchen Cabinets.

If you are building a new house, or remodeling a kitchen, bath, possibly a study-home office or even a dressing room, choosing cabinets for those spaces will be something that you will be doing.  For most people, the two cabinet door types that they will be looking at will be either Full Overlay or Partial Overlay.  This post looks at the difference between the two style options. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Kitchen | 4 Comments

Knobs, Pulls or Both on Kitchen Cabinets

Using all Knobs on Kitchen Cabinets.

If you’re getting ready to build a new home, or remodel a kitchen, one of the many things that you will have to think about is the hardware that you will be having on your kitchen cabinets. Pulls and knobs are the jewelry of the kitchen and selecting the right ones can really make a difference. This blog post covers different things to think about when making your selection. Continue reading

Posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Kitchen | 8 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com

The topiary bear, that I’ve grown from a Conical Yew, seen on my front lawn, here at Whimsey Hill House.

A topiary chicken, flanked by a pair of upright yews with lollipop tops, lit for the Christmas period, here at Whimsey Hill House.

Wishing You and Yours health, wealth and happiness during the Christmas period and in the New Year.

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, well, I’ve been busy with my garden and have had workmen here sprucing up the house a bit, and one new project leads to another. Like, when I had a new sidewalk poured, the project for me that followed, was to then regrade and landscape the area that was torn up during the sidewalk construction. Or after they installed a few new windows and cut through the old sheet-rock, leaving dust, dirt and debris, that even after being swept and vacuumed up, still gave me the chore of washing my hardwood floors, throughout the whole house, on my hands and knees with Murphy’s Oil Soap. You get the picture. It’s not just about paying for something and you’re done. It’s about cleaning up the mess the workmen leave, no matter how good of a job they do.

If you want to take a look at what I might be doing, here and there, when I’m not doing chores, look at the new Instagram that I’ve started https://www.instagram.com/fredgonsowski/?hl=en . I wanted to start it because I could show you a part of my life that I can’t show in a blog post. It’s kind of quick to do, and with it I can show you images of things that I like, seem to attract me, or even photos of myself.

The two photos that make up the cover pictures for this blog article, are of the topiary bear and chicken that are here at Whimsey Hill House on my front lawn, that I’ve lit for Christmas.

I do hope, that when things settle down for me, I will again have time to write posts that hopefully will inspire. Until then, Wishing you the Best in 2019!

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter | 7 Comments

A look at the Coaching Weekend in the Berkshires

The Coaches coming through the main gate at Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount during the Berkshire Coaching Weekend.

One of the visual high-points of the Columbus Day Weekend in Lenox and Stockbridge, which are located in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, other than the gorgeous Fall foliage, is the sighting of road coaches traveling through those towns and on country roads that connect them.

The Berkshires, also known as the Inland Newport, as in Newport, Rhode Island, was a place during the Gilded Age (1870 to about 1900) where fabulously successful men from places like New York City, Boston and other locations, and their families built opulent country homes, that they called “cottages”. People with surnames like Vanderbilt, Astor, Fields, Morgan, Carnegie and Westinghouse, among others, erected great estates where they emulated the lives of European aristocrats for just a few weeks each year. One of the hobbies of those “Summer Colonists” was driving coaches and carriages.

This year, for the ninth time, members of the New York Coaching Club and Four-in-Hand Club of America came together for three days of “drives” reenacting the glorious days of the Gilded Age that have long gone by.

All three days of the coaching weekend started out at the hosts of the event, Harvey and Mary Stokes Waller’s Orleton Farm in Stockbridge and the drives proceeded out from there.

The first day of driving brought the coaches to Elm Court, built by William Douglas Sloane and his wife Emily Thorn Vanderbilt in 1885. Their Berkshire cottage was designed by Peabody and Stearns and has 106 rooms. Elm Court is the largest Shingle Style house in the United States, and is done in the Tudor Revival Style.

The second day of coaching brought “Whips” drivers of the coaches and their guests through the picturesque village of Stockbridge, home of the famous artist/illustrator of Saturday Evening Post covers Norman Rockwell, and they proceeded to a private estate where they had lunch.

On the third day of the coaching event they drove to the home of Edith Wharton. Edith Wharton (1-24-1862 through 8-11-1937) was an American novelist, short story writer, playwright and designer. She is best known for her books The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome and her book which revolutionized interior decorating opinions from Victorian standards of design to what we think of as correct today, The Decorating of Houses, which she co-authored with Ogden Codman. The photos for this blog post were taken at The Mount. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Autumn(Fall) Garden | 8 Comments

Visiting Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s Garden in Falls Village, Connecticut

The front facade of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s Falls Village, Connecticut retreat, which was the subject of Bunny’s iconic coffee table book “An AFFAIR with a HOUSE“, where she covers the decorating of the house and other buildings and the laying out of the gardens.

Bunny signing my copy of her book, “Bunny Williams’ Point of View, Three Decades of Decorating Elegant and Comfortable Houses”, that I had brought from home.

One of the high-points of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program is a visit to Bunny Williams and her husband John Rosselli’s estate called “The Manor” in Falls Village, Connecticut. Bunny and John are both famous for being “Taste Makers”.  Bunny is a nationally known interior decorator whose work has been seen in every interior decorating magazine imaginable, an author of books about interior decorating and gardening,  and she also designs furniture and all kinds of decorative home accessories.  John is the owner of John Rosselli and Associates with showrooms in New York City, Washington, DC, Dania Beach, FL and Chicago, IL.  He specializes in fabric, wall covering, leather, furniture, lighting, antiques & accessories and rugs.

On a recent Saturday in July, the couple cordially invited garden lovers from far and wide to see what’s new and wonderful at their north-west Connecticut weekend retreat which has been featured, over the years, in many books about living with style.  So come along as I give you a little tour of their wonderful place. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Summer Garden | 9 Comments

Outlining (Edging) a Vegetable or Flower Garden with Brick

One of my many projects that I’ve so far tackled this Spring was the redesign and outlining of my vegetable garden in brick. For years, I just had the planting spaces surrounded by black plastic edging, but finally it had come a time for a visual upgrade and this post shows how I did it. Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, Garden Design Principles, The Autumn(Fall) Garden, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden | 18 Comments

A look at the 2018 end of June garden, here at Whimsey Hill House

Over the years I’ve given my readers a photographic tour of my garden, showing them what it looked like at its peak, which occurs somewhere in the middle-end of July when most of the Summer blooming perennials and annuals are at their best. For this post I’m showing you what it looks like right now, in June, after I’ve so far, by myself, hand dug into the dirt (I’m not calling it soil because it’s just too worn out) twenty four 3.8 cubic feet bales of sphagnum peat moss to amend it.

I did not amend every square inch of the garden, just the spaces where I plant annuals, because for the last two years things started to not grow that well.  It was time to do this labor intensive project, because while working the peat moss into the ground I rarely saw a worm and the sphagnum moss that I initially worked into the ground years ago had disappeared leaving just the gravely-sandy dirt that I started with.

Twenty four bales was just enough to do the front garden, my newly designed vegetable garden (which will be shown in the next post)  and a new space where I’ve decided to plant the dahlias that I keep from year to year.  So let’s start the tour… Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Summer Garden | 24 Comments

Line porous terracotta pots with tall kitchen trash bags before planting to prevent plants from drying out too quickly


Each Spring, besides planting many annuals in the garden that I grow from seed or buy at local garden centers, I also put out quite an assortment of plants in containers that I display on my deck and patio, by the pool, along the side of my house, by my front door and even by my mailbox. Over the years I’ve amassed a collection of planting vessels that run the gambit from terracotta, to metal, to ceramic and plastic. Most of my planting containers I can just fill with soil from the garden and plant away, but I have a couple of, not inexpensive pots that are made of porous terracotta that seems to pull the moisture from the potting soil, which makes the plants dry out quickly. To remedy that moisture-wicking situation I line the pots with plastic cut from tall kitchen trash bags before adding my plants, which easily remedies the problem. This post is a quick pictorial showing how easy it is to do. Continue reading

Posted in The Spring Garden | 4 Comments

Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com has passed the THREE MILLION point for Page Views/Articles Read

Fred Gonsowski in the “Studio” at Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s Falls Village. Connecticut estate.

A photo of the Insight screen on my WordPress dashboard showing the 3,014,775 Page Views/Articles Read by the 1,798,798 visitors viewing this blog.

Dash board close-up.

Recently my blog Fred Gonsowski Garden Home passed the Three Million point for page views/articles read, and in a way I think that was a great accomplishment.  As with all things, it wasn’t just about my writing and illustrations, but about the many people who, hundreds of thousands of times,  posted my articles on their Pinterest sites, the San Francisco Chronicle, BuzzFeed, eHow and Red Book Magazine.com who used my articles as references or resources for their pieces, which gave me some extra attention, the people who linked my website with the articles that they were writing and the many people who just told their friends to look at what I was doing. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 32 Comments

Arranging furniture in an 11 foot 6 inch by 11 foot 6 inch section of a 13 foot 8 inches wide by 18 foot long Living Room

Recently one of the readers of this blog named Joy asked for my help with the arranging of furniture in her living room, which is open to her kitchen and dining area.  Joy has downsized from a larger house to a smaller space and arranging furniture in her new, somewhat open concept, home has become a bit of a challenge.   Joy’s dilemma became the starting point for this blog post.  I’ve come up with eight possible layouts that she might want to try; hopefully one or more will be to Joy’s liking. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 10 Comments