Cape Cod Modern

November 24, 2014

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I have had a mid-century house – an Eichler built in 1958 nestled at the foot of rolling golden hills in California – and I currently live in a Colonial Revival – built in 1907 in the Georgian style in a town with more history than I can fathom – and after my adventure today of hiking the dunes on Cape Cod and discovering Mid-century gems cast away and being left to ruin, my heart aches for a clean simple box, unadorned and angular sitting amongst the scrub pines with a view out to sea. Waxing poetic, huh?

Well, I can’t help it… I LOVE ARCHITECTURE.  I love design, I can’t turn it off and I certainly can’t own a house in every style I love.  So I blog about it.  Here’s what I did today… My partner in crime and life and I drove a short distance from our little cottage on the beach and followed a winding little road out to the open seashore of Cape Cod.  There in all it’s glory the sandy cliffs play host to a very important modern structure named the Hatch House.

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The experimental Hatch Cottage was designed by Jack Hall in 1960 for Robert Hatch, an editor of The Nation and his wife Ruth, a painter. The family occupied the cottage until 2008 when ownership reverted to the National Park Service. CCMHT received a lease in 2012 and finished restoration in spring 2013. Since then the cottage has hosted four artist/scholar residencies. All the original furniture and artwork has been re-installed by the Hatch family.
It’s hard to describe the setting of the Hatch Cottage, with it’s panoramic view of the bay, perched on the edge of a kettle hole, with a vernal pool below, and it’s untrammeled west facing hillside which takes in the sunset over the water. Because it’s in the National Seashore, surrounding development has been frozen since its construction. The cottage itself is a matrix of cubes. Some are single and some combine to make bigger shared spaces. The cubes are connected by outdoor decks which seem to dematerialise due to the decking being laid on edge; making the whole seem to hover a few feet above the ground. The rooms open and close with shutters of different sizes to regulate temperature, air and sun. There are two rooms with queen sized beds, a bunk room, one bath, a lovely path to a generally un-occupied bay beach and access to many trails through the woods.
*This excerpt taken from the Cape Cod Modern Historic Trust website, see more at ccmht.org

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After seeing such a beautiful modern structure built in a truly majestic setting I thought the rest of our day would be spent discussing the merits of this incredible structure and how we might someday replicate it – or something close to it – for our very own… But I continued to be surprised after we parked on an unmarked fire road somewhere between Truro and Wellfleet and hiked into a pristine pine and oak forest.   The most beautiful fall-infused path opened up to miles of open seashore and the forest revealed its hidden treasures… many abandoned mid-century homes, slowly being reclaimed by the land they were built on.  IMG_6287

Now owned by the federal government, these beautiful examples of mid-century architecture are decaying.  Still beautiful, only hauntingly so, I could so easily imagine living in any one of the structures we came upon.  This sad structure being the first we saw, I will admit it’s heartbreaking but this was the worst of what we saw…  many are still habitable and CCMHT has begun to lease and preserve the most important structures. The landscape has grown in since this structure was built to a point where the  ocean view is now shrouded by evergreens.

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This house still has its wonderful view, ceiling suspended red metal fireplace and a spooky ouija board just inside the expanse of glass that protects the interior from the coastal elements.  The living room spans the entire water side of the main living floor with accordion doors in the back that close to create a private bedroom or den.  It’s also in pretty bad shape, but it’s not open and exposed to the wind, rain and salt air.  Below the main floor (that also had a wall of kitchen in the back left corner) are additional   bedrooms, a bonus room and full bath.  I was happy this one was locked up tight.IMG_6288

Yeah, this one not so “locked up tight”.  The door was wide open and the elements and animals of the forest had certainly made themselves at home here, but you can still see how fabulous living in this structure could be.  There were even a few pieces of furniture I would have considered “rescuing” but I’m certain anyone else would have seen my good intentions as “stealing”… So I left those cool little rattan chairs behind for the  critters.

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 Thanks for stopping by & reading! IMG_6291

INSPIRATION II

February 7, 2014

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Lots of things inspire me.   Inspiration can come from anywhere, a stone wall, a piece of clothing, an old scrap of wood; and it can be applied in a textural, structural, spacial, or even in a literal way.  What I find most inspirational is art and nature.  The wharf image above is inspiring to me because not only do I dearly love the place, I love the image, and I love the colors.  I love the warmth of the pattern on the sand, the strength of the pier silhouetted in black. And, because I have stayed many nights in those fishing shacks on that pier spending countless hours with some of my dearest friends, it means something to me.   It doesn’t get more powerful than that. tumblr_ltoubkovOE1qjrfh6o1_500

To execute design based on an inspirational object or image I think it best to identify a color palette first and foremost.  This doesn’t have to be completely literal, you can take only the colors you find most pleasing; you can change the amount of each color within the palette to suit your taste or the space in question and obviously you can add to a palette.

I think the photo above with its rich browns, blacks and creamy warm walls captures the colors of the pier quite well.  Overall the value of light colors and dark colors is pretty spot on.   Not only the palette of the wharf is captured but a bit of the mood too.  Strength, a bit of chaos, masculine, with a worn and weathered vibe glazed over the whole thing.  This room is wharf like to me, I think it’s a good comparison.

tumblr_mu1fy19WVt1qcgzt2o1_1280Here’s the same palette, stripped back to something much more sleek a more livable version of the messy working space above.  This room gives a vintage undercurrent, it’s strong and masculine and has the boldness and the simplicity of the wharf image.   it is the photograph refined down the essential oils of the colors, materials and strong masculine mood.   Vintage, warm, woodsy, everything is just sharpened, clearer.  To me the collection on the sideboard gives me a bit of the chaos of the wharf supports, the polished concrete is a great stand-in for the sand.

What inspires you?  Have a favorite scarf? Use it.  In love with the rolling hills of the Pennsylvania landscape in spring? Use it.  Pick your colors based on what your comfortable with, go with your gut, but what you love.  Oh, and don’t be afraid of not making a statement, sometimes a whisper is more of statement and more powerful.

 

A (random) Night At Home

January 21, 2014

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Newest addiction: Hot water with Meyer lemon and local honey.  Best consumed in your jammies, cozy in front of the fire, catching up on my blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Caution! do not attempt without your readers –  I prefer Eyebobs.  They are relatively cheap, they have a style for every face, a color for every complexion, religion or persuasion.  Once your settled in enjoy the best prices on the internet on Ebay, usually… unless you – like I – covet the book Four Years in Paradise.  It’s giraffe cover is coveted by designers and other visually driven folks, but it’s selling for 250.00 or more. Anything nautical, LV luggage and a few other fetishes later I decide to indulge what may become my mid life crisis manifested: the Volkswagon Truck, volia!

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The perfect “weekend car” right?  BTW, “weekend car” is code for Provincetown car.  I could shlep plants, dogs, firewood and bikes in a cool truck like this and look oh so cool doing it. Bikes!  oh yeah… I could really use a cool new bike. I’d like a white one please with leather grips and a basket, or maybe a black one? I love the idea of a pretty bike.  It’s like having a nice car.  These bikes didn’t come from Ebay, but they are pretty.

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I’ve been on line for several minutes, I way beyond Ebay now. I’m looking at real-estate in Provincetown.  The thought of a summer house, ah… I love the daydream of furnishing a tiny house I call my own. Maybe it will look like this…tumblr_mu62vjTMfw1s2re19o1_1280

I love the Japanese-Modern vibe When you design homes for a living and you have hoarder like tendencies, this simple aesthetic (drink all you longtime readers) would be hard to manage.  I’m more of the everything white but layer it up kind of guy.  But the chair is pretty.

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Slowly getting tired, the heat of the fire is making me sleepy, and this lemon-honey potion is a far cry from my evening coffee that is probably the root of my late night Pinterest affliction.  as I nod off and think about taking the dogs out one last time I’m wondering what my look should be for work tomorrow.  Maybe roughed up jeans with a chambray shirt and a blue blazer.  A nice pair of shoes can save even a borderline sloppy look.  I’ll do lace up cap toe brown shoes.  perfect.  now I can sleep.

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Ok, Ok… I spend more time on Instagram and Pinterest these days than I do writing blog posts.  I’m sorry.  In an attempt to satisfy my hunger for interior eye-candy and to share here with you I am combining in today’s post.  3de6b01cd412d7f01284c99a2816caae c1a7c22b5350eed96d02660062fa727b

Here are just some of the images I pinned, or re-pinned today on Pinterest.  I’m searching to a commonality, a theme and what stands out to me is a conscious “undesigned” vibe, as if these rooms just happened (they didn’t, btw).  And, I think they all have a masculine vintage-modern vein to them… something old something new?

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I want to label these images, most have some mid-century element but the look ranges from mid-century, 70’s loft-style, minimal, and a whole lot more.  There is a spare yet eclectic aesthetic that I think I’m  responding to.  No pattern per-say, earth tones, it’s decorating made (to look) easy.  I for one have a hard time stopping, I like to just keep adding but I have to say I aspire to less is more.  Let me tell you that all these undecorated spaces were thoughtfully stylized, edited and controlled.  Theres a big payoff if you can just say no to prints, and all the other bells and whistles available to us all via the design market place.

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Let the furniture say what you want the room to say.  Invest in quality sofas, chairs and case pieces… and by that I don’t mean expensive ( although expensive is often built well, and I wouldn’t say no to it).  Buy it because it’s right, buy it because you love it.

DAY (bed) DREAMING

October 29, 2013

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I’m in the market for a day bed.  These images reminded me of one I had seen in the pages of  Elle Decor.  I love the high-sided coziness, the relaxed look… not quite a sofa not really a bed.  You get all the guilty pleasure of being in bed, but sitting – or laying – on something that a whole lot nicer than a twin mattress with a few big pillows on it.

img52oThis day bed shown in grey and flax are available from West Elm.   The upholstered Nailhead Trim Daybed comes in your choice of brushed heathered cotton and is finished with a nailhead trim.78″w x it is 41.3″d x 34.5″h. and has a solid and engineered wood frame. It is recommended for use with Twin Mattress (sold separately).  I think I’m going to need a full-sized day bed so I can’t buy this one but you should.  It’s great looking, buy two for a guest room / media room.  3_1286307947_ED_0507_Cochran_1Here’s the one that started this whole thing… pretty right?

From the cool people at Dornob I give you the easy way to get that rustic wall of wood…

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The charming mismatched look of a weathered scrap wood wall can be achieved with a lot less time and effort using a wood-textured wallpaper series by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek. The patterns range from rustic barn wood stripped of white paint to time-worn cottage-style wainscoting.

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It’s the designer’s second collaboration with Dutch wallpaper company NLXL; the first was based on ‘waste furniture’ and came in a soft palette of pastels and creamy off-white, with individual strips looking like the legs of dismantled tables and chairs.

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The new collection is even more convincing, with a matte finish that eliminates tell-tale glare. While it may not have the tactile benefits of real scrap wood, nor the sense of history, it’s a fun way to get a similar look.

 

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This “discovery” isn’t so new anymore and  has apparently been passed around from Facebook, to Apartment Therapy to soulpancake as well as most recently Messynessychic.com  I just saw it for the first time the other day so I thought I’d pass it on to you…hope you enjoy it as much as I did…

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 A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago and I’ve been meaning to share the pictures with you. Time to unlock the vault …

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The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.

The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience.

There is a further twist to the story. In the apartment a painting of familiar style was discovered of a beautiful woman in pink. One of the inventory team members suspected this might be a very important piece of treasure. Along with the painting, they also found stacks of old love letters tied with colored ribbon.

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With some expert historical opinion, the ribbon-bound love letters were quickly recognized as the calling card of none other than Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque. The painting was his. The beautiful woman pictured in the painting was Mrs. de Florian’s grand-mother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque. She was Boldini’s muse. And, despite him being a married man, she was also his lover. The art world went a bit nutty for the whole story and the painting was later sold for $3 million at auction.

What I find so intriguing about this story is not so much the discovered painting and the revelation of a love affair between a great Italian painter and the beautiful actress in an enchanting era, but more the story of Mrs. de Florian and why she stayed away from Paris for so long.

What kept her away even after the war? Was she running away from someone or something other than the Nazis? For all those decades, her rent on the elegant apartment in a flourishing city had been faithfully paid, but it was left to freeze in time. It all sounds like the perfect mystery…

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