September 18, 2016
“Create your own reality” is a phrase friends and I saw once inscribed on a school or civic building when we were in our early twenties. I think it was in the Sunset district of San Francisco. It became a catch phrase for us, used more in jest at first, but it has become a mantra for me that has guided me in my adult life. Many years ago I decided that I’d like to have a home in Provincetown, it was in fact September 15, 2011 click to see entire post (FIVE YEARS AGO) I set my eyes on this house…
And now it’s mine (ours). It has been for 3 years now. I stalked it, I watched it I asked about it, I found a realtor that knew the owner, we inquired, we offered and we were accepted ( with a little negotiating ). I pinch myself every time I pull in the driveway – not only am I so very happy to have parking in this bustling little town – but I can’t believe my good fortune to have the opportunity to be the caretaker of such a beautiful cottage, in such a great location, in a town I love, only an hour and a half away from home. So here is where we are now… moved in, interiors cute, beachy, relaxed and for the most “done”. But the bathroom is crying for an update. So the last few posts have been about making sensitive choices that will update the bathroom, without it feeling like it doesn’t belong in this tiny, charming little cape house from the 30’s.
Mostly, I wanted to recognize that 5 years ago to the day almost, I had a dream. Today I’m sitting on the sofa, writing this blog and throughly aware of the gift it is in my life. I love this house. I want to do right by it. I’m going to keep processing materials and ideas in my mind and maybe on the ol blog til I have a bathroom worthy of showing off. Until then… Check out my posts Summer (house) May 19, 2014 and SeaSide Chic – I think so anyway August 3, 2014 for previous posts featuring other shots of the house. Cheers!
November 24, 2014
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.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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for stopping by & reading!
July 23, 2014
It’s always a lovely drive down to Narragansett Rhode Island… Several bridges, miles of coastline and farms and charming towns along the way. I made a recent trip to deliver some goodies to a client there and here are just a few (non-professional) iPhone snap shots. Just wanted to share what was keeping me busy these days. Among other things I was picking up a custom sisal rug from Merida from their Fall River plant. Very exciting to me as I had never seen their operation before and I’ve been selling Merida for over 10 years.
Check out this state of the art facility. They have work tables that must be 30, 40 or maybe even 50 feet long! I loved seeing the guys working on custom bindings, and I feel lucky to have the “workroom” so close – by just a few towns away – not because I intend to visit more… but because my orders come so quickly! So after the brief tour of the Merida facility, I was on my way to deliver not only a beautiful sisal rug but ALL of this furniture (mostly LEE Industries).
This room was a totally different layout when I first saw it. Sofas flanked the fireplace just out of the frame to the right. It was cozy but cut the room in two, and no one was using the other half of the room and that was the space with the best views of the ocean beyond. So, I pushed a sofa to the window and turned another sofa to face the fire-place. English arm chairs covered in a Thibaut woven fabric flank the fireplace (so there’s still a cozy spot for cold nights) but the room is much more open and inviting. We 86’d green sofas and red and green striped chairs so the greige palette is quite a change. Once I place the coffee table and a few accessorizes this living room will be done.
Since the kitchen is open to the living area the client and I decided to update the yellowy kitchen too by painting the island a warm tannish grey Ben Moore Revere Pewter HC-172 and the other cabinets Ben Moore OC-85 Mayonnaise. The white is still a warm white but the yellowness is reduced to something that feels white, without feeling like primer. The existing kitchen had beautiful wood countertops but the island had a basic “builders special” granite top so we upgraded the counter surface on the island to this beautiful Calacatta marble. We chose to have it honed, knowing a highly polished surface would give way to use.
Last but not least, what do you do when you walk into a clients bedroom and you discover they have a water-bed that they are not willing to part with? you recover it! I chose this nautical looking woven from Thibaut to update a well made but dated wooden bed. The dark nailhead coordinate with the bedside lights and sconces in the room and maintain our intended “tamped down” tonal, quiet range of colors. We repainted this room too, a dark mocha to set off the view… pale blues and creamy whites brighten this master bedroom and keep it interesting.
Different client, different house, different look. I can and do use color. Quite a bit in fact, even though I prefer to live with less of it in my life. I enjoy the enthusiastic client that asks for color. This hip couple wanted something that felt younger and more playful than what their pervious designer had given them. The house is big, and formal and in an area where, um… Lets just leave it at the first designer made assumptions based on the house and the area, she didn’t know her client. The shot above is a screened porch. We started from scratch with the exception of the brown woven side chair, the set was newer and very useable so I found a dining table to match and we worked with it (recovered cushions of course). The chaise can be flipped to allow the user to face the fireplace in colder months and away from the fire when the fireplace is not appropriate.
This is the same clients sun room, the only thing we kept was the woven wallpaper. Oh, and I recycled the settee that has the Thibaut print on it,because it was the right scale, well made and it allowed us to spend more on other things in the room. I love this room. Plenty of color – NAVY is a color – for the client and still tonal and sophisticated and grown-up feeling too. The dark inky blue sofa is from LEE, the custom pillows are all made from Thibaut fabrics. All thats missing here is a rug. Were going to go tan to pull the wall color because this fall the floors are going dark! The lighter rug on the dark floors with the tan walls is going to look amazing.
Thanks for checking out the blog, hope you got inspiration from it. xo
January 22, 2014
There are things about living in New England that I like and there are things I dislike, there are also things I love… a Snow Day is one thing I truly LOVE when it comes to living Back East. It’s a sick day without being sick, it’s an extra day off when your out of vacation time (or saving it up for that warm weather vacation to Tulum like me) and it’s a free pass to blog, bake cookies, cuddle with your fur-babies and stay in your jammies all day!
Whats on my agenda? Shoveling is already done, so i looks like I’ll be Facebooking, Instagraming, Blogging and making cookies all day. Diet be damned, I want Hermits! Fingers crossed I have all the ingredients. Stay Warm fellow East Coasters!! the rest of you… send some warm weather our way if you have any to spare.
Parting glance: here is the view up and down my street. Plows have been through, and frankly I’ve seen much more snow but I’ll take the day off gladly and appreciate the found time to catch up on things that somehow slip through the cracks and bake a little (and maybe some laundry too).
Happy Snow Day!
August 2, 2013
Yes, sadly it’s been some time since my last post. Don’t worry it wasn’t a tail spin created from one failed dessert… It was frankly a busy work and social schedule coupled with my discovery and love for Instagram. Far less informative, it is great for eye candy – mostly fashion, pretty people, pets, cars and destinations but there are some good designers and architects posting work… myself included). Whats not on Instagram and what I have found I miss is the dialog that goes with the images, there is no real context. Just pretty images, sometimes with a #tagline. Stick with Pinterest, Houzz and good blogs for real information, resourcing and inspiration if your planning a project that involves design.
So here is what Ive been working on… The first two images are a sunroom I designed for a client that has been coming to me and Surroundings for years. She is dedicated, open to guidance but has a good eye, willing to go the extra step and likes nice things. Suffice to say it’s a winning combination when you add in a Virgo designer. This space hasn’t even been accessorized and fluffed yet and it’s already a show stopper if you ask me. The “greige” and cream color palette is puncuated with dark woods accents and glammed-up by the dash of mercury glass. favorites of mine are the Palecek cocktail table made of petrified wood and the floor lamps designer and produced by Rich Brilliant Willing.
In recent months I also completed a summer-house for a young couple. They were a delight to work for, and a designer is always happy when clients see the vision and allow a designer to do his or her job. We chose nearly everything in 3 or 4 meetings. I love the way this house turned out, every room is polished, the vibe is fresh without feeling too trendy there is quality built to last in every piece. When it comes to furniture, you really do get what you pay for. Most if not all the upholstery is LEE, the cool banded pillows on the sofa in the lower shot are custom with fabric from one of my favorites Kelly Wearstler, i think they add a edge to the room. The cocktail table made from cut marble is as heavy as it looks and gets most of the attention, as it should. It is an amazing piece from Global Views and makes the room.
I thought I’d better post a few jobs with color so newer readers wouldn’t think I only do neutrals. All three of these rooms are for the same client, the first an apartment in Chicago, and the following two are in her home on the coast of Massachusetts. She is a favorite, I’m not going to lie. I am lucky to like most of my clients but this gal has guts, likes it bold and loves the details… thats my type of client. There are way way way too many vendors to mention, fabric designers to credit and paint colors to list, so if you want info on anything send a note.
As if all that work wasn’t enough… I helped two dear friends pull together a wedding in my back yard earlier this summer. It was a great time, everything looked great, the food was amazing and every seemed to have a really good time. Designing the wedding cake and helping with the flowers were the “work” highlights. Maybe I’ll post more pictures and details of thier wedding and my nieces wedding in the coming weeks, stay tuned! I hope you feel inspired to tackle a project, get creative, invest in some good quality furniture, hire a designer… do what ever it takes to love where you live. BB
May 13, 2013
I am especially lucky to have Mondays off from my typical work day. The Interior Design business; paperwork, installations and the balance of client/office time morphs into something completely different, something more personally creative, almost introspective on a day off. And eventhough I snuck in a tiny bit of client time most of the day was spent alone, arranging shelves, gardening, induldging and maybe a tiny bit of napping! So, as I start to unwind tonight I thought I’d send out what a typical day off looks like for me.
It started with a commute (about 15 minutes) to a Clients for a quick rug install. We flipped a few rugs around the house to freshen up other rooms while updating the living room “off the kitchen” (vs the living room” off of the front foyer”, through the “tween” room and bar. Shes a great lady and I have fun with her, we debate and collaborate to find common ground between us and when we find it, we buy what ever it is we are in agreement on. The Ascot rug from Asmara Rugs in Waltham, MA is a beautiful addition to the relaxed space that’s affords comfortable reading spots, coffee cozy spots and a snuggle up spot. We agreed on this rug after she had the chance to have it brought into the home. This Asmara Rug was definitely love at first sight.
Not going to lie… I had cake for lunch, torte actually. It was Mother’s Day leftovers, it was calling my name, I had to taste it. I made a semi-sweet torte with pecan and cookie crust for Mothers Day and I was so happy that there was actually a bit of it left over for today. It is SO rich that one 9 ich spring-form pan ( and 2 lbs. of chocolate) produces enough torte to serve 20 people. I served it with homemade (of course) carmel sauce. Here is the link I used…simplyrecipes.com
If I had known I was going to post this topic today when I was planting rose cuttings in the hopes of propagating them. A client gave me these after I had complimented her healthy rose-bush, so vital in the ocean air, and pretty too. A small pink rose covers the canopy, Cecile Brunner? heirloomroses.com If I don’t kill them I will plant them to climb the columns on the front porch.
April 12, 2013
As most of you know, I grew up in the Bay Area, San Francisco-ish. Living in such close proximity to Mexico I have had the pleasure of visiting many times and, just for context – this is not a brag – I have seen the beaches of Hawaii, Thailand, Spain, Italy and the Caribbean and I’m here to tell you that Tulum beach on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is one of THE prettiest beaches I have ever seen. No lie.
Of course anywhere you go where your responsibilities don’t follow you is a happy place, a total checkout… But to add to that a warm sunny place with beautiful breezes and a relaxed and kick-back atmosphere surrounded by beauty like this? Well, I’m sold and frankly ready to buy! Did I mention the food? Giant fruit salads, yummy coffee (yes all the cafes had soy) and a yoga class within a stones throw starting practically every ten minutes. The real test for me was the lack of pool. I’m a pool guy. In fact I love pools, laying by them, getting a drink brought to me while I’m near one and yes eating at the pool (the height of decadence) is something I love. Well, there was no pool. And I’m still in love with Tulum.
You will find almost every type of resort in Tulum. All inclusive, Yoga and wellness focus, fancy & not-so-fancy, but the thing they all have in common is a underbuilt (3 story max from what I could see) and place sensitive architecture that allows the natural surroundings to stand out and remind you that your somewhere between a jungle and the ocean, with a sky filled with stars (and avocado on every entre!). My architecture of choice would be something along the lines of the beach structure shown above.