Taylor Swift

November 29, 2014

Taylor 7I’m not going to lie, I used to hate Taylor Swift (sorry Taylor).  Her first few songs while catchy seemed out of tune to me and I thought she was all flash and no talent.  I was wrong.  She has proven herself to be first and foremost, a good singer as well as a good song writer and the package is tasteful, pretty and she someone I wouldn’t mind my daughter (if I had one) looking up to.  She’s the real deal.

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I know 48 year old men (yes, I’m 48… get over it I have) like myself are not the target audience for Taylor, but thats the genius of Taylor Swift.  Her tunes are so catchy and good we ALL like them, even those who still resist, find them selves humming one of here tunes after hearing it in the grocery store, the elevator or the DMV.  I’m not asking you to love her if it’s just not your cup of tea but do me a small favor and read the bio below, and then tell me she isn’t pretty amazing.

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24 year-old Taylor Swift is a seven-time GRAMMY winner, and is the youngest winner in history of the music industry’s highest honor, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. She is the only female artist in music history (and just the fourth artist ever) to twice have an album (2012’s RED and 2010’s Speak Now) hit the 1 million first-week sales figure.

With RED, Taylor became the first artist since the Beatles (and the only female artist in history) to log six or more weeks at #1 with three consecutive studio albums. RED has topped the Billboard 200 Albums Chart for seven weeks, following Fearless (11 weeks), and Speak Now (six weeks).

With more than 1.2 million copies sold in the U.S. in its first week, RED scored the highest first-week sales debut of any album in over a decade, had the 8th largest first-week debut in chart history, and marked the 2nd biggest week ever for a female artist. Taylor’s lead single from RED, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” set a new record for the biggest digital sales week ever for a song by a woman, and for the second-largest sales week overall.

With RED, Taylor also set a new worldwide iTunes record for highest ever first-week album sales, and RED reached #1 on iTunes and national sales charts in 50 countries, including the UK, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Ireland, Argentina, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia. The RED Tour heads to Europe in 2014.

In early 2012, Taylor’s Speak Now album was lauded on Rolling Stone’s prestigious The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time (by women) list, and Time magazine has named Taylor one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She is Billboard’s youngest-ever Woman of the Year, and her more than 100 industry award wins have included the American Music Awards’ Artist of the Year (twice), the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year (both also twice), and three European Music Awards. Taylor is also the most awarded star in the history of the Teen Choice Awards, taking home honors for both music and movies.

Taylor, who writes all of her own songs, has career record sales in excess of 26 million albums and 75 million song downloads worldwide, and her two most recent albums are two of only 18 albums in the entire history of music to sell more than 1 million copies in a single week. She has had singles top both the country and pop radio charts around the globe, and has thus far scored 13 #1 singles across multiple radio formats. She is one of the top 5-selling digital music artists worldwide, and is the top-selling digital artist in country music history.

Taylor is Billboard’s reigning Artist of the Year and holds the Billboard records for the Most Top 10 Debuts in the History of the Hot 100 Chart, the Most Charting Songs from One Album in a Single Week, and the Longest Charting Album on the Top 200 Chart.

This year, the North American portion of Taylor’s RED Tour played to more than 1.36 million fans over 66 shows (including 13 stadium stops) in 47 cities in 29 states and 3 provinces spanning 6 months. And, starting in late November, Taylor will take her RED Tour, which Rolling Stone dubbed “a massively excellent show,” Down Under, performing stadium shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, as well as arena dates in Auckland. Swift will be the first solo female artist in twenty years to undertake a national stadium concert tour of Australia.

Her SPEAK NOW World Tour played 111 shows to more than 1.5 million fans in sold-out stadiums and arenas in 19 countries spanning four continents in 2011 and 2012. Her 107-date FEARLESS 2009/2010 Tour sold out arenas and stadiums in 88 cities in five countries.

Taylor voiced the character of Audrey in the 2012 hit movie “Dr. Seuss’s The LORAX,” and has written the end credit song “Sweeter Than Fiction” for the movie “One Chance,” a bio pic of Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts. She also contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the movie “The Hunger Games,” winning a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media, and earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song. She has hosted Saturday Night Live, appeared in the Garry Marshall film “Valentine’s Day,” and guest-starred on the Emmy-winning TV drama CSI.

*This biography taken from MTV.com

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Cape Cod Modern

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.  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.


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

So, a friend and fellow designer John De Bastiani posted an image of this sweet little house on his Facebook page the other day and I immediately recognized the bunkroom picture from a shelter magazine… I have loved and coveted this room for a long time.  And now, I glad to know who created this beautiful and respectful tiny house, Jessica Helgerson.   09

With more than 15 years of experience designing residential and commercial interiors Jessica creates interiors that are typically clean and uncluttered.  Adept at many styles, she is happy to be guided by her clients’ individual needs and tastes as any good decorator is.  Jessica likes to start by considering what the best design for the client might be while considering the best design for the building or space.  Her goal is to ensure that the fundamental design and the materials are classic, long lasting, and appropriate to the building and its period. She likes to layer on fresh, contemporary elements—such as lighting, furniture, and art—that feel just right for the clients and for the moment. I’m a fan, and if I wasn’t a control freak.. I’d hire her to do my next house.  Just look at this tiny house she designed!

01This little house is where Jessica and her family have been living for the last several years. It sits on a five-acre property on Sauvie Island, an agricultural island on the Columbia River 15 minutes north of Portland.

The house is an interesting experiment in reduction and reuse not only because it is only 540 square feet or because it was remodeled using nearly exclusively reclaimed materials, but because the building itself is now being recycled for the fourth time. It was first built in the early 1940s as part of Vanport Village; a quickly erected development built to house shipyard workers. When Vanport Village flooded in 1948 this particular little house was floated down the river to Sauvie Island, where it became the goose-check station. Years later it was remodeled to become a rental house.


When Jessica and Yianni bought the property in late 2008, they decided to remodel it without adding to the existing footprint. Their first step was to redesign the interior for maximum space efficiency. A ‘great room’ houses the kitchen, dining room and living room with large, comfortable, built in sofas that double as twin beds for guests. Drawers under the sofas hold children’s toys and a wall of shelves houses books and more. The ceiling was opened up in the main space, but the bathroom and bedroom have lower ceilings to accommodate the parent’s sleeping loft above, accessible by a walnut ladder. The children’s room has two bunk beds as well as a full bed for guests. A pull-out closet makes maximum use of the narrow space near the bunk beds.

New high-efficiency windows come right down to the sofas and offer a fun way for kids and cats to enter and exit the house. The walls were insulated, then faced in reclaimed wood siding, most of which was found on site in one of the barns. The

new floors are local Oregon white oak, and the dining table was made from locally salvaged walnut. The range is a vintage Craigslist find, and the tub was a salvaged from a friend’s demolition site. A wood-burning stove easily and efficiently heats the small house.


As part of the remodel, the worn out roof was replaced with a green roof, planted with moss and ferns gathered along the Columbia River Gorge. The green roof offers insulation as well as a playful visual counterpoint to the traditional white cottage.

Despite its size, the house is welcoming and comfortable and nearly every weekend it is full of family and friends coming from Portland to enjoy a day in the countryside. In addition to living in a small footprint, Yianni and Jessica have been working towards food self-sufficiency. Their first year on the property they built a 1200-square-foot green house, planted vegetable gardens, rows of berries, and fruit trees. They are also raising chickens for meat and eggs, keeping bees, and making cheese from the milk of a neighbor’s goats and cows.



*Much of this text was taken directly from Jessica’s website, with the intention of “getting it right” and sending the intended “message” out of respect for Jessica, her brand and her work.  

I’m all about paying respect, honoring craft and celebrating others in my field.  Please click on the web address above to see Jessica’s full website.

White Houses of Instagram

October 28, 2014


I confess to being an instagram junkie. (Many) Self portraits, puppy pictures, food photographs and vacation snapshots are all constant occurrences for me.  I admit it has stolen me away from my own blog and It’s in large part because Instagram is the perfect platform for someone visually minded that has perhaps a shorter attention span than typical (like me).    Pick any topic and you can find it there… Fitness, fashion, food or the Arts of course, theater, dance, design and yes, plenty of architecture. I am no some one that should suffer from house envy, but I can’t help myself… just look at these beauties…

ga-resid-rehab-firnewFancy an updated farm house?  It’s on Instagram.  I love the front porch on this place an the large french doors overlooking what seems to be endless vistas of green!  ahhh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe formal is more your thing?  it’s there too (on Instagram).  The Gerogian influences on this colonial charmer sure charm me.  It strikes me as odd that there isn’t more symmetry to this house if is indeed turn of the century.  Georgian style dictates symmetry so perhaps this house was devided at some point, altered by fire or maybe just maybe it isn’t as old as we might think. Either way it’s a handsome house, you can’t go wrong with a white house.

image11This last house is one of my favorites in Provincetown.  The lead image is the front, don’t you love the trellis over the bump-outs? they disguise the wings of the house, keeping it looking like a tall, narrow antique.  the wings allow for views and modern amenities.  and the texture of the trellis is interesting I think.   Oh, and the water front property doesn’t suck either.  This house is beautifully maintained, that makes any house (even yours) more attractive.  where you lack in architectural detail or grandeur you can make up for by keeping the paint, trim shutters and yard in ship shape!

Here are a few others that I’m going to leave untrimmed… love them all…could keep going but I won’t…

  IMG_5630IMG_5627IMG_5628IMG_5631Yeah, yeah… this last one isn’t technically white, but it’s too pretty to not post and the trim is white.


October 28, 2014

imageI didn’t create the trend but I’m certainly helping it gain momentum. The mens “jogger” is starting to show up everywhere (and by everywhere I mean every guy with style in NYC) and, I have joined the movement.  I have 3 pair of mens pants with elastic at the ankles. Two are wool – one pair navy, one pair grey tweed and I also have a cotton pair… And I wear them in public. What’s the big deal you might be wondering, well two pair have elastic waists and one pair has a drawstring. To me those details belong on clothing  only if worn at a gym, playing sports or on a sofa.  But i pair them with chambray shirts, chunky sweaters and my favorite corduroy unlined sport coat and make sure my outfit looks “pulled-together”.joggersThis trend is not just for the guys… Girls are rocking pants and jumpsuits with cinched ankles and drawstring waists…  SplendidLA in the SOHO area of NYC sells every type imaginable.  If your going to make the leap, pair it with a tiny leather (or Vegan leather) jacket and ankle booties to be completely “on trend”.

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Black & White &…

September 29, 2014

tumblr_mfbsjdeouv1rk7lm8o1_500 I debated calling this post “confessions from a converted beige addict” but We’ll stick with Black & White &… I am here to tell you, white(ish) walls and trim are always appropriate.  Sure, sure, you love color.  Thats great, I do too. But, a dash of color or flash of texture in a white room makes a statement and has such a cool aesthetic, you really don’t need to paint walls to match your sofa (or your art! please no.)  White is also adaptable to any architectural style, high Victorian to Mid-Century and everything in-between it’s always appropriate.

living-3-dog-0003a_prvpenneySee how well the furnishings show in this beautiful room. I’m not sure this may be the work of Daryl Carter (or maybe Thomas O’Brien) I love the look and I love that you get to see the stuff in the room, the beautiful shapes and the silk gloss of the leather, the grain of the side table, the knot of the sisal rug.  This room doesn’t slap you in the face.  The occupants would be the stars of this space and the detail harmonize to create a beautiful space that holds you without being obvious.  That’s what I love.

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I think the deep black floors of these spaces ground the white walls and create interest.  I like a white on white look too but I appreciate – now that I have white floors – that they are a maintenance issue if you have kids, dogs, or a life other than cleaning your floors daily… but they are pretty.  The sinister darkness is the perfect juxtaposition to the pure light of the white.  tumblr_mzx1l9eft31qzleu4o1_500In every room a bit of color must fall.  And I’m falling for the look of this sofa covered in a Hudson Blanket, Genius!  I have a pair of chairs that were my grandmothers in a very similar style to this sofa.  When I got them they were covered in a beige vinyl.  I had the covers replaced with an off white silk and it has lasted more than a decade but I think I’m ready to embrace this look.  So cool in a clean simple space, a statement for sure but surrounded by subtle, I think it could be great.  I am saying keep color to a minimum to get the look, but bend the rules a bit to make it your own.

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My Fall Fashions

September 27, 2014

To the horror of my husband, I went out in sweatpants last night…

Like OUT out! To dinner at a nice place!!


I wore a white dress shirt and a pale grey cashmere sweater with dark blue sweats from JCrew, and I think I looked cute… I’ll tell you one thing I was wicked comfy. You all know I love my cozy.  The pants are a skinny cut and the ankles are elasticized, they don’t have a knit cuff, so honestly, it was probably hard to tell they were sweats.  Here is the honest truth, I typically dress for everyone else, not myself.  I wear what I think is appropriate vs what I want to wear.  Maybe it’s the “F” it forties, but I think I’m done caring about what other people think.


I am very happy to dress in clothes from J.Crew.  They are a classic brand that tends to not chase trends but seem to update the look they present and stay current and relevant by adjusting silhouettes, and details.  A company probably looking to sell to folks a bit younger than me, but happy to have multiple markets.  I like mixing a bit of “designer” with the basics from J.Crew that tend to be well made a relatively well priced.  My palette dosen’t vary from Navy, Khaki, Grey and White.  I will wear a gingham, or plaid but thats a about it.  Give me a Navy corduroy jacket paired with some dark rinse jeans and a grey cashmere sweater anyway, or grey sweater with khaki shorts works too.  I like the idea of looking nice but keeping the “fashion” subtle.  It’s not unlike my decorating style.  I don’t need to walk into a room and get slapped by the loud drapery.  I use more color and pattern in my work, but there is a subtlety to it than allows the package, the entire envelope of the room to hold together, you see the room not the sofa, then the drapes then the… I think you get my point.



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