Chief: Of One’s Own Destiny

Future, fate, fortune, doom, that hidden power that floats in the ether controlling your every move, your every breath – those ragged and smooth, gasping or shallow – leaving you a little light headed, does it really exist, or can you gently nudge it in one direction or another?

Muddier hues give the space an elevated sophistication.

On the one hand it feels rather reassuring to think that it all doesn’t matter. The worrying, and the striving, the toiling and the task making – if it’s all going to happen as the universe wills it – why not relax? Blessedly I have two hands, and the other one isn’t taking any chances. Just in case, and for all the what ifs – I am in the game, and believe that fortune is made by those that grab it by the pig tails and squeal, and snuffle, get into the mud and sling it out – oink and boink, and decide. That’s right, just decide to put yourself in the path of other like minded survivors – thrivers – the really alivers. Ok, those are really words, but you get the point. It’s for the bold, even if your bold delivered in the form of a new word.

That color looks like Farrow & Balls – Setting Plaster. Pink offset by rusty tones keeps it from feeling too whimsical.

Today though, I prefer to focus on the word “Chief”. Derived from the Latin – where else – it references the highest, most important rank. It denotes power and prominence. For me, I’ve never wanted to be the number one, number one. I’m happy being the number one, number two – not because I don’t have my own ideas, and thoughts about what success looks like, but rather because I blossom in an environment of collaboration, and idea sharing, where together we can share in something that could not have been created as a solo effort. Chief, I bet is a lonely place to be at times.

Every Club has to have a beautiful bar.

I am nonetheless, fascinated by the most recent declaration of female power in the form of a Women’s Club that will soon be arriving on the shores of Boston. Unlike The WingChief is not a co-working space, it’s a club, a club with a very specific purpose, to put high ranking women in the path of like power brokers. It’s a place to convene and share, trade secrets – not of their companies variety, but rather of the people, and places, and resources that got them to where they are today, and hopefully through this magical sourcing and resourcing, will propel them to an entirely new elevation in the future.

Groups of women gather for “Salons” in settings like this.

Founded by, what I can only refer to as two young gals, now that I am sadly struggling with my middle age title. I sometimes reflect on a Harvard Medical School talk I attended where the speaker indicated if we could hang on for another 50 years, he could give us another 100. It happily blew my mind. I plan to live another 50, so it most definitely slides me into the lower quadrant of my existence, and just like that – brilliantly – I have a world of possibility ahead. I digress, which I am wont to do. Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan, formerly of Handy and Casper respectively, were at the VP level of their organizations, and thought to themselves – where’s the support network. How can I break through?

Chief Co-Founders – Childers and Kaplan

Chief is their answer and I have to tell you, it just might be worth striving for the top spot to gain access to this interior. I love the Millennial Pink of The Wing, and a girl doesn’t limit herself to just a single pair of shoes, does she? Why ever would she limit herself to a single interior. Stay tuned for its arrival. Happy Saturday.

Mix of the masculine and mid-century marvelousness.

Setting Plaster

Robert A. M. Stern’s Offices . One Park Avenue . NYC

If you think I am going to provide you with a lesson on how to set plaster – you have another thing coming. While I love a beautifully plastered wall, and believe in the fundamentals of a clean space within which to work, I happily leave the execution of that up to the experts. It’s actually the name of a paint color – a showstopper – a mon avis, but the name leaves a lot to be desired. Farrow and Ball could stand to learn from Essie’s in the naming prowess. There Rallings, Down Pipe, and Stiff Key Blue could go from marbles in the mouth to the amuse bouche (a little happy for your mouth ūüôā ) of a Touch of Sugar, Reign Check, or Tiers of Joy, but that’s neither here nor there. A rose by any other name and all that. I will not be dissuaded from my new found adoration of this hue.

One Park Avenue. NYC is the I’ve arrived of all addresses. Originally designed by York and Sawyer, it is home to Robert A. M. Stern Architects. I announced to the Receptionist, in the most uncouth way, that I needed to be shown to my room, I was moving in. Naturally she looked a bit confused, and was decidedly too polite to point out that the Ritz Carlton was down the street. After clearing up my actual reason for being there, I had a tour of this amazing space. From their lighting collection to their carpeting, hardware, tile, urns, and the recent addition of benches and bike racks for their institutional clients, RAMSA leaves nothing to chance. They are my kind of people, even if they don’t know it.

THE Office.

I joked to my colleague, that you could safely say that you were in the big leagues when you were dealing with folks that laugh at the idea of an 8″ base. This seemed to be to be excessive when I was considering it for my modest condo project two months ago. I would have happily settled for 6″ – ha. RAMSA outfitted their lobby with a base that was conservatively 21″ tall, and let me assure you, not only does it work, but I briefly considered ripping out mine and replacing it, and my paint is barely dry.

Model citizens – getting the scale right.

Ah to be in the vicinity of greatness. As I make my way quickly and efficiently through the city today, making decision after decision to accent my new space, and dare to dream, transform it into something that I like…I am ever hopeful, that some of their magic rubbed off onto me.

Towering Heights.

Reflections Of….

Is it too late to take a look back at 2018?  I have been so sick, I clear missed the end, and the new beginning.  I hate not saying a proper good-bye.  Despite so many friends and relatives saying sayonara with nothing less than gusto, I had lots for which to be grateful.

Left is Hanson Street Living Room After the Renovation. Right is before.

I like listing the accomplishments and the milestones.¬† I’m one of those people that adds things onto the list, just so I can cross them off.¬† You know the kind, don’t you?¬† Well sometimes I get to adding things to my list at such a dizzying rate I think my head is going to spin clear off, but them I go and get it all done, and there my head is still, so there’s not much of a case for slowing down.

This year I sold a house, bought a house, started a renovation, finished the biggest interiors project I had ever undertaken, built a deck, landscaped a yard, tore down a chimney, and spent an inordinate amount of time at Stonewood Products in Dennis, MA.¬† If you think sawdust is great you are going to love this place.¬† I had a “round” milestone birthday, celebrated in Mexico, and then London, visited Seaside Florida a new urbanist development that to me, is perfection, and took a ferry ride to Nantucket with my friends for a week.

Refurbished furniture for The Manse.  A little can of paint will do you.  Right side photo: Dan Cutrona @cutrona

I remembered how much I respect and admire the work of Dorothy Parker – I mean who else could possibly come up with poems as acerbic and sharp-witted as quips like:¬† “It serves me right for having put all my eggs into one bastard”?¬† Brilliant.¬†¬†

I couldn’t resist.¬† Lawrence Street at time of purchase on the left and now….

I reaffirmed my affection for the color gray and more specifically, Ben Moore’s Mineral Ice.¬† It’s such a serene and calming gray.¬† I’m going to paint No. 5 gray too.¬† And there was so much more; introductions to new and amazing people like Jill Rosenwald a hip pottery maker, and Tillett Textiles – allowing you to select your pattern, and color palette, and finally find the perfect combo to go with your grandmother’s Bergere chair.¬† Magic.

Yes, 2018 was a pretty good year.  Hope it was for you too.

San Pancho Retreat

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I often feel like an arrow.¬† While I am clear on the target I’m intent on hitting, it requires a pulling back, a pause, a refocused effort – a collection, a reflection, a question.¬† ¬†Each time I sell, and prepare to buy again, the arrow quivers just a little less in its trajectory.¬† This period of retreat is important to me, it keeps me grounded, it allows me to feel what I am doing, and prepares me to return, fortified for battle.

I closed on Halloween, rolled my suitcase and a bag down 8 blocks to my sister’s house and left the following morning for Mexico.¬† San Pancho is a quiet little town on the West Coast, not far from Puerto Vallarta.¬† I smile when I think of that city because it reminds me of The Love Boat, Captain Stubing who I actually waited on at Thompson’s Clam Bar in my hometown of Harwich, MA, in the nineties.¬† I would watch The Love Boat and the Fantasy Island with Mrs. McLaughlin, while I was babysitting on Saturday night’s.¬† The Love Boat always visited Puerto Vallarta.¬† If Puerto V is the big city, San Pancho is the outback.¬† Tucked away in the shadow of Sayulita whose popularity has grown since I visited 10 years ago.¬† Tucked into a bay, it became famous for its surfing, and art community, and the undeniable hipness of its inhabitants and visitors.¬† San P is its humble, quiet sister whose beauties and mysteries unfold with the passing days, and her softly spoken “buenos dias”.

CR 8

Life here is simple.¬† You need not guess at a person’s motivation.¬† It’s beauty is juxtaposed with its grittiness.¬† The dirt roads, and cobblestones, that are as likely to have a horse and donkey meandering through them as a honking car or motor bike.¬† Absent are the rules and regulations that we organize our lives and priorities so carefully around in the States.¬† Construction sites spill out into the street with nary a barricade¬†or warning in site.¬† It seems to say – “live free or die” without saying it at all, which really is a good lesson, regardless of where you live.¬† Pride, and family, and preparation, and gratitude are in abundance.¬† I think of my old yoga coach who would tell me to “try easy”.¬† I push so hard, so forcefully.¬† San Pancho allows you to pull back.

CR 2

Here I have retreated.  I have risen, and pushed, and pealed back, and exposed all of my flaws and insecurities to a people that will not judge me, because judgement is not part of their lexicon.  I have lived under a GMO Free Zone for just a short time and the elegance, simplicity and vitality of the food has restored me.

I rose early, practiced hard, explored my artistic side, experienced the beauty of Gisella and Calista’s carefully curated hotel – rustic and refined, thoughtfully designed, suitably pancho.¬† More and more, square foot, by square foot, I gain an appreciation for the artistic talent of others – even when the style is not my own.¬† Hotel Ciele Rojo is exceptionally well executed, but those words do it an injustice – it’s designed with heart, and you feel the love when you are here.

Visit, and tell them I sent you.

Shine on You Crazy Diamond: star worthy finishes

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Lime Wash . Skipping Stone.  Gives that traditional, relaxed feel.

For the love of the craft. ¬†Jamie and Casey Davis – ¬†brothers, and founders of Portola Paints and Glazes have an eye for architecture and for color. ¬†I think it’s cool that their Dad was a high-end builder, their appreciation for craftsmanship and artistry growing from this exposure. ¬†Each taking it in their own direction – one as a fine artist, the other a photographer, before coming together to start Portola. ¬†Even the name is cool, but I would expect nothing less from a company based in Cali.

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They are so right. ¬†Bedroom, Powder Room, Front Entry – if London’s Sketch can do it – I can too.

Undoubtably these California roots fed their knowledge and respect for sustainability. ¬†Their paints, glazes, clays and washes are almost entirely green. ¬†All the acrylics are zero VOC’s though their enamels do contain low levels, ¬†out of necessity – shhh.

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Roman Clay Finish – the combo of dull and shiny is sexy.

They make them here in the good old USA, they hand mix them (quality control at its finest)  and even hand paint the sample decks before mailing them out to you.  From smooth to textured, pearlescent to trowel finished, they marry old world tradition with sustainable tech and innovation.  Paints that take on the appearance of patinated copper and aged iron, to the weathered lime washed wonder of the Mediterranean.

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Note that slightly textured finish – Sandstone…who knew.

They offer up the look of Venetian plaster in the form of their Roman Clay – though buyer be ware – this is trowel or putty knife applied, so the skill of the craftsman WILL make a difference. ¬†The last thing you want is to pay a lot of loot and have it look like porridge. ¬†Oy vey. ¬†This is for a property yet to be known to me, but it remains a happy visitor in my rich fantasy life where at the end of all this flipping I’ve become flush with cash and fame (not likely) and have the money to buy a home the size of at least three of my tiny flips put together. ¬†That Roman Clay will adorn the walls of the entry, and be the wow I’ve been waiting for.

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Lime Washed Moodiness.

Until then, I am intrigued, though admittedly a little nervous about their semi-gloss and sandstone finish paints. ¬†These have a slightly textured surface. ¬†They show the brushstrokes and give the impression of a silk fabric – albeit a slight one. ¬†It interests me still, particularly when I consider how it might look side-by-side with a high gloss. ¬†They carry a hybrid enamel, which I envision on a ceiling, the moldings, base and/or door, and juxtaposed against this slightly textured sandstone wall. ¬†Too much shine, too many hard surfaces, too much perfection is simply uninteresting. ¬†Appreciation grows when juxtaposed. ¬†I’m so clever with my rhyming today, don’t you think?

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HAND Painted.

Two final things that will have me stepping out on my boyfriend Ben (Moore that is, and not my real boyfriend) support and pride in, and for the small business owner, they really do make our world go round, and the luscious names they have assigned to their pretty little palette….El Mirage, Fountain Stone, Blue Moon, Sweet Water, Gypsy Eyes, Sayulita (a place that I’ve been and loved), Magic Potion, Show time and Simmer Down.

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These guys….hero’s of tradition.

I could just drown in those lovely names.  Happy Sunday.

STEELING the SHOW: Hope’s windows and doors

Founded in 1912 in Jamestown, NY, Hope’s windows and doors are synonymous with – well – style. ¬†They are both modern and traditional, East Coast and West, industrial and refined. ¬†Now pulling all these styles off simultaneously is a feat to be sure, but somehow they do it.

First introduced to me as the standard of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), they fit the industrial bill for the Institute that refers to themselves as “the corporation”, and where technological innovation is housed within concrete and limestone corridors, topped by “The ¬†– famed – Dome” – site of so many clever and newsworthy hacks. ¬†As you stroll through the corridors of this venerable institution, you are rewarded with what seems to be a never ending array of Hope’s Doors and Windows that frame out the corridors, capturing moment after moment of brilliant innovation – the doors themselves standing as an apt example of superior craftsmanship and elegance. ¬†The simplicity of their design, coupled with their sleek lines, make them a fitting compliment for all that is conceived and executed within those walls.

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Sleek and refined, yet traditional.

But then I spied them in a NYC West Village apartment, and later a California cool hacienda, and finally a modern addition to a traditional brownstone in Boston.  Why not, they fit beautifully into all these regions, markets, and architectural styles.

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A touch of industrial in the kitchen.

Three times stronger than aluminum, and sixteen times stronger than wood, hot rolled steal is built to last. ¬†It’s strength can support maximum weights from glass with the leanest profiles, combining beauty and strength. ¬†Naturally they cost more, but they last far longer, and add distinction as they are handcrafted. ¬†For this same reason you must be patient – lead times can be in excess of 5 months, so a commitment is required. ¬†Some day, I will have a nest that is permanent and I will have my Hopes.

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Through the looking glass.

Happy Saturday.

Pretty Pairings: Painted wood meets natural finish

Fall Pairings 1

Wood paneling at the Parister Hotel.

I’m not sure where I first saw it, but if I had to guess I would say it was in some hip hotel. ¬†Hotel design has the luxury of being daring. ¬†Guests like to see something different than what they might put in their own home, and since they won’t be looking at it all the time, they are less likely to grow tired of it. ¬†Which begs the question – is high gloss painted wood, accented with natural wood something that I would grow tired of in my own home.

Fall Pairings 2

The most beautiful detail….nyc.

This, I think, is something I am willing to try. ¬†First of all, I won’t be there for that long, so how sick of it could I possibly get? ¬†Second, as long as the millwork is crafted by a real expert, I am likely to admire it ….. forever. ¬†There is something about the juxtaposition of these two finishes that is appealing to me.

Fall Pairings 3

perfect pairings.

In small spaces you don’t have much opportunity to make statements, and one must be careful that the statement you make isn’t over the top. ¬†This treatment would accomplish that. ¬†I particularly like the paneled wall, though I could see how paneling the ceiling might be cool too. ¬†If you have a fear of putting holes in the wall – this may not be for you. ¬†It can be hard for some to make a puncture wound in what is in essence of piece of artwork in its own right. ¬†If you have a lot of art and want to display it, taking up limited surface area might be a luxury you can’t afford.

See how the eye is drawn to those o

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See how the eye is drawn to the doors.

My favorite compromise is to paint the exterior casings and moldings of a built in, leaving the shelves and interior in the natural wood.  It feels sublimely refined.  So for No. 5, I plan to find a way to incorporate this detail into the mix.

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By bringing the natural stained wood to cap the banister columns and accent the base the stair is made that much more interesting.