Hedging Your Bet: Versatile bedding that travels

In the summertime I basically live out of a suitcase.  Granted, it’s a very pretty suitcase with it’s silky, poppy bow tie interior, a la a Kate Spade and Steamline collaboration, but it’s still a suitcase that sits in the doorway of my second bedroom awaiting its next destination.  For me, it’s no problem.  My life in sawdust has me living out of suitcases even when it’s not summer.  I am acclimated to the versatility that is required to make oneself at home, whether it’s your home or not.

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Hedgehogs Portable Mattresses . $375.

I wish I could say that I adapt to my varied sleeping conditions with as much nonchalance as I do the traveling part of my existence, but never having been a great sleeper, I like my bed, its pillows, my sheets, the blankets, and all the other accoutrements that lend themselves to a restful sleep, or at the very least give you something beautiful to look at as you lie awake.

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Lyford Seersucker Throwbed . green

Cue French obsession.  I have long admired the French’s interesting custom of placing what appears to be a version of a featherbed, on top of the fitted sheet, and calling it done.  Very practical when making the bed in the morning, but not quite enough for me.  Since I love a coverlet, with all it’s smooth sleekness, I want that, and a top sheet so I can stick my toe in the corner when it wants to shake all the energy that’s still hopping around inside of me – out.  There is something so relaxed and elegant all at the same time about this floating cozy cloud that sits atop all the other bedding that I fell hard for.

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Metallic Throwbed in Mt Blanc

Low and behold, didn’t I just spy these beauties in one of my favorite South End stores – Willey Boston.  Now they are not French – they are produced here in the US – LA specifically, and I love the fact that Beatta Henrichs Lieb started making them out of her garage – Hedgehouse was born….and later having her very good friend and ex-MTV Executive join the company to support its growth.  Though they don’t say it, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are in fact influenced by this French custom.

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Toulouse Throbbed in Red.

The concept of a portable mattress that you can take anywhere, and lay your head down in comfort and style is brilliant.  I don’t just want one, I want a half dozen.  They will be perfect in The Manse.  Jo-Jo will make me buy them myself, but it’ll be worth it.  Sometimes knowing what your heart desires is more than half the battle.

Sleep tight this Sunday night.

 

Earning Your Stripes

I’m always pleasantly surprised by the number of people that I talk to that have flipped a home, or are considering it.  While I haven’t run across anyone that does it quite like I do, I suspect if I keep at it long enough, and talk to enough people, I will.  There’s a camaraderie in knowing that others have been through the war.  Have suffered through the frustrations of construction, and want to share their stories of failure and triumph.  It’s comforting to learn that you aren’t the only one to have made a mistake, and to learn about resources or avenues that you hadn’t considered before, from those that have done it.

Left:  Serena and Lily . Striped Fabrice.  Right:  Serena and Lily . Striped Oxford Sheets

We’re all just trying to earn our stripes.  Not to prove something to the world necessarily, but to ourselves.  It’s possible to work hard and win.  That’s one of the most gratifying things one can do.

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Ballard Design . Striped Sectional Bench

I’ll earn those stripes when I am through with this project of mine, and with every property that I complete along the way, I plan to brand it in some small or large way with them.  They are fresh, they are quintessentially french, they are nautical, and opinionated, and all the things I love about the places that have made me .. me.

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Modernista.com – painted striped stair

I am reminded of their ability to be time and trendy all at the same time.  Fall fashion is going to go bold with stripes, with tailored designs and stiff cotton shirts – be prepared to be wowed by the simple detailing that turns a work shirt into a work of art.  Since fashion and interiors follow similar trends, in color and pattern, be prepared to see the heavy use of stripes between the glossy pages of your favorite magazines.

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Finding a way to strike a pose….Modernista.com

For me, the feeling that stripes illicit will always be in style.  While I am never going to feel like I’ve arrive, I’ll happily keep adding stripes to my sleeve as I make my way through life.  Mine as well do it in style.

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Madeline Weinrib Striped Carpet

Bedroom Magic

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World Market . Rattan Twin Headboard.  $124.99

The kind that comes from a hot day in the sun, good food, plenty of exercise, crisp cool sheet, and a gentle breeze coming in through the window.  Sleep is often elusive to me.  I live through fits of insomnia chased by adrenalin rushes, and sheer exhaustion.  The rare and special gift that is an uninterrupted nights sleep – is magic.  For those of you, I could sleep anywhere people…just stop reading now.  Move along.  Nothing for you to see here in this post.

Left:  Serena and Lily:  Linden Sheet Set . Palm Green $258. Right:  Serena and Lily . Metallic Pick Switch Quilt $198. (twin)

I just of course – plenty for you to see here, even if I am jealous of your ability to lay your head down at will, close your eyes, turn off your brain, and fade into the nether region between night and day.  You are blessed.

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Christopher Farr . Carnival Green – Imagine Custom bedskirts in this cute print.

All this talk of sleep arose from my desire to select the color palette and decor for the bedrooms in the manse.  Since I am primarily there on the weekends, I want the colors to be a bit more vibrant than my year round surroundings.  I love Kelly Green and feel that it’s a nice mix between nautical and nature that works well for Cape Cod.

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Schumacher . Zebra Palm

My picks range from the high-end to the low for the first of the four bedrooms.  From World Market to Schumacher, I was shooting for a cheery space to escape to, read my book and fall asleep to the sound of crickets.

Coastal Cane Brings the Cool

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Bungalow5 . Bay Arm Chair . Zinc Door $976.

Have images of dark wood, and stodgy interiors when you think about cane in any iteration.  Banish the dodgy, and slide into the cool washed out, contemporary, and fresh takes that cane has to offer.  From seating to sideboards, canes breezy take on the traditional is all it took to turn this Cape Cod girls head.  For those of you that have been following the saga of the Manse, you know I am preparing to furnish this place the moment the construction is done, and I want to do it right.  Sometimes the things that have been around for the longest, survive because they adapt.  Cane could just be one of those things.

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CB2 . Tayabas Cane Side Chair . $499.

Derived from the the Rattan Plant, and indigenous to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, this vine grows in the rain forest.  It’s thorny bark attaches to trees and leaves as it seeks the sun – so appropriate – growing between 100 and 300 feet. It’s incredibly flexible, and stripped from the bark, in long lengths it makes for a wonderfully strong material that can be woven into intricate patterns.  Perfect for hot climates as the screen lets the cool breeze whistle through its openings, keeping you cool.

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Horne . Air Sideboard. $1150.

Brought to prominence in the height of the Victorian Era – if that doesn’t sound a little old school to you, it should, it dates back much farther than that.  Tibetan Warriors, Peruvian Princesses, and though I can’t validate it, I would bet that the Romans and the Greeks played a role in its prominence.  They always do…..  Cane has stood the test of time.

Left:  1stDibs . Desk Chair by Pierre Jeanneret Punjab University $4800.  Right:  Serena & Lily . Cayman Pendant $498.

This latest pairing with contemporary frames, and white washed finishes is coastal perfection.  It’s so hip, I’m inclined to consider it for the city.  Here are my picks.

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Serena & Lily . Harbour Cane Bed . $1598.

 

Happy Summer.

Bad Ass Bathrooms on a budget?

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Simple . Clean . Elegant.

It’s been a while since I renovated a bathroom.  No. 1 to be exact.  The last of my three major renovations to the Charlestown apartment, I wasn’t exactly intent on converting my 39SF in a fiscally responsible manner.  I had been living for three years with ACT tiles that were stained and broken, bad can lights, grasscloth wall covering that was peeling at every seam.  The 6 x 6 tiles were cracked in places, and the grout had a permanent dinge to it.  I wanted a spa bath – really I wanted a walk-in closet that led to my bain de salon, where I could escape and ring the butler for my martini, but my little space simply would not expand to accommodate my imagination.  boo hoo.

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Changing the traditional orientation can add pizazz to the tried and true.  

Now I will say it’s exceedingly difficult to renovate on a budget if you don’t know what your budget is.  I don’t care much for the fuzziness of this approach.  How can I pull from one bucket to create wow moments throughout if I don’t know where the buckets are?  What are the non-negotiables, what am I working with here?  This is my recommendation to you all.  Have an overall budget from which to work.  Decide where you want to make an impact, and concede elsewhere to using lower cost materials, and finishes.  You can always paint, and paint can have amazingly transformational qualities.

So my first round recommendations are:

  • Subway tile in the shower
  • Shiplap on one full wall
  • Simple 1 x 1 ceramic tile in white on the floor
  • Navy blue painted vanity
  • White cesar stone vanity top
  • Chrome fixtures (Kohler or Grohe)
  • HD Mirrored Medicine Cabinet
  • Possini Euro Design Emmitt 23 1/2 wide vanity fixture
  • Turkish Oushak Runner
  • Ship Painting
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Em Henderson Design . Fish scale tiles – so perfect for Cape Cod.

2nd Bath Recommendation:

  • White fish scale tile in shower (small)
  • Large white fish scale tile on floor
  • Vanity wall to 18″ above sink – navy penny tile
  • Roburn Medicine Cabinet
  • Chrome Fixtures
  • Decorators White – Benjamin Moore

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These two options, I don’t believe are terribly expensive, but expense is relative.  Of all the rooms in the house, I feel strongly that the bathrooms and the kitchen should show a little personality in the design.

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Classic Penny still packs a punch.

Here’s to hoping we can reach financial consensus…deep breath.  I may need a bubble bath to “noodle over” additional options, as my work partner in crime says when we reach a creative impasse.

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Rossini Euro . Lampsplus.com

Suggestions welcome.

 

Cliff House . Coastal retreat

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Cliff House . Cape Neddick. Maine

As a Cape Cod girl it’s rare for me to head north to Maine.  It’s beautiful here.  The rugged coastline, waves crashing over the rocks – it’s chaotic, it’s hypnotic, it’s captivating.  Like watching a fish in a bowl, the dancing waves, and sea spray, make me feel calm, unhurried, and it’s clear to anyone that knows me, I am neither.  Rush, rush, rush, but as I sit in the Cliff House’s atrium space overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and watching staff as they prepare for a wedding later today, I feel in no hurry to get back to Boston.

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The Tiller at Cliff House

First opened in 1872, the Cliff House was founded by what can only be described as an enterprising woman – Elsie Jane Weare.  Mother to 7 children, caregiver to her sick husband, Captain Theodore Weare, Elsie decided to purchase 70 acres of waterfront property on Bald Head Cliff, and build the Inn.  How hard could that have been?  Oh by the way she ran it too.  It makes me feel a bit lazy to think of all that she accomplished.  The Resort reports that her brother, Captain Charles Perkins, built the original inn, using wood from his mill in Ogunquit.  Very enterprising indeed.

Room with a view . it’s in the details.

In August of 2016, the Cliff House reopened in its entirely new incarnation.  As a gal in construction I spend a lot of time looking at the details, the intersections between floor and wall, ceiling and soffit, the jigs and jogs that provide interest, but also an opportunity to reveal deficiencies in construction, and poor craftsmanship.  I got down on the floor, looked behind the doors, tested the functionality of the library ladder, the strength of the wrought iron piping that provides the track for the intricate rope screen separating bar from restaurant.  I tried to find fault with the windows and their installation – what is wrong with me?  I could not.  It’s beautifully executed.  The craftsmanship is flawless, and the people here are lovely.

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Gallery at Bald Head Cliff

I am blessed to work for a company – a family – that invests so much in their employees.  This Cliff House retreat was scheduled as a get-away for our Director’s Group.  We could have met at my boss Lisa Wexler’s home.  We do on occasion, and it is lovely there, but she selects locations like this, both as a way to thank us for our hard work, and to take us out of our every day setting.  It does the trick, it makes you feel very present.  So much so, I don’t want to return to my other reality!

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Lisa Wexler . President of Elaine Construction and me.  Cliff House.

Cliff House . 591 Shore Road . Cape Neddick . ME  . 207.361.1000.  To being present.  I recommend you book your visit immediately, and whether you choose to indulge in a fresh cold pressed green juice, or a cleverly crafted cocktail, my guess is you won’t be disappointed.

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Comfort and beauty combine.

Re-Making of the Manse

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The Manse . circa 1789

Finding new life after more than two hundred years shows fortitude and resilience.  Jo-Jo’s late 18th century home sat directly on the frozen earth, no modern barriers of protection, its only insulation the newspaper and sail cloth that lined the walls underneath the wall paper.  Who knew wallpaper wasn’t all form, it was a big part function.  I stand educated.  Perhaps all these less technical methods allowed the house to breath.  One’s survival depends on it, after all.  I thought the old girl would crumble when she was jacked up, when that carefully preserved earth was shoveled from under her, when her old bones, which were crooked with age, were laid gently down on her new foundation, miraculously, they did not break.

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The new addition.

She rested, and settled, and straightened herself out.  When they say “built to last”  this is what they mean.  Like a surgeon at work on a poor souls scoliosis riddled back, when the builders were done, she’d grown taller.  Nearly a foot of ceiling height was gained, a modest 6′ addition added to the rear of the house to accommodate another bedroom. She underwent eye surgery of sorts, getting all new windows, and a hair cut in the form of asphalt shingles.  Her every day dress is shingled on three sides, but she’s wears her Sunday best, in the form of pale grey painted clapboards, and Nantucket Red painted doors, on her front facade, greeting Parishioners as they head to Holy Trinity just steps away.

She has been an excellent patient, allowing her team to work wonders as they fortify her skeletal structure, remove and strip the toxins – mold, lead, termites – that took up residence at 261 Main, and prepare to insert an entirely new respiratory system (Heat and AC where it didn’t exist before), and a sparkle in her eye, in the form of all new wiring and lighting.  Somehow, even now, with not a light on, she manages to shine.

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The took the whole tree trunk …why not?

This weekend was all about the big push to outfit her.  A gal can’t be expected to wear only one outfit for the next 200 years.  Flooring, hardware, appliances, fixtures, paint colors, wallpaper, you name it.  My head is swimming.  We visited Stonewood Products . 15 Greatwestern Road. W. Harwich to look at flooring and interior siding options.  Rough Sawn Fir, and Schoolhouse Oak, Shiplap in Pine.  I looked at Smeg, Blue Star, Miele, Bosch, Fisher Paykel, refrigerators and stoves at KAM Appliances . 210 Yarmouth Road . Hyannis, MA.  Martha Stewart, Woodman, and Kraft Made kitchen cabinets, and tile, Home Depot.  Subway, penny, Carrera, fish scale, Tileworks . 705 Main Street . Harwich. MA.  Vanities, sinks, color combinations.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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Jim Falla . The Architect in the midst of his creation.

I’ve never seen the point of troubling too much over the decisions.  You make them.  Some are good, some are bad.  You do your research and then take action.  The amount of time you worry over whether or not it’s a good decision, doesn’t seem to impact the outcome for me, one way or the other.  So, since time is money.  I make them quickly.  Jo-Jo does not.  There will be a lot of coaxing to get her to commit.  She makes me put together design boards with three options for every space.  She insists that she is my Client, in the way only Jo-Jo could.  In the way only the youngest in the family could get away with.  Much love Jo-Jo – you’re boards are in the process of being assembled.  Get ready to decide.

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Stonewood Products . I wish you could smell this place…heaven.

As I sit and look at the snow falling in the back yard, I envision a tiny house in its farthest corner.  This tiny spit of land already holds two homes, but I feel strongly that it could accommodate one more. It would be tiny after all.