Perfect Picks for Pretending:if only purchases

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Amazon Tiny Home Kit . Allwood Bella Cabin Kit . $17,800.

I spend a good deal of my time fantasizing about beautiful objects, exotic places, and different ways of life.  I love my life, and find great joy in the make believe.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy travel so very much.  To step into another culture, to talk to other people about their lives and paths – fascinating.  It’s healthy to imagine, don’t you think?

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A little runner to put in that tiny house.  Lulu and Georgia.  2 x 3. $58.

This weekend of Sales, Sails (I am on an island after all) and Sales, had me troving the internet for steals, and deals.  I ask that you keep in mind the relativity of a deal, based on the items I’ve carefully curated, some of which buyers would conduct months, or even years of research before taking the plunge – I might buy on a whim.

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CB2 x GOOP . Boucle Chair. $899. (ready for ship October 2018)

Judge away if you will, life can take you in funny directions, if only you are willing to let it.

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Fiat Jolly . 1959.

Amazon – by the way – is taking over the world, and while it makes me nervous, I find it AMAZing that they can ship me a home for free.  So I’ve decided to stuff my worry down into my toes, and save it to my favorites list.  Later today I may just put it into my shopping cart and click send.

Happy Labor Day!

ACKt 2: Nantucket Charm

One Kings Lane – a favorite on-line decor store of mine, as much for the photos that top their “shop the look” stories and designer profiles, as for their furnishings and the carefully curated bric a brac.  This morning, as I sit surrounded by bountiful Hydrangea bushes, their branches staggering under the weight of late summer blooms, a soft breeze and a quiet hum in the air, I feel the need to contest their assertion that you can “capture the spirit of Nantucket” by clicking add to cart.

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OKL – Could be Nantucket

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but some things simply can’t be bottled up and sold.  The cloud formations that float by in skies that feel vast, and unending.  Honey Suckle and cobblestones, fog horns and ship’s bells, vine ripe tomatoes and Pocomo oysters – salty and sweet all in one.  It’s old money and new, it’s battered, bright and briny, it’s quiet contemplation and sing-along yoo-hooing.  It’s the feelings you feel when you slow to a stroll instead of panicked run.  Those feelings you feel that speak truths about you, that can’t be captured in a painting or postcard.

Wharf Cottages . In town.

The writer suggests that you can recreate this feeling in your home, wherever it may be.  Perhaps that’s true, if the truth is that you’ve never been to Nantucket before, and your basis for recreation is the photograph they provide.  Still I discourage you not.  This place is special enough to give it a shot.

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Sconset Cottages

Me, I like my walks on the wharf, my voyeuristic tendencies kick into high gear as I peer, not so subtly into the home lives of the well-to-do, and connected.  I recently saw one of the cottages go up for sale.  A two bed for over $8M!  These are exposed stud, uninsulated, summer hide-aways.  Split swing front doors to let the breeze pass through, a hook here and there for a straw hat.  A bed, a book, a cooking nook.  Everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

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Peek-a-boo

Island living.  Oh I’ll take a piece of it here and there to sustain me through the long winter, but the charm of Nantucket for me, will always exists right here, 30 miles south of Cape Cod.

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ACKt 1: Arriving on island

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ACKting peaceful.

I made the boat with 4 minutes to spare.  Not exactly a relaxed entry into vacation mode, my sister’s Mercedes tailgating every unlucky tourist on 28 she happened to be behind.  She asked “Are you worried you wouldn’t make it?” She’s a speed demon, a hot dog, a lead footed roadster.  I wasn’t really afraid.  If you are going to be late, be late with Jo-Jo.  She’ll get you there.

I love and look forward to my annual visit to the island – this being suitable in its timeframe, not a fly-by.  Arriving by water allows for that relaxed dismissal of the world you are leaving behind.  The mainland retreats in the distance, a wake forms in your path, and it’s not too long at all before you spy Brandt Point Light in the distance.  I take deep gulps of air, a luscious mix of salt and oxygen filling my lungs, awakening my senses, anticipating what’s to come.

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Slow it down. Take a peek. 

I’ve stayed in lots of different places on this island, but the last few years, we’ve gravitated to places that surround town, or are cozied in and among the cottages of the boat basin.  There’s a freedom to being close to town that appeals.  Coming and going doesn’t require a taxi ride, a coordination effort, a render-vous point – though don’t get me wrong, I love to render-vous.  It’s free and easy.

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Willow in a haystack.

Dolphin Court might be little, but this house that I am staying in —- is not!  Four bedrooms, all en-suite baths, living, dining, den, kitchen, patio, deck, widows walk.  Serene and simple in its detailing, extravagant in its art.  No brand loyalty, but not a no-name brand in sight, it even has a mud room, and I’ve always wanted a place I could get dirty in, or arrive that way.

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Live like a child.

I spend a lot of time looking at places and asking myself why one pleases me or it doesn’t.  I’ve decided I can be won over – that’s right – I have a secret weak spot for perfect details, for beautiful craftsmanship.  It doesn’t even have to be my style or color palette.  If I feel that it’s been executed flawlessly – I’m in.

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Gone Fishin’ . See you in the fall.

Beyond that – what’s not to love about the magic number, on whatever old street she’s on in Nantucket.  She’s lucky and I am lucky to call this my vacation spot for a week.

Kicked to the Curb: out with the old landscaping

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A patio in the middle of the lawn – genius.

I didn’t even think it was possible for landscape design to go out of style but…I could have been wrong about that.  It can certainly fall into disrepair.  One plant takes over, another flounders, a weed sneaks it’s way in,  rocks begin to fall from the carefully erected wall, and poof it blows up into a mess.  This is what I am faced with – a major undertaking, a minor budget, and the need to create something that is fairly self-sufficient.

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Stones help limit upkeep – attractive to me.

I can buy plants, pick and arrange flowers, weed, and water, but none of that means I have a green thumb.  Growing things is not a strength, most of my plants seem to die, so I am a bit worried about the prospect of taking on a home landscaping project.  Not worried enough to not do it though.

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Ground cover is an attractive option.  Spreads like wild fire and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.  Looks pretty too.

My plan is to combine a series of hardscape areas with plantings.  It will be important to limit the grass in the yard, which would require an irrigation system (out of my budget).  I want to remain true to the indigenous plantings, and those that are iconically New England Coastal.  How to do that without buying loads and loads of plants that look wild and natural will be the challenge.

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Seagrass. floral ground cover, and stone looks organic – looks low-main!

While I encourage sitting with a space, a new home or apartment for a bit of time before embarking on a renovation or major furnishings refresh – all I want to do is rent a back hoe, tare up the yard.  Then I want to bring in mature plants, stones, chairs, and planters.  I want it all done like that time I took the long walk from my house in the North End to the Government Center T-Station.  I crossed a temporary bridge that went over a strip of highway – now the greenway.  I marveled over the effort it took for the crew to erect the foot bridge each morning and rebuild it every evening – in a location roughly 6 feet from where it resided in the morning.  I never found out why they did that, my cynical self said it was to ensure hefty overtime checks, but who knows.  It was however topped, when the DNC came to town, the Mayor called whatever the equivalent of a public Winston Flowers is, and pouf – a beautiful greenway dropped from the truck like magic fairy dust from the wand of a fluttery fairy.  It was beautiful.

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Love this raised bed planter, but it looks complicated.

I know that I shouldn’t want it to just arrive, no effort, no pride, no sense of ownership or accomplishment, and like that magically appearing greenway, a few days later – it was gone.  Every stone I dig up, and put into place, every bush I plant, flower I select, stone I collect on the beach is likely to be special, to be cared for, to have lasting power.

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a happy little bed at the foot of the tree trunk.

Suggestions are welcome.  I’m in unchartered tall grasses here.

Sail Into Summer: Decorator’s Pop Up Sale

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Nautical Accents galore!

Having successfully finished the design of The Manse, and completed the photo shoot last weekend – cue empty feeling.  I find myself with some free time – time, by the way, I have been begging for, and now, I’m not at all sure I want it.  As I write this I can hear my sister saying “don’t you go filling up that blank space with another activity”.  I believe she excluded learning Portuguese, buying any more real estate, or ripping the deck off my boyfriend’s house.  What a buzz kill – I mean concerned sister.

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Pillows:  Custom Designer, nautical and every day:  change up your design with a few easy accents.

When I completed the project, I found that I was surrounded by a number of beautiful pieces that either didn’t end up working in the home – think massing, style, placement, and a number that were just plain wrong, even though in another setting they would be nothing but RIGHT.

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who doesn’t need a little end table to place your cocktail on?

That got me thinking.  Here I am, storing and moving, and shuffling, and loaning, all these carefully curated – hold it – not everything is carefully, thoughtfully curated – some things simply steal my heart and scream “take me with you”, and so I do.  While I have loved these things, used many of them (gently) it is time to find them permanent homes, where they will be loved and cherished, for longer than the shutter speed of the flashy camera, that my brilliant photographer wields.

 

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A little bar, a side table, a book shelf – use your imagination – it’s beautiful.

So, together with my best friend – who has a penchant for collecting (with France being a favorite spot), and an incredibly talented, and dear friend that is an Interior Designer on Cape Cod,  we have mined the depths of our closets, storage units, barns, back offices, and shops and are bringing together an incredibly eclectic, carefully curated (this time it’s true, I promise) collection of furniture, art, pillows, lighting, accents, nautical knick knacks and more, that are bound to delight, and shine light on your interiors.

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Mid-Century Nautical – look at that in-lay detail….summer breeze.

Saturday:  8:30am – 3pm

Sunday:  9am – noon

Cape Cod Fabrics/Helen Baker Design. 94 Rt. 28 West Harwich, MA

We’ll have Rosé – so there’s really no way you shouldn’t be there.  Cash or Venmo.

 

Vaguely Vignette: creating moments that won’t last

As I prepare to have my sister’s home shot on Saturday, I have come to a number of realizations.  First, that which I have come to consider “normal” is anything but.  I have had to explain to my Father at least a half dozen times, why we were hanging paintings, photographs, signs, and the like off center, up high, down low or not at all, letting them lean casually on a piece of furniture as if I was deciding whether or not the wall above would become its permanent home.  The reason of course is…staging.  What gets framed out within the confines of the view finder looks entirely different – dare I say horribly wrong – in real life.

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Proud moment when everything came together.   I painted that console table!

In small spaces, where cameras, and tripods, jigs and jogs in the walls, eaves, and any number of less than perfectly wide-open, square spaces (like say a 1789 home that was renovated – maintaining “most” of its original integrity might have), faking the scene is critical to telling the story.

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Coasting into the shoot as if it was no big thing….

If this feels like an Is this Real or is it Memorex commercial – it sort of is.  For you younger readers, that’s a reference to a cassette tape commercial.  If you are still not with  me – look it up.  I’m thrilled that I have such young readers.  The point is, cameras cannot capture everything, despite what TMZ might lead us to believe.  There is a lot of pulling pieces into a frame, with great effort, making the dress appear as if it has been tossed on the settee, awaiting the cocktail party in just a few hours, the book lying open on the bed, having just been abandoned for a dip in the ocean.  These things are carefully manufactured.

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Flowers in a Jill Rosenwald Vase … cut scene.

I have been filling this home with furnishings and objects for coming on 6 months now.  It wasn’t until the last two weekends that I even attempted to start and set the scene.  ( I only work on this project on the weekends).  Scene setting is an exhausting endeavor.  It requires gathering hundreds of objects, some rare, some cheap but interesting, some vintage, some natural- think shells and drift wood, some art, and some others would never consider art, and pulling it all together.  Is there a secret to it?  A science?  I’m still not sure.  I try and test, remove, and replace, add and subtract, curse and commend, and eventually after a little more nudging, a tiny bit of consideration and consultation, arrive at the vignette.  Alas, the point of the story.  While I cannot show you all I have been up to, I am happy to share this one perfect moment.  Perfect, anyway, from my point of view.

 

Nod to the Nautical: Cape Cod in almost summer.

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View from the Marshside . 28 Bridge Street . East Dennis . 

It takes a long time to warm up here on Old Cape Cod.  There really is no spring, but as we await the arrival of the Easter Bunny the sun is shining, and I continue my quest to outfit my sister’s nest.  Wheee.

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Waving the Lauren Flag – “naught” bad.

Of course with the entire gang here, my plans for getting things accomplished have been turned on end.  I’ll have to work double time in the final weekend to get it all done.  My stomach drops as I think about the unthinkable – that it will never be done in time for the shoot.  It will be what it is, when the 28th rolls around, and God willing it will be enough.

 

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Schumacher.  Old Cape Cod.

I stumbled across a new store on 6A in Brewster, and as its name:  Nautique suggests, its chock a block full of nautical furnishings, fabrics, curiosities, custom signage for your home, and screen doors too.  I spend hours pouring through the fabrics, because while I love nautical, I don’t love being knocked over the head by it.  A nod here and there is enough to remind me of where I am.  I’m no Ralph Lauren after all.  Anyone that can reinvent themselves going from Lipshitz to Lauren, and creating a dynasty, can without argument do nautical to the nines.

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Stove with scallop motif.  Stunning.

How I admire his style.  At Nautique he is well represented among other designers.  This sailboat fabric from Schumacher really pulled at my heartstrings.  It feels like its from the 50’s and even though I said no to the overt, I found myself dreaming of this design as a roman or a wonderful sofa or bed pillow.  The wood stove with the scallop motif was to die for and I am trying to figure out if we can incorporate one into The Manse and at what cost – oh everything can be done if one has money….

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Mark your territory with a custom sign.