A Little Mushroom Will Do You….

The things I still don’t know.  I’ve barely scratched the surface.  Today I learned about Mushroom Wood.  I’d never even heard of such a thing before.  I’ve encountered all sorts of woods in my quest.  Oak and Walnut, Pear, and Zebra, Mahogany, and Pine and so many other varieties in-between, but Mushroom Wood – I said with a healthy dose of disbelief, no foot of mine had fallen on any such surface.

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Stone wood Products . Dennis . MA 

As it turns out, I wasn’t entirely right or wrong.  Mushroom would isn’t a specific wood.  It’s actual make-up is either Hemlock and/or Cypress  – both soft woods.  I am not sure where they fall on the Janka scale, but suffice to say, they are somewhat malleable.

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Mushroom Wood . Look at that grain…so pretty.

These woods are used for bedding bins in which mushrooms are grown.  During the growing cycle the enzymes digest and erode the soft wood.  This makes the wood appear as if its the bed of a river, eroded by the running water.  The pattern is unique and beautiful.  The color is a rich caramel.

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Crickets investigating the wood.

It’s particularly amazing because it looks historic.  Next to the hand hune beams it looks authentic.  This is important as we augmented The Manse with some Mushroom wood to provide some visual interest, and continuity.  We are at a point in the design where the details make all the difference.  The space looks clean and quite beautiful, but there is a point in any construction project that you can go to far – a mon avis.  If you aren’t able to maintain a few original components – we were here – then adding them back in, give a space some warmth.  Makes if feel like a home that one could actually live in.  This is the goal – at least for me.

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Bring a little authenticity to your refreshed environment.

Pedicure: paint a little happy under toe

The Manse just had beautiful Hickory hardwood installed in the downstairs, and the hallway of the upstairs.  The hardwood that is original to the home in the two upstairs bedrooms it was determined, would remain.  Having never been refinished, they are substantial enough to withstand a serious sanding, and could then be refinished, but I think that after a good buffing, and the right shade of paint, they will look pretty spectacular.

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Hoxton Hotel . Paris

I am a fan of painting floors.  I’ve painted on new hardwood that I just had installed, and on floors that have seen better days.  There is something that feels coastal about a painted floor – though distressed and casual is not the look I am going for in this instance.  I’ll ask for the finish to be high gloss.  This small upstairs bedroom, with it’s twin beds, deserves to have a little drama.

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Benjamin Moore . Bridal Rose

The walls are going to be painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bridal Rose – a color that I am fond of, and which made an appearance in No. 2 in my bedroom.  It’s so subtle most people don’t see that it’s pink.  It’s sophisticated, not girly and that suits me too.

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A little worn, but they’ll be good as new.

I want to pair it with a hue that resembles this seating area in The Hoxton Hotel in Paris. It’s dark and a bit muddy or moody and that appeals.  If you happen to know the name and maker, please do tell.  I plan to email the hotel and inquire.  There will be no moldings in the house, so I will plan to paint the floor, the base and the interior doors in the hue.

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A slick and sophisticated look.

Think preppy, but all grown up.  Fingers crossed I get the approval I am looking for.  I’ve been told I can do a single room – anyway I want.  I am hoping that wasn’t followed by a …. as long as I love it too.  I think in the end, it will meet the approval of the Owner.

Happy Sunday.

Perception: What others see

It’s a funny thing.  How others regard us, and to what extent we allow that view to shape our actions, to determine who we become.  I’m obsessed with this new movie that’s being released in a few lucky cities across the country…Lady Bird. It’s Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, and tells the story of a coming of age gal, working to figure out who she is, in the face of many people that seem to have decided for her, what she is, or is not going to become.  In speaking to one of the nuns in her catholic school she proclaims her interest in being a Math Olympiad, to which the nun responds – “but you’re not terribly good at math.”  Lady Bird’s brilliant quip – “that we know of …. yet”, to me expresses an admiral defiance.

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Hanson Street before the start of construction.

That we know of yet – is what keeps me going.  I get asked frequently – “what number are you on now?”.  I’m on number 4.  A good number of people believe I’ve been on number 4 for far too long.  For those of you keeping track, I just passed the one year mark in this place, and for the record, it feels like a long time to me too.  They ask me if I think I’m going to make it to 10.

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Digging in.

 

Activity, forward momentum, I thrive on motion.  Sitting still is not easy for me.  Sit I must though in order to ensure my plan moves forward thoughtfully.  As interested in achieving 10 as I am, and believe me when I tell you – I want that gold star for my dust covered effort, but I cannot lose site of the fact that I am not just building homes, I’m trying to built a stable financial future for myself.

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Making it my own.

When all of the sawdust clears, and I turn the lights out, take a last look around, close and lock the door on 10, the real goal is to have a million in the bank account.  I’ve never been very good at math….I could stand to channel a little Lady Bird….that we know of … yet.

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Sitting impatiently waiting for 5.

If only it were Black and White

I love black and white.  It feels so clean and graphic, but doesn’t necessarily scream coastal.  My challenge today is to find a way to make it feel right at home in this Cape Cod bath.  I have a few additional non-negotiables including a black countertop on the white vanity, white subway tile and a driftwood inspired ceramic tile which will comprise the floor material.

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My inspiration

I’ve been pushing for shiplap on one of the walls in the bath.  I like the paneled look, and it feels very beachy.  I would paint this white, Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls or Decorator’s White.  I would be accented with black hardware from Schoolhouse Electric, and an oil painting to bring a bit of color to the space.

Left:  Shades of Light – Young House Love Dapper Sconce $75.  Right:  Wayfair Hickory Manor House Regency Convex Mirror $335.99

The vanity wall, which is very small would also be painted in the chosen Ben Moore White.  The mirror and the sconces will be black to tie into the countertop.  The mirror I have chosen is a convex Regency – nautical without being too obvious.  Sconces feel the same, like they belong in a coastal setting but not in a contrived manner.

Left:  Schoolhouse Electric Nicolai Towel Bar – True Black  $129.  Right:  Schoolhouse Electric Galley Pull – True Black $34.

To soften the overall look, I’ll fight hard to paint the ceiling in Benjamin Moore’s Nickel Gray, and add the tiniest oriental rug to keep it from being too stark.

Left:  Benjamin Moore’s Nickel  Right:  Gray grout with white subway tile – POP!

Finally, the subway tile will be oriented vertically instead of horizontally to give it a little pizazz, and finished with a gray grout to transform the overall look into something really special.

Seaside sophistication.

World of Color Confusion: picking the palette take 2

So as predicted, Jo-Jo shot down the color selection I so carefully made with a NO!  Not even a kind, no, no et non.  Just NO!  I don’t want gray and Nantucket Red is too muted.  The only other hint of a direction she’s given me is she wants the navy blue whale wallpaper I found on Instagram over a year ago, and I can no longer track down.  Of course, she is adamant about that paper.  It was very cute.  She has a playful side – she likes a little tongue in cheek whimsy.  I’m not trying to deny it to her.  The Manse should be an expression of her personality…but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I keep presenting alternatives, to which she responds…NO…I want the whale paper.  This may require divine intervention, or at  the very least inspiration.  Help!

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The Chronicles of Home always has such beautiful style.

The plastering is complete and now I really need to pick the colors.  I’ve turned to Instagram thinking I would find a clear direction, but while I many primary colors my natural inclination is to move toward softer hues. I fear if I mix it up too much, it will be a hot mess.  Some of the colors should remain in the rainbow, don’t you think?

Cory Connor Designs right – gets an A+ for painting the baseboard and the molding in hot pink.  One Kings Lane displays an array of colors that look beautiful together.

Left:  Schumacher wall covering is the color palette I typically gravitate toward.  Right:  Is Christopher Farr’s wall covering that I am dying for.

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The Every Girl . simply perfect uncomplicated beauty.

While I I still really love the kelly green, I have a feeling that it’s just a trend and my affection for it will pass.  While paint is the least expensive, and most impactful of your styling options, it still costs money and requires a fair amount of disruption to change it.  With that in mind, I’d like to get it right the first time.

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My Bella Storia . who doesn’t like a polka dot?

In my search for that dang whale wallpaper, I came across quite a lot of inspiration.  I only hope that one, or a combination of several of these will illicit a resounding YES – see, just like I told you…..

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OKL . I LOVE PINK.

Happy Sunday.

 

 

 

Join The Club:

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A Nantucket Institution, The Club Car has undergone a transformation that has created a stir in more than the kitchen.  Generally speaking, people don’t like change.  Me, I am so habitually acclimated to disruption that while I might not always embrace it, but I accept it.  I was sad to learn that not everyone has warmed this latest iteration of The Car.

It’s storied history began in 1881 when Nantucket developed its first rail service in support of its burgeoning tourist industry.  Modest in size, just two open air passenger cars, named Dionis after the wife of island’s settler, Tristram Coffin.  The train first went out to Surfside and later Sconset.  The service ran for 36 years until it was supplanted by the automobile.

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Main Dining Room

The rail car, first stood alone at its new location on One Main Street, and served as a diner.  Later the restaurant expanded, connecting to larger building, becoming the restaurant and piano bar that serves as the current day memory most hold dear.  Keys banging, drinks splashing, the sound of Piano Man carried out the door and down the street on the hot breeze of a summer night.  Add in a hangover, and you’ve got powerful memories of place.

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Additional bar seating adjacent main dining.

Under new ownership, its the design that drew me in and had me crushing hard.  Tharon Anderson, of Tharon Anderson Design, a native Nantucketer, is responsible in part, for the transformation.  The co-mingling of her coastal roots, with the historic tones of the original cars interior are a far cry from the blood red enclave that preceded it.  I love the high gloss paint that glints and sparkles like stars in the night sky on the car’s dome.  The brass scones that line the interior in the form of a hand grasping a torch, the brass pipe fittings that hold the shelves of old fashioned glasses, and the industrial light fixtures that are a major feature of the main dining room’s design.  Garden elements pop up in art work, and hanging planters.  Pale blue leather seating – some of the most comfortable I have seen a restaurant dare to install, least their patrons refuse to leave, create an airiness to the overall space that is powerfully hypnotic.

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The piano remains a fixture of the restaurant and patrons can lend their voice to performances twice daily – certain songs will cost you dearly, so select carefully.  The food however diverges from the well worn track its predecessor laid.  The Chef chose a largely gluten free menu, and a serious farm and fish to table commitment that drives the dishes.

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Luscious leather seating invites patrons to relax.

Like a train chugging down the tracks, mindful consumption has a momentum that is changing the way we eat.  I like Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska as much as the next guy or gal, but I really like the vitality and energy I get from eating clean.  The new Club Car is a breath of fresh air.  Given the chance, I bet your fall in love all over again.

 

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

fish scale

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.