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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

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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.

 

What a difference a day makes – or two

I love a weekend project.  The feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing something that I think is going to increase my enjoyment, comfort, or make me money!  There’s always that.  The making money part is a decidedly motivating factor in sacrificing a weekend – one of just 52 after all.

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There might be more than a weekends worth of work here!

Marni Elyse Katz, writer, design blogger, art collector and self-proclaimed reluctant chauffeur offers advice in this article she wrote for Coastal Living, where she called on me to ask if I had any thoughts on the matter.  Check out the article and prepare to draft your weekend plan.  It might just end up paying for your next vacation.

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Venice anyone.  Nothing says worth the effort like a ride on a boat through the canals.

 

 

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.

Mad Dash on Moving Day

Never enough time in a day, and often too much time to make decisions that would better be made in a few minutes.  I say this having no evidence whatsoever that my agonizing and indecision, my procrastination, and hemming, have resulted in any better a decision making process than those made on a spur of the moment.  Those spontaneous decisions don’t carry the weight of uncertainty, or result in costly scheduling delays.  How could they.  You simply make them.  What a novel concept.

Well it looks like I am at that point, like it or not where I will be making many a decision which are the result of months of delays, and which I could pretend to myself were made in an organic and spontaneous fashion.  If for no other reason than to make myself feel better.  This late Sunday, the decisions are exhausting.

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decisions . decisions.

I will leave the comfort of my sister’s home, and head to my new home.  I will paint the freshly painted walls with a host of new sample colors and when I awake in the wee hours of the morning, I will make a bleary eyed decision on the new living room wall color.  I simply cannot live with Alpine White, which screams yellow to me.  To name it white seems like false advertising.  Come on Ben Moore.  I thought you were on my side.

Left:  Benjamin Moore’s Calm – Right:  Benjamin Moore Vintage Taupe

I’ll shuffle down the hallway to see if I can locate a box marked bedroom, and dress my beloved bed.  We’ve only been separated a short while this time, but I miss it nonetheless. If I can’t locate it, or muster the energy to dig it out, or climb to the top of the stack and bring it down, I’ll just crawl on top of that unmade bed and close my eyes.

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Benjamin Moore . Cloudy Gray

Tomorrow is another day.

Hope you close out January strong.

It’s in the stars

I love stars.  A starry night, those charismatic figures on the big screen, America’s stars and stripes, the iconic symbol adorned on my clothing or woven into its design.  They’re so optimistic.  You can imagine why I was drawn to my horoscope, as I flipped through the pages of a fashion magazine, comfortably ensconced on my sister’s sofa, where I will be for the next few weeks….awaiting a point in time it’s permissible for me to inhabit home number 4.  My capacity for disruption is great, but I have yet to master walking on air, and my floors won’t permit footsteps until they are properly stained and fully cured.  Note to self, levitation 2018.  It really would come in handy.

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The Golden Age of Hollywood…Golden Goose VSTAR2

Back to the horoscope.  You absolutely wouldn’t believe what the Astrotwins, Tali and Ophilia Edut predicted for me – a Scorpio, in the month of February.  Here it is in its unabridged delightfulness:

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The Astro Twins!  Tali and Ophelia.

(October 23 – November 21)  In February, you’ll finally find your little patch of peace as the Sun nests in your cozy fourth house until the 18th.  Feather Chateau Scorpio into a sacred oasis – and dinner -party central.  Vibrant Venus and motivator Mars hold court in your wellness zone from the 3rd on.  This planetary pairing makes you quite industrious, so promote thyself, because a status-boosting lunar eclipse on the 10th pegs you as a force in your industry.  St. Valentine’s arrives slightly late, with the Pisces Sun on the 18th.  But his magic lingers for four weeks – and a swoonworthy solar eclipse on the 26th refreshes your romantic status in exhilarating ways!

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Not quite ready for primetime.

Did you hear that?  “my little patch of peace awaits in my cozy fourth house”.  Hello, I crave peace, and I am moving into my fourth house, and the Sun nests – Quest for the Nest, these gals are good.  I can also find no fault in being industrious, clearly I wouldn’t be moving and renovating, and decorating, and buying and selling, and running as fast as I can just to stay afloat if I did.  If I was not entirely convinced they were writing to me, and me alone, they sealed the deal with “his magic lingers for four weeks – and a swoonworthy solar eclipse refreshes my romantic status”.  What’s not to love about that.  Thanks Tali and Ophilia for giving me the planetary boost I needed, just when the gravity of my construction situation was weighing me down the most.

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Closing in on ready.

Off to contend with the floors, and find out just why Micah isn’t happy with them.  Not happy at all.

Big Talk: starting the year out…

My year feels big already.  As I look around my apartment at open cupboards and stacked boxes, the reality that I am moving again sinks in.  I’ve moved 8 times since May of 2015.  When I move this month it will be nine.  Remarkably, that is not daunting to me, but other things are.

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As I think about this new year it is hard not to look to others.  How do they begin?  I’ve noted that some look to trends in fashion, the market, real estate, color.  Some pick a single goal, and map out many achievable steps along the way, while others pick many in the hopes that one will stick.  Some revisit old lists and friends, while some vow to make new.  Some pick a word that they believe will help define their year.  Others pick one that they decide will no longer define who they are.  Resolve.  It’s a powerful thing.

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Karina Silverman and the Big Talk Movement

My good friend Julie Brown introduced me to the Big Talk Movement.  This movement was what I call – unintentional by a young girl named Kalina Silverman who was clearly intent of figuring out how to give her own life meaning.  Big Talk instead of small.  To ask and to answer is to quickly give meaning to, and understand your life and the life of others.  People fascinate, and sometimes dismay me.  Sometime you get just a few moments with someone that will leave an indelible imprint, while I recognize that I’ve known others for years, without really knowing them at all.

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Here are 5 of my favorite Big Talk Questions…

What gives you goose bumps?

Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?

What are the first things you notice when meeting someone?

What is your next great adventure?

What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?

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My color for the year is blush.  It feels young and fresh, and full of possibility.  My word is ascend.  As I step firmly out of three and up to four I get goosebumps thinking about getting closer to my goal of ten.  I would love to wake up tomorrow in my new room, having forgone the remainder of the packing!  I notice if someone looks you in the eyes, and wonder what they see.  My next great adventure is either No. 5, or something I haven’t yet conceived of.  Kindness…in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, it feels pretty special when someone takes the time to hold a door.  Happy New Year.