Serena and Lily Launches . Boston

Mary Maguire is a RISD trained artist. Based in Lyme, CT she sells her originals to a number of shops. http://www.marymaguireart.com/

or Chestnut Hill as the case may be. True to its name, and despite the bustling sales associates, and dozens of eager shoppers, the color palette of blues and grays, caramels and creams, and even a forest green, made the store serene. You know the kind of place that makes you realize you’d been holding your breath? When your foot falls on the bleached hardwood floor and you knock eyes with a wall adorned in Mary Maguire nautical watercolors, you know you’ve arrived at someplace special.

Original art abounds throughout the store.

Between Newport and Nantucket, Serena and Lily is likely to fulfill its annual projections for sales, the rich and famous flocking to this formerly catalog only company, to adorn their second, third or fourth homes.

Despite the outrageous decadence of a $60. pillow case, the simple beauty of their offerings draws one in. Some things simply have no look alike, or the look alike can’t really hold a candle to the original. In these instances I think it’s important to save ones pennies, and purchase pieces that are going to bring the most bang for the buck. Believe it or not – a pillow case does bring bang. All of the other sheets can be hidden away, but that pillow case is perched right there on top, in full view, and with all the world to admire. Pair it with a Home Goods sheet set and you’re in the money as the saying goes.

My other picks from the store have to do with my recent obsession with chairs – dining, club, slipper, lounge, diminutive or delightfully large, they have my attention. While it’s true that if you are in the hunt for high-low comparisons in the chair world, you can make a pretty good go of locating a low-priced lookalike that will work brilliantly. I would argue that even someone as obsessed with the details, as I am, could be made reasonably happy with one of these close approximations, BUT when you’ve found a particular hue that makes you beyond happy, that, you may not be able to replicate. The Tucker chair in Fog is my pick, and at just $198. it’s one of the more reasonably priced picks.

Raffia Console Table – on sale now! $848.

If I am selecting for my imaginary coastal home, the Belgian Club in Performance Pinstripe in French Blue is my pick for a living room chair, and the Blake Raffia Console – which btw is on sale for $848. from $1300. The indigo is so nautical and lovely, I can really see my room shaping up, but alas, its Sunday and errands await, bringing me back to reality. If you’re in the mood for a wonderful daydream, drop by – 200 Boylston Street . Chestnut Hill.

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.

Setting the Table

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Turkish Oushak . RH Home . Woodstock . VT.

I have looked at so many chairs they are all starting to look alike.  I fell in love with two tables – a very reasonably priced Ballard Design Trestle table, and a mid-range Dovetail Campbell table, which I was surprised wasn’t more expensive.  Why you ask?  The answer is simple – I was born with silver spoon taste.  It’s legs are turned, and have a beautiful curve, it’s finish rustic.  The combination is refined without being prissy, coastal without being kitsch.

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Ballard Design . Tatum Trestle Table . $1099.

That’s the trick.  Being suggestive without being overt.  That’s why I have spent so much time looking, looking again, second guessing, and finally making my selections.  Trust me when I tell you – mistakes will still be made.  It’s the nature of the process.  Some will be easy fixes, some will cost a disgusting amount of money to fix.  Ouch.  Those, however, are the ones I will never make again.

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Dovetail . Campbell Dining Table . $1362.50

After all that searching, I landed on chairs from the most unlikely of places.  Will I consider them a mistake.  Time will tell.  I chose a version of the Windsor Chair in a dirty blue.  High backed – arm chairs that will sit at the head of the table.  Side chairs are going to be a simple Parsons curved back chair from IKEA.  Yup.   In the end, frame plus slip cover is just $129. a piece.  The will be used most frequently.  Everyone likes to sit in the “kitchen” – since the dining room is open to that tiny, but incredibly sweet, u-shaped kitchen, I know that is where people will hang out.

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Tick Tock . Perfect accent to play off the gray.

I am going with a Cirque Pendant by Louis Poulsen.  The colors are muted – not the bright primaries you would normally think of for a seaside seeing, but the strips scream nautical and French.  What more could I want?

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Cirque . Louis Poulsen . $314.15

I imagine a red and white ticking stripe napkin, with a gray matte, metallic charger, and a rough hune string, tied loosely around the cloth.  Maybe a sprig of thyme or rosemary tucked into it for effect.  At the center of the table I would have one of Jill Rosenwald’s vases or platters.  Her pottery is perfect.  I might even go for one of her leafier patterns.  Dare to go wild.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End 

Piece by piece.  Bit by bit.  It is beginning to come together.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End .

Happy weekend.

ACKting Coy

 

Harry Benson . Berlin Kiss

Harry Benson (Scottish b. 1929)  Berlin Kiss. 40 x 50 – $16,000.

This modest little island – Nantucket – may not have the glamorous storied past of its sister island Martha’s Vineyard with its Presidential visits and star sitings galore, but it sure knows how to flirt.  From your first step off the boat or onto the tarmac she draws you into her alluring embrace.  The wink and glint of the sun off the water, the salty perfumed air, mingled with the sweet smell of Rosa Ragusa, and so begins the indelible impression she will leave.

Centre  Point . 28 Centre Street, Nantucket

Cape Cod may have my heart, but Nantucket has my soul.  Wandering the cobblestone streets, narrow, uneven, meandering – you bare witness to the island’s whaling history, to  its architectural simplicity, and its secret gardens.  The trellised roses, the hydrangea, the daisies, between the fragrant breeze and the swaying of the sea grass – its downright hypnotic.

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Starburst Mirror . John Rugge Antiques

Now you all that have been following along for some time now, know that I am a shopper.  I am an addict.  I have a deep and shamefully, uncontrolled desire to acquire beautiful things.  It’s true.  I thought in the past that by coming clean I would being a process of recovery — NO!  That hasn’t worked.  They may need to try shock therapy on me next.

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Malachite Lamp.  John Rugge Antiques 

I have worked to restrain myself, but the baubles and benches, and brass mirrors, the brushed cotton covered slipper chairs, and bent wood mid-century tables – the unending array of beautiful things – ah, they lure me back in, whittle their way into my dreams, and no amount of resisting will work once that happens.  It’s destiny.  See how deep seated this problem of mine is.

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Garden Bench at Bodega – $250.

I am working on it, and have decided that if you all help me by snapping up some of the amazing things I find along the way, I can console myself with the knowledge that your home will be made more special with something I helped you discover.

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Happy Saturday.

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.

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.