Sale-ing Away to a new location

 

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Sun filled living room.  tall ceilings . low floors.  painted in Benjamin Moore’s Sand Dollar.

You might have guessed with all this talk of rental properties that I had something beside a post up my sleeve.  Well I do, this is the first time that I have written about – in the moment that is – a property that I have on the market.  It went on Wednesday night.  This is a particularly stressful time for me.  I question everything – even the things, that to an outsider – are so clearly good things.  For the next two months I’ll be on pins and needles, right up until the moment my Lawyer Sarah tells me the sale has been recorded in Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.  Then I can breath again.  Two months is a long time to hold your breath, trust me, I don’t recommend it.

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Custom Kitchen cabinets with brass hardware and carera countertops and backsplash.

It started out as a one bed, but has been converted to two.  Apartment living is all about proportion.  Large can feel small and small can feel expansive.  As the French say- ca depend.  Layout, ceiling heights, even the angle and the swing of the door can make a huge difference in the livability of a space.  Of course some things are entirely out of your control (like the sale of this condo and the ceiling heights you are given to work with) other things like the geometry class of a door layout which allows the bedroom doors to swing in and miss the queen size beds that lie within, are entirely within your control.  It’s this bit of genius that make the pint size unit (708SF) worth every penny of the asking price.  It’s two real bedrooms, not a bed and a half, not a bedroom for a baby with a crib, not a “bonus space” it’s a bedroom.  It’s also quite a nice feature that I refer to as the “bow of the boat”.  The doors form a point at the end of the hall, from the ceiling at that point hangs a perfect little pendant lighting the way to your state room.  Charmont, if I do say so myself.

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Dining nook with custom table in grasscloth and Farrow and Ball Lotus Wallpaper.

It’s in the Eight Streets, a prized neighborhood within the South End neighborhood for it’s proximity to some of the best restaurants the SE has to offer.  Snuggled between Tremont and Shawmut Avenues, there is only one street within the eight that extends beyond these two streets and acts as a thoroughfare – that’s Waltham – lived there in case you are wondering.  Why would anyone care about this you ask?  Quiet.  It’s a quiet street, across from the park, a street that might make you think your in the suburbs, and that my friends is worth gold.  Some of which I am asking you to part with for the privilege of living here.

Other selling points include the design – why trouble yourself over it when you can just move right in and start entertaining.  Everything is for sale and no one said you couldn’t, or shouldn’t buy a refined living environment, most certainly not me.  Then there is the fact that it’s parlor level, just three steps up into the building.  It’s across the street from the Ringold Park where the sounds of children’s laughter and the gentle splash of water from the fountain make their way with the breeze into your living room.  There’s the shared garden oasis tucked away in the back for bbq’ing, sipping coffee and reading the paper, or a glass of wine by the fire after a long day at work.  City living…this could be you.

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Tucked away behind the building you wouldn’t even know you were in a city.

Come for a visit:  3 Hanson Street, Apt. 1, Boston – Buy and stay for as long as you like.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love: Finding a way

Money…what a disdainful word.  I sometimes love it, sometimes hate it, and often live in fear I won’t have enough of it.  This is all normal.  Everyone must make choices, decisions, look longingly at an item, or a destination that must wait for another time.  This longing is a good thing.  It forces you to ask why you want something (in my case it’s typically because it’s beautifully designed),  and it keeps me up at night, devising ways in which I might obtain said object, or falling into a fitful sleep where I dream I own it. That about sums up my obsessiveness in a nutshell.

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Amir Khamneipur’s . Gold Table

Unrequited love got me thinking about this.  A few months back I read House Beautiful’s edition about small spaces.  They featured an interior designer’s home in Manhattan.  Just 700SF.  Amir Khamneipur’s home is exactly the home I would craft if I had that kind of money.  It’s so clever, it’s a grey goddess of color beauty, and it’s accented by mirrors, and metallics.  I am a big fan of all.  It features a gold dining table with a powder coated base in off white.  It’s heaven, and I have been like a lovesick teenager doodling images of it on the pages of my notebooks, expressing my adoration at every turn, and finding a way to bring it up, casually in conversation.  Ugh, a fool for love.

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www.thechroniclesofhome.com – Jen’s DIY Grasscloth coffee table.

This table is in fact, one of Mr. Khamneipur’s own designs.  You can buy it.  This tiny little bit of a table, just 2 feet wide by 44 inches long, runs at a cool $7900.  Well that price made my love go stone cold.  The table is too small for even my little dining nook.  If I am completely honest I had a moment of total insanity when I contemplated getting two to fill the space.  Please!  It clearly was not meant to be.  Fate has a plan for me, and it’s not Amir’s table.

Left:  Grasscloth Wallpaper . Wallpaper Direct  Right:  Benjamin Moore’s Peach Cloud

I got to thinking about customizing a piece that will appropriately fit the space.  I do want that gold top, but the logistics and timing, not to mention the cost, had me considering another option altogether.  What about grasscloth?  How hard could it be to do make one on your own?  Surely, there must be someone out there that does just this thing.  Well in fact there is.  I found a gal who has a blog called The Chronicles of Home.  Jen even lives locally.  Now she is a DIY’er, and I am not.  I like to say – “You Can Do it….I can help”!  Jen made her own custom grasscloth covered coffee table.  Quite lovely.  She riffed on a World’s Away Design, covering the base in grasscloth as well.  Me, I plan to have my Dad construct the table, and my wall covering expert paper it.  Once it’s papered I plan to run two fat gold metallic stripes down the center with a peach stripe crisply inserted between the two before I varnish the whole thing.  I may paint the legs gold too instead of covering them in the grass cloth.

Left:  Ralph Lauren’s Metallic Gold Paint Right:  Farrow and Ball’s Lotus Wallpaper.

Love should be willing to meet you at least half way, don’t you think?  Happy Home Adventures.

 

 

Work in Progress: me and everything I do

There’s something so reassuring about knowing I am not finished.  I understand many people like closure.  I know they want some defined moment that says, “I’ve arrived” or “I’m done…finally”.  Life rarely presents perfect moments, so for me, knowing that I can get better, do better, learn something that I’ll apply the next time, is both gratifying, and comforting.  I don’t have to beat myself up for falling short, for not having the right words just when I needed them, for not knowing the sequence, the consequences, the heartbreak.  Oh we type A’s can be tough on ourselves.

A good decision.  Installation of an original South End door…Perfect.

I attempt to preemptively prepare for this – I do it with varying degrees of success.  Today, I know that I got some things wrong.  We boarded before we had the electrician wire – mistake.  We painted the kitchen cabinets before we ripped out the countertops –  mistake.  We are still in the process of negotiating AC, and will have to enclose before we have approval – delay – additional cost.  I’ve spent hundreds of dollars sampling colors for the new place.  If anything is certain, despite my best efforts, one or more of the colors I select, will not turn out the way I intended.

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Finding my way….Galbraith & Paul Fabric and Farrow and Ball Lotus Wallpaper with Benjamin Moore Paint Samples

C’est la vie.  Note to self, don’t do that again.  There will be another opportunity.  While I will surely make new errors in judgement, and come across situations I hadn’t been faced with before, they will be new, and I will learn from them too.  Sometimes these lessons feel like a black eye, and sometimes they feel like a gift.

Left:  Dove White  – Right:  Cloud White, Benjamin Moore

This tiny little Hanson Street property feel like a gift, even if I do have dark circle under my eyes.  It is going to be a petite bijou – a little jewel, and what gal doesn’t love jewelry?  No gal, I know.  My charming little bedrooms are going to be havens – the corridor leading you to the a perfectly aligned point, each door installed at an angle.  My not so subtle reference to the bow of a boat.  My need to express my coastal upbringing ever-present in my design.

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.”  John Ruskin

Left:  Lavender Blue.  Right Top:  Violet Mist.  Right Bottom:  Whirlpool – all Benjamin Moore…it’s the best!

Cheers to vitality.  Apparently I have a lot of it!

Tone Deaf: neutrals that sing pretty

Neutral isn’t exactly a melodic word.  I’m afraid for many it elicits feelings of the lukewarm, of the refined, of the boring.  However will I scale that steep hill of prejudice and ensure that my new space is happily sophisticated?

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White, cream, tan, brown, grey, and black are all essential neutrals.  They are not necessarily quiet, as is evidenced by black and white combinations, or dark chocolate and a cool stark white, but they can be.  Warm creams, paired with tan or taupie grays, and whites that incorporate trace amounts of the primary colors – Red, Yellow, and Blue, and your secondaries – Green, Orange, and Purple, create the subtlest undertones.  I know this, and I know which neutrals sing the prettiest tunes to me, so why am I denying myself the sweet sound of gray?  I love it.  I am hypnotized by it.  This is not poetic license to sell a point.  I literally become entranced, and am calmed by gray spaces.  For me it is the perfect cool compress to a heated day.

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Amir Khamneipur’s Manhattan Apartment . House Beautiful.            Heaven to me! 

The reason is simple.  When I started this quest, I promised myself that every nest would be different.  Now I suppose I could have sold a book about ten gray, one bedroom condos, but even writing it sounds a little boring to me.  So number four is going to be cream and white in the living area, some variation of sage green or slate blue in the kitchen.  The bedrooms are still to be determined.

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I would be lying if I said this palette didn’t make my chest tighten a bit.  My breathing become a little shallower.  Who would have guessed that something so bland could initiate a panic attack?  Don’t worry, I won’t pass out.  With my new Stephanie Shank Painting as my point of focus, with all its beautiful peaches, and sea foams, sky blues, and purple hues, I can feel the rosiness returning to my cheeks.  I’ll get through this, and I know just how I’ll do it.

Benjamin Moore’s:  Left . Paisley Pink.  Right Top . Tissue Pink . Right Bottom . Wild Aster.

Accent colors will play an important role in this new home.  In keeping with the soft whistle of a tune I am creating, the shades will be pastel.  Pinks, violets, pale blues, and greens are all getting serious consideration at this stage.  To give it a little edgy interest I will throw metals in the mix, perhaps a brass legged coffee table, brass hardware throughout, fabrics of varying textures for those that feel the need to touch everything…like me.  Ah ha, it’s feeling more interesting by the moment.

Left . Oly Studio’s Diego Cocktail Table . Right Top . Schumacher’s Najang . Right Bottom . Knoll’s Boucle Classic Fabric in Cream.

Painted Into a Corner

Ever feel like that?  Wondering to yourself how it was possible you didn’t see where this thing was going?  Seven minutes, a floor plan no one can, or will verify, an inadequate video, and a few pictures cribbed from the on-line posting.  That’s what I have to go on by way of making my design decisions.  Oh – it’s ill advised to do it this way.  Mistakes will be made, unnecessary expense paid.  Why wasn’t I born with that patience gene?

Option 1:  An asymmetrical built-in in the living room which would house my enormous television or a decorative plaster wall.

These are questions I often ask myself and clearly I am unwilling to change.  I will be designing it before I have the keys and can sit quietly in the middle of the living room and figure out why the space feels so small when it’s got such great volume.  12 foot ceilings are pretty grand.  Is it the size of the windows, the standard doors which are a little too wide and not quite tall enough, or are there simply not enough squares in my corner?  I’ve lived in spaces far smaller than 708 feet.  In my experience these questions get answered in dramatic aha moments when you are finally given time to be in the new home.

Option 2:  Keep it clean and simple.  Left:  Benjamin Moore – Chantilly Lace (cool)  Right:  Benjamin Moore – Swiss Coffee (warm).

These moments are sustaining.  This gal can’t be expected to only experience the type of aha that comes along with an unforeseen conditions report, followed by a change order, a schedule delay, and if you are me, tears of frustration.  Some of it has to be good, and much of it is.  That’s the news I would like to share today.  Remember, paint is cheap.  If you do find yourself in that corner, as I often have, just sit tight.  Let it dry, walk right over that problem, and start again.  It’s not finding yourself in the corner that presents the challenge.  It’s not exercising the muscle that let’s you find your way out.

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Farrow and Ball . Lotus

Option 3:  Paint and select accent wall for the use of this sophisticated wall covering.

You see what I just did there?  Gave myself permission to make lots of mistakes.  It’s Sunday.  Absolution abounds – if you are prone to similar mishaps, just remember, some corners are cozy.