The Why’s Have It

People – you know, friends, relatives, acquaintances, you, if you know me, ask, tell, or inquire, in a somewhat perplexed, searching for understanding kind of way, why I do what I do. I’m glad for the curiosity. I want you to know why I buy, and sell, pack, move, repeat, live in sawdust, out of suitcases, and a seemingly endless state of chaos. Aside from the somewhat contradictory truth, that I am a control freak, and all that disruption can appear to the casual bystander, as a cataclysmic mayhem, it is designed to bring just the opposite. That’s right, it’s designed to bring me control, in a world that is largely out of my control.

A little piece of the South of France, this modest painting, picked up in Nice at the Flea Market is one of my favorite pieces. Paired with an antique dresser, Kate Spade Lamp, and set against Ben Moore’s Bridal Rose it really pops. Photography @curtona

Sure things happen along the way that I hadn’t counted on (also known as things out of my control), but each time I learn something new, file away a truth about real estate, which to my mind, it the realest, most sure investment you can make, and in so doing, I take back a little more of the control, I thought I had lost, but probably never possessed in the first place. Have I confused you yet? Action is agency, and agency is all about exerting power. When I am drowning in self-doubt over how I got myself into one mess or another, I remind myself, that it can be figured out, that I am not the first person to encounter water spraying in through a conduit, into my tiny bedroom, like a fire house let loose on a three alarm inferno. No, if fact, someone else out there has done it, solved it, and lived to tell about it, and when I find that person, or the dozens of others that have had similar experiences, and bow to their infinite wisdom, with desperation and reverence, I am almost always granted the benefit of their experience.

Worried that you won’t be able to incorporate it into your City apartment – don’t be. See it done with effectiveness and flare above.

To most people my confession that desperation is what compels me, feels like a comedic line I’ve honed to illicit a laugh. While I am never afraid to employ a little self-deprecation into a tale I am weaving, I can assure you, this is a bold-faced truth. My survival instinct is incredibly strong, it is in fact this desperate need for security that keeps me moving through some of the less comfortable moments of my existence, but there are secondary and even tertiary reasons I do what I do. I’m complex, and am still working on figuring myself out, so you’ll have to forgive me.

This pastel brushed beauty above the bed was found at a second Nice Flea Market and depicts of all things, pigeons. I adore it.

Design and travel – I’m not sure in which order I place them, are compelling reasons for my constant motion. All this moving and flipping has afforded me the opportunity to do both, and for that, I would argue, the sawdust in my shoe, and other unmentionable places, is worth it.

Louis XVI Side Chairs.

On this Sunday, I don’t know when I will be able to travel again, but it has me thinking about one of my favorite European destinations, the South of France, where for me, inspiration abounds. The pace is slower, languid, indulgent, and bright with promise.

Provence . Tile . Available on Chairish.

The dusty heat rises up off the fields that are littered with purveyors of antiques – cast away by a generation more interested in modern wares, than Louis XIV commodes, and Bergere chairs. Paintings, silver, tile – broken and chipped but in the most beautiful blue hue you can imagine, transport me to a white washed, sun soaked veranda over looking a pool. Can you see it?, the interior rim, edged in this sublime ancient key fret design….drop on in, the water is warm.

19 Century French Wood Painted Mirror.

Townies: The Manse gets its make-over

Above: Exterior – White Cedar shingles, Door’s in Nantucket Red. Side deck, Home Goods Garden Stool, Restoration Hardware – Malibu Collection.

Since the 70’s its been a law office, a sometimes summer dwelling, a retreat from other major renovations, a spa, a home to more than a few spiders, and seen its fair share of paint and paper. It waited patiently, frankly with far more patience than I myself possess, for its day in the sun.

I would say all the waiting was worth while. The Manse, finally finished, gained a few inches in height, spread her wings a little to make room for a first floor suite of sorts, and a proper foundation – if you are going to build a nest, you really must have a solid foundation. It’s a miracle the old dame lasted as long as she did, sitting so indignantly on the dirt, but 230 years later, she landed in the pages of the Boston Globe Magazine.

Now owned by my youngest Sister, Jo-Jo put the architecture in the hands of my father, and the interior design in my hands – who else. The results are what I refer to as “cozy coastal”. The article provides details of the space, but just a few photos, so here is a bigger glimpse into the results my biggest project to date.

Resources and Additional Images to follow.

She had it in Spades: Ode to Kate

Bubbly, sunny, joyful style.  She had an aesthetic that danced point, and playful sophistication.  Her fashion style brought a little Holly Golightly to the office, and who couldn’t benefit from a tiara at the Monday morning meeting?

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Her home was a cacophony of color, a gallery of fine art, and fancifal finds, of child’s drawings, and family photos, and beautiful prints, stripes, polka dots and layers upon layers of texture that might make you tired if they didn’t make you so darn happy.

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That art, those pillows, that expression…

My very first Kate Spade was a black and white gingham check bag, in one of her original shapes.  I carried that bag around until the fabric was threadbare and the dirt made it a little more gray than white.  Still, I wouldn’t have replaced it for the world.  Others did follow, there was a leopard print, and a satin back pack, there were clutches and weekenders, make-up cases, and suitcases, and pretty dresses in between.

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That was the print featured on my Nantucket Weekender!

In retrospect I have to believe that Jenna Lyons was a fan – all those statement necklaces, fur capes, and sparkly party skirts paired with a work shirt, a la Fifth Avenue, or a work shirt straight from the trenches.  The juxtoposition seemed to work coming from these gals.  If they put it together – it undoubtably WENT together.

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My dream kitchen.

Even her freckles gave her a relatability that I respected.  They weren’t bleached out with expensive creams, her face wasn’t lifted ten ways from Sunday, and she wasn’t a NYC waif.  She was a classic beauty because she put care into her appearance and she shown.

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graphic with a splash of color.

I feel like the theft of my Kate Spade for Steamline Luggage, along with my satin make-up case, the metal tagged zipper long ago broken from forcing one too many tubes of lipstick into the little case,  was a foreshadowing of what was to come. I had that make-up case for nearly 20 years.  I’ve written about that Steamline case so often I feel as if my blog should be entitled: Carry-on: One Gals Travels with her Kate Spade for Steamline- instead of Quest for the Nest.

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Wherever the mood took her.

I spent a whole decade carrying a weekender back and forth to Nantucket.  It’s iconic print, and pretty neo-pink and kelly green stripes seemed just the pop of preppy required for the island, and made me feel super special.  I think I’ll pull it out of the closet.  It’s as lovely as it was the day I spent more than I could afford to buy it.  It was an investment as my sister Mary Beth would say, and sometimes, material things can bring you happiness.

Thank you for that Kate.

Ode to More than a Piece of Luggage

This weekend I visited NYC to take in Hamilton, listen to some Jazz at the Blue Note, eat some good food, and generally enjoy Manhattan in the not so springy springtime.  My suitcase did not join me for the trip.  Somewhere between the vestibule and the trunk it went its own way – ending our association.

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Kate Spade for Streamline Luggage

I said it was fine, that its just a material thing, not my good health, or the loss of someone you love, or something truly tragic like living in the middle of the country and not being able to smell the salt in the air, and take a dip in the ocean, where truly all your ailments seem to vanish away.  Nothing that catastrophic, and still it’s left me a little melancholy.

Dallas . TX Top at Blue Print Store.  Bottom Left:  Cape Cod, Middle:  Farmhouse Pottery, Woodstock. VT, Right:  Hermes Pop-up . Nashville . TN

My Kate Spade for Steamline Carry-on had been a lot of places with me.  I bought it just after I sold my first home – that was three homes ago, and at least a half dozen rentals.  It had been to Paris three times, to the South of France, to Venice, Croatia, Bosnia, Switzerland, and Costa Rica.  It had been to Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, New York, DC, Illinois, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and probably a few states in between.

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The Club Car. Nantucket . MA

It was my constant Cape Cod companion, and adored Nantucket though it pretended to have no favorite.

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J’adore . Dior . Paris . France – Les Arts Decoratifs

Perhaps it grew tired of never be fully unpacked – not being allowed to breath.  Maybe it had some bad jeu-jeu like this rash that won’t seem to leave me alone.  Maybe I should consider it a ritualistic cleansing?  Do you suppose the same could be true of my adorable little Chanel booties – the ones that could carry me at a fast pace trot through the city with nary a complaint from me or the boot.  And what of my leather pants, and my beloved faux fir Gucci knock off slippers from Target?  What about them?

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Croatia.

That’s enough now – it’s enough.

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Water Taxi to Splendid Hotel . Venice . Italy – my Steamline was right beside me.

I had a beautiful weekend – even if I did have to wear the same clothes the whole time.  Sometimes you’ve just got to call a Spade a Spade – I’ll carry on….wink, wink.  See, I still have my sense of humor.  I never pack it, it should always be readily available.

Happy Sunday.

Hedging Your Bet: Versatile bedding that travels

In the summertime I basically live out of a suitcase.  Granted, it’s a very pretty suitcase with it’s silky, poppy bow tie interior, a la a Kate Spade and Steamline collaboration, but it’s still a suitcase that sits in the doorway of my second bedroom awaiting its next destination.  For me, it’s no problem.  My life in sawdust has me living out of suitcases even when it’s not summer.  I am acclimated to the versatility that is required to make oneself at home, whether it’s your home or not.

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Hedgehogs Portable Mattresses . $375.

I wish I could say that I adapt to my varied sleeping conditions with as much nonchalance as I do the traveling part of my existence, but never having been a great sleeper, I like my bed, its pillows, my sheets, the blankets, and all the other accoutrements that lend themselves to a restful sleep, or at the very least give you something beautiful to look at as you lie awake.

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Lyford Seersucker Throwbed . green

Cue French obsession.  I have long admired the French’s interesting custom of placing what appears to be a version of a featherbed, on top of the fitted sheet, and calling it done.  Very practical when making the bed in the morning, but not quite enough for me.  Since I love a coverlet, with all it’s smooth sleekness, I want that, and a top sheet so I can stick my toe in the corner when it wants to shake all the energy that’s still hopping around inside of me – out.  There is something so relaxed and elegant all at the same time about this floating cozy cloud that sits atop all the other bedding that I fell hard for.

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Metallic Throwbed in Mt Blanc

Low and behold, didn’t I just spy these beauties in one of my favorite South End stores – Willey Boston.  Now they are not French – they are produced here in the US – LA specifically, and I love the fact that Beatta Henrichs Lieb started making them out of her garage – Hedgehouse was born….and later having her very good friend and ex-MTV Executive join the company to support its growth.  Though they don’t say it, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are in fact influenced by this French custom.

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Toulouse Throbbed in Red.

The concept of a portable mattress that you can take anywhere, and lay your head down in comfort and style is brilliant.  I don’t just want one, I want a half dozen.  They will be perfect in The Manse.  Jo-Jo will make me buy them myself, but it’ll be worth it.  Sometimes knowing what your heart desires is more than half the battle.

Sleep tight this Sunday night.