Dear Summer, please come soon.

 

Using a rock wall to turn a (normally) swampy area of the pond bank into a neat edge detail really is a clever idea –

I am not usually attracted to large pine trees (they are often planted small and forgotten and the effect is monstrous )- but these are so sculptural. Having the trees surrounded by lawn and reflected in the water is really an unusual and beautiful design although the more I stare at it I think it looks a bit like a golf course?

I LOVE undulating lawn paths that obscure your view slightly – they can make a very small area of property seem vast and magical.

images from bayberry nursery via the lovely Laurel Hedge

Rustic Farmhouse meets Scandanavian Modern

I just love the pairing of these beautiful sculptural vintage Moller chairs With a rustic farm table- Such a  beautiful combination.

Danish furniture design is definitely a big influence on my design sense. Did I ever tell you guys that my grandfather was a  mid-century designer / architect?  Below are some of his chair designs that I have photos of.  He grew up in Denmark and trained there although he had most of his career in Iceland. He designed many houses, restaurants and even the library (seen here behind the president) in Bessastaðir (the Icelandic version of the white house).  If I were to ever get a full set of his chairs for myself I think I may go for this kind of paring!

Shipping Cargo Containers as storage

via

One of the largest drawbacks of our particular property is there there are no storage structures on it. So there is no place for garden tools, storage boxes, our lawn mower, lumber, scraps, furniture projects etc… They all pile up in the demolition zone which is very crowded, messy and inefficient. I have flirted with the idea of designing and building a shed but I can’t decide where would be the best place for it to be situated on the property at this point. Shipping containers are clean modern blank slates that can be easily converted into so many different spaces – and I am thinking maybe it will be a great green option for storage. Any advice? Has anyone get a shipping container delivered to the Catskills? Does anyone have any suppliers they recommend?

 

Winter Gardening : patience, planning and research.

One of the things I find most difficult about winter is these last few months before spring. I grow restless and I crave nature – I long for greenery and the smell of warm cut grass – I daydream about doing physical backbreaking lawn work in the hot sun.

My escape this time of year though are my books on gardening. In the summer I rarely have enough time to curl up in a blanket and READ about landscaping. Now I get to look over historical gardens and learn and draw plans, and dream about how things COULD be. Above are the latest books to enter my ‘gardening library’ most of them are gifts from my my parents and siblings and I looking forward to reading them until spring comes!

Winter Project : pickled table top.

Before:

This table was at one of my favorite used furniture barns- it was 79 dollars which for upstate furniture barns was kind of pricey but I just find these tables so useful for small spaces. It was a vintage base (not however a knoll/Saarinen) but it was paired with this home-depot stock yellow pine tabletop that had an out of proportion large rounded edge.

So my first order of business was planing down the sides of the table to reduce the rounded edge to a thin lip with an angle. I left about 1/4″ of curve and it reads visually like a far thinner piece of wood (it is also far closer to what the actual vintage tabletop profile would be). The steps I used are illustrated below- I did the same thing on a smaller table that had a black base. Basically I drew two parallel lines- one line around the edge and one line on the underside of the table and using my hand-held planer I just removed the concave curve of wood in between.

At first I thought that the bare wood resembled a butcher-block and since I planned on using it in my kitchen I thought the effect would be charming. I sanded it and then used steel wool with wax until it was buttery soft. But no mater how much I tried to like it the yellowed knotty pine still bothered me. So after I trucked it down to the city I sanded off all the wax and I pickled the top with watered down white paint until it had that slightly grained almost marble-like look to it. Then I finished it off with 3 coats of polyurethane – and the result is far nicer than I started out with don’t you think?

*p.s- I forgot to say that in order to get the slight raised grain effect (not really visible in these photos) I saturated the wood table top with water and then rubbed the surface with a scrubby sponge – it kind of melts away the softer wood which makes the denser grain appear raised. It gives the new (flat) wood more of an old farmer’s table surface feel.

Week of eating in

img via beautiful things to share

So I just finished my week of eating in challenge. To some eating in may seem the norm – certainly some people seem perplexed at the ‘challenge’ . Here in NYC (the land of cheap , authentic and delicious restaurants) where I work from home – the meal out is sometimes my only link to sanity. I don’t need NYC’s fashion shows or film festivals but goodness knows it’s a hardship to give up my weekly dim sum lunch. Cathy Erway (who is ridiculously charming in person) wrote this book about her journey with eating in for 2 years – can you imagine two years without the corner pizza- the grocery rotisserie chicken , the deli toasted buttered bagel – (or my favorite restaurant destination) china town? Anyways – I haven’t read the book yet – My sister who has been chronicling her week of eating in on her blog ( just finished the book and passed it on me and now it is sitting next to me on my bed stand – but I am definitely looking forward to it!

p.s- (and I am looking forward to my boyfriend taking me out for a congratulatory meal on monday!)