image Henri Matisse‘s Odalisque in Red Trousers from Musée de l’Orangerie

Domino book of Lili Diallo apt

My youngest sister (straight from her freshman year of as a film student) is visiting with us this week – and this afternoon we started to discuss her plans for rearranging her old room – she had an idea of making a dividing screen with bright patterns ala matisse and pulled up the painting on my computer above to illustrate her idea – while opened up my domino book to what I thought she wanted. Amazing how the same ideas keep coming around :)

Simple Elegant Fence

I am always on the quest for the right type of fence – not too modern – or complex – or fussy – or suburban – and not kitschy country. It is hard trying to plan for a fence that is practical but doesent block the view – decorative but not distracting – clean but not too modern…

I love the proportions of the fence below – the post have a very subtle decorative effect that hints at a finial – and I love how thick and solid all the rails look. Also I love that this fence employs a dense grid web to make it critter proof – but the horizontal rail capping makes it look far more decorative and intended.

image from Garden Design Magazine – photo by Jason Dewey


Last night i watched Lying 2006 on netflix instant play ; I recommend it if you are longing for a stylish country weekend and your taste runs occasionally toward the indie ( warning : it is a bit like an extended music video with no music.) The film follows the happenings on a weekend in upstate NY (it was shot in Pine Plains and Millerton NY) when three guests slowly realize their host played by Chloe Sevigny is a pathological liar. I once had the experience of being friends with a serial liar for a year and I remember how shocking it was to realize that the slightly fantastical world I thought she inhabited was mostly fiction.

The dialogue at certain points is excruciatingly bare (there was no script) but it added to what I think was the intended uneasy mood of the film. I suspect this film isn’t about dialogue – it is more is about the space in between and the tension of being on a weekend excursion with people you realize you don’t actually know. The production design and the flow-y stylish costumes that the actors wear along with their stilted conversations drive home the haunting mood. One aspect I found incredibly lovely in this film is the way they used real time and real light to highlight moments – the sunsets, sunrises, tree shadows, dusk, dark evening, blindingly bright mid afternoon sun are all evocatively celebrated.

That said I loved the spotless house most of all – Below are some shots.

A shot of the first dinner – do you notice the stylish white dansk pot on the waxed farmhouse table ? The whole meal I wondered about whether the characters would have carried the table and chairs outside themselves for this meal as they are obviously not outside furniture. This is also one of the only times they show the red metal roofs

The front porch and the way the low retaining wall frames the wide gravel path

Another shot this time from the morning you can see how the gardening is minimal and slightly wild.

Side view from the front porch

I love the way the porch foundation extends to frame the flattened lawn – notice the way the wall turns into steps to the right?

These are the steps show here from the other side (see how they meet the natural hill?)

A bedroom with closets that make small window seats.

Kitchen with a window seat breakfast nook in the window bay to the right

The living room – with french doors on both sides this room connects the two wings of the house. (I love the modern fireplace here)

The connecting wing from the exterior

The wide steps that meet the french doors in the connecting wing

have a great weekend everyone!

Driveway Lust

Remember when I wrote about my driveway project? Unfortunately our area had an insanely wet summer – and it started getting cold before the ground dried out well enough to do major work so we had to stall the project till later (hopefully this summer!)

During the wait I have been consulting books on driveways, site planning and landscaping and have been refining the plan.

The approach to a house can have as much impact as the house design itself. With a dramatic driveway approach you can set an anticipatory mood – and if done successfully – it can be one of the more pleasurable passages on a property. In suburban and town planning – having ‘curb appeal’ is most important – but with larger sites – it is possible to employ curves and natural elements to partially obscure the house and heighten the drama.

image via this is a design blog

Two beautiful examples of entry gates. Both examples use edging stones to keep the line crisp.

image via the realestalker

Driveway Palooza! This one is a seems a bit excessive – but sometimes it is nice to see what an ‘estate’ driveway with many buildings looks like.

A shot from ‘The Women’ I like the raised beds here and the soft curve of the driveway

image from Hooked on Houses

image via sanctuary rose

This is exactly how my childhood driveway looked. gravel , with a strip of scraggly grass and shaded by interlocking trees.

image via shelter

I think this approach is such a neat way to solve the dilemma of dealing with a site that has a steep hill

Salvation Army Chandelier

Last fall I bought this chandelier for 7 bucks at my local salvation army. Currently we have an almost flush ceiling fixture in the dining room that is missing its glass cover so anything would be an improvement. I think this chandelier may have originally had big globes at the end but I will not be putting those back.

Here is a detail of the texture – I am usually a fan of simpler pieces but I am hoping I can make this chandelier a fun piece in the room. Like these theatrical pieces below:

image via diary of lovely

image via diary of lovely

First I was thinking that it should be painted a glossy solid color a la Martha Stewart’s chandelier below – but now I think that painting in a glossy finish will hide alot of the details.

So now I am thinking of a chalky white finish:

chandelier from ballard designs found via my design secrets

But I also love the color scheme of the chandelier below – so I was wondering if I painted the chandelier in a dusty chalk white – and I painted thin blue stripes along all the details – (like the vase in the last image) – whether that would add a playful and slightly bohemian edge to my 7 dollar purchase. Thoughts?

image from Lonny


How Darling is this house?

This adorable house (dismantled) is for sale on ebay : for 29,000.

NY Salvage is located in Oneonta, NY and they have a great salvage yard – I have gotten many period doors (the selection is amazing!) there myself and my parents got a huge lovely cabinet for their kitchen a couple of years ago. It seems they do a lot of salvage work in the area and I love the fact that they are saving buildings and architectural details.