Category Archives: Around Town

Scary. {A message from my little soapbox}

Fracking* for natural gas in our upstate NY and Pennsylvania could result in our own backyard version of the toxic BP spill. De-regulation by the previous administration is again putting our land and livelihoods in danger (Dick Cheney’s 2005 Energy Policy Act exempted gas drilling from adhering to the basic protections of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, or the Clear Air Act.) My sister wrote a great article about it at civileats. You can do something about it – here.

*(Fracking is when the gas companies use high pressure mix of water, sand and undisclosed chemicals into the ground to collapse and crack into horizontal deposits trapped in rock to release the gas.)

Below are some photos of what is at stake. All photos are taken by my sister Ulla Kjarval of my parent’s farm ‘Spring Lake Farm‘ (which is at risk if our natural springs are contaminated by undisclosed toxic chemicals.)

Heaven is closing its Bovina location

I have been enamored of Heaven On Main St since it appeared in the NYTIMES (and full disclosure Bovina is a stone throw away from our *nameless* hamlet – it is so close we share the same school district).

I finally made it to ‘Heaven on Main Street’ last summer on a brunch double-date with my younger sister Nina and our boyfriends . I got iced coffee and the french toast (below). I must admit that the boyfriends were not that impressed with the ‘meat-substitute’ menu – but I swooned over the creamy pale walls and polished wooden counters with all the bakery delights laid out. It was truly like walking into a daydream of ‘if i owned a bakery shop in the country’….

Anyways I thought I would post some images from their equally lovely website designed by Steve Castro. I hope some other charming business will take their place (our depressed area needs all the businesses it can get!) .

my own photo

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.

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!)

One of my Favorite Houses

I always had an eye on this house – it is a simple charming elegance farmhouse – isn’t it just lovely? The little peaked window frames (forgive my blurry photo below), and the wide channels on the roof are my favorite! The house went on the market at a time that I wasn’t looking, but the house and its barn look very loved now – so that is nice :).

Greek Revival Inverted Porches

From this angle you can see how the enclosed porch has a separate roof and is a bump-out addition (with flared craftsman walls dating it to 1900-1930) that extends off of the original inverted porch.

I am a big fan of removing the enclosed porch addition to restore the classic lines to the structure- but that step will only make sense after we have more space – i.e once we renovate the back – because right now we are actually using the enclosed porch as a summer guest room.

Below are a couple other examples of the inverted Greek Revival porches. I have actually found it quite hard to find pictures of inverted porches that still remain open – I think in the Catskills with our relatively cool summers and cold winters – the porches were probably simply enclosed or walled off so they could be used year round.


An example of a surviving inverted porch in the next town over- see how similar this house is to ours except this house has the classic 3 windows/ two windows and entry door in the front pediment wing instead or our 2 windows/2windows layout


I stole this image from an area real estate listing (sorry it is so small) – this too has the inverted porch – the smaller wing is more similar to ours – although it also features the fancy entry door on the facing gable


This is actually a photo of a house in our town from the turn of the century – (I have been scanning photos for our history center as a pet project of mine and also because I can glean so many local architectural details from the looking at old photos). You can see how although the layout is flipped , this house is very similar to the house above – notice also how the house has what appears to be board and batten siding a Gothic Revival detail- very interesting.

Here is a tour of some of my favorite homes in my town.



This house is just so deliciously simple – and yet the quirky offset symmetry makes it so charming!


This house has such clean lines and such a lovely lawn!!


they recently tore down every part of this house except for the front wall you see here and they rebuilt it.


I just love how the aged dark green is so unexpected and yet I think it is so glamorous (maybe I am crazy)


this is so clean and simple – classic Greek Revival!


look at regal setback and how the lawn runs into that lovely stone wall – yummy!


I love this generous porch! it just looks like a friendly house


This is one of my favorite remodels that has been done in the last 10 years – this house was looking a bit rundown when it was on the market about 8 years ago and now it is so handsome – I love how elegant and loved it looks now!


I don’t have a good shot of this house but I do believe they may have won the ‘lawn of the month award’


This place is such a classic farmhouse- (and its for sale ! – which is probably why the lawn looks so neglected)

Anyways I hope you enjoyed a tour through my town – and I hope to put up more soon to show you the examples of local architectural styles that I am hoping to draw inspiration from as we fix up our own house.