image via Victoria magazine
I hope you had the opportunity to spend most of the day outside as I did! – I just spent the morning and early afternoon moving a peach tree (it was growing sideways under another tree) and rose of Sharon, cutting back overgrown wisteria, trimming quince branches and raking leaves with my younger sister and boyfriend – after a cold winter, working in the warm sun was blissful! The garden here in the city is still mostly asleep – however the quince is putting out pink blossoms, the tulips are growing tall and there are blooming crocuses here and there. – It makes a person such as myself very excited about the the warm weather to come! – I already put in an order of navy canvas butterfly chair covers from circa50 for our four frames out back – and I am looking for nautical navy and white striped outdoor fabric to make matching throw pillows… hope your first day of spring was as lovely too!
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?
Gil Shafer’s parking Area at his Greek Revival Home. It is such a simple treatment – just a rectangular stone wall that meets the hill on one side and the lawn at the other – but it has such a palatial effect – and it gives a simple driveway a processional feeling. I wonder what he used to come up with the dimensions for the parking area – how many cars does it fit ? Was it designed not to fit ‘x’ many cars but to have symmetry with the house? I like the way the low wall seems to invite cars – as if saying ‘ you belong here’ . Often times rural driveways have blurry areas where guests can park but they end up being messy half grass/half gravel zones. This seems like a simple and natural solution.
So earlier in the summer I bought the above book and devoured it cover to cover. One of the reasons that I initially bought it is that her house is similar to ours (I know that ours is MUCH more modest). But what really drew me was how she talked about her journey of turning a house into a home and a life – It was a delicious read and really inspirational. It made me happy to read about another persons devotion to a house and place – and the joy that it has brought her and her loved ones. I too am always planning on how to turn not just the house – but the land into a usable and enjoyable PLACE. Right now I am obsessed with antique barns (being that we don’t actually have any kind of out buildings left on the property) – and with trees (remind me to tell you about the row of sugar maples) and driveways (read below).
So another surprise here is that today we got our permit from the county to put in a new driveway entrance! – so this poor washed- out driveway will soon be replaced with lawn and graceful curving sweep of gravel. Basically our parcel is smallest where it hits the road because we are situated on the outside of a curve (giving us a slight pie slice of land – the pointed tip being our road frontage).
Our plan is to extend the driveways to the far corners of the property and connect them in front of the house – thus removing the current turn-around /parking area behind the house – Which will help to restore the front lawn / back lawn privacy that I crave in the country. Right now the house is completely surrounded by car paths – the highway in the front – the driveways looping up the sides and the parking area in the back. This layout made sense when it was apartments but it makes for a hostile barrier between the house and the lawns that I can’t wait to be rid of! Our new plan will be better for safety (better sight lines on the edges of our highway curve ), better drainage (we are gonna do some extensive ditch/culvert work), better during the winter – (we will be approaching the house from the side at the same elevation level instead of driving uphill which can get SCARY with ice) and privacy (we will be using the left over dirt to fill in the old driveway so that the resulting berm will hide traffic a bit). – So wish us luck!
p.sFor a great post on Bunny Williams’ house visit Cote de Texas.
One of the hardest things about living in a constant project is taking a break – so I have been looking for a well priced lounging option that would encourage us to hang out in our back yard. Well hammocks.com had a great sale on these steel hammock stand kits (basically the two brackets cost 19.00 – the hammocks and pressure treated 4×4’s not included – but still it was an amazing deal (they seem to not be offering them anymore unfortunately). My sister’s boyfriend and our friend Maneesh (pictured) helped us put them together just in time for our weekend barbecue. The steel parts were originally a putty brown but we sprayed them black and I think the effect is pretty sharp. And seriously they are SOO comfortable!
via a life’s design