Yesterday marked the 1 year date from the closing of our “new” home.  Which built in the 1880’s, required some extensive work.  There was an illegal 3 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor, the former owner made cosmetic teeth in the basement.  Not to mention the old knob and tube wiring we found hidden in every wall, and failed floor joists in half of the 1st floor.

The architectural planning and renovation process began quickly after the purchase and 5 months into the process we moved in (no kitchen sink at that point, but we had walls and some running water on the second floor.)  A year later we finally find ourselves at the “punch list” point for this phase.  Buying and renovating an old home is a labor of love to say the least and we went through many love/hate phases during the year, but they truly do not make homes like this anymore.  Each 5 panel ladder door was milled specifically for my house, for that specific doorway.  And let me tell you, after removing, sanding, and repainting every single interior door ourselves, those suckers are solid old growth wood, built stronger than any recent manufactured door I have ever seen.  They must weigh at least 50 lb each.  Not to mention the old hardware which we stripped layers and layers of paint to revile a beautiful rose brass.

I feel an intimate connection with our home.  I feel like I know every inch, every detail and really appreciate the craftsmanship and detail found in our 130 year old home.  Which makes this recent article in the NY Times, alerted to me via Elements of Style all the more upsetting.  Apparently, famous New York designer Mario Buatta purchased a beautiful 1840’s Gothic revival home 20 years ago, with the plans of renovating and restoring it.  Flash forward to to today, he has done nothing.  In fact the home stands in worse shape and is rotting away. I think it was his poor health initially stalled the project, but comments like “This is not a communist country, you can do anything you want with your property,” but makes me think his ego and spite are more involved.  Renovating and restoring an old home is not for the faint of heart.  I know, but so should this seasoned designer.  I find it baffling he would let such a work of art and craftsmanship rot away.  Ugh.  So gross.  There is a petition pleading with Mr. Buatta to come to his senses and just sell the place to someone who will save it.

Christopher Capozziello for The New York TimesChristopher Capozziello for The New York Times

On the home front update

We are working away to get all the little details finished before baby #2 arrives in early June. Which by the looks of my calendar is rapidly approaching.  Eek.

The other weekend I styled and organized our library book shelves. All photos via iPhone…will do real photos someday, I promise.  Anyway, a work in progress as we watch basketball.

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Coming along.  Just need to figure out what to do with that upper gallery. I want to continue to add to our book collection, but I am determined to do so slowly and deliberately to ensure our library reflects us and the books we actually read.  So figuring out some place holders as our library grows.

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The living room is coming along.  I got these chairs from Jordan’s Furniture of all places, for a great price and they are super comfy.  I think they look like RH chairs, but were a fraction of the price. (Need to steam the skirts.)

 SWStudiosPlaying with pillows.  Have no idea where I am going with these.  Will just let things evolve.

SWStudios-Living room

Kitchen is complete!  Could use some rugs and picture on the walls, but that is to come.

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The 3rd floor. So we gutted, foam insulated, added a new HVAC system and put up blue board to that 3 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor I was talking about and reconnected it to the main house.  Future dream plans, include making it a media room/game room with a joinng guest suite and full bathroom.  The plumbing is all up there, we just need to give our bank account a rest.  Right now it looks like this…but I are working hard to get complete organization before baby.  I have already had about 3 car loads of stuff hauled off to Good Will.

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Salvaging some hope/doors

November 6, 2013

Along with all the beautiful 130 year old hardware our 1880’s home has the most gorgeous, solid wood, 5 panel, ladder doors.  (They really don’t make them like this anymore.)  Sadly over the years, so of the original ladder doors were replaced with composite material doors found at many of the big box stores, and they look cheep and out of place among the originals.  So armed with door measurements I made my way the 70 miles south to New England Demolition and Salvage located in a huge warehouse in the old fishing town of New Bedford, MA.

Needless to say they had a few old doors.

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I sifted through every single five panel door and of the 5 I needed I found 2.  Not bad I guess considering how specific the sizes and styles were I needed.  Not I have to sand and prep them for painting and install.

They had every other type of door as well.
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Not to mention every old lock, knob, bath tub, and sink imaginable.  It was amazing to see all these old house parts in one place.  Every one came form a different home, story, life.IMG_3713lowIMG_3717lowIMG_3718lowIMG_3722low

I have said it here on this blog before, the South shines in the Spring and New England in the Fall.  And nothing is more quintessential Fall in New England than apple picking.  The other weekend we ventured to Lookout Farm, to partake in all the fall festivities.  Pumpkin patch, apple picking, farm animals, apple cider doughnuts surrounding by the gorgeous New England foliage, a photographer and 1 1/2 year old’s dream.

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The Berkshires

March 4, 2013

This weekend the hubs and I took a much needed retreat to the lovely Berkshire Mountains.  At only a two hour drive away, I cannot believe we have not escaped to there sooner.  The hills and mountains were peaceful and quiet, and still very much engulfed in the depths of winter with a gray scale to rival any Platinum print.  I loved it.  Unfortunately, after an amazing but crazy  day on Friday, I left my SLR in the studio so my iPhone had to suffice in helping me capture some shots to add to my inspiration file/Instagram.

So quiet.

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We stayed at the Cranwell, an old mansion turned resort.

Part Downton Abby

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Part Caddy Shack

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We enjoyed a long breakfast, complete with Sunday paper and loads of coffee refills.

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On our drive back home on Sunday we popped into the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA.  The Ren Lion Inn is Americana at it’s best with Victorian bric a brac, lace doilies, and all the finest “Grandma’s house” decor lining every surface.  I don’t think a thing has changed here since 1880.  Now I am am much more of a minimalist but this place was practically a museum.  P.S. I kind of really want this kitty painting.IMG_8539

Seriously, there is this whole “Lincoln” thing right now.  The Red Lion is on top of the trend. IMG_8540

Has me constantly thinking this… “Lincoln. He’s so hot right now. Lincoln.”

Old timey bar with yummy Bloody Mary’s

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And a gift shop to rule them all. Tchotchke items galore.

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Feelings of Fall

October 4, 2011

As I avoid my unpacked suitcase and dive into a mountain of work after our super quick trip to California this past weekend, I realize fall has arrived in Boston.  In my two short years of living in New England, fall has quickly become my favorite time of year.  (Although Springtime in the South is still an old favorite.)  The air has a crispness in it’s smell and the trees in the city are starting to turn.  While I am squeezing in lots of wonderful travel before my growing belly has me grounded, I still do not want to miss the splendors of fall.

Here are some of my favorite fall images I have collected on my Pintrest boards for inspiration.  Now I am just counting down the days until this weekend…when I have absolutely nothing planed and can roam this city and enjoy fall.

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Pumpkins, apples and all things fall

From Bibliotheque.  She is a photographer living in eastern Europe I think…her images are wonderful.  Wish I knew more about her.

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Cozy style (my mantra this pregnant fall)

Clockwise: Altamira, Olivia Palermo (photo help please), Sheridan French, Nikon and YSL ring (more photo help)

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Crisp & cozy interiors

Clockwise: Fuji Files, Effortless Style, House Beautiful, Atlanta Homes Magazine 

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To end: the perfect collage via Natural Beauty Blog

Cape Cod in the Fall

October 3, 2011

To celebrate our wedding anniversary we popped down to the town of Chatham on Cape Cod.  The weather was still beautiful but the summer crowds had departed and the sun hung lower in the sky indicating the changing of the seasons.  I love the beach and the ocean any time of year, but particularly now in the quite fall.  Chatham is an old fishing community on Cape Cod, that now also boasts some of the most beautiful homes on the Cape.  It has all the charm of an old New England town that just exudes pumpkins, leaves, and sweaters all with the smell of the ocean wafting in the breeze.

We stayed at the ridiculously awesome Chatham Bars Inn with our room over looking the ocean.  I could have sat there all day watching the fishing boats come and go, listening to the fog horns in the early morning.

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This guy has been waiting all year for October.

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I just love the old wicker beach cabanas.  They just scream Jackie Kennedy on the Cape.

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We found this on the beach.  Local art of mass exodus of horseshoe crabs in size order.  I love it.

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Pink sunset over the sandbars of Chatham

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We enjoyed the sunset with this deliceous and creative way to present chocolate covered strawberries, courtesyof the Chatham Bars Inn.

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We savored every moment, bite, sunset, and ocean view.  It was a wonderful getaway.

Lobstermen

September 7, 2011

This past weekend we headed up to the beautiful town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine for one last dose of summer fun.  My sister set up this wonderful sunset cruise with Lucky Catch Cruises.  We boarded the vessel with our wine and cheese fully expecting a little cruise around the bay, but the captain and his crew soon had us donning lobstermen aprons and gloves…this was clearly going to be a working cruise.  We hauled up lobster pots, measured and inspected our catch and re-baited the pots, all with cocktail in hand.  It could not have been more fun!

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Working hard…

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I cannot recommend this excursion and the people of Lucky Catch enough.  It was fun, silly, educational, basically the perfect activity for every age.  They operate well into the fall so if you have a Maine foliage trip planned, I highly recommend some time on the sea as well.  It was a bast.

Summer on Nantucket

June 29, 2011

After living in Boston for almost two years, I am convinced that there is no better place to celebrate summer than New England.  With bright blue skies, the smell of the sea and the sun on your face, those dark, cold January days seem like a distant memory.  I recently took a little jaunt over to Nantucket to photograph, take in a concert and soak up a lot of sun, and I am officially in love.  The history along Nantucket’s cobble stone streets, mixed with a laid back island feel and gorgeous sandy beaches, makes the foggy island one magical place.  It is right up my alley.

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Aside from the sun and surf, you get some world class shopping and dinning.  I spied some beautiful Dunes and Duchess candelabras at the gorgeous shop Trillium.

Secret garden walkway to Trillium

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I walked up and found all this splendor inside

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Another lovely shop,  Belongings.

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Back in October, Stacy Kunstel and Michael Parternio let sit in on this photo shoot featured in this month’s New England Home!  A Nantucket full circle for me from my trip in October.

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Of course no trip to Nantucket would be complete with out a visit to Cisco Brewers.  They asked me to photograph their new wine tasting room and distillery room.  Wine and vodka…two of my favorite things.

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I have said this before, but their bloody mary mix is the best on the planet!

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Goodbye Nantucket.  I promise to be back soon.

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One sign that I am becoming a true New Englander is the fact I love watching Chronicle!  For those of you not from these parts, Chronicle is a nightly news/local interest/cultural TV program that covers all things New England, from main streets and back roads to restaurants and get away spots.  I love it, as it often features hidden gems right in your own back yard.  Apparently it has been a mainstay of New England viewers for decades now, so I guess it is a right of passage that I should come to love it.

The other night, while digging into my DVR, I watch an episode about the islands of New England and some of their more unique inhabitants.  One of whom is photographer Alexandra de Steiguer.  She is the winter caretaker on the Isles of Shoals.  An island nine miles off the coast of New Hampshire.  In the summer, the island is filled with vacationers and visitors, but in the winter months de Steiguer is its sole inhabitant.  From these winter months comes her stunningly beautiful photography.  I was so taken by it that I just had to share.

Shoals – Rocks and Water No. 24
© alex de steiguer

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Three Pools of Sky
© alex de steiguer

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Shoals – Rock Pool No. 1
© alex de steiguer

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Seasmoke and Wave
© alex de steiguer

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Shoals – Rocks and Water No. 20
© alex de steiguer

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Rock Pool Study No. 1
© alex de steiguer

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Shoals – Breakwater
© alex de steiguer

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Chapter 7
© alex de steiguer

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De Steiguer also worked as a crew member aboard traditionally rigged sailing vessels.

Underway – Bow Watch
© alex de steiguer

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Underway – Eastbound Watch
© alex de steiguer

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It is not spring here in New England…not even close, as I am told by my more seasoned Bostonian husband.  So instead of torturing myself by looking at spring clothes and pictures of grass and flowers I have decided to immerse my self in inspirational images of winter.  There is still some much beauty to be had with the winter light and bright white snow, and if I am to be a New Englander I better embrace it.

These images by the immensely talented and uber-cook La Tartine Gourmande are keeping me sane in these frigid temps.

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That and the fact that we have a winter wonderland trip planed for next weekend to beautiful Woodstock, VT.  We are staying at the darling Blue Horse Inn run by fellow southern girls turned New Englanders, Anna and Keri.  I can’t wait to tackle to slopes of Killington, explore the streets of Woodstock and nestle in by the fire with a glass of wine.

Images from Blue Horse Inn blog

 

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