Category Archives: Design/Living

Flaimview, today.

Well, hello! I won’t even apologize for the five month lapse in posts–what else could you possibly expect from me at this point? Still, I feel the need to check in here, if only because yesterday marked one year since Ben and I first visited the house, and we’ve been using it heavily since mid-August, so post-demo pictures don’t really do it justice at the moment!

September 21 of last year, we went to see the house and I’m pretty sure I was sunk when I first saw the basement door. Yesterday I posted this to Instagram:

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In many ways, that sums up where we stand. The house is painted; the doors are crazy (and there was something wrong with the paint and it never set completely–we have to repaint them, so I need to decide if I want to change the color a bit); there’s still trim to be touched up; the roofer forgot to fix that little piece so he has to come back; the landscaping is nonexistent. But still: Progress.

I wish I’d had the wherewithal to blog throughout this process. I have learned so much, and now I’m aching to get to work on another project (preferably with someone else’s money, ha!). About seven months ago, a contractor looked at me and said, “you know, most people start with a 1200 square foot ranch or something.” Forget the deep end; we jumped straight into the middle of the ocean. My only previous experience with home improvement was getting Lee St. painted before we moved in, and replacing the kitchen there with the world’s simplest Ikea layout. There was no demo, nothing moved; it took us one week, with Tom’s help.

Here we went straight to a giant 100-year-old house in need of basically every kind of repair. We had to get a new assessment last week, and I spoke with the assessor on the phone before he arrived. He asked what kind of work we had done since buying it and I started listing it:
-Gutted the kitchen, including removing a load-bearing wall (in a balloon-framed house, yikes)
-Gutted 2 bathrooms and did a cosmetic upgrade of a third, plus a powder room
-Installed insulation
-Got a new roof (before closing, actually)
-Replaced and upgraded the entire electrical system, including upgrade to 200amp service and installation of a generator
-Took the heating system from one to three zones and replaced all the exposed heat lines; changed out three radiators
-Replaced water lines in basement
-Upgraded hot water heater
-Installed propane lines for stove and generator
-Restored/reglazed all 52 windows
-Painted (deleaded) entire house, inside and outside
-Replaced roof on porch
-Rewired or replaced all light fixtures
-Refinished floors
-Repaired plaster/rehung ceilings where necessary
-Started work on eradicating several acres of poison ivy
I just kept going and going and when I stopped he just paused and said, “You’ve been busy.” Indeed. It’s been almost exactly nine months since we closed, and aside from the (miserable) electrical work, most projects didn’t get rolling until late April or May. Not bad, now that I look at it all listed out. And of course, now I know the good contractors, so I could jump right in to another project without all the mistakes of bad hires and aggravation of finding the right person. In fact, I have My Guy now, who can do anything and would be the ultimate collaborator on house flips or renovation management–we’ve been half-jokingly discussing how it would work to have me be the homeowner liaison/designer and let him just handle the construction end. Who wants to give us a try?

The kids love going out to the house. Tuck, especially, is in heaven. Tom made him a little wooden ax, and he spends hours in the yard working on trees, playing with sticks, and generally getting grubby. He’s exhausted and so happy at the end of every day, it makes it feel like the whole stressful, costly project was worth it.

Anyway, enough chat from me for now. I know pictures are far more interesting!

A wider view of the outside:

And a reminder of what it looked like a year ago:

House from driveway

And back in the 1970s, with the shutters on (those are coming soon!) via the seller:

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Now inside. I don’t have “official” after pictures yet–our carpenters who have done the kitchen are STILL finishing up, three months late. But here are some shots from the last couple weekends:

Kitchen:

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There will be shelves on the top here, making a kind of built-in hutch in the dining area of the kitchen (this used to be the mudroom):

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Way before, looking towards that mudroom from the entrance to the kitchen (I can’t for the life of me find my photos from the right angle!):
Kitchen before

Powder room Before and Sort-Of-After:

Half bath off mudroom

Foyer:

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Dining room:

Living room (check out those original cushions on the window seats–those things are petrified!):

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I found this packing case–sent to the wife of the original owner–down in the basement!

The next phase is outside. My Guy is bringing in his brush hog (!!!) to mow all the non-wooded spaces around the house and clear the three or four acres of vines, poison ivy, sumac, blackberries, etc. that currently choke access to the woods and are keeping us from getting a sense of what we’ve got. Next year we will need to repair the driveway for drainage and non-mud-pit purposes. We also want to remove six or so gigantic white pines that block light and views, could endanger the house, and are generally just kind of ugly.

After all that, we will start thinking about an actual plan for the “yard” portions of the property. There’s a great huge front and side yard, and then there will be meadow space on the other side and down from the house after the brush hog work is done. The remainder of the property (about 22 acres, I’d guess) is heavily wooded, so we will just gradually work on carving trails into it and seeing what we see. There’s a little hidden meadow area that I found this summer, surrounded by overgrown (non-bearing) fruit trees, where I’d like to make a picnic area and so forth. That will be the fun stuff!

More soon. I can’t wait to see what everything looks like after the mowing!

Previously:
We bought a house!
We demoed the kitchen!

April update

When last we spoke, Tom and I had just begun demo on the kitchen at the country house. More than a month later, there’s been a lot more demo but not much else–our contractor got held up on her prior project and started almost a month late, and Tom did yeoman’s work getting things ready for her but eventually had to go back to stripping wallpaper and spending 8 hours at Ikea with me.

A reminder: Here is the kitchen the morning we started demo:
Kitchen before

Here it is 5 weeks later:

Hurray, one layer of subfloor through the two rooms! I had a pretty panicky week or so after initial investigation made it look like removing the layers of old flooring (decrepit linoleum, glue, plywood subfloor, glue, older linoleum, repulsive black mastic/glue, awesome tongue-and-groove old growth fir from Tacoma, Washington (SOB)) would be cost-prohibitive, and that the height achieved by stacking up all those floors would mean laying more wood would make the kitchen a full 2 inches higher than the rest of the house….well. Misery.

I’d initially considered Marmoleum, which would be appropriate to the age of the house (1915, it turns out*), but you need an extremely smooth and costly subfloor under it, and I’d already ordered wood, so between buying the more-expensive flooring and the subfloor and eating the shipping costs on returning the floor I ordered…well. I said to go ahead and plunge forward with demo, and wouldn’t you know? With Tom’s help they knocked it out in three days and the subfloors were at one height after all. Of course I wish we could have saved the fir, but that would have taken many weeks. Tom saved enough to build a chest or something for the house, hopefully.

Now that the Ikea cabinets have been purchased and Tom has sanded all the doors in preparation for a trip through the spray booth, I’m focused on all the other moving pieces. I placed the appliance order (ouch), the floors–which of course I’m now doubting–should be delivered next week, I know which sink I want, and I’m visiting a stone yard to look at soapstone slabs for the perimeter counters on Friday.

I’d planned on Ikea butcher block for the island but they have discontinued the oak and are phasing out all their solid wood options, so then I turned to Lumber Liquidators. Has anyone tried their butcher block? It has mixed reviews (I’m looking at maple to get a light color), and we need an enormous expanse of it, so now I’m considering spending more (but saving on labor costs in the long run) to get edge-grain from Boos block, which I can buy in a sheet that is close to exactly what I need. I was aiming for 87″x48″; they sell a piece that is 84″x48″; I think I can lose the three inches in exchange for better structural integrity and a nice uniform look, right? I am just not quite 100% sure I’ll love the maple. Need to check them out in person next week.

Here’s the thing about doing a massive project like this all at once: The decisions. Everything costs an arm and a leg, there are a million things we stupidly didn’t include in our initial budget forecast (the plaster repair guy! the insulation guy!), and there are 8 million tiny details that need to be settled right. now.

For example! Let’s talk about kitchen hardware! And I don’t mean that rhetorically, I mean let’s actually talk about it, please. Here’s the plan: White/off-white/v. pale greyish blue shaker cabinets on the perimeter of the kitchen. A few high cabinets (holding wall oven, pantry, broom closet, and panels on fridge) but no upper cabinets. 2″x8″ white subway tile to the ceiling with dark grout. Dark soapstone on perimeter cabinets. Island cabinetry potentially painted a darker color (Charcoal? Darker grey-blue? Navy?) with butcher block counter. Awesome retro-ish Aga stove (impossible to find decent photos, for some reason)!

So. Un-lacquered brass hardware, which will either age up and darken on its own, or which I can get going using a bucket of ammonia, supposedly? Or oil rubbed bronze, which is in essence black? My only concern w brass (which is used throughout the house for doorknobs, hinges, etc., as you’d expect from a house of this age) is that I need to get handles for the fridge and dishwasher panels, and I think it’s cheesy to use cabinet hardware, so I want to get much longer obviously-for-appliances handles so it doesn’t seem like I’m hiding the fridge. Easy to do in the black finish, but I haven’t seen much in un-lacquered brass. Plus we all know how ludicrously expensive nice un-lacquered sink faucets are, not that I’ve seen any black ones that I like. There is a good amount of stainless trim/handle action on the stove and the wall oven, as well as the silly microwave, and I don’t want it to feel crazy.

Who wants to poke through my Pinterest boards and give me some thoughts?
Nitty gritty kitchen stuff.
Inspiration shots.

Meanwhile, how ’bout a few more pictures from this week?

Salvageable flooring in the butler’s pantry, hurrah!

Attic bedroom wallpaper removal:

This stuff probably isn’t toxic at all:

Another attic bedroom before:

Third Floor: Bedroom 2

And after (I am so obsessed with this color; we can’t just stay with it because the walls need quite a bit of cleaning up, but I may match it. And the sheen of the old oil (lead**) paint makes me wonder about semi-gloss, is that crazy?):

Why we are spending all the furnishing budget on rewiring:

Tom teaches me to fell a tree:

Tom leaves for 10 days in Estonia this weekend. He’s going to live in a vodka-distillery-turned boutique hotel and built a timber-framed smoke sauna. Obviously. We are already weeping at the loss of our most valuable player. You should follow him on Instagram–he’s doing lots of cool stuff, including build spiffy greenwood furniture using lumber felled on the property.

*I did research on the house and found old local gossip-rag entries about the construction back in 1914-1915–we get to celebrate the house’s 100th birthday next year! It was built for the president of a big manufacturing company in central Mass, and I already bought a copy of his 1923 book on economics. So cool.

**I joke about toxicity and lead paint but don’t worry, we are having it all responsibly dealt with by licensed professionals at a cost of a kidney, a left leg, and Tuck’s indentured servitude from the age of 7.5 until adulthood. OMG.

Around the house

I’m still plugging away at the apartment, and the dining room, especially, is really coming together. As a refresher, this is where we were back in the spring: furnished, but the old doors (which barely worked) were fogged over, and really needed to be replaced.

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Before

Happily, our landlords agreed to do it–major upgrade. I bought a million yards of zigzag fabric and took it to a seamstress to have sewn into curtains while we were traveling in May. She….did it. Badly. They’re too short, barely matched, and slightly crooked. Still, at least it’s some pattern and color in the room. I just try not to look too closely, and I learned lots of valuable lessons for next time (I’d never done anything like this before).

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After

I’ve also been trying to get some art up on the walls, and it’s turned out to mostly be the products of Tuck’s (adorable) art class! The teacher is a genius and only puts out 2 colors of paint at a time, so the paintings don’t get muddy and brown, and you can usually get something pretty great-looking out of each class. My favorite so far is this fuschia/orange creation (currently not in place, since the glass in the cheap Target frame IMPLODED the other day, yikes).

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I found kid’s art frames at Target that I hung over the entry bench–they open like books so it’s easy to swap out the art, and there a pocket for storing extra pieces! Genius. I’ve seen similar things at Pottery Barn kids but these were $14.99, so… (Not the greatest quality, but I’m not too worried!)

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Finally, a couple life-improvers I got back in…June? but never posted about. I read the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook in one day when it first came out, and one of the many, many wonderful ideas contained therein was a chalkboard decal where Jenny lists out the menu and activities for the coming week. I found my own, a super-simple one that took 2 minutes to install, and invested in both a chalk pen (for the static events) and really nice chalk (for the week’s menu/etc.). It has really helped me get better about meal planning and thinking things through in advance:

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I also bought a clip-it strip, like the ones we used at Fortune for posting layouts. It’s also what most diners use for orders–there are ceramic beads inside so when you push a paper up, it stays, but then you can pull down gently to take it back out. Genius. That went in the hall to hold papers, invitations, etc.

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I love this house very, very much. Noisy upstairs neighbors aside, it’s been a very happy-making place. Lots of open sky around us, spacious rooms where we can spread out, and tons of great light. I’m very grateful. Next on the docket: An old oriental rug for the living room. Stay tuned!

Decorating: The Dining Room

Tuck’s nursery was the first time I ever decorated a room from the floor up, with nothing existing to go off of. Since we moved, I’ve had another opportunity to give it a try: The dining room. We sold our old table and chairs to the tenants in our apartment, since they fit perfectly there and were way too small for the new room. We also left the bookcases in place, since they were practically customized to fill that wall. The rug ended up in Tuck’s room, Ben’s desk went into our bedroom, and the piano is in the living room. Thus, an empty box when we arrived here.

The dining room is part of the modern section of the apartment, renovated beyond period recognition back in 1978 during the condo conversion. It is blessed with very tall ceilings aside from a soffit at one end (which is still at about 7.5 feet), two large windows on one wall, massive sliding glass doors on another, and the pass-through to the kitchen on a third. The fourth wall has a wide opening leading to the hall and the entryway.

Before we moved in, we ordered a new table, french farm-style, from Restoration Hardware. I agonized over the cracks that seemed like crumb magnets, but it didn’t occur to me that the dusty grey finish (no wax, varnish, etc.) would be literally impossible to clean with anything but a dry cloth, and would suck up unsightly water marks like a sponge. A patina is terrific, but this was just going to look terrible. I have embarked on a quest to seal up the top a bit, starting with Danish Oil and probably finishing with some sort of wax, per my brother’s instructions. The color and grain are much more pronounced now, but I still really like the look, and I’m relieved to be working towards some protection. We bought simple ladder-back black chairs and felt seat cushions from Ikea to fill in until we find the perfect chairs.

We use the back doors as our main entryway (they will likely be replaced with French doors in the near future, since the existing ones are old, hard to close, and are destroying the wall every time they have to be slammed), so I got a shoe-storage bench to keep the shoe pile under control. Very pleased with it, it’s the Eureka Storage Bench from World Market and is solid wood, came quickly, and was easy to assemble.

On the other side of the doors is a narrow space where I slotted in a skinny bookcase from the clearance section at Ballard Designs (sold out now). Again, solid wood, very easy to assemble, and it was about $10 more than a Billy from Ikea. That holds most of my cookbooks and some of my food books.

Finally, we needed something to hold our china and some serving pieces. We never had a hutch or buffet since the butler’s pantry in the old house held *everything*. After much deliberation and a lot of shopping around, I stumbled across a Curtis Furniture on Etsy, which does custom work in Nebraska. They had a cherry console, very rustic, that appealed to me, and I worked with Jonathan to design the perfect buffet for our one blank wall. I wanted it to be 50″ (standard sizes seem to be 40″ or 60″) so we could slot in an extra chair and Tuck’s Tripp Trapp high chair on either side.

I can’t even, you guys. I first contacted him on February 11, and then we went back and forth until I finally committed and ordered on the 16th. He emailed me progress shots as they worked on it, and the buffet left the workshop March 2. I got it in a GIANT CRATE (see below) on the 7th. It is gorgeous, if hard to photograph–tons of characters, really great knots (two knotholes, which serve to open the doors; they have slow-close hinges so they don’t slam shut), perfect color, beautifully crafted and very sturdy…I couldn’t be happier. It was a bit more than the pressboard junk from Crate and Barrel, but WAY less than the solid wood stuff, and worth every penny.

Anyway, contact Jonathan! Tell him I sent you!

The custom buffet came and I'm in love.

So the final piece (besides hanging art and that clock–I have a Stendig calendar coming for over the buffet!!) is to curtain those huge doors. I got a plain wrought-iron rod, and I’m just trying to figure out the curtains themselves. They will be about 96″ long, and 120″ wide. I got a bunch of fabric swatches:

Exciting! Fabric samples for dining room curtains.

Which I narrowed down to two (I LOVE the multi-colored zigzag but I think it’s better for pillows):

If I get the grey, the texture will actually be the slubby material of the yellow. I love the yellow and I’m obsessed with yellow, always, but I wonder if it will be too much or too limiting? The grey is probably more sophisticated but I just can’t decide. Any opinions?

One other project that we put off for ages but I finally just got done last week: Getting most of the family photos that lined our 18-foot hall in the old place hung in the upstairs hall. We used picture rail before, so all the hanging wires were for that, and the whole thing was a giant pain. But now it’s done and Tuck can say hi to everyone again!

Before:
Upstairs hall, before

After:
Upstairs hall, after

And in conclusion, Tuck is hilarious and so cute. He’s chatting constantly with varying degrees of clarity, continues to be obsessed with digging, continues to be very stubborn about food (I’m working very hard on sticking to Ellyn Satter’s PHENOMENAL advice from Child of Mine) and is loving this incredibly lovely weather.

OH! And!

It’s a girl!

Well, hello!

I thought I’d log in to make sure I still had a blog out there somewhere. Turns out it’s still here! Shocking. I can’t promise thrice-weekly updates but I would like to get back to something more frequent than every three months.

It feels like forever since the holidays–a lot has changed around here, about which more in a moment–but I guess Christmas was only a month ago. Tom joined us again, and cooked basically every meal while he was here. It was bliss. Among our projects:

Carnitas, per The Homesick Texan, as published by Smitten Kitchen:

Carnitas, 3.5 hours in. Browning stage.
After 3.5 hours of braising, during the brown-in-their-own-fat stage

Carnitas results: Last night's dinner
As tacos

The leftovers were a boon for almost a week–we ate lots more tacos as well as a number of quesadillas, and I think Tom scrambled them into eggs a few times. The citrus juice in the recipe made for a brighter flavor than other batches I’ve made. Definitely one to repeat.

For Christmas Eve, Tom made duck confit.

3 duck legs getting ready to be quick-confited for Christmas Eve dinner.

Those three magret legs rendered TWO CUPS of fat. I have so much duck fat, you guys! I need to start roasting potatoes, stat. Unfortunately we were too excited to eat for me to remember to take any decent photos. Oops. This is the feel of the meal (we had roasted potatoes and a sharp salad with the duck):

Christmas dinner

And then we descended into chaos. We moved, you guys. Mid-January. It was a mad scramble, especially because our babysitter suddenly left us two weeks before. My parents were here for a last-minute visit, and then Ben’s mom came up and saved our butts, and his brother/brother’s girlfriend joined for the day of and were also lifesavers. Man, moving is horrible.

Tuck hated seeing his books packed but he was a very, very, very big fan of the crane that moved the piano:

Running the crane

And now that we’re getting settled in, things like this are happening:

One of my favorite moments ever.

It’s going to be great. And the kitchen is 100% white (not as good as our old one, but better light), so it’s a lot easier to take pictures of, say, the only thing I currently want to eat, that asian-inspired butter lettuce/avocado salad:

Ok, that is a scarily large picture of a grapefruit supreme. But still. You know you wish you were eating that right now.

HOLD THE PHONE, I never wrote up that salad dressing? That will come soon. I promise. It’s too good not to share.

Things I’m loving

Don’t you love it when technology actually solves a problem? Two quick examples (with grainy Instagram pictures) from my daily life lately (and no, I’m not being paid to plug these products!):

1. Command picture hanging “nails” from 3M
We have plaster walls. Most rooms in the apartment have picture rail, so we can hang art from hooks without putting nails in the walls, but the bedrooms and kitchen are exceptions. Hanging art has generally required putting a screw into the molding, which looks terrible and is a pain. I have been using 3M’s Command Strips–which are like velcro with a sticky backing that supposedly removes from the wall without leaving a mark–to hang small frames in a couple places around the house, but when the time came to rearrange the art in the nursery I had some bigger frames that I wanted to use, and I really didn’t want to punch a bunch more holes in the molding. As I stood in the hardware aisle at Target trying to decide whether I could use the Command Hooks (no, they’re for hanging up…I don’t know, dog leashes? A single scarf? They stick out too far for pictures but only hold 5 pounds.) I noticed these:

Genius for plaster walls.

Um. This is genius. There are double-stick strips of the removable sticky stuff, and you use that to attach a metal plate with, essentially, a nailhead sticking out of it. The large one holds up to 8 pounds, the small one up to 5; I weighed my frames on the kitchen scale (…I know) and the heaviest was 4.5 pounds because I have plexiglass in the bigger ones instead of glass. They were super-easy to use. (You do need to put them in place and then let them sit for an hour before you hang the art.) And Ta-Da! Perfect for gallery walls.

Art hung without nails

2. Nail Effects from Sally Hansen
I am terrible at painting my own nails. It’s always a mess. And I hate getting a manicure, because it takes ages and then I ruin it immediately. Anna at DoorSixteen wrote about the nail polish strips a couple times last month and I was intrigued: Strips of actual nail polish (thus, removable at home, unlike a shellack manicure) that are already dry once you put them on (thus, no smudging)? Fascinating. The downside is that there aren’t really any “normal” colors. It’s all crazy patterns or really bright neons or glitter, I guess because they’re about $9/box and who would pay that much to just get nude nails at home? I would. But I’m guessing that’s the reasoning. I got the most muted option, a dull gold, and OMG MY NAILS LOOK GREAT:

Gilded nails: Those Sally Hansen polish strips actually work! Thx to @doorsixteen for the tip.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it was fairly easy to put them on once I figured out how to remove the correct backings in the correct order. Also, I didn’t press the edges down firmly enough on my thumbs. But I was able to use half the package and do both hands, since my nails are short, so I’ll try again once they chip. For $4.50 it’s completely worth it and very fun. I want to try the gold glitter, like Anna did, for the holidays.

Office before & after

Who doesn’t love a before and after? Mine isn’t the most dramatic, unless you’re a big fan of, say, Hoarders or Clean Sweep or some other program about people who have piles of crap everywhere. But I spent last weekend, while Ben was off gallivanting on a ski slope (ok, fine, he was volunteering–on a ski slope), staining and assembling my new desk. Since then I’ve been gradually completing a total long-overdue office clean-up.

Seriously? Things were bad. I would clean and two days later the piles would return. And after Christmas I seemed to accumulate even more piles of stuff that needed new homes–everything on the chair in the photo either came out of my suitcase or was moved from my desk, agh.

The shame!

Office update

The anguish!

Office update

(The gorgeous new laptop standing tall above the mess!)

I picked out a Vika Furusund tabletop with two metal legs and a drawer unit (Vika Alex) on the other side, all from Ikea (obviously). The top is shallower than my old desk, which I’m hoping will force me to keep things tidied away in all my lovely new drawers. It was unfinished pine, so I hit it with some white stain to take away the yellow and make it blend better with the drawers.

Office update

Office update

The drawers weighed a ton (Ben lugged them upstairs for me before he left) and were made up of 900,000 pieces. I’m good at assembly tasks (and jigsaw puzzles) but it still took me a while to put it all together. As soon as I had the new desk in place I realized that because of the shallower depth, the hideous combo of black metal filing cabinet and giant printer/scanner/fax machine is now even more exposed. I will eventually come up with a better solution than this, but for now I covered the side of the filing cabinet with silver woodgrain wrapping paper. I know the cord situation is less than ideal, but you actually don’t see it when the chair is pushed in. Once I get rid of my old laptop there will be a lot less cord to wrangle.

Office update

And now the office is complete! I still should completely clean out the storage closet (not pictured), but that lives behind a curtain, so I’ll survive for now!

Office update

Wider view, to prove that I did clean the chair and floor, as well:

Office update

And my new work surface:

Office update

Nice and fresh, right? We also rearranged the living room after taking the tree down. (*cough* Weeks ago! Yeah! Or last night. *cough*) I like how open it feels but we’re left with an awkward situation involving what used to act as a sofa table and now floats unhappily near the window. We’ll get there, though!

Happy long weekend, people! Be safe and have fun.

(BTW, I’m selling the old desk. It’s sturdy and a good size, I just think I need a smaller surface in my tiny, tiny office. Pictures here without the clutter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katef/sets/72157623093012193/ $25 OBO.)

The pictures from Monday…

Re. the Flickr problem on Monday, from my mom’s computer in Oregon when I’m not logged in I can choose “copy image address” but it copies a blank fake address. Awesome. Using Gretchen’s workaround (which requires going into the “all sizes” view once logged in), here are some things:

Bittersweet branches for fall:
10/09

A convention on the kitchen counter, prompted by the invasion of the gravy strainer:

This garlic clove looked like a bum:

Heeee!

Seriously though, Flickr can’t….this isn’t sustainable. It takes forever to click through three pages to grab each link!

Dinner last night: Steak, pepperonata, beets, beans, and a salad I copied from dinner Friday at The Butcher Shop: Frisee, bacon vinaigrette, shaved egg, roasted fingerling potatoes.

Dinner tonight: Goin’s toasted pasta with cauliflower and cavolo nero.

Don’t you wish you were in Oregon with me?

Fall on Cape Cod

A non-food post, but I have to share a few photos with you… Last weekend we joined Ben’s aunt/uncle/cousins/mom/brother/etc. on Cape Cod for the weekend, breathing in big lung-fulls of cool air and leaving just into time for the Nor’Easter on Sunday. I spent a very happy two hours bundled up on Saturday, tramping up and down the beach and gathering up the fantastic hunks of granite and quartz that had washed up in the recent storms.

I’ve never outgrown my beachcombing urge, and any time I’m on the Ocean I spend as much time as possible staring at the sand, looking for treasures. Every few minutes I stand up straight and gaze out at the ocean, get all dwarfed-feeling thinking about the vastness of it all, and then turn back to the stones and shell shards at my feet.

I have a project in mind, which prompted me to haul an embarrassing heap of big stones back with me. I left the many huge “dinosaur eggs” of granite behind, since I don’t have a yard in which to build a nest. More to come! (And more photos here, if you’re so inclined.)

FYI, in case you planned to buy me a new dining room

This photo from Eddie Ross‘s house tour in Lonny Magazine is everything I love in one place.


photo: Patrick Cline for Lonny. Click here to see the bigger version Eddie posted.

My house is too formal!

(PS: Lonny, the photos are stunning, the content is great, and I can’t get through the magazine on my computer because the interface is so frustrating! Please offer a PDF or something.)