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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contain Yourself: Narrowed Minded New York Nest

In past posts I have made it abundantly clear that I have a bit of crush on Cary Grant. I think he's dreamy and he makes my heart do the cha-cha. He always seemed to portray in his films some version of the "man-of-the-world," or of himself, which seems to me to amount to the same thing. I believe he was the last of the truly elegant men. He was cosmopolitan but strong, absurdly good looking, but self-effacing, a cutup who could be a bit of a scoundrel, even a little wicked, but in the end, he would always do the right thing. In short, he was the man women yearned for and men yearned to be. He was one-of-a-kind, just like his former residence in New York.

If you missed last week's post featuring a home constructed from shipping containers you can check it out here.  In today's Contain Yourself post, I'd like to share photos of Mr. Grant's former home at 75 1/2 Bedford St. in New York City. At 9½ feet wide, it's the narrowest house in Manhattan. And you're in luck because it is back on the market. But, you will need long pockets if you want to live there because the asking price is a whopping $4.3 million, which is twice what it sold for in 2010. Other luminaries who have slept between its narrow walls are Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay, actor John Barrymore, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and cartoonist, William Steig.

The home has been meticulously renovated.

Just enough room for a bathtub.

The house has become part of New York's tourist trail

Photos courtesy Curbed, Daily Mail, and Alamy

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Brilliant Bergeres, Barbara Barry Wannabees and Chinese Take-out

As I've said many times before, I think custom furniture is like couture in the closet. Take this pair of beautiful vintage Bergere chairs, for instance, and have our studios reupholster it in a fabric of your choice and maybe jazz up the woodwork with a new stain or a painted effect.

These 1950s reproduction Bergere chairs would look marvelous re-worked in a heavy linen or maybe a rich velvet. The square upholstered back joins a padded arm above a down and duck feather cushion with a serpentine apron raised on graceful cabriole legs. These simply exceptional pieces would elevate the class and grace of any room. Their frames are sturdy but present fabric is worn and needs replacing - each chair will need 6 yards of a solid fabric and 7 yards of a fabric that is patterned. The leg can be either left with the original patina or can be re-stained or treated with a paint effect.

Second in line are these signature chairs that possess a back design that is composed of a couple of graceful wood ovals that create a beautifully intriguing form. There is something about these chairs that remind me of Barbara Barry's Bracelet chair. The clean lines and elegance of the back make them timeless pieces and the seat cushions can be revamped again and again. The wood can be left as is with its worn patina or can be re-stained or treated with a paint finish. I have three of these chairs available.

Last on the list of new inventory is this vintage reproduction Black Chinese Chippendale End Table is stunning! It has a removable rectangular lacquer tray with repetitive gilt border on a black lacquer stand. The faux bamboo turned legs have marvelous gilt accents and are connected with a second fixed black tray.

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend and if you get a moment, I hope you can check out my other new inventory listings here.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Want It Wednesdays: Cerise's Pieces (get it like Reese's Pieces!)

Photos courtesy Lomography, Design Shop UK, 1stdibs and Shrimpton Couture 

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Contain Yourself: Debbie Glassberg

Everyone has their porn. Mine is home design. I also dabble in DIY, which I'm pretty sure is a kinky subculture - the S and M of home decor, if you will. I'm not entirely sure how this happened or when, but this much I AM sure of, shelter magazines, home improvement shows on TV, and big-box stores constantly enabled me. I futz around my house with the tenacity of an obsessive compulsive - think Monk or Rain Man only with ovaries and a paint brush. Don't misunderstand, a neat freak I am not - far from it. As a matter of fact, there are times when my house can be so cluttered that one might need a sherpa to find his way safely from the bedroom to the kitchen. I'm sorry to say that my housekeeping skills don't serve so much as a good example as they are a horrible warning. I've never claimed that cleaning and organizing are my thing. I flunked "tidy" but I'm top of my class in "topcoat," "tack hammer" and "painter's tape."

So, with that in mind, today I would like to begin a new series of weekly (unless I get lazy) posts called "Contain Yourself," where I will share photos and links to what other home design junkies choose as containers for their families, their stuff, and their lives.

Today's home is from Debbie Glassberg, an industrial and toy designer from "Our Man Stan's" hometown of Kansas City, who recently took on something a little larger, seeing homes where others saw only metal boxes.

You know those metal shipping containers that you see on rail cars? Yeah, the ones with the graffiti and the rust. Well, Glassberg has designed a home, made from those metal containers and placed it in the aging Kansas City neighborhood of Brookside.

The home is made from five shipping containers. It’s a little over 2,000 square feet. Her container home is green with geothermal heat, soy foam insulation, bamboo flooring, and LED lighting. Debbie’s father, who owns a factory in China, was able to negotiate with individual Chinese manufacturers for all aspects of the interior of the home cutting thousands of dollars from the cost.

In the middle of the house is a galley kitchen. She didn’t have a lot of space because she was using just the container space. So on one side she made a more of a shallow counter and filled it with energy efficient appliances. There is also a window in the kitchen to serve your guests outside.

The master bedroom is constructed of two nine and a half foot containers that are joined together. She made a his and hers closet that is designed very simply with two boxes and rails making for really sufficient hanging space. Then she created one nice drawered piece of furniture to hold all her other things. Additionally, on the second floor adjacent to the deck is a rooftop edible garden.

Cargo containers are now gaining the attention of many architects, engineers, and designers as a useful architectural material. Glassberg joined with many other container lovers and had the Home Contained built. Aside from the cargo containers, the Home Contained has other earth-friendly features, which include green roof, geothermal heating, insulated walls and solar panels. With these features, occupants will be able to save on their energy usage and money as this will surely keep their electricity bill lower than it should be if they chose to use first hand materials, opt not to have solar panels, and the like.

Photos and video courtesy Home Contained, igreenspot, and YouTube

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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Honey Trees: Magic in Music Form

If you have a pulse, it's likely that you have seen Audrey Hepburn perform Moon River in Breakfast at Tiffany's. This is a beautiful cover done by The Honey Trees that I can't wait to share with you.

Artists Becky Filip and Jacob Wick are The Honey Trees, and according to their very brief bio, are a band that tries to create magic in music form.

I think they're a couple of very talented "Houdinis!"

Video by Meg Isaacs and Luke Severn, audio by Travis Whitney, editing by Kyle Hammond, produced by Ben Ayers, video courtesy The Lofi Sessions.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ladies of the Land

This is my sister D'Aunn presenting my Mom with flowers on a Mother's Day many years ago.

On this Mother's Day, I would like to honor a group of women I like to call "The Ladies of the Land."  They consist of not only my mother, my daughter, my aunts, sisters, and nieces but of all of the women in my life, past and present.  I want to thank and honor not only my mother, but all of the women who make up a small, but critically important circle of support; support and love that I have had the privilege of receiving my whole life long.

These women sail through their lives and mine while doing that "limping-one-minute-carrying-the-next" thing that women do.  I have conferred with one or the other of them about bumps and moles, teachers, carbs and stained rugs.  Together we have worried about who seems down, who looks happy, and who has lost their figure and/or their mind.  Many have offered guidance when I'm spiritually perplexed, held my hand through heart-breaking loss, and celebrated with me in times of great joy.  They can tell something is wrong by the way I say "Everything is fine," and have lived their ordinary lives with extraordinary grace and strength while teaching me how to star in my own life.  If I killed someone, they would show up with shovels and help me bury the body - accessory after the fact be damned.  They have rallied around me and held me up when I was bringing a new life into the world and stood beside me and honored the memory of a loved one as they left this world.

More often than not, over the past forty-five years, I have been the fortunate recipient of wisdom passed out around kitchen tables while questioning the pros and cons of parenting, marriage, Spanx, government, and the minutia of life in general.  My life has been built upon the bones of these conversations and I find myself referring back to these talks for answers. My life would not have been as full or as happy without the influence of all of these women and I am immensely grateful for the education, love, and comfort they have provided for me.

I love you all more than you can ever know,

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Cantilevering My "Buttress"

It's getting warm and my garden is getting a little overgrown and I need to tend to it.  When I'm working out in the garden my attire consists of a swim suit, running shorts, a crappy pair of tennis shoes and zinc oxide on my nose, to add to my hot-ness.

When I was younger swim suits were fun and sexy.  Bikini's were one of the main implements in my seduction tool kit - the other was being really cling-y - men love that!  Anyway, my point is this, swimwear used to work for me - I couldn't wait to get out on the lake in my new suit.

Well, that was then and this is now.

Now, I wouldn't be caught dead in a bikini.  Now I buy costly one piece contraptions that Isaac Newton would marvel at.  I ask a lot from my swimsuits these days, to begin with they have to lift and separate.  And if I'm really fortunate I can find one that helps cantilever my "buttress," if you know what I'm sayin', while generally defying gravity.

So the other day, after I had delayed the inevitable as long as I could, I dug last year's suit out of my drawer and began the arduous task of squeezing into it.  First I guided my left and then right foot into the appropriate leg holes and proceeded to tug and heave the Lycra up over my hips, then past my waist (also known as a floatation device,) finishing by wiggling the "breast-icle" portion of my frame into place by slipping the straps over my shoulders with a snap.

As I walked over to the mirror to check the fit I noticed a few things.  First and foremost, I couldn't breathe and I was getting a little light headed from lack oxygen.  Also, I noticed a sharp pain in the booty area - Seems the crotch region of the suit was giving me a do-it-yourself colonoscopy without the benefit of anesthesia.  Additionally, there was a lot of homeless flesh hanging around looking a lot like my own personal floaties.  The only upside to this whole deal was that most of the heft that has taken up residence in my mid section was being relocated up toward my chest.  And for the first time since the birth of my son, I had knockers!  Big-huge-men-would-struggle-with-maintaining-eye-contact-kinda-knockers!  But, even that had its downside because the suit had forced everything up so high that it's possible that I had an extra pair of breasts above my collar bone.  Not only that but, I noticed a new mole on my neck that I suspect used to be a nipple.  

Anyway, as usual, I told you that story so I could tell you this one. 

Last year about this time began a particularly trying and stressful time in my life.  Without trudging through the details I'll just relay that life was dealing me and my little family a lot of hard blows and our spirits were pretty low.  So, I did what I normally do when things get stress-y and little too intense I broke out the 3 P's;  First I panicked, I  and then I prayed and then I planted.  I got this notion from Lady Bird Johnson who is credited with saying that where flowers bloom so does hope.  So, after receiving a few rose bushes for Mother's Day and then a few more for my birthday in June and even more for an anniversary in August I began with this garden.  And I'd like to share some photos of how it looked then and how it looks today.

My front yard had a spot at the corner that refused to grow grass.  Every spring I would put new sod down and every summer it would burn to a crisp.  So last spring I decided to rent a tiller and turn that corner into a rose garden and add a river rock path to my front door.  And since I'm the "Queen of Cheap" most all of the supplies like garden edging, mulch and river rock cost me nothing thanks to a daily habit of scouring the "Free" section of my local Craigslist.  After the $50 dollars it cost to rent a tiller for a day, all I was out was some sweat equity.

So here goes:

Above I have pictured just a few of the roses that I planted.  The names of all of the roses are:  Heirloom Hybrid Tea Rose, Arizona Grandiflora Rose, Queen Elizabeth Grandiflora Rose, Sunsprite Floribunda Rose, Mister Lincoln Hybrid Tea Rose, Royal Highness Hybrid Teas Rose, Diamond Jubilee Hybrid Tea Rose and three bushes that were labeled simply Rose.

Below are a few pics of the river rock path, the garden edging and the mulch I picked up for "free" on Craigslist.

And pictured below is how they have grown a year later.  They are all at least a foot and a half taller in height and have been covered in blooms since the middle of March.

Now that is a lot of bloomin' hope!

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