Last winter Design Sponge featured our little house in their Sneak Peek Section and I realized I never even did a post. While we have lived in much larger homes and certainly newer homes, I would have to say this house, this little house built in 1900 is by far my favorite. It’s exactly what I always wanted. A little house with a front porch, a manageable size yard and walking distance to town. I was one of those kids that re-arranged their bedroom at least once a month and would pore over interior design books and magazines at the library for hours. I grew up in a suburb on a cul-de-sac where we were driven everywhere in my mom’s Ford Station wagon. I always wanted to live in a city or town where I could walk to shopping, the library, the train….and that’s exactly what we got. And the funny thing is…I did not even see it until a year after we purchased it and relocated from Southern California. My husband saw it on a business trip to New York and it just wasn’t all that practical for me to get on a plane and see it while the kids were in school and all the daily life stuff…Plus….I just knew it was perfect. And it is….sort of. Let’s just say that it’s a work in progress.
When I saw photos of the house my first reaction was that we need to demo the fireplace. Then my husband and I decided that we could just paint it white, which is pretty much our answer to everything. Paint it white and then decide if it’s something we can live with…in the end, we are glad we saved it.
I know some people frown on having a television in the living room. I am not one of those people. We have a large sectional sofa in the attic which is sort of our “family room” but we love to watch movies, news and sports on the main floor too.
The kitchen is our favorite part of the house. We waited a year to renovate so we could see how we moved about the kitchen. We talked to a few different contractors and most were in favor of getting rid of my Saarinen table and expanding the kitchen into the eat-in part. Never! The Enzo Mari print was purchased specifically for this space and we found the #4 at a flea market….which represents the size of our family. Want to see more? Check it out on Design Sponge, right here!
In honor of the first day of Fall I made butternut squash soup. I have been making this recipe (with a few slight changes) since having it at a restaurant in Pinnacle Peak neighborhood of Scottsdale, Arizona back in the late 80s. (The restaurant was called 8700, but is no longer there). It wasn’t until serving it last weekend that I gave up on calling it “Pumpkin Soup.” When my sweet friend asked for the recipe I sent her a text with a photo of the recipe that had been given to me by the chef. She texted back, “I think the fact that there’s no pumpkin in this pumpkin soup makes it extra special.” Well, she has a point, but no matter what you call it, the combination of these ingredients makes a really good fall soup.
Butternut Squash Soup (formerly Pumpkin Soup)
2 ounces butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium shallots, diced
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Dean & DeLuca chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth (hot)
1/2 bunch cilantro
Mix the cubed pieces of squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake in a single layer on a baking sheet at 400º until fork tender or about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute in butter: Onions, garlic, shallots, green onions and all spices until onions are translucent, stirring often. Add the the flour and stir constantly for a minute or two. Add the hot vegetable broth and the roasted squash, tomato paste and cilantro. Cook over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes making sure not to let it boil. Let cool a little and then blend in batches in a blender. (Remember to remove the plastic cap and cover the hole with a clean towel since the soup is still hot). Pour it back into the pot and serve immediately or reheat as needed. For extra richness, add 1/4 cup of whole milk to the pot just before serving. Enjoy!
This was a project that began in May during the Spring tag sale season. I collected eight chairs for about $40 total. I’ve checked around and while tag sales and flea markets have the best prices on mismatched dining room or desk chairs, Goodwill is another great source and they run about $8 to $12 a chair. A few of the chairs needed a little glue and a good scrub. Once they were completely dry, we sanded them a little and then we (I use this term loosely, I mean my husband) used our Wagner Paint Sprayer to paint the chairs. In a few hours we had eight chairs ready to add to our DIY Farm Table. (More on that later). We already owned the paint sprayer from a previous project, but I have to say it’s the best $100 bucks we’ve spent. The guy at the Home Depot paint counter suggested we add floetrol to the paint and this made a huge difference as well.
Every project starts with a little inspiration. We knew we wanted to build a table and add chairs to use on our patio for dinner parties. The patio is made from blue-stone. We have a stone wall and steps leading to our backyard and so we took “colors” from the stone to create a look that would blend with the natural surroundings, but still have an impact. I’m going to talk more about the table my husband made using Hairpin Legs in a later post, but for the chair color we used a color Farrow & Ball calls “London Stone.” We used Behr paint from Home Depot, but to narrow down the color choices I consulted my F& B paint deck which made it a whole lot easier. Instead of selecting from hundreds of tan or stone colored paint chips, I selected from about eight.
We are ready for fall and outdoor dinner parties!
Last week I had the opportunity to tour Steele Canvas Basket in Chelsea, MA with Director of Marketing, Frank Geffken. Everyone knows (whether you realize it or not) about this company. You’ve seen the large trucks in hotels, on college campuses, the post office….they are everywhere all over the country supplying every industry. The recognizable old school STEELE logo is still hand stenciled on almost every item. The company has been in business since 1921 and has been supplying industries with durable products like the industrial trucks and baskets and in recent years they have been meeting the demands of homeowners who want these items for laundry rooms, mud rooms, play rooms and the garage.
Whether the items are being used on construction sites or in someone’s laundry room…Steele’s products are built to last. They have been made the same way (by hand in their factory in Chelsea, MA) for almost a century. They try to source the materials in the United States. For example, the wood slats for the construction of the large trucks come from upstate New York.
The last several years this family-run business has been collaborating with companies like J.Crew, Crate & Barrel, west elm and Anthropologie to bring their products to the public for the same reason commercial industries have been using them for years. Quality and durability.
When time allows, the team tries to produce a new bag a month. They meet and discuss what they would want in a bag and come up with new products that their customers will appreciate.
I loved actually seeing how these products are made from start to finish. How the fabric is cut (with very little waste) and constructed into the products that will stand the test of time. “A guarantee is better than a warranty any day of the week.” There is so much detail and quality control that goes into each item before it goes out the door that it’s no wonder they have been in business since 1921.
In May the company brought back the iconic Steele Sling Chair also known as the butterfly chair. It was first introduced in the 1960s and just recently brought back into production. Of course they use high quality materials like powder-coated hand bent and welded steel frames and industrial grade duck fabric slings that are available in several colors. Buying a chair or any one of their products feels good to know that you have an item that will stand the test of time in both design and durability.
Thank you Frank for taking time to show me around the company and letting me see first hand how companies used to make things and how it’s still being done at Steele Canvas Basket, 201 Williams Street, Chelsea, MA.
My daughter and I have new Jord wood watches. Did you know that Jord is Swedish for earth, soil & land? I had no idea, but reading about these beautiful timepieces and how they are designed and made with a deep appreciation for the natural elements lives up to their motto….Telling more than time. We have only had our watches for about a week, but we have both worn them every day since. My style is simple, especially in the summer. A lot of white cotton and linen, jeans, black, navy and my new wood watch which makes my very simple and easy going style just a bit more chic. Still traditional, but with a statement piece that works with white jeans & t-shirts, yoga clothes to dressing up for dinner in the city. I have the larger (unisex) Fieldcrest watch and Madeline has the Ely which is a smaller version. We both could not be happier with our watches and will be wearing them on a few adventures starting today. You can follow us on instagram and see where we take our Jord Wood Watches. Follow Madeline here and you can follow me right here.
I have always been intrigued by what people collect and how they display it. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this idea and every time I am heading out to a few thrift stores I’ll take a quick look for inspiration. It’s so much more fun to walk through a Goodwill store, thrift shop, flea market or a tag sale with an open mind, but also with an idea….for a collection.
We have sand from every beach, matches from wonderful restaurants and then there’s the stuff that that is tossed out and ends up at Goodwill or tag sales, but when it’s grouped all together….it looks quite lovely. Here’s a few pics of the stuff I’ve been finding lately for just a few dollars. Summer means baseball and a lot of times in the middle of now where, but there’s always a thrift store or two.
I adore old silver trays. Each is similar in size, but the details are very unique. Our two favorite restaurants, Buvette and Via Carota use them as their serving trays. I have several on a wall in our dining room and several in the kitchen. When my mom visits….I bring out the polish!
So what do you collect? And if you are a collector, how do you display it?
I love Minted…Christmas cards, announcements and art! Remember when I included this piece on my collage wall? Minted generously allowed me to choose art to fill the wall in our powder room. It’s tiny and all black (including the ceiling) so we needed something to pop on those dark walls.
Once I decided on approximate sizes, I chose the largest piece first. I made templates of each piece and taped them to the wall to make sure I chose the right sizes. The larger of the three (bottom) is called Look DOWN by Gail Schechter. Coincidentally while searching all of the Minted Art Prints I found a companion piece from the same artist called Looking UP. Lighting has always been important to me and the top small piece evokes the feeling of warm lighting on a summer night along the coast. And that’s exactly what the artist describes about this photo called Twinkling Light. Minted has several framing options, but since these were going on a black wall, I went with White Premium Wood Frame for all three.
So now the part about the Giveway….Minted is giving one reader $250 to use for anything at Minted.com. To enter visit Minted right here and then come back and leave a comment. Winner will be announced Monday, July 6th! Good luck!
The winner of the Minted giveaway is: Mary-Irene Marek!
When my daughter said she wanted to see the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, I said “heck yes!” She has Fridays off from her internship in NYC so every Friday we plan a field trip so to speak. This Friday was Queens. Turns out we’ve spent very little time in the borough of Queens. Sure we spend lots of time at JFK and LaGuardia airports, but even baseball….we’re Yankees fans. So you won’t find us at CitiField. Yesterday we spent the afternoon museum hopping all in about a three mile radius.
The first museum was the Museum of the Moving Image for the Mad Men exhibit. It was a hot day so we started with a sparkling water in the cafe.
Don’t let this image fool you. There were plenty of people in the museum, but at this moment we had the cafe all to ourselves. All white with a view of the minimalist garden.
Can’t you just smell the stale smoke while viewing this image?! Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men exhibit is open through September 6, 2015.
Next, we went to MoMa PS1. We are regular visitors at MoMA in Manhattan, but we had never been to MoMA PS1 that occupies the space of a 100-year old Romanesque Revival school building. The building was still very much like a school with all the school lighting, doors and windows that seemed to be original to the building. Again…no museum tour is complete without a stop at the cafe where Madeline posed as if she were a school girl during morning attendance.
Our last museum of the day was The Noguchi Museum. I have been wanting to visit this museum for years. My familiarity with the artist was through his design of the popular Noguchi Table produced by Herman Miller. I am so intrigued by the artist and his painstaking methods of working on pieces of granite to create these large sculptures. The building itself is incredible. Indoor/outdoor space with atrium like gardens and white painted brick walls and salvaged wood floors throughout the galleries. Walls of windows creating gorgeous light flooding through the space. The garden was closed for restoration, but don’t miss the Socrates Sculpture Park just a few blocks away like we did!
always rarely open to modeling.
But we did manage to find a great spot for lunch at Gastroteca and an adorable shop called Lockwood on the way back to the car. We had a great afternoon. All in we spent about 6 hours and 2 of those were driving. So three museums, a little lunch, a tiny bit of shopping and six hours with Madeline….I’d say that’s a perfect day. Well to me anyway!
Remember when I said Buvette was my favorite restaurant? Well it is still is my favorite, but so is Via Carota just a block away on the opposite side of Grove Street. Seriously, if we lived in the West Village, I would spend my morning at Buvette and have lunch or dinner at Via Carota. You feel like you are in Italy at Via Carota. My favorite dish is the Wild Boar Ragu. We’ve tried several items on the menu and always order at least one daily special. Everything has been simply amazing. Next, we must to try the couples other restaurant, I Sodi on Christopher Street. Our experiences at both Buvette and Via Carota have been all about the food and then not at all. The food, yes….amazing. The Castelvetrano olives are delicious. I don’t even like olives and now I can’t stop thinking about them. There are so many small, but wonderful details. From the moment you walk in you feel truly cared for. The service is impeccable. The warmth of the space is comforting in the same way that a bowl of warm pasta or a piece of bread drizzled with olive oil warms your soul. Exposed brick walls, original or reclaimed wood floors, chairs from either a school or a church that holds the menus in the back of the chair and silver trays to serve pretty drinks from the bar. A long communal table that on the day we went held a giant bowl of beans and later replaced with candles in vintage china saucers ready for the dinner crowd.
Above photo by Kelsey Borovinsky.
I do love a restaurant that still gives out boxes of matches. The little cards arrive with your bill and I’ll keep them as a memento.