As the moon set I set the alarm for two am, yet by midnight I was still awake.  I could not shake the events of the past few days and I could not get this phrase out of my head: “More being, less doing.”

 

The moon setting over "our" mountain

 

It is no secret that we love our life in the country. We have managed to rebuild a slow home that we have furnished with vintage and mid century pieces and live an intentionally slower life that we fully embrace.  We even held off bringing internet into our home for over ten years, fearing that it might inhibit the quality of life we enjoy here.  I write about it all the time, the slower pace, the thoughtful lifestyle, paying attention to the little things, making memories, taking the time to smell thethe rebirth of spring, but never had the importance of this lifestyle become clearer to me than this past week.

I attended the memorial service of a friend’s sibling, an extraordinary individual who passed away too soon. Although the situation was tragic, the celebration of his being was stunning and I walked away wishing I had known him in life. His wife’s words resonated in my head as she reflected upon their life together, wishing that there were “more being and less doing”.

More Bee-ing

 

So simply stated, it was profound: More being, less doing. Which brings me back to Friday night.  Setting the alarm and getting up at 2am would probably have not been a priority two or three years ago.  I would have probably set the alarm with good intentions and then shut if off and gone back to sleep.  I now know better.  Given the finite amount of time we are privileged to be here and how quickly it flutters by, every day & every experience is a gift to be savored. The time spent “being” is why we do all the ”doing” in the first place.

Life Flutters by

 

Although I know that inherently, and write as well as talk about it, I often forget to do it.  My children remind me of this all the time and to be honest, I am not always the best at practicing what I preach, but I am going to try each and every day as I chant my new mantra: More being, less doing.

So, Irwin and I took a blanket outdoors after 2am and lay under several more as we faced the Northern sky awaiting a five thousand year old event that did not disappoint.  We spent over three hours gazing at the meteor shower and the enormity of the heavens; just being, not doing.

Perseid Meteor Shower

 

More than a Message in this Bottle

 

"Simply Intoxicating"

I first shared this picture with you last Thursday, taken on my walk home from the Architectural Digest Show.  It became our Photo of the Day, entitled “Simply Intoxicating”, because that accurately described the entire day.

Although I’ve lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for over thirty years, I have just recently begun to walk the Hudson riverfront daily, as part of a New Year’s resolution to get fit and had never even taken notice of the giant work of art before.  I was so intrigued that I walked around the mammoth bottle and peered into its many port holes. What I saw delighted me so, I had to share it with you.

first sight

 

divine deco

 

stainless kitchen

 

 

compact quarters

I had no idea when the giant bottle had “washed up” on the shores of the Hudson, so I did a little research.  I discovered, thanks to an article by Albert Amateau in the Villager, and another in The Weblicist of Manhattan, that the oversized wine bottle, entitled “Private Passage”, was designed and created by Malcolm Cochran, a renowned artist and professor at OSU.  It had been placed in that area of the Hudson River Park, entitled Clinton Cove in May of 2005.

"extra firm" mattress

And while the exterior was quite a surprise, the interior of “Private Passage” was even more astounding.  Who would have imagined that the familiar message inside this oversized wine bottle was: “Great Design is Timeless” and how perfect to have stumbled upon this stainless steel recreation of a stateroom loosely based upon photographs of the ocean liner R.M.S. Queen Mary, on my way home from the AD Show. It was serendipitous!

Of course, knowing this, I had to look for some photos from the R.M.S. Queen Mary and discovered these photos on The Queen Mary Deck by Deck as well as ssmaritime.com.

R.M.S. Queen Mary Lounge

 

R.M.S. Queen Mary 2nd Class Lounge

 

R.M.S. queen Mary 2nd class stateroom

The Art Deco inspired interiors and commissioned art installations for this “Grand Dame” of the sea were amazing.  What began as a walk home from the Architectural Digest Show and an interest in an outdoor art installation quickly became a journey back in time. While Irwin and I marveled at many of the photos on the websites, my interest in the interior designers for the ship piqued and I began to look for additional information.  While it is noted on wapedia, that much of the interior of this majestic ship was designed byThe Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, I was not able to find more definitive information so… that voyage continues.

 

 

The Gift

The gifts we receive in life take many shapes and forms.  Some are easily recognizable, others can be difficult to identify, and still others are missed entirely. 

Often, when you have the great fortune of being the recipient of a gift, you’re not sure why this precious commodity was handed to you.  What you do know definitively is that it should be cherished and enjoyed.  That is how Irwin & I felt about this past weekend. 

With a gloomy weather forecast predicted, we somewhat reluctantly headed north at the end of the day Friday, to face the abysmal weather and the added bonus of traveling further north for Parents’ Weekend at our middle son’s college.

What we anticipated to be a “total washout,” became the most wondrous weekend and a magical gift that we would like to share with all of you. 

So, follow the path and savor the beauty of this perfect gift of nature.

A Road Well Traveled

leads to:

American Pastoral  
Where we found 

 

Bales of Kale

&

 Yards of Chard


 

 

 

 

 

  

Llamas & Alpacas

And Cow'dya do!

Impressionistic Flora

And A Viewmaster's View

Patches of Pumpkins

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flocks of...Bourds  

 

And

Ugly ducklings turning into swan gourds 

Cinderella's Carraige
 

& humpty Pumpkiny

 

   

The rich beauty of autumnal hues are sure to capture our imagination and inspire us all.  

So, capture the sweetness of the season and bring it into your home,

And create your own Room with a Hue, letting the autumnal palette envelop you.


 

Cues & A's

This past weekend, Irwin and I made a briefer than expected jaunt to our much beloved country house.  When we last visited, it was clearly still summer even with the scattered leaves blanketing the driveway.  Our return, although only three weeks later, revealed autumn’s almost complete conquest. 

We arrived late on Friday afternoon and were immediately struck by the transformation both visual and textural.  Armed with my camera and laptop, I eagerly anticipated capturing the grandeur of the changing foliage through images and words.

Sitting by our first fire of the season, in our newly completed DIY Great Room, we enjoyed the surprisingly early change of season, even for Upstate New York.  Looking at our fireplace surround and the contrasting wall color I began to think about how the seasons affect our design aesthetic. Now I know this is not a new concept, but it does bear repeating.

The next morning, I looked at the changing foliage outside the sunroom window and remembered how different it appeared in late May with all the greenery in new bloom and the fresh lilacs on the coffee table.  Now, the bright green had been replaced with the rich golds, amber and russets of fall and on the table, the vestiges of a summer orchid past its prime.  I was just about to run over to the farm store to pick up some beautiful mums to “Fall-ify” the house, and photograph the seasonal change when I received a call from our son back in the city telling us he had a fever. It was a low-grade fever, but a fever nevertheless.

Sunroom in may        

 

            

Sunroom in October

Well, I did what any mother would do.  Fearing a rocketing temperature, I grabbed my bag and we headed home.  No mums, no crunching through the crispy leaves, no photos of pumpkins, or foliage.

As disappointed as I was, it was no reason to forsake this post, or for that matter, the rest of the plans we had for the country.  So, I decided to try to take my cues from nature right here in NYC and headed out, camera in hand to capture the changing season, NYC style.

With chilly morning temperatures and blustery winds, autumn has arrived in NYC despite the fact that the leaves on the trees have not really begun to change.  Just strolling through my neighborhood, I was able to capture the sights and textures of this amazing season, which I am delighted to be able to share with you.

 


 

 

 

  

 

Pumpkins & Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pomegranates & Gourds


 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple & Green Cabbage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mums

 

Corn, Coleus & More

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Plantings &Pashmina

and of course, trees

So, relax with a warm mug of apple cider and drink in the seasonal colors and textures that surround you.  Bring them into your home via plants or pillows, pumpkins or Pashmina, and take your design cues from nature. 

The Love Story of the Century, Mid Century that is

My story is as old as time.  My early chairhood was not unique. I was a single Mid Century Modern slipper chair in a world of pairs; a onesome longing to be a twosome; a half yearning to be whole. I lived a solitary life, never quite fitting in. Shuttled from spot to spot and home to home; never in any place long enough to leave imprints in the rug. 

For years, I searched in vain for someone to complete me, someone to share my days with, but it seemed that it was not meant to be and that I was destined to live my life ALONE.

Succumbing to my isolated existence, I rejected any efforts to rejuvenate my appearance.  Despite my absolute refusal to undergo any sort of make-over, I was dragged kicking and screaming to the upholsterer where I was nipped and tucked into perfection.

As a debutante, resplendent in a beautiful dotted fabric, I was reintroduced to the world and placed on the gallery floor.  My flawlessly beautiful appearance masking my inner pain, I summoned all the strength I could muster just to keep my beautifully tapered legs from collapsing. 

I was so caught up in self-pity that I failed to notice the wonderfully weathered console I was positioned next to.  Mature, with rugged good looks unlike any from my era, I was instantly smitten.

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Century Sliper Chair                            +                        Industrial Blue Console =

 

 

 

                             

 The Happy Couple

 

 

My neighbors could not help but notice our chemistry and a buzz could be heard throughout the gallery.  They said that it would never last because he was not “our kind”.  After all, he was early 20th Century Industrial and I was Mid Century Modern, how could we ever work together? But he was the console of my dreams; I was his Juliet and he was my Romeo and we were not going to let perceived differences tear us apart. 

He had recently retired, after serving dutifully in an Ohio factory for many years.  When the factory was closed, he was left there to collect dust.  His marvelously patinaed finish revealed the depth and dimension of his commitment to hard work, his sheer survival, a testament to his endurance.

Our differences only served to enhance our individual attributes and our contrasting design foundations enriched the design aesthetic of the entire gallery.  The buzz of the naysayers was quelled and the doubters became supporters. We were all so happily integrated that Irwin brought more Industrial pieces onto the gallery floor where they were welcomed with open arms.

 

              

Pair of  IFD Armchairs                                 +                       Industrial Green Shelve =

 

 

another great combination

 

 Italian Mid Century Setee                          +                              Industrial Slip Table =

                                               

 

 

 

       yet Another great combination

 

Good design is always inclusive.  It should not be limited by periods or predetermined limitations.  Open eyes and minds allow us to see the unseen and to understand what may not be readily obvious, enriching our surroundings as well as our lives.

 

 Fireplace Wall Before

Irwin and I have been married for almost twenty-nine years and like most married couples, our lives are often like Ground Hog Day where we relive the same conversations over and over and over again.  

I am the neurotic one. I always worry about the completion of a project and its result.  Irwin is the visionary who has already planned the entire project in his head and can see the finish line before the start of the race.

This DIY project was no different.  With the new finish of the fireplace wall complete, Irwin and I waited for the furniture delivery from the gallery the following day.  I knew what we were sending back to Connecticut, but had no idea what Irwin had selected for our Great Room.  Despite knowing that Irwin’s record spoke for itself, I worried about how the room would look and how this initial infusion of Mid Century Modern design into our country home would meld with the clean yet relaxed country feel of the rest of the house.

In our ten years of country life, we have had deliveries in rain, sleet and snow.  We have had trucks that were unable to make it up the driveway, bookshelves that would not fit through the front door and mattresses that did not fit up stairways.  Delivery day arrived, and true to form, it poured. The Bobs (our wonderful delivery company) finally arrived and carefully wiped their muddy shoes before entering the house and revealing the choices for the fireplace wall area of the Great Room.  

 Credenza Wall

 

 Close up of Mid Century lamps & Industrial Sculpture

The first piece to make its entrance was the Mid Century gold credenza. As the Bobs centered it on the wall, I was amazed by its perfect fit. Although originally designed to be a filing cabinet by General Fireproofing, this beautiful MCM filing cabinet offered us clean, modern design with quite a bit of storage.  Irwin coupled the cabinet with a pair of Italian blue glazed lamps that were Mid Century in design but were more organic in both shape as well as materials.  The focal piece on that wall became a repurposed industrial sculpture, which in reality was the discarded portion of sheet metal that had been stamped out.  We had originally placed it against one of our outbuildings where it acquired its beautiful patina, but when Irwin placed it on the credenza, we knew it had found a new home.  The mixing of MCM design with Industrial pieces from the same time period added a new layer of interest to the room and a new area of interest for Irwin.

 French Deco cowhide Club Chair

The two oversized southwestern club chairs that we had inherited from my mother-in-law were sent to that infamous underground Green Room in Stamford, otherwise known as “The Basement” and were replaced with a pair of French Deco cowhide club chairs that once graced our living room in NYC.  The chairs were perfect in front of the fireplace wall and visual proof that it is entirely possible to mix periods within a room or a home and that doing so often enriches the design aesthetic.  Besides, the chairs will offer much welcomed warmth on a cold night.

 Mid century sofa

The shallow, more formal sofa that originally occupied the fireplace area of the room was unsuitable for lounging so we replaced it with a low profile modern sofa, covered in brown velvet.  The newly covered MCM piece allowed for a flawless vista of the entire fireplace area from the other side of the Great Room and beyond.  From the front, the sofa revealed deep plush seats with oversized comfy pillows ideal for lounging or conversation and is a favorite respite for our family pet Charlie.

 Repurposed bedside tables

Bedside tables turned sideways in lieu of end tables flanked the sofa.  The tables, topped with white marble accentuate the light carpet and added to the expansive feel of the room.

 Patchwork Coffee Table

The patchwork copper and brass coffee table with its glass top was a perfect addition to the room supplying yet another layer of organic Mid Century design to the room along with the19th Century hand forged farm tools and…that graced either side of the fireplace wall.

 Fireplace wall after Close Up

Fireplace Area of great room after I

fireplace area of great room after II

additional views

Whew. What a surprisingly easy transformation in just forty-eight hours.  This was truly our favorite DIY project to date: An enormous return on a minimal amount of work and a brand new polished space to entertain in. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, we could.  The space still needs custom pillows and window treatments along with a bluestone mantle, but for now, we’re just happy to kick back and enjoy our tenth year in the country.

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