March 29th, 2010
Green, and Sustainable Design are not new themes, or particularly well-regulated, but they’re catchy. Not that long ago, I was reading a magazine feature about an architect’s ‘green design’ work in a mid-western suburb. No solar or geothermic systems were implemented; I don’t even recall even a mention of new energy efficient windows or appliances.
No, it was about his mostly aesthetic renovations of these 60’s and 70’s homes, postulating that by something looking better people would be encouraged to stay put, which would lessen the strain on these surrounding big cities. As they say on SNL’s Weekend Update-“REALLY?!”
C’mon, you don’t have to be a scientist to realize that so many good choices are both local and logical ones. I love that there are so many ways to repurpose things we no longer want or need, and that there are so many local authentic companies who create new from old, or give new life to things we might’ve deemed curb-worthy not that many years ago.
At the previously mentioned Architectural Digest show I came across a vendor named Croton River Furniture. Curious, I ventured in…indeed, Croton River Furniture is local-the shop is in Croton Falls, open almost 2 years ago, and yes, on the Croton River.
They use salvaged mostly local wood, milled in Yorktown and finished with low VOC water-based finishes. This solid walnut trestle table was made from a tree that had come down on the John Jay estate.
Joe Nero is the owner, he’s worked in wood for 45 years; Saul Lima and James Opdahl complete the team bringing an additional combined 35 years of skills. They design and build free-form tables and chairs, as well as hand-crafted cabinetry, and their motto is if you can envision it, we can create it for you. (Apologies for the photo, working these shows is s true test of endurance)
I could see these pieces very easily fitting into both contemporary and rustic settings, I especially liked the tree-branch barstools, and the long console table with turquoise nuggets set into a few of the knotholes. BRAVO, and welcome to the neighborhood, Croton River Furniture!!
March 29th, 2010
What a great question! It was posed to me recently by a prospective client, and I’ve been intrigued by it since. Short answer-yes…and yes!
For many people, what they know of Staging is what they see on TV-empty trophy homes, lots of drama from the mother and daughter team, or budget-driven quick fixes that after the first ahhhh are really more like Shop or Home Ec projects (but hey, they kept it under budget!!).
Combine that with each homeowners’ unique needs and circumstances, then it’s no wonder many perceive Staging to be this big mysterious process-impossible to define, and ok, let’s be honest, probably very expensive too-right? I knew this prospective client was nervous about this, didn’t want to find themselves in too deep, or know how else to ask….
Staging is many things-it is creative, flexible, and highly individualized; but it’s also a conscious business decision, and most importantly, it is a means to an end. It is also never the same experience for any two people.
When I first meet with a prospective client, to get an accurate read on their needs and expectations, I ask a lot of questions…people looking for a quick price quote are invariably disappointed, sure they are being led straight towards the Hard Sell Zone.
Stagers will typically always work with what a client already has, but I believe Staging has to sometimes look beyond what’s in the attic. There are neighbors with lamps that could be borrowed, local barter systems where you can trade your talents to get the living room painted, and places that would oh so gratefully accept many things you have no use for but can’t seem to toss out either.
End point being titles do not indicate cost, or value. Let’s have that conversation, bring lots of questions and an open mind, you may just be very pleasantly surprised.
March 27th, 2010
It is a sad truth that sometimes it takes a tragedy to raise our collective awareness. Last weekend, a toddler from Long Island was playing with another child and somehow got his neck tangled in a cord or chain from the window blinds, and died. Even more unfortunate, this is not an isolated incident. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1990, 200 children have died after becoming tangled in these cords.
If you have infants or small children in your life-whether they live with you or just visit your home, please take a few minutes right now to look at what you have covering your windows.
Products made after 2001 have progressively become safer, and ideally, cordless products should be used in households with small children. Am not trolling for business here, but if your shades are not of this century, you’re probably due for replacements anyway, but I will address that in a future post.
More immediately, and perhaps more feasible are fixes you can do right now. Realize that a 5-foot long roll-up or Roman shade, when pulled all the way up, has about 7 feet of loose cord. Tucking that cord into the shade may be convenient but is not effective. You can forget to do it, and it can be easily dislodged.
For blind cords, a pair of cleats will keep cords tightly tethered and out of reach; I found them at Home Depot for $1.69 per pair. For continuous/looped cords, you can either cut the cord and install tassels on the ends, or installing a cord tensioner-a mechanism that attaches to the window frame, that keeps cord close to frame-check with the mfg of your blinds for availability/details.
Today’s post takes it title, and some of their safety tips from a program run by the Window Coverings Safety Council. They offer free retrofitting kits and safety information in both English and Spanish, http://www.windowcoverings.org . Just to see what they’re about, I ordered some of kits a few days back, but have n0t received them yet.
Please consider this info, both for your home, and to pass it on to anyone you know with children in their life-and thanks.
March 26th, 2010
Was just finishing up a recent Staging job…the artwork was all in place, the tabletop was set, the lamps were all lit…it was time to throw the throw.
We’ve all seen them, those lovely casually elegant throws, resting gracefully along the back or arm of a a sofa. Seems easy enough, right?
Grasp a point at about the two-thirds mark, give it a shake, then toss it onto the upholstery with carefree abandon.
You know, so it has that structure, but is soft…is full, but shaped….
casual, but not sloppy, imperfect, yet precise….contained, but inviting, and not too studied…
No, wait, the fringe isn’t flat….
March 22nd, 2010
For so many reasons, this will be an ongoing and general theme in writings to come. However, because of a logjam of meetings, recent birthdays and other things to celebrate, have had the opportunity to visit several different eating establishments all for the first time.
Generally I am pleased whenever someone cooks for me, but am absolutely delighted when I find an intimate , charming space with thoughtful presentation of said food. If you are looking for a satisfying experience as well as a good meal, you will not be disappointed.
First, in Ossining, The Boathouse. For locals, it’s the old Sellazzo’s, right on the river, just north of the train station as you’re heading into Shattemuc. What a re-do, wow! It was a beautiful day, and was seeing a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time, and have to say I can’t remember what I ate, we were so busy catching up and taking in the view-but it was good! Especially loved the old map of the Hudson, embedded in the bar.
Second, Thomas’ Coffee and Tea in Hastings on Warburton Avenue, just north of Main Street, by the Moviehouse Mews. Operating for many years, (‘and always wonderful’, as one of their regulars told me) it’s a true jewel in the neighborhood. Decor and food nourish, comfort and delight; besides a dizzying array of teas and coffees, they have a nice lunch menu. Yes, this time I remember, it was Chicken Corn Chowder soup and Chicken Salad with fresh homemade pesto-yum!
Lastly-for now, anyway-did Sunday Brunch at a relatively new place this weekend…The Cookery is on Chestnut Street in Dobbs Ferry, just steps from Main Street. Open just over a year ago, ‘rustic, organic, Italian’ is how our waitress described the menu, with many ingredients coming from local providers. Not much comment from my husband or the other couple we were with…we were all too busy eating. 3 courses for 4 people, 12 different dishes, each a feast for all the senses-GO, and bring your friends, so you can taste a little of everything!
March 20th, 2010
Art in general makes me feel like a more complete person. It’s not a scholarly viewpoint, but an emotional one. I’m sure others have a much more eloquent way to express it, but to see and feel a little bit of another’s’ heart and soul expressed visually- makes me happy.
Have attended local craft and trade shows for years, and been uplifted both personally and professionally by what I’d see, and the good karma I’d feel from being in the midst of happy and creative people.
On Thursday I attended the trade-only first day of the Architectural Digest show down at the Piers. Each year there’s a different feeling, and this one, while delightful as always, had a very genuine, attainable while still semi-out-of-the-box feel to the artwork.
Organic and crafted were 2 words that kept coming to me. Solid, and most with natural materials, the presence of both artist and their talents were apparent. Two of the artists I connected with were happily both reasonably local, and very approachable.
Amy Eisenfeld Gesner is based in West Hartford (but has exhibited right here in the County Center in White Plains) creates dimensional wall art using tightly-rolled paper, with her pieces ranging from $300.00 to $6000.00.
My amateur photos do not do her pieces justice; in particular, I was absolutely mesmerized by this piece on the right.
Jamie Harris has his studio in downtown Brooklyn, and creates in glass. Modern, but not hard or edgy; his designs are colorful, flexible, and full of energy. In particular I liked his free-form glass bubble installations-a lot of movement to them, they can be designed and placed to compliment whatever space you have.
I’d use them to soften an overly-contemporary space, or create more of a flow in those long, deadly hallways you find in commercial spaces. These pieces are priced individually, $400.00 for a single/solid element, to $1400.00 for the carved/multi-color ones.
Spring brings an explosion of local Art events, and I will make continued mention of them as the season progresses. Amy and Jamie (sorry, really didn’t see that coming!) are two of many who have much to share. Art is subjective and intensely personal, but in the months to come, give yourself a treat: go to some shows, and see what can make you happy.
March 19th, 2010
One hundred forty one local restaurants of every stripe offering 3 course prix-fixe meals-$20.00 for lunch, $28.00 for dinner. Now through 3/28, better make your reservations quickly!!
March 18th, 2010
Water, Water Everywhere…Don’t Let It Lead To Mold
As I am writing this, several local schools have just opened for the first time this week, power is still out for almost 9,000 Westchester residents, and so far over 300 TONS of tree debris has been removed from Scarsdale streets alone, (with an estimated 600-700 MORE tons still to be removed)…wow!
Many of us found ourselves reminded of the power of the elements in a most abrupt and unpleasant way. While the damage of last weeks’ storm can’t be undone, mitigation, and preventative action for the future are center stage for most of us now.
If you were unfortunate enough to have water infiltrate your home, of course extracting it is of the first order. But just because a surface is dry does not automatically mean all is well. Mold is not just unsightly, it destroys property, can sicken, and even kill you.
Mold is tricky; it only needs 2 things to grow: water and cellulosic material (paper, wood) and contrary to some claims, one-size-fits-all solutions like washing with bleach, or using a mildew-resistant primer will not do the trick. Of the over 100K species of mold, roughly 10K of them are known to exist here in the northeast, and it is virtually impossible to know how harmful it might be just by looking at it.
According to Frank Petrullo,owner and President of Envirocare Air Quality Restoration in Jefferson Valley NY, after water extraction there are 4 steps to genuinely assure mold will be kept at bay: Containment, to prevent airborne spores from migrating to other parts of the house; Dehumidification; Treatment with targeted mold-retardant products and/or systems, and lastly Implementing recommended corrective actions.
And even if your home escaped the storm unscathed, you may be surprised to know how ripe conditions are for mold to grow under everyday circumstances…are you sitting down?
In a year, the average 2000 sf home can produce/develop enough moisture to fill 2 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Yes. As Joel Schachter PE, professional engineer and owner of Precise Home Inspections explains- a number of factors like cooking, showers/baths, and weather and overall ventilation combine and can play real havoc with a home, even one that appears to be in good repair.
More on preventitives at another time, but meanwhile wishing a speedy rebound to all those affected by the storm
March 16th, 2010
Home Is Where There’s Furniture. And Lamps. And A Rug.
OK< we all know it’s where the heart is, too; it’s just darn hard for the heart to be happy if there is no place to sit, put your clothes away, do homework, or have a family meal.
Furniture Sharehouse is a project that resonates on so many levels. They collect your average, basic and clean furniture/some furnishings-to re-distribute them F-R-E-E, by appointment, to clients of 32 Westchester agencies.
Yes they do take clean mattresses and upholstery, small working appliances like lamps, microwaves and toaster ovens, and accessories like wall art, mirrors and rugs. And while drop-offs are always preferred, pickups are available.
So: you reclaim your attic/garage/etc AND get a tax deduction, less goes into landfills, and someone will love your unneeded furniture as much as you once did-not a bad deal!!
Furniture Sharehouse is open year-round, but this coming Saturday, March 20thstudents from Mamaroneck HS will be running a drive at the school, http://www.larchmontgazette.com/news/sharehouse-mhs-partner-on-furniture-drive-march-20/
And on Saturday April 24thFurniture Sharehouse will be in Armonk, behind North Castle Town Hall, as part of Zero Waste Day. Come by, say hello, maybe even contribute! Complete details and donation guidelines www.furnituresharehouse.org .
March 16th, 2010
First Daffodil Shoots
I love days that I learn useful things. so it appears I will be over the moon for weeks to come as I get familiar with this format…the image above is of daffodil shoots-full of life, pushing thru the snow, on their way to becomeing something even more wonderful
March 15th, 2010
YOUR refreshed home
Came upon this image a few weeks ago, walking Bella just as the nor’easter was getting started. An appropriate metaphor for so many things, but especially so because first it was my birthday, and second, this brand new site-finally live-has had a gestation period longer than most large mammals…
the refreshed home is first and formost an information and service company that supports your having a better life. In the posts to come, I look to share helpful information, present some interesting thoughts, introduce you to some really smart people, help save you time and money, and yes, even make you smile.
Thank you for visiting, and welcome to your refreshed home!
March 15th, 2010
Vacant spaces do not make the space feel bigger, or “free up” buyers to imagine what could be; they only raise questions and make for shorter showings. Staged spaces point out the room’s strengths, and then give buyers reason to linger and bond in the space, so they can imagine themselves living in it, and where their furniture might go.
March 15th, 2010
Contrasting, but complimentary paint colors added value by visually creating separate spaces, while highlighting architectural detail.
March 15th, 2010
While a just-delivered piece of furniture is very exciting, what’s even better is how much look and luxury fit into this small dining room by virtue of a lighter-colored lower wall, good lighting, and everyone’s favorite trick, a great mirror.
March 15th, 2010
Instead of shrugging and saying ‘it’s just a kid’s room’, move the big pieces away from the entry to create a focal point while visually stretching the size of the room.