Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Gentleman's Door

We've all been on vacation at one point in our lives and snapped the ubiquitous door photo.  What is it about doors, more than any other architectural element, that draws us in and makes us take notice?  It's our opinion that just as the handshake says a lot about the man, the door says everything about the cabin.  The wrong front door can destroy the entire cabin experience even for the most aesthetically challenged among us.  We want our cabin to embody the perfect mix of rustic charm and tailored sophistication and it all starts with choosing the proper door.  Setting the tone for the rest of the house, the front door needs to exude confidence yet remain humble, be direct while giving comfort.  If our cabin's front door could talk, it would shout in a dull whisper, "Here I am world, come turn my knob."  We would, however, be forced to find a new door because a gentleman's door should never shout, even in a dull whisper.  
1.  Nanamika Gore-Tex Field Jacket
1.  Portera Doors, Antique Spanish Doors
1.  Massive church doors
2.  Wrought iron hardware
1.  Rough forged iron dummy hinge strap, House of Antique Hardware 
2.  Scottish manor house
3.  Garsington Manor, England
2.  The Navy Blazer, Ralph Lauren
1.  Garretson Farm, Fair Lawn, New Jersey
2.  Trashness

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greener Pastures

We heard a rumor that Spring arrived this week, but Old Man Winter just won't give up.  We're so ready for our second favorite season of the year to begin (second only to Fall) because there is a real feeling in the air that something is about to happen.  Each evening the sun stays up for just a little bit longer, spring bulbs are starting to pop up in the most unexpected places and branches that have remained dormant all winter are now exhibiting signs of life.  This is the time of year when we pack up our sweaters, open the windows to let the fresh air in and give the house (and our minds) a good cleaning.  Here's hoping that this April's showers bring you plenty of figurative flowers.
2.  Dayna Decker wood wick candles
3.  Tommy Ton's Street Style
1.  English lead planters, Lincolnshire, England
2.  Caravaggio, Narcissus, 1599
3.  White Narcissus
1.  Filoli House, Woodside, California 
1.  Pink Magnolias
2.  Perrier-JouĂ«t champagne
2. Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
3.  Col. Littleton, purveyor of fine accoutrements in the Americana tradition
4.  Thomas O'Brien
1 & 3. Martha Stewart 
2.  William Yeoward Fern pattern stemware
2.  Aries terracotta urn at Treillage by Bunny Williams
3.  Semper Augustus Tulip

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dreams of Spring

Spring has finally sprung in our neck of the woods and our thoughts have turned to weekend escapes.  One of our dream holidays has been to spend a long weekend in an "olde" English manor house...something with a little pedigree...and absolutely nothing younger than 17th century (because if we wanted 18th century shenanigans we'd go to Boston).  Below is a compilation of what that wonderful house would undoubtedly look like.  In our minds we clearly have no budget for this trip, and since it would bore most of you to death to see what the real budget allows for, we think you'll enjoy our made-up manor house instead.  Bon Weekend!
1.  Cartier
2.  English manor house
3.  1956 Jaguar Roadster
4.  Minnetonka Moccasin cowhide driving moc
1.  Ightham Mote, England
1.  Ightham Mote, England
3.  Manderston House, England
1.  Aspinalls London private gaming club
2.  Venetian Murano chandelier
3.  Castle Leslie Estate, Ireland
1.  Dodie Rosekranz's home in San Francisco designed by Michael Taylor
3.  Regency period bronze candlestick
1.  Ralph Lauren New Bohemian home collection
3.  Galion TableChristian Liaigre
1.  The Blakes Hotel, London
1.  Swan House, Atlanta, Georgia (yes, that Atlanta!)
3.  Washington Old Hall, England

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Remote Control

Rooted in traditional Swiss chalet architecture with influences from the British and American Arts and Crafts Movements, the iconic American cabin we know today is an eclectic mix of styles. Perfected by the great Robber Barons of the Gilded Age, the development of several camps located in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York at the turn of the twentieth century spawned a uniquely American style of architecture now referred to as Great Camp Architecture. Designed to harmonize with their natural surroundings, these remote camps utilized indigenous materials such as birch bark, granite boulders, and rustic timbers giving them their unique primitive characteristics. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is something innately romantic and alluring about this style that has kept designers and architects inspired for over a century. One thing is for certain, however, when it comes to cabin design it doesn’t get any more cabin-y than this…  
1.  A contemporary Adirondack house, Peter Pennoyer Architects
2.  Canoe Pack, Duluth Pack
3.  Great Camp Sagamore, Adirondacks, c. 1897 
4.  Cavendish Jacket, Barbour
1.  Marjorie Merriweather Post's Camp Topridge, Adirondacks, c. 1923
2.  Hammered copper Roycroft pendant, c. 1910
4.  Apache Olla basket, c. 1890
5.  Camp Eagle Island, Adirondacks, c. 1899
2.  Root: 1, our house wine
3.  Pewter tray with leaf handles, Vagabond House
4.  Joseph Heinrich hammered copper tankard with applied silver handle , c. 1910
1.  Ralph Lauren's Double R Ranch, Ridgway, Colorado
2.  Stickley Brothers hammered coppered vase, c. 1905
3.  Acadia National Park Blanket, Pendelton
4.  Front:  John Robshaw Textiles;  Back:  Sachin + Babi for Ankasa

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Friday, March 11, 2011

A Call To Action...

Contrary to its name, the Living Room is a rarely lived in room...and we're blaming the baby-boomer generation for this sin.  How many of us grew up in households where we were forbidden to enter into the living room, for fear of our mother's wrathful storm? During the 18th and 19th centuries, the living room (or drawing room as it was sometimes referred to) was THE social gathering space in the home where ladies spent hours embroidering and gentlemen spent hours watching the ladies embroider.  Skip ahead 100 years and our parents, albeit unknowingly, have artificially changed our communal instincts and forced us to take refuge in the kitchens, and dare we say, basements of our youth.  We, for two, will not stand by this unnatural migration.  At our cabin, we want our daily regimen to revolve around a grande "old school" living room where we lounge about sipping tea in style or entertain guests in a glamorous setting surrounded by our favorite finds without fear of mucking anything up.  So, now's the time generation X, Y, Next or whatever they're calling us these day, to stand up and take back the living quarters that were so forcibly stolen from us. It's okay...step into your living room, remove those plastic cushion covers, flop down on the sofa and take it all's the civilized thing to do.  
(P.S. We still love you Mom.)
1.  Spring at the cabin
2.  The perfect cup of tea
3.  A Minneapolis penthouse by Andrew Flesher
1. J.K Hotel, Florence, Italy
2.  RL Restaurant, Chicago
3.  Vintage round bench upholstered in blue velvet, Jayson Home & Garden
1.  J.K Hotel, Florence, Italy
2.  Kotsuis and Hohhuq – Nakoaktok, Photograph by Edward Curtis, c. 1907
3.  Leather club chairs, French, c. 1930's
1.  Silver plated shoe cufflinks, Paul Smith
2.  Astor CourtsRhinebeck, New York  (check out that fireplace!!!)
1.  Easton Square, London drawing room by Michael S. Smith
2.  Oriental Salon at Axel Vervoordt's Castle, Belgium  
3.  "Cinnabar" glazed garden stool, Pagoda Red

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Monday, March 7, 2011

How to Make An Entrance

Making an entrance is never an easy task, even for the most experienced party-goers among us.  One needs to exude confidence while appearing approachable and relaxed.  Your outfit should be thoughtful and appropriate.  Consider your hair, nails and makeup.  You should look into the eyes of others as you survey the room, and smile.  There are so many rules!  That's one reason why we want our retreat; there's nothing more honest and relaxing than walking through the door of a weekend getaway where one can sit back in a carefree setting with good company.

Just as important as first impressions are in social situations, the entry to any space is equally important. The spaces below, in their simplicity, exude a confidence and sophistication of their own. As we embark on this cabin pilgrimage, our journey starts with an entrance...and if you'll please excuse us, we need to pick out our outfits. 
1.  Entrance to an apartment in Paris, Casamidy
3.  New Hampshire settee, Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques
1 & 4.  The Rug Company
2.  Portrait of 'OberschĂĽtzenmeister', Christophe Edwards
3.  19th century oak Elizabethan-style table, Holmes Samsel Antiques
2.  19th century Persian Sultanabad carpet, Doris Leslie Blau
2.  Visconti two arm sconce, Gregorius Pineo
3.  English mahogany center table with marble top, c. 1810, Lee Stanton Antiques

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Only in New York...

We've recently returned from New York and couldn't have had a more perfect trip.  We stayed with a friend in a fabulous 5th Avenue apartment, waking up every morning to a view of Central Park from our bedroom.  Our next trip has a lot to live up to.

Below are some of the highlights:  

*We hit the Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea flea markets, where we spotted a bargain hunting Nate Berkus.  We found a wonderful c. 1920's large silver bowl with lion feet and my monogram engraved in the bottom.  It was the find of the century!

*The Ralph Lauren Women's and Home store was absolutely gorgeous.  The building is brand new, but looks as though it has been standing for over a century.  We were a little intimidated to snap our own photos, so please enjoy Habitually Chic's recent post...this is just as it looked when we were there.  

*ABC Carpet and Home is truly a one stop shop.  With the gift floor on the main level and carpets on the fifth, there are boutiques by every major furniture designer sandwiched in between.  P.S.  We spotted James Andrew of What is James Wearing shopping on the second floor.  If only we had taken a photo, we could start a blog called, "What I Saw James Wearing".   

*While the overly commercial aspect of the neighborhood is not our thing, Soho was a remarkably enchanting place.  The streets were paved with bricks and the shops had a very English sensibility.  Some of our favorites were Paul Smith, Jack Spade and Thomas O'Brien's workspace, Aero Studios.

As we're always thinking about the cabin, we were definitely stimulated everywhere we went in New York.  Below are some of our favorite cabin and lifestyle inspirations from the trip:  

1.  The newly redesigned Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue 
now exclusively showcases the Ralph Lauren men's collection
2.  We couldn't resist these saddle shoes from Cole Haan
2.  The Color Reform line at ABC, brilliant concept! 
3.  Pipa, a wonderfully decorated tapas 
restaurant on the ground floor of ABC
1.  We relaxed with a couple of cocktails at The Campbell Apartment.  Designed in 1923 and inspired by 13th-century Florentine palaces, the space was recently renovated by English designer Nina Campbell (of no relation)
2.  A detail of the original hand-painted ceiling
3.  Our drink of choice:  Prohibition Punch  
We followed this recipe at home and it was equally delicious
1.  Henri Lloyd's Spring/Summer 2011 collection
2 & 3.  These preppy Soho shoppers have it together, 
courtesy of 
4.  Henri Lloyd's Spring/Summer 2011 collection

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