Monday, July 15, 2013

Antagonizing the Mounties, and other adventures: a photo essay

Every summer, my girlfriends and I drive for an almost infinite number of hours to visit another dear buddy of ours, who lives waaaaaay upstate on the St. Lawrence River. And I do mean directly on the river - this is the view from her porch:

And that is Canada on the other side.

In the 10 (ten!) (holy shit!) years we have been doing this, there has always been some sort of misadventure. Horrific traffic jams, late-night GPS misfires, roadwork lasting for the entire state of Pennsylvania, and so forth. This year was no different.

We thought we'd gotten our bad luck out of the way quickly, after it took us 45 minutes to go the five blocks from my office to the entrance of the Holland Tunnel. Giddy with excitement over our impending four days of bad behavior and fattening food, we decided to stop for dinner at McDonald's. And then, as we zoomed back toward the interstate, there was a regrettable incident involving a possible slight degree of over-excitement about a bag of fries, an unlucky twist of the wheel, and a diabolical concrete curb on a no-shoulder road in the very fine state of New Jersey. Our front right tire was the casualty.

Which led to this:

Artist's Impression of Four Women with Seven Post-Secondary Degrees Between Them,
All of Whom Rarely Drive, Figuring out How to Change a Tire

and also to this:

My friend Liz predicted, when we first pulled over our wounded vehicle on this deserted side street,
that the subsequent events would unfold as either a slasher flick or a porno;
I think this photo should make it clear which way things were leaning.

But a couple of hours, two stolen landscaping rocks, and one musclebound cop later, we were back on our way. With 200 miles to drive in three hours on a donut spare.

And we did it. We coined the phrase "but also, still drive," as encouragement for a flustered driver hunting with mounting urgency for the headlight switch on a rapidly darkening stretch of interstate, but we did it. And these were our rewards:

Oh, and the Mounties? Yeah, that happened. On our last night, our friend's mom took us for an amazing sunset boat ride down the river, and as she made a wide U-turn to head back toward the house, a Canadian border patrol boat flashed its lights at us and pulled up alongside. I prepared to be boarded, but they just asked us probing questions like why had we been motoring along and then all of a sudden popped a u-ey and headed the other way? (Answer: we live on the east side of the river, and after traveling south, the only way to return to the house via boat is to pop a u-ey.) And they were so relentlessly polite and Canadian about it all that we couldn't really get too grumpy with them.

But still, I wasn't bold enough to take a photo of them while we were in sight of them, lest they think I really was a terrorist casing entry points into our fair northern neighbors. So I waited till they were a safe distance away. That little blob on the horizon in the photo below, friends, is a vessel of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

And thus ended another glorious ritual of summer. I have come away happier, fatter, and confident of success in any future speed drills involving locating and dislodging the spare tire in Satan's Minivan a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Design porn - Eamon's house

 Inspiration for Eamon's house

One of those tediously binary "rules" about human nature (you're either right-brained or left-brained; you're either introverted or extroverted) is that, supposedly, people are either visual learners or verbal learners. I call bullshit; I am both. Primarily verbal, perhaps, but if my brain weren't also unavoidably drawn to visual composition and imagery, I'd never have become a quasi-art-major or an interior designer. So even when I'm writing, I think in images.

So naturally, when I was writing this book about a house renovation, I had to find an actual house to write about. Not just that--I pored over the listing photos until I could put together a reasonable facsimile of the existing floor plan, and then I drafted the new plan I wanted to create. And then I furnished it.

I mean, of course I did.

And now I want to show it to you! I promise, if you hang out with me, there will be a lot of photos of gorgeous art and house stuff. And in answer to the question I know is popping up in your mind... no, I have not met a piece of brass I didn't want to make out with. There are worse addictions.

Horchow bed

Hudson Furniture console table

Palo Samko table

detail of the table - those are watch gears embedded in the surface.

Siemon & Salazar pendant light

Homenature bunching side tables

Dowel-leg Eames chairs

Casamidy lounge chair - that's leather wrapped around the frame.

Billy Cotton chandelier

vintage Paulo Mendes da Rocha chair


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yumtastic concrete tile!

Several of my clients recently have been craving these colorful hand-painted cement tiles. Different versions of them originated in Mexico, France, Spain and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and they're now widely available in the US through several different makers. Words to the wise, though--as lovely as they are, you should know what you're getting into. They're brittle, so they will chip and crack easily; and they are incredibly porous, even when sealed. Which means they will stain like nobody's business. However, as long as you know that ahead of time, and you can commit to embracing the patina'ed, lived-in look that they will quickly take on, then knock yourself out! They sure are beautiful.

And PS - for lots more design and reno porn, including the images I had in mind while writing my books, check out my Pinterest page!