Article
0 comment

Newton(onian)

A mere hour from the concrete jungle that is New York City, beyond the Lincoln Tunnel, lies a land of verdant farms and bucolic landscapes! Who knew? Newton is a remnant of antebellum America and was officially incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 11, 1864. The arrival of the area’s first railroad in 1854 brought rapid commercial and residential growth. Construction of the Merriam Shoe Factory in 1873 introduced the modern factory system to Sussex County (where Newton lies) and inaugurated the town’s age of industry boom and sprawl.

Here’s a dandy little description of the town during the 19th century, found hereThe town lies upon the slope of a gentle hill, of mingled slate and limestone, at whose foot a spring sends forth the first waters of the Paulinskill, the chief river of the county … Some of the dwellings are very neat: the place has an air of business, and there is in fact a very considerable trade carried on with the surrounding country. In healthiness of situation, by the report of the inhabitants, it cannot be excelled. – Thomas Gordon, 1834.

 

With a population of less than 8,000 people, I am not sure so much has changed since those first days. I say this lovingly. Sometimes the ebb and flow of NYC is overwhelming, the sheer speed of evolution juxtaposed with the lack of wildlife can be trying. Sometimes, all I want to do is meander into the woods and lose myself in a leaf pile or examine the way stones skip on water. This is simply not possible in my urban existence. So, every now and then, my boyfriend and I get an invitation to escape the confines of the city and play at farm life. It was reinvigorating!

This past Sunday we travelled a mere 60 miles to Newton, New Jersey. Those 60 miles might as well be 100 years worth of construction and growth. The brick facades of Main Street and farm-stands lining the streets transported me to another era! The slight chill in the air and the foliage oscillating between red, yellow, brown and green all helped to make last weekend one of the most relaxing I have ever had  – a perfect autumnal experience!

Like my wooden name tag made with tree bark and a Sharpie? We all got to personalize our own! Please note, the table runners were burlap potato sacks!

Peter from Spirit Family Reunion made me with wonderful portrait while taking a break from playing!  He drew this in a mere 20 seconds!

The BBQ was complete with tomato bread salad, homegrown collared greens, roasted chicken, pulled pork, goat cheese beet salad, potato rolls and fried potatoes! We also played badminton, hula hoop, croquet and bean-bag toss. By the time we had finished drinking apple cider and pumpkin ale, we were all feeling pretty nicely warm and slightly buzzed. The band, Spirit Family Reunion, began to play their jug-handle, washboard, spoon-fed folk tunes on top of a grassy hill. Spirit Family Reunion plays homegrown American music that’s easy to stomp, clap, shake and holler with. As Paste Magazine writes, “Ever since they started singing together on the street corners, farmer’s markets and subway stations of New York City, their songs have rung-out in a pure and timeless way. When Spirit Family Reunion gather to sing, there is communion. Strangers and neighbors come to rejoice in the sound, and there is no divide between performer and spectator.” This magical afternoon was no exception.

Who needs a bucket of ice? 

Have you ever seen “hearty kiwis”? They are able to be grown in New Jersey! Surprise! 

Goodbye nature and time to head back to NYC! Do you ever take a “staycation” – a small weekend getaway that might as well be on another continent it feels so different? 

Article
1 comment

Trunk Show

A trunk, also known as a traveling chest, is a type of luggage that was historically used for extended periods of time and long stays away from home. The trunks travelled with individuals to such places as boarding schools and trips abroad. Whereas chests have been traditionally used as storage containers, trunks were created in more rugged materials, with more divots, hardware, and nails, to withstand rougher wear. Even though trunks have been around for thousands of years (in China, but also elsewhere), the most common styles recognized hail from the late 18th century to the early 20th. Since trunks were so heavy, they were often not carried by the owner or traveler, but usually by servants via its handles. Trunks have been replaced by lighter and cheaper suitcases. These newer forms of luggage also have heels allowing the item to become more easily mobile.

The Louis Vuitton “Library Trunk”. In 1923, Louis Vuitton created a trunk for books, the use of which was not exclusive for travel but also for at home. Many well-known writers joined the bibliophiles and collectors acquiring these trunks, including Ernest Hemingway and Françoise Sagan.

Trunks can be wood based (usually pine) or metal based. The trunks can also come in a bevy of styles including steamers (or flat-tops), hat-trunks, barrel-staves, bevel-tops, wardrobes, and dome-tops. Victorian trunks are especially prized because of the intricate customization and compartments held within each piece. Trunks from the Victorian era had complex tray systems, hat boxes, coin purses, and hidden compartments. Those trunks were sometimes also decorated for lady owners with chromolithographs of flowers, village scenes, initials, and other personalizations.

The home of Jon and Paige Ashcroft via DesignSponge, HERE. 

Trunk via Restoration Hardware as part of the travel inspired “Richards Metal Trunk Series”. 

Whereas a CHEST was actually created to be a piece of furniture, TRUNKS were not. It is only recently that they have been used as coffee tables, side tables, and decorative storage. I have not one, but FIVE vintage trunks in my apartment – three are stacked as a decorative accent. One is in my living room as an end table that stores books and blankets. The other is my board game cupboard! I found my trunks at vintage stores for around $50-200 each. If you don’t feel like lugging (literally) your luggage back from a store – try Etsy! Your vitange trunk is filled with history; think about all the places your trunk as gone and secrets it has hidden. One particularly amazing Etsy shop called SalvageShack creates pet beds, tables, and shelving from old luggage.

This trunk stack becomes a high table for the entryway. Designed by Ron Marvin in San Francisco. 

This French inspired room, complete with pewter accents, and nailed hardware on the trunk is extremely romantic. Image from Traditional Home found HERE.

Modern, masculine, and somehow with a minimal desert vibe. Image by Birdhouse Interior Design Consulting in Omaha, NE.

Ornate, busy, western, and yet awesome -like visiting your quirky Great Aunt Madge. Image by by Period Homes, Inc. from Fort Worth, TX.

Like living inside a rustic boarding school. Image by Alicia via Houzz.

When in doubt, spray paint your trunk white! This gives the object a sculptural look. Image via a Beach Cottage.

Via The Foundary.

The perfect accent. It allows a new home to have a “lived-in-old-home vibe”. Image via Desire to Inspire.

A French, provincial, country cottage! Not one, but TWO trunks in the photo. Image found HERE.

Vintage Luxe meets Liberace meets Versailles. Image via Gypsy House Designs.

This is the Vuitton trunk in the library of US fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger’s house in Greenwich, Connecticutt. If it’s good enough for Tommy, it’s good enough for me. Image found via Fashionphile, HERE.

Trunks don’t have to be rustic. By softening the color palette, the one above is pastel, feminine, modern, breezy, and warm. Photograph by Jon Day via House to Home, HERE.

In the end, I love the idea of reinventing an object’s use. A trunk would obsolete had it not been for creative designers and homeowners. Now it is functional again in the 21st century! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Article
0 comment

White Hot

Let’s get technical (sung to Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical”) White is a color, although it is also an optical illusion. The color white is merely a perception which is evoked by light (the color white does not exist without light) that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cells in the human eye. These cells are actually all stimulated in nearly equal amount and with high brightness compared to the surroundings in order to produce the color white.  An object whose surface reflects back most of the light it receives (opaque) and does not alter its color will appear white. Most sources of light and incandescence also appear white. The etymology of the word “white” in most languages usually also means “bright”, “reflected”, and “light”. Clearly ancient civilizations understood the concept that the color white was similar to lightwaves way before science caught up.

When white appears in nature (such as clouds, and snow) the color is actually only water crystals reflecting back the light of the sun. Remember, even the moon at night (which often appears white) is reflecting back the color of the sun.

Rather than delve into the man-made connotations of the color (purity, chastity, holiness, weddings, mournings, et. al.), I think of white merely as an extension of the sun and life, and the light provided by stars. This is its natural state, devoid of context.

Image and furniture via Ikea. White furniture in a white living room can create an illusion of space.

Both of the above images are from the same home. And, technically speaking, if you were to view these white spaces against a dark backdrop, the brightness would be even more obvious!  White allows deeper hued objects (such as vases, books, and flowers) to pop at full potential. The contrast between the white and the tchotchkes allows each object to be put on a pedestal. It also allows each object to seem purposely chosen.  Image found HERE.

White does not have to be minimal! Stick to a color palette of three (burgundy, brown, and white) for a lush and deep feeling. Photo by Art Gray, New York Loft styled by White Webb.

A shabby chic inspired white room replete with reclaimed barn wood floors. Also, the varying materials in this room force the eye to look at all objects and all dimensions. Designer Darryl Carter transformed this blank space. Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” is used throughout the apartment but to add the illusion of airiness, openness, and area. Image photographed by Gordon Beall and found HERE.

Amaridian, has teamed up with Cape Town’s Design Africa to showcase and promote excellence in African design. The images is from the showcase of African design in NYC, products by Mud Studio, Ronel Jordaan, Tekura Design and Diallo Design. White does not need to have stark geometric shapes, and uber clean lines. Here the color white is romantic, trivial, and subdued. Image found HERE. 

Did I mention how important windows (and thus light) is for white? The above loft has a very 1970’s design aesthetic! Image found HERE.

Ebony and Ivory! Black, Red, and White is a classic color scheme that is never wrong. Image found HERE.

I could actually see enjoying laundering in this space. I have never felt invited in by a laundry room, but here’s to firsts! I bet spotting stains in this environment is super easy. I also love the light, pine wood accents. Image found HERE.

Romantic, antique, luxe. Ivory, Cream, and White (keeping it in the color family). Achromatic works. Image found HERE.

Shabby, Romantic, Charming, Country style. Image found HERE.

I spy a Birkin Bag and a Saarinen Table and a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed Barcelona Chair. Image found HERE. 

Neutral paint colors: ‘Veil Cream’ by Benjamin Moore and a Le Corbusier chaise. Somehow this space is rustic, western, and natural. Photo by Justin Bernhaut, Domino, Dec. 2006. Domino Magazine.

  • “White…is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…God paints in many colours; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.” — G. K. Chesterton
  • “The first of all single colors is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

HOW CAN I LIVE IN A WHITE WASHED DREAM CLOUD?

Shop By The Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8/ 9