Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mary Jane Butters

Do you have a copy of Mary Jane Butters' Ideabook • Cookbook • Lifebook: For the Farmgirl in All of Us? I have held on to my copy of Country Home's July 2005 issue because I find it generally inspiring. Mary Jane Butters runs an organic farm in Idaho and talks about composting and needlepoint the way some people talk about their newest Marc Jacobs handbag. She's like the new Martha Stewart - with dirt.

These photos remind me to take a deep breath, slow down and try not to take myself too seriously. And sometimes I get a bit too wrapped up in things (like how much my contractor is going to cost). So here's a little breath. And buy that book. Who knows, you might love composting too.

We definitely need a swing at the new house. Definitely.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ruby Beets, Sag Harbor

As I mentioned, I got the first bid on cabinetry the other day. I am still reeling. Anyway, seeking to trim down (or I'm going to have to staple gun cardboard boxes to the wall) I am separating out the dining room cabinetry which I had originally wanted in favor of a freestanding piece of furniture. I was inspired by this piece from Sharone Einhorn's home, an owner of Ruby Beets in Sag Harbor.

And I just so happened to find on Craig's List, this very interesting piece of furniture. And because it is a reproduction, I might just paint it. What do you think?

Painting this would be a project. Let's get back to some soothing images.

To read House Beautiful's article on Ruby Beets, go here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A New York Farmhouse

Since we're renovating a farmhouse, I am steeped in all things farm-y (now that's a sophisticated adjective for you). Palette will be white, black, cream. Texture from waxed, wide-plank pine floors, burlaps, linens, alabaster. I want the house to look like it has been well-loved. I saw this article about a New York farmhouse several years ago, and courtesy of the WORLD WIDE WEB, I have rediscovered it. It seems more meaningful now as this couple has two children and incorporates their living and dreaming into their spaces.

Here are some of the lovely photos that are inspiring me today.

I can't wait to retrieve my alabaster lamps from storage...

White Ironstone

I adore white ironstone. In multiple colors the look would be cluttered, but in white it looks like sculpture. I have about 5 saved Ebay searches that update me daily on ironstone that's available. For our new house, it fits right in with the farm aesthetic - here is a little info courtesy of Martha.

Ironstone dates to the early 1800; the name and its formula, containing the mineral feldspar, were patented in 1813 by Charles Mason of Staffordshire, England. By the 1830s, enterprising British potters recognized a potential market among rural American families buying china for the first time. They put together services of snowy-white ironstone, predicting that its simplicity and affordability would appeal to the no-frills aesthetic associated with American country life. These pieces, given names such as graniteware, stoneware, pearl china, or feldspar china, are now all categorized as ironstone.

Anyway, I have a new BFF named Scott, who just sold me his entire fabulous collection of ironstone. THE ENTIRE COLLECTION. Thank you Scott, you just made 2008. Here are some photos that he took with his camera phone (impressive in my opinion).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Feed Sacks

One of my favorite stores in the area is Hudson. The owner/designer has a great mix of vintage, shabby, mid century, Hollywood Regency and new (from companies like Oly Studio).

After seeing some of their pillows, I got inspired to start collecting feed sacks, especially those that have interesting American typography. The feed sack seems particularly apropos to a farmhouse, as you are re-purposing fabric that would have been on hand. After I choose dining room chairs, I am going to upholster the seats with the sacks. They'll be durable (after all they held grain and were stored in damp, drafty barns) and since they're not very expensive (gotta love ebay) I can replace the seats as necessary.

Right now the majority of the ones I purchased have the Bemis logo. Bemis was a gunny sack company that was founded in Missouri. During the Civil War they started making burlap sacks because of the shortage of cotton. Who knew?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Windsor Smith

Although I find Windsor Smith herself a bit irritating (if you have seen the photo of her with the riding boots, you'll know what I mean), her designs are really gorgeous with a definite sense of humor (and just a touch of pretension). I love the kitchen of her own home and it reconfirms my love of white marble, white paint and pendants:

Her bathroom designs... which to choose?

And these bedrooms are lovely. A big fan of the painted floor, which I won't be using unfortunately.

I love this nursery - anyone know where to get those lovely fabric letters?

This kitchen has been EVERYWHERE on the internet. And I don't even read blogs. The painted floor is so gutsy and fun. I wonder if these folks have a dog. Ha.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

412 Monument

This is a house we seriously considered... over and over and over. But the 1/4 acre just wasn't big enough to throw a ball to the dog! Their interiors are lovely, though (one of the owners is a professional chef so the appliances are incredible). Buy this and be our neighbor!

Plato cabinets by Kitchenworks of Acton

Kitchen to family room.

Crown Point cabinets

I received one of my first bids for cabinetry yesterday... lordy. Deep breath. Fortunately our architect pointed out that the island is shown at 10 feet, so the measurements must be off. However the cabinetry is beautiful, by a company called Crown Point.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

White marble

Everyone tells me not to do white marble. It stains. It loses its sheen. But how can I deny its deliciousness? If the French can roll pastry on it...

Hallway inspiration?

In eliminating the central staircase, we are returning to the house's original staircase... as our architect describes, "It is a back stair that was a front stair and feels really sad about its demotion. It is bad feng shui to abandon it."

I saw this photo and thought it might inspire some new feng shui...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Farm table

In keeping with the original farmhouse spirit of the house and also introduce some warmth and texture, I am going to do a farm table in the dining room. I am thinking about mixing up the chairs - perhaps wicker combined with metal, or wicker mixed with bentwood, or bentwood and slipcovered. It's all a mystery now until I find that table.

I like this one from the Sundance catalog.

August chair from Shabby Chic

Kitchen island chairs

Island chairs are difficult because they're usually extremely uncomfortable. There are a few in the running, by I think I have decided on the New Market stool from Lloyd Loom after seeing the above photo in House Beautiful.

They come in a full range of paint colors, which is fun. Ideally I would have found some fabulous antique Thonet stools, a la from the Abranowicz house, but that seems unlikely (and extremely pricey).

I also like this one from the Sundance Catalog ($195/each):

And this one from Pottery Barn.