Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blue Ribbon Wreath

I enjoy making a new and different wreath for our front door every year at Christmas time.  This year inspiration came from the Nov/Dec issue of Traditional Home magazine, which features a pretty Virginia stone house, I noticed further detailed in Loi Thai's wonderful blog, Tone on Tone: A Light and Airy Christmas (includes photos not shown in the magazine, and some nice close-ups of the wreaths.)  I kept admiring the pretty blue ribbon, possibly chambray, that I was not able to find locally (guess I could have made my own...)  I was so happy to finally find some light blue silk ribbon at Merrifield Garden Center in Fairfax -- which has a gorgeous selection of ribbon, and they assured me that it was alright to use silk on our outdoor wreath, which would not be protected from the elements (we'll see).  Here is my version, which I started  from a boxwood wreath bought at Home Depot, then added magnolia and holly leaves/berries from our yard, blue silk ribbon, and silver jingle bells, saved from past years' wreaths:

Monday, November 26, 2012

O Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree this year -- so far unadorned, as we just got it yesterday.  Knew right away it was "the one", and it even had a little birds nest in it! Further inspection confirmed it had a straight, single trunk -- which makes everyone happy!
O Christmas tree!

The soft mossy nest found in our tree is, I think, a chickadee nest.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mid-Century Modern at Deep Creek Lake

Front door and foyer 
Yes, it is the first day of autumn!  At least while it is still September I wanted to do a post about this cool house that we stayed at on Deep Creek Lake over the summer...  I really wanted to keep some pictures of this home, because it was such a cool house and we will never be able to stay there again -- it has been sold, and is no longer available as a vacation property!

Lakefront property on Turkey Neck area of Deep Creek Lake -- view of the house from the lake.  Inset picture is view of the lake and dock from the house.
I always try to find interesting homes to stay at on our vacations -- usually original/rustic or contemporary/modern.  We thought of going for a historic property this year -- circa 1800's with a lot of land for the dog (and us) to run around in -- but the idea was out-voted for a vacation on the water, which narrowed down to a vacation on a lake -- Deep Creek Lake, which from past great vacation memories made us want to go back, but maybe to a different, less rustic house...  This one was a mid-century modern  house.  Having grown up in a mid-century modern home in upstate New York, I have always loved this type of house, and was so looking forward to visiting after seeing pictures online.  It was designed and built in 1963 by Earl Zepp,a local builder -- see footnote at bottom for more information.  I am so disappointed the house has sold as we would have loved to have stayed there in future years -- we all enjoyed it so much.  Here are some pictures I have taken of the house, mostly from when we arrived and were first setting up:

 This property is all about the outdoors -- with over an acre of lovely shaded property and the lake,  the windows and deck were oriented to take advantage of the views

View of the lake from the master bedroom window

View of the deck from the master bedroom sitting area
View of the lake from the deck

The house itself featured many built-ins and closets galore!  All over wood paneling sometimes gave the feel of being aboard a yacht... fitting considering the house is down the road from the yacht club and the builder, Earl Zepp, was once a member.

Love the built-in bookshelves in the foyer -- you can never have enough bookshelves!

View down the bedroom hallway towards the foyer and living area -- skylights and closets all the way down the hall!

I found the area behind the accordion doors intriguing.  It was apparently an artist's studio, however currently serving as computer room, with some art displayed on an easel.  It also acted as a pass through to the foyer and contained more closets for storage!

Living room view to the foyer
Living room

Loved the big windows and how you could see through beyond the deck as the house angles toward the bedroom area

Above a close-up of the soffits with concealed uplift lighting


Detail of the window and door latches -- I loved the windows and doors!  They were all wood framed and slid along a curved grooved track on the frame.

Dining area with kitchen to the right behind the fireplace, and office, laundry room and guest suite beyond the far door

The floors were parquet and in mostly in good shape except for some water damage near the corner of the kitchen and fireplace. The small kitchen had been updated and did not go with the rest of the house (sort of French Country). Having redone our kitchen a couple of years ago, I would love to be able to redo this kitchen! Somehow I did not get a picture of the kitchen, except this one (try to ignore the beer can and toilet paper -- remember, we were just unloading the car!):

Country kitchen out of place-- would love to redo this kitchen

The kitchen could be closed off entirely by the wood accordion door 

This is the office -- a nice, bright  room with built-in everything off of the dining area and kitchen.  It connected to the laundry room (which also had a whole wall of built-in storage) and then via a glass door and long hallway to the guest suite of the house. I always felt like "Get Smart", complete with theme music, walking down to the guest suite!

In case you are not from the 60's and don't know the opening sequence from "Get Smart", here it is:

Here is the thing about ranch houses... whenever you want something it is always at the other end of the house...especially at night.  In that respect it is similar to living in a two-story house where you are always going up and down the stairs.

The original house had been added on to ... the architects did a great job.  What used to be the bedroom end of the house is now a workout room.  The Master suite and new baster bath were added on:

Original master bedroom, now workout room
 You have to go through the workout room to get to the new master bedroom and bath:

Was good sleeping weather -- at least 10 degrees cooler than DC area, where we fortuitously left our home as the air conditioner broke with temperatures staying at over 100 degrees-- you just can't plan that!

master bedroom

master bedroom sitting area

I have only one photo of the guest suite, which is at the end of that long hallway past the office and laundry room, (cue "Get Smart" opening sequence).   The incredible length of the hallway was not put to waste, however, due to the gallery-like atmosphere of having pictures and sculptures displayed throughout.  The guest room was one incredibly large room --  a whole apartment with another smaller kitchen,  living room, a table and chairs, more closets, a queen-sized bed and these built-in pull down galley style bunk beds:

Pull down bunk beds built into the wall
 Finally, a few photos to share of the setting, which perfectly completes the house:

Rhododendron blossoms -- the house was absolutely surround by mature rhododendrons

a campfire night

Deep Creek Yacht Club from our boat (a pontoon boat -- not a sailboat, but better for fishing and lots of room for our party, including our dog, Olivia!)

The dam at Deep Creek Lake, Stocksslager area of lake -- it is very deep here

Andrew taking a supervised turn behind the wheel -- he is very responsible

Olivia relaxing on the boat

My handsome guys posing on a bale of hay.  Lots of beautiful, rolling farmland surrounds the lake.

As if on cue, a full moon reflecting off the water

Footnote on Earl Zepp:

This passage, from a 2000 history,  "The Deep Creek Yacht Club at Turkey Neck", is what I could find on Earl Zepp, as well as one similar style house that had been for sale in Oakland, MD

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kitchen Planter Ideas

It would be so nice to have a small planter in my kitchen for keeping herbs and other small plants, rather than keeping them on the island as I do now.  Besides being good to use for cooking, they are pretty to look at, and smell good too!  They need a place of their own though... not taking up counter space at the bar area! And even with three windows, some sort of plant grow light would probably be a good idea.

I like the look of this Jill Bar Cart from Ballard Designs for this purpose, and and it seems like a good size to fit my space:
from Ballard Designs, the Jill Bar Cart

These shelves on wheels would work too if they were a bit smaller:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Boston: Highlights

Lots of traffic, expensive parking and hard to get street parking were a bit frustrating...

We had a great time on our trip to Boston last week while Andrew was at a hockey camp for goalies at Fessenden School in nearby Newton, MA.  Here are some highlights from the trip (traffic wasn't one of them!):

Highlight #1: Goalie Academy Elite Goalie Camp at Fessenden School:  Of course getting to see some of the on-ice sessions, usually end of the day, were fun and the main reason we were there:
Fessenden School, Newton MA
I always love seeing a large group of goalies together -- reminds me of when we were in NYC once and saw a bunch of Santa Clauses get off a bus together like they were on a convention!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Boston Public Library -- Copley Square

Boston Public Library, founded in 1848, was the country's first public lending library.  It has been in its present Copley Square location since 1895. 

Photos below are from the Abbey Room of the McKim Building (original building).  We stopped at the library for an hour or so while waiting for the campers to get back from their prep school tour.  I thought this room was particularly beautiful and, having enjoyed reading "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White to both boys when they were younger, was especially delighted once I found out the paintings illustrated scenes from the legend of King Arthur.  It was lovely to sit there and read for awhile:

The Abbey Room, paintings by Edwin Austin Abbey

Descriptions from Boston Public Library's website:

The Abbey Room
"Murals titled the "Quest of the Holy Grail," by American artist, Edwin Austin Abbey, grace the walls of the Abbey Room on the second floor of the McKim building. The murals are composed of a series of 15 panels featuring 150 life-sized figures illustrating the Arthurian legend. The room also features a beautiful fireplace of French rouge antiq
ue marble, dark oak wainscoting, and a beamed ceiling modeled after one in the library of the Doge's Palace in Venice." 


The Abbey Room

"Of particular interest to many visitors is the sumptuous Abbey Room, which may be entered from the south end of the Chavannes Gallery. The room’s dominating feature is the series of splendid and richly colored mural paintings The Quest of the Holy Grail by the American artist, Edwin Austin Abbey. The room, 64 feet long by 33 feet wide, is of luxurious beauty. The ceiling is remarkable for its heavy ornamental rafters.
The heavy marble doorways leading into Bates Hall and from the Chavannes Gallery are of rouge antique and Levanto marble. The mantle of the great fireplace in the east wall - wholly of rouge antique - is exceedingly rich and elaborate. The walls are wainscoted in dark-colored oak to the level of the murals, and the floors are of Istrian and red Verona marble."


Paintings #1-3 -- details below

No 1. The child Galahad, the descendant, by his mother, of Joseph of Arimathea, is visited, among the nuns who bring him up, by a dove bearing a golden censer and an angel carrying the Grail, the presence of which operates as sustenance to the infant. From the hands of the holy women the predestined boy passes into those of the subtle Gurnemanz, who instructs him in the knowledge of the things of the world, and in the duties and functions of the ideal knight. But before leaving the nuns he has performed his nightly vigil has watched alone, till dawn, in the church.

No. 2. This ordeal of the vigil terminates in his departure. Clothed in red, he is girt for going forth, while the nuns bring to him Sir Lancelot, who fastens on one of his spurs, and Sir Bors, who attaches the other.

No. 3. The Arthurian Round Table and the curious fable of the Seat Perilous are here dealt with: the Seat Perilous − "Perilous for good and ill" − in which no man has yet sat with safety, not even the fashioner himself, but into which, standing vacant while it awaits only a blameless occupant, the young Sir Galahad, knighted by Arthur, has sworn a vow to be worthy to take his place. The Companions of the Order are seated in Arthur's hall, and every chair, save one, is filled. Suddenly the doors and windows close of themselves, the place becomes suffused with light, and Sir Galahad, robed in red (the color emblematic of purity), is led in by an old man clothed in white, Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to one of the most artless features of the romance, has subsisted for centuries by the possession of the supreme relic. The young knight is thus installed in safety in the Seat Perilous, above which becomes visible the legend, "This is the seat of Galahad."

No. 12. Sir Galahad, borne upon a white charger and followed by the blessings of the people, is seen passing from the land, where peace and plenty once more reign.

No. 13. Carry him across the seas to Sarras. The Grail, borne by an angel, guides the ship. Sir Bors and Sir Percival follow him. Having sinned once, they can never see the Grail themselves, yet, having persevered faithfully in the Quest, they have acquired the right to accompany Sir Galahad and witness his achievement. Resting upon a cushion in the stern of the ship are three Spindles made from the "Tree of Life" − one snow-white, one green, one blood-red. When Eve was driven from the Garden of Eden, she carried with her the branch which she had plucked from the "Tree of Life." The branch, when planted, grew to be a tree, with branches and leaves white, in token that Eve was a virgin when she planted it. When Cain was begotten, the tree turned green; and afterward, when Cain slew Abel, the tree turned red.

Sir Lancelot

 p.s. Note:  If you plan to visit Boston Public Library and rely on your GPS to help you with directions, you should indicate the Copley Square location or better yet the specific address at 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, otherwise you might end up at a public library in Boston somewhere else -- we did! The GPS was not always very good in Boston -- consider the old GIGO adage!