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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

House of Horrors

No words...

I recently came across this image of a frighteningly confused abode on Twitter and I couldn't resist posting it on my blog.

In fact, many words and plays on song and book titles come to mind:

How's about: "Hell House", "The House that Crack Built", "You Can Check in But You'll Never Check Out", "A House is Not a Home", "The House of  7 Thousand Gables", "Home Freak Home, "Home is Where the Tell-tale Heart is", "Fall of the House of Reason"?

And while we're at it, there's classic one-liners like: "Take my house, please", "This place is so scary even ghosts won't  haunt it." "M. C. Escher, Frank Lloyd Wright and Antonio Gaudi walk into a blender. .."

Please feel free to jump in and add your descriptive two cents.

Unable to find out the history of "Dr. Caligari's McMansion-on-acid", I would venture to guess that judging by the adjoining house, it could possibly be located somewhere in Europe.  If anyone knows of it's actual locale, please feel free to enlighten me. I am oddly torn between actually seeking it out or avoiding it all together.  

Not your typical architectural atrocity,  I am strangely drawn to it. By no means is it merely benign...but outright insane. #Fenestration gone asunder.

As for identifying it's amalgam of architectural style(s)? I'm not going to go there because there are none to identify. 

The fun part is trying to locate the front door. 

Happy Halloween.   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Made in America: "Island Riches"

If you are ever in the vicinity of Chebeague Island in southern Maine, do be sure to drop by "Island Riches," a quaint little shop filled with an abundant variety of handmade items hand-crafted by area and local island artisans. 
While there, if you have a little time to stay and chat, you won't be disappointed.  Proprietress Florence Rich is always happy to spend time engaging in conversation about her work, plants, family and the weather.  Florence is supremely talented at a number of crafts herself--I have attended craft shows on the island and have been admiring her work for years.  Confidently thoughtful and unassuming, Florence offers no hard sell at  "Island Riches," which opened in 2010 and is located  on her home property just steps from the Casco Bay boat landing.
Florence Rich pictured in her shop
with "Annie" (my mom's dog) in the foreground.


 If you can't drop by, Florence additionally enjoys a worldwide following on her Etsy website: Check it out!

If you come to the shop looking for T-shirts, you most likely won't find them here-- and that's really not a bad thing!

Florence and her husband Herb, a former boat builder and lobsterman, started hand-making napkin rings and jewelry out of their old flatware after their daughter gave them a new silverware set. Now one of the shop and website's most popular items, the recycled flatware items are very-reasonably priced.

This silver ring refashioned
from a rose-patterned utensil,
is one of my favorite purchases.

I love this hand-painted wine bottle
remodeled into ambient lighting.

Metal sculpture by Chebeague Island resident,
Clinton Jones.

"Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man." ~ Sam Walter Foss
To inquire about any of the items that you see here, please contact Florence through her website: 
Note: they accept custom orders and will ship internationally!
*Thanks to Jennifer Vandemeer for her editing help!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mirror Mirror on the Floor.

Before the invention of the mirror, a fascination with all things shiny began with the dawn of man and woman, when they first espied themselves in a pool of water.
Chinese mythology says that an alternate world existed behind every mirror -- a world filled with fantastical creatures which easily traveled between the two worlds -- until they began to wreak havoc. The portal would then be permanently sealed.
An updated stainless steel take on a
classic Chinese chair by ACF China.
Sideboard by Julia Gray Ltd.

In Greek mythology, Narcissus, not realizing that he was seeing himself, fell in love with his own reflection.

Narcissus marble by John Gibson,

Side Table from Century

Grove nickel-studded console.

Masters of the Surrealist movements from Jean Cocteau to René Magritte have utilized the mirror as vehicles to blur the line between dreams and reality.

Jean Marais in Cocteau's 1950 masterpiece, "Orphée"
By Rene Magritte, 1937.
"The Dangerous Liason" by
Rene Magritte.

Perhaps the mirror's position as between dimensions continuously draws us to them. Do they exist merely to satisfy our vanity? to check for fly-away hairs? cat hair on our black jackets? to re-apply lipstick?  Or are they meant to convey a truth in a much more profound and ethereal way?

I don't know.

Mirrored console from Neiman Marcus.

For me, I've always been drawn to mirrored furniture -- perhaps because I am a fan of Old Hollywood. The past, because it is no longer in least in our dimension...has a romantic appeal which the glamour of Old Hollywood certainly satisfies. It was all about vanity and, let's face it, most of us are vain. 

Accent tables from Neiman Marcus.
Haute House Claire mirrored
ottoman from Horchow.
End table from Hooker Furniture.

Side table from Arteriors Home.

Sophia Buffet available at Macy's.

Designer tip #1: Less is more when it comes to bold statements like mirrored furniture; if overused, mirror pieces can easily spill over the border into "tacky-land".  However, if you dare to make an over-the-top statement, do it with taste.  And for that, you may need to consult a professional...with taste.
Designer tip #2: No mirrors on the floor or ceiling.

*Thanks to Jennifer Vandemeer for correcting my grammar once again.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


 Where did the simple life disappear?

Once upon a time, we were able to experience the gentle rapture of a summer breeze in an almost religious manner. We knew how to stay still, to be quiet, and to close our eyes and actually feel our natural surroundings. When the breeze blew strands of hair into our eyes and mouths, we didn't mind--it was just par for the course. After all, isn't it nature's job to both comfort and tease at the same time? Family and friends once gathered easily at a picnic to enjoy nature in it's purest state . Little was needed to sustain us other than amiable company: a sandwich and a thermos of apple juice. A transistor radio, book, drawing pad or a Frisbee, provided additional entertainment.

Sylvania model 454 portable radio
Vintage Hitachi radio from
Apartment 528

Some of the best pictures from our
family album were taken with a
Polaroid camera. Bring it back!
This is the classic SX-70 model.
Circa 1950's transistor radio.

But it seems the world has become much more complicated, and our capacity for relaxation, subsequently contrived...

Vintage metal picnic basket.
Picnic basket for four from Martha Stewart.

Sure, the insects were always pests, but we understood that we might have to share our picnic blanket with the ants...up to a point of course!

Ant paper plates from
Crate & Barrel.
18-piece wooden picnic
flatware from Crate & Barrel.
Ants picnic blanket from Crate & Barrel.
Vintage coordinating napkins

Think of our quest to assimilate ourselves once again with nature as a kind of cognitive therapy: it may seem put-on at first, but eventually it will become second nature (pun intended).  I believe we can bring it back...the spiritual experience of the simple picnic.  Go hug a tree and don't forget to put the cell phones on vibrate.

Wine purse from Uncommon Goods.

Don't like "ants-in-your-pants"? Here's an option:
folding portable picnic table from One King's Lane.

Dance scene from "Picnic" (1955) with Kim Novak
and William Holden. To view this romantically sexy
scene, click on the link below:

Still from one of my favorite movies: Peter Weir's
1975 "Picnic at Hanging Rock".