Friday, July 1, 2016

Kitchen Detail

Crazy nuts with getting ready to trade apartments with a couple who live in Paris, I spent last evening cleaning the kitchen, shining what little silver was on hand, and glueing a chair back together. Slipping the dish drain off the butcher block countertop to snap a photo, I realized again just how much I love wood—which is something I got from my father. And there is a lot of it in this kitchen, from the aforementioned countertop (which I found on the street), to the walnut and gilt 19th century frame that I made into a mirror. I have two of the latter, but only have room for one, its mate biding its time in storage. 

At one point, I had the bright idea of using antique tile as a backsplash, but after consulting with Blue, chose to go with mirror—which was sourced from the back of a closet door and fit perfectly. Yes, I am constantly cleaning it, but so what? I would be doing that anyway, right? The antique shaving mirror tucked under the Ikea cabinets was found at the Antique Garage on 25th Street—which no longer exists, the building having been torn down—along with the antique (and perhaps Italian) green man. He's moved about the apartment, but seems to like his present perch above a 19th century gilt mirror with original glass.

Jewel box kitchen. That's what one friend has called the space. Nice to hear of course. But perhaps the thing I like about this tiny kitchen (in terms of cooking) is the extractor fan over the twenty inches stove that sucks out cooking grease. It was connected to the building's venting system that was installed in the 1930's, and is a god-send. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chinoiserie Valance

It all started with finding seven odd feet of Chinoiserie 1880's molding at the flea market. I knew I had to have it, even if I didn't know what to do with it. So I brought it home, and displayed it on top of the bookshelves in the living room. Then it occurred to me that there was enough of it to construct two valances for the windows in the bedroom, which a singer/carpenter friend from the opera did for me.

Once in hand, another opera friend who worked in the costume department went fabric shopping with me—both of us being taken with an Italian cotton fabric emblazoned with dragons. When the curtains were made with a third friend in the same costume shop, I decided that passementerie might make the whole thing sing. Right or wrong, I finally finished everything this past week with the installation of new blinds which mask the top of the window, and create a nice long line.

The deco Chinoiserie bedside lamp is from the flea, as is the ebonized Victorian frame and Japanese box. A few more photos may appear when the new carpet is laid in. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

World of Interiors Collection 2001-2015

I can hardly believe that I am doing it, but I've decided to part with my World of Interiors Collection, which spans the years from 2001-2015, and can be found at Ebay. Right now it is offered for Local Pick-Up only, but if a reader is serious about it, I might be persuaded to post it. However, since we talking about six linear feet of shelving, postage is not going to be inexpensive. 

Why the heretical move? Simple really. Living in a modest Manhattan apartment means there is only so much space for books even with two nine-foot book cases. 

I love World of Interiors. It's provided me with a rich visual education that could not have been gained any other way, and would be happy to know that it is going to another student of interior decoration. 

If you, or someone you know, is interested in acquiring this Collection, please drop me a line. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lunch for 6

A close friend from undergraduate school (we're talking a long time ago) texted me Friday morning before Memorial Day, letting me know he would be in town, and would I like to get together for lunch with mutual friends at a place a couple blocks away? Sure, I said. But why not meet at my place? We'd have a much better time, right?  

So we did. 

I ran out to the market and bought three pounds of salmon, which I poached to perfection with blanched French beans and boiled potatoes—the salmon served with a garlic sauce—courtesy of Mark Bittman. Dessert was an apple tart from a fabulous French bakery around the corner. 

Since we were six, I put out the six salt cellars I hardly ever use, along with six ivory knives from London which I found at the flea here in Manhattan, which, unfortunately, no longer exists—the building having been torn down to make way for a skyscraper. 

The table was set in a flash: I threw on all the antique glass paperweights I could find, along with a gothic candlestick (also from the flea market), and a glass-clawed table leg that was turned into an objet by my father. 

Snap went the picture before a green candle was found, while a guest—unbidden—brought orange tea roses.

There is nothing better than being with wonderful friends. 

Friday, June 10, 2016


After creating Chinoiserie curtains with dragons some years ago, I finally sewed on the passementerie  that had been sitting in a box for the longest time, and ordered new blinds to complete the effect of a long line from valance to window sill. 

Apollo now stands guard in the window ready to take flight, he being a 1950's Italian reproduction made with marble dust that was found at the flea market about a decade ago. 

Can I say that my curtain conception struck me as too fussy at first after being completed? Now it's growing on me after having moved the bed to another wall, better picture placement, and a complete editing of the space and its contents. 

The Feng Shui people talk about having one's feet facing East during sleep, and you know, I swear there is something to it. But don't quote me. I just know the space feels very different, and more comfortable even though the room is rather tall and narrow.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Morning Light

Light fascinates me. Composition too, as well as color. But mostly light.

Here is morning light on the upper west side of Manhattan from a day ago, with a north facing window. Nothing done to the  photo. No enhancement, filter or manipulation. 

Speaking of composition: I recently edited out two small black tables that resided on either side of the hearth (see here). Yes, I know all about having a place to put drinks—which is why I put them there to begin with, but having greater openness feels right—and the tray on the ottoman suffices, does it not? I have a somewhat larger 19th century oval one which is begging to be gilded. Doable, right? Of course, I may put them back—the small tables that is—and can only surmise that my hankering for space is something of a metaphor since I have been working on a literary project. Funny how the mind works. 

Next up is a large mirror, which I have been yakking about forever, but am revving up to do, the frame sitting in the basement. 

But first—love me some light.... 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mr. Buddha

Mr. Buddha has appeared here before, but that was before I was working with him a few feet away, plunked down a tea cup and pot and snapped a photo in my mind. 

I like this guy. There's something about him. The light coming out of his head? Gilt on wood? (I am a sucker for that.) The golden light? All this and more. 

I picked him up at the Toronto flea market in 1999 or 2000—can't remember which now, but do remember that he lived in Rome, New York, for a long while before making the trip. Never says a word this guy. Deep thinker with a half-smile on his face: glowing, glowing, glowing. 

We should all do that.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dinner with Friends

Dinner with friends on the upper west side of Manhattan was planned for several weeks even if the preparations were somewhat last minute. One friend helped me set the table in all of ten minutes tops, which included running around the corner and grabbing tulips for a centerpiece; purple, orange and red pulling everything together. 

Poirot would have not been happy since we were 7 and not 8, but that mattered little, everyone quite cozy at a table that seats 10 with added leaves. On this evening 2 out of 3 were put into service—and I ironed the table cloth right on the table with a thick pad underneath. Such a hack that. But a good one. 

Oh my, but the Prosecco flowed! As did a lovely Tabarrini rose. 

It must be spring. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Around Easter

The light was beautiful one morning around Easter, so I popped my phone out of my pocket and snapped a photo—natural light coming into the apartment through a north facing window that was so much brighter than in previous months. That's spring for you: more light, and the promise of new growth, green, and renewal. The tulips were doing their thing too, reaching for the four corners of the earth. Or would that be eight or twelve, according to the Tibetans? No matter. Reaching is what they do. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Winter Comes to Lincoln Center

My home away from home, you might say, is the performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. It's reached by crossing Lincoln Center plaza at just the spot you see—which looks towards Broadway and the central plaza beyond the trees that are now dormant and awaiting spring—a hundred paces beyond the Metropolitan Opera on the right. 

I was there today, requesting a seven volume tome of historic singing manuals that is housed off-sight, and which will find their way to me in a few days. 

So I'll be back. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

knife & plate

Victorian knife & plate that was given yesterday at a family gathering in Pennsylvania. Haven't a clue as to the utility of the curved-bladed dinner knife with its ornate ivory handle. Whether for fish or fowl, or something else entirely (do you know?), I do know that they are fabulous together. Haven't done a thing to the knife yet, the only thing being a careful shining with 400 grade sandpaper which will remove the stain from the steel. I love how the pattern in the knife's handle sings along with the pattern on the plate. The latter is stamped Corea, which means exotica by way of England.