Archives for July 2016

07/29/2016

Back to School – Ultimate Shopping Guide

If your kids discovered the wonders of a Swiss army knife and salvaged the dust fuzzed tent from the shed this summer, returning back to school may be a challenge. From lunchboxes to notebooks help make a colorful transition with the latest classroom needs.

  1. Bixbee backpack 2. Pura stainless water bottles 3. Mini medley soft cover notebooks 4. Raw linen giraffe lunch cooler bag 5. Iron-on labels 6. Kane backpack 7. Dessert tray erasers 8. Jet stream colored pens 9. Sandwich bag 10. Organic lunch tote 11. Bento cup 12. Pencils 13. Whale lunch bag 14. Pencil cases 15. Hydro flask 16. ‘Dino’ backpack 17. Eco tote 18. Glass sports bottle 19. Kid water bottle 20. World decal map 21. Set of 3 notebooks 22. Liberty London washi tape 23. Owl pencil sharpeners 24. Animal liquid correctors 25.Pineapple flash drive 26. Fruit pencil case 27. Leather pencil case 28. Wood bookmark ruler
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07/22/2016

Designing a Sunroom

It’s the sunroom a gardening editor would create–cheerful with bursts of summer colors and a lot of twee. This is the room for playing card games, drinking cocktails spiked with celery, followed by lazy mornings until the sun recovers your original spirit. To design your own either enlist a decorator with the nickname of an animal or flower or follow a traditional scheme.

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Furnish with a few classic pieces that can easily be refurbished with paint (notably white wicker or cane furniture). Invest in a rug your daughters will fight over. Accessorize with dependable accents such as pillows, bright cushions and stack of coffee table books. Paint the walls in an organic color like mossy green that blends well with the right piece of art. An attention to furnishings and color will always equate to a beautifully appointed room.

Shop the pieces to style your own sun space.

  1. Roche pillow 2. A Visual Life by Charlotte Moss 3. Aubusson rug. 4. Jeco white wicker furniture set
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07/21/2016

How to Make An Entrance – Design Tips

First impressions is not exclusive to good shoes and handshakes–they matter in a home. With only so many New England months to tackle the exterior we’ve been focusing our attention to lightening the color scheme and adding the right details. The flow of what outwardly appears continues to the #entryway.

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Design techniques used on the front entrance are applied to the interior. Simply framed prints of eggs following the line of the staircase are clean, calm and keep to the neutral color scheme. Invest in a chandelier or quality lighting, which takes the drama above, dazzles the eye, and keeps your space clutter free. Bay windows are always appreciated to seat more guests and add a dash of color and style with thoughtfully appointed upholstery. Even better is to create storage beneath for valued organizational space in a small home.

A small entryway is simple and welcoming by selecting the right accents and neutral colors. (Rug from Dash & Albert).

A small entryway is simple and welcoming by selecting the right accents and neutral colors. (Rug from Dash & Albert).

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A great chandelier adds impact. This simple beaded piece with rope trimming by Au Courant Interiors is not so fussy like a crystal or brass chandelier. Choose pieces that are small and practical, such as movable chairs, cushions and foot stools.

We painted the entryway door in the same shade of icy blue as the porch walls. The result is unexpected and happy.

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Paint a door a vibrant shade, which is less of a commitment than an entire wall.

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SaveSave

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07/21/2016

Doormats – Step On It

The trend of the summer is doormats made from recycled lobster rope. Their color, durability and eco-friendly design is stomp worthy.

  1. Bluestone/taupe Shoreline 5 stripe doormat. 2. Colors of Maine doormat in large
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07/19/2016

Olympic Style

Patriotic colors and enough performance wicking fabric to dry out a rain forest are athletic musts, though we find inspiration in how athletes are styled post event.

  1. Greats Royale floral shoe 2. Majorelle round towel 3. Sports watch 4. New Balance State Fair shoes 5. Field Drop Through longboard
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07/16/2016

Exterior Makeover – Shop the Look

Add the details for an instant exterior makeover without a major overhaul.

  1. Light Yellow by Benjamin Moore. 2. Schoodic rope doormat 3. Dancing Elephant pillow 4. Silver sand dollar door knocker 5. Pollywood Adirondack chair 6. Floating house numbers 7. Front door light
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07/14/2016

Exterior Makeover

With a year to mull over paint colors and hardware you’d think we would get it right. As with every design project there is some trial and error. Unfortunately my budget is not a fan of trial and error. The current before and after of our home’s exterior makeover does show improvement, and for readers treat it like a “count the differences” exercise in those children’s game books my son adores.*

We secured the right painters, who powerwashed the shingles with a bleach cleaner. We changed the paint color of the porch from dark blue to gray, door from red to yellow and trim from light blue to white (with plans to add shutters–more to come on that project). The yellow door makes me smile, which was an impulse change after thinking it would be blue–still have the paint can to prove it.

The other color in flux is the stain, which had an orangish reaction to the wood. Learn from my mistake–do not paint the entire project until you are satisfied with a test patch. Currently considering white based stains and any feedback is appreciated.

White based stains from Benjamin Moore in consideration.

White based stains from Benjamin Moore in consideration.

Finishing details with the hardware and accents complete the styled look.

Ellie who cannot refuse a photo opp and loves the new porch.

Ellie will never refuse a photo opp and loves the new porch.

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Doormat made from recycled lobster rope is good for the environment, good for style.

Doormat made from recycled lobster rope is good for the environment, good for style.

Making a yellow entrance.

Making a yellow entrance.

Classic adirondack chairs are updated and durable in their plastic reincarnation.

Classic adirondack chairs are updated and durable in their plastic reincarnation.

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Sand dollar door knocker is jewelry for the home.

The right hardware is a simple way to update the look.

The right hardware is a simple way to update the look.

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Pillows weave in color and comfort.

The door knocker is by Michael Healy. Yes, door knockers now have designers for those who care about such things. Packaged in a lovely box and felt satchel, it felt like opening a piece of jewelry. It is in fact jewelry for the home. The floating house numbers were a quest to find as most available have a dated feel. Made from recycled plastic, the Pollywood adirondack chairs have a modern feel and are made to endure. Pillows in our color scheme bring in whimsy and comfort. The nautical inspired front light updates the look. The doormat from Cape Porpoise Trading Company is made from recycled lobster trap rope–good for the environment and good looking always earns high points for the ecologically design friendly group.

*Answers to before & after changes: 1. Porch brackets removed 2. New paint color for trim, porch and door. 3. Lighter stain 4. Door knocker and house numbers replaced. 4. Addition of pillows and doormat 5. Ellie in different positions.

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07/05/2016

Travel – Fisher’s Island

Fisher’s Island has a few basics: the ferry, beach and meals prepared with food bought from the only market in town. We began the weekend by driving to the dock in New London, Connecticut, with a few panicked calls to the ferry office on holiday traffic and the probability of catching the boat. The friendly dispatcher recognized my voice upon arrival, our bags bouncing with carsick dog in tow, and granted us entry without collecting our tickets so we’d be on time.

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Fisher’s Island map, an island of 9 miles, which is in New York’s Suffolk County but the only way to travel there is from the New London, Connecticut, ferry.

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We made the ferry, preventing us from having to wait three hours for the next departure.

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Kids under 5 and dogs ride for free.

The calm after chaos quickly levels when you decompress to the steady hum of the engine. You observe other passengers who share the anticipation of arriving to the island in a spirit that is more exalting than the return ride back. Approaching the dock and you could be entering a past time where phones and gadgetry are not an essential. We chat with new acquaintances with pets as we navigate the steep stairs with plans to meet up at the dog beach. Everyone is ready for a summer experience that has little deviation from those experienced as a child.

Fence art.

Fence art.

Island transportation of choice.

Fisher’s is about nine miles long but not cleanly cut like Nantucket or Bermuda. It’s scraggly, like a chewed up piece of gum, and the island’s insignia is seen on everything from bumper stickers to golf balls. If you want to stay overnight you must either know a resident or rent since there are no hotels. Marketing for food happens at the local food store though Peapod has become quite popular. Nightlife primarily consists of a friend’s porch. Send a letter with only the name of the family and it will most likely get to them.

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Tray of Long Island by Ben’s Gardens on a Fisher’s Island tea towel.

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Topper’s, the exclusive ice cream shop, has recently changed hands to the owner of Drink ‘n Vessel, the only wine store–a transaction that happened at the end of a routine business call. Kids expertly wield an ice cream scoop and record the purchase on an index card for those with an account.

Boy's night out.

Boy’s night out.

There is a lot of travel by bicycle. Dinner plans are made at a friends’ home, just plan to bring what you intended to cook on your grill. There may be a movie later or unexpected guests will stop by. They bring the drinks. You provide breakfast.

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A vintage car that fits in with a vintage summer.

Topper's for ice cream where locals have an account.

Topper’s for ice cream where parents went to as a kid.

Shopping in town, resort style.

Shopping in town, resort style.

Home decor style of the island.

Home decor style of the island.

Pop up shop in the one lane town.

Pop up shop in the one lane town.

Summer cottage, typical Fisher's Island style.

Summer cottage in typical Fisher’s Island style.

Transportation of choice.

Beach cruiser.

Ironic signage.

Ironic signage.

Side kitchen entrance.

Side kitchen entrance.

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Porch living is key on Fisher’s.

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Front entrance of the club.

Front entrance of the club.

Kid with a pointed sense of humor.

Kid with a pointed sense of humor.

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Ready for windsurfing class.

Ready for windsurfing class.

Inside the sailing shack.

Inside the sailing shack.

Path to fun.

Path to fun.

Door to the sailing shack.

Door to the sailing shack.

Fisher's Island blue.

Fisher’s Island blue.

Poolside at a neighborhood club.

Poolside at a neighborhood club.

Dogs have free reign.

Dogs have free reign.

The homes share the New England clapboard look, they just escalate from beach cottage to cottage mansion, which includes the stately home where the movie World According to Garp was filmed.

View of the coastline with the home featured in The World Accoring to Garp.

View of the coastline with the home featured in The World According to Garp.

The best summers practice simple pleasures, which have been experienced on the island for centuries. The less beeps of an iPad and more games of kick the can the better. With so much to pack into a season that goes into seclusion come Labor Day (there are less than 300 residents and only one elementary school) there is little regard in new constructions or upgrading cars. Besides, a 19th century summer home is built better, more authentic and withstood many hurricanes, while beach cars like a VW Thing endures all the sand. The main island dilemma is choosing between kayaking or crabbing.

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