Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gray Greens

Because it is 93 degrees in Atlanta today, which means 95 degrees here on the farm, I’m longing for all things green.  We leaped from spring to summer before I realized it.  With temps in the mid 90’s for the remainder of this week and no rain in sight the grass is turning a dull gray brown.  And, graying down my world even more is that fact that I’m always making the comment everything in my house is gray, light black, charcoal, slate, or some other shade of gray. 

Clearly gray is my favorite color.  I generally tell people the interior colors for the house are shades of gray.  Which is true, however we had some guests over the holiday weekend and one of their comments was how much they liked all the blues and greens.  I used Farrow & Ball paints, which have a tendency to change colors in different light.

There are some rooms that are gray.  Period.  But, I did use a lot of gray greens and gray blues. So, between the shifting of hues, the similar colors and the fact that I choose greens with grays, gray blues and grays, I think of the interior as gray.   

The living room is green.  It’s a color I consider to be ‘old money green’.  However, it’s called French Gray, which is really green.  C’s office is Card Room Green, a dark moss green and there’s no mistaking it for gray.  The mudroom is the same color, but in that room it looks many shades lighter with far more gray tones.  Our den is Pigeon.  I almost did not go with that color, because it sounded like a dull gray ugly bird.  But, it’s a rather nice shade of green (with a hint of gray of course). 

So, just to show that I’m not all gray, here’s some greens from the around the house.

One of my favorite things is this pair of  urns...their verdigris patina is a beautiful green...

French Gray

Another of my favorites is this 4'x4' framed old school graphic...

The pea green leather sofa and bench blend better with the french gray than it appears in this photo

Here's the rear center hall.  No green here.  It's Lamp Room Gray...

But go through those pocket doors and it's Pigeon Green...
I need a new camera...this room is much dark than this photo!

This is the mudroom...which normally looks green most of the time...

Also in the mudroom is this beat up old tin box that I forced the contractor to install. 
He thought I was crazy.  It holds keys and other such hanging things...in the mirror reflection you
can see how much darker green the room really is...

I swear this room is really green...

These are fresh peas...they were picked from the garden yesterday...they are green...not gray...
the sofa in the living room is this color!

This is not a picture from my house...but it does reminded me the next time I'm in ATL I have an
errand to run...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Roaming Naked with Jamie Durie

I've been working on the plan for our courtyard and dining porch and will post it soon.  But in the meantime, I've been thinking about another option if my plan doesn't work out. 

The other day I was watching my favorite HGTV show, Jamie Durie’s Outdoor Room.  It’s my favorite for obvious reasons.  He does incredible work.  And, he’s just about as fine as it gets – short, but still hot.  It’s hard for me to concentrate on what he’s saying because I’m mesmerized. 

I got all Jamie Durie'd years ago when he came out with his first book and started hanging out on Oprah’s show.  When I first discovered him, I of course searched for more info and found that he was a former model.  No real surprise there! Then I found these pictures which almost made me toss him aside forever, but everyone makes mistakes.  God knows its possible for a not so good pic of me from my runway days to be floating around.  So I forgive him and I've moved on. 

What's wrong with his stomach - photoshop please!

On two of his more recent shows he did some floating decks and a sunken room, which is providing some inspiration for the courtyard.  I always get a lot of ideas from my friend Jamie, but the theory he repeats most often is one that I can't get out of my mind.  On just about every other show he states that a garden doesn’t do its job unless it’s private enough to wonder around naked.  I totally agree!  I haven’t been in my right mind since I saw the episode in which he did his own backyard.  It’s very private so you know he’s roaming around naked. 

We live on 25 acres in the middle of nowhere, so generally I could take Jamie's advice if I choose to do so.  But, who wants to ramble around naked in that desolate desert courtyard of mine.  So here’s my proposal.  My courtyard is a great blank canvas.  One like Jamie has never tackled before.  Wouldn’t it be amazing for him to work his magic on me my courtyard and give me it the Jamie Durie treatment?  He’s hasn’t done a true southern plantation house yet.  Plus, I’m open to new ideas, hip thoughts and turning up the volume.  Does anyone have HTGV contacts?  Hook me up!  I want to wonder around naked with Jamie!

Until then here are some pool pics that have been providing me some inspiration.

Jamie Durie

Photo credit Andrew Garn

Photo credit David Glomb

Photo credit Eric Piasecki

Photo credit Erick Kvalsvik

Photo credit Eugeni Pons

Photo credit Grey Crawford

Photo credit Peter Vitale

Reed Krakoff

Photo credit Roger Davies

The World of Interiors

Photo credit Tim Street-Porter

Photo credit William Waldron

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clipboards, Hanging Lamps & Wine Racks

These are good ideas:

Clipboards.  Nice, especially in a long hallway or over a sofa.  The key is the clipboards need to be ‘vintage’ in feeling.  An assortment of things could be clipped to the boards and would look great…as long as it’s all the same idea.  These look like old parchment pages.  On a white wall is even better.

A steel rod, few feet of rope and some outdoor lights … done!

Using an old wine rack frame to store wine…novel idea…But I did it first.

This is my kitchen and I originally installed this as art.  Now it’s art that holds wine!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Snakes on a Farm

I’ve had it with these mother%^&#!*& snakes on this mother%^&#!*& farm!

I know that living in the country requires me to do battle against more creatures than most people have to deal with.  But, snakes.  I mean Jesus; somebody needs to cut me some slack! It seems we are always waging war against some farm enemy.  And as we all know war is expensive.

For example: 
1)    Tons of cash was spent to enclose the vegetable garden with a 10 foot high stockade fence.  Not because I’m partial to the look of prison yards, but to keep the herds of deer out. 
2)    I don’t even remember how much it cost to have custom stainless steel screens made and installed on the chimney tops.  Those were necessary to keep out the chimney swallows that were loud and made a huge mess.
3)    Remember when the armadillo got in the house?  If not, go back to the December 2010 archive and read about it!  That one set us back $2,200 bucks to have the heating and air duct work rebuilt. 
4)    I’m on a constant battle with the wasps – the flying kind.  It seems they like to attach their nests to big old white houses.  I could have bought a new Mercedes for the amount we’ve spent on wasp spray. 
5)    I have yet to remove the cardboard pieces from the column tops on the porches.  I had to do something to keep the mud swallows from nesting there. 
6)    I pay the ‘bug man’ (that’s what he calls himself) extra to spray the carriage house.  It’s built at the edge of the pasture near the woods and seems to attract scorpions.

But, the current issue seems to be snakes!  Yes, snakes!  When I moved back to the farm full time a few years ago, I thought I left all the vipers in NYC where I used to work.  But it appears I was wrong. 

Notice the trees in the first two photos.  They are very old Black Walnut trees.  Now look at the third and forth photos.  See the holes in the trees.  Those are snake houses!  I’ve seen them there.  It doesn’t bother me so much considering both trees are about two acres from my house in the middle of the meadow.  Also, I did some research on the type snakes that inhabit the holes.  It appears they’re some type of King Rat snake and although they can get very large, unless you are a mouse or some other small rodent, rat snakes seem to be for the most part harmless.  So, except for when I cut the grass around those trees and I’m convinced a snake will leap out of the holes and attack me, we have learned to coexist.  Until now. 

See that tree in the fifth photo.  That’s an old Pecan tree.  See the hole in the tree.  That’s a snake house!  This one bothers me.  Why?  Well look at the next photo.  That tree is right next to the house.  The tree is along the walkway that leads from the front porch to the side porch and kitchen door. 

See the last photo.  That’s a bird’s nest.  I mentioned it in a previous post and I’ve been watching the parents care for the eggs.  Then, the five eggs hatched and I’ve been checking on them everyday. I took photos.  I was going to do a ‘watch the birds grow’ posting.  I will not show you the cute photos I took of the babies; it will only make you sad. Everything was fine until last week when I saw a 4 foot long rat snake slither out of the evergreen where the parents had placed the nest.  The nest was destroyed and the hatchlings were gone!  The tree where the nest was is right by the porch steps.  Yesterday while cutting the grass I noticed the snake by the Pecan tree.  I think it was a different one, because this one was even larger. 

I do not care for snakes.  Something must be done.  C tried to comfort me by explaining that at least it was a good snake.  Generally my point of view is the only good snake is a dead snake, but even for me it seems somewhat senseless to kill an animal that I know can’t really hurt me.  That is unless I’m out doing yard work and ran across the snake.  Then I’d probably have a stroke, which would be a problem. 

I’ve said before on this blog that no-shoulders are not good.  Think about it, name one harmless thing that doesn’t have shoulders.  Examples: bees, sharks, spiders, Mr. Burns from the Simpson’s, and especially snakes. 

I’m already trying to deal with eliminating the armadillos.  Although they now can’t get in the house, they’re still wreaking havoc on the landscape.  Now I have to trap a family of snakes.  How does one go about that?  I guess I could dangle a mouse from a string and yell ‘here snakey, snakey,” but that probably would be a waste of my time. 

So, I decided that I must eliminate the snake’s basic needs.  Food was my first thought.  Clearly the snakes have moved in due to an abundance of food.  I have a cat who was hired to be a mouser.  Cats are not supposed to like mice.  Prior to the remodel this house had holes in it big enough for a horse to get in, but since the remodel there hasn’t been any issue with a mouse in the house.  However, I know they’re outside.  The cat’s food bowl sits on the side porch by the kitchen door.  For the past three mornings I’ve found mouse droppings in the cat’s bowl.  Now please, that’s the ultimate disgrace.  It’s bad enough the cat doesn’t catch mice; it’s totally another thing to have the mice belatenly shit where he eats!  There are a few people I don’t like, but if they showed up at my house and took a dump on my dining room table you can be damn sure I’d do something about it.  Between the cat’s lack of career drive and the fact that my house sits in the middle of 16 acres of fields and is surrounded by several hundred acres of forest and pastures, eliminating the snakes’ food source seems somewhat daunting.  Instead I’ve decided to eliminate their home. 

I’ve wanted to have those lower large limbs removed from that Pecan tree.  They’re shading some new hedge plantings.  But, I’m going to need professional tree folks.  They’re much larger than they appear in the photos and I have several other overgrown spots on the property that need attention, which now that I think about it probably harbors snakes. 

I’ve never gotten over a story some kid told me when I was about 10 years old.  She came to school telling us about a huge snake her mother found in their house.  It was laying across the drapery rod in their living room.  That story has stayed with me for years.  It’s safe to say it sort of messed me up.  Particularly since I was sure her mother had nice drapes.  Now, with that tree right outside the house, and a mouse obviously lounging on my porch, it’s only a matter of time before the snakes make their way to the porch and then invade the house.  If an armadillo can, I’m damn sure a snake can! 

Everywhere I look I see snakes (is that too Freudian?) Something must be done!  When is enough enough?  What’s next? Flying dragons? Stampeding elephants?

So, it’s either get the tree guy here, which is going to cost a small fortune or I’ll have to take care of the situation myself by going all Samuel L. Jackson on those snakes.  I rather not have to do that!  I don’t look good in a beret.  I’ll keep you posted, if the snakes don’t get me first.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Paris Modern Classics

This Paris apartment was originally published in
The World of Interiors in September 2006.  As usual I find the modern pieces mixed with antiques a great look.  What's even more interesting to me is each of the modern or mid century pieces used is a classic in it's own right!  And, don't get me started on that draped red bedroom.  I don't have time to talk to you about it. I'm rushing out the door now to find bolts of fabric to drape every room in my house!

photo credit Vincent Knapp
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