My passion for gardens was ignited last week with a visit to the DIA Art Foundation. A boutique modern art museum in New York’s Hudson Valley, DIA Beacon opened in 2003 in a 300,000 square foot former Nabisco box printing factory overlooking the Hudson River. An architectural museum garden is relatively rare — especially one designed by an artist whose work is featured in that museum. But the commission went to Robert Irwin, a Los Angeles artist who I happened to know during my time as an art student at UCLA, my alma mater.… Continue Reading
Virtual tours of modern, historic and celebrity homes and their outdoor spaces.
Five pre-holiday kitchen cleaning must-dos. Five things that can wait. Plus some of my favorite kitchen cleaning products.
Families can get a little snoopy when they visit relatives especially during the holidays. Someone will open a kitchen drawer or a pantry cabinet and get a little judgmental about what they see. It rarely becomes a big deal but, as we all know, unless someone says “this is the cleanest kitchen I’ve ever seen,” a little offhand remark can sting. All this is on my mind since we’re having two family visits this week. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas in view, early Fall may be the best time to get the holiday kitchen cleaning list done so the house is ready for company quickly.… Continue Reading
In England, a historic home distinguished by its 20th century garden designers, has been taken on by a new generation.
From 1915 to 1930, British diplomat Harold Nicolson and his wife, the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West, lived on an eight acre property in Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, known as Long Barn. Sackville-West, who may be the most famous and revered gardener of the 20th century, also wrote an influential weekly gardening column for The Observer newspaper at the time.
But when it came to creating gardens, the couple worked as a team. And while they are best known for the monumental garden at Sissinghurst Castle, it was at Long Barn gardens where their distinctive style was developed.… Continue Reading
Finding the right LED light bulb became an exercise in absurdity this week. I thought I understood new lighting tech.
Two of the ceiling lights in our TV room burned out a few days ago. And while that may sound like a domestic detail hardly worth noting, what with beheadings in the news and the ebola virus spreading, this one small event has taken on a larger significance. So I hope you will indulge me while I break today from talking about kitchen design or chair styles. I want to explore why changing a lightbulb now requires a 22-year investment, a magnifying glass to read the fine print, and an email to the electrician to be sure the house won’t burn down.… Continue Reading
This last month of summer has been cool, especially at night. So the weather has been perfect for sitting outdoors around a fireplace and the coming months will get better, one by one, straight through to Halloween. But some of the best examples of outdoor stone fireplaces come from western and southern climates where they are prime features of stunning landscaped exterior living spaces that can be used year-round.
Stone is key to fireplace architecture. The color, size, type and texture is critical to the character and style of any fireplace and there can be a surprising amount of variation.… Continue Reading
One fascinating American country home style is known as a dogtrot house. Somewhere between a camp and a cottage it’s a supremely rustic dwelling that borders on the primitive. A phenomenon of the pre-Civil War south, a breezeway house, as it is also known, consists of log cabins connected by a covered bridge or walkway that functions as a hall. Like some homes in tropical climates, living spaces are not fully connected and screens play an important role. This 1840s dogtrot was acquired in Kentucky and moved near Madison, Georgia where it was extensively rebuilt and decorated by the owners, a former utility and exec turned nurseryman and his wife, an interior designer.… Continue Reading