Friday, June 29, 2012

On the Road Again

Yesterday I spent the day in my car fighting pre-holiday traffic to pick up something in Maine. I made a special trip through a wonderful historic town (just so you could see it!) and I'll share some of the photos in another post. 

The first time I went to Snug Harbor Farm, I was admiring these large stones that I saw in a few places around the farm.  The way this one is placed, it's almost like a little area rug inside the gate.  I love the effect.  I thought they were some kind of huge millstone but it turns out they're old well covers.

One of the shops I frequently visit has had a collection of well covers that I've admired for the past year.  I'd love to use one as a "landing" at the bottom of my back porch steps.  Fill the hole with soil and plant moss or thyme, and I think it would look awesome.

Some of them even have a flat edge that would fit perfectly up against a set of stairs.

They're a little big to fit in your trunk but the store will deliver and set them right into place.

I wonder if they have a layway plan?

On my way back from Maine, I zipped over to Rockport to pick up a painting I fell in love with a few weeks ago.  I put a moratorium on art buying but I couldn't stand the idea of it going to someone else's home.  I've always found this artist's work very inspiring and this painting really has really sparked my desire to pursue artwork again.  I'll do post on his work sometime soon to see what you think about it.

Anyway, I had my camera with me so I thought I take another photo of Motif #1.

Here's what it looked like when I was there last month.

Rockport Harbor.
And here it was yesterday.  No fuzzy edges on things.  Even though the town is now teeming with tourists, and there is some dude to my right with a camera much nicer than mine, the photos give the feeling of complete stillness and solitude.

I was on the road for six hours.  I'm happy to be staying at home for the holiday.

What are you up to?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Walter Gropius House


If you happen to be taking a backroad shortcut from Walden Pond through the woods to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass., you'll most likely buzz past this modern house tucked among the old Colonials.  Since I learned about the Walter Gropius house in Lincoln, I've wanted to go take a tour of this National Historic Landmark.   

Walter Gropius, if not a familiar name, was the founder of the Bauhaus School of architecture whose faculty included Paul Klee, Josef Albers and Wassily Kandinsky to name a few.

Gropius escaped Nazi Germany in 1937 and came to Cambridge where he
taught at the Harvard School of Design with Marcel Breuer.
I'm sure you know Breuer's Wassily and Cesca chairs even if
you're not familiar with his architecture.

Gropius' house in Lincoln was built in 1938.

The sculpture in front of the house is by Richard Filipowski
and was installed by Gropius in the 1950s.

The sculpture is titled "Winter Pine."

Side of house looking into the living room and upstairs deck.

View of rear of house.  The oak was planted when the house was built.

Interior photos of the house are not allowed on the tour but I've
borrowed a few from the Historic New England website.

The house has been maintained as it was at the time of Gropius' death in 1969.

Just inside the front door is Gropius' office. 
The chairs are Saarinen.

The living room with picture windows that beautifully frame a
view of the back yard and forest beyond.

The chair is a Saarinen Womb chair.
I should have asked about the white leather sofa because I loved it.

View from the dining room looking back in to the living room.

See the little vents just below the dining room windows?  Gropius had a second heating system just to keep the windows frost-free in the wintertime.

The kitchen is very fun.  Small but adequate.

Another windows that frames a view of the landscape.

One of the period bathrooms.

Notice the typical Bauhaus palette of black, white, gray and red.

The dressing room and master bedroom is set up as if his wife Ise would
be right back to get ready to entertain guests that evening.

Her Merimekko dress is laid out on the bed.

A shot of daughter Ati's room.  I love that wall light!

View of the back of the house.

I would highly recommend taking the tour; it's a 1969 moment frozen in time. 

A one-hour tour is $10.

Gropius House
68 Baker Bridge Road
Lincoln, Mass. 01773

It's privately owned (so not open to the public) but just down the road is
the Marcel Breuer house.  It's well worth a walk down the road just to see it.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Flowers Around The House

When I was getting the house ready for the photoshoot last summer, I hired a neighbor's son to remove all the grass and weeds from my lame front yard and plant a row of hydrangea across the front of the porch and mulch the entire area.  We discussed Limelight or Annabelle but I came home to find blue Endless Summer.  I've never loved the blue variety on anything but a shingled cottage by the sea but I didn't have time to do anything about it.

I thought I might move them to the side yard this year but after seeing how well they're performing,
I have to admit they're kind of growing on me.

One of them that was a very pale blue last year seems totally white this year.

And one mutant group of flowers is totally different than the other.  The petals are much larger and the centers are blue.  How weird is nature?

I also love the variation in color.  Some are speckled with white and others lean toward purple.

In the side garden, a lone volunteer hollyhock is putting on a great show.

And I always love the contrast of the daisies against the Japanese maple.

When I went to the garden center to look for things for the planters at the front door, I just couldn't find anything that moved me.  I walked around, filled up my cart and then emptied it and started from scratch.  I ended up with coleus, some kind of begonia, an oxalis and licorice plant.  It's a little darker than I was hoping for but it's something a little different.

I'm linking up with Jane's Small But Charming flower in the house party.
Stop by and say hi.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aponovich 52

The unbelievable 52-week painting marathon of New England artist James Aponovich culminated today with the opening of his show at the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  The show is the product of the artist's year-long painting-a-week project which he documented on his blog Aponovich 52.

I drove out to Lincoln today with friends and we stopped to see the show.  Setting out to complete a painting a week for an entire year seems like an incredible task.  I'm sure it was.  But the artist clearly cut no corners to get the job done.  The work is stunning.

Here are a few of my favorites from the show:

Can you imagine this was painted in one week.

I really love the transparency of the tape in this one.

And the tromp l'oeil effect of the tape in this one.

Detail of tape.

It's hard to pick a favorite painting but this one is just stunning.  Look at all the reflections.

Another favorite.

145 Lincoln Road
Lincoln, MA  01773

All of the paintings can be seen here.

If you would like to review his year-long journey, Aponovich's blog is here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cottage Style Giveaway Winners

I had 184 comments so I printed them all out and numbered them by hand.  Someone commented twice -- very sneaky! -- so I skipped that comment when I numbered them.  Using a random number generator for entries 1 through 183, the winners are:



Connie@ConnieNikiforoff Designs

Bonnie from Living Life

But wait, we're not done.  I'm so appreciative of the support and kind comments, I'd like to give away four more!

So here goes:

Nouveau Stitch

Susan Mathison


And finally:

Camille @ The Vintique Object

If the winners could e-mail me at urbancottageblog @ with your addresses, I'll get the books out as soon as possible.  Congratulations to the winners.

And thank you everyone for the kind comments!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cottage Style Preview and Giveaway Reminder

Since I'm helping promote the book, the wonderful people at Better Homes & Gardens have given me permission to do a little preview of the New Cottage Style book.  It's hard to be completely objective, but I've shown it to quite a few people and they all seem to love the book.

Here's my dining room looking better than in real life after being styled by
the amazing Stacy Kunstel and magically captured by Michael Partenio.

My friends reaction was "Wow, it's so clean!"  It's true.  It almost never looks like this.

I particularly enjoyed this modern take on cottage.   I love the mix of the rustic table, the Eames chairs and the modern light fixture, all in neutral tones.

The book also includes some spaces with unexpected dramatic color on walls and in draperies.

This French-inspired cottage has the most stunning lamps and
light fixtures all throughout the house.  

I also love how the framed herbarium almost becomes modern art.

And there's lots of airy spaces with the bright, fresh colors of summertime.

There's a little something for everyone in this book.  I've thumbed through it at least ten times and each time I find something new.  There's both tons of inspiration and/or lots of pretty rooms you could straight up copy.

More than 100 of you have already signed up so, as promised, I'll be giving away FOUR copies of the book.  I'll cut off comments at 8:00 Thursday evening and draw four winners randomly.