Friday, August 30, 2013

Blogs I Love

Since blogger no longer allows blogrolls I thought I'd talk about some of my very favorite blogs.

  • In the Little Yellow House.  This blog inspired me to not only start posting regularly, but finish projects and start new ones.  I found it through googling green dining room paint colors.  This ambitious, talented young couple have completely fixed up their cute 1920's colonial in northern New Jersey.  Alissa, a graphic designer, has quite an eye for color and design and I've picked up many tips on renovating from her and husband Mike.  They've got a new addition, baby Oliver, and subsequently there are many tips for new parents.

  • A Garden for the House.  This is a new favorite.  I found it while googling deutzia (a shrub that appeared in my front border last year).  Kevin has many gardening and houseplant tips, cleaning and decorating advice, and recipes.  He is a "food, garden and lifestyle guru" and lives in an 1826 house in the Hudson Valley. It looks like a Victorianized Greek Revival.  Best of all, he is wicked funny.  This is a very entertaining, informative blog.
  • My Messy Thrilling Life.  I think I found this blog from someone's blogroll.  This young lady has been through the ringer--unemployment, foreclosure, an abusive husband, a failed business.  Through it all there is a deep, abiding faith in Christ which so inspires me.  My favorite "era" was when Brin was renovating an 1880's house in eastern Texas.  There are some great photos.  I like her style and colors.  Her writing is in a charming, deeply personal style, like she's writing to a good friend, and is full of that southern wit and wisdom.  I think for an attorney she is quite the romantic--loves old things, autumn, snow, pets, cooking, baking and gardening.  Brin will be getting married soon so this blog make take a dramatic turn!
  • For the Love of a House.  I think I found this blog on someone's blogroll.  It reminded me of Bunny Williams's classic book, A Love Affair with a House.  Joan and Dan relocated from Dallas to New Hampshire and have completely renovated a c. 1850 farmhouse.  Joan is a former antiques dealer and has TONS of antiques and old "stuff."  Dan is the MacGyver who creates lamps and ornaments and such per her design ideas.  This woman's home looks like it's out of a magazine (always, according to her).  I don't have the temperament or design style to emulate this, but a girl can dream, can't she?  Joan is sentimental and effusive in that Texan way.  I also like seeing New England through her eyes and especially love her landscaping.

  • An Urban Cottage.  Steve lives in a workingman's cottage (like me!) in Cambridge.  It is an 1842 Greek Revival.  He has a great eye and loves modern art.  I've learned a lot from him.  I like his tours of neighborhoods and tips for places to visit in Maine.  He gives detailed reports on his renovations, which are very helpful.  Right now he's having his porches and kitchen renovated.  Can't wait to see how it all turns out, since he has great style!  He's also funny and a good writer.
These are my go-to blogs for inspiration.  As I've said before I like blogs that are "real," in that it's normal people fixing up their homes.  I don't care for blogs that simply show pictures in magazines.  I like it when folks share their knowledge and experience so I can benefit from it.  That's what's so wonderful about the internet--you increase your circle of "friends" who share common interests and benefit, mutually, from that "relationship."

I don't know these people; I just assume they're sharing from their heart a love of all things home-related.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Newport, Rhode Island

I visited this beautiful city with two friends last week.  Newport was the summer residence of the rich and famous in the Gilded Age, late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Opulent doesn't even begin to describe these places.  They are jaw-dropping, over-the-top.

It was an overcast, shower-y day, but so beautiful.  We went through the Breakers and the Elms, two beautiful "cottages" of the rich and famous back in the late 19th century.
The Elms.

We decided that we'd like a servant to open and close windows and blinds like the owners of these homes.  I decided that, being an introvert, it would be horrifying to have the social calendar that the ladies of the day had.  So many parties, so little time.

We toured the Elms because of its landscaped grounds.  The rare weeping beech trees were astounding.

We ate at the Castle Inn and Resort, overlooking the harbor.

It was my friend's birthday and she ordered lemon cake.

  This is the view from the Breakers' Lower Loggia.  They don't allow inside photography.

We walked a bit on the Cliff Walk.  It's on the eastern shore and passes by the mansions.  Some of it was closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

It's been many years since I've been to Newport and I want to go back and see the rest of the mansions and complete the Cliff Walk.  Fall might be a beautiful time to go back, next time on a sunny day.  it's only two hours away so we really should go more often.