23 October, 2007

The Nursery

Finishing the attic space meant we could move out of the other bedroom and finally create our guestroom/nursery space. Since we don't really have much for the nursery yet, it mostly qualifies as a nursery space because of all keely's recent art. She's into baby art lately, all kinds. There's even a new stuffed elephant, not pictured, that she recently made without even a pattern. Anyway, this room will soon enough have some sort of bassinet and a likely a pile of washable diapers in it. In the meantime, guest get quite the playful room. Apartmenttherapy.com just posted a short story on our nursery.

You can see our first effort at a cork floor. it has a great feel. the rug definitely jazzes up the room with colors that pull from all parts of the room.

a close up of keely's wall art. the bed frame is an old family heirloom that my mom had sand blasted and painted for me when i finished college.

this corner is a place holder for the rocker we don't have yet. still looking around for that. but you can finally see keely's mobile hung up where it belongs.

The batik that Keel brought back awhile ago from a minority village in southern China.

at the end of the bed is our old dresser (civil war period). but what we want to do is find another place for this (in my office?), so that we can move the tropical aquarium in here. we really want living things, fish, cats, plants, in the nursery. the white noise of the filter and air pump will probably be useful for a newborn sleep schedule as well.

keely's first venture into the world of sewn paintings. her own design. we had a good time picking out fabrics in a little shop in soho.

we don't want our nursery to be too plastic. so the "adult" art goes in here too. this is a Green Tara tanka painting that we brought back from Tibet. the Green Tara is the goddess of compassion.

We like this view just for the cute neighbor house in the window.

Our new attic space

Well, it's been a month of steady work with Josh at the helm. I've done what I could here and there, but Josh, our master carpenter friend, is the expert. In any case, you have to check out the details below. It's come a long way from what it was when we moved in. With renewable cork flooring, occasional reclaimed wood, two new skylights, and lots of innovative design ideas for the removable parts.

keely napping. nothing new here.
notice the chandelier above the opening.

we love the skylight directly overhead when we are waking up in the morning.

view from the other great hole in the roof.
we live under gigantic red maple trees. the leaves are just beginning to turn.

the old trunk that was sitting out in the mud when we moved into the house, now cleaned up and dried out, miraculously stores all of our camping gear. old leather suitcases i bought in grad. school at a salvation army store for $5 stores art supplies.

detail of Josh's excellent railing joints. because of the tight space for moving large furniture like the bed, this railing is designed to be easily taken apart. that means everything needs to fit tight and strong together, but disassemble as easily as possible.

we used a simple but elegant system for the railing. 1/8" steel cable through the 4x4 posts and anchored on the ends. posts are bolted into the floor, but removable. trim around the opening is designed to look good even if we take the railing off. the darker trim boards visible on the bottom here is reclaimed cedar that josh brought from another job, ripped down, rounded the edges then cut to fit. the top boards are new cedar and the posts are spruce. i've still got to rub tongue oil into them all of them.

we've laid down all cork flooring. fully sustainable cork is a great green product. flexible, not as hard as hardwood floors, easy to install, and it looks great. we have a different pattern for the nursery floor. also, what is not shown, but probably the hardest job in this renovation, is the new subfloor. the old floor was 4 inches higher in the middle than the sides and also sloped the other direction as well. josh leveled the entire thing. crazy good carpentry.
just look at that level subfloor. kuddos to whomever can locate the can of Bud. yep, we are doin' it Hoosier style.

in the small round window josh nicely trimmed it with a small shelf. we were lucky enough to have a gift of one of josh's prize violets to dress it up.

but before all that work, it was this...

at one point we had the attic decorated on the bare plywood uneven floor as a guestroom. not bad for a dark attic space. but we've taken it up a notch.

keel and i are happy with the finished product, though we of course have paint touch up, some staining and oiling, and a few more trims pieces to finish. renovation is never done.

Stone Barns

It seems to be a regular part of any conversation now to reference Stone Barns. Keel and I take walks there regularly, visit our friends Jack and Shannon and Sedge (2 yrs old) who are farmers there, and of course take friends and family when they visit. It is simply too close and too nice to not make part of our home.

When we first moved to Ossining, Keely volunteered at the greenhouse that Shannon runs. After work, some of us came along to help and had a nice little greenhouse party where we all transplanted or harvested for a couple hours then harvested greens for a big salad with cheese, crackers, and wine and beer on crates in the greenhouse entry way/transplant room.

My only picture of Jack, but blurry
Shannon on the left

our neighbors, Mike and Rene
our favorite little guy, Sedge. he's always in the compost
and always picking something to eat.
you name it, greens, berries, tomatoes, tomotillos.
this guy knows all the food.

This past Sunday our good friends Allen, Jamie, and Sarah came up for a Brooklyn Bagel Brunch at our place. Then we headed to Stone Barns for a perfect fall walk through Rockefeller State Park and the Stone Barns properties.

Apparently the little newborn piglets are just too much for these girls. Cuteness overload.

We took home some free range turkey breasts and ham steaks from the farm stand. That's what these piglets will be someday, really amazing ham. Sad but true.

Jamie and Allen!

15 October, 2007

The '91 private reserve cabernet

I had a four day proposal writing meeting at NASA-Ames outside San Francisco last week. Let's just say it was a lot of work. Late nights and early mornings. When Saturday rolled around and we were still working at 2pm, I couldn't wait for the moment when my little interdisciplinary team parted ways so that I could visit my good friend from graduate school, Lisa. Lisa and her husband Jeff have a gorgeous home in Menlo Park and treated me to one of the best evening respites in my life.

I walked in to see Jeff sauteeing porcini mushrooms for a pizza appetizer complete with taleggio cheese, fresh sage, and shallots, a little truffle oil on top. Instantly a glass of white Rochioli appeared in my hand, before the official home tour. FYI: I love Rochioli. Anyway, Lisa and Jeff are an inspiration for landscaping. These photos are only of the back yard since I was having too good a time to take many pictures

Dinner was here with a fire and candle light.
One gigantic aloe.
I haven't mentioned the best part though, dinner. After we sampled the crunchy perfect pizza, having switched to a black market Napa cabernet blend (black market meaning no label; these bottles come from the "extra" wine not legally sold by wineries; see my Vinify post for more) which was excellent, rare, and fun, we went back to another white (I think it was Australian since we needed something to open for cooking) for the pizza and traditional Venetian salad of asparagus, hard boiled eggs, fresh parsley and hot and sweet peppers from the back yard. Then the main course, Saltimbocca which literally means "to jump in the mouth". Whoa, I can't wait to try this out myself. Just imagine prosciutto wrapped around aged cheese, fresh sage leaves, and a pounded veal tenderloin, lightly seared then served quickly. And, as if i hadn't been overwhelmed by hospitality at this point, Jeff allowed me to decant the 1991 Beringer Private Reserve. A 16 year old Napa Valley Cabernet that was so beautifully smooth and layered with complexity that I had to just admit I was satiated with food wine pleasure. (It's worth noting that not all Beringers are amazing. But the Private Reserve is world class). The wine opened up a bit more while we tore through the saltimbocca, and remained the highlight for me. But let's not forget the pears baked in brandy wine, or was it something else. By this point I was loosing track.

Thank you Lisa, thank you Jeff, for an amazing evening. I am taking notes on your hospitality, cooking, wine choices, and general ease with which you pulled of such a treat.

The morning cup of Peet's coffee. I had two.

10 October, 2007

Fall harvest

Naturally with fall here, we need to bake many apple pies. I got started on our first fall pie, but not before a glass of wine.
Apples were from an orchard not to far from where live. We took a hike near Mohonk, then came back with 2 pecks of Gala apples. I wouldn't have bought so many but Keel was too tired to go pick them ourselves after the hike. And they had a 2 peck bag of seconds for $5. Perfect! Of course we had to get an entire dozen fresh, as in still hot, apple cider donuts for the pregnant lady, a gallon of cider, and pumpkins for the porch.

Keely's napping has hit new levels. Tucker can't seem to resist a cat nap now and then either.

09 October, 2007

The Mohonk scramble

One of our favorite easy day hikes, the perfect jaunt for a picnic lunch, is at the Mohonk Spring Farm Trail. It's a little over an hour from our house, and the hike is pretty smooth walking through fields and forest until you hit the rock scramble. Once on top, the views are excellent across the Shawangunk range and you can even view the Catskills.

The pregnant lady showing she can still climb.

View towards the Southern Catskill mountains.

Getting that belly out at 21 weeks.