Dec 16, 2010

Custom Cabinetry for Hopewell Carriage House

As they say, there is always something to do when you own a house.  Since the master bathroom upstairs is from the 1890 part of the house, I decided to have custom vanity made for the bath.  Let's face it, the house slopes and with all the funky measurements I think this will actually be easier and more lovely.   So here is what the maple pieces look like now..Maple is a hardwood and because this piece with be painted in the shop the grain will not complete for attention. I have a professional architectural draft of what it will look like and I have confidence doing it this way.  It needs to be assembled and then Princeton Design Guild will finish it on their site.  This is the best way to have it done and we will see that in the final piece. Quality is always what is most important to me.  I just don't care about "more" so I hope someday someone else will appreciate the same thing!

Nov 6, 2010

Autumn Camillia Long Island Pink

I wanted to share the Camillia that is having its first bloom session since I planted it this spring.  It is fun to have something like this blooming now.  This plant is just getting started now with many buds to open and this shrub is begging to be espaliered. Long Island Pink Camillia is lovely for this Nantucket Grey Garden shed.  They love some shade and indirect light and just when you think Jack Frost has nipped everything here is a surprise in the garden.

Nov 3, 2010

Marble Slab for Bathroom in the Hopewell Carriage House

I thought I would share with you what the marble slab that will go upstairs looks like.  This piece was a remnant. I had it honed because I prefer that appearance and it will be more forgiving with etching down the road. People are a little scared of marble. I don't know why.  Perhaps a little more care that something else but if you love it, you will want to take care of it! This is another piece of Calacatta Gold Extra.
The cabinet will be deeper and top will be a 27 and half inch width.  Ceilings are too low for anything other than an undermount sink.  It is kind of nice to do these projects piece by piece.  Nothing is a rush job and it allows me to be my precise self!  It is in Princeton Design Guilds hands now to complete custom cabinetry.  This furniture piece will be off the ground but it will have a back splash also of the marble which is three inches.

Oct 13, 2010

The British Faucets are coming to the Carriage House

I am woman all about the details,  so of course when it came to pick the next set of faucets for downstairs and up,  I went for the best quality. It will make all the difference in enjoyment and quite frankly, durability.
Here is a dismal picture of the sinks to be replaced....Check out the rust... This sink would be sweet to reglaze but not possible because the enamel is gone.  The truth is I need the storage underneath so I am going to do a custom cabinet with a sweet piece of Calacutta marble. It  is from an old lot of marble which means that the Calacutta is very white instead of grey and very deep veining.  The new sink and  the polished nickel British faucet has arrived. I chose another Perrins and Rowe faucet from the Georgian era.
  Princeton Design Guild has measured for the cabinet and drawn a beautiful design that will fit the house and give some storage in a furniture style piece. I need to hide these pipes also.  They are just foul. In this bathroom there is a bear claw tub which is orginal to the house I am sure, which of course will stay.  So I plod on to keep what is good, respect the house within its time period and return quality to added fixtures.
 This sink reminds me of something you might use at a rest stop. Marble top will be fabricated and another custom cabinet will be here. The marble top for upstairs was a remnant so I got a nice deal on it.
I wish I could scan the drawings from Princeton Design Guild to show you what it will look like.  The custom part will be nice for this house because let's face it, everything slopes.
I am simply waiting for their templates so that marble can be cut and then waiting for cabinets to be installed.  Easy process.  I can't wait to show you! I don't think I will ever end up in a house all done. This has been too fun.

Oct 2, 2010

Half Bath Redo with some Marble in Hopewell Carriage House

I am trying to figure out what to do in the half bath in the Carriage House.  The sink that is here now looks like something that you might see in a rest stop with no soap....So do I want to do a console sink, custom vanity or an antique washstand?!? I like pedestals a lot but I really feel I would like a little storage and it is the only thing you will look at while on the pot... So antique or have something built?

The cat did drag this in........It is rather plain but nice and white! I could customize a swank little vanity with Princeton Design Guild.
I found a like minded woman out there.  We love English country, white and traditional in the bath!
More I think about it, the ceiling is really low in this section of the house. Perhaps I should do a undermount sink and use this piece of marble so I have as much counterspace as I can muster up.  Of course,  pick out some English faucets.  So some mod swank with some elegant classic fixtures.

Sep 27, 2010

Gourds in New Jersey Farm Country

It's that time of year when all the window boxes get changed or are supplemented with some gourds.  I love them because no critters eat them and they come in all of the seasons changing colors.  Since it has been so dry here in the East Coast we will welcome seeing these.. I am concerned, as we all are about our trees in the forest holding on with this drought.   The rich colors of last autumn will not visit us this year.

I changed out some fabulous containers for a client last week. I will post some pictures.  Think kale, mums, gourds, and I left some decorative grass that has died but looks like haystacks! Pumpkins love the heat though and that they have had! Nothing like the sugar pumpkins.

I can't wait to show you all of the beautiful squashes that grow right here in New Jersey that we can eat and double as decorations. The Yankee in me loves to be frugal, so why not skip the Halloween store for decorations and just pay tribute to what grows seasonally.  Decorate and then eat! They should last outside for two to three months still looking lovely for Thanksgiving.

Sep 8, 2010

Princeton Design Guild Helps with Marble Sill

We are continuing to tweak at the carriage house kitchen.  Today Kevin Wilkes and I played with where the marble sill should come out as the final dressing of the two sink windows. I plan to harbor some ferns on the sill and won't they be pleased.
I have made a little blunder with the polished nickel. I am so  used to cleaning with Bar Keepers Friend for everything. I love it.  Well,  not for the nickel,  so I called Rohl and got costumer service immediately.  Wow! and a live person!  I was given advice on how to polish properly.

I am very happy with the marble. Now that it is in,  it truly brightens this north side kitchen.  Just what it needed.  The marble fabricator used just about everything from the slab so he was kind enough to leave me with three square pieces for fun.  I think I will go back to treating this kitchen with fresh farm flowers on Wednesdays from the Hopewell Farmers Market by the train station.

It is still hot,  yet the season is pushing towards autumn.  Soon enough my own window boxes will be changed to reflect that nod.

Soon enough I will be sharing with you the sink project upstairs.. Rusted out sink from roughly the thirties.  I need to make that more practical with a vanity and a divine piece of stone.  Never forget about searching your stoneyards for remnants. Why go to Lowe's or Home Depot for one pre done when it is just as easy to pick out a remnant of stone and personalize your space?!?  I already have something in mind.

Bottom line - Have a vision, stick to quality, and do the numbers so that you will enjoy what is ultimately a sound investment.   Thank you for sharing in my joy and may I see you in my garden or yours!

Sep 4, 2010

Calacatta Gold Extra Marble in the Hopewell Carriage House

Another exciting day in the kitchen!  The marble backsplash was installed with an emphasis on following the veining from the countertop through to the splash.  In most places it was able to be done.
My marble fabricator sealed this honed marble and it looked easy as pie. This will be my responsibility in six months.
 Princeton Design Guild coordinated with my fabricator on the windowsill today and that will be done next week.  I was pretty clear that I wanted a divine sill for my plants and they will not be disappointed with what is coming! I don't know if you can tell from the pictures but the windows are wood and must have been replaced prior to me.  They are  classic quality so the sill will compliment it well when finished.  OK, so the marble is a splurge. I will be more joyful in this kitchen with its exposed beams and sloping floors because of it! And I am sure one day someone else like me,  that loves a charming home will love to take her over. In the long meantime,  I am so pleased that it is me.

Sep 2, 2010

Calacatta Gold Extra Marble in the Hopewell Carriage House

Wow! What a day!   Marble has been installed on the countertops. The backsplash will not be done until tomorrow.  It is much better to do this as a two day install.  You will get a much tighter fit and marble is much harder to work with than granite so a lot a praying occured on my end anyway.  So don't let anyone talk you into doing it in one day,  if you are in fact commited to this fine material on the counter and backsplash.  It  really helps brighten up the space and let's face it, it is just YUMMY to look at so might as well go for it! Thank the Lord I don't care about jewelry..  This rocks this space.

Tomorrow the honed marble will be sealed.  Super forgiving when it is honed and much more farm to table feel.  I love it! Wait until you see what I am going to do with the windowsill, notice trim is gone so wait and see!! Princeton Design Guild has been gems to work with on such a project.  They care about detail as much as I do.  Also PDG has come up with a very creative way to utilize the small space beside  the fridge.  Another cabinet with a corkboard.  I love the idea!

We all know how long I have been coveting this faucet and sink.  It really goes back to a carriage house I rented in Princeton.  It has been over fifteen years since then and worth the wait.  I cannot stress enough how a house should not deter you if there are things to do.  I was grateful to make my own decisions.  Late October will be a year and a half in this house and I will be winding down on the projects.  I think I might miss the decisions.

Oh,  and if you think I don't remember where I started with this kitchen, I do!!

I love work working with clients whether inside the house as a realtor or my other hat as a garden designer and helping them see a vision.  In these hard times,  a vision is just what is needed.   If you can pick up a property at a reasonable trade and put a little sweat into it,  the satisfaction is just wonderful and one can come out ahead down the road.  I know I will.  Thanks for following my journey.

Aug 30, 2010

Princeton Design Guild Helps with Marble Install

Mr. Wilkes came to oversee the marble fabricator this morning.   I just love  how he works with Charlie to make sure there will be no mistakes and all will be seemless.  Kevin is wonderful at working with me as I am much more traditional than his aesthetic. No worries... Templating took place and marble will be installed this week.  Here  Charlie and I are working together on the slab placement today.
 Here's a look at what is coming.  Calacutta Gold Extra simply means stronger veining and more select.  I will need to seal it two times a year.  Doing it more is not good for the marble.  It is honed so it will be more forgiving to spills and I prefer that to anything polished personally.  After going through this process I don't think I would want to buy a home that is all done.  I am truly loving picking out what I like.   I would feel way too guilty ripping stuff out if it was in fine condition just because I do not like it.  But with leaking and true grudgy tile, it was easy. No lost sleep.   All I did was gut counters from  the seventies..I have actually taken the house back in classic time.   So happy about this!

Aug 27, 2010

Princeton Design Guild Kitchen Cabinets Go In

Princeton Design Guild's head cabinet maker is making progress.   Shaw sink in, Perrins Rowe polished nickel faucet set, and cabinets in.  This part of the house is so old there is a 2 inch difference because the floor slopes!!
I can already tell that they bumped up the height of the countertops.  Thank the Lord because I am 5'9" and I needed that bit of luxe.  Monday I meet with my marble man.  Template and then I will go and decide exactly which part of marble I want on the countertop and which on the backsplash from the slab.
Perhaps marble is trendy now but the French and Italians have loved it for hundreds of years so I am going with that.  My last home was an Arts and Craft Bungalow.  Not right for a Shaw sink. I have coveted them for years...Nice to add one to this nest and it works.  Knobs are in polished nickel as well,  and very plain. I have started moving much loved items back to my open shelves.  
Miele dishwasher is happy to be next to such a stately and useful sink which is  a 30 inch. Burleigh ware is pleased to be back on the shelf.

I love the hot and cold knobs from England!

Aug 25, 2010

Princeton Design Guild Cabinet Maker will grace the Carriage House

I am so excited to share what is happening in the carriage house!  Princeton Design Guild is a very expert group to work with on a project.   I met with Kevin Wilkes who owns Princeton Design Guild and he walked me through the seemless process of restoring this kitchen to its roots.  First he listened to me and then drew me up a design for the kitchen.  He brought out his head cabinet maker, Richard who has been making furniture for over 40 years.  He is friendly and professional and sketched out something while Kevin and he were talking so I could follow their line of thinking.
We are going to re-center the  new English Shaw farm sink in front of the two kitchen windows and add a space for cooking trays along side of this sink.  It will be practical which is what a working 1890 carriage house would have been.  This will give me four more inches on the other cabinet that will have pull out drawers for pots!  Kevin even had his draftman do a sketch for the countertop even before the installer is doing his own.  No room for any mistakes is how I see it!  He also threw out the idea of raising the height of the countertop which is super because I am taller that average... so superb idea! Though my project is not a big one for this firm,  they have made me feel as important as if it is!
The truth is the honed Italian marble will need some care but it will impart a quality of life that will bring me such joy!  Granite and corian would have been more practical and yet it would not have been the kitchen I want to return to.  The open shelves will retain the airy feeling in this space and marble on the wall will allow me to look at it too!  Carrera marble is too safe for me and too grey.. Calacutta Gold Extra is white with grey green veining and a subtle touch of gold.
I can't wait to show you Kevin's latest project of his own.  I posted earlier pictures and we are almost ready to return for more progress so stay tuned. Though Wilkes firm works on very forward thinking design I knew that his firm would be a good fit for me.  First priority is quality with PDG,  as is mine. I don't care about BIG in anything. I care mostly about handmade quality and artisan skilled in everything.
What a pleasure to work with them.  What fun it has been in just over a year to transform the carriage house with garden, patio, and landscaping.. It is fun to add some value to the inside  with timeless and elegant design for those that love a smaller sized nest because to me,  quality endures..

Aug 19, 2010

Princeton Design Guild Kitchen Gut

As the heat slows down my desire to work on the inside heats up! The carriage house needs a  Shaw
sink fitting its era of 1890 and a  proper Perrins and Rowe English faucet.  I love,  love this design company in England Plain English Design  which really suits this Wren nest.  Simplicity and some timeless elegance.  Since the original beams are still in the kitchen,  anything too fussy would  look ridiculous. The Shaw sinks are popular now though I have loved them for years.
I will keep the open shelving because I love displaying my Burleigh ware and other treasures. It's humble and works with the house.  If you remember the tile that was here, that is what Princeton Design Guild  came to dismantle... That is putting it nicely...Today Kevin came over with his head cabinet maker to give me wonderful options. I will be sticking with a plain Shaker style cabinet to match what is already here.  It is amazing how quickly a kitchen can be taken apart for a redo.  It took them a couple of hours.  And they seem to have taken every bit of dusk with them from the tile. That's it and we are on to the next phase.

Kevin explains everything in a such easy detail;  I have so much confidence working with him.  All I have to say is Calacutta Gold Extra Honed!!!This marble is not safe.  Veins will be throughout and the backsplash will be marble also.The slab I chose does have some very soft gold in it and subtle green. I am a marble girl, what can I say?  A carriage house to me, needs some classic marble. Soapstone might have been a nice option also,  though the kitchen is on the north side of the house. Too dark for my liking for this kitchen.  Yes,  it will need to be cared for a bit and I am just the woman to do it.

 I am very happy to have picked a home that needed some updating or restoring. I get to make all of the decisions and since I know what I like that part is easy.  I also paid close attention to what will make a solid investment, will  give me pleasure, and respect the intregrity of this historic home in the Boro.  The Boro is so close knit that I have had three families tell me when they have lived in this house!

Jul 27, 2010

Thuya Garden Northeast Harbor Maine

I have been off the map for a while.  It has been hotter than the hinges of he** in Central New Jersey. We have had 35 days of oppressive heat. Even with all of the natives that I have planted I have been watering every day.  So off I traveled to my most favorite garden much further north in Maine on Mount Desert Island.
Thuya Garden is about as inspiring as it gets for me. They are committed to organic horticultural practices.  They exclude the use of pesticides and herbicides.  All chemical fertilizers are strictly limited.
This a garden that must be visited more than once.  It is to be enjoyed in the sunshine or with the fog rolling in over the harbor with a view of the sailboats below.

The borders are lined with stones and conifer garden is lush on a rainy day.  The garden stands on its own merit.  Nothing is flashy here. No overdone hardscaping.  Here is it all about the plants.

Even with this beautiful bench it about the stunning moss that drapes this functional structure that now becomes a piece of living art.

Jun 23, 2010

Verdant Lawns ..Organic Lawns with a Greener Approach

I wanted to share with you a new business that is out there for those of you that want lawn care but don't want to deal with harsh pesticides.   Brian Ruddy who is a Princeton native is up and running with
Verdant Lawns.  He is young, buff, and enthusiastic! How about weedwackers with no gasoline?!?   I love to help clients with perennial gardens and containers and it is nice to think that our clients will overlap with the same mindset that we both have.

Jun 17, 2010

Baptisia australis Wild Blue Indigo

I really love this plant with its blue green foliage that blooms in May and early June.  Native, no pests, no spraying and just lovely. No pruning or staking either.  It stands about two to three feet after it establishes itself..Also it can withstand dry conditions.  I first saw this perennial many years ago at the old JP Morgan estate in Princeton within their perennial gardens.  Indians and later colonists used the plant for a natural dye in clothes.
This picture is after one spring at the carriage house.  It will continue to give me more blooms and pleasure.  Seed pods are developing now which I could use in flower arrangements for inside.

Jun 10, 2010

Nomad Pizza and Pots!

I want to share the container pots that I planted at Nomad Pizza today.  I decided to spin off the chartreuse umbrellas and the darling wine colored historic building that serves us all delicious pizza in an artisanal farm to table manner.

My goal is to have these plantings be easy to care for by the owners and enjoyed by all.  I love to think of the structure that is being enhanced and pop color off of it.
Succulents and some annuals will complete this design. I picked some more unusual succulents to give the public the opportunity to see what is possible in their own containers.  Nothing spruces up a welcomed front door, patio, pool or store front like a mini garden in a pot! How much do you love the Nomadic Pizza REO speedwagon truck in the background.  Anyone for pizza this weekend?!

Jun 8, 2010

Strawberries and Succulents

Here is a peak at some succulents with some day neutral bearing white strawberry plants that will grace a clients patio.  This client wanted to make sure if her pots were forgotten a day or two in watering all would not be lost.  Succulents provide that security and give off blossoms to boot.  How fun to have some fruit that can be added to salads or dessert the whole growing season long and all will come back next year!

Jun 4, 2010

Late Spring Blooms in the Hopewell Carriage House Garden

It got so bloomin hot in the Princeton Hopewellian area that I did not even show you all a bunch of peonies in bloom.  They came early,  as everything did and left pretty quickly.

The violas are still trying to survive in the heat and are pleased with a little shade. I planted a whole bunch of specimen hostas in containers that I will show hopefully this weekend.  They are only three to four inches apart.  Perfect for container and will weather over.  This is a super way to get your hosta fix if you have deer in your area and then you can keep track of your pots and move them around.
I started some climbing hydrangea on the funky telephone pole fence.  This takes a  while to establish but it is really lovely. English shrub roses I planted as bare roots are sprouting.
Millie my "garden gun dog" is enjoying clients' properties with pools with permission for a dip!

May 27, 2010

Princeton Pools and Pots of Perennials and Annuals

I planted these today for a client that is looking forward to Memorial Day and parties to come all summer long.  I absolutely love installing container plantings.  They really add so much dimension to a patio around the pool and outside living space.  Butterflies will dance over the pool and perhaps a hummingbird or two.  The most important thing I try to share with a client is to not be afraid of size, the worst mistake is going too small and the statement is lost.  That can truly be the difference between an arrangement and design.  I will change these out  in the late autumn and then again in the winter. These will bloom until frost.

May 26, 2010

Herbaceous Peony for your Wordless Wednesday

Check out the lovely peony and think Georgia O Keefe.  Peonies are heavy feeders and loved to be staked but other than that.... Just enjoy them .  I love to make sure a client has a few.

May 21, 2010

Gun Dog and Garden

A dear friend of mine turned me on the the magazine GARDEN&GUN...  It is  published with a true flavor of the South and its culture and gardens.   Three weeks ago my daughter and I rescued a English Springer Spaniel puppy who we have named Lady Millicent.  We call her Millie.  I love the fact that it is an old name from the Middle ages and loved by the British.  The name means "work and strength" so it fits for this working "gun dog".
 She is navigating herself well between the plants and respects her potty to be only in the rocks on the side of the carriage house.   I have been taking her with me to my landscape jobs and she is a fine companion even if she does not know all the names of the plants.
I also give her a cocktail of organic tomato juice in the morning so that she won't burn out anyone's plants or grass.   We hope to see you in the garden, either yours or mine!  Make sure all your peonies are staked NOW!

May 20, 2010

Clematis Blooming on the Hopewell Carriage House Fence

I transplanted this from my other house and here she is in her first season in new digs.... Not bad.
I mixed in some mushroom compost and a bit of organic fertilizer and she is a blooming.

May 17, 2010

Native Wisteria..... not Japanese or Chinese for your Princeton Garden

Check out the native Wisteria which is more delicate and less invasive.  You will need sun and more sun! It will not hurt a fence or grow out of control.    Remember your natives in the garden.  They are easier to care for as a whole and will really be enjoyed by the bees!

May 4, 2010

Hopewellian Perennial Garden in Full Bloom

Early spring perennial are in full bloom.. Dicentra, Rosalie Pink Tulips, Mount Hood, Thalia, Hawera Daffodils, and the fruit trees looks great!  I am noticing some fungus on the heuchera already. I am treating that organically. It will work if I stay on top of it.

Check out the lovely tree peony.  Never prune these.  You will end up with an herbaceous peony.  I find these so easy to care for and quite stunning.
I finally decided to espalier a camellia shrub.  Long Island Pink is what I decided on. It is a favorite of many and was found on Long Island perhaps out in the Hamptons.  The grey shingle as I have said before, begs for pink. This is a fall blooming variety that will add color in October, November, some of December when nothing else with be giving me a show.  It is a vigorous variety and enjoys being on the northern  exposure or eastern. This will have a northern.  If I had chosen an apple to espalier I just know that it would not have had enough sun and it only means more spraying.  And I love that this is a bit different. Notice the helleborus at the base of this shrub.  Wonderful thing about these is that they are candy to no animal. So the deer in the back field might as well give up.

The bare root roses arrived from England.  They look like sticks and are soaking as we speak.  I decided on a David Austin English rose named Gentle Hermione.   They will be very fragrant and a good rebloomer.  I am hoping this will greet visitors with some welcome as they come through the garden gate.