Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas (or Happy Weekend!)

A happy tree:

Wish we could light these:

On the mirror:


First attempt (ever) at making truffles:

Samichlaus, in the glass:

Currently on the needle:

All in all a very good Christmas Eve!

Monday, October 18, 2010

shutters up.

Do you ever obsess over what should be the simplest things? I had such a hard time trying to choose the shutter dogs for our shutters. I didn't even realize there was a choice in such things (or that they were even called shutter dogs) until I started to look for them. I did so much online research and drive by photo snapping that I ended up with a folder full of photos - of shutter dogs!
Taken in Princeton, NJ over the summer; propeller:
Rat tails:

"S" variety:
"S" variety mounted on the side:
Taken in Historic Richmondtown, Staten Island, NY:
Scroll variety:

Crude yet minimal replacement on the same building:

For our own shutters, we've chosen the "S" variety. This is really more a choice of economy rather than an actual decision. We happened across two new old stock sets of "S" shutter dogs at a yard sale a few weeks back. They were $1 a box! It looks like we even saved 60 cents on the original price.

As of last week, the shutters are finally up on the house.

We now also have 7 different colors of paint on the house. This is the first time I've seen the grey we chose against the house. I love it. I'm not a "paint a patch and see what it looks like" kind of person - I chose this from a tiny swatch and bought it all at once. Relief.

We still need to find shutters for the upper floors. The other shutters we inherited had too much rot to salvage. Now, I can start obsessing over shutters.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a new (vintage) idea

I know I've been absent from here. There hasn't been much work on the house - nothing much to report. To keep things semi-interesting what do you say we try something new? As mentioned before, we deal in vintage furniture/art/objects and have amassed a large collection over the years. I thought I'd post a story of two rare pieces, one we purchased to sell and one we've kept. Both have pretty interesting stories behind them. You are welcome to comment and let me know if you like/dislike this idea... because I have many more stories from the past decade of hunting.

Let's start with this piece:

Above is a vintage bar unit designed by James Mont. He and his matching larger credenza brother (both sold) recently came from an estate about 40 miles (not in NYC) from the Get To Fixin' house. What's so interesting about that you say? Well, upon speaking to the former owners, we were told that this cabinet and its mate originally came from Staten Island! The former owner said that her aunt had these pieces in her home (along with an entire matching dining set) and that her whole family lived on Staten Island when she was younger. She asked us where on Staten Island we lived and after responding St. George, she said, "my grandmother lived in St. George, on Stuyvesant Place!" To which we replied, "we know exactly where that is - we live on ________!" And she replied, "That's where my aunt's house was!" So yes, these two pieces were originally created by James Mont himself, for a house on OUR EXACT STREET! Crazy right?

And now, I'd like to introduce you to my favorite pair of vintage earrings:

These brass earrings were handmade by Harry Bertoia. I love their simple form and how they vibrate and spin with the slightest movement. I wear them from time to time, although they tend to get caught in my hair.
Bertoia is one of my favorite sculptors and furniture designers. I can't say I don't aspire to own a sculpture or two in the future but looking at my bank account I can certainly say it won't be happening anytime soon. The idea of two little Bertoia sculptures dangling from my ears thrills me every time I put them on.
I bought these 7 or 8 years ago at a tag sale in New Jersey. (Yes, that New Jersey. I love many parts of NJ [which I consider my home state even though I was born in and live in NY] and I've been seeing so much negative talk about the Garden State lately. We do not all behave like the people depicted on the that reality show ok? I think it's pretty obvious that being from one state or another doesn't automatically make someone a great person. I mean, I always thought everyone in Alaska must be awesome until I became aware of Sarah Palin.) Anyway, I was charged $2.00 for the pair. The woman running the sale looked at them in pure disgust (and flashed me a strange look too) after we decided that they were in fact made out of brass. She then ticked $2.00 off of the total after we tallied up all of our items. So in fact, they were free!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

katydid trap and release

Saturday night we were awakened by a strange sound coming from the air conditioner in the office. Fernando jumped up and realizing there was something trapped inside of the AC, started to thump on the side. He saw something huge fly out but it was so fast he lost sight of it.
The next day he walked into the office to find this on his computer screen:

I grabbed two plastic cups and Fernando swiftly trapped her between them.

When we released her outside, she seemed to not want to leave the cup. Her pause gave us the opportunity to examine her leaf-like wings.

Then she quickly flew away and landed near the living room window.

I'm glad we found her before the cats did.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

amazing bug...

planning its attack on Curtis High School...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Horton's Row: for sale!

I love passing by this brick row of houses on Westervelt Avenue, close to Victory Boulevard:

photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission
I think this area is usually considered part of Tompkinsville but it so close to St. George who really knows? The lines between neighborhoods in NYC are so blurry.

photo via SI Treasure Blog
The row, known as "Horton's Row," was built from 1880 - 1882 by prominent New York City banker and broker Harry L. Horton. Originally, the row had twelve identical attached rowhouses that were built as affordable rental houses for middle-class families. While rowhouse are common in all of the other boroughs of NYC, this housing style is rare for Staten Island where mostly freestanding, single-family frame houses were built at that time.

Horton's Row, front view, circa 1885:

Photo source: Staten Island Historical Society Collection
Horton's Row, Park (Rear) View, circa 1885:

Photo source: Staten Island Historical Society Collection

View of Tompkinsville from Pavillion Hill, circa 1885:

Photo source: Staten Island Historical Society Collection
View from Brighton Heights, circa 1888:

Photo source: Staten Island Historical Society Collection
Today, only four of the nine remaining houses remain intact and they received landmark status in 2009.

photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

photo via Landmarks Preservation Commission

photo via Staten Island Advance

photo via Staten Island Advance
I discovered today that two of the rowhouses are currently for sale and listed here and here. I really wish they had some interior photos!

More about Horton's Row can be found
here, here, here and here.