Friday, March 3, 2017


The pits of this particular winter are deep enough that I have become overly familiar with every artifact in every room I use. Seven months ago, my alma mater advised me to bury myself in a corner of the library in self-defense. Last fall, I found it a relief to turn off the television and bury away.
The ensuing media blackout revived my vision. I can see things now that haven't been meaningful parts of my domestic life since a snowbound winter in 1968.

The ordinary pace of wired existence reinforces plain, sleek visuals and leaves white restaurant china in command of the table. I find that the table unplugged is well graced with a reproduction eighteenth century copy of export ware that I chose as a first-timer. I appreciate the structure and ornament of the old dishes that have been in daily use (with no breakage) since '66.

Not long ago, I met distant relatives for the first time and was amused that they set as much store by tabletop amenities as I used to do. That branch of the family includes antique dealers, who are as quick to evaluate an artifact as any museum person, perhaps quicker. Years of considering domestic priorities lead me to conclude that home furnishings are not an end in themselves. They are a means to an end, whatever one's end might be. To focus on possessions without considering their rational application is idolatrous. That said, artifacts that serve well and gracefully do not differ significantly from those of low-tech cultures that are willing to ornament with totemic devices and give a useful thing its own name -30-

More after the jump.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Casa 2017

I don't skate, but I have spent hours contemplating the swooping Sixties roof of an abandoned grocery store from the upper story of a nearby apartment building. Recently a lighting specialist shared my appreciation of the inherent value of electrical illumination as an interior design asset.

I am just learning about adapting an interior to make the most of sound, and it seems obvious that, like lighting, audio is an underrated aspect of housing. Even the most cursory and ill-informed exploration of the sound quality of a space turns up fundamental considerations, like having irregular surfaces.

It's tempting to conclude that a viable contemporary interior would be designed to suit a skater who plays guitar and is a skilled photographer -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Little Brass Brush

A small brass brush that resembles a nail brush has proved to be a valuable workhorse. Besides cleaning napped leather, it pulls pills off knits and gently abrades white rings off a hardwood table finished only in wax -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


When I moved onto this property in 1980, there were relatively fresh stumps from the removal of the original 1890 landscaping, much of which had been planted far too close to the house. Around 1991, a 1926 hemlock had to go. Within the last several years nearly all of the major shrubs and trees have been logged to protect the house, remedy changes in solar exposure, and simplify maintenance.

Despite growing up where conifers are a crop, I never imagined witnessing the life span of an evergreen or contributing to its demise. Interestingly, of the original plants that remain on the property, it is the minor volunteers that persist. A small poppy will not quit. Neither will feverfew, campion, thrift, foxglove, or baby tears, despite my preference for native plants. I won't work very hard at eradicating every one of the heirloom posies that remain -30- More after the jump.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Intake Desk

Cardboard and shipping mailers are the mortal enemies of woodwork. Much of the inventory in the house comes by mail. I finally set up an unpacking station close to the entry. The disruptive thrash of getting into stoutly sealed parcels now happens where boots are pulled off and the recycling bin is closest -30-
More after the jump.