IMG_2860

A TRIP TO THE NEW CROWN HEIGHTS STORE, Reclaimed Home, could just save you a longer trip upstate. The architectural salvage and secondhand furniture on offer here are reminiscent of what you might find while foraging at the Stormville flea market in Putnam County, or in a Catskills antique store.

The spacious shop, which opened last weekend at 945 Carroll Street, in a former tattoo parlor a block from the 1000 Washington Avenue entrance to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, is a joint project of two longtime friends, top — Phyllis Bobb, a veteran flea market vendor who formerly owned a Victorian house in Beacon, N.Y. (its renovation is fully documented on her 7-year-old blog), and fine-arts painter Emilia DeVitis.

The repurposed pieces in the store, however — a decorative 19th century radiator grille used as the top of a side table, for instance, or a 1920s ‘waterfall’ dresser on wooden wheels, given new pizzazz with a painted red chevron design, are unique in all the world. Prices are accessible, and the info on the price tags exhaustive and painfully honest — a cast-iron chandelier is marked “Not vintage,” a piece in mid-paint job “Not finished yet.”

IMG_2852 IMG_2854 IMG_2855 IMG_2862 IMG_2857   IMG_2861

Check out the website, which displays many of the pieces for sale in the shop, with detailed descriptions and prices, or better yet, go to the store. It’s open five days (Wednesday-Friday 9-5; Saturday and Sunday 10-6, Monday and Tuesday by appointment).

 

 

IMG_2837

IT’S SPRING, and I like my life again. Winter is my time for serious worry. With spring come more lighthearted concerns. Instead of How the hell am I going to pay my bills?, it’s Are you supposed to cut above the leaf node or below?

Yes, the Felco has come out of its sheath and, as long as I still own my cottage on the East End of Long Island, I am working it – transplanting things from here to there, raking leaves off the perennial beds, spreading new grass seed in bare spots, feeding the daffodil foliage that’s beginning to poke up. Only just beginning: after our brutal Northeast winter, the season is very slow to start this year. Mid-April already, and the only forsythia blooming is the forsythia I forced in a vase.

With spring comes optimism that I will sell my cottage soon and be able to turn the full force of my attention to the other house I own in the same bayside community. There’s been a price chop on the cottage, to 435K, which immediately attracted a new offer. A pattern is emerging: people (young people, as it happens) fall in love with the house’s considerable charms — really become infatuated with it. Soon fantasy turns to the reality of all that’s involved in owning and maintaining a house. It’s a big decision, and some become convinced (in one case by a father/financier who was “not feeling the vintage thing”) that some other house, a house built more recently than c.1940, would be easier.

Maybe so, maybe not, but this time I’ll keep my own excitement in check until a contract is signed. Meanwhile, I’m thoroughly enjoying staying in the cottage — recently redecorated with thrift shop furniture and exceedingly bright and pleasant — and country life in general. Sitting on the deck on a warm day. Walking down to the bay at sunset. Morning yoga at the Springs Presbyterian Church, a meadow view behind the window panes. A multigrain fruit and nut muffin from the Springs General Store. It’s the simple things, said a friend, and that’s my motto of the moment.IMG_2838

I moved three miscanthus – tall ornamental grasses – from the backyard up to the front of the property to screen the parking court, since the ilex I chose not to wrap in burlap last fall has been nibbled bare, rendered useless as screening, by the resident deer. As I tucked the grasses into their new spots, I talked to them. Don’t they say plants respond to our conversation, or perhaps just to the carbon dioxide we exhale as we lean over them, blabbing away?

“Now you guys have about 30 days before the maple leafs out, so take advantage of the sun now and do all the growing you can,” I told them. “Okay? Okay. Conditions may not be ideal, but you’re gonna be just fine.” I reassured them and myself at the same time.

 

IMG_2763

WITH TWO AS-YET SEMI-FURNISHED BEACH HOUSES to rent this summer, I’m back to my old shoestring-decorating tricks. Nothing I love more than visiting thrift shops and yard sales with a purpose.

On my way out to Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.), where I’ve been staying in my cedar-shingled cottage again for the first time in a year-and-a-half — that’s the one on the market for sale — I made five stops en route from Brooklyn: the Southampton Hospital Thrift Shop, the Southampton Animal Shelter Thrift Shop, and the Retreat Thrift Shop in the Bridgehampton Mall, from which I came away empty-handed (mostly clothes and/or overpriced, though I’ll keep trying). Then, heading further east, I stopped at the always-promising ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) Thrift Shop in Wainscot and the rarely-disappointing LVIS (“Elvis”) (Ladies Village Improvement Society) Thrift Shop in East Hampton, from which I emphatically did not.

IMG_2759

At ARF, I scored a never-used, just a teeny tad shopworn wicker sofa and armchair, plus ottoman, made by the Lane Furniture Co., with Hamptons-standard white cushions, for $325. (Fridays are 50% off days, but the manager gave me half-price even though it was a Wednesday.) Abracadabra, the living room is pulled together. That they are super-comfortable is a bonus.

IMG_2765

Nor did LVIS, whose furniture barn is a go-to whenever I’m doing errands in the village of East Hampton, let me down. There I found two framed posters, below, of art I love for $20 apiece, and a white ginger-jar lamp for $15.

photo_4_2

photo_5_2

Then, at an estate sale in Amagansett last Friday, I picked up a square Moroccan-style pouf, below, for $50. I’ve been wanting a pouf in the worst way. It’s pretty stunning with my thrift-shop sofa, on the tan-and-white striped rug donated by my friend Stephanie (who is also the source of some mismatched dining chairs, a very chic look).

photo_4

Thanks to thrift shops and good friends, one of my chief middle-of-the-night worries — how am I going to furnish two houses by Memorial Day? — is on the way to being solved.

IMG_0011

BUYING PROPERTY IN WINTER takes a lot of creative visualization. It’s hard to imagine lush greenery and abundant flowers when the ground is covered with snow, or plants are fifty shades of brown.

DSCN1749

View at rear of property into Town-owned, undeveloped woods, which seems to extend the backyard forever

That’s why I’m populating this blog post with inspiring springtime images — they inspire me, anyway, and hopefully, prospective buyers will feel the same — showing how things will look as the season progresses at my c.1940, cedar-shingled 2BR  Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) cottage.

The house is still on the market. I rejected a few lowball offers and had two near-deals fall through. I’m tired of riding the roller coaster, and hoping the winter of my real-estate discontent is made glorious summer (apologies to William Shakespeare) by a reasonable offer from mortgage-worthy applicants.

The official Corcoran listing is here. For photos of the interior, the deck, the outdoor shower, and more nitty-gritty info, like taxes (low!), go here. And feel free to email me at caramia447@gmail.com with any questions.

Meanwhile, please scroll down to see what things will look like as the world renews itself in months to come.

IMG_1652

Magnolia, spring bulbs, sweet william, golden spirea

IMG_1650

Gravel path from front of property to rear, lined with perennial beds (i.e. all this comes back, bigger and better from year to year).

IMG_1658

Same path, looking back to front in early morning. Forsythia in bloom in background, boxwoods and Alberta spruce along property line at right.

IMG_1839

Another view of main perennial bed, with lamium, perennial geranium, ferns, barberry, hakonechloa, iris, Alberta spruce and more

IMG_1655

Found driftwood in a bed of lily-of-the-valley

IMG_1654

Fragrant olive and other flowering shrubs at front of property

IMG_1832

Euphorbia, above, with Korean box and golden spirea

IMG_1926

Doublefile viburnum, 10 feet across

Below, a few photos showing what’s to come a little later on in the season.

IMG_2104

Perennial geraniums and irises in flower…

IMG_0804

Elephant ears (these are annuals) with Korean box, hakonechloa, Japanese painted fern

IMG_0017

Accabonac Harbor in Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.)

qSJwnUv6Ybll9QSyGUaORsjCrGoBZdpNc_WVSqnno3k

LUCKY LU ANDREWS. She was the secretary for the architecture firm of Ralph Twitchell, which in its 1940s-’60s heyday helped make Sarasota, Florida, an epicenter of important modern architecture. Over the years, Lu Andrews’ employers designed three houses for her. This, the third of them, built in 1959, is a 909-square-foot, 2 BR, 2 bath jewel, with brilliantly pared-down lines and compact design.

9UTZDrjoHU7ASxTlU6QAZ7U4czxz_VJeKJwT-83T7Io

OnYX28awlX29JE1hVvA0qOyVLfLs0_kRCKKc578qq5g

-JgUNSVCQLjsAUHMittSFcUQ1AUFT8n5lQM52uh1UsQ

cNNlXaqaKqj6FThT5_NydZNhq2zoTRcIzzQl5NbB0FQ

BWtNEi79YK94ThMEgFQSClo1_iJkrAq7M0MKZFIfSu0

In my view, this is a highly covetable winter/retirement or year-round home, its small size mitigated by sliding glass walls that visually extend the house out into its lush tropical setting and insure abundant light throughout the day.

s9RDbP7dUCmEnhEnaNEp1lnmFrwcNXUb4Yx-3BV80A0

K6QYWaghbWpIiWsM1uV4obzgd8ac8mkrtcmX7tOes00

XP0t9g3BWOYHqvMzndJhiyR6v0qQN8HXRhxYxjFfxDo

wAViESioTvnXQeTKrww6LN-i4IvLTa-TG74cPA7OGzk

I was in Sarasota once many years ago and don’t know it well. The location is said to be prime though — “west of trail” and close to downtown, the bay, parks, marina, restaurants, galleries, beaches, St. Armands Circle (a high-end shopping/dining district), and the Ringling College of Art and Design.

e2kPCHcq9n9p0cMvkOi8oDwmv81BSS4qB5kuUXkypq4

GMRBZG6CGIm6VAjxOoEIchMmke_c86XPQ3lchsqIfLA

q_i6WvayPmIHkomPLGfT1BArcfOjTkpEfOM7j0RuBUE

The house is listed by Martie Lieberman of Premier Sotheby’s International, who specializes in modern properties and cares enormously about their preservation. As she says about this one, “I’d like to see it get into safe hands.”

74xDBsEH1rslyMG9nx8gxJXjKwQWXWdbdfOLEb4RDdU

The official listing, with more photos, slideshow and video tour, is here.

To read more about the Sarasota School of Architecture, go here and here.

XxIOY8E4iwRZpJiKg14qI8L9R8bdKuC_ao37FLWEehY

Photos: Glenn SRQ360.com  courtesy Martie Lieberman

Enter your email address below (no spam, promise)

Join 371 other followers

CATEGORIES

ARCHIVES

Blog Stats

  • 891,459 views
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 371 other followers

%d bloggers like this: