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HIGH ON MY LIST of things to accomplish this winter, somewhere between “Buy house” and “Update password list” (now 8 typewritten pages long), was “New clothing storage for bedroom.” I had already winnowed as much as I dared, but my four-drawer dresser and single not-so-big closet were not cutting it. If I bought so much as one new sweater, I’d be in wardrobe overflow.
The bedroom in my ground-floor brownstone apartment has a big ol’ hunk of orange wall 75″ across, where once a fireplace stood. Quite a few inches on either side of my midsize dresser were going to waste. There was also the possibility of going up the wall, with some kind of highboy or armoire.
I began my shopping online, considering mid-century ‘bachelor’s chests’ of the type included in bedroom suites of the 1950s and ’60s. They run $600-800, which is about what I planned to spend, but they were dark, stolid, and masculine-looking. I wanted something lighter. With my limited budget, I was looking for a piece of secondhand furniture, so I had no idea what, exactly, I was going to find (that’s the whole fun of it, actually).
My Internet explorations led me to a company I hadn’t heard of, Furnish Green, whose website shows a wide-ranging mix of styles from rustic and cottage-y to industrial and Danish modern. Its site is well-organized and easy to search, but even better was visiting their midtown Manhattan showroom to view their offerings in three dimensions, which I did today. Furnish Green is a find, yet another of those hidden treasures New York offers up when you least expect it.
And where you least expect it. Its showrooms are a few unconnected office spaces on the fifth floor of a garment-center building near Herald Square. One is shared with a ballroom dance studio; another is used for furniture refinishing and for the photography crucial to their online sales (Furnish Green has a big Craigslist presence). That’s Jeffrey, below, one of three employees, in the workroom. The owner, Nathan, is also the owner of the ballroom dance studio.
The main showroom is a bright corner space tightly packed with moderately-priced pieces that are neither precious nor pedigreed, yet most have something quirky or interesting about them.
Furnish Green gets 10-12 new pieces every day. “We do something to almost every one of them,” I was told — not necessarily full-on refinishing or re-upholstering, but steam-cleaning, oiling and polishing, and often, painting, to turn a dull brown piece of American borax (an old term for furnishings mass-manufactured in Grand Rapids, Mich.) into something more closely resembling Shabby Chic.
I came, I saw, I bought (see below). And yes, they deliver.
A LOT OF PEOPLE (myself included) give up, somewhat, on window boxes and outdoor containers by the time November rolls around. Others keep going… like the owners of the swell Manhattan townhouse, above, who’ve created an arresting display with gourds and berries.
My go-to place for inspiration in all seasons, including fall and winter, is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, above (that’s a side view of the Brooklyn Museum as seen from inside the garden), where crews were busy on Sunday repairing Sandy damage. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to have been too extensive there.
Some go all out in autumn with mums. Usually that’s not particularly interesting, but I like the front yard planting, above, where the lavender mums are interspersed symmetrically with juniper, a yellow grass, and a deep purple leafed thing whose name is not springing to mind.
Sweet potato and coleus hang in through Thanksgiving, at least, the chartreuse of the always-satisfying sweet potato vine a vivid contrast against the brownstone.
A red annual grass is flourishing now in the concrete window boxes of a fine house on St. Marks Avenue in Prospect Heights. Is there anything being built today that matches the elegance of that hefty iron stoop railing and brownstone window ledges? No, there’s not!
SNOW OR NO SNOW, this evening’s opening reception and gallery talk (and wine and cheese…) at the Brooklyn Historical Society is going ahead as planned.
The images in Brooklyn in Prints, which is curated by Manhattan’s Old Print Shop and runs through March 14, are being billed as “rare and unusual.”
Viewing them is like opening a little window on previously unseen Brooklyn — mostly around the Heights, as the event is a 100th anniversary celebration for the Brooklyn Heights Association.
I love the stoop sitters on State Street, bottom, where we lived in the late ’70s. The artwork dates from 1949, but it feels so familiar.
And it always amazes me to realize anew that Borough Hall is as old as it is (1804) and that the Brooklyn Bridge was a marvel when it was new.
All the prints are for sale in the BHS shop. Go here to see more.
Friday, Feb. 26, 6:30 – 8:30PM
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Admission $15, BHA and BHS members $10
East Hampton, N.Y.
I LOVE SHUTTERS — louvered, paneled, pickets, cut-outs — though I’ve never really lived in a house that has them. My present cottage on Long Island is not gonna be the one. Shutters don’t make sense with 1980s casement windows (but those windows sure are tight, so I’m not complaining).
East Hampton again. Love the boxwoods, too.
Meanwhile, I look at shutters everywhere I go. They can really make a house, adding color and definition to an otherwise blah facade. If they’re operable, so much the better.
Philadelphia is a great shutter city.
A Colonial in Society Hill, Philadelphia
An early 19th c. commercial building in the Kensington area of Philly
Brooklyn and Manhattan row houses, for some reason, rarely have shutters, which makes the few houses that do stand out all the more.
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, above and below
Red Hook, Dutchess County, N.Y.