The Insider: Eye-Popping Duplex in Williamsburg

NO BROWNSTONE today on Brownstoner — instead, a Mondrian-esque apartment in a modern Williamsburg loft building, designed (and occupied) by Brooklyn-based Christopher Coleman.

Go here for the whole scoop.

The Outsider: Beauty and Bounty in Park Slope

LURKING ATOP a rooftop in Park Slope, unseen from the street, are 1,500 square feet of edible and ornamental plants — including many which are both — arrayed in zig-zag formation by Brooklyn-based garden designer Cynthia Gillis. It’s an impressive garden, written up today in my weekly garden column, The Outsider, for Go here to read more and see lots of photos.

The Insider: Do-It-Herself Renovation in Cobble Hill

A GRANDLY PROPORTIONED PARLOR FLOOR with 12-1/2-foot ceilings and luscious Italianate plasterwork is the subject today of The Insider, my weekly interior design/renovation column on

It’s a co-op belonging to my friend Lula Blackwell-Hafner, a professional garden designer with a skill set ranging from glazing to wood refinishing to ceramic tilework. To read about Lula’s recent shoestring renovation of the apartment’s plaster and woodwork, and see photos of her Boho-eclectic decor, click here.

The Outsider: Reader’s Garden in Clinton Hill

EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE LOVED The Outsider last Sunday (41 comments!) It’s one a member of the Brownstoner community sent in — simple, family-friendly, and on a shoestring budget. To take a look at the befores and afters, go here.

PARIS DAY 6: Montmartre, Latin Quarter, Bastille

C’EST FINIS, MES AMIS. Our last full day in Paris was jam-packed. We trekked up to Sacre Coeur and around the old artists’ quarter of Montmarte, following a guidebook walking tour, rarely managing to escape the crowds.

Above: Metro entrance at Abbesses in Montmartre, one of only a couple of Metro stations in the city that still has the original glass roof structure. Though thankfully, many more still retain Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau ironwork.

A view of mostly low-lying Paris from the steps leading up to Sacre Coeur

Some of the streets of Montmartre are clogged with tourists (“It’s like Disneyland,” my cousin Susan said at one point), but it’s not difficult to turn into a little side alley and find yourself quite alone.

Top to bottom, above: The Maison Rose, immortalized in a painting by Utrillo, who lived nearby; an ivy-covered house on the same street; and the Lapin Agile, a nightclub famed as a Picasso hangout.

A vineyard in Montmartre, one of two working vineyards in the city of Paris; it actually produces (not highly regarded) wine.

Au Reve (in a dream?) cafe on the outskirts of Montmarte. Its blue neon and striped awning called out to me, and I loved the interior as well.

One of many fashion shoots we encountered on the streets of Paris

One of two remaining windmills in Montmartre, where once there were dozens; this one tops a nightclub, and we couldn’t find the other one.

In the afternoon, we set out to see what the Latin Quarter is all about. We were astounded at the number of book stores, and had a shopping spree in a corner hardware store. We heard an hour-long Vivaldi concert performed by a charismatic string quintet in Sainte-Chapelle, whose stained glass I remember from college art history books, then had dinner in the hip Bastille district, at a restaurant recommended by a Parisian friend.

Above: Latin Quarter shops (there are bookstores galore; it’s the university district), and a narrow alley, Rue Xavier Privas, that suggests what the medieval city must have looked like.

The Cite station on the Ile de la Cite. Paris’s Metro system is a wonder of efficiency and cleanliness, and inexpensive, too (under $2 a ride).

Soaring stained glass in the Gothic Saint-Chapelle.

Lieu jaune (pollack filet), with spinach and asparagus purees, at L’Ebauchoir (meaning a sketch or draft) in the Bastille district.

Gare de Lyon next to one of the modern eyesores that increasingly dot Paris but from which we tried to avert our eyes whenever possible. Notre Dame spectacularly floodlit against Paris’s late-evening June sky, below.

We walked back from there along the Seine, arriving at our hotel in St Germain des Pres as the sky finally grew dark about 11PM. Tomorrow we fly back to New York, our heads spinning with all the things we’ve seen, and a long list for next time of all we didn’t get to see.