Leaf Peeping in Brooklyn


SEEMS TO ME THE FALL COLORS — peaking late after an unseasonably warm October — are more brilliant than usual this year. Here in Brownstone Brooklyn, there’s no sense one needs to go up to Vermont or the Hudson Valley to be fully satisfied on that score. Above, Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights. Below, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden — my favorite urban refuge –in its autumnal glory.








Stretching the Season

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!

The Insider: Creative Layout in Bed-Stuy

SUPER BROWNSTONE in my column today on Brownstoner: an 1892 house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, dripping with original woodwork and renovated in a somewhat quirky way. The master bedroom has pride of place in the front parlor; the living room is relegated to downstairs. One result: a fabulous master bedroom! Furnishings are modern and spare, which nicely sets off all the Victorian detail.

Go here to read all about it.

The Insider: Working with Woodwork in Park Slope

WOW, 59 comments and counting on today’s Brownstoner post… granted, many of them are the same people back-and-forthing about how much the job cost (I’m hoping the architect will weigh in on that and put the matter to rest).

The project, by Neuhaus Design Architecture, interested me because it made use of virtually every bit of the existing Victorian woodwork on the parlor floor of this Park Slope brownstone, while still accommodating a functional modern kitchen.

And I love the tub, which was original to the house but which was moved into its own alcove to create a luxurious ‘bathing room.’

To take a look for yourself (and read those impassioned comments, which are a lot of fun for me in contrast to the quietude here at casaCARA), go right here.

The Insider: All the Details in Bed-Stuy


I REALLY LOVE the house featured today on my latest “Insider” post for Brownstoner. Of course, everything I write up has something to recommend it, but some I respond to more than others — the colorful, more ‘bohemian’ ones, I suppose you could say.

The house itself is an 1893 detail-laden, sandstone-colored house on a pretty block in rapidly gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant. The carved woodwork and mantels are over-the-top in grand High Victorian fashion, but the furnishings — mostly inherited antiques, with a smattering of 20th century modern classics — are deployed in such a spare, uncluttered way, the whole thing has a modern feel.

I went way overboard on this one, using two dozen photos. To see them all, click right here, right now.