Shed Dreams

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MY SHED IS A VERY VERY VERY FINE SHED…no, not really. At the moment, it’s a stark cedar box, above, with a shed roof — as in shed water, I now realize — but it will be a very fine shed when my son Max gets through with it. In fact, it will no longer be a shed; it will be a guest house/studio with its own deck and maybe even an outdoor shower.

There’s a pair of French doors and a casement window left behind by the previous owner of the house, which we’ll use, and I’ve got a folder of inspiration pics, below, collected from various sources.

Simple things, sheds. For some reason — memories of prehistoric shelters imbedded in our DNA? — their small size makes them very appealing. Though it’s twice the square footage of the tiny house written up recently in The New York Times. My shed will be a very fine palace by comparison.

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Fine Homebuilding magazine

Loren Madsen Best Reader Submitted Bedroom, Remodelista Considered Design Awards12

Loren Madsen, Remodelista

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Gardenista

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An ad I’ve misplaced

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FineGardening.com

The Insider: Shipshape Kitchen in Brooklyn Heights

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THE LATEST IN MY WEEKLY INTERIORS SERIES for Brownstoner.com is this warmly appealing, functional kitchen by North Fork, L.I.-based designer Kate Altman. Not long ago, it was an “impossibly bad” ’70s galley kitchen. Now it has floor-to-ceiling storage and two showstopping features: a lipstick-red Italian range, and a custom porcelain backsplash inspired by antique Chinese patterns but whimsically including the Brooklyn Bridge.

To see lots more pictures and read all about it (and catch up with previous installations of “The Insider,”) click yourself right on over here. And don’t be shy about commenting on the Brownstoner site. It’s really fun for me to see the comments roll in there (37 last week!)

NJ’s Skylark Diner, Pride of U.S.1

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THERE’S ONE REDEEMING FEATURE of Interstate U.S. 1 as it runs from southern New Jersey to New York City — unless you count the colorful, post-modern Michael Graves Miele factory near Princeton, always a welcome sight. Then there are two.

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The one I’m talking about is the retro-styled Skylark Diner in Edison, N.J. It’s not an old diner that has been restored, but a recent one that’s at least as attractive, to my eye, as the vintage stainless steel thing (and I love the originals). The Skylark is screaming ’50s, with all the starburst, Sputnik, and ameoboid motifs that implies.

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I often stop at the Skylark for a plate of eggs or a Greek salad on my way back to Brooklyn from Philly. It’s Greek-owned, and the food is way, way better than diner-normal, and reasonably priced.

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I always gawk and marvel. I love the extent to which the decorative theme was carried out, partly with familiar mid-20th-century furnishings like fiberglass Eames chairs, below, but mostly with custom seating and lighting cannily designed to mimic a ’50s look.

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Last Sunday night, I asked, finally, who designed the place.”Someone from Canada,” I was told. Not very illuminating. Also wrong. The interior design turns out to be primarily the work of Josh Nathanson of the Pawtucket, R.I.-based firm Morris Nathanson, which specializes in hospitality projects like resorts, cruise ships, nightclubs, and restaurants. Makes perfect sense.

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Heading north, the Skylark is about a mile before the near-impossible-to-find turnoff to 440 (Outerbridge Crossing/Staten Island), on your right. It’s a place worth stopping, whether or not you’re hungry.

Artist’s Retreat in Springs 550K

UPDATE 1/28/11: This property has been sold for 450K. Someone got a steal!

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THIS NEW-TO-MARKET HOUSE harks back to the heyday of Hamptons Bohemia — not as far back as Jackson Pollock, but to the 1970s, when Willem deKooning, Franz Kline, Constantino Nivola, and many more lived and worked prolifically in studios set in the woods of Springs (East Hampton), N.Y.

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Built in the early ’70s by painter John McMahon and adjacent to property still owned by the deKooning family, the house belongs to an artist who is retiring to California.

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It has characteristic elements of that era’s architectural design: a soaring cathedral ceiling, abundant light from expansive panes of glass, a ceramic tiled floor, built-in banquette seating and bookshelves, and an antique wood stove set against a wall of fanciful mixed brick.

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The house itself has 2 bedrooms, one of which is a loft-like upper-level studio with a private deck, and 2 baths. There’s also a 500-square-foot studio with a separate entrance and its own kitchen and bath, with skylights, a sleeping loft, and a work table on a pulley that opens out over a built-in bed.

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It’s situated on a quiet two-thirds of an acre, set back from a barely trafficked road, where it seems like the ’80s, ’90s, and 21st century may never have happened.

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For more information, go here, or call Rebekah Baker at Brown Harris Stevens, 631 258 5991.

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Weekend Design Warehouse Pops Up in East Hampton

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This metal table sculpture is $900.

IF YARD SALES AREN’T ENOUGH for you on a summer’s weekend in the Hamptons, check out Warehouse 161, a garage stuffed with mostly mid-20th century furniture, lighting and objects. It’s on an industrial stretch of Springs Fireplace Road; the gritty location only makes it feel like more of a discovery.

It’s a colorful, high-spirited place in its second summer, owned by three partners with long experience in the home furnishings industry.

19th century Anglo-Indian ottoman newly upholstered in a multi-colored stripe is $2,000

19th century Anglo-Indian ottoman, newly upholstered, $2,000

No fixer-uppers here. Everything is restored, reupholstered, rewired, lacquered, and ready to go. Collectors may score Danish modern furniture or a piece by Harvey Probber or Paul McCobb at a very decent price. There’s original art, vintage and new.

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I guess you can say there’s something for everyone (I made off with a pair of turquoise melamine salad servers for $6).

161 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, 631-324-0555
info@warehouse161.com
Open Friday and Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-3