Adventures in Cottage Living


MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS RECENTLY in my humble East Hampton cottage.

I’ve managed to turn a drab 1930s stick rattan sofa, above, with no cushions, into comfortable seating for my screened porch. All it took was three days wielding a paintbrush (this thing has a LOT of surface area and needed priming), while listening to songs I didn’t even know I had on my iPod. That, plus $400 worth of cushions on sale from the Restoration Hardware catalogue have in turn transformed the porch into a second living room. I’m sitting there as I type this, feeling pleased with myself.

But that’s nothing compared with the fact that today, after three months of living without one (inconceivable, I know), I finally had a proper refrigerator delivered. It’s a stainless Frigidaire, and I like it. It’s not the blue Smeg of my dreams, but it’s not bad-looking — exceedingly plain. It’s fairly quiet (I would prefer complete silence, but this is as close as I’m gonna get), and it’s the right size for the space, not a monster.

For almost three months — after buying and quickly returning to Sears a cheapo fridge that drove me crazy with its grunts and groans — I’ve been living with an Igloo cooler and a fridge the size of a hotel mini-bar, with a freezer just big enough for a can of lemonade. I was really tired of all my fresh Long Island farmstand produce falling on the floor each time I opened the door.


I didn’t want to do the Sears/PC Richard route, so two weeks ago, I went to Bob Stevens Appliances, a real appliance store, located in the airport at Westhampton Beach (a safe distance from the runway). I felt I needed to see the things in situ, so I wouldn’t make a second refrigerator mistake, and it appears I have not. Now my vegetables and bottles of Long Island Summer Ale look lost in the depths of 18 cubic feet. I see a trip to the Bridgehampton King Kullen in my future.img_1800

I still want the blue, though, so my plan is to paint the lower kitchen cabinets Benjamin Moore’s Sailor Sea Blue, or something like it. This painting thing, once you get in the rhythm, ain’t so bad.

Oh, and the cellar is nearly cleared out of the previous owner’s stuff. Just a few more trips to the dump, and then it will be time to start filling it up with my own stuff.

Deer count, last 24 hours: 4 (a mother and two fawns yesterday, and a really bold one today who came within a few feet of my back door – eyeing the impatiens, I’ll bet).

Cottages of Color

OF THE DECISIONS I’ll be making in upcoming months, the most fun is what color to paint the doors and trim on my cedar-shingled cottage.

The fact that it has cedar shingles is one of the things that drew me to it in the first place. They have been the vernacular cladding material on the South Fork all the way back to the 17th century, and you still see them everywhere, on houses old and new.

Springs Fireplace Road

Springs Fireplace Road, Springs (East Hampton)

I love turquoise against the weathered gray-brown, but do I have the nerve? Perhaps a subtler shade of blue would be the ticket. Or white for the trim and blue for the door.

Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor

Somewhere in the Hamptons, Photo: House Beautiful

Somewhere in the Hamptons - Photo: House Beautiful

Red? I won’t go there, but I admire those who do.

Three Mile Harbor Road, Springs

Three Mile Harbor Road, Springs

Yellow? Definitely not. (That’s an antique store, below, so it can be excused.)

Sag Harbor (it's an antiques store, so can be excused)

Sag Harbor

There’s always classic white.

Old Stone Highway, Springs

Old Stone Highway, Springs

Sage green is what I have now, and it’s attractive and natural-looking, kind of Adirondack-y, but I want to put my own stamp on the place.

Which do you like? Input welcome!