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force friday: this star wars BB-8 video deeply appeals to our design sense


There’s a great deal of excitement building in our house around the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s a little out of control, as each new trailer has tears running down my husband’s face. Today the first wave of toys is hitting stores for Force Friday. For the most part, I patiently indulge and understand these deep pangs of adolescent nostalgia, but don’t feel them myself. This video from Spherio of the new mini BB-8 droid toy changes all that. Not only is it insanely cute and programmed by an app on your smart phone but it’s gorgeously designed. And the house this video is shot in? It’s a glass and concrete modernist’s dream. Just tell me how to make that succulent garden!

If you want more info on the toy itself, and when and where it may be available for a rumored $150, see this story

From our partners

and the winning door color is….


A few weeks ago we asked you to help us decide a color to paint our door. The results were pretty divided, with Bergamont Orange in the slight lead to a more traditional red and a bright yellow-orange. We were torn. So we took a step back and looked deep into our hearts and tried a few more samples, including a punchy orange-red called Top Tomato. As soon as we saw it on our door we knew it was the one. In our mind’s eye, we always imagined a “tomato red” door, but were worried it’d look too Fourth-of-July-ish all the time. We got over the fear and went for it. We love the results, though it certainly is bright! Hope you do, too. Thanks for all the amazing feedback; it pushed to look more and follow our guts. You guys rock.

See more info on our ongoing cottage renovation here.

From our partners

road trip must stop: maine state prison store in thomaston


We’re just back from our annual summer pilgrimage to Mt Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park and some of the most breathtaking ocean-meets-woods scenery you’ll ever see. On our way there, we usually meander up coastal Route 1 from Freeport on north, and we have a few must-stops along the way. One of them is Maine State Prison store in Thomaston. Yes, that’s right, a prison store. At first I had expected to find a strange collection of outsider art made from license plates and chewing gum wrappers, or perhaps a male version of Orange is the New Black‘s lingerie shop. While there is a bit of quirk, the showroom is mostly filled with finely crafted wood items at great prices. This year we snagged a very hefty and solid cutting board, $30, and a molded bowl, $40. It makes you appreciate the time and craftsmanship that must go into smoothing and sanding down the wood. Though the pieces aren’t signed by their prisoner makers, you can feel the pride put into them. I highly recommend you adding this to as GPS via point if you’re driving along Maine’s coast. It is worth detour.

Maine State Prison Showroom, 358 Main St (Route 1), Thomaston, Maine. (207) 354-9237

From our partners

help! what color should we paint our front door?


For those of you who have been following the renovation of our upstate cottage, you know that we chose a paint color for our little place on the Hudson a long time ago. We went with a dark, greyish blue called Evening Dove by Benjamin Moore. Though we love it, it turned out to be a little more blue than we had anticipated, especially in the bright sunlight in the middle of day. Originally, we had it all figured out in our minds. The house would be dark-grey blue and we’d paint the door a cherry tomato. But now that we’ve fast forwarded six months into the future and have been living with our Evening Dove house, cherry tomato may be a bit much. Our house would end up looking like it was constantly stuck in the 4th-of-July mode. So that leaves us with a conundrum — what color should we paint the door!? Perhaps you can help us decide.

As you can see from the above the picture, we’re still considering a red, but we’re leaning towards a darker red. The one on the far right is called Morocco Red from Behr. But we asked some visiting friends their opinion, and they suggested we consider an orange. We tested two colors, also from Behr. The top light color is Tiki Torch. The darker orange is Bergamot orange.

This photo was taken a little later in the day, so you can see how the light effects the color.

Which color gets your vote? Or is there one we are not considering that we should Tell us in the comments below!

Moroccan Red?

Tiki Torch

Bergamot Orange

From our partners

pipe shelf project: how we made an industrial modern desk space


Our 18-month long, unplanned renovation of our little river cottage is nearly complete. I am so excited to start sharing some of the final details with you. One new addition that we are especially happy with is a pipe-and-wood book shelf that Chad built in a little nook by the back deck doors — the area formerly known as our dining room. This is a look that admittedly is crazy trendy at the moment.  Two shops we love, Watson’s Cabinet in Hudson, NJ and Salvage Style in Maplewood, NJ, have pipe shelves that they use to display their lovely wares, and inspired us greatly.


Here’s Chad’s step-by-step.

1. Plan the space.
First measure the space and spend some time online looking at various designs.  There are a whole lot of ways to build shelves and you might like one style over another style out there. I chose to make the desk area more open by putting the support pipe in the back, closer to the wall.  One link that I found really useful was this one from Beneath My Heart.

2. Buy the parts.
Iron pipe can be purchased at your local Home Depot or Lowes and it comes in a few different diameters.  You can also buy galvanized steel rather than iron, but it costs almost twice as much. Instead, I chose to use 1/2 inch pipe and spray painted it silver to give it a galvanized steel look.

When you are selecting the pieces of pipe, make sure you choose all the same diameter (it comes in 3/4s or 1/2 inch). I also discovered that Lowes sells the pieces individually wrapped in a plastic baggie, while Home Depot sticks the price tag directly on the pipe which was nearly impossible to remove. Go to Lowes to save yourself a step there!

After making sure you have the right diameter, choose the lengths you want.It all depends on how much space you want between your shelves. I chose a 12-inch height.  Under the shelves, the support is made up of an elbow and a tee and 6-inch pipe. If you want deeper shelves, you may need longer length pipes.  I decided to use 12 inch wide pine and stain it.

Here are some links to parts I bought. (Here’s another hit: Save your receipts!)

Floor flange 1/2 inch

90 degree elbows

1/2 tee

12 inch pipe , 1/2 wide

3. Measure them out on the floor.
Once you get all the parts, you’ll want to measure out your plan on the floor. I started by sketching out what a wanted to build on a piece of paper and tried to think of it as a Lego project, making sure I had all the parts that would fit together.

4. Spray paint the parts.
Do this before you put everything together. This is optional, depending on the look you want. I sprayed paint about 2-3 coats on the metal parts.

5. Start attach to the pipes to the wall and floor.
Attaching your first pipe to a wall can be tricky.  You want to make sure that you are screwing the floor flanges into a stud and not just the drywall.  Since I knew exactly where I wanted each support to go, I had to attach a 4-inch wide board to the wall and use it as my anchor for the supports.

Basically, the board is drilled to the studs and now I can put the supports anywhere I want on the board. Make sure it is level.

6. Prepare to add the wood shelves.
Put on a pair of gloves because little threads from the end of the pipes can cut your fingers when you are screwing them together. When you place the first pieces down, it’s important to use a level and long shelf board to make sure its level both left to right and back to front. If the first  pieces are not level, your whole shelf unit will be wonky. You can tighten or loosen the parts, but don’t depend on that. If your floor is uneven, you may need to put something under the footers to balance.

7. Final touches
I coated the desk and shelves with Polyurethane before putting them together.

When you are ready to apply the shelves, be mindful of where you place them on the pipe.  Measure them first, and carefully drill holes where you want the vertical pipes to pass through. Be mindful of where you want to shelves to rest on the 90 degree elbow supports.






See more of our cottage renovation, here, including a slab-wood counter top for the kitchen, and how we chose our exterior paint color.

From our partners