The Cool House: You never know who's reading your blog

Friday, December 07, 2007

You never know who's reading your blog

Last night we were invited to a special Northern versus Southern Hemisphere food and wine duel at one of the best restaurants in Huntington (nay, on the Island) Aix en Provence, during the course of which my neighbor told me he reads this blog.

It's always a stomach- churning moment when you find that someone you know has been reading your words. The first thought that ran through my panicked brain was "Did I write anything scathing about them"? I mean, I only put my true feelings and frustrations into this blog but I try to remain polite and positive. However I have noticed recently that a few of the posts were a little testy in tone. At one point I seriously considered changing it's name from Beach House to Bitch House. But I digress.

At some point during last night's very enjoyable dinner (on the whole we liked the Northern food and the Southern wines the best), my neighbor said I hadn't blogged about his house and I took that as carte blanche to write this piece.
I had wanted to write about my neighbors' renovation for a long time, but I was concerned they wouldn't want their house out on the internets for people from Honolulu to Hajdu-bihar to gawp at. I did once mention it in passing and I asked if they were keeping a blog or video diary of the experience but they weren't. They were too busy living it.

Vineyard Rd Fall 2007
Turning this old cottage and adjoining stables into a stunning home reminiscent of an English country cottage took twice as long as estimated and I'm guessing a whole stable-load more money but it was worth every second and every cent. The outcome is phenomenal and feels completely authentic. It certainly helped that one of the owners is a designer who had the vision to see through the dark and dirt to turn the stables into a huge light and airy living space with a master suite in the hayloft. They needed to be diplomats to deal with the locals constantly asking when they were going to be finished, or why they didn't just knock it down and build a new house on the land.

Now it's complete and truly this renovation should be featured in Architectural Digest. It's more impressive than anything I've seen on HGTV or Ths Old House. I cannot get over the way the two buildings flow seamlessly into each other. I love the way they kept some original windows, and had others replicated. The shingles they found match the originals perfectly. And the kitchen? Everybody who has seen it is madly jealous. It looks like a butler's pantry circa 1920 but it's functional and modern. How do you do light and airy yet keep it cozy? I don't know but she accomplished it, and she incorporated the sliding barn door into the interior too.

Steven has only admiration for the way the non-designer half of the duo coped with the cramped living quarters and cluttered chaos for two years while they were more than doubling the living space. And speaking of chaos I am secure in writing that when one of the neighbors has finished reading this, the other will have turned that Versuvius of boxes and bags full of Xmas decorations into a beautiful representation of an American winter wonderland.

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