The Cool House: blogs
Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cuil is cool(ish)

Cuil pronounced cool is a bright shiny new search engine developed by ex-google employee Anna Patterson that sets out to challenge the ubiquitous search giant. Being a narcissist I tried it out by typing in "modernemama" and instead of boring old text links I got shiny snippets of (mostly) my posts with images, although the pics didn't always match the posts. If I do the same with google I'm asked if I meant to type modern image!
A search for "Beach House" presented me with tabs of Beach House Plans, Beach House Rentals and weirdly, Bal Harbor, Miami. The search got even more quirky when I selected "all results" and had to choose between Towns in Queensland and American Male Singers. And it came to an abrupt halt when the sub-category I chose under American singer Stephin Merritt, The Gerbils, failed to elicit any results. Bummer. This seems to be a touch of teething troubles as I had to give the search a couple of extra mouse clicks to stop it issuing that error message on other searches, but even so I think I'm going to be trying this out more and more in the future.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Not really staunch

Jean over at Renovation Therapy has an enormous Grey Gardens obsession and is feeding it with a competition to find the best Big or Little Edie Bouvier Beale letting their inner staunch rip. The contest is inspired by Little Edie's quote: But you see in dealing with me, the relatives didn't know that they were dealing with a staunch character and I tell you if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman... S-T-A-U-N-C-H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling you. They don't weaken, no matter what.
I can't do dress-up crazy (it's not different enough from my normal crazy) so I'm giving you Rufus Wainwright (with Isaac Mizrahi making his second appearance on this blog) singing Grey Gardens. Not staunch but there are elements of craziness nevertheless.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Before and After: The Habitat for Humanity Project

Fred and Ethan at One Project Closer are taking their popular Before and After segment and using it to help raise awareness (and hopefully some funds too) for Habitat for Humanity. They are asking you to share your Before and After makeover story from this spring or summer with intereaders. They will pick the best and post them each Sunday from June 22 until September 21, 2008.
Bonus: the best project wins a $50 home improvement gift.
Even if you're not undertaking any projects this season go check out One Project Closer, it's full of useful tips and info. Want to know how to save yourself big plumber bucks when your copper pipe springs a leak? The answer's here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cilantro: Harmless Herb or Instrument of Death?*

I had no idea that so many people disliked the fragrant green herb Coriandrum sativum until I stumbled upon I Hate Cilantro, a website dedicated to supporting the fight against the "most offensive food known to man": Cilantro.
Now, I love coriander, as it is known in Europe; I use it to flavour curries and Thai soups, and once I discovered it was known as cilantro in America, in ceviche and salsas. Hell, I've been known to sprinkle it over Boston (Bibb) lettuce before now.
To some people, though, it tastes like metal, soap, or rotting corpses (I hope that last person is imagining what a putrefying carcass tastes like and isn't writing from experience). I thought the two people I know who dislike it were just being dramatic when they told me it makes them vomit but I may have judged them too harshly. It may be strange, but I react the same way to tea!
Two thousand people are anti-cilantro enough to have joined the fight and several share their stories with the internets. They hate it so much they put it on a T-shirt and proclaim it proudly to the world. I feel only pity for them, cilantro is almost impossible to avoid and to them I say: Look away.
For those who love it as much as I do a quick salsa recipe:

Fresh Cilantro Salsa
1 bunch cilantro
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, more to taste, very thinly sliced, seeded if desired
2 limes, freshly squeezed
Salt, Freshly ground black pepper and a little sugar to taste

Finely chop cilantro and mix in a bowl with tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno and lime juice. Stir to combine. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve with fish, chicken, tacos, or alongside guacamole.

*For John in NJ and Fliss in BXL and cilantro/coriander haters everywhere.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Start of Summer

I want to be rich so I can decorate my house with live lobsters.
via remodelista.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm back

but a little like this. Even if you don't speak French I think you'll get the idea (thanks for the video Fliss).

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm away from my desk

But where am I?
This is a new friend, Flat Stanley, that I met on my trip.
Where am I? More clues, if necessary, in the music player at the bottom of the page..........

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We apologise for the interruption

We are a little hung up at the moment. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Silver Screen Inspiration

When I saw Down With Love, the 2003 movie starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor pretty much the only thing I liked were the sets. I loved the whole candy-colored retro vibe in her space and the staid, spare modernism of his wood paneled room. Now I can recreate the surreal 60s look thanks to Linda Merrill's new blog ::Silver Screen Surroundings::.
Promising 'movie set decor, set decorators, and how to "Get that Look"' Linda's new blog has links to lots of design resources, including this Campbell Laird Flit #3 Print from 2modern design that I've long coveted.

I'll be checking in often to see what other movies sets will be offered up as inspiration. Two of my favorites: Woody Allen's Interiors and Ang Lee's The Ice Storm

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The downside of wireless

When the keyboard batteries run out of juice in the middle of a post you're typing at 10 PM, that's the disadvantage to no unsightly wires in a de-cluttered office.
"You should always have spare batteries" I hear you cry.
Well, of course I keep spare batteries. In fact I'd just opened a new four pack but I'd put two into the wireless mouse and the iMac wireless keyboard takes three. Three AA batteries. That's so wrong. Thanks to Renovation Therapy (formerly Upstate) though, I managed to score a battery deal: money off plus a $2 coupon! I did have to argue with the sales assistant that the price on the register was not the price displayed, forcing her to walk half-way round the store to check, have a conversation with the manager who wanted to know where she was going, which turned a five minute pharmacy dash into a fifteen minute tussle. But hey, I was right and I saved $2.50, a dollar of which I promptly donated to this week's charity at the pharmacy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's going to get a whole lot lighter

Look, look. Do you see what I see? Do you recognise that light? The sofa? The balcony? It's my living room.
I entered a competition over at Surroundings, a site run by designer Linda Merrill of Chameleon Interiors. Check it out, it's dedicated to all aspects of design - and there's plenty of information over there as well as lots of Insporn - it's full of lustworthy objects.
And what did I win? Why this absolutely gorgeous Jonathan Adler Carlyle Beaded Table Lamp offered by Croft & Little. It couldn't have come at a better time. I've been looking for a lamp to go here since I moved the old lamp to the master bedroom in the great art reshuffle. I almost bid on two lamps on eBay, despite the $0 in the lighting budget, one I forgot about until 10 minutes after the auction closed, the other I was going to do today. This is a gazillion times better, it will wake up that boring little corner in terms of light and style.
It would be very remiss of me not to thank the person who sent me to the competition at Surroundings in the first place, Susan Serra of The Kitchen Designer, whose blog I read avidly. If Susan were thinking of giving away a kitchen, especially a beautiful Hansen Kitchen, I'd enter in a heartbeat...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Beautiful Blog Things

A quick round-up of some beautiful blogs I've come across from my stats page or comments I've received via email.

The Rabbit Muse, a blogger from a jewelery maker and potter of pretty things living in upstate New York.

The Upholstery Blog from Heller Furniture, a Massachusetts based custom furniture and design firm.

Andeas Design & Scrapbook På Nätet, Andreas linked to a post I did a while ago on furniture that morphs into a room for 2Modern Design Talk. Unfortunately he linked it to The Cool House and not 2Modern, so I've been getting a lot of traffic from Sweden. If any of them need more information on the Casulo it's here.

Blink Decor's Decorators Dish has a post up about Pochoir Portfolios, a 1920s Moderne French Interiors exhibition at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami. I love anything with Moderne in the title, obviously, but all the posts on the blog are inspiring. Check out this one on interiors from the film “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”.
Enjoy. I'm back to thinking about the vessel sink. The Red and Black is winning by a mile.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Living with a blogger

Saturday morning, the guy (formerly known as Steven, but a recent conversation with a friend reminded me that her three year old daughter knew the names of everyone around her except for Steven who she referred to as "the guy") who had been away for a week, came into the kitchen looking puzzled.
"Can I ask you something?"
"That sculpture in the great room. Did we always have that?"
"Well, I don't remember it but I read your blog while I was away and there was a photo of it but you didn't mention it in the post."
"So you thought....?"
"I thought I was losing my memory, because if you'd bought it you would have blogged it."

The philosophical question is: if it isn't blogged, does it really exist?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Moving Day

m is for? moving? modern? modernemama?

New header, new favicon. Something's afoot. I'm changing things around, mixing it up a little to reflect that things are feeling different now at the Cool House. There's less emphasis on the day to day drama of renovation largely because the house is now waterproof and four of the bathrooms are fully operational again. We still have a couple of big (read expensive) projects to do but they aren't "do it now or the house will fall down" things. There's still plenty of little chores, too, but they are more maintenance than updating.

Recently there have been more posts about decor than dealing with rot, more about shopping than stripping walls. So, as we're busy adding art and sculpture that reflects our taste and the sensibility of the house, I decided to give the old blog a makeover.

Some people may have already noticed that they've been redirected to a new address. Update your bookmarks, I'm now at But don't worry, you will be redirected and everything will still be in it's old place on the page; at least until I get my act together and finish arranging everything fabulously at the new place. Until then be content with the new banner, the favicon and the tag-line: The Cool House, uniquely modern.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Guest Blogging

I'm being unfaithful to the Cool House today. I'll be over here at Create my Event and here at 2 Modern Design Talk. Come visit me and check out these wonderful sites. And find out what this photo has to do with it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Just a word about why I was forced to moderate comments on my blog. It really pains me to have to do this but the same comment appearing time and time again advertising a notorious furniture company (in terms of bad taste and bad labour relations, that is) spells Shoulder of Pork and Ham to me.
I also don't moderate comments from Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss Anonymous. If you want to call my taste into question, go ahead but be big enough to sign your name to it. Before you leave that anonymous comment consider that if we all liked the sane things the world would be a pretty boring place and there would be no incentive to learn anything new. EVER.
So Dear Anonymous, I moderate comments, it's my blog and that's the way I call it. Freedom of speech, which is what you think the blogosphere is all about, means my freedom not to give you a platform for your ranting. If you want to do that, start your own blog.

To all those who own their comments: I welcome your input, thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

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.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dwell's Kitchen Blog

For those of a modern persuasion who are contemplating a new kitchen there's a new resource on the internets. Dwell magazine has launched a kitchen blog. Posts in the past week include Porsche kitchens for guys (although I've never thought of a Porsche as a particularly manly car) and a list of showrooms where you can test drive appliances before you buy them. Now that's a good idea. Ideally, though I'd like to borrow them for a month to really see if they work. I have the feeling I will be spending way too much time on this site getting plenty of ideas for spending way to much money on our kitchen remodel.
Making it all about me, there's also a tech blog that features my new duvet cover from CB2.

Friday, October 05, 2007

blogger v2 + 3 columns=1 big headache

I spent all yesterday afternoon on a new template for this site using the blogger page upgrade and a three column css design. It looked horrible at first, then gradually better. But then I tried to put in my old add-ons that were mainly written in html and javascript and I could only get half of them to work. So I've shelved it for now and started back on xml, I code I gave up on four years ago as too much grief for a blog. Ha, shoulda kept on it.

If my headache goes away and I manage to solve my issues you might see an updated Cool House website. Or you may see a crappy half-assed version while I'm working on it. Either way, I apologise in advance.

Otherwise, you'll have to put up with the old-fashioned Blogger version 1 with its limiting two column layout until blogger gets round to doing the work for me.