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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Midwinter

We did get the tree up this year - even managed to throw on lights and ornaments with the help of 6' steps. It's much taller than we envisioned when it was leaning against the others at Halesite Firehouse's tree sale... Next year, just to make our lives easier, we are going to measure the thing before we bring it home - it's either that or get an artificial, pre-lit, pre-decorated one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Incredible Inedible Gingerbread House

I sent out all the Gingerbread House cards to friends with children and a couple of big kids I thought would appreciate them but secretly I really regretted not keeping one for us, I wanted to play with stickers, too. Well, thanks to a kind neighbor we received one of our very own and as I didn't have a five-year old handy I decorated it myself. I don't think you can tell, can you?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Solstice Tree

Sometimes I can be a tad sarcastic about life in the 'bay but I can't fault our local firefighters. Knowing we would miss the annual tree sale while in BA, we gave them a handful of dosh and asked if they'd pick out a 7'-8' tree and deliver it. When I got home there was a huge tree hidden around the side of the house (in case of tree thieves, I suppose) but I didn't realise how fantastic it was until The Guy came home from Sao Paulo and we were able to erect it. Thanks Halesite Fire Fighters.

We finally decorated it this morning. Yes. I know it's leaning left but don't you think that's appropriate in this house? Anyway it's very festive, just don't call it a Christmas tree!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Calorie-free Gingerbread House

Do you think I'll make a better Gingerbread House with this holiday card and its stickers?

With luck it may end up like this. Lots and lots of luck, that is. And a steady hand. Hmm, don't hold your breath. I think I'll just send them out.
Available from MoMA at a huge discount if you buy any three packs of cards and are a member.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Never leave a cat candle unattended

A quick run to Ikea Long Island early this morning for tea lights, floating candles and a silver tray to put more candles on resulted in me getting just one of those items. However I did get some more red pillar candles which Hermes has been very interested in. Good thing they weren't lighted.
So far the kittens have been much better than I expected about the Xmas decorations. Hermes did rough up Melchior quite a bit, and the Swedish sleigh was hooked off the dresser and taken for a wild ride. But at least they haven't tried to climb the tree!

Sadie has been trying to pretend the whole Yule thing is a mirage, except for Ginger Cookies, which smell so deliciously of butter and brown sugar and which she is MOST CERTAINLY NOT ALLOWED TO EAT.

I also bought a couple of Lotten throws in Ikea as the red ones on the sofa in the photo have been slept and drooled on by cats and dogs alike and are not something you'd want to cuddle up in on any cold winter's evening. The new throws aren't especially festive looking but they are very soft and cozy, and hopefully they'll be really warm, too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Green Xmas (with blue tints)

We spent a busy Saturday decorating the house for the holidays.

We got it up just as our first parcels arrived from Amazon Santa.

Although the indoor tree is a cut spruce we bought from the local fire brigade (they deliver it, too!) we went to the nursery and bought a living arborvitae to have by the front door. We can plant it out in the spring. I had to put holly sprigs around the bottom to stop the kittens climbing in and pulling the decorations off.

The garland on the door is holding up well - no needles dropping yet.

I collected some more greenery from the yard and made three arrangements with a red and a white painted birch branch we bought from the nursery.

I added some roses to one of the vases.

Fruit, pinecones and votive candles around the blue spruce branch on the mantel. I don't know how we are going to light the Yule log with all that greenery in the way. We may have to do this instead.

Four white candles in the Swedish Jul ring we used to hang from the ceiling.

The Prussian soldier stands guard over the liquor. Somebody needs to.
We finished around 7 PM, then we went to a holiday party in the Village and saw how talented home owners really do Christmas decor. I have no photos but imagine something like this only more opulent. It was a staggeringly beautiful display and my yuletide decorations cannot hold a ahem candle to it.

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.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Modern Gingerbread House

I swear if it didn't cost $78 I would so get one of these.
A modern. gingerbread. house. Who'd a thunk it?

Don't forget your breakfast

Happy Dag van de Sint!
Tonight in the Netherlands and tomorrow in Belgium is the time when all good children get their presents fron St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) and bad children get a whip from Black Pete's (Zwarte Piets) switch.
I usually don't start any Xmas shopping, baking (except for Xmas pudding) or decorating (except for the wreath) until we've done Sinterklaas, but as there are no children in the house this year I began early. To celebrate I made some speculaas. You would not believe how good the kitchen smells with the butter, molasses and spices.

I also collected holly, spruce, fir and pinecones and made some decorations for the light posts on the drive.

And finally, a reminder that a hearty breakfast sets you up for the whole day, here for your audio/visual pleasure is DJ Nicky & Ontbijt Piet with a special Sinterklaas version of "Jump de Hele Dag": "Vergeet je Ontbijt Niet" (Don't forget your breakfast) courtesy of Verity in Brussels. You have been warned!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The first snow of winter. Good thing I spent a few moments yesterday putting out the snow poles. It's too light to plow but the ground is getting pretty frozen now and those things will be difficult to "plant" in a few days. We also put up the exterior tree lights so it looks pretty at night time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Outdoor decoration

Autumn 2007, Vineyard Rd
I gave my neighbor a huge bag of pine cones from that giant fir tree in the photo, and we clipped some Hinoki (False Cypress) and Holly (in foreground of photo) from the front of the yard. She provided the bows, wrapping and expertise and made this beautiful mail box cover. Isn't that awesome?