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

Friday, January 22, 2010

Party Animals*

How do you celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day?

Take one warm and welcoming home

that has a squirrel touch

or two

add a comfy place to rest

and let your friends go nuts!

*Squirrels celebrate by appreciating each other - late January is full-on mating season for the Sciuridae family!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Damn It. Cough... Sniffle...

One of the neighbours just returned the damn dog that had escaped through the damn fence. I had to answer the door, I did hesitate but The Guy had staggered in to work this morning and the good dog was barking. A lot. I wasn't dressed. I haven't got out of my pyjamas since last Wednesday apart from two runs to the pharmacy for drugs and the grocery store for homemade soup. Over the pjs I'm wearing a 10 year old, holey, worn out dressing gown because I spilt soup down the "good" dressing gown. I look as good as I feel.
The neighbor is a really nice, very put-together blonde who used to have a cool job with a popular music channel who wouldn't answer the door to the local police when her 2 year old had been playing with the telephone and mistakenly dialed 911 because she was pregnant with her second child and dressed in her scruffs. She looks like a supermodel.
I feel as good as I look.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


A thought struck me the other day. We've now lived at The Cool House longer than we lived in our previous house on Long Island. The first four years in the States seemed to go by slowly, we learned coping strategies for the huge portions in restaurants but not before we'd each gained five hundred pounds, one of us learned to say watuh so we could get a drink with our meals, and we allowed people to bring coffee and other beverages into our car. In short we adapted. The past four years in this house have simply flown by but in all this time there was one thing that still irked The Guy, there was one image of America he'd gleaned from the movies that had never become reality. He, bless, had thought that anytime a new person moved into the area, neighbors dropped round with pie. Or at least left one on the porch. (I know. He's thinking of 1950s America. Bless again). He'd talked to Americans about this and some had mentioned being given zucchini bread many years ago, but this was in real America not Long Island.

Then on Sunday something happened that renewed The Guy's faith in his dream, his ideal America. A knock at the door, a neighbor bearing a baking dish. Pie? No. Even better, the Awesome Designer sent the Loyal Blog Reader over with Mac 'n' Cheese. Not just any mac 'n' cheese, mind you, but Mac 'n' Cheese with White Truffles. A truly magnificent dish and a gesture that meant so much to The Guy. I swear there were tears in his eyes as he ate it. It might have taken eight years but the spirit of America was embodied in that casserole. Thank you, neighbors.

Now, America, if you'd just get out and vote for Obama on November 4th, you would make my dreams come true, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Brunch: Eggs Benedict or Joe's O's

This is Sunday brunch over at the awesome designers' cottage. Eggs Benedict, stuffed tomatoes, asparagus, coffee cake with two kinds of homemade preserves and mimosas.

This is breakfast at The Cool House. Every day. The fact that it is served on Sunday morning does not make it brunch. I am starting to suffer from a massive inferiority complex. However that will not deter me from eating over at the neighbors' at every opportunity. Hell, I might even move in there permanently. Who could blame me? Everything is better over there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cottage Renovation: Flair and Authenticity

Once, a long, long time ago I posted a piece about my neighbors' stable conversion and Jeanne of House in Progress and asked if there were any possibility of interior shots. Well, the best things come to those who have limitless patience (or who nag a lot in a REALLY LOUD VOICE) so for Jeanne and all the other voyeurs out there - enjoy!

the original cottage and garage
This charming cottage and stables were once part of the Ferguson Castle estate on Long Island's North Shore.

the new kitchen addition with cupola
The property was purchased by the designer with the vision of renovating the separate structures into one cohesive living space; keeping the original buildings and many of the unique features as possible, while custom building others to be truly faithful to the original.

the stable conversion with double height window
It's the unique architectural elements that make this shingle-style cottage such a gem: the barred windows in the former stables, the fishtail shingles, the brackets under the deep eaves and the cross gables.

the kitchen
The kitchen links the old cottage, seen here in the background, with the stable conversion. Installing the cupola means lots of light and matching the original beams makes it cohesive with the rest of the cottage. The kitchen is reminiscent of a 1920's butlers pantry with its furniture style cabinets and thick marble counters but there's lots of room for family and friends to mingle there too.

the dining room
The dining room in the old stables with the new staircase and double-height window in the background. When the owner was first designing the stable conversion she was concerned about the lack of natural light; while horses find darkness calming. humans prefer daylight. She overcame this problem by installing double height windows on the south and west elevations and had them exactly matched to the existing barred stable windows so they would be as unobtrusive as possible.

the sitting room
Using the original sliding barn doors to separate the sitting and dining room areas gives the cottage a sense of timelessness. Putting a red leopard print wing chair in front of them - that's design genius.

the powder room
The onyx countertop in the powder room is a real show stopper and the colors match the old stained glass that provides both soft flattering light and privacy.

the side path
As much attention to detail was given to the landscaping as to the renovation. Fieldstone paths interplanted with flowering thyme, drystacked walls, pillars topped with bluestone and lots of flowering perennials give the garden a country cottage charm that perfectly compliments the house.

staircase leading to the master suite, formerly the hayloft
I had a really hard time choosing which photos to post, there are so many great features in this renovation. In the end I limited myself to the exterior and the first floor of the stable conversion, but there is an entire book's worth of images throughout the cottage. And a whole story to be told of how one person had the vision to preserve an old cottage and turn it into a beautiful home that enhances the entire neighborhood.

Friday, June 06, 2008

So glad to be alive

We got hit by a truck last weekend.
OK, breathe. We're still here; the car, however, is totaled. We were lucky to have side impact bags and a car with enough steel to stop the hook on the front of the truck coming through the driver's door. If it had been my Jeep or the "caprice" I don't think I'd be writing this. We were actually dragged by the wingnuts on the front wheel of the truck. The impact buckled the frame and smashed the glass and cracked the windshield. We were doing maybe 5mph. We are very lucky.
There are no photos because I really didn't think of it until afterwards. A long time afterwards, after the police report had been taken, the EMS had left and the car had been towed.
I've never understood the benefit of those automatic emergency service phones in cars before but the second the airbag went off a voice was asking if we were alright and they phoned the Police and alerted a tow truck. They stayed on the line to speak to the Police and I didn't realise they were still on the line until half an hour or so later when they interrupted us to give us the ETA of the tow truck.
By the way, the accident happened right outside the drive, and the sound of the impact had neighbors running. Guess who arrived first? An attorney, an insurance agent and an off-duty police officer. The perfect trifecta.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rude Awakening

I was woken at 7:59 AM this morning by landscapers. Leaf blowing landscapers. On a Sunday morning. The last Sunday in December for goodness' sake. Why? What is so damn important that they had to remove every leaf on the property while many people were still in dream land? I think it may have something to do with someone being desperate to sell their house.
Full disclosure: I had been up at 4:40 with the cats and had gone back to bed so I may have been a tad more grumpy than normal. But still. I wouldn't normally still be asleep at this time but today I was in the middle of a dream where I was accompanying a famous person who had undergone a face-lift to an auction of antique objets d'art of a questionable nature where I had been given a handwritten children's book of breath-taking beauty by a small boy who asked me to find it a home in a library so all the children could read it. Yes, it was that fast-paced. This dream had it all, drama, pathos, scandal (there was a sub-plot involving the neighbors' affairs and pornography and another involving a second book) and love. In great detail. A whole novel or screenplay and I didn't get to dream it through.
I know I have been guilty of making too much noise too early but at least I can plead ignorance. This past fall, though, all residents received a letter from the Village stating what we may or may not do to our properties and landscaping on Sunday was a definite no-no. I don't care about code violations but I didn't want to experience my own Porlock moment on the last Sunday of 2007.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Blogger's Bouquet

It's always lovely to be appreciated and while I look forward to all comments, positive and critical, on my posts, bouquets are definitely preferred over brickbats. But however nice virtual bouquets are, the real thing is so much better.
Imagine my delight then when my neighbor turned up yesterday with this beautiful bouquet. She'd read my post on her whole house renovation and liked what I'd written.
I was quite overwhelmed, first finding out the neighbors have located my blog, and then that they like it enough to come back. That's more than enough for me, but to bring flowers - that's the cherry in the Manhattan.

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.