The Cool House: the cool house
Showing posts with label the cool house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the cool house. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Landscaping or revealing the Cool House

Yard after landscaping
Those Cool House readers who follow me on instagram, Facebook or the twitters will be aware that the past month has involved a lot of heavy work around the yard. Six months after the big tree came down we lost a couple of large branches of the plum tree in the front. This was a sad and a shock but it did open up the view to the south west. We saw dogwoods beginning to bloom, pretty specimens that we hadn't appreciated before. We also noticed how forlorn and frankly tatty the border in front of the kitchen patio had become.  The Guy spoke to the landscaper and before I knew what was happening they had decided to demolish half the front yard.

Front yard after landscaping

I had my own issues with the landscaping but they were round the back. I'd never felt the bridge fitted in with the architecture of the house, and although we'd had it mended three times it was again in serious need of repair and I was ready to see it gone. I also hated the mess of a pool and collection of debris that ran along the dry bed that was supposed to be a gentle bubbling waterfall and stream. If the front yard was getting a facelift I was determined the back would have a boost, too.

Backyard after landscaping
The process was not without out its challenges. You cannot imagine my face when I realized that I'd be without a privacy screen of plants for at least two weeks. Staring at soil is not at all therapeutic, plus most of the work was done in sweltering temperatures. The removal of the old barbecue base involved some serious power tools and moving the stones atop the waterfall drew blood from at least one landscaper. But at last it was done, the new lawn grew, the plants-mostly hollies, azaleas and rhododendrons-went in and the sprinkler guys added new zones so everything would be happily watered and ready to grow.

Yard before
Let's look at where we were a month or so ago . Above is a collection of photos taken in the yard over the past 12 years. Below is the front yard on demolition day. The house was hidden and lots of  trees had passed their best. At least one was completely fried. Although I lost some of the layers of privacy in the short term, in the long term we gained so much more.

Yard awaiting demolition
Of course the greatest benefit of all this yard renovation is that we can now appreciate the
unique Andrew Geller architecture of the house.  Remembering what it was like when we first viewed the house in 2003, when there were so many trees enclosing the house that we thought we had been misled by the realtor's flyer, it's a completely different reality.  Now the house can shine in all its glory, for us and every passer-by to enjoy.  This little video below encompasses how I feel now I can relax and kick back, reveling in this glorious Indian summer in the yard. Total and absolute bliss.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Surprise Visit

Eight years ago, June 29 2004, a day not quite as hot nor as humid as today we loaded up beach car and a pantechnicon of furniture and drove the twenty miles from Port Washington to our new home. We had one set of keys that we didn't need because the house was unlocked and a seven year plan to renovate this house.

I wanted to celebrate this anniversary but it's been a trying couple of weeks and I couldn't think of anything suitable to do. Then, just before six o'clock there was a knock on the front door. I opened it expecting to see a neighbour but a stranger stood on the bluestone step. "I hope you don't mind but we were passing. I used to live here. I just wanted to see the house and the property."

I was thrilled and a little trepidatious (would she approve of the changes we'd made?) to show her and her husband over the house. She seemed pleased with what we'd done and what we'd kept in place. She recognised her pink sectional we had recovered and the sandstone tile wall that her father had installed himself and she LOVED the kitchen. She was surprised that I knew which had been her bedroom and laughed when I showed her why. Inside the desk drawer is a sticker that bears her name. A tiny, trivial piece of 70s history that has survived forty-four years; removal, redecoration and remodel.

Her husband mentioned he read this blog and that I don't update it regularly anymore. It's true, after eight years most of the work is finished (although the pool is demanding serious attention) so there isn't as much to write about. But just in case he checks in, here's a photo from 2004 - a photo of the original owner's youngest daughter's bedroom to bring back some more memories. Bright green shag carpet! Thanks for dropping by, making this day special and marking the anniversary for me.

Dedicated to Mrs Diane Lipman RIP

Friday, November 18, 2011


Panoramic shot of the great room taken by Jake Gorst at the movie shoot yesterday. All those hard lines and angles suddenly transformed into soft curves. How cool is that? Very cool, is the answer. Very cool indeed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kickstart the Andrew Geller Architectural Archive Preservation and Film

An important message to all fans of mid-century modern architecture, lovers of iconic design and readers of this blog: there's an exciting new fundraising venture to support the project - Andrew Geller Architectural Archive Preservation and Film. Andrew Geller designed our house in 1968 but his work spanned the entire mid-20th century and he has amassed a library's worth of blueprints, models, sketches and notes that represent an invaluable resource for designers and enthusiasts alike.
Kickstarter creatively boosts projects by asking for pledges and rewarding donors with gifts for their support, in this case all proceeds raised go to fund The Andrew Geller Architectural Archive Preservation and Film. Please consider pledging and remember it's win-win as all donations are tax free.

Friday, October 01, 2010

That was then, this is now

It's raining, the lock on the new back door has failed (old lock, new door) and I'm waiting for it to dry out so I can install one the new one (actually bought in 2007. I knew it would come in handy one day). All the constant maintenance got me thinking about what I'd been up to in previous Octobers since we moved here. For example, a year ago we were anticipating the start of the big projects we've undertaken this year: remodeling the master bed, bath and the kitchen. While looking forward I was also ticking things off the to-do list and I'm pleased to report that with the exception of one of the replacement windows and the hall that will be decorated this autumn, we are back on schedule - we've even tackled the 2011 items and taken care of a couple things that didn't appear on that list.
It's not always about The Cool House and renovations, though. For three straight years I posted about things other than dust, debris and demolition. On this day in 2008 I was more obsessed about the Presidential election than the house, a year earlier I had been concerned about where I was going to eat in town and in 2006 we were mourning a truly great kitty.
In the early days of this blog I didn't write so much but the topics were confined to the house and the Incorporated Village. In October 2005 there was only one post. I'd finally finished the back stairs - only to have the big dog fall down and "distress" them for me. The flooring guy was supposed to fix those for me this summer but I guess the only way they will be redone is if I get down on my knees and DO IT MYSELF!
Finally, all the way back in October 2004 I was eagerly awaiting the berm that would keep the water running down the street from flooding our yard. And ironically, here I am six years later watching the remains of Tropical Storm Nicole pour down and the torrent of water pass by on its way to the newly installed drains at the end of the road. Progress!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Six years and counting

The official date we bought The Cool House passed a little while ago but today marks the sixth moving-in anniversary. I can't believe that it's the second longest The Guy and I have lived anywhere together - and the most complete renovation we have undertaken. Most of the work, roof, windows, bathrooms, exterior maintenance, was completed 2004-2007 but the last six months have almost matched that in terms of the scope of the projects finished and money spent. Of course, it's almost time to redo some of the work we did when we first moved in, such as re-staining the siding and painting the exterior trim and the great room will need a refreshing coat of paint soon but for the moment let's not be daunted by the to-do list but rather celebrate what has been accomplished this past year:

January-June 2010
We finished the laundry - new floor, new cabinets, new countertops and a new paint color - Iced Cube Silver - on the smoothly sanded walls. From start to finish this took us four years but 90% was done in one month-long period in tandem with the Master Suite.
The domino effect of making our bedroom beautiful caused us me to take a long look at the guest bedroom - and it was found wanting. We made it more comfortable with new roman shades that enhance the geometric shapes of the windows.
The great room sectional got its pretty pillows and because the dining room was feeling left out I went ahead and ordered new drapes for it. We also decided the rug we'd originally chosen for Verity's room would be better suited to the dining room - if we removed the old stained carpet and laid hardwood floors - so that's what we did. What? Crazy? Well, we had already decided to put down hardwood in the kitchen so it seemed sensible to just go ahead and run it into the dining room, too. I know, that's not much justification for undertaking another project!

Which brings us to the major update, the renovation we'd been looking forward to since 2004, the ultimate undertaking: the Kitchen. It isn't completely finished yet, although the countertops will be installed in less than two weeks, but so far I love everything about it, including the new energy saving windows (a big bouquet to the new carpenter who spent two days on these fixing the previous guy's mistakes) and mud-room door.
And while we are in the kitchen, let's not forget the final touches we made to the powder room. It got its third makeover in as many years: new wallpaper - just two rolls (that's a double roll if you speak US design) - and a pint of black paint.

June-December 2009
Three outdoor projects were started... and finished:

the re-landscaped side yard

new fencing on the east and south sides

Belgian stone pavers laid in front of the garages

and one interior undertaking: the Great Room makeover including re-upholstering the twelve-piece sectional.

It's been a fun rwelve months but I'm impatient to get the last pieces in place and the furniture back in the first floor rooms so I can finally sit back and enjoy the house.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

House Art

We are celebrating 2010 with some new art. The Homes for the Holidays show at Ripe Art Gallery finished so these two pieces, House in Flight and Anthill we had purchased by artist and author Nadine Bouler came home to The Cool House just before the work week started.

And with them these two images of The Cool House. I asked Nadine to paint one, and got a bonus picture full of surreal imagery to display with it.

At the moment they are leaning gracefully against the walls in the great room and the dining room but hopefully Nadine will stop by in a week or so and we can decide on a permanent place to display all four as a group. They are very detailed works and the two Cool House paintings are full of wit and symbolism specifically about the house, The Guy and me - they need to be viewed close up. But even in their less than ideal locations you can see what drew me to Nadine's work. Click to embiggen and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Images of The Cool House

When Nadine Bouler popped in to The Cool House a month or so back to drop off an invite to her Homes for the Holidays show I was so taken by the image on the invite I asked her if she would consider painting a portrait of my house. Things evolved and soon the Cool House portrait doubled down into two analogous images.

Here are a couple of shots of the house taken from angles Nadine thought would inspire her

Now pop over to Nadine's site Bouler Architecture to see her artistic interpretation of The Cool House and our lives in symbolic detail!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Because I haven't posted anything specifically about the house in a long while, even though there are lots of plans in the works, I bring you dappled sunlight reflecting the trees on the siding - eastern elevation of The Cool House. Pretty and peaceful. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cool House: the icicle edition

Absolutely, breath-takingly beautiful weather. Also damn cold. And if the cold doesn't kill you these babies might....