The Cool House

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Three Gifts


New art in the house


Bob Boreman monoprint abstract landscape


Cathryn Arcomano Mix Media

Yes, I know I should iron the duvet

I never know what to get The Guy for birthdays, anniversaries or the holidays. Unless he specifically asks for something I am stumped. I did manage to surprise him four years ago with the Jamie Geller Dutra abstract painting so when we moved that out of the master bedroom and into the kitchen I thought maybe I could kill two birds by getting him another piece of art that could hang in our room.
I searched, we searched but nothing came out of it. Too small, too dark, the wrong colour; it seemed nothing would fit. Then he mentioned this book and I thought: Problem solved. I ordered the book, wrapped it and hid it where he would never think to look, in amongst the wrapping paper and ribbons in my office closet.
Fast forward a couple of months, I'm wasting time on ebay when I come across not one but three pictures that would fit the wall in the master bedroom and make a unique present for The Guy. I successfully bid on two, one more than I needed but BOGO! I dropped them into the Rockstar Framer at Ripe Art Gallery to work her magic, swearing her to secrecy. Three weeks later I was back to pick them up and then came the difficult part, getting them home, hiding them and keeping my mouth shut for a week until The Guy's birthday. The Bob Boreman piece is oversized and wouldn't fit in my car so I had to stealthily borrow his. It is so large it wouldn't fit in his trunk either but Cherie managed to slide it into the back where it balanced precariously as I drove home at 15 MPH avoiding all the potholes and bumps. I managed to hoist it upstairs, hide it with the other picture at the back of my closet covered them with clothes and held my breath every time he went in there.
The morning of his birthday I pulled the art out of the closet and went to look for some wrapping paper, which is when I discovered the book I'd bought months ago for his birthday... I've told The Guy he can consider himself gifted up to and including next xmas!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Again with the Art?


Somewhere between this post and the end of the year I forced The Guy to move some of the art around. Again. I thought the steel colour of the frame was better suited to the kitchen with its stainless appliances than the glassy blue-green and black colour scheme of the bedroom. I also reckoned the purples, blues and red in the painting went with the Impala chairs. This Jamie Geller Dutra Abstract had hung in the same place for almost four years, which is pretty much a record for me and it deserves to be seen by more people. I'm very pleased with the change but it's left me with a problem: what to put in its place on the master bedroom wall...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Palm Springs Modernism Week 2012


Loewy House

We spent a good period of our days in the desert peeking at other people's modernist homes and took advantage of the mid-century house tours organised by Palm Springs Modernism Week, including the Frank Sinatra Twin Palms house, the PreFab Showcase, the Raymiond Loewy House and El Rancho Vista Estates.


The Elrod House blew us away. It's such a fun house, built in 1968 by John Lautner, it is one commanding central living space and a master suite nestled into the rock with breathtaking views of the mountains and the valley below. A guest suite addition was built a couple of years later. Of all the houses we've toured over the years it's the one that most reminds us of our house, it has the same open yet embracing feeling, the same party house atmosphere.
You know what else you can do in Palm Springs?


Visit Palm Springs Art Museum


Shop for mid-century furniture and accessories


Soak up some desert sun


Drink really weird martinis and have lunch in a date garden


and if like us you fly into LAX, you can visit the beach at Santa Monica on the way home-30 minutes from the airport

Monday, February 27, 2012

Modern Love


We were in Palm Springs last week for Palm Springs Modernism Week, and particularly thrilled to attend the world premiere screening of Modern Tide: Mid-century Architecture on Long Island.

From the Frank Lloyd Wright Rebhuhn House in Great Neck Estates designed in the late thirties, via the whimsical beach houses along the south shore designed by Andrew Geller in the 50s and 60s to the Herbert Beckhard House built by the architect for his family in Glen Cove in 1964, Long Island is dotted with modernist treasures. This film showcases the unique architecture across the island, a testament to beach cottages that still stand fifty years later despite hurricanes and rising property values, and a remembrance of others that have succumbed to the developer's wrecking ball or been remodeled out of all recognition. Academics, historians and family members reveal fascinating details about the architects' vision, the influence of artists from Fernand Léger to Jackson Pollack and the effect the proximity to New York City had on their work.

Of course if you love architecture, especially modern architecture you will want to go see this movie but if you have any interest in Long Island, in its unique geography, urban planning and building codes, you should make a point of seeking out Jake Gorst's documentary. It raises important questions about how design and architecture fit into our surroundings and the lives we choose to live.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Modern Tide: The Movie


Just two short months ago historian and film maker Jake Gorst was here taking shots for his documentary on mid-century modern architecture on Long Island. Now the movie is finished and Modern Tide:Midcentury Architecture on Long Island will have its world premiere at Palm Springs Modernism Week 2012. From the clip above and the stills I've seen the movie will be powerful, an homage to the great architects who worked on Long Island, amongst others Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Frey, Horace Gifford and Andrew Geller, celebrating structures still standing and mourning those that have been lost. And with the beautiful Long Island scenery as its backdrop how can it be anything other than a must-see ticket?
We will be in Palm Springs for the premiere, soaking up some desert sun and touring a few modernist homes including the Twin Palms Estate E. Stewart Williams designed for Frank Sinatra, the Albert Frey designed Raymond Loewy house and the Wexler and Harrison El Rancho Vista Estates. More later...

Monday, December 26, 2011

R.I.P. Andrew Geller

Genius by modernemama
Genius, a photo by modernemama on Flickr.
Mid-century architect, designer and artist Andrew Geller passed away yesterday leaving a huge legacy. He will be greatly missed by all. Our condolences to his family at this sad time, we are thinking of you.
Andrew Geller, April 17th 1924-December 25th 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

View from the hill


Coindre Hall, Long Island. Thanksgiving weekend 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Curvy


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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Making of a Movie

When Friend of The Cool House, documentary movie maker, historian and writer Jake Gorst, asked if we would mind him filming our house (designed by his grandfather, noted architect Andrew Geller, we were thrilled. I had assured him the weather would be beautiful, skies blue and absolutely, positively, no rain, guaranteed. That turned out to be a promise I couldn't deliver but at least it was warm, dry and bright inside. Our house is the last of the houses to be shot for the movie, which is now officially in post-production. It's scheduled to be released Spring 2012 - tomorrow in film making time - and I can't wait to see all the fabulous Long Island modern architecture featured. Until then we'll have to make do with a few shots of the shoot...


Jake Gorst on the last day of shooting for an upcoming Long Island Modern Architecture film


Lenny Marks checking the shot, lighting and a million other details


Tracey Gorst, Jake Gorst and Lenny Marks reviewing the Martini Shot


The final, final shot of the day, starring Cassis the Cat. I guess this is the Pousse-café shot!

San Francisco and beyond


San Francisco skyline


Fort Point


Golden Gate Bridge


St Dunstan's Bell at Sterling Vineyard, Napa Valley

Friday, October 07, 2011

Vegetarian Home


For the last few weeks I've been cooking only meatless meals at home. Notice I say cooking not eating because when we order take-out we still choose our old favorites and a plan to make clear vegetable soup flew right out of the kitchen door when we opened a bottle of Heartland Stickleback and found it needed a really juicy steak to do it justice. That entailed a quick sortie to the local steakhouse, purchase of delicious rib-eye with garlic butter to go so we could enjoy the now fully breathed wine. Our local haunts can rest assured we will still be ordering heavy on the fish and meat when we eat out but when we make a meal at home it no longer contains any protein with a face.
This decision comes not from any ethical standpoint but rather from a lack of interest in the meat offered at the supermarket. We stood together one Saturday morning gazing at the cuts of meat on offer and I knew I just couldn't face simmering another ragu, stewing another shank or grilling another chop. Call it laziness if you will but it felt like an epiphany: I will only cook vegetables, beans and lentils this week. That week became two, then a month and more until, somehow, we are one of those households that doesn't eat meat.
This is actually nothing new. For the first few years we were together we were vegetarian, driven by one part conviction and one part poverty. We lived on hearty stews made from carrots, onions and split peas, ate a huge amount of homemade Indian and Chinese dishes and learned new recipes from the "Cranks" cookbooks. It was only when we moved to a village with a master butcher who specialised in game that we introduced meat into our diet. Perhaps if we were able to procure more interesting meat here our vegetarian spree wouldn't have lasted this long. I do know that my stomach thanks me for making the switch-no more bloating and feeling queasy after meals; my only disappointment is that I haven't lost an ounce since I gave up meat.
I don't know if the coming cold weather will entice me to make 5-Spice Shortribs again or if I'll make Aduki Bean Casserole instead. I have a feeling we are in this for the long haul.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Determination


This morning he's tried to drill holes in the dogwood, rhododendron and the teak top on the garden chimes. So long as he stays off the redwood siding he's safe, otherwise I will be enacting wrath of the homeowner, seen here and here against the pretty but destructive Downy Woodpecker

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What now?


I love when a long renovation comes to an end, the feeing of tranquility that descends when you know you don't have to be dressed and decent at 7:30 AM, when the day will no longer be interrupted by shouts of "You did want the molding removed, didn't you?" or worse "Can you come here a minute, we may have a problem" and when all the power tools have finally been silenced. Even the mental anguish you experience knowing you went over budget despite swearing you wouldn't or the nagging feeling you overpaid for something trivial, there is, at last, a moment of peace that you, in your naivety, imagine will last forever.

At some point, though, this security blanket of home repair denial will be rudely snatched away from you, leaving you exposed and shivering in the cold light of reality. For me it came with the trifecta of the garage door that would no longer close properly, the loose mortar on the chimney and the holes in the fence the fencing guy swore didn't need replacing because it was "good for at least two more years". We set to work. The garage door was repaired by us and when the temporary fix no longer did the trick an "expert" came to fix the problem... and caused another bigger issue that blew the motor. Needless to say the firm's promise to make good meant they ran in the opposite direction and for the whole summer we parked the car outside. But winter will be here before we know it and neither of us fancied digging the car out of a snow bank so I gave in and called another firm. The garage door was fixed without further drama and at a better price than the first guy quoted. The chimney cap blew off in the hurricane, so we locked in a date to fix that and the crumbling cement pronto, except every time the masons came to start the pointing it rained. And by rain I mean tropical storm downpours. Today they found a few hours of sunshine and got the job done. The fence? Well in a rerun of this scenario, we braced and secured the fence. I was promised two more years and I will make sure I get those last few months, if I have to stand there and hold the thing up day and night.

So all was done and I was singing a happy song until I heard a thud that seemed to come from under the dining room floor. Just as the last issue had been taken care of, just as I was thinking we were done for this year, one of the basement windows, the one that had been nailed in place seven years ago by a contractor who thought it wouldn't open and then found he couldn't get it shut, one of a suite of four, fell off its opener. Just because it could.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

After Irene


Hurricane Irene blew through bringing floods


and high winds.


The beach disappeared under a high tide


that washed the kayaks into the playground.


The storm had other consequences, not least the debris and getting dressed in the dark.


But we ended the day as we usually do, watching the sunset over the bay.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Diamond Eyes


Racing to get to the beach before the sunset last night I snapped the birds on the dock before I noticed the flash was on. What should have been a photo for the discard pile turned out to be a not only a good representation of the variety of gulls on Long Island Sound but an atmospheric, almost arsty shot of blinged-out beady-eyed birds in the dying light. Click to embiggen for the full effect.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Backyard Color


Someone else's beautiful


bird-adorned backyard


on super relaxing, laid back, do nothing, summery Cape Cod.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wildlife


Domesticated wildlife


Undomesticated wildlife


Four cats and we still have a family of mice in the yard!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Long Island Sound


Sailing at sunset, into the thunderstorm.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Big Pink Sun


Setting sun over Lloyd Harbor with Huntington Lighthouse in the foreground

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Night at the Beach


Wednesday evening: race round the bay. From Lloyd Harbor


to the Long Island Sound


to Eaton's Neck


and back to Huntington harbor