Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hot Pink Hydrangeas For A Fifty Year Old Man

I  wanted to share these images of the beautiful hydrangeas from our garden that I brought inside for the cake cutting ceremony the boys, Papa and Little Daniel, and I had to commemorate my 50th birthday yesterday.

The hot pink is a favorite and compliments the floral accent pillows and ottoman perfectly. The beauty of the flowers makes it hard for me to want to do anything but sit in this room for hours with my laptop and classical music in the background.
This is a delicious fruit basket cake covered in fresh whipped cream that the boys, Papa and little Daniel, picked out.  It's from Freeport Bakery which is a European bakery and local favorite.
I added fresh Geraniums,also in hot pink from the garden, for a more festive and elegant touch.

To celebrate my 50th, we are leaving in a few days for 1 week in Rome and another week in our favorite city, Paris. Of course, our little American will be sharing this adventure through his eyes. Please stay tuned.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Russian River Dacha

 As our plans evolved to fill our small wooden house with rich fabric, ornate light fixtures and formal furniture, I kept thinking about the country home in Dr. Zhivago.
  Of course, that house was grander than ours but I remember it was a wooden house in the country that was decorated in the Russian aristocratic style and called a Dacha.
Peter The Great's Dacha

The original Dacha's were gifts of small estates in the country from the Tsar to a loyal member of the aristocracy.

Well, our little river cabin was not given to us by an emperor, and it is not in Russia.  However, coincidentally, it is located at  Russian River which was named after the Russian immigrants that first settled in the area. In addition,since we are furnishing with an eye toward splendor, we are calling ours a Dacha.
 Nowadays, dachas are much more similar in size and construction to our cabin.  They are owned by working class Russians as well the privileged.   During the Communist Era, the government allowed people from the cities to build small  summer houses in the country and permitted them to farm around their homes.  While the state owned the land, the people were allowed to possess their land and when the government fell privatization of land occurred and ownership followed.  Consequently Russia has one of the highest percentages of any country with its population owning second homes.

This dacha is actually located in the U.S. about 30 minutes away from us in Tomales bay.  It is owned by the Lipnosky family.
photo source:unknown

I love the aged wood patina of this dacha and its private hillside location.
      Our diminutive getaway may not be a true dacha, but our goal is to transport us to what we imagined was the look and feel of the dachas of yesteryear when we open the door.  The challenge is to achieve this on our not-so aristocratic budget.

Cabin update:

The great room chandelier  and wall sconces were installed last week.   I was a little disappointed that  the bottom crystal bowl(or half dome?) didn't drape further below the surrounding u-drop crystals.  I think it would have gave the piece a softer more elegant silhouette.
I am however, happy the way the sconces turned out.

This week the back hallway and bathroom floor / shower tiles are scheduled to be installed.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  We are two weeks behind as the company hired to do the installation lost 2 of their installers pushing everyone's schedule back.  Once the hall and bathroom is completed, we can finally move to put down the floors in the dining,great and bedrooms.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Sweet Lesson On Patience

Just sharing this touching story that's been circulating on FaceBook this week.  Enjoy.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Author: Unknown

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Latest Cabin Update

Greetings!  Thank you all for the email messages expressing concern about my absence from the blog.  My family and I are in good health.  I've been giving more of my "alone" time to the little guy lately since he seems to be growing so fast.  He will already be starting Kindergarten this fall.  Time is really starting to fly.
    I wanted to share with you the lined rod pocket drapes in a Stewart plaid fabric which I had made by a very talented seamstress name Fanny.  I hung 2 of the panels in one of the bedrooms just to see how they drape...just beautiful!
 I found the vintage cosmetic train case on ebay in the same fabric.
    The 10 panels will go in both the great room and dining room.  They measure approximately 58" wide by 84" long.   Fanny is also re-doing a pair of lamp shades and making accent pillows for the great room in the same Stewart plaid fabric.  This will give the room a more custom look.  The porcelain tiles are scheduled to be installed in the coming days.
The porcelain tile made to resemble slate for the back room,bathroom floor and shower walls.
The antique white vanity with Earth tone granite top and white basin for the bathroom.

Bathroom faucet