Thursday, March 28, 2013

Historic Houses in Mystic, CT - Your Dream? Or Not?

The American Dream of a Special Living Space

These pics have snow in them, so let's use them up quick! I have crocuses blooming and daffodils coming along nicely, how about you?

The thing that most attracts me to the types of houses you'll see below is that the proportions of the rooms tend to be excellent -- very gracious, welcoming, comforting to human beings. At least that's been true of the few historic houses I've been in. Do you find that to be true, in your experience? Do you ever dream, like I do, of striding through an historic home of your own?

This house was built in 1844 by a cabinet maker. I wonder if the corners are perfectly square?

Another lovely.

Five dormers across the second floor -- a roofer's nightmare!

The Episcopal church in Mystic.

I love the writing room at the top!

Another lovely home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More American Dream Houses in Stonington, CT

If you ignore the wreaths, the houses look just the same today as they did at Christmastime! I've never shown you these particular houses before, and they're worth seeing.

This is the office of a landscape architect. Many homes in Stonington have their backyards facing the water, and the owners capitalize on that with beautiful gardens that frame the view.

Here's a crisp gray and white older home.

This is one of my favorite houses. At the top is a round room, and the owners put a Christmas tree in it.

This is a close-up of the front door of the house above.

Look at the woodwork! The dentate molding!

This is a cripsp taupe and white.

The garland just goes forever!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Martha Stewart and the American Dream

One Woman's American Dream Comes True

In the course of my job search, I came across the extraordinary opportunity to tour Martha Stewart's headquarters on Manhattan's west side. I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the offices, the test kitchens, most of the hallways, or the central brainstorming area. That's because her office is an idea hatching ground -- her employees are creating wallcoverings, upholstery fabrics, linens and towels. They're creating like crazy, and Martha gives the thumbs up or down on everything.

No American woman today embodies the idea of success at an American Dream to any greater degree than Martha. She's a billionaire, and she made all her money herself.  Yes, she had a run-in with the law: personally, I think the world can't stand women as successful as Martha, and it does its best to tear them down.

How did Martha turn a party-planning business into a billion-dollar publishing empire? I say "You go, girl," and "Congratulations on tremendous financial success." And "Best of luck shouldering all the responsibilities -- from those to whom much has been given, much is required."

We've each been given gifts -- are you developing yours?

This is the prop room for her TV show and magazines. All kinds of household objects are stored here. Occasionally the staff weeds out and puts things on sale. Watch for notices on the Web -- you'll get good deals, I'm told.

This is just a fraction of the kinds of chairs and tables available.

This is one bookcase of published cookbooks in English.

This hallway is lined with bookcases of cookbooks. She owns just about every cookbook ever published in English. Martha Stewart's staff tweaks and updates old recipes and gives them a modern flair -- often through the use of trendy spices and herbs.

This is the view from Martha Stewart's HQ building on the west side. Her offices overlook a nightclub on a ship. The nightclub is called the Frying Pan and at the time of my visit, August, it was a "hot" nightspot. That all might have changed at this point! What do you think of Martha Stewart and her success?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The American Dream in Trenton and Costa Rica

The American Dream in Trenton and Costa Rica

I went to Trenton to do paperwork with my son, in order to fulfill his American Dream, which is to live and work in Costa Rica (part of the Americas, may I point out) and live a more relaxed life. His life is very oriented around the family of the beautiful girl he's dating. Most Costa Ricans are very family oriented, and they spend every spare moment together.

Well, we didn't see Chris Christie that day, but we did see some other things: 

This mural of the reading of the Declaration of Independence was on the side of a building next to a parking lot. The figure on the far right in the orange shirt is painted into the scene. 

Lots of empty or boarded up storefronts in Trenton, too.

The facade of a pretty church in downtown.

The Humming Bird, a Jamaican restaurant I went to for a small jerk chicken lunch. It was very spicy!

The interior of the restaurant at 3 in the afternoon--very quiet at that time. The owners decorated with tropical plants to bring the island atmosphere to Trenton. I wish these proprietors all the best in their pursuit of the American Dream.

Well, we got the paperwork done, the state employees were very cordial, and we drove home past Drumthwacket (the NJ governor's mansion), through Princeton, miles and miles through Central Jersey, back to my little house. Would you like to see pictures of it in spring?