Caton Avenue

Even though we’re not planning to move anytime soon, I like to keep an ever-watchful eye on the Brooklyn real estate market. I’m not sure why, sometimes it feels like self-imposed torture. For instance, a few months ago I came across a property that had me convincing BC we should forget the big wedding and instead buy this house. It was actually affordable – by NY standards, anyways! The property is not too far from our neighborhood but in a bit of a thoroughfare with less shops and stores than we have now. But that was about the only downside. Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce you to Caton Avenue, the Brooklyn house of my dreams.

Aside from the airyness of the space and the handsome exterior, there’s a garage, 4 bedrooms, outdoor space and a full basement that could potentially serve as a rental income apartment. I can’t stop looking at the floorplan without imagining what I’d want to do in that kitchen. See where I drew the two red circles, those areas are my main locations for attack. And since I’m completely consumed with the idea of renovating this property, I thought I’d show you my “plans” for the space. This almost seems sad doesn’t it? Imagining the renovation of a house that’s not yours – sigh. On the upside, it does get my creative juices flowing…

Let’s start with the floorplan. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what I’d want to do. Mainly I’d make a minor tweak to the structure of the pantry so that you have a better view from the front door out the back and, the big change; to blow out that old school wall/bar and replace it with a huge kitchen/dining island. Since there’s little to no cabinet space, the other wall of the dining room would be fitted with custom floor to ceiling shelves framing a dining area.

Here’s a little more detail and visuals on each section of the space.

First order of business, creating that clear line of vision to the back door. And replacing that old wood framed door with something both heftier and more modern.

The kitchen wall isn’t a large space. I’d want it accommodate a larger fridge and a beautiful stove. I love the idea of tiling the wall with shiny, white subway tiles and then using the space to the left of the stove/oven to hang a gorgeous photograph or painting. I really want kitchens to feel like a room and decorated as such.

I’m not sure about the materials for the cabinets/countertop. Maybe a sleek wood with a white granite countertop? Or a matted black with a butcher block wood style countertop?

The kitchen island should feel almost like a piece of furniture, in fact, it could potentially be a huge, salvaged chest that is repurposed and re-designed to accommodate a sink, dishwasher, a bar, and all kinds of other custom elements. I might use different materials than the kitchen wall, but definitely they’d be coordinating.

Then there’s the wall of the dining room. Since the kitchen is so small, I’d create a lot of storage with a built in cabinet/shelf unit that has a center opening for a dining bench. I’d want the cabinets to almost create a frame for the dining bench and table.

As for the dining table, I could go for a chunky, organic wood slab table or something more modern, like the table below from Arta Vironi that I’ve had a crush on for some time! The dining bench should essentially be a sofa. The idea is that the room be fitting of formal occasions, but also be perfect for BC sitting there with his laptop, comfy while he works.

Then, finally, and I don’t know why I didn’t cover this at the beginning but the pantry would feel flush with the fridge and be perfectly organized and functional.

I wish I’d created a kickstarter campaign to buy that house. Wouldn’t you have liked to see that renovation take place?! We have a great deal on our rent so it makes sense to keep saving a few more years before investing in a house, especially with the wedding coming up. But still… It’s hard to believe a property like this will come to market again!

One final note, Salvaged Grace is all about repurposing and preservation, of course, but I also believe in renovations that keep the integrity of a space while making it more modern and relevant. That’s how I’d want to approach this or any renovation; keep the good bones and repurpose (kitchen island) or salvage (cabinets, appliances) as much as possible, but also bring in the right new elements to make a very lovely, modern traditional space.

Caton Avenue photos and floorplan via Halstead. Back Door: See from the front door to back via Heirloom, Modern iron french doors via You are the River/Vogue Kitchen area: White Tile via That Kind of Woman, Cabinets to the ceiling via House and Home, Impressive hood via Little Green Notebook, Large scale framed photo via The Aestate, Wood cabinets via Brabourne Farm, Black cabinets via Two Ellie Island Bar: Furniture like island via CocoCozy , Wood counter and painted Island via House Beautiful, Table lamps of island via Atlanta Homes, Custom elements via Southern Living Custom Cabinets/Shelves: Custom cabinets via Elements of Style, Cabinets frame bench via The City Sage Bench and Table: High back bench via Cote de Texas, Framed bench via This is Glamorous, Dream Table via Arta Vironi, Chair via Nightwood, Sofa via CS Post and Co Pantry: Flush Doors via Southern Living, Highly organized via IHeartOrganizing

Repop NY

Oooh, I’ve been so in love with Repop NY for a super long time. They have incredible mid century and industrial pieces.  But (and I’m ashamed to say this) I just never made it over to their Washington Ave, Brooklyn store. Recently, I saw on their website (that I stalk so frequently for vintage loot) that they opened a Williamsburg store. Ca-ching! I also noticed something in their storage section that needed some checking out. And so, I asked BC to take me on a date night to see The Artist (so good!), which was playing at the Nitehawke Cinema (they serve dinner during the movie – phenomenal), which happens to be a few blocks down from the new Repop Williamsburg. And here are images from the new shop and some pieces I found and love from their online store:

I noticed that Repop seems to have a good number of multiple use pieces right now. A picnic table that folds. A fan in a table. Oh Repop, you know what I like.

And as for that “something in their storage section that needed some checking out”… well, it also needed some having. As in ME, I needed to have it. I’m still working out the styling and decor in the kitchen, but here’s a sneak peek of my new find in action.

Images via Salvaged Grace and Repop NY

Chateau Marmont

Let me preface this by saying “hello, again!” to the Salvaged Grace subscribers who were lost in transition from the old website design to the new. BC saved the day by finally cracking the code to getting the RSS feed emails up and running again. Thank you BC! And WELCOME BACK friends, I’ve missed you! 

One of my favorite movies is Laurel Canyon. It’s a story about a guy and his med school girlfriend who move out to the Laurel Canyon area of LA to stay in his mother’s house for the summer. But, unexpectedly, his music producer mother is still at the house, producing a new album and cavorting with the lead singer/guitarist, who’s a bit cheeky and half her age. And… things get complicated. The cast is unbelievable (Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Alessandro Nivola, Kate Beckinsale), the story is complex and interesting, and the setting, high in the hills of Lauren Canyon, is bohemian perfection.

The story culminates during a party in a suite at the Chateau Marmont. This hotel really doesn’t need any introduction – since the 20’s, Chateau Marmont has been the setting of many of Hollywood’s most scandalous stories . And the elegant, though somewhat shabby, design of the spaces are meant to convey a hotel steep in history.

Below you’ll find images of beautiful Chateau interiors paired with some of the most shocking stories happening offscreen in Hollywood. Glittering as it may be, the Chateau has its fair share of dirty laundry.

Dirt on the Chateau gathered from Wikipedia, Daily Mail, Flavorwire, NY Times, Hotel Chatter. Images via Chateau Marmont. Images (from top) via The Aesthetic Omnivore, Concierge, My Motels, Telegraph, AOL, TripAdvisor, Virtual Tourist

Delphi Lodge

How can you tell it’s St. Patricks Day? Well, that would be the steady stream of pictures friends dressed in green on your Facebook newsfeed. We kept it low key this holiday, observing the celebration from afar.

But green hills were close as I learned of the Delphi Lodge, which may be the most idyllic sporting lodge in life. I want to go there. I want to wear those crazy fishing outfits with the suspenders and big boots. I want to come back to the lodge after a long day exploring the land, and sit by the fire drinking beer and playing cards. And I want to wake up in the morning, put on a cable knit sweater, walk out to the end of the lake pier, drink hot tea and just breathe in the air.

Totally into the fishing paraphernalia. And the striped wallpaper. And how the furniture looks slightly too aged.

Big fan of the black fireplaces.  And I don’t generally coo over the cuteness of animals but that sheep is ridiculous.

Images via Delphi Lodge


When repurposing and reclaiming is done right… well, it’s probably done by Clarke Titus, the owner of Rough.South.Home. His work may be made with reclaimed wood or salvaged metal, but it feels all new. Completely fresh and modern. Even sophisticated, which is definitely not something you’d necessarily expect in working with salvaged material. I suppose there is something to Clarke’s claim that “everything that is worth doing, is worth overdoing.” Apparently, “overdoing” means absolute perfection. 

How did Rough South Home get started? Why did you specifically decide to work with salvaged and reclaimed materials?

From 2006 to 2011, I built, renovated, and maintained retail stores for a major multi-national company. I did their SouthEast stores. I learned so much. Not just about work, but about living and working crazy third shift hours in some of the major Southern cities. We (my wife and I) have traveled a bunch and lived all over, but this job forced me to see things and places and strangeness I never would have experienced on my own. Like most things, it was fun until it wasn’t fun anymore.

When work with them slowed down I got a chance to finally focus on my own house, a small 1925 bungalow in Atlanta. The first big task was to re-do the kitchen. My wife and I just wanted to re-work the low ceiling, but we ended up gutting and re-doing everything. It was great to have a totally blank slate to do whatever we wanted. We took everything out and went from there. People saw what I did and encouraged me to keep doing it. So last fall I started RSH, and it has been the best thing I have ever done for myself. I love it. I am unemployable anyway.

I started making pallet furniture for my own backyard about 5 or 6 years ago. We have a massive water oak in our backyard and limbs would drop and just smash any outdoor furniture we bought. I got tired of wasting money on replacements so I built a coffee table and 2 chairs out of pallets. Now when a limb drops on them it just bounces off.

I love the stories that come with reclaimed and salvaged material, the history behind each piece. I understand what I’m doing is hugely popular right now, and that is amazing. I just want people to be a little more wary of buzzwords and terminology that get thrown around. I think upcycled and reclaimed are becoming just tag words now. Can you reclaim something from Homedepot? Can you upcycle a bagel into a pendant light? They have no meaning. I love edison bulbs, too, but let’s be realistic; they aren’t even close to the only option.

To be honest, i chose to use salvaged and reclaimed materials because its what I had available. It was on-hand and cheap. Ingenuity was just code for poverty. Now if I choose to use salvaged it is because the material allows me to create a narrative with the piece. And I love the hunt. But I also love all kinds of lumber. Wood is persuadable. A good lumberyard is just as much fun to dig through as a good scrap yard.

I won’t take any holier than thou environmental stance, but the fact of the matter is that there is a tremendous amount of waste out there. If I can turn that waste into something beautiful then I feel like I’ve succeeded. I’m a huge fan of second chances.

What is an average day like at Rough South Home? Whats your process?

I wake up and head straight to my backyard. I start all of the furniture out back. The whole backyard is a workshop for me. No drawings, I just get out there and mess around until I like what it is front of me. If it’s raining or too cold, I’ll head inside to work on lighting. I try to make the rounds and hunt for materials at least once a month. I love Nashville and Charleston for road trips, but I’ll go anywhere. I need to have a bunch of different things on hand; I get into phases. I’m coming out of a table phase, thankfully, because I’m running out of room in my house. But when I get sick of looking at old railway wood, which is rare, I can do some concrete pieces, or work on regular lumber, or do some lighting. There is always something for me to do. It is kind of common knowledge with my friends that I don’t know when to stop, and that’s true, but to me everything worth doing is worth overdoing. I’ll be the first to admit it; i’m obsessed with what I make and it’s hard for me to stop until the piece is finished and it’s where I want it to be. I have to love it.

Of all the pieces you’ve made, which is your favorite and why? 

My favorite piece of all time: right now, no doubt is a dining table i made with wormy white oak and rusty pipe. I got this incredible wormy white oak from a local forest free lumber yard, pretty and rare stuff. I joined up the table top, cut the apron, shaped the legs, and i knew from the beginning that i wanted to do something different. I had lengths of rusty pipe from some old streetlights i had found at a local scrap yard so i decided to imbed them into the legs, under the apron to make a second apron, but also strengthening the whole thing. It was so exacting, and i remember being in the backyard as all the pieces came together. My neighbor, who is an amazing stonemason and a big support system for me, came over and helped me flip it over. When that thing was flipped over I was absolutely stunned. To me, it’s perfect. I’ve never seen anything like it.

My “dirty cars” Georgia railway series table is a close second, just because every ounce of wood in or on that table came from the original boxcar. The legs are huge posts that were bolted into the boxcar. The planks were nailed to them. You can see where the bolts lived.

Where do you live or work in Atlanta? 

I live and work in Kirkwood. Its an old neighborhood halfway between downtown Atlanta and downtown Decatur. I have a shop on the way that’s a few blocks from my house. It’s a great spot.

Do you have any heirloom pieces in your home? 

We have a thing for antique rugs. My wife’s mother and grandparents have given us many of them; we have at least one in each room. They are amazing. Really tie the rooms together.

See more of Clarke’s work in his Etsy shop. (Man, I wish I had space for that floating entry table!) Thanks so much Clarke!

Images via Rough.South.Home.


Shopping in Hudson

There are so many fabulous antique stores in Hudson, I can barely get through a block of Warren Street in one trip. Literally, we went to all of 5 stores in about a 3 hour browsing period. Here were our finds and favorites on this trip.

I was really looking forward to popping into Henry-their branding and signage is so cool! The shop itself was packed with interesting pieces. It definitely had a great attic vibe, like you had to dig to find the really awesome pieces. I loved the bright, japanese kimono fabric and wondered if it might finally inspire me to use my sewing machine. But ultimately we decided on 9 eye doctor flashcards that I plan to frame and hang in our living room. We also bought a couple of sketches from an old costume shop.

“Oh wow!” was my first reaction to Hudson Home. This shop was a mix of new, modern pieces and awesome antiques. But the biggest wow factor was really the store design, especially the front room. The shopkeeper told us that the store is owned by designers and they redecorate the space every season. When we were there, they’d taken an antique map, enlarged it, then papered the walls. The map itself showed the path of the Hudson River from NY to Hudson, which was a lovely way to pay homage to the area. It was a pretty spectacular and actually a very calming space!

We were running out of time by the time we got to Warren Street Antiques, which is a group store so there’s a ton of inventory. Its less designed, but definitely had the best deals of the three shops we visited that day. I got the alabaster lamp on sale for $40! Imagine how great it will look in my dressing room with a black shade. We didn’t spend enough time digging through this shop, definitely one to get back to soon.

The Inn at Hudson

A few weeks ago BC and I had a marathon wedding planning weekend. We knocked out flower, cake, rehearsal dinner, and catering appointments in one weekend! I love our trips to Hudson, it gives me the opportunity to enjoy the design shops and antique stores and we get to stay in the fabulous B&Bs in the area.

This trip we stayed at the Inn at Hudson, which is a beautiful Jacobean and Dutch style mansion. Windle and Dinis, the fabulous owners, gave us a quick tour when we arrived and told us about the amazing renovations they’d done on the house. When they found the property it was an abandoned assisted living home and the back of the house had been built out. They tore off the new structure and set about restoring this stately property. The dining room work is especially impressive. They pieced the stained glass windows back together and completely reconstructed the ceiling.

Plus, we were served us breakfast and bed during our stay. Smitten!



Check out Adia Photography for a great post with images from the Inn and around Hudson.

Images via The Inn at Hudson, Adia Photography, and Salvaged Grace.

La Fonda on the Plaza

This Thursday BC and I are going to New Mexico with some friends for a weekend of skiing. I haven’t spent much time in the southwest and I’ve never been to NM, so I’m very much looking forward to the scenery (and the food.)

Thought we’d kick off the week with an ode to Santa Fe and one of the oldest hotel corners in America. I can’t tell what’s been hand-painted on the walls of the hotel room, but I like it! The colors are so bright and cheerful. La Fonda on the Plaza looks to be an ideal place to live out my Georgia O’Keeffe dreams*.

*You didn’t know I had Georgia O’Keeffe dreams, did you? Fun fact, O’Keeffe was a member of my sorority.

Images via La Fonda on the Plaza

Holler and Squall

 A few weeks ago I was walking to Atlantic Avenue from Brooklyn Heights and I came upon a shop with a giant taxidermy peacock in the window. “Must go in…”

Inside, I could barely contain my delight in this wonderland of taxidermy, architectural elements, deep chesterfields, aged to perfection textiles… They call it Holler and Squall and if you are in the New York vicinity… you must go there

The store owner, Zak (whom I met when I visited and was so gracious) grew up working construction. Perhaps that explains the incredible plays with scale, shapes and architectural pieces. Gillette is a third generation antiques dealer – quite a pedigree! This couple has not only incredible taste and a good eye, but also an amazing talent for putting together absolutely breathtaking vignettes. And for the record, if you put a cute baby on a settee in a shop window, I will likely attempt to purchase both.

Images via Salvaged Grace and Holler and Squall

Another Ramsey Treasure

The best way to end the week is a trip to the country. Gleason is back with another home tour of a beautiful homestead in rural Virginia. Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Duff Ramsey, Stephen Ramsey’s great nephew, moved to Buckingham County, VA from Manhattan in 2009. Ready to put down some roots and eager for a project, he fell for Prudence House, a charming home that was originally used as a law office back in 1850. After an addition in the 1930’s, the home had not received any further updates until Duff eyed the potential this historic gem offered.

The front door—decorated with a simple, sturdy brass knocker, picked up in a Santa Monica antique shop—beckons me to knock thrice, eager to see what treasures await inside. As I enter the hallway, I’m immediately captivated by walls covered in plaster lathe waiting to be plastered, a collection of colorful antique doors stacked along one wall and the most hilarious vintage neon “Triple Treat” sign left over from a Time Square adult club that had closed down. Duff wisely snagged the sign when he was hired to renovate the club into a new business.

The tour officially begins with a greeting from Delilah, the sweetest Neapolitan Mastiff. With a bone waiting in my purse for her, I quickly make a new friend. Duff hands me a glass of homemade dandelion wine and we gather around the table in the drawing room, munching on fresh fruit, settling into the groove of the afternoon. Taking in the space, I begin to relax and immerse myself in the history surrounding me. There’s an antique bed waiting for a nap (a fabulous find); a cobalt blue wood burning stove that provides heat for the whole house; a pile of old wood scraps that will be dispersed for different projects; an old sailing photo; a gorgeous, circa 1810 china cabinet, updated with columns that were added around 1890-1910, that serves as both a storage and a display piece; and an oversized quarter that was used to advertise for 25 cent peepshows, also snagged from the Time Square adult club.

Enticed to peek into the kitchen I am immediately drawn to the whimsy it exhibits. My eyes dart all around capturing as many details as possible, initially landing on an old copper ladle hanging from the ceiling, filled with homegrown peppers and local garlic; then taking in anchors suspended from an old jewelry maker’s bench, supporting cookware; a horseshoe for good luck; an old mask peeking down from the rafters; and a bowl full of corn picked from the backyard. The most intriguing repurposed item is a safe from the 1750’s and was likely used for a jeweler, banker, or goldsmith and now provides extra counter space and storage.

Across the hall, the master bedroom has the coziest feeling. With exposed beams and an inviting hearth, the furniture arrangement makes me crave a good mystery book, an old quilt, and a cup of hot tea. The room is furnished with the sweetest daybed (formally a child’s bed), antique dresser, and wing chair (that Delilah has claimed as her bed) and is simply accessorized with a sailboat pencil drawing, old top hat, work boots, an old wooden candlestick, and a dream catcher.

With admiration for the slate-shingled shower Duff designed and installed, a long, hot shower is what comes to mind.

Heading up the steep stairs to explore, I’m curious about the collection I come across in the guestroom. An old toy plane, a bird skeleton that was found on the property, a whale box, and an old photo all gather together on the mantle. The most enthralling lamp I have ever seen—a handmade family heirloom made out of a variety of old bullets in varying sizes and styles—sits independently on the middle of the floor waiting to be placed in the appropriate spot. With the range of unique items grouped in this guestroom, I can’t help but want to touch everything.

Out back, the patio and garden are playfully quaint. Keystones are used as the patio steps and a large collection of antique bricks from the 1700’s await to find their place amidst the patio floor. Homegrown vegetables and herbs fill the air with a rustic fragrance and miscellaneous items are repurposed as garden décor.

With my eye being drawn across the yard to the vintage 1968 hardtop Bowie Ford in 70’s green, I can’t help but think how stylish I would feel while cruising through the town. Duff, with ongoing projects in every corner, has taken the time to restore the 1968 engine, replacing the transmission suspension and the brakes and keeping the Bowie driving along smoothly. Next time I’m expecting a ride.

Just beyond the patio is one of two cabins original to the property that had been standing until strong winds blew it down. With the logs already conveniently numbered, three weeks is Duff’s estimated timeline to add pine floors and complete the restoration. It could become the perfect space for an artist studio, potting shed, or more appropriately, Delilah’s haven.

Saving the most magical part for last, Duff introduces me to Mir. Looming in the background, her presence doesn’t go unnoticed. Mir is a breathtaking English Channel Cutter from the 1890’s and is named for Duff’s Grandmother, Miriam. Finally getting the boatlift completed, Duff has hoisted her up and is concentrating on refinishing the deck. Mir is serenely waiting to return to the sea for her next adventure, having previously explored the Northeast coast.

Wrapping up the tour, we refill our wine and head next door to the neighbors’ house for a bonfire and cookout. As darkness sets in, I snap a few more pictures. I then hit the road for the hour drive back to my hometown with tunes cranked loudly and farmland rolling by, daydreaming about the history lesson I just received, the wonderful collection of antiques I experienced, and the simpler means of living a country life.

Duff & Delilah, a great duo, the perfect hosts. Thanks for the hospitality. I can’t wait to see the completed project.

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