All Hung Up

Last weekend I finally started my spring cleaning. Including a total excavation of my closet. It’s gotten so crowded in there that I resorted to keeping hangers from the dry cleaners. And I have a strict no wire hangers rule!

I’ve been holding onto this image of personalized wire hangers by Lila Frances for a while, knowing there must be something I could write about involving hangers.

personalized wire hanger

And then I walked into the home office of Jonas and Ursula Hegewisch during the Fort Greene House Tour last weekend.

hanger art

hangers on the wall

hangers and chair

What an artful display, I love it! And the good news is… I didn’t immediately throw away those wire hangers.


In Greener Pastures

Good morning! I hope you had a lovely weekend!

My mom, aunt, 11 year old cousin and 83 year old grandmother visited New York for the weekend. We had a really great time: matinee of Billy Elliot, lunch at Landmarc, carriage ride through Central Park… And I learned something important: if you have a grandmother in a wheelchair you can get in the front of ANY NYC line. :)

On Sunday, I was excited to attend to the Fort Greene House Tour (tickets courtesy of Wendy & Paul, thanks guys!).

My neighborhood may have been rated most livable by New York Magazine, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m always a little enchanted by Fort Greene. It has a fabulous park, great restaurants (No. 7 is a personal favorite), the always awesome Brooklyn Flea… On a beautiful summer (80 degree spring?) day, it was the place to be.

The Fort Greene House Tour featured about 11 homes, all very unique and interesting. Most homes on the tour did not allow photography, but in the few that I could shoot, I found some inspiring, Salvaged Grace worthy, ideas.

I made a beeline for the first house solely because of this chandelier. I’ve posted about this before… I adore the idea of using old letters or pages from a favorite novel for chandelier lighting.

paper chandelier

Since most of the homes on the tour were renovated brownstones, there were a lot of great details: crown moldings, tin ceilings…

tin ceilings

I especially loved the bright color added to the ceiling of artist Motti Lerer‘s home.

crown molding

I also enjoyed seeing doorways and other little nooks with historic features fancied up with some modern accoutrements.


closed doorway

The home owned by Jonas and Ursula Hegewisch was simply amazing, with an assortment of great collections (birds, gnomes, hangers… more on that tomorrow!) displayed in all manners.

collection cabinet

As well as this vibrant painting on wood artwork displayed at center in the breakfast nook.

wood painting

BC joined me for some of the tour and noticed this little half painted dresser in the home of educator and furniture-maker, Chris Cavallaro and his family.

unfinished dresser

Sometimes the best way to finish a piece, is to not finish it.

unfinished dresser closeup

Many of the homes were in the process of being completed. Again, I like unfinished. I thought these stairs had a certain je ne sais qois of their own, even if the look wasn’t intended.

unfinished stairway

Artist Motti Lerer‘s brownstone was especially creative. He made this little bench out of his old bed!

Motti was also incredibly gracious and super friendly. He lamented how pieces of his brownstone had been sold off over the years by former owners: original pocket doors, classic marble fireplaces. Motti’s renovation was a testament to salvaging where possible and marrying old to new.

Motti was the perfect example of the Fort Greene resident; welcoming, creative, engaging, and dynamic, with a lot of soul.


Lady in Waiting

Do you remember the first time someone in your peer group, someone your age passed away?

I was 16. I came home from dance class and went into my parents room and the evening news was on, reporting a car accident that resulted in the death of my friend Keri.

Keri and I had taken dance classes together for years, and in the last ballet recital before her death, Keri and I performed a duet. We were ladies in waiting. And our ballet teacher gave each of us this ceramic lady statue as a keepsake.

It didn’t mean much at the time and certainly isn’t the most beautiful statue ever, but as time passed, I felt that I had to keep it. As I got older it seemed childish, this statue didn’t really fit in my space, yet I couldn’t let it go. At some point, the lady statue took a fall that left her broken, I kept her still.

But I started thinking about how I could make the lady statue something that I’d cherish because of the friendship and youth that it represents, and not be an eyesore that I keep around because I’d feel guilty getting rid of.

I remembered that I had a little inky blue paint left over from my bathroom paint job. I gooped the lady back together and examined her profile. Not bad. Maybe this will work….

It did.  I love her dark profile, I feel as if I’ve given her a second life. Which is incredibly gratifying. Now I want to keep the lady statue, not just believe that I think I should, but because I think she’s beautiful. Beautiful. Which is how I’ll always remember Keri.


To The Letter

I don’t know if you’ve seen it around, but these days everyone’s all about using old signage lettering as wall art. Even in Paris. I came across a number of booths with letters of varying sizes.

buckets of letters

I tried to assemble a little visual of my name spelled out, but the lighting was bad and… remember the part about being yelled at in french?

Anyway… this trend can be seen in large, oversize vintage letters on a wall or smaller, letterpress blocks set on a shelf.  I actually really love it, though I haven’t figured out if/where it’ll fit in my space.

antique letters



Find letters for sale at Three Potato Four

via Trendpulse

Available at Three Potato Four


The Fleas

Well, it’s taken me a few weeks, but finally I’m getting to a couple of posts about my trip to Europe.

Les Puces means “The Fleas” in french. And I made a special point of going to THE Fleas the last morning of my trip to Europe (it was cold and rainy, which was not shocking as this was the case the entire trip)

Leaving BC to do his own thing, I took the metro to almost the end of the line to reach Les Puces. I’d read a little guide about how to shop the flea market… it is a little tricky to find the home and antiques section. And also, though I live in NY and never EVER feel concerned about shoplifters, I was paranoid the entire time in Paris that I’d be an unsuspecting victim!

First I came upon an open warehouse type structure with tons of vendors, mostly dealing more big ticket, expensive antiques.

I didn’t photograph too much because upon taking my first picture I got yelled at (in french) by a very loud, scary woman. You’ll all be glad to know that all I could think of to stammer in my defense was, “I didn’t know, I’m American.” How’s that for international relations?

A few years back, I read about a designer using an old art easel as a TV stand and have been obsessed with the idea ever since. Sadly, this French antique easel, and the accompanying shipping fees, were not within my budget.

I didn’t get great pictures but my favorite shops were the ones with the more unusual items. Lots of nautical things, skeletons, mannequins, uniquities… And globes. Globes are definitely becoming quite the collector’s item, aren’t they?

Just when I thought I’d seen it all and that Les Puces wasn’t nearly as big as I’d imagined, I found another section. A section with winding little roads of stores. Inside one, I found mounds of beautiful table textiles and accessories. At that point in the trip, all I could think about was how I wanted to get home and begin stripping my kitchen table. So when I saw these beautiful placemats, I couldn’t resist.

Truth be told, I’d wanted to do much better in documenting my trip to Les Puces. Here’s a list of other things I saw a lot of at reasonable prices: old tools and kitchen utensils, French cooking pots and pans and tins, old industrial type wall sconces and lighting, and… the subject of tomorrow’s blog post!

PS. Under my new french place mats in the picture above is a reproduction print I found at the Brooklyn Flea for $5. It has inspired my intended kitchen re-do. Imagine: light peach walls, strawberry red and a few varying shades of blue for accents. Also in the image is my kitchen table, mid stripping! I’ll keep you posted!


You Spin Me Round

Bicycles are all the rage on the streets of Brooklyn & Manhattan. I even saw a guy on a giant bike (like a bike on stilts or something!) in Williamsburg last weekend. Check out these ways that bicycles (and their accompanying parts) would roll nicely into your home decor.

recycled bike mirror

2 Spoke Mirror by CB2

Image source unknown

recycled bike chain frame

Handmade bike chain frame via tenthousandvillages

recycled bike cog

Recycled tea light holder via Elsewares Shop

recycled bike barstool

Barstool by Bike Furniture

by Frida Ottemo Kallstrom via Inhabitat

Bicycle Wheel Potrack via Casasugar

bicycle chain chandelier

Bike Chain Chandeliers by Carolina Fontoura

Image found via Belle Maison

Ah, that table is so brilliant, you must see it up close.

table with bicycle wheels

Designer Gae Aulenti, feautured in Living Etc.


Cammie and Adam’s Fountain

It’s been a while, but I thought after at least one day of nice Spring weather last weekend, it is time for a Spring themed Sentimental Salvage!


Last summer, my husband Adam and I were doing up the garden at our fixer-upper cottage in Columbia County (and until recently, our full-time home.)  We hired a very helpful young landscaper to give us pointers on the best plants to suit our needs, and to help us give our five-by-five-foot dirt patch a sense of design.  The landscaper, Adam and I were all in agreement that the garden needed a central focal point.  Adam loves water fixtures, as do I, so a fountain soon became our first choice.  We went to the Home Depot, and while they had some nice ones, we wanted to find something more original.  Adam was on the hunt for a massive structure (like a stone head!) and I wanted something a bit more delicate and traditional.  Our next stop was an Asian import shop that we’d frequented in the past.  They have beautiful things, although, unfortunately, most of it is out of our price range.  We strolled around the backyard showroom, finding some almost-matches, but nothing that we could afford.  And then I saw it – a blue and white porcelain stump-thingy lying on its side beside the dumpster.  I went over to inspect and realized that this was the base to an outdoor table.  It had a piece broken at the bottom, but the piece was in tact enough to be Krazy Glued back on.  I asked the shop owner how much and he said $25.  Now that was more like it!  Another trip to Home Depot and we had an inexpensive water fixture that our electrician could install at the top of our makeshift fountain.  He spent less than an hour drilling a small hole through the porcelain and running a cable into our house, where we could plug the fountain in.  Voila, we had our garden centerpiece for under $50!  Adam hemmed and hawed a bit about not getting his big stone head, but our little porcelain fountain has since grown on him tremendously!

Submitted by Cammie and Adam Black, soon to be my Brooklyn neighbors!

Sentimental Salvage is the story behind that truly special, one-of-a-kind piece in your home. It may be furniture that’s been in your family for years or an accessory you delighted in finding yesterday. However long it’s been in your life, this piece of your home holds special meaning and sentimental value. Email if you’ve got a Sentimental Salvage of your own to share.


Cold Cuts

Good news, it’s Friday! We get a couple of nice Spring days here in Brooklyn this weekend. Would be a good for entertaining… Can’t you imagine an outdoor BBQ using these awesome glass pieces from Lawrence Brabant‘s Cold Cuts collection, made of recycled bottles.  Those spoons are especially fabulous, aren’t they? I think it’s the shape, it makes that green glass pop!

recycled glass

Mixing Parts

armoireOpen armoire

These patchwork armoires seem to making the rounds on all the design blogs these days. But I’m entirely too taken with them to pass them up. Robi Renzi of RenziVivian is exhibiting a series of furniture made from salvaged scrap wood at the Milan Furniture Fair. What I wouldn’t give to see one of these up close! Bello!

Bonus Date

Mid afternoon last Sunday, BC and I decided to “play guitar.” He suggested it would be a more engaging afternoon activity than watching TV. I believe he was forgetting that our “playing guitar” is usually him playing and me laying on the couch gazing at my rock star boyfriend. I suppose that accounts as engaging on some level.

However, this particular afternoon, BC said we could learn one of my favorite songs, for him to play and me to sing.

So obviously we recorded the first acoustic version of “Dancing in Heaven“, which you may remember from the 80’s classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” We (when I say we, I mean BC) learned the guitar chords and laid down the dummy track. Then we (when I say we, I mean BC) added effects to my voice and started working out the keyboard part. It was an inspired idea, brilliant with a capital B.

Just like BC. Happy birthday BC!

Guitar Case lined with wallpaper, repurposed as shelf via Recyclart

Note: BC may want to keep me away from his guitar cases, unless he’s curious as to whether he has any affinity towards floral wallpaper prints.