relationship with a small house--2

So, here is the connection to my ranting on food from a couple of days ago...and by the way, that's the last time I blog on a rainy day when I'm cranky and hungry.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the term "green design". I am all in favor of the wonderful new products on the market that use sustainable material and product that is easy on the earth in it's manufacture. I support these products and often use them when appropriate. What excites me more is finding pieces that already exist, that may have had another purpose but that can be re-made and re-used. I love the idea that an actual person saw potential in old or discarded parts and found a way to make something wonderful.
I fell in love with the stained glass window back in the corner. It looks like a funky surf board to me. I can't wait to see it propped up to balance my couch which has to be placed off center due to space limitations.The little metal mirror is not old, but made by an actual person rather than a factory. Again, the touch of the human hand. I know it will make me happy every time I look into it.
Both pieces were found at Summer House Furnishings in Rye, NH. There are a lot of new fresh pieces but there are some lovely antiques mixed in.
This sweet little cabinet will have a home somewhere even if it only holds laundry supplies. I found this at The Bower Bird which is a lovely consignment shop in Peterborough, NH.
Also in Peterborough is one of my favorites, Red Chair Antiques. Owner, Jocie Sinauer has an unfailing eye for all things beautiful. The hanging cabinet is made from salvaged moldings and created by a local furniture maker. In my tight little space it will store my collection of small paintings.
I want so badly to make my kitchen island from this apothecary chest. I fear my space is too small, but we will see.

These salvaged balusters make beautiful, sturdy candle stands. I found them in a salvage yard in Great Barrington. I bought every single one.

And wait, just wait until you see what I've found for the kitchen.

conscious choice

I try to live with an awareness of how my choices affect my home, my family, my community, and my planet.Lately, I have tried to eat in a way that impacts my health and my community for the better.

I was raised on fresh food. My grandparents had a cattle ranch and extensive gardens. Not only did we know where our food came from, we watched it die. Butchering days were big days, festive actually. There was nothing foreign about watching a calf be raised to slaughter. We spent hours riding our horses checking the herd. We had a lovely life and so it seemed, did the livestock. They grazed freely, ate only grass, and seemed placid and happy, but I always knew they were a food source.

I promised myself this summer to try to eat only foods that were touched by a human hand. That means no prepackaged factory-produced foods. To my great sadness, that means no potato chips...OK, a confession, I have stopped buying them, but I heartily enjoy them when other people buy them. I don’t buy meat unless I know where it was raised and how it was killed. I want to know that the farmer, the baker, the maker of my food is a person who actually benefits from my relationship to their product.

I know I am supposed to be worried about my carbon footprint. That I am not supposed to eat pineapples or avocados because they come from so far away. I don’t worry about that. If it is food in it’s natural avocado picked by a human hand.... I eat it. At least someone touched it; at least it isn’t some weird food product that is made of chemicals I can’t pronounce.

This whole subject has a tie-in to the way I will renovate and furnish my home. It does, it really does, but it’s Saturday and it’s raining, I’m tired and I’m craving a sandwich with local tomatoes on seeded bread from my favorite baker, a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt and mayonnaise, oh mayonnaise, that’s a problem...

The lovely photos come from my sister Ann's food blog Redacted Recipes. She is not doing much writing these days, but the recipes are still there and boy are they worth trying.

relationship with a small house...the beginning

“You did it”, he said with a congratulatory smile and an extended hand.

“I did it”, I said and burst into tears.

So begins the relationship between one designer, and one very, very small house.

It was an inauspicious beginning. Walking through the door for the pre-closing inspection I blithely sang out “Well, it sure didn't get any bigger”. I swear I felt my house shudder. She seemed to puff herself up and to square her tiny shoulders as if to say....”And who are you exactly? I have sheltered entire families here for years... happy families. Get over your self.” ...and so I did.

My little house is sturdy brick. Two houses actually as she is a duplex, mirrored twins separated by a three-foot brick wall. I will live on the side that faces the river and look to find tenants, small tenants for the other side. The house sits in a neighborhood tucked under the tall bridge that spans the distance between New Hampshire and Maine. The land was developed in 1918 to house the shipyard workers who were frantically expanding our fleet during the war. Each house is tiny, a mere 740 square feet. The ceilings are high though and the floors are lovely ash. These diminutive brick structures sit clustered together creating the feeling of a small village that abruptly disappears as the banks slope down to the river. The homes have never been plush. “The Heights" had a derogatory ring which only worsened through the depression and for decades after. Good bones are good bones though and affordable property so close to the bustling center of town is hard to come by. This Old House recently named this neighborhood one of the best choices in the northeast.

I am already more fond of my tiny home then I imagined. Layers of shingles are being stripped as we speak. The chain link fence is nearly gone. Neighbors walk by with small dogs and the tugs chug up the river. It will be weeks before I move in, but I am delighted.

For the next few weeks Paint Color Design will serve as a journal while my house and I get to know each other through the renovation process. Please click on subscribe in the right side column if you would like to be notified of updates. Wish me luck! Lisa