8.19.2017

smells and taste of childhood

A few days ago I dug up my Mom's recipe for Blueberry Buckle.  I know lots of people out there probably have some version of this crumb topped coffee cake style cake chock full of fresh blueberries.

When I was little my Mom often made a double batch (13x9) of it early in the morning before the house heated up in the dog days of Summer.  

Good news was it would fill the house with amazing, wake you up from a sound sleep aromas, bad news was this meant we were having friends to the beach club for dinner and would have to wait until dark to get a piece of the buckle.  

So worth the wait!

When blueberries get big and sweet and always seem to be on sale at the grocery is when I remember the buckle.  This year it took my college roommate's text asking for the recipe to jog my memory.  Thanks Amy for having fond memories of me serving Blueberry Buckle to you at our beach club!

While I haven't been doing a lot of made-from-scratch baking lately I still stand behind my motto (which was handed down from my Mom) that its SO worth the bit of extra time it takes to skip the mix and bake from scratch. 


So here is my Mom's version.  

Betty's Blueberry Buckle

Mix dry in a medium bowl and set aside:  
2 c. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a mixer cream together:
1/4 c. unsalted soft butter (that's a half a stick)
3/4 c. sugar
1 large egg

After above ingredients are combined and mixed thoroughly alternate adding milk and dry mix to the mixer bowl to incorporate it all.  I usually split each into half...so 2 hits of milk and 2 hits of dry.

1/2 c. milk

Remove from mixer and gently fold (by hand) in a pint of fresh blueberries.  

Pour/spread into a greased  8" glass square Pyrex dish.*

Topping:
Mix the following together in a medium bowl using 2 forks or a pastry blender.
1/4 c.  butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 c. sugar
1/3c. flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

When it resembles chunky sand spread evening over the batter.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

*this recipe happily doubles...use a greased 13 x 9 Pyrex.

We are partial to a la mode. 

Enjoy!





7.26.2017

Part 4....the last hurrah

I had been patiently waiting on a delivery to the store... 4 metal stools for my current project "Out East".

With a small window of time last week I headed back out to Quogue to do what was my last drop off and tweak of the beach house project.

When I opened No. 299 five years ago I had no idea what was in store for me and this project is just ONE of the amazing opportunities that have been a result of me chasing my dreams.  Sure, over the past few years I have worked with a number of terrific clients on a whole range of projects.  But this one is a bit more special.

I had a budget, the person who hired me just said do what you want (of course within reason) and I had the benefit of spending 4 weekends out in the Hamptons.  Even tough I spent the majority of time at the house working/painting/installing I did get to take a walk on the beach one late afternoon, have lunch with a handful of family members at their beach club, see a ginormous full moon over the water late at night and shop at one of my favorite stores...Homespun in the quaint little downtown of Quogue.

Plus, my I got to collaborate with my brother-in-law who is super handy and had amazing ideas for the house both inside and outside.  He installed an outdoor shower and built a cedar deck off the Game Room.  And then last weekend he texted me to ask how I felt about an herb garden on the side of the house.  You can imagine what my response was??!!  Hell yeah!  And for the record he was asking but 2 seconds later he texted me a picture of his already built herb garden.  This guy doesn't mess around!

It was like having my very own Chip Gaines on the project.  Lucky me!

A couple areas I have not shown you.  I mentioned that the old living room, a former 2-car garage, with vaulted ceilings was just TOO big to furnish.  So I decided to make it a GAME ROOM.  It makes sense given there are french doors that lead out to the patio and pool (and now the deck and shower too!) and this is a Hamptons Beach House so there needs to be an element of fun.

The ping pong table I ordered went smack in the middle. 



 I rehabbed an old wood table and opened it up to create a square.  A wood checkers board went on that and we surrounded it with metal stools.  

In the corner I put a metal, rolling bar cart to service the GAME ROOM and the patio...just roll it out!


And a round high top table and 2 stools went against the wall for spectators.  



Every fun room needs a flat screen TV for sports watching! 

The chest in the far left corner was the bottom portion to an old armoire and it fit so nicely in that back corner that I decided to keep it and give it a coat of Hale Navy to tie the story together with the high top table across the room.  The wood glass front cabinet was a hand-me-down (I really do have trouble throwing anything out!) and it now holds the extra ping pong balls and racquet's. 



Two of the three bathrooms were painted Hale Navy and believe it or not they actually enhanced the existing tile....grey and a grey-beige.  Here is the hall bath before...









New faucets, toilets, shower stall doors, shower heads and cabinet pulls (thanks to the handy work of my brother in law) and the bathrooms look brand new!  

The master sinks...






Early the next morning I made a last minute run to a local TJ Maxx to add that last layer.  Hand towels, bath towels, soap dispensers and a few other do-dads for the bathrooms and kitchen.   

They really do make such a difference!




I realized on my last visit that the full bath off the living space had no mirror so I hung this guy and couldn't resist a few new white towels.



The master bedroom is HUGE and so even after I worked my magic it felt empty and lacking.  But I needed to remind myself that it's staged to sell not be lived in so I am dealing with it.  

I painted the existing king headboard black, rehabbed 2 shield back chairs with chalk paint to match the night table and placed them at the oval, glass topped table that was in the pod.  I lucked out with this black and white large sized piece of art framed in the same warm wood as the table.





The cedar bench, also that same warm toned wood, was perfect for the empty wall opposite the bed and I simply painted over the toile floral design that covered the oval metal plate. The distressed star burst mirror filled the empty wall nicely.



The drop leaf table got a few coats of Annie Sloan Aubusson paint and became the night table (visible in the pic above) and I put new white linen fabric on the chair seats.



The kitchen got new hardware and the metal black and white SUPERMARKET sign.  




With that black and white tile floor I just couldn't resist.



Shocked that I found all of these do-dads on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx??!!

The small black wood sign is covering an old phone jack.


And I added a few more pieces to the walls in the living room. The triptych filled the large empty wall and gave the space a little something extra without stealing the show from the main piece over the fireplace.






And a pair of matching distressed star burst mirrors flanked the walls off the entry hall.


The front entry needed a spot to plop things down and what beach house is complete without a beach bag?


Last minute I picked up a navy and white striped umbrella and outdoor metal stool/side table to sit at the head of the pool.



Rushing to catch out ferry home I missed getting pics of other details.  Below is the link to the listing on Zillow if you care to see more.


https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/19-Quogue-St,-Quogue,-NY-11959_rb/?fromHomePage=true&shouldFireSellPageImplicitClaimGA=false&fromHomePageTab=buy

Thanks for following along!  











7.16.2017

Sunday Project

I recently tried Annie Sloan's Aubusson Blue chalk paint on a project I am working on...details in last 3 posts!

I became obsessed with it.  

It reminds me of something European that has been around for a long time.  It has character, depth and class in an old school kind-of way.  It also makes me think of the color of the Mediterranean Sea on the Amalfi Coast.  The most perfect mix of blue and green.  Five years ago hubby and I celebrated our 20th anniversary there and its pretty much heaven on earth.  If its not on your bucket list please do me a favor and add it!

Back in the beginning of June I posted about changes I was working on in our dining room.  The post titled "A Cleaner Vibe" showed the newly painted white walls and the black corner hutch.  I mentioned that I had ordered a new light fixture and since then it has been hung.  


I love it but like all things changes sometimes create a snowball effect.  I struggled with all the painted finishes in the space and not feeling a certain cohesiveness.  

Last weekend when I rehabbed a number of old pieces of wood furniture was my first time using Annie Sloan's Aubusson Blue.

It dawned on me...probably in the shower where I do most of my best thinking...that Aubusson blue would work beautifully with the new light fixture and the black and white store going on in the dining room.  

Here is the side board before...

And here is it after....

I went ahead and painted the bench too knowing that the kelly green would be fun but too much craziness for me.


I still need to distress it a bit and finish with the wax.

After the second coat was dry I pushed it back to its spot and went to work testing the wall art to see what formula would be my favorite.  I tried the gold sunburst mirror.  I tried the black distressed sunburst mirror.  I tried old art work that was my in-laws and I even went so far as to remove my favorite painting of Cape Cod painted by my dear friend Priscilla Igram.  


Don't worry, it returned very quickly because I love the colors and it makes me happy.


Then I tried my mother in laws gold gilded mirror.  The scale is big and I worried it would be TOO big but ya know what?  I like it a lot.  












7.11.2017

Part 4...boy that went fast!

Another weekend out East behind me and I am happy to report that we are almost done!

This time I dragged hubby with me and was SO happy to have a helper in toe!  It's just so much more fun working on a project with your best buddy.

We filled the "burb" with another load full of furniture and decor items.

We took the ferry out which is such a lovely way to travel to Long Island.  It doesn't save you any time but it is literally stress-free!



I got to work first thing Sat morning with a third and final coat of black paint on the master headboard. 

The 2 shield-back chairs needed a second coat of Annie Sloan Aubusson and the dining table needed 2 coasts of poly to give it some protection.  More on the master bedroom in the next post.

We brought out a high top table to put in the game room and once we brought it into the house I knew I would need to paint the top of it.  Two coats of Ben Moore Hale Navy and it worked SO much better.  I had the painters use Ben Moore Pale Oak in this large space.  And I LOVE the way navy pairs with it and crisp white window trim.

The sliders on the right side lead out to the patio and pool.  


The painters had put protective paper on the floors and we left it in place while we worked on Saturday just in case.  This is the galley which faces the front of the house and at the end if the front door.



The living room still had various pieces hanging around.


Hubby and I wrestled the sofa out of the shipping box and I was pleased that the color worked!

I was bummed to find out that the coffee table I had brought was too high for the sofa.

Plan B was to use the 2 folding stools from Artiga.  A new line I am carrying at the store.  I love the addition of the bold stripes to the living space and paired with the new sofa its really fun.


While I painted hubby put the new master bath knobs on to match the 2 new faucets that my brother in law installed last week.  Both from Home Depot.



Hubby and I put the pair of twin beds together and once we did that I saw a few spots that I must have missed the previous weekend when I painted them navy.  The touch ups were quick.

I scooted into Target last week to pick up a towel for my daughter and we left with 2 carts full of goodies.  Don't you just love it when you score awesome stuff on clearance at that place??!!  It was all final touches but sometimes those things really make a space.  

I found these cotton blankets at Target.  
They add a great vibe to the navy painted bed frames.  And because the walls and carpet are so neutral the room can handle both stripes.


The small lumbar pillows with beach bungalows (on clearance at Target) are the perfect pop in front of a white pillow.  The small wood framed nautical flag was a Home Goods find.  
I was lucky to grab 2 different flags.


I brought a wicker basket to help break up all the navy and white and sat the vintage wood buoy in it. The metal painted chair filled the corner.



Hubby was a sport holding up items for me to ponder.  I chose these 2 for a few reasons.  I love that the painted star burst mirror ties in the aqua blue that is also in the 2 decorative cabana pillows and because there was a lot of pairing going on...2 of everything bed related so I wanted to mix it up on the wall.  Too much matching gives me hives  ;)  

I also love the positive message for a kids room.




I kept the recycled drop leaf table in its original finish to add some contrast in the space.  I love it against the striped drapes.  I added a couple of vintage items for some interest.  Hardy Boys books, a lantern turned lamp and aqua glass electrical conductors.



I chose to dress only one window since the other which faces the front of the house sits much lower and its upper eyebrow makes things tricky.


We stopped about three o'clock Saturday afternoon to take a necessary trip to Lowe's and it was good timing because boy was I tired. 

I cracked up when I found this snickers bar with a custom label... perfect for how I felt at that moment.


On route back to Quogue we decided a cold beer was in order so we picked up a 6-pack and then headed to the Quogue market to get a few nibbles.  While hubby was busy picking out some cheese and expensive crackers I scooted into Homespun next door.  Cutest shop on the strip.

A dunk in the pool, a beer (or 2) and we were feeling revived!

We discussed what was on our to-do list for Sunday and booked our ferry reservation before hitting the movies.

My brother in law was at the house all weekend too busy as ever.  He decided to built a cedar deck off the game room and install an outdoor shower.  Did I mention that he is super handy?!


Sunday we pulled the protective paper off the floors and got to work handing artwork, mirror, signs, etc.

As soon as I spotted these 2 fringed pillows at Target I knew they had to be paired with the oars.  And since the bed frame in the guest room came from Bob's and is very white I liked the idea of hanging something vintage over it to tone it down.  I also love the color combo of this dark aqua, white and honey brown.




I brought a painting from my basement, knowing the colors would all tie together wonderfully and a captains' wheel mirror left over from a dresser I had refinished a few years ago.


I chose an indoor outdoor rug from Ballard for the living room.  

They are my go-to for high impact low cost!
I opted for a neutral color with a pattern.  

You can see above and below that I chose to hang the same IKEA wicker light fixture in dining and living rooms.  It's a great way to tie 2 close spaces together.

IKEA sells the basket clam shell and the wire bulb insert separately and then my brother in law converted it from a plug in to a hard-wired fixture.  It took him about 5 minutes!  Did I already say he is very handy?



I found the artwork over the fireplace at Home Goods.  It's an actual acrylic painting.  The colors tied the whole room together nicely and artwork can be very expensive so at $99 this was a definite find!


I found the painted sofa table at Elephant's Trunk Flea market a few weeks ago for $50!  Didn't even have to paint it....YAHOO!  And I love the vintage glass buoys (also from the flea market) for that nautical vibe.  


The brass trimmed glass hurricanes were another Target clearance item. 


Honestly, that trip to Target was a total SCORE!


The metal compass went up in the dining room.  

I had been dragging my feet on picking chairs for the table. I had looked at the ghost chairs, the metal painted industrial chairs and also the Serena and Lily knock off french bistro chairs.  I just hadn't pulled the trigger on anything.  

Once I saw the light fixture up I had a brainstorm.  In my basement back home I have 4 white, distressed ladder back chairs with a light golden rush seat.   Given I am on a budget and they would be free its a no-brainer.  Fingers crossed it works!



I like the way the wicker chandelier lightens up the space.


When we woke up Sunday and my assistant a.k.a hubby asked when we were heading to the beach I realized he was gonna have to get there at some point before we left to head back home.  

The beach is his happy place!

We headed down around 3 to grab a sandwich and visit with his family and I am so glad we did!  

Our view from the lunch table was totally worth it!


I always love this view heading from Dune Road over the Quogue bridge.


As we headed to the ferry we felt good knowing how far we had come.   

See you soon Quogue.