Finally! After a Four-Year Wait.

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm | 4 Comments


Please click on the photo for a larger version and notice the lacy details of the chain-link fabric. The silver spray paint on the poles around the hinges and fittings will have to be removed. Ggggrrrr…

My redesigned front gate has been finally installed. It’s been an extremely time consuming and difficult project that began in 2011 with the original sloppy installation. Because it is the front gate, a custom solution was necessary. Since chain-link fencing is no longer as popular as it once was, I could not find a fencing contractor who would give me the time of day on the phone, much less show up for a meeting. They didn’t care if I had created detailed drawings with specifications. The word “custom” caused them too much brain pain. Plus using the traditional galvanized pipes and fittings would make the panels too heavy, causing them sag in the middle. So my architect Charley McKenney took my drawings to the metal artist who had created my fire screen and worked out how to create the two gate panels. It was critical that each frame corner be a sharp 90 degrees and each lace fabric panel be completely inset to the inside of the frame—not merely attached to the frame itself. Eighteen months later, January 2015, the completed gate panels were finally delivered. I had aged considerably since this whole thing started. But wait! There’s more!

Who would do the installation? [crickets] My usual contractor wouldn’t be able to do it until after the first of 2016. The next time someone mentions that good things happen to those who wait, I’m going to slap them hard. It wasn’t a matter of just reattaching the panels to the original gate posts. The new panels were now taller, and the post next to the house needed to move in another 1.5 inches. Why are my smaller projects so difficult? Fortunately a friend of mine’s husband was starting up a construction business and was free to help me. He brought in a sub-contractor who not only showed up, but didn’t mind working out all the details.

We did run into one big problem. The gate panels were too heavy for the newly embedded support posts and caused them to lean inwards, which in turn caused the panels to sag and drag. So a week later, they came back with a brilliant solution. By inserting reinforcing bars (rebar) and concrete down into the support posts, they were able to ensure the posts would never lean in. We were afraid that a small wheel may have to be added at the inside bottom of one of the panels, but this proved unnecessary.

There’s still one final step remaining, and that is removing the silver paint the contractor used to cover the old galvanized fittings. This is something I told him NOT TO DO! But none the less, he had to gild that lily. Ggggrrrr… I’m hoping some paint thinner will do the trick and won’t remove or harm the finish on the new frames. The saga continues.

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Paris: Looking Up, Part Two

Posted on June 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm | No Comments


Hôtel de Soubise, ceiling detail of the Prince’s apartment on the ground floor.

Ceilings of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. I’m a bit overdue with this second part. I had forgotten that I had created this as a draft way back in January when I posted the first portion of Paris ceilings. Well, the photographs had been corrected and uploaded, but the copy hadn’t been written. And all this time I was thinking I had days of work yet to do. So I procrastinated.

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What’s Hanging (part 5)

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 6:38 pm | No Comments


This print is one of three hung in my home’s original bathroom.

Mary Nicolett’s pantyhose prints are displayed in several rooms and have been a fun diversion for many of my guests. I purchased eleven of them from Mary’s solo show, “The Lady is a Tramp” at 500X Gallery back in 2002. Originally I had planned to group them on one wall but changed my mind after my home’s restoration. Seven of them are located in my dressing room, three are located in the guest bathroom, and the eleventh print is in the breakfast room.

Mary Nicolett calls them pantyhose prints even though they’re technically Untitled (Layers). Because of a job that required her to wear pantyhose on a daily basis, she was inspired to utilize the packaging card stock and discarded hosiery to create art that was loaded with implications, such as genitalia, sexuality, fetish, and gender politics. She also explored the pantyhose media characteristics of elasticity and air-like qualities and exploited their beauty: the stretching, the snags, the runs, the sheerness, etc. The pantyhose prints were a culmination of these investigations. Each print consists of a pantyhose insert card inkjet printed with derogatory slang that’s been overlaid with a monotype printing process utilizing the actual pantyhose texture.

To see more prints, click on the link below.

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The Tiny House Concept

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 8:44 pm | 2 Comments


This exterior design from Max House Plans is ideal for my country retreat.

For my new piece of heaven, I envision a traditional southern vernacular. What I don’t envision is an open floor plan where the ground floor is one room with the kitchen lining one to two walls and all the furniture grouped in the middle. This trend seems to be prevalent for just about all new builds of small houses. In my opinion, an open concept is a cop-out for traditional vernaculars. It’s a lazy approach to space planning and has no appeal or charm, and it certainly isn’t what one would expect to find when viewing the house from the outside. On the other hand, having a lot of walls and interior doors can be claustrophobic in a small house. I believe a compromise is in order.

Since the chosen building site within the 8.5 acreage is a small open meadow, a compact footprint (600 to 800 square feet total) is required with the living and kitchen spaces on the ground level and the bedroom(s) on the second floor. In the last five years, the tiny house movement has really caught on, and there are now numerous online sources where you can download free tiny house plans. I found one particular plan at The small House Catalog that is a great example of how a small home’s interiors can be divided without a lot interior walls and still be open. Click on the link below to see this floor plan.

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Prolific Spring Bloomers

Posted on April 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm | No Comments


Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’. The popular common name for this plant is the Pincushion flower. Even though all my scabiosas are blooming profusely now, I was amazed that they even had some blooms this past winter. In fact, they never did stop blooming.

Shot over a two week period, these images are being posted just in time for Earth Day. It’s taken three years of hard work, patience, trial and error, and I have often wondered if it was in the stars for my gardens to become fully realized. Finally, there are results. This spring has rewarded me with loads of foliage and blooms. There are still areas (I call them “death gaps”) where additional and/or new replacements are required, but on the whole it’s reassuring that I haven’t wasted so much time, effort and money. In late June, I’ll photograph the gardens in their entirety, but in the meantime while the plants are filling in, here are photos of individual bloomers.

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What’s Blooming Now

Posted on March 30, 2015 at 6:40 pm | No Comments


These potted Gerbera daisies were planted last spring. I didn’t think they would come back, but just in case, I placed them in my greenhouse for the winter, and except for weekly watering, I pretty much ignored them. Lo and behold they came back!

All of these photos were taken this past Friday, March 27. With six weeks of constant rain mixed with freezing temperatures, there hasn’t been an ideal opportunity to photograph anything in my gardens until now. Sadly, because of this bad weather mix, a lot of the late winter bloomers have long passed their photogenic hour. This round of photos showcases current individual bloomers, because the rest of the perennials are just now beginning to emerge. Photographing the entire garden will happen some time in late June or early July.

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