After (finally) completing the post; Brick by Brick (1206 words—sorry!) the story of the Vintage Bricks at Rooster Ridge and the kitchen floor in the The House at Rooster Ridge—we would be remiss not to mention one last detail!
The process for utilizing the Vintage Bricks for the kitchen floor involved creating brick tiles—as we needed to keep the height of the floor consistent to the adjoining rooms. The depth was not available between the sub-floor and the required floor height to be able to use whole bricks as we had in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. A wet-saw was used to slice each brick horizontally into thirds. (imagine red and orange clay dust everywhere!) The center section was removed and the two outer slices were now “tile thickness” for installation. By using the exterior pieces only, each tile was complete with the desired patina depicting the history of the bricks.
Many of the bricks had the molded name of the original brick-maker which was a goal of ours. The names were then carefully choreographed into a seemingly haphazard pattern in order to create a multi-directional view. The final step was sealing the Vintage Bricks. After a somewhat long and arduous process we had, at long last, arrived at the outcome we had aimed for. The warmth and comfort of the Vintage Brick floor was now complete!
The next step we took might surprise some—what did we do next?
We cut two 12 inch circular holes into the bricks! Crazy? Maybe.
I’m uncertain exactly what came over us—oops—I mean to say…we were deeply inspired—when we decided to install two Vintage Water Meter Caps from the streets of New Orleans.
The (newly installed) Vintage Brick floor seemed to beckon the need of, well, an indication that a water pipe was vintage-ly running under this floor!
This quirky detail adds interest to the eclectic appeal of the kitchen in The House at Rooster Ridge, and if needed—the Water Meter Caps often serve as a conversation starter!
We encourage you to allow the beauty of your personality to resonate within—and in the walls (and floor) of your cottage.
In the unique design of each individual person, we find that—
The intention of writing this post was to share the natural beauty of Vintage Bricks. Somehow the story evolved and seem to grow, brick by brick. Curiosity, thoughts and learning became the bricks—the foundation and information in building this post. Hopefully you will enjoy the building of this meandering story of Vintage Bricks—Brick by Brick!
The expansive range of color variations—light peach to red and every subtle nuance in between embrace the essence of warmth. There are even purple bricks—we will be on the look-out for those! The color is based upon the natural clay that is available to be used to make the bricks. At times, the method of baking the bricks, as well as the source of the fuel, such as wood or coal, which has been used to heat the ovens contributes to the end result and baked-color.
Color is just one of the fascinating elements of Vintage Bricks. These bricks are Re-Purposed and often there are visible remnants of the previous life of these salvaged bricks—aged mortar stains, chipping paint and tar from streets. Adding into the design mix are the names which have been molded into the bricks which creates a dimensional texture in a color-on-color pattern. As huge fans of Vintage Bricks, we have installed them in the interior of The Cottage and more recently, in the kitchen of The House at Rooster Ridge and subsequently outside Rooster Ridge in paths and patios—I found myself wondering;
“How old are these bricks anyway?”
The question continued to gnaw at me (Stop it! Go away thought—you know what this will lead to…) I wrestled with the curiosity of the age of these Vintage Bricks while I simultaneously desired to efficiently complete this post in a timely manner. My hand hovered over the cursor of my computer the little arrow inviting me to finish—and select the publish icon!
“Clicking” on the blue rectangular icon, with its soft rounded corners and the word Publish neatly printed within its boundaries is the moment of knowing—I have completed my task… I wanted to experience that feeling, if only briefly, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I have achieved! (trumpets sound!)
I have come to learn—and I continue to work on—accepting the understanding that writing a blog is a task as ongoing and seemingly never-ending as some domestic chores—such as washing dishes or doing laundry. The moment, the very moment, you complete the job at hand, a sound emerges jolting you from your fleeting moment of revelry. A faint noise, the almost inaudible clink of a glass being placed in the sink or the whoosh of a towel falling into the hamper as the terry cloth replaces the space where air previously resided. And with that clink or whoosh—you hear the taunting translation in your mind;
“Not so fast missy, you’re not done!”
Despite my wish to complete the post as efficiently as possible—curiosity won—and I began at first glance what seemed to be a cursory research into the age of the bricks we had Re-Purposed. This brief glance resulted in a Monday post being posted on Wednesday. Curse you curiosity!
This brief stroll into the age of the bricks had led me to discover the historic journey of the brick making industry in New York along the Hudson River. The salvaged bricks we are fortunate to have as a mere design aspect of Rooster Ridge date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. As I write this I feel an urge for a new collection being born—and yes, I did print out the 112 page Hudson River & New England Brick Collection and Identifier which I discovered while on my history lesson route.
I am starting to become aware—that for every item—there exists a collector or a collecting group for each category and that is—just lovely! Everything deserves the attention of a collection!
Our first very small experience with using Vintage Bricks required a mere 30 bricks during the renovation of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. The symbolic hearth of the home or cottage in this case, seemed to request the warmth and charm of Vintage Bricks. In this small space the focus became all about the names which declared the brick-maker-company and as I am now learning the subsequent fascinating history of the brick-makers themselves.
In this initial search for such a small quantity we found ourselves in the back of a building of what at one time was the Cascadian Bottling Works in Grand View, New York—beautifully overlooking The Hudson River. Indeed the view was grand and the cohesiveness of the aptly named town emerged gloriously. A natural spring still travels down the cliffs of The Palisades spilling into a small, lovely pool of crisp, clear spring water. At the time the current owner of the building was selling Vintage Bricks by the piece. As we required such a small amount of we were afforded the opportunity to hand select them—Brick by Brick. It turned into a bit of a competitive scavenger hunt as our objective became to discover as many variations of names as possible. As we shouted out each new name discovered with glee, and at times, to regretfully hear the response, “Got it!” Thus the competition. In addition to lettered names of the brick-makers we also found symbols used to identify some of the companies.
On our Vintage Brick Hunt, unknowingly at the time, we were embarking upon a (delayed) fascinating glimpse into history. Note the triple circle symbol in the center brick.
Little did we know at the time our selection of Vintage Bricks with the name ROSE embedded upon them would turn out to have a wonderful history. This brickyard began in the 1890’s and at its peak sold 400 million bricks worldwide. Architects and builders recognized the superior quality of the Rose-made bricks. Rose Bricks were used in the Ansonia Hotel, The Customs House, The Empire State Building, The Stock Exchange and the Waldorf Astoria!
The symbol of the arrow represents The Arrow Brick Company which has a interesting history as well. I’ll stop myself from sharing.
During the renovation of The House at Rooster Ridge we were presented with the opportunity to replace the wood floor in the kitchen and introduce a new surface.
As we had experienced the enjoyment on our practice project we were ready to commit to a full brick floor in the kitchen of The House at Rooster Ridge. In this installation the names are turned in different directions to avoid a “right side” of viewing as well as creating an orchestrated haphazard pattern.
The Vintage Brick flooring delineates the kitchen area whereas previously the wood flooring blended in with the other rooms. We like this sectioned feeling creating a homey and warm kitchen aura.
We’ve yet to discover a brick with a rooster molded into it, however, on our first hand selection Brick by Brick journey we did find one brick stamped with a—heart. Look closely, middle brick!
And so it rests symbolically at the heart of the home—the hearth—where food is transformed into meals and warmth is always available.
Just as the Vintage Bricks have, this post truly came together, day by day and Brick by Brick.
The Cottage at Rooster Ridge has a small kitchen area and our intent was to create a working kitchen without the use of any built-in cabinetry—as used in current day. The dish wear is stored in a Pine American Folk Art Cabinet and the retro white farm sink was placed into an existing Re-Purposed English Pine Sideboard—more about those another time!
And, the center island was fashioned from a Vintage Industrial Work Table.
The original industrial green which was only minimally visible along the edge of the steel top was left intact as an excellent and unusual accent color to our plan of painting the legs a distilled barn red.
Enter elbow grease and stubborn tenacity (Steven) and an equally stubborn vision. (Jeri)
Quickly the base legs were painted as the imminent danger of RUST hovered nearby! The quandary we discovered ourselves in was what to do with the top surface. We wanted this Vintage Industrial Work Table to become a functional addition to the kitchen as well as a style statement. Research led us (Steven) to a two-part epoxy resin as the solution. The epoxy resin would seal the steel top—preventing the metal from rusting. Equally as important, this resin top would provide a sanitary, washable surface to work on.
With the freedom to feel comfortable drilling into this used table—as it already had plenty of hammer marks and holes—we affixed our first Vintage Paper Cutter.
The Vintage Paper Cutters have become a household go-to for a multitude of uses and tasks! If you haven’t yet read about the them—here are the links for Part One and Part Two!
The addition of baskets on the two “shelves” which are created with the cast iron cross-bars furthered the usefulness of this industrial piece for storage of small kitchen items.
Re-Purposing is the ultimate in recycling and we are proud to join the ranks of many whose efforts at being green is a priority.
Through this Re-Purposing a solution to a small space—which required a functioning piece was obtained. After all what is more functional than an industrial work table! The richness of the history which came with all of the nicks, bashes and scratches was a bonus—and the industrial style is of course, Stylin’!
Post Script; If you are seeing the dried Hydrangea arrangement on the Vintage Industrial Work Table for the first time—here is the link to that post! Enjoy!
The Art of The Collection continues—as we share the collection of Victorian Indian Clubs from Rooster Ridge! Most often we are asked if we are fans of bowling—an inquiry born from the curiosity of why we display wooden pins on the landing of the staircase.
Just for fun—this photograph was taken of ten of the Victorian Indian Clubs in the official-bowling-pin-positions. Yet, we must report these pins are not awaiting the arrival of a large ball that is rolling towards them!
A clue for you—
The Victorian Indian Club is a piece of exercise equipment.
From Wikipedia; Indian Clubs were exceptionally popular during the health craze of the Victorian Era used by military cadets and well-heeled ladies alike, and even appeared as a gymnastic event in the 1904 and 1932 Olympics. Gymnasiums were built just to cater to club exercise groups. The popularity of the Indian Club waned in the 1920s and 1930s as organized sports became more popular. Regimented exercise routines, like those requiring Indian clubs, were relegated to professional athletes and the military, who had access to more effective and modern strength training equipment.
Although strength training is a healthy and worthy endeavor our appreciation of The Indian Club rests in the art of these pins. We love many aspects of these Victorian Indian Clubs—the beautiful wood that was used to create these pins is just one of them.
We enjoy the rich patina that has been created from the lifting, dropping, swinging and tossing that these clubs have endured. One can imagine the resonating echos of the multitudes of hands which have held them—for over a century.
We recently discovered a first for our collection—a mechanical Indian Club—Patented March 2, 1897.
This new design (of the day) has a steel rod inserted into the center of the pin, which can be released with the set-screw.
By extending the rod to various lengths the leverage drastically changes—increasing the resistance and subsequently the difficulty to lift, swing and rotate the club. The rod is adjustable creating multiple successions of difficulty!
At Rooster Ridge we love the artistic display of these Vintage Victorian Indian Clubs, the tribute to history and the subsequent walk with the past—adding an additional healthy aspect to strength training!
At Rooster Ridge there are many signature design genres—the Re-Purposing of Vintage pieces, the (attempt) to achieve meticulous attention to detail—and The Love of Color!
Of all of the design elements available in the bounty of gorgeousness—pattern, scale and texture—and all of the inspirational surfaces— wood, tile, metal and stone—if forced to choose just one (design purgatory) COLOR would be our selection!
Color has the ability to transform, to alter, to enlighten, and to create emotion. Color resonates life and beauty.
As I approached the concept of writing about The Love of Color I soon discovered the possibilities were as endless and astonishing as color itself!
Rooster Ridge is rich with color, currently the dining room in The House at Rooster Ridge is painted deep eggplant. The various wall colors in The House and Cottage are vibrant with; vintage-red, historic-green and warm-yellow.
In the Cottage at Rooster Ridge there is a single pumpkin-orange wall which is enhanced with mahogany french doors! We believe the white trim that separates the pumpkin-orange and brown-red mahogany is the key ingredient!
The thought to address The Love of Color in “color specific segments” was intriguing! “Where to begin?” became the question.
WHITE became an ironic and interesting place to begin—the seemingly colorless white!
White is far from colorless—as there is a literal rainbow of whites in the color spectrum!
What we appreciate most about the simplicity of white is the kind of partner it becomes.
We view white as having the ability to assist colors in remaining authentic. “White helps colors hold their value.” (quoting myself!)
Every color is impacted by what surrounds it—light, as well as the color of light—has one of the most profound effects. Another significant outcome of color use is the impression created by the colors resting nearby. The coupling of colors creates a reverberation of the tone of color.
Our tribute to WHITE is also apparent in the design element this pure entity can provide—geometric shapes, the clean lines of trim, mill work, moldings and patterns presented in white are spectacular!
White, in its seemingly simple purity, creates a juxtaposed aspect to design—developing contrast and a basis for comparison.
When designing your cottage—we encourage you to delight in the wonder of white!
I am the younger of two children, both girls, in my family—which means—I have a big sister! Naturally, she proceeded me in just about everything. The fact that she became a Mom before me was in keeping with our pattern and in the correct sequence of our shared lives. When my first child was born, she arrived with a wonderful six-year-old cousin, a girl, in place—good job sis!
The second Spring after my daughter was born she had reached the age that she would be able to participate in her first Easter Egg Hunt. My sister and I live miles apart and have for many years—so our family interactions are often shared through stories and conversations on the telephone. As I was approaching my first Easter-Egg-Hunt-Worthy-Easter as a new Mom, my sister announced that she would be supplying the Easter Basket for my daughter. It was sort of like “calling shotgun” for the front seat of the car—it seems the older sibling always has a leg-up on the younger sibling. As I hadn’t given the basket any thought—I graciously acquiesced to her request (statement.)
My sister, the self-proclaimed non-creative one in the family, had beat me to the symbolic Easter Basket front seat. As she explained to me there was more to this important self-assigned task—there was a lesson involved. In a big-sister to little sister voice, I was informed that a permanent basket needed to be obtained, one made preferably out of fabric—one that would last—for years. A lasting basket.
In reflecting back, I now realize she was describing a Christmas Stocking version of an Easter Basket. This was a bit of a surprise to me—I didn’t even know that fabric baskets existed, additionally as this had not been one of our family traditions growing up—where did she come up with this idea? I left that detail as a mystery—as it certainly seemed like a worthy endeavor—especially for my little one!
The Pink Bunny basket arrived prior to Easter and I dutifully began the instructions of “how to” hunt for Easter Eggs. We had a wonderfully adorable time! The kind of joyful and precious time that seems to almost magically happen when the ingredients are Children, Baskets, Springtime and Bunnies!
That first Easter Egg hunt was twenty-five years ago—my son was born two years later and perfectly on cue my sister called dibs on providing his Easter Basket—a Yellow Ducky! She had now furthered her tradition by assigning this important responsibility exclusively to the Aunt of these children.
For the last twenty-five and twenty-three years the Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky Easter Baskets have been filled with goodies then emptied and subsequently used for the hunt! Clearly, my sister had done an excellent job in selecting lasting baskets.
Time moves along—and before I knew it the magic of placing late-night hopping-bunny tracks made with flour on the kitchen floor and morning Easter Egg Hunts had lost their wonder. However, the Easter Baskets were filled and left waiting on the foot of a bed or on a kitchen table.
Through the years the contents of the baskets evolved—Jelly Beans gave way to Chocolate Bunnies for her and Chocolate Bunnies were replaced with Peeps for him—as they developed their own individual gourmet Easter tastes.
The Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky baskets have been filled, boxed and shipped to college, hidden in suitcases as they journeyed to Spring Break (woo-hoo!) and they have been sent to Barcelona (Pink Bunny) and Florence (Yellow Ducky) for semesters abroad.
Hanky-Panky undies have been stuffed into plastic eggs for her and Under Armour running socks have been rolled up, wrapped with orange tissue paper and tied with green ric-rack ribbons to imitate carrots for him. We’ve had years in which candy was replaced with a much more coveted Starbucks card—appropriately wrapped in Jelly Bean printed cellophane paper.
During my daughter’s sophomore year in college I was (kindly) advised that sending the Pink Bunny was no longer necessary, in fact, it was preferred that it not be sent. I respectfully obliged, as I wanted to allow for independent choices and decisions. My quiet disappointment was quelled with several Chocolate Bunnies of my own!
The following year, in keeping with the theme of “I’m too old for that” I sent only the Yellow Ducky to college. I received a charmingly disappointed telephone call from my daughter questioning why she had not received her Pink Bunny Basket. I (kindly) reminded her of the previous year’s request, to which she responded,
“Oh that? I was much younger then! I didn’t get it—I was being ridiculous. You can always send me my basket.”
During her senior year and his sophomore year the Pink Bunny and the Yellow Ducky were shipped off to college—and with loving care they were returned to me at the end of the school year. All was well in bunny-dom.
Twenty-five Easters have come and gone and the wisdom of my sister still resonates in my heart.
The original Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky are still here, ready and waiting to be filled. This year, I am sending this virtual version of the Pink Bunny with all of my heartfelt love to my daughter as she is off on an amazing adventure! The thought to hide it in her back-pack six months ago when she headed for the mountains of Peru was missed by me—the Yellow Ducky will be heading to the West Coast as my son begins his exciting and promising career!
As a post-mommy, I can only encourage you—if you are a current-mommy or daddy, to embrace these days with all of the love, earnestness and joy you can muster. (I understand you are tired.) The precious and adorable days of Easter Egg Hunts do come to an appropriate end and left in their place are the most treasured and delightful memories. And, if you wish to follow my big sister’s advice, you will have a lasting basket in which to store those memories!