The Art of Dining—Chairs!

Ten Dining Room Chairs—One Fabric?

The same color and pattern for ALL 10 ??? — Borrrrrrring!

Ten different fabrics? Toooooo many!

Five varied fabrics—JUST RIGHT!

We have found at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge that mixing  patterns creates visual interest and seemingly energetic movement. By building upon a common thread (pun intended) colors and patterns are easily combined in new and unusual ways! This kind of freestyle decorating adds whimsy, character and personality to your decor! You also are encouraged to take minimal risks as you say yes to the fabric you love—with bees on it or Faberge´-like eggs! One yard of upholstery fabric is usually sufficient for two chairs—why not?

With our anthem of—attention to detail—using multiple fabrics will work beautifully by looking for the commonality of the fabrics; the five fabrics chosen for this installation have two primary aspects in common.

The Color Connection; Each fabric has a similar warm-golden-yellow element within the pattern of the design. In addition each fabric has the same amount or sheen, creating a coordination in the level of formality.

The Hand Connection; The hand of fabric refers to the way a textile feels in the hand. All five fabrics have the same smooth hand and the weight of the fabrics are the same.

These two subtle similarities create sub-categories of coordination, the results— multiple fabrics working beautifully in conjunction with one another. We also love each of these fabrics independently—each is a remarkable design statement alone. Together—pure design bliss!

In the decor of Rooster Ridge, variations of the color red is one of the hallmark colors in our design scheme. With that in mind, two different fabrics with red grounds were selected.

A lovely warm-gold-yellow is another one of the primary colors used within the color scheme of Rooster Ridge. We were very fortunate to find a rich gold fabric with a rooster motif!

A gorgeous green fabric  (with gold bees) was also included in the five, the color works beautifully with the traditional, historic green that is used as an accent color. Historic green is painted on the inset of panel moldings and on one fireplace mantle. Additionally, deep green is introduced through the use of Verde marble on the five fireplace hearths.

Another assistance in coordinating multiple fabrics is to use one pattern in more than one color variation. This approach assists in creating a cohesive blend of the different elements. The golden-yellow rooster fabric had a second color-way on a black ground. The eye naturally connects the two as the patterns of the prints are the same.

The addition of the black fabric works beautifully also as accent chairs in the family room. The retro wooden blinds with exposed hardware are accented with black ribbon. Due to the use of the industrial pieces throughout the house black is an additional secondary accent color.

Depending on the number of diners, the mood and theme of the table can also be altered by choosing certain chairs. A holiday dinner for six could consist of four red and two green chairs. A spring buffet for four might consist of two gold and two green chairs. The combinations and theme inspired arrangements are endless! And of course—there are often requests from guests to sit in a particular chair, as a favorite fabric is declared!

By using five fabrics—there are two chairs in each fabric, the chairs naturally fall into matched pairs which can be used in other rooms—especially for entertaining!

Fabrics and textiles are another form of art—expand the palette in your cottage—introduce artistic touches with soft goods; upholstery, window treatments, pillows and table linens all become canvases for art!

Art Lives!


A Sweet Dream~Post-Mommy Blog: Vol # 1: Issue # 2

We all have dreams. Hopes, wishes and—if we are tremendously honest and—we have removed every ounce of our political correctness—we have…expectations. The P.C. I am referring to has nothing to do with politics, ethnicity or religion. This area of political correctness is far more powerful and has the opportunity to be even more damaging. This version of political correctness I refer to as “Mommy P.C.” The unspoken, unsaid wishes of Mom’s everywhere, which by the way, are as varied as the wonderful children on the planet.

Here’s an example of a “Mommy-P.C.” I struggle with. (Please note; the “Mommy-P.C.” changes, dependent on the age of your children and is never stationary nor to be considered true for all time! Whew!)

EXAMPLE A: “When you have children, if that is what you choose to do, I hope you will invite me to participate.”

Do you see the disclaimer? The empowerment granted to the child and—the angst of emotions I am feeling as I try desperately not to place my beliefs and my personal decisions onto my child?

What I mean to say is, “When you have children, as many as you can afford, (Ha-Ha I like that part!) I hope to be very important in their lives.” I have dreams! Gigi dreams! (Gigi is the self-selected Grandmother name I have adopted, albeit pre-Grandchildren.)

Back to the story of the stairs and dreams. One day as I was basking in the warmth and beauty of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the peacefulness swept over me, as it always does. It is in this little cottage that I write, paint, create and ponder. The downstairs of the cottage, at this time, serves to room our guests, while the upstairs provides a sanctuary for me to be an artist—which I am so very grateful for.

As I was sitting one day I gazed upon the tiny wooden stairway that leads up to my studio, I found myself projecting forward in time as a daydream gently unfolded before me. I saw little children climbing up the stairs. My daydream sent me to a future point in time when the upstairs could no longer be relegated to just me, but also to little (visiting) children…grandchildren…my grandchildren! Opps! I said it!

As I traveled on the clouds of my charming little dream I envisioned one-piece jammies with rubberized feet, soft baby hair and giggles. Simultaneously, as I traveled forward in my daydream an aspect of my mind transcended backward in time to the past—where memories which held the scents and sounds of young children filling a home would always live.

It was during that daydream that the inspiration came to me to paint words on the stairs to be read as children went upstairs to have sweet dreams of their own. (Not to mention the perfect photo opportunity of the children sitting on the stairs next to the word of their choice.)

The staircase is wonderful in the cottage, the wood has aged and resonates with a character and history of richness that only time can bring. It’s memories are etched and dug into the knots and nail holes which we refuse to erase.

With stencils in hand, I began, completely forgetting every ounce of “Mommy-P.C.” I have learned through the years. As I painted the words; now—I—lay—me—down—to—sleep.

I just did it—I put my dream out there for all to see. I choose not to attach any expectations, but rather, I shall just relish in the joy it brings to know that I still have dreams, even…Post-Mommy!


The Sign Says…

We love signs, all kinds of signs…homemade, neon, vintage and new retro signs. Signs can say so much, evoke a mood, make a statement, add humor and in doing so add to the personality of a home or a place of business.

At a casual party or a get-together with friends, quick and easy signs create a theme and serve a function.

Often when the host and/or hostess are busy tending to guests a well placed sign can answer a simple question regarding what is being served or the kind of ingredients used, in that way, always tending to their guests.

“How do you like your coffee?” signs.

This vintage Kendall Motor Oil sign hangs in the kitchen of the House at Rooster Ridge.

The new retro Washroom sign points guests to the right direction when required!

We love the sentiment of the Gather sign (Sundance Catalog) while the subtle color-on-color positioning of the Eat subliminally makes a suggestion to those who enter the kitchen. (Wall color: Benjamin Moore-Raisin Torte)

This antique glass Exit sign was spotted lying on a shelf in a NYC store, purchased years ago—finally our vision of having it lit and installed has come to fruition with the renovation. A brass ring was forged to hold the glass to enable mounting to the wall. A small light fixture was in-wall mounted to create an authentic exit sign! Perhaps this should be illuminated as a cue for guests to depart…it’s late and so many dishes to do…

Guests in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge are greeted by a welcoming sign— Hotel.

The “boys” bathroom in The House at Rooster Ridge has an appropriate race theme in honor of our resident race car driver!

The pendant which serves as general lighting to the bathroom has a wonderful vintage look! (Magnolia Pendant in Historic Nickel – Barn Light Electric)

When in doubt at Rooster Ridge, we encourage you to Read the Signs! Add some signage to your own cottage and let the reading begin!


Hydrangea Harvest

The warm ivory blossoms of the Hydrangeas have begun to transform. Initially, the petals shyly tint themselves with a blush of pink. Each day, the sun-exposed top portion of the blossoms appear to become sunburned from the Autumn days, while the underside—hidden within the shade of each blooming globe, gently moves from pure-pearl-ivory into a hint of celery-green-ivory. This new expression creates a magnificent study of contrasting colors. This metamorphosis in the early Fall signals their readiness—the Hydrangeas are ripe and ready for harvest! It is time for them to come indoors for the winter and grace us with their loveliness in the months to come.

With garden hand clippers at the ready, the time for cutting has arrived. There is a window of opportunity which varies from year to year and is dependent on the temperature, the rainfall and the number of sunny days which continue to grow shorter and shorter. Cutting the flowers too early will not produce the desired effect—a colorful and lasting bloom for months to come. Paradoxically, if the blossoms begin to dry to a golden brown while still on the plant the opportunity to capture the color has been missed. It is interesting to think of Harvesting Hydrangeas as exercises of observation and in patience. Often,  these efforts proves challenging—as life continues to evolve—unfortunately, there is not a “pause button” that one is able to press while waiting for Hydrangea blossoms to become ripe. In certain years the harvest is missed, becoming a footnote in the passage of time and life events.

Incorporating twigs and sticks that have been gathered into a Hydrangea arrangement adds dimension and texture to the finished product—additionally they assist with creating a web-like matrix that prevents the top-heavy blooms from tumbling out. A full and impressive arrangement requires building the blooms one on top of another. The most effective system is creating a foundation by beginning along the sides of the container and working upwards. Adding a rock to the bottom of a light-weight vase will assist with the tendency of the top-heavy display to topple over.

Arranging the Hydrangeas in the location where they will reside is the most convenient way to visualize what you are hoping to achieve and the space you wish to occupy. The downside to that system is that the messiness of leaves and blossoms travels from room to room!

Hydrangea Harvesting can be messy and somewhat overwhelming! Expect tiny white and black spiders to emerge from their homes within the blooms as you work, usually they are amenable to relocation back to the outdoors with some assistance. Do not add water to the vase, as they Hydrangeas are ready to become a dry arrangement. For the first week you can anticipate a little bit of an odor of drying leaves which will disappear shortly.

The outcome of this lasting visual and natural presentation is worth the time spent on observation, patience, cutting, arranging and…cleaning up! These arrangements will dry in place and retain their color as they move into deeper golds and yellows as they dry over the next month. As nature would have it, around the same time the following year, the arrangements will begin to show their wear and tear, dusting will be difficult—the best approach is to dust them with a dry paint brush and gently vacuum—from a safe distance of an inch away.

A dried Hydrangea display provides a beautiful and bountiful natural expression of flowers. At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge the Hydrangea Harvest is always shared with family and friends as boxes are packed to overflowing and delivered complete with spiders! The Hydrangeas blossoms have served as centerpieces for parties, additions into wreaths, as ornaments on Christmas trees and placed in clear glass containers for candles.

During the Autumn and the Hydrangea Harvest we are once again reminded—Joy Surrounds!


Cottage Jewelry

Towards the end of the renovation of the 100 year old Cottage at Rooster Ridge the time came to begin the selection of door hardware. All of the interior doors had been strenuously sanded, puttied and carefully stained a rich mahogany. They were now ready to become doorways to enter and exit—they only lacked the “goods” to be able to return to their functionality and purpose. Leafing through catalogs, visiting stores and referring to magazines had informed us of many of the options and choices available to us for new hardware. On one of our ventures to Pennsylvania in the never-ending-excursion to locate a yet-to-be-discovered-treasure we came upon an antique vendor whose collection included glass cabinets filled with doorknobs. Each knob had a beautiful and unique design—within those designs, many depicted a wonderful tribute to the kind of doorway they had once opened.

Cottage Jewelry

After gazing in wonderment while simultaneously imagining all of the different hands that had once reached out to these different doorways we made our first purchases, in what would become one of our favorite collections. In the weeks that followed, in my continued search and study of antique doorknobs I was made aware of an entire world of doorknob collecting. Which, up to that point in time had been thoroughly overlooked by me—either through the circumstances of the era of my birth or my failure to notice these gems. I made a silent promise to myself to remain more alert of the incredible details that existed around me.

In my research I learned that in years-gone-by, the required time was honored, as well as the desire existed—to bring art to the aspect of ones work. The craftsman, was also an artisan and what followed was nothing short of magnificent. Miniature sculptures had been created—set in brass and bronze and therefore were able to withstand the rigors of time. Glass had been blown, cut or molded into gorgeous works of art. As the glass aged, and based upon the chemical make-up, new colors emerged—clear glass had transformed to lavender.

Once I began my quest, and my newly found desire to become (admittedly, minimally) educated I discovered an incredible verbal reference to the hardware, especially to the door knobs of yesteryear. These entryways, greetings and welcomes were referred to by collectors as the jewelry of the house.

I found this to a be a compelling description and it further opened my eyes to possibilities— as a new way of perceiving hardware. I was able to connect to it as well. (I am not above loving a classic strand of pearls or a contemporary piece of human art!) I knew from experience that the right piece of jewelry had the capacity to transform and to enlighten. Jewelry had the power to set a mood and announce it to whomever chose to glance your way. Whether you were male or female—the timepiece you chose to wear or not wear, the cufflinks or bracelet at your wrists, or the ring—and which finger it was upon…spoke.

My understanding and knowledge in the specifics—especially in the mechanics of the actual functioning of doorknobs needed some education. I found that between yesterday (maybe 75-years-worth of yesterdays) and today the spindles, set-screws, strike-plates and rosettes had evolved. Enter the solution—an amazingly wonderful find and an absolute pleasure to work with—Old Rose Hardware. Web Wilson assisted us by making the required adaptations to our doorknobs as well as providing us with spindles, rosettes and strike-plates. If you are interested in traveling on this incredibly fascinating and historical journey there are many resources available for antique doorknobs and Old Rose Hardware is your expert.

With my new found awareness in place and my just-enough-to-get -the-job-done education I set about the business of setting the stage—creating one of the many invitations to The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. A wonderful welcome to those who came to visit. A greeting to the jewels of my life; friends, family and visitors who brought with them the sparkle of reflective glass and the richness of everlasting metal. All of which came complete with their very own unique and cherished patina!

Cottage Jewelry