An Investigation

Monday, January 30, 2012 14 comments
Regardless of this old British Abercrombie & Fitch lighter actually belonging to Papa, it's pretty cool...but how much more cool would it be if it actually DID belong to Hemingway? I found it at this tiny shop - Lovejoy Antiques - a couple blocks from my apartment yesterday afternoon and my mind has been awhirl ever since. After a cursory poke around the internet, I've sussed out the following: 

- He considered La Floridita, the old Havana bar that served him countless daquiris back in the day, one of his favorites. (He's seen below throwing back one of these said cocktails with Spencer Tracy in 1955).

- He was known for buying stuff from Abercrombie (including the fateful shotgun).

- On the other hand, though, the folks at La Floridita have not let the lore of Hemingway's patronage fall subtly into history. The joint has a statue of the guy sitting in there today, so it's no stretch to imagine that this is actually just a nice piece of touristy memorabilia, a luxury version of a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt. (However, I couldn't find others online). 

What do you think?

White Out

Monday, January 23, 2012 10 comments
If you're ever in a situation where you're sort of on the fence about repainting, throw a Bavarian-themed holiday party and create an elaborate faux timber theme with gaffer's - not masking or artist's, mind you - tape. Yep. Do just that. The resulting mess will be something like the images below.  As one cannot live like THAT, you will be forced to re-think your entire color scheme and revolutionize your whole living space. In our case, our new color scheme is pure, glorious white with some Parisian-style moulding touches (this is just the beginning on the moulding front).  (BTW, those tusks are made from hundreds of little melted plastic toy soldiers! You can see their little guns and bodies when you flip 'em over. How cool!)

Room and Bard

Friday, January 20, 2012 4 comments
My family has always been utterly thrilled to know that Jeffersonian architecture never inspired me to read, learn or wax intellectual. All those white columns and red bricks ever mustered in me was a tremendous urge to play journalist and consume large quantities of terribly cheap beer. In the end, that was ok, since I grew up to become a journalist who still loved beer. But I wish my years at W&L would've felt more like I'd imagined, like a movie: cozy, dripping in Faulknerian accents and thought...oozing with some magical dust that would make me devour books like I did in my youth. That never happened. Years passed. Countless novels went half finished (the ashamed would-be reader's way of saying, "barely started").

And then I went to visit Porter at her school, Bard College. Like the most fun guest a college freshman could ever desire, I spent the whole weekend curled up in her tiny dorm room reading away voraciously as she went out and did appropriate, college kid things without me. I couldn't help it. The "dust" had hit me. All those stone buildings! Trees! Mountains! River!

I still think it's one of the prettiest places on earth. And now, the college has posted some of the highlights of its photo archive online. All schools really should do this. It's better than any pamphlet they could whip up. What also helps the ole collegiate PR machine is a huge feature story in Town & Country.

Blithewood Mansion in the snow

Hanging out at Stone Row (Porter's dorm room was in there, too)

The early years when the campus belonged to St. Stephen's School

The Old Gym - former home of the former Drag Race, a helluva hop that was canceled Porter's junior year after all the ambulances in three counties were dispatched to campus to deal with kids, who, on that night, were highly affected by things other than that magical reading dust.

Main Campus

Ward Manor - this is now a dorm
Charting Inspiration

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4 comments
Port and I are keeping track of all the things we'd love to buy for ourselves (but cannot (damnit!)) or for clients (hopefully!) at the Hovey Design tumblr page. I'm a bit heart broken that I didn't choose this wonderful grid theme for my own when I launched it. While it's much more fun to look at the page as a chart, we're tweeting all this too via @HoveyDesign.
Winter's Finally Here

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 3 comments
As a gal who grew up in a place where school closed when nary a flake fell but but winds blew so cold you'd lose a nose if you waited for the bus for more than five minutes, it seems mighty wimpy that all us New Yorkers are crying over the mid-20s, but it's icy and blistering out there! We're used to light windbreakers and lunch outside on Dec. 31! But perhaps it's time to get out the mid-50s speedsters and grab our skis. Yes. I think it is.
Good Will and Testament

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 3 comments
For 2012 I don't really have a's more a mandatory assignment: FINISH YOUR BOOK (on time) AND MAKE IT EVERYTHING YOU'VE DREAMED! So, I'm diving head first into my quest to gather together the most spectacular, touching tales of family pride, childhood joy and nostalgia...and the heirlooms that represent (or will represent) all three. I have chills over the list of people some family friends have suggested, but I want to cast the net as wide as possible. 

So with that in mind, I reach out to you all with a grand request: Do you know anyone or any families who've done an amazing job preserving their legacy - as a family and/or individuals - and incorporating their heirlooms into their homes beautifully?  I'd be thrilled to hear from you! Shoot me an email at

(Above: Frida Kahlo's My Grandparents, My Parents and I (Family Tree), 1936)

(Queen Victoria's family of European monarchs)

(The incredible Black family tree mural from Harry Potter)

(A great nautical "tree" found online)