Sunday, December 26, 2010

White (Day After) Christmas

While we spent the month watching news reports of relentless rains in Southern California, record-breaking snow accumulations of up to 9 feet (that's FEET) in the Sierra Nevada's, and a slew of deadly and violent weather systems hitting The Great Plains and Midwest, we New Yorker's managed to make it through most of December unscathed. That was until December 25, when a major storm system brought 20 inches of snow to Central Park, paralyzing a surprizingly unprepared city.

The snow accumulations in The Catskills were not as serious and once everything was covered in about seven inches of snow, it was picture perfect. Of course, now that I've had the pleasure of shoveling my driveway, I regret having the house set back so far from the road (something that I considered a plus when I purchased it). It's the same feeling I get when I fire up the push lawn mower every spring--asking myself why I needed such a big yard. I guess the old adage...the grass is always greener...or conversely, the snow is always true.

Here's some winter views of Trout House. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Honest Solution

There are very few rooms in my house that haven't gone through some attempt at make-over (essentially the basement and an upstairs walk-in closet.) I started to work in the basement last fall—applying a sealer to the laid stone foundation and a fresh coat of paint to the floor—but had to stop short because of the increasing cold temperatures. You'll see more of that project when spring returns. As for the upstairs closet, I ran out of excuses not to tackle the project this month.

The closet was originally built into a low-sloping, front-facing dormer, giving it a generous foot print (5' X 9') but gradually diminishing height. Among its positive features, the closet was separated from the bedroom by a door and had a double hung window providing daylight and ventilation. The negatives were peeling wallpaper, cracking plaster, and three sliding doors that had become so warped that only one of the doors was able to perform the job for which is was named.

Here is the closet now (right). I hung drywall, taped and plastered the seams, and cut the doors, using the straightest pieces to create a make-shift wood frame to hold a hanging clothes pole. You can still see the brass thumb pulls that served the original doors.

My dream for the space would be to have a modern-day Shaker carpenter build a floor-to-ceiling wall of units with sleek, flat-fronted drawers, storage cabinets and compartments, and a door-fronted hanging closet. Of course, now that I look at the closet in this photo—uncluttered and clean, it already seems to reflect a Shaker-like aesthetic: necessary and useful . . . and in its simple honesty . . . beautiful.