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Friday, April 22, 2016

Finishing Details on the Miller Residence

It has been a wonderful experience building a home at the same time as our good friends, the Millers.
They are about 8 months ahead of us in the construction process, so that has so beneficial for us to watch and learn!   Sunday afternoon, we visited Jill and Barry's home to check on the progress.  They are at the fun stage- paint, ceilings, cabinets, etc.  Another 6 weeks and the home should be ready to move in!


The architect- Travis at Mountain Works in  Cashiers- did an awesome job siting the home on the property.  The property is tucked down in the meadow, so as you drive down a curved hilly road, the house emerges in your view- perching  on the bluff.
 

 A mixture of grey shingles, stacked stone and copper create a structure that looks like it has been there for years.
 
 
You enter the front door through a stone enclosure that is so quaint- feeling like you are in
an ancient dwelling in Ireland.

 The entrance to the stone porch is capped with a limestone eyebrow feature.  Getting the color of the new granite to look old and blend in with the stone has been an adventure of trial and error!
 
 Looking up at the little window from inside the porch.
 
 
The porch has two open windows at each end with massive stone sills.  Again, they need to be painted to match the stone.
 
 
After trying many different stains on the raw granite to achieve the correct color, an old fashioned recipe from master stone masons worked.  Mix soot, dirt, and water and paint on the stone.  Let dry and rub off and repeat!  Voila- you achieve the color on the sample on the top!  Success!

 
Walking to the back of the home, prepare to be impressed.   Massive stone columns support the
upper decks and look like they have been formed with stones gathered from the lower fields and been there for centuries.
 
Standing back from the home, you get the vision of scale and grace,
 that only a home of this caliber could provide.
 
Iron railings will eventually be installed on the deck above the columns,
giving them a "crown" on top.
 
 Entering the living room, a feeling of space is achieved with the 20 foot ceilings.
 
 
 
The ceilings are detailed with beautiful beams and a planked wood that will be stained a light gray.
 
Jill has purchased a massive round  antique brass chandelier that will hang between the beams.
 
The stacked stone fireplace in the living room stands over 14 feet tall and will be framed with a limestone surround around the firebox.  



Entering the kitchen, dining and keeping room space, the stone fireplace sets the tone.  Again, it has yet to be bathed with it's dirt and soot bath, but it's coming!
 

 
Another of these stunning fireplaces is in the master bedroom.

 
Thick honed marble tiles with antique edges are starting to be installed in the bath in the versaille pattern and will eventually run up the wall by the window.   A soaking tub will sit in front of the window with a crystal chandelier above.

 
Detail of the fireplace and ceiling on the screen porch off the keeping room.

 
Column detail on the screen porch.
 
 
I am loving this home.  Tucked down in a meadow with an old stone fence, the gardening
opportunities are endless.  An old camellia tree is already blooming from the old homestead that used to sit on the land.
 
 
 
Watching the finishing touches on this home will be inspiring. 
 I can't wait for the floors and cabinets to get installed!  
 
Updates will be coming! 
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Leaving Lake Bluff

Thirty two years of great memories- that's what I am taking from Lake Bluff when I leave tomorrow.  I have been counting down the days- just wishing that I was already in North Carolina.  But now as the day is near, tears start to flow a bit.  Raising four children in such an idyllic setting is a rare gift in life.   When we moved here in 1984, Lake Bluff was a sleepy little village, not nearly as cool as it's big next door neighbor, Lake Forest.  But boy- have things changed.  Ranked one of the best places to live in Chicago, Lake Bluff is the coolest little town by the lake. Lake Bluff  helped raise my four children  My children lived and played in a safe place and their caring teachers prepared them for great accomplishments in their own lives

My favorite things about Lake Bluff- 
  the wonderful down to earth people
-  the beautiful change of seasons,
the beach,
 the farmer's market,
 Twigs ( oh how I will miss them)
being able to walk up to town and have lunch
(I will miss Bluffington's Tuna Salad sandwich)
 and the diversity of the architecture of the homes.

A few of my favorite pictures of Lake Bluff during the past years-

 Early morning walk by the beach
 
 
 Early morning by the beach
 
 
Spring view over Lake Bluff Beach
 
 Summer over the lake
 


 A hot July Day


No wonder Lake Bluff was named a great place to live by Coastal Living!
 

 Fall arrives at  the beach- I love the contrast of colors
 
 
Living so close to Lake Michigan, fog would roll over the area in a second when the wind changed
direction and the temperature was just right-

 
Fog off the lake in the spring lilacs

 
And the Lake Bluff skies were stunning-




But the heavy snows-

 
And those large sloppy wet snow falls just coating everything- like icing on a cake- gorgeous.


 
And then there is fall- the trees down Center Avenue


 
Fall flowers from the Lake Bluff Farmer's market-

 
 
Known for it's Fourth of July parade, visitors come from surrounding towns to watch.


 
 
The Fourth of July Parade

 
 
And one of my favorite memories- that turkey that took up residence at
the corner of Rockland and Greenbay for several months.  I was so sad when he left town.  
 





 One of my favorite things to do in Lake Bluff- the farmer's market.  Bountiful goodies await!


 
 Wisconsin Cheeses
 

 
Sunset through the clouds and trees in Lake Bluff.
 
  It seems like yesterday that we moved here from California, but it was 32 years ago! 
 Today, a new adventure begins.
Today is the final day of work for my husband. 
Tomorrow the moving truck comes and we pack for our final move to North Carolina. 
 
 I am looking forward to this next experience in my life.  But leaving Lake Bluff is sad.  It has given me so many great memories- a wonderful home, wonderful friends and a wonderful  environment to raise my family. Yes Lake Bluff- It is a Wonderful Life!
 
  It is a good thing that memories pack so well!!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Inspirations

I am packing for our final  move to North Carolina, so Easter will be celebrated  in a restaurant this year.  But I am remembering many Easter tables of the past in my old home. I loved planning  and  setting spring tables after such gloomy winters in Chicago.

 Here are some of my favorites.

 
Aunt Ruth's Fresh Coconut Cake


 
One of my all time favorite florals from Twigs-    wire egg filled with spring flowers!
 



 
Sugar flowers with embellished Lindt Chocolate carrots.

 
Another beautiful Easter arrangement from Twigs

 Spring colors in a gold rimmed antique plate, paired with a Kim Seybert chartreuse silk napkin.
 
 
I used artisanal bunches of lettuces in blue opaline glasses to fill out the table.


 Another pink and orange wire egg from Twigs.
 
 
Note the beautiful bunches of lettuce in the blue opaline glasses. 
 so pretty and inexpensive arrangements.


 
Glazed rainbow carrots of a bed of carrot tops and garnished
with Tarragon Citrus vinaigrette.


 Grandkids hunting for eggs in the pretty violet flowers.

 
Eggs painted gold and embellished with turquoise rhinestones in a gilded nest.

 
A cantaloupe soup starter with a prosciutto  skewer.

 Pansies in antique egg cups.


 
Addison in a Easter basket.


 A beautiful artichoke Italian tablecloth that I found at Homegoods- perfect for spring tables.


 One of my favorite pieces of majolica.  Perfect for Easter.
 
Chocolate bunnies from Vosges Chocolates in Chicago.
 
 
Makes me a bit melancholy for this year's Easter festivities.  But next year on the river-
I can hardly wait for  next spring!