Monday, April 23, 2012

A trip to the Hamptons anyone?

It's not always easy coming back from vacation - it's back to the same old, same old routine. But this past week I felt like I had packed my bags in Palm Springs only to land in the Hamptons, and in time for the 'season' too boot!

You see my clients have a stunning residence in Redmond that gives the classic shingle style architecture of the Hamptons a serious run for its money. This new listing gave way to many Broker's Opens and a delightful and sunny Sunday Open House this past week, making my job simply, well, relaxing.

A dear friend has a family home on Martha's Vineyard. She spends time there every summer with her two sons, husband and his family. She comes back tanned and relaxed with the most marvelous stories and as she chats my mind drifts off to images of lounging on the porch of a classic weathered beach house breathing in the salty ocean surf. Ahhh.

Last week was a bit like that, sans the salty ocean surf of course. Architect, Peter Stoner captured the true essence of a classic Hamptons residence (those wonderful shingle structures that sit magnificiently along the coastline) when he built my clients' beauty.

My love of shingle style architecture was formed when I spent weekends at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, Oregon and has remained with me since.
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, Oregon

Sometimes, when I need a quick fix (could I possibly be addicted?) I'll pop in the movie Something's Gotta Give which eptimizes the classic Hamptons beach house. To me, it's the grand daddy. Yep, I know it's not really in the Hamptons and that the interiors are just a series of sets, but man o' man how I love that home.
Exterior shot of Diane Keaton's character's Hamptons beach house in Something's Gotta Give
Living room set from Something's Gotta Give

The kitchen from Something's Gotta Give that swept the nation
- people are still dreaming about this one

Here's a list of characteristics found present in most classic shingle style homes:

1) Weathered and worn wooden shingles with a complimenting trim color, most often bright white but sometimes a deep green or a rich New England red and less often a soft turquoise or seashell pink.

2) Great windows with lots of grille work in varying shapes and design.

3) Excellent use of 'massing' by way of dormers, porches, turrets, and/or conservatories and wonderful use of decorative ornamentation such as intricate molding and trim detail.

Most shingle style homes are quite large (my client's home is 6280 sq. ft.). To make them feel more welcoming and less austere, good architects employ tricks of the trade such as massing (building the house to look as though it had been added onto over time by using different styles, shapes and sizes to the faux additions).

Looking through this list, there is no question my clients' home, built in 1990 embodies the characteristics of a true classic Hamptons shingled home. The architect used the same 'tricks' as the original builders of this style to create a truly delightful home here on the west coast.
additional photos online at
Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

bring on the bunny

Raison d'etre is an expression I glommed on to early in my French lessons. Translated, it means 'reason for existence'. I have found many raisons d'etre in my life but none more important than my two daughters, Renee et Nicole.

Hosting events, where family and friends gather close, to celebrate the holidays has always been key to my goal of creating warm and happy childhood memories for them. I admit, as an avid entertainer, my reasons for Puttin' on the Ritz are not purely selfless - I so enjoy throwing a party!

This year we will be celebrating Easter in Palm Springs but that doesn't mean I can't take along some of my favorite traditions.

Easter just isn't Easter unless you have the right basket for that special hunt. Click here for some great ideas for using and decorating Easter Baskets

We start our festivities early by coloring hard boiled eggs and blowing out raw eggs to use in our decorations. Saturday night, the girls fill their grass lined baskets with these eggs and set them out along with some carrots and a note for the Easter Bunny. Legend has it, the Easter Bunny hops in, replaces the eggs with chocolate goodies and hides them for them to find Easter morning. Upon waking, they run around the house searching for their treasure - looking in cupboards, the oven, behind curtains and drapery, under beds and on top of furniture. Even now, as teens, they relish in this fun hunt and their just rewards!

Who wouldn't love going from this....

to this?
Once the baskets have been found it's time to start cooking. We've been cooking the same dishes for years now. This classic French Toast made with buttermilk is the best you will ever serve. I personally love this spicy Bloody Mary and of course it wouldn't be a spring brunch without asparagus in hollandaise sauce.

Martha Stewart's Classic Buttermilk French Toast Recipe from 1991
Martha Stewart's Spicy Bloddy Mary Recipe
Saveur's easy Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Spring decor is always easy. With so many colorful blooms just outside the door all it takes are some simple vessels, a little moss, some blown eggs and voila! - instant spring. 

For a cheery welcome make this simple door decoration. Take an ordinary umbrella, tie a ribbon 1/3 way up. Create pockets with the front ribs then fill with moss, a nest with blown eggs, and some spring blooms tucked in vials or plastic bags filled with wet oasis.  Goodbye rain - hello sunshine!
Holiday decorating is easy when you keep it to a minimum and everything in the same color palette.
Keep it simple...
but add some special touches here and there. Who doesn't like a bunny?
(be sure to click on all the purple type for helpful links to the subject matter)

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter!

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur