Category Archives: Reimagining

A Moment in the Kitchen: Mint Tea

From JH:

a moment in the kitchen: mint tea

homegrown and handmade

In my ongoing effort to use all of summer’s mint before winter gets it, I dried a bunch and rigged two dozen tea bags. Hang the mint upside down for two weeks. Then, when it’s so dry it crumbles, bundle 2 tbsp-doses in double-layered, extra-fine cheesecloth, and secure the pouches with kitchen twine.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Gift Ideas, On the Cheap, Raw Materials, Reimagining

A Fireplace Fix

From DW:

This is one of the best examples of “rigging” I have seen in some time. Good friends of mine moved into a fantastic new apartment recently, but as with most Brooklyn rentals, a few details were a little janky.  Such as: The weird 70’s fireplace with faux stonework, which was doing nothing for Scott and Nina’s minimal mid-century aesthetic:

the fireplace beforehand

before

And so, Scott came up with a clever DIY Rig. At Pearl Paint he bought sheets of foamcore, which he then cut to fit the fireplace’s dimensions. Next, he covered the foamcore with faux tin-ceiling wallpaper, in white, and then adhered the new façade to the fireplace with poster putty. Voila:

the fireplace after a good rig

after

p.s. You can do this, too. No problem!

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Filed under Do It Yourself, On the Cheap, Raw Materials, Reimagining

Urban Ore EcoPark

From JH:

an aisle of old french doors

an aisle of old french doors

The Berkeley, CA equivalent of New York’s Build It Green! NYC is a place called Urban Ore, where used and salvaged housewares––everything from doors to faucets, electronics, and tools––are on sale at good prices with hopes of getting a second chance at domestic bliss. To be honest, pretty much everything in this giant warehouse and its adjacent scrap yard requires re-purposing, re-painting, or re-finishing of some kind, but the potential is overwhelming. I had the pleasure of visiting when I was in the Bay Area this past weekend (thanks, TB), and what I found was wonderful, the collections especially:

metal doorknobs

brass and enamel doorknobs

:

salvaged bathtub feet

salvaged bathtub feet

The weathered bathtub feet would make really beautiful bookends, I thought, but because they were so heavy (oh, so heavy, and I was carrying-on back to Brooklyn), I opted instead for a set of travel-friendly porcelain drawer pulls, to replace the rusty ones in my kitchen. Just $20 for 17:

mid-century porcelain cabinet handles

mid-century porcelain-and-brass drawer pulls

Urban Ore, 900 Murray Street, Berkeley CA; 510.841.7283; http://www.urbanore.us

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Filed under On the Cheap, Raw Materials, Recycling, Reimagining

Natural Fashion

From JH:

The following images are from Hans Sylvester’s Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration From Africa. The people pictured are members of the Surma and Mursi tribes of the Omo Valley, bordering Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan. I am in awe:

photograph by hans sylvester

photograph by hans sylvester

:

photograph by hans sylvester

photograph by hans sylvester

:

photograph by hans sylvester

photograph by hans sylvester

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Clothes and Accessories, Flora, Reimagining

A Moment in the Kitchen on Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire

From JH:

the fire pit

the fire pit

That’s right, this was the kitchen in which JB and I cooked some of the finest 4th of July food ever––hamburgers and s’mores. Inspired by Francis Mallman’s new book, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, we built this wood burning fire pit from scratch, to cook in, to keep warm by, to lose time looking at during our weekend on Lake Sunapee. It took cunning and a lot of heavy lifting, but our efforts paid off; balancing a grill rack between some of the rocks made for a perfect cook-top. Mallman is right, there is a beautiful thing that happens when smoke and hot metal hit cold meat––the almost sticky crust that covered our hamburgers was unlike any we’ve achieved using a propane grill. And there’s a beautiful thing, too, that happens when you’re left alone with the fire after the food is all gone. Hours pass, stories get told, and the moon crosses the sky slowly until what’s left of the throbbing, silent coals sends you reluctantly off to sleep.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself, Raw Materials, Reimagining

Welcome to the Dollhouse

From DW:

the dollhouse

the dollhouse

In lieu of a Brooklyn brownstone to renovate and blog about,  I am currently undertaking a renovation project of another sort: The dollhouse. It is actually an architectural model that I inherited from a friend (one of several, Mr. Urffer was an architect). This one was left abandoned in a storage unit for 50 years. SS likes to joke that even the mice are too spooked inhabit it!

Personally, I love everything about it, the brass door hinges, the clapboard siding, even it’s decrepit-ness. All of the tiny details are perfect––it was made meticulously to scale and constructed with the proper materials, even. Notice  the beautiful dormer windows…they are double-glazed and they actually open and close.

This is a side view, and inside the open door is a mudroom that will one day be a tiny kitchen.

the front porch

the front of the house

I can’t wait to build and plant  little window boxes and install a porch swing. First, though, I have to replace some of the windows and repair the shingles––with the house were a box of  extras. Then, a massive spring cleaning is in order.

a bird's-eye-view of the interior

a bird's-eye-view of the interior

The roof of the house lifts off so that you can see the diminutive beam-and-board constructed interior of the main room. I am thinking to modernizing the living space by building a sleeping loft in the unfinished second floor, and making a silver Calderesque mobile to hang from the beams.

I like the idea of a cozy cabin aesthetic; a stone fireplace made out of river rocks, a sheepskin rug, a farmhouse table.

My fantasy country home in miniature. Stay tuned!

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Filed under Find & Fix, Reimagining

The Handmade Greenhouse

From JH:

recycled bottle" greenhouses"

recycled bottle" greenhouses"

I know that it looks totally janky, but it works. Simply cut an old plastic bottle in half, fill the bottom half with soil, plant your seedlings, and cover with the top half of the bottle. If you have trouble fitting the top half into the bottom some, just cut a few slits along the edge of either one. Instant greenhouse! Remove the cap for easy watering access, or just to let the plants breathe a little. Above, those are tomatoes that I transferred from the cheap Jiffy box––they’ve outgrown their peat pellets, but they’re still too fragile for the real world. 

new tomato plants

new tomato plants

 

austin red pear tomato

austin red pear tomato

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Gardening, On the Cheap, Raw Materials, Recycling, Reimagining, The Growth of a Garden