Monday, August 31, 2009


I spent the last week visiting my family out in California. My hometown, San Clemente, is situated on the coast almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. It is a pretty little town that feels tucked away from the sprawl of the rest of Orange County. There is, of course, an influx of tract homes and chain stores just like anywhere else, but the beaches are still some of the cleanest and least crowded in Southern California and the vast majority of the architecture is a great mix of 1920's Spanish Colonial Revival and 1960's tacky-but-charming modernist funk.

They say San Clemente has the world's best climate, and the weather during my trip supported that claim. While Los Angeles baked in 90+ degree smog, the ocean breeze and early morning fog meant sunny afternoons and a pleasant 80 degrees down on the beach. As an adopted New Yorker, I would never consider moving back to Orange County... but for a few amazing days, watching the surfers at Trestles, eating perfectly ripe locally grown fruit (see below) and some spectacular Mexican food (more on that later) and getting the chance to spend some time with my family... it was just perfect.

Cantaloupe perfection and cool ocean breeze. More please.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Looking through back issues of World of Interiors, as I am one to do, I came across this forgotten gem. This is Lars Rachen's apartment in Venice. I know Venice is as hot and muggy as New York this time of year, but lets imagine that is isn't. You can almost feel the cool breeze blowing in through that open window.

The color scheme is what makes this place so great. In fact, it served as inspiration for a friend's revamp of their apartment in Brooklyn: Pink, blue, yellow, red, black, perfect.

Vintage Fornasetti completes me.
And they just don't make terazzo floor like this anymore. Huge, varied chunks of stone and even great.
Nap time.
Images via WOI

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


One of the first gifts my man ever gave me was a little Chinese-designed plastic camera called a Holga. The Holga was first made as an inexpensive point and shoot that allowed the growing middle class in China to snap family portraits and the like. Soon, however, the flaws of the cheaply made Holga, such as light leaks and double exposure, were yielding some interesting, surreal results, and the camera became widely used in the west.

I used the camera on one trip, and the pictures were really cool. Stupidly, I put the camera up on the shelf and forgot about it. What a mistake.

Luckily my friend Jesse Yarbrough has still been using his Holga all this time, and the results are supreme. He has inspired me to dig the Holga out again and put it to good use. Here are some of his incredible shots:

Thanks Jesse!

In other camera news, look for much better images here on HFH, as I have just upgraded to the highly recommended Canon G10. I can't wait to sit down with it for a day and master it's power!

Holga image from The Powder Room

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last year we bought a scrubby little vine from the hardware store and planted it out on the roof terrace. It didn't do much except lose it's leaves in the fall. I thought it was dead, but left it just in case, since we had no idea what kind of plant it was. This spring it came back and grew all over the fire escape. Turns out it is clematis, and it is one of my new favorite plants.

Ours has bloomed three separate times this season, and the flowers are simple and beautiful.

Clematis has been cultivated in European gardens since the 16th century, and there are species native to places literally all over the world, from China to New Zealand to South America. This is a hardy, prolific plant.

Find out more about clematis here, here and here.

Friday, August 14, 2009


This weekend is supposed to be really nice here in the northeast (finally, summer!) and I am lucky enough to be able to get out of the city and up to Maine again. DO NOT WORRY, though. I have programed by TiVo to record the premere of Mad Men season 3, Sunday night.

Mad Men is, hands down, the finest show ever produced on television. Character development, plot depth, writting, set design, costumes... nothing can come close. Every time I see an episode, as soon as it is over, I want another. I watched all of season 2 in a weekend. I am not sure how I will make it through waiting a week between episodes.

In celebration of the return, here are some shots of vintage New York. Bask in the glorious dysfunction, fantastic style, hopeless repression and pervasive cigarette smoke of these times. Enjoy the weekend!

Here is where I will leaving town from soon... Eero Saarinen's former TWA (now JetBlue) terminal at JFK-- a relic of the golden age of air travel.

Images via, straatis on Flicker, CUNY, NY Dialogue, Ezra Stoller

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Seeing the honey bees at the farmer's market yesterday led me to do a little internet searching about bees. It turns out, there are not only locally based beekeepers in the upstate area... there are beekeepers right here in Brooklyn!

Brooklyn Bee makes artisinal honey and keeps their bees on a rooftop in an undisclosed location in Fort Greene. This is because it is technically illegal to beekeep in New York City. These guys are careful, experienced and safe, though, so I am totally accepting of their lawlessness.

Check them out here. And here is a video of their craft in action. If you want to learn how to keep your own bees safely, check out the New York City Beekeeping Meetup Group.
Image via

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The Union Square Greenmarket was in top form this morning. I am going to make an effort to go more than once a week. Saturdays are so crowded, and this morning it was just me and the tomatoes and eggplants. A totally calming way to start the day. Enjoy the bounty of the northeast in high summer:
Peaches are hot right now...
Bees are really amazing. Not as amazing as bacon, but still amazing.
The colors!

To find a greenmarket near you, you can search on this helpful website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Here is one of the delicious, late morning breakfasts we made on Cape Cod.  It was a real group effort, this one.  Good to enjoy on a sunny summer Sunday.  The sausage in the picture is from Loveless Cafe in Nashville, TN and you can order it online.  It is the best sausage I have ever tasted.

Feta Portobella Scramble
(recipe by Serena Haller)
serves 8-10

1 large red onion
6 small portabella mushrooms, cut into slices
1/2 block feta cheese, crumbled
1 handful fresh basil leaves, julienned
8 egges
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tablespoon butter
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 tomatoes, chopped as optional garnish

Melt butter in pan, add chopped onion and sautee until onion softens.  Add portabellas, sprinkle with a small amount of salt while sauteing.  Cook until soft.
Beat eggs until a bit frothy, add milk and beat until well blended.  Pour eggs into pan with onions and portabellas, and let sit for a minute or two on medium heat.  Then stir slowly, allowing eggs to cook on low heat, adding feta while eggs finish cooking.  Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.

Cheddar Chive Biscuits
(recipe by Leslie Feist with a little help from
makes 8 biscuits

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick butter cut into 1"cubes
6 oz extra sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (plus extra slices to place on top)
1-1/3 cup milk
3 scallions, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 450F, butter one large baking sheet.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Blend in butter cubes with your fingers until mixtures resembles coarse meal.  Stir in grated cheese and scallions, add milk and stir until just combined.

Drop dough in 8 equal mounds, 2 inches apart.  Place slice of cheddar on top of each, bake until golden (about 15 minutes).  Remove and cool for about 10 minutes, cut in half and serve.

Brunch Bellini
(recipe from HFH adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)
serves 8-10

5 perfectly ripe peaches
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon
2 bottles good champagne or prosecco (we used Scu Do Prosecco Brut) well chilled

Cut the peaches in half and mash, skin on, in a bowl with a potato masher.  Sprinkle sugar as you mash.  The peaches must be well ripened, so buy them a day or two ahead of time if necessary.  Press the juice and pulp through a fine sieve into a pitcher.  Squeeze a bit of lemon into the pitcher and mix.  Refrigerate mixture until chilled (about 45 min).

When serving, pour 1" worth of the peach nectar into each glass, then fill with prosecco, serve.

Monday, August 10, 2009


If you are like me, you enjoy trolling real estate listings on your lunchbreak, dreaming of how you would renovate and redecorate your very own home. Well, I just found out my dream house is on the market! All I need now is $12 million dollars.

I have been pining after Ms. Julianne Moore's drop-dead amazing townhouse for years. In fact, her fantastic pallate inspired some of the color scheme of our apartment (along with a light fixture or two) when I saw the house featured in (what else) World of Interiors a while back.

She painstakingly renovated this 1839 gem. The layout is brilliant. That kitchen! That bathroom! I am in love. Maybe I'll walk by after work, just to get a look at the outside...

More to look at, read about, dream about: here, here and here. And the floor plan perfection here and here. Sigh.
Images from WOI via Remodelista

Sunday, August 9, 2009


New York buzz seems to have reached a fever pitch about husband and wife design team Roman & Williams. Thanks to a well played PR blitz, their work seems to be everywhere lately. I first came across them when their Montauk vacation home was featured in World of Interiors last year, and it is great. They are also did the new Standard Hotel, Ace Hotel, Royalton Hotel, and a brand new condo building in NoLIta.

They do have their critics, and while the antiquarian aesthetic may be reaching it's crest, I still appreciate R&W's approach to high quality, eclectic design. It may be a tiny bit dogmatic at times, but it always comes across as well thought out, fun, classy and comfortable without fetishizing the antique (well, maybe a little sometimes-- I could do without the scull and cross bone plaque).

All things Roman & Williams, along with others' thoughts: here, here, here, here, and here.

Here is a related piece about the detailed, highly crafted brickwork involved in their 211 Elizabeth building. Interesting, because while it is commendable that they care about quality, are working with the neighborhood's architectural context, and are supporting a disappearing craft... when does a design move from contextual to just an exercise in old world techniques without sufficient innovation? I am not sure, and I still like the building, but it is something to think about as the current trend for all things old wears on. In 20 years, will this building be a classic, or a kitschy-weird throw back that makes people cringe? My vote is for classic.

Images from and WOI