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Dan and Me

No, I don’t have a secret son or a much-younger brother, that’s Dan from Manhattan Nest! We’ve been hanging out a bit lately, and let me tell you—I think we’re ready for our own TV show. About what, I have no idea, but is that really important? I’m sure we can come up with something.

I’m sure this is going to make Dan blush, but you know what? Aside from being super-smart and funny, he is just one of the nicest, most considerate people I’ve ever met. He’s a really good gift-giver, too. As if buying me Amy Sedaris’s new book, Simple Times (OH MY GOD, IT’S SO FUNNY), wasn’t enough, do you know what he gave Evan and I for Chrismukkah? You’ll never guess…

We each got our own Clarisonic. No, seriously. Can you even? Evan and I are going to have the cleanest pores on the planet, and it’s all thanks to Dan.

I, on the other hand, am horribly thoughtless. You know what Dan got in exchange? He got the honor of baking banana bread with me at 10:00 at night. Cool, right? Okay, and a cup of coffee. And I wrapped up some of the banana bread for him to take home. Come to think of it, he also got to spend an awful lot of time snorgling Fritz and Bruno (they love him), so I guess he made out pretty well. Maybe I’ll even let him renovate my kitchen, too, if he’s lucky.

Thanks for being a good friend, Dan. I’m glad I met you. 2010 was the year of Manhattan Nest, and I predict all good things for you in 2011.

Mehmet Ali Uysal
Urban installation by Mehmet Ali Uysal // Chaudfontaine Park, Belgium

In case you missed them, here are my favorite tweets from this past week. Enjoy!

+ This installation piece in an urban Belgian park by Turkish-born artist Mehmet Ali Uysal is completely fabulous. (via Büro North)

+ Mari at One Ink Pin on what it’s like to have never been kissed at 22.

+ There’s a big Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at Gagosian Gallery through January 15th. (via HI + LOW)

+ My mustard-colored scarf from Scarf Shop arrived, and wow, is it beautiful. I want to wear it every day. Thanks, Martha!

+ I’m crazy about the jewelry in the Fortune shop by Kim Dulaney. (via Design For Mankind)

+ We just signed a 19-month (don’t ask) lease renewal for the apartment. NO rent increase! Yay!

+ Some of the 40 pages of photo collages, paintings, drawings, and writing David Hockney contributed to French Vogue in 1985.

+ Mamma Biscuit had her photo taken with Santa Claus!

+ Did Modernica rip off Büro Tree with their “Superstar” trees? Büro vs. Modernica. Hmmm. (And no, it wasn’t a collaboration.)

+ Evan gave me these incredibly beautiful earrings from Round Designs for Hanukkah. I’m a lucky girl!

+ Keri Smith shares Secrets of the Self Employed (or How to be an Amazing [insert profession here]), and her advice is perfect (even for those of us who aren’t self-employed).

+ Did you notice that the “featured blogs” for December are up? Check ‘em out…over in the sidebar!

mjolkshop
The Twosome Blanket by Vík Prjónsdóttir // From KITKA Design Toronto

Uhhh, so…I completely and totally forgot about my supposed “new category” for Fridays that I announced back in May. Like I said then, I’m not good with schedules or planning when it comes to blogging! This has been an especially good week for tweets, though, so without further ado…

+ Juli and John over at Mjolk Shop did a photo shoot for the blankets from Icelandic collective Vík Prjónsdóttir they’re carrying in their shop now, and the result is both hilarious and sweet. I also really, really want a Sealpelt to wear in my always-chilly house this winter!

+ On the day after Thanksgiving, would you consider joining the Carnivalesque Rebellion and observing Buy Nothing Day?

+ Portland-based builder, designer and tinkerer Matt Pierce has a beautiful new blog, and it’s called Wood&Faulk. (Check out the wooden crate headboard!)

+ The interview with Loretta Lynn on Fresh Air this week was phenomenal. If you missed it, you can listen online.

+ The new line of fixtures at Schoolhouse Electric is pretty great. (And look! It’s Victoria’s nook!)

+ This Arne Jacobsen sofa is pretty much the most amazing piece of upholstered furniture I’ve ever seen in my life. (via Hindsvik Blog)

+ Damn You Auto Correct! I seriously thought I was going to stop breathing and/or vomit from laughing so hard at these iPhone autocorrect FAIL screen captures.

+ If this clip of James Brown performing “Night Train” doesn’t make you happy to be alive, then you might already be dead:

I love this! Carnivores & Destructors is a new, limited-edition Morrissey fanzine put together by Adam Krause at Pau Wau Publications in Brooklyn. It makes me happy to know that the fanzine is not obsolete! They had a Michael Jackson fanzine, too, but it’s out of print, unfortunately.

(Did anyone else used to subscribe to the long-defunct, brilliantly-named Morri’zine in the late ’80s/early ’90s? I still have every issue.)

Now, about the changes around here…

Yes! There may be a few more tweaks over the next couple of days, but I have finally given Door Sixteen a design overhaul. Aside from the design, these are some of the new features you might have noticed:

Featured blogs. Following a discussion about the effectiveness of blogrolls on Twitter a few nights ago, I decided to do away with mine completely. By featuring just four or five blogs every month, I’m hoping to bring a little more attention to each one rather than letting them get lost in a sea of links. (Check out my October selections!)

Social media sharing buttons. I resisted adding buttons to facilitate sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook (and some other places I don’t know anything about, like Digg and StumbleUpon), but the time has come for me to give in. I use Twitter constantly, and I know I like when the blogs that I read have these buttons (URL shortening is built in!), so…there you go.

Gravatar support. If you’d like your image to show up next to your comments on blogs instead of a yellow dot, visit the Gravatar website and get yourself a globally recognized avatar. This is entirely optional, of course, but it’s fun. Your avatar will show on any Gravatar-enabled blog.

Threaded comments. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner! Now I can reply directly to specific questions in the comments, and you can reply directly to other commenters, too.

Wow, I feel like I’m finally caught up with all of the latest features…from 2008! Please let me know if something is looking weird or not working right (and I’m not talking about Fritz).

Mr. Pickle

Things might look a little weird around here on Monday night. I’m in the middle of updating the design of Door Sixteen, and it’s going to take a couple of hours to fully transition everything. Thanks for bearing with me!

In the mean time, enjoy this anthropomorphized pickle.

Remember my friend Adam? You know, the guy who did that amazing bedroom renovation a couple of years ago? Yeah, him. Well, he took a little break from working on his house . . . and a not-so-little break from blogging. A couple of weeks ago, Adam came down to Newburgh from Potsdam for a visit with Evan and I, and I gave him some poking and prodding and encouragement to get going again—with the blogging, yes, but more importantly, with working on his house.

Adam was one of the first people to see our house when we first bought it. He saw it before we’d even moved in! He hadn’t been down since then, though, so he really got the full “before and after” effect with a four-year gap between visits. I’d like to think that seeing our progress was a little inspiring. I know it gave me a little perspective on how much we’ve gotten done by thinking about how different the house was the last time Adam was here.

Anyway, Adam is back to blogging, and I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s all set up with a new layout and logo and his own domain, too! You can find him (and me too, from time to time) at Fixing Adam’s House. Yay!

My friend Dave and his wife Susan (and their soft-coated Wheaten Terriers, Tristram and Sally) live on the outskirts of Philadelphia in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’ve known Dave for about ten years now, and, to date, he’s the only person I know who can outdo me when it comes to general anguish over lack of perfection. I think he may own more chairs than I do, too.

Dave, an architect, has been renovating his house for over a decade now. He’s done so in a way that is not only respectful to the original design of the house, but to the land that surrounds it and to the furnishings within. I asked him if he’d be willing to do a little visual tour, and he generously agreed.

With no further ado, here’s Dave’s long-winded, overwrought narrative (he told me to say that!).

Modern in the Country

Had someone told me it would be almost twelve years to get 1800 sq. ft. and just under 2 acres almost just the way I want it I would have told them they were crazy! Well it is just about as finished as it ever will be so with some friendly persuasion from Anna, I have been convinced to post this progress report for the kind readers of her amazing blog.

I think I can remember the days when we first moved in that I still had about half the energy of Anna and Evan, those were the days when a lot more seemed to get accomplished in a weekend than it does now and the sun setting had little or no affect on your considering stopping a half completed project. Despite this spiraling work slowdown over the years, more than our share of unexpected disasters and the reality of everything taking seven times as long as you intend and costing a minimum of five times as much, here is a tour of the black house in the country.

The house was built in the early 1950’s by New Hope, PA, abstract artist Adolphe Blondheim as his studio and home. Its flat roof, abundance of glass and low-slung profile must have looked quite out of place in such a rural location in the early 1950’s. Originally, the house was designed as a two bedroom, one bath house with a large, 12-foot ceiling, north-facing painting studio. Over the years, and through the work of several subsequent owners, the house has been modified and added to. Unfortunately, from evidence we have uncovered, a majority of the original details have been lost, such as the studio plan, the earliest kitchen layout and most of the steel sash windows. It has through all of its transformations managed to maintain the overall feel and basic character it must have had when it was first built. Like the prior owners, including half of a 1960’s British pop duo, we have completed several updates, all as much as possible in keeping with the character of the original house. Paint color is BM #2135-10 with a custom color for the trim to match the roof coping.

What continues to strike me even after a dozen years in this house is how you are affected by the strength of the relationship between the exterior and the interior and the natural light. What it does do without you thinking about it is put a lot more emphasis on the condition and care of the landscape than you ever had imagined. You spend quite a bit more time tending to the upkeep of the yard and the plantings that are visible and therefore right in your living room year round. As you enter at the front door, the mass of the stacked bond full-wall, inside/outside fireplace anchors the living room and a wall of glass extends the space into the site. By highlighting the planes the walls create with a strong color palette, defining spaces with area rugs and by adding a wall of maple, panelized to mirror the proportions of the six windows opposite we have both given emphasis to the spaces crisp modern edges and warmed up the space. We have been careful with our furnishing selections throughout the house to include a few traditional and antique pieces such as the leather Chesterfield and 18th century oak captain’s box end table to act as counterpoints to emphasize the modern classics like the Chippendale chair by Robert Venturi, four Knoll Hat Trick chairs and a Knoll Face Off table by Frank Gehry. Yellow Bubble club chairs by Philippe Starck and a Frank Gehry Torque table are on the patio.

When we bought this house, we knew immediately there would be a dining room addition sometime in our future. There existed an awkward neither/nor space just barely large enough for a small table and an odd butcher block counter that extended half into the living room. These two areas were the only spaces to entertain or to sit have a meal. When the addition was added, the goal was to blend it as invisibly as we could with the house by using as many existing proportions, materials and elements as possible. We were limited to the size room we could add by the courtyard on the east, the existing kitchen window on the west and by a 60 year old, 20 inch diameter white pine tree on the north that we had no intentions of cutting down. Here we also incorporated glass, maple and strong planes of color to strengthen the visual connection of this space to the rest of the house. The table is a Le Corbusier LC-6 surrounded by six Philippe Starck Costes Chairs. Walls are BM #HC 105 (as is 90% of all of the trim in the house) BM #2131-30 and BM #HC-26.

We currently have the house arranged as two bedrooms and the third bedroom being used as a television room and den. The original painting studio was renovated by the previous owners to be a master bedroom with addition of a master bath and a large walk-in closet. The 12 ft. ceiling give enough space for both monumental pieces of art as well as making room for hanging art stacked. The large amount of glass makes the placement of pieces a real challenge. As a result, large blank wall in the walk in closet has even been pressed into duty as a place to put a collection of smaller special pieces. The 12 ft tall built-in shelves also created a challenge but in the end make for a great place for my larger-than-it-should-be collection of character toys. The high windows eliminate the need for any window treatments and since they are north facing maximizes the light they provide. We are fortunate to live near a well-known auction gallery that twice a year features a outstanding mid-century modern auction and have acquired several pieces there over the years. The travertine-topped walnut dresser and bed stands are Paul McCobb and were purchased there. The bent wood chairs, four in all, were also found at a local auction and all four were a mere $14! Nowhere near the deals Anna regularly gets but not bad! Wall color is BM #OC-57.

We currently use what was originally the second bedroom as a den/TV room although you will not see a black box! I really dislike a television taking over a room (a TV mounted over a fireplace especially sends me to the mat with apologies in advance to anyone reading this that may have such an arrangement!) and we were fortunate enough to have millwork to hide one already in this room. This room has natural cedar wainscoting that has become an art ledge of a series of block print cards from an artist friend of ours that we have been fortunate enough to receive each Christmas for the past 15 or so years. The Knoll Power Play chair and ottoman are by Frank Gehry. The walls are BM #1585.

All photographs are © Matt Wargo. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Thanks, Dave!

Leah / The Full Nilson.

Sara / Lost Bird Found.

Tamera / Verhext.

My favorite blogs are almost always the ones with a strong, personal voice behind them. Yes, there are a few exceptional blogs that are so well-curated and edited that they can get away with “showing me other people’s stuff” (Remodelista, Emma’s Designblogg and Hoping for Happy Accidents immediately come to mind), but they are few and far between. I like to feel like there’s a personal connection, even if it’s one-sided.

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade now (going back to before normal people called it “blogging”), and I’ve made some awesome friends along the way. A handful of them have moved in and out of my internet-life in various contexts for years and years now, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to see them change and grow over time. I met Leah, Sara, and Tamera through LiveJournal eons ago (well, eons in internet-years). All four of us have since transitioned to “freestanding” blogs, but I think we’ve all managed to keep the personal voice behind our blogging that drove us to put snapshots of our lives on the internet in the first place.

Anyway, if you don’t already read these blogs, take a few minutes to check them out. All three are well-written, beautiful to look at, and share pieces of the lives of three women I admire so much. (More than they realize, probably.)

A note about me and blog-reading: There are 62 blogs in my Google Reader*, and that’s pretty much my limit. If a blog isn’t holding my interest anymore (or worse, if it’s actually making me angry on a regular basis) I take it out. If I’m “test-driving” a new-to-me blog, I add it to my Reader so I don’t forget about it. I also use Reader to keep track of blogs that I don’t have on my public blogroll (usually because they are either infrequently updated or unlikely to be of interest to most D16 readers). My goal, though, is to keep my Reader lean enough that I can actually keep up with the volume in a meaningful way.

*Google Reader is the best thing ever when it comes to blog-reading. I’ve been using it for a couple of years, and I can’t imagine being without it. I like to read blogs in their “natural state”, though (as opposed to just viewing the RSS feed with Google’s formatting), so I have a nifty NEXT button (in your Google Reader settings, click on the “Goodies” tab, then scroll down to “Put Reader in a bookmark”) in my bookmarks toolbar. Whenever I have a free minute during the day, I just hit that button and see the next updated blog in my queue. Love.

Okay, your turn: Tell me which blogs you think I should know about that I might not be reading already. (And yes, it’s okay to promote your OWN blog!)


Sidewalk @ 22nd and 5th // Photo by MarkArms

Hey! A new category! I’ve been thinking about all of the stuff I link to on Twitter during the week, and how it all just sort of disappears from my consciousness right away. Maybe I should experiment with posting some of the more interesting things here once a week? I’m not big on schedules or planning when it comes to blogging, but I’ll give a shot.

+ An express lane for NYC pedestrians who are not tourists? I have been wanting this for YEARS (via Design for Mankind)

+ Geometric print tapestry/bedspread from Urban Outfitters (via @UniformNatural)

+ Want to create a WordPress theme from scratch? Here’s a nice tutorial

+ This Viennese attic apartment is pretty much perfect (via h p n f r h p y a c d n s)

+ Urban love letters, by way of murals (via Poppytalk)

+ i live here:SF essay by (& photos of!) my beautiful friend, Victoria

+ This Pappardelle with Spiced Butter recipe is easily vegan-ized with Earth Balance and wheat noodles, and it is delicious

+ 23 restaurants and shops on 1 street in Mexico City rehabbed for $3000. Very inspiring!

+ Black walls done right, over at Victoria’s new place

+ Paul Rand is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH cooler than Rand Paul. I’ll take the former over the latter any day

Today I’m over at the beautiful Swedish blog DosFamily with a Christmas present for you all! What’s behind the number 16? Click to find out!