May 4, 2010
Everyone should have a neighbor like Debra—that impossibly chic former investment banker turned decorator with a PhD in mysticism and perfect skin. I’ve been going back and forth on what stain to use on the back wall—ash, walnut, natural, oak? So I called Debra, who came up with the genius idea of using a 60/40 water/paint wash using the same paint that is going on the walls and ceiling. In a small space, she said, we needed continuity of color. The paint is Farrow & Ball Light Gray, which is also featured in our bedroom and living room. I emphatically believe it is the prettiest color of paint in the whole wide world, and sometimes I just gaze at our bedroom walls mesmerized by it. Out in the garage, the washed boards are going up on the back wall as we speak, and the effect is so beautiful—it looks like the weathered redwood homes throughout Sea Ranch near where I grew up.
April 19, 2010
My husband grew up in Manhattan and our contractor, Billy Hartman, is from Queens. While I’m talking paint chips, they’re talking Mets pitching rotation. But one language we all speak turns out to be concrete. My husband and I wanted the slab in our garage scored to look like a New York City sidewalk—what Billy says is called a “city seam.” There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the seams, as well as practical (these control joints help localize cracking). When it came to color, instead of a cold cityscape vibe, we added warmth and depth to the slab with subtle stain, which the pros achieved by sprinkling burgundy- and brick-colored powder pigments over the freshly poured concrete and smoothing it in with a trowel. I’ve been told that, much like a tattoo, you only get one chance with stain, so best leave it to the pros. And all the better if they’re in a New York state of mind.
April 7, 2010
What you’re looking at is beautiful chaos that is our garage floor. Today the demolition derby arrived armed with sledgehammers to tear up the concrete foundation in our garage, which, after nine decades of earthquakes and such, was ready to give up the good fight. Next up? At the end of the week we’re pouring a new concrete slab, which will double as the floor in my office conversion. According to our contractor, concrete will crack no matter what. And the best way to minimize catastrophic cracking is to cut grooves in the concrete to encourage the slab to crack in these control joints. Aesthetically I was resisting the idea—I had envisioned one smooth, seamless slab—until I stumbled upon these shots of Pierre Frey’s apartment in New York. How chic is this floor?