Off to Mexico!

Monday morning Steven and I, we vamos a Mexico!

We haven't taken a big trip since our honeymoon in Greece two and half years ago. (That's the terrible irony about being a traveler who opens a hotel. )

At the oh so amazing San Giorgio hotel in Mykonos, Greece.

At the oh so amazing San Giorgio hotel in Mykonos, Greece.

That trip was wonderful for so many reasons, especially because it was there, one night on a beach in Crete, that we had the idea to open a hotel in the Catskills! And while yes, the dream to open a hotel had been brewing in my mind since we lived in Morocco, it wasn't until Greece that it became crystal clear exactly where this dream hotel should be. 

So, thank you Greece! Or more precisely, thank you Travel for doing what you do best: opening our hearts and minds to paths previously unconsidered. 

We're flying into Oaxaca and out of Mexico City so we'll be getting both our beach and our city on. I cannot WAIT for the mezcal and the tacos and the hammocks and the conversations with new friends... If anyone has any recommendations, lemme know!

The one place we have booked right now is three nights at a kind of a sister hotel to our favorite hotel in Greece (the San Giorgio in Mykonos): Hotel Escondido

photo by Christopher Sturman for the NY Times T Magazine

photo by Christopher Sturman for the NY Times T Magazine

It's the big splurge of the trip, but I've heard such fabulous things and besides, it's toooooootally research. I'm sure I'll learn a thing or two!

I'm also excited to hit up the art/residency center Casa Wabi right next door and see what they're all about.

And yes, the Inn will be closed to guests when we're out of town, though we will have a buddy house-and-Waldo sitting when we're gone. No, Waldo did not make the packing list cut, haha!

Hasta la huego!


This + That: Wed, November 18

Wednesday, November 18.

1. An administrative day. Tidying up lots of odds and ends before our TRIP TO MEXICO next week!! / 2. A neighbor knocked on our door to tell us there were two bald eagles hanging out on our property. So. Bad. Ass. / 3. Generators running their weekly tests. This one's got a "I'm working but not 100% happy" yellow light. Sigh. Always something. / 4. Checking on vacant rooms, making sure the heat's turned off. / 5. Made couscous with leftover beef stew, chickpeas, and uhhhh, couscous of course. We're trying to work our way through everything perishable in the house before our trip. / 6. Moody, moody weather. I'm glad we have Waldo for a thousand reasons, but one them is that it gets me out of the house even when it's not particularly welcoming out. / 7. No more leaves. Well, plenty of leaves! They're just all on the ground. / 8. Waldo. Lovingly looking at Steven. Seriously. / 9. So. Much. Desk. Work. / 10. A welcome interruption from Steven has he runs his latest children's book revision by me. / 11. When it gets dark at 4:30pm, working til 5:30pm feels so late. / 12. Chinese for dinner courtesy of chef Steven.

I Love Lamp: Ikea Sinnerlig Light

Apparently I'm one of those people who not only knows about but caaaares about when Ikea produces a limited line with a designer. Because it turns, some of my favorite pieces of furniture are from special Ikea collections. Like this crazy yellow chair from their 2013 PS line:

Or this PS Vago outdoor chair that lives in Room 7 of our Inn:

Or this PS Gullholmen chair that's lived all over our house and currently resides in our bedroom:

Ok, I guess it's sounding like I'm mostly obsessed with their oddly shaped chairs. Fair enough. HOWEVER, I got really amped about their Sinnerlig collection designed by Ilse Crawford.

Natural fibers, earthy tones, clean but comfy lines... THIS IS THE STUFF OF MY INTERIOR DESIGN DREAMS. (Not to mention the plants and the concretes floors from the shoot...) And Ikea has been torturing me for months! Mostly accidentally in the form of Scandinavian design bloggers who all got a hold of this stuff eons ago because Ikea released the line out there first. 

So when Steven and I found ourselves in the Brooklyn Ikea this past week, supposedly just getting a few replacement door mats and lamps and hangers (we entered via the check-out exit and went only to that last part with all the accessories, that's how dedicated we were to having a quick trip!), I simply couldn't resist the Sinngerlig light. 

Luckily Steven dug it too. So we brought one home.

We had to do a little hacking since we couldn't install something with direct wiring right above our dining room table. We got one of those $8 cords (and $16 bulb! they get you with the bulbs) and strung it up with two hooks. I thiiiiink I'm cool with the cord as is. We decided to go with black instead of white and really commit to the whole "I know, you can see the cord" thing. Kinda like girls wearing lacy black bras under white tshirts, ya know? We'll see. Here is is in daylight:

I keep forgetting that we've installed it and every morning it's a fun surprise!

And yes, I'm fully aware how insane that sounds. 

(What is I Love Lamp? This is I Love Lamp!)

A Quick Love Letter To Our Catskills Friends

There's about 25 questions I'm asked all the time by our Inn guests.

Photo by Ali Francis for The Working Pair

Photo by Ali Francis for The Working Pair

How'd you find this place? Did you always want to open an Inn? What'd you do before? What's the winter like? What do you do out here for fun? What's the deal with the Schwarzeneggers? Where do you go grocery shopping?

Some questions are more intimate than others. For example, I can't tell you how many people have asked without blinking:

Have you guys made friends out here?

When I'm asked for the 5th time on a Saturday afternoon, I'm often tempted to get a bit sassy and say, "Nope. Not a one. It really makes me regret moving out here." Because I think that's actually the question behind just about every question I'm asked: Are you happy with your choice to live out here?

And the answer is YES! Yes I'm happy we moved out here, and yes, a big part of that is because we've made lots of wonderful friends. I can't even list them all of course, but looking back on just this past week we had a studio visit with Theresa and Michael at their gorgeous home in Kingston, ate couscous and stayed up late watching a big boxing match with Stephen at our place, had a slumber party over at Tracy and Jamie's with too much Chinese food and bottles upon bottles of wine, had another slumber party at Sarah and Soheil's where we played dice and watched two great Dane puppies wrestle, and hit up Taco Tuesday in Phoenicia with Jac and Nora. And that's just in the past 6 days!

Morning lattes with Sarah at her and Sohail's wonderful restaurant Brushland Eating House. 

Morning lattes with Sarah at her and Sohail's wonderful restaurant Brushland Eating House. 

So really, this is just a quick love letter to ALL the friends we've made out here. I love you guys! You're such a hilarious and talented and wonderfully weird spread of people. It's easy to worry when you move somewhere new that you'll never make friends as good as the ones you already hold dear, but it's simply not true. The world is full of gems of people. Douchbags too of course, but no need to care about them. Just keep your heart open, and no matter how awkward you feel about doing it just suck it up and platonically ask out that nice couple down the road. Because they might turn out to be some of the bricks that build your heart's home. 

I Love Lamp: DIY Rustic Coffee Table With Modern Legs

When we moved to Brooklyn about 5 years ago, we inherited a coffee table from some family friends that was on its last legs. It also turned out to be a little formal for the rustic look we were clearly hell bent on creating once we moved out to the country. 

Here's a shot from right after we moved in. Right after we'd adopted Waldo actually!

Aw, aside from adorable Waldo, seeing this picture makes me so glad all over again that we painted those built in shelves glossy black and and put all the books in the other room together, not to mention ditched that terrible white Ikea TV stand and generally minimized...

For a while we stumped though. Until Steven hacked some Ikea stools to be temporary tables for the bar--

And then we thought duh! We'll get a hold of some metal legs and use some of the wood we already have!

So we ordered some legs from (ignored any impulse to go super trendy and get hairpin ones) and about two weeks later screwed them on to a wooden door we'd snagged at a country auction last year et voila!

Since it's just a beat up old door, we can put drinks on it without coasters etc and generally abuse it, just like our barn wood dining room table that we adore. I'm super pleased with the result!

Now onto finishing that kitchen floor...

(What is I Love Lamp? This is I Love Lamp.)

I Love Lamp: The Kitchen Part 10,000,000

Our kitchen is that part of the house that is just a black hole of work. Or at least that's how it feels when we find ourselves getting supplies to paint it or making a new light fixture plan AGAIN. But. But! We're getting there. "There" being a place that's cozy and functional enough to enjoy until we do a real deal renovation on it at some point TBD.

Since I last wrote about my "just paint the damn thing" revelation in June, we went ahead and just painted the damn thing. Well, half of the thing.

Forgive the 30 racks of cheap beer and the charcoal bags and such laying around. Not to mention all the storage that is now open. But you get the idea!

We painted "half" of it as in a) only halfway up the wall (very much on purpose) and b) didn't get around to the floor yet. It's like Steven had an entire children's book to illustrate and I had an Inn to run and so we were too busy to prioritize it. Oh yes, in fact, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.


The other big thing we did was take out a counter on the west side of the kitchen that used to run next to the sink. It lacked proper storage like the other one and was generally just a home to clutter up top and dust bunnies below. Sorry, it turns out I disliked it so much I never photographed it but here's what we're working with now:

All in all it makes that corner of the kitchen feel much more open. Though speaking of open, the entire portion below the sink is still open which is not so appetizing. Still working on our solution there. Also a solution to our mini fridge outlet which is weirdly in the middle of that wall.

And here's the view towards the stove where you can sadly see that porch paint on linoleum like this with no glossy top coat wears like crap.

This is why you do test corners! So some kind of poly top coat it is. Because I think once we get the floor a uniform and not-yellow color, the whole place will come together a bit better. 

I'm also currently thinking up solutions for the how-to-hide-the-under-part-of-the-sink and how-to-hide-the-hotel-storage-shelves questions... And what to do about lighting since we don't want to keep using the horrible overhead fluorescents. And what to do about garbage and dog food. Anybody know any really reliable and easy on the eyes containers for both? We've been striking out with our choices for them.

It's progress though! It's progress.

(What is I Love Lamp? This is I Love Lamp.)

This + That: Wed, September 9

Wednesday, September 9.

11 point five cooking with the door open 2.jpg
12 parsley.jpg

1. Day off = sleeping in. / 2. Waldo makes use of the vacant bed once we're up. We wiped him out with a 4 mile river walk yesterday.  / 3. Iced coffee and words on words on words. / 4. Steven oh so gallantly sorts out our wild web of domains and hosting etc that all need to be consolidated... / 5. A walk down the road past our neighbors' garden. / 6. I've been "drying out" a bit lately (aka, not boozing) and have been reeeeeeeally into seltzer with raspberries or lemon or mint. / 7. Swapped out everything on my home office cork board. Yea, it's like a real life Pinterest board, remember those? / 8. Stacked wood. / 9. Played piano without my pants on because it's been that hot. / 10. A (much needed) storm is coming. / 11. And here it is. / 12. And there it went. / 13. An open kitchen door so we could smell the rain. / 14. Our friend Craig was in the area doing some location scouting and came over for dinner. Honey roasted carrots with cumin on parsley and almonds, roasted green peppers, hummous with toast, steaks, olives, and a fig + date almond cornbread for dessert. Morocco was calling. 

I Love Lamp: What If We Just Painted It? The Kitchen Edition

"What if we just painted it?" said me and Steven ten million times since we've moved here. 

Paint. Porch paint in particular. That and barn wood have been our absolute favorite go-to DIY tools since moving up here. Because sometimes you don't have the time and/or the cash to do much more than a quick, surface layer re-do of a space. From our living room--

90% of the work has been PAINT!

Which brings me to the kitchen. 

Oh, the kitchen. As I've mentioned before, it was once the industrial kitchen for when the first floor of this house was the restaurant for the Schwarzeneggers's Sunshine Valley House. Meaning yes it's huge, but it's also kind of falling apart and totally unheated and all in all just a liiiiittle bizarre. And scary. Like from a designer's point of view, I think it morally offends my mom that a place like this even EXISTS in the world. 

We made a stab at it last year-- threw some white paint up and some plastic rugs down, hung some wire baskets and even a barn door!  And it was a nice improvement. See, here's when we moved in:

And here's pretty much what it looks like now:

rustic country kitchen

But this is ALSO right now:

Not so hot. Well, especially not with the the fluorescent lights on which we normally don't have buzzing, but I wanted to give you the full effect of that oh so wonderful and probably many decades old linoleum floor.

Basically we've been torn about what the most sensible next step for this space is. Because while we'd love to do a MAJOR renovation of it, that's just not in the cards right now. But there's also a limited amount of changes we can make between now and whenever that will be, because once you pull at one piece you realize it's attached to another-- and I mean this quite literally. Like the cabinet over the sink is literally a part of the ceiling so who knows what would happen if we tired to take that down. From conversations with the pervious owners, this seemed to be their conundrum too so at least we haven't been the only ones kinda stumped by this room.

SO. What does that leave us with? You said it! PAINT!

I'd been trying to be orderly about this-- saying we'd paint the ceiling first, then the walls, then floor etc. But today we had the grey porch paint out since we were painting the floor of the hotel's laundry room (new boiler = time for a real cleaning and painting) and well, it just kind of happened.

"It" being "the first coat in part of the kitchen" but already I'm IN LOVE. And it was high stakes-- I sacrificed making brownies tonight to test this corner! 

We're gonna let it sit overnight and see how it does. Scuff it up a bit, make sure it wears well. And then hit the second scariest corner of the kitchen:

But check that out! Look at the stripe of grey and how it looks approximately 3,000 times better than whatever else we're working with over on the right? I mean, our hodge podge storage solutions aren't doing us any favors either, but I've also got some plans for that...

Anyway, I'm psyched! About porch paint!

The things that thrill you now that would disappoint your little kid self to hear... haha!

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

I Love Lamp: The Garden Comes Together

About a month ago, Steven spear headed a garden revival effort and painted those old fence posts grey to get us going. We had to wait a few days until our deer wire arrived and then we had to wait til the inspiration to actually install said deer wire struck.

That came about a week later, just as the daffodils were blooming. We realized we had to get in there right then, otherwise everything would start to grow up around the fence and we'd be screwed til next spring.

The installation was tedious but simple. We unrolled the deer wire a few feet at a time, hand raking out the dead leaves that had collected and pushing aside what was already starting to grow. Steven pulled the fence taught while I hammered in the little U shaped nails, about three to a post.

There were a few spots where the dirt was high and so Steven dug it out.

He was also a real trooper about being the one get all up in the prickly stuff.

Though it was my job to get into the tight spots.

If I remember correctly, the whole thing took about two and half hours. At which point Steven decided he was gonna finish it right and make us a little barn wood door.

And tada! A fully enclosed garden once again!

Experienced garden folks might be looking at this saying, "That's not nearly high enough to deter deer!" or " They didn't dig nearly deep enough to deter bunnies and groundhogs and all those other pests!" to which I say it's really more of a "Keep Waldo In" fence than a reeeeal "Garden Fence" and for that it works perfectly.

I wish I had a photo of Waldo laying in the garden, content in the sun, but at the moment I don't, so you'll just have to trust that that's how it happens over here now!

Though it wasn't like we were finished once we did the fence. It turns out there's the whole gardening aspect of gardening. (Who knew?!) And while we'd bought a handful of herbs the other week, they were sadly wilting away in our kitchen, waiting to be planted, and the weeds were overtaking the garden, gravel included. Cuz we've been busy! Which is great. You love a full house at a hotel. But it was getting borderline embarrassing... 

Which is why we were so lucky that when Steven's folks visited this weekend, they decided it would be good fun to help us out in that department!

They weeded and pruned and trimmed and weeded some more, then planted and watered our sad little herbs which will hopefully pull through.

Then weeded and pruned and trimmed and weeded even MORE... til it finally looked like a garden again!

They even prepped another raised bed for more veggies and herbs which we're gonna get from our local nursery hopefully this week.

And all just in time as things are really starting to finally bloom around here. And not just the chives that have gone to seed--

Bu the peonies too as of just this morning!

Aaaaand these other flowers... whose names I totally don't know.

So thank you Kathie and David! It feels so great to have this little garden wonderland back!

(What is I Love Lamp? This is I Love Lamp.)

This + That: Wed, June 3

Wednesday, June 3.

1. So many flowers left over from last week's wedding. / 2. Boiler troubles. / 3. Still haven't found that new cleaning staff member so I'm doing all the rooms myself...! / 4. Going into town = excuse to use my new clutch. / 5. The grocery store. / 6. Tried the new Mama's Boy Burgers in Tannersville and it's DELICIOUS. An insane amount of soft serve flavors as well. Like forty. / 7. Picked up beef for the Inn's BBQs at JJF Farms over the mountain. / 8. Cleaned some more but made sure to poke my head out at the sunset. / 9. Had a go at my studio which had been a bit of a pit lately. Good to have that sanctuary back.

Someone Got An Upgrade...!

And yup. That someone is ME!

Welcome to my new site. Same content from back in the day plus some new navigation. And bigger photos! Because errrrbody likes bigger photos. Especially of dogs.

And, like every writer, I'm gonna promise to write more. Once I decided I was going to upgrade my site I all but neglected it. I'm sorry! Ever done that with a room? Where you're like, "I'm going to give this a really good clean soon," and so in the mean time you let it become a total mess? That was me. With this site. And with my office now that I think about...

Anyway, welcome again! And please forgive any formatting errors from earlier blog posts. Stuff inevitably gets a little wonky in the transfer...

I Love Lamp: Some Rooms Are Nearly "Done"

I put "done" in quotes because let's get real; nothing in a house is ever "done". At least no house of mine. I mean, just the other day I was laying in bed thinking, "Hmmm, it might be time to update this room."

And then I had the much more sensible thought of: "HOLY HELL CASEY YOU JUST DID THIS ROOM FIVE MONTHS AGO. Relax. You're in bed for fuck's sake."

And so, on that note, here are some rather relaxed photos from two rooms that are nearly "done", aka rooms that we've made some good progress on, for which I still have a few plans up my sleeve.

Let's start with the bathroom which I got partially through only the realize, "Ugh, this white ain't right."

Then Steven went to one of our local hardware stores and one of the employees kept insisting he get Direct To Metal paint. Probably because Steven said he wanted the glossiest paint they had. Needless to say it was blotchy and drippy and weird, so Steven unfortunately got a taste of the same "this white ain't right" medicine I had.

Not one to wait around, he got a new batch of regular old house paint the next day in a pure white and ta-daaaah!

Phew! I'm gonna do some more futzing around with the toiletries/TP set up, get some clear plastic soap dispensers and such for about $20 total just for a streamlined face lift, probably switch out the basket, but we're close. And the most annoying part is done!

The other room I wanna show you is Steven's former studio, where I now have a PIANO! All caps because I am still SO FREAKING EXCITED that I have a piano.

I'm realizing now that the only real change here from the last pic is that we keep bringing over more pillows from other parts of the house to use in the window seat.

As an East facing room, it's turning out to be our new morning coffee spot since it floods with sunshine. (The sun is setting on the other side of the house in these pics so you'll just have to trust me that it's glooooorious.)

I've also still got my eyes peeled for a big fat oriental carpet. My mom said she actually might have the perfect sized one which she was about to put in storage, so fingers crossed that one works out! (My mom's an interior designer with impeccable taste. Pretty much anything sophisticated and/or cool I own is from her. No joke.)

AND today we went to a nearby nursery to get those herbs for the garden that I was talking about earlier this week.

According to the dude who helped us there, it's still a little too chilly to put 'em in the ground, so for the next week or so they will be our kitchen companions. Rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, lavender, parsley, and fennel. We'll go back to the nursery towards the end of the month to pick other greens goodies like kale, chard, and basil once they come out of their greenhouse.

The things I didn't know a lick about until we moved here!

Gardening, generators, and basic plumbing to name a few. Septic systems, circular saws, and how to build tables to name some more. How to electronically file sales tax. How to hire and fire someone. How to fly fish!

Did I mention we went fly fishing last week with local legend Judd Weisberg?

Did I mention I'm really happy we live out here? And that I'm still shocked every damn day by how much I love it?

This is kind of an intense idea to just tack on to the end of a "la di da I love furniture" post, and I'd like to go into more detail about this soon, but essentially I'm starting to realize that moving from the city to the country is kind of scratching that same itch that I used to think could only be scratched by international travel. Which makes me excited because it puts every other "I can only be happy if I [blank]" into question. Which frankly, re-opens the whole damn world.

Like I said-- more on that later. For now, I've some play off hockey to watch! (Seriously. It's Rangers vs. Caps.)

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)


I Love Lamp: The Garden Grows

We inherited a big, beautiful garden from the previous owners. Here's a pic of what it looked like the very first day we visited the property:

By the time we actually moved in in December though, it was mostly a rock garden, haha:

And that winter, like this one, was pretty fucking rough weather-wise, so the whole thing took a bit of a beating. The white picket fence especially. So that April, almost exactly a year ago, a handful of friends came up for a work weekend and one of our nine hundred tasks included removing the broken fence and weeding like crazy to make room for the spring growth.

That day we decided that while we loved all of the slate stone garden beds, there wasn't actually anywhere within the garden to hang out. So we removed (and replanted elsewhere) the stuff from the central bed to make room for just that.

We didn't get to it that day, but maybe a week or two later, Steven and I had an Andy Goldsworthy moment and took all the stacked stones from that central bed and laid them flat:

Then brought over a picnic table and voila! Here's our buddy Kate enjoying it a few months later:

As you can see, we left the white posts in from the fence that had been dug in deeply. We figured that we'd see how the first summer went with deer etc to decide what kind of fence we'd need the next year. I forgot about them pretty much all season because the flowers and bushes grow up around them so huge. Here's a pic from one of my days off during the summer which I spent reading (and drinking) in the garden, with guests coming to and fro and never spotting me. Perfection.

After our first summer of use we decided two things:

1. We love plants that basically take care of themselves. The fancy way of saying that might sound more like, "We're re-wilding most of our property and focusing on native species". Which is true. But so is this version of that sentence: "These thumbs ain't so green and we'd rather spend our free time doing other things." So this year, we're planting some pretty low maintenance stuff like rosemary, mint, basil, chard... Stuff we (and hotel guests) can use in cooking, stuff that basically takes care of itself.

2. We want a discrete fence that will keep Waldo in. Because it turns out, deer and rabbits and such weren't so much of a problem (especially because we're not actually growing too many edible things) and it's much more relaxing to simply close a fence door than have to keep an eye out for the pooch to make sure he hasn't wandered off to explore what guests are grilling for dinner that night.

Until quite literally three days ago it was way too cold to even consider addressing #1, so we started with #2. The first step of which was to paint the white posts grey so they would simply disappear.

And I love it already! It looks so good, and took Steven all of an hour at most. Frankly, I don't know why we didn't think to at least do this part last year, but oh well.

Next up is installing black deer fencing. This will require some more digging (which again, we couldn't even consider doing until the ground thawed, which out here is RIDICULOUSLY late in the year) and stapling and such, but once we're done, that should also mostly disappear in the flowers and bushes as they grow up. And then we'll have a wonderful garden sanctuary to enjoy all summer!

We're still waiting for the delivery of those materials, but I'll post some pics as soon as we're done. Til then, I hope you're all enjoying this burst of spring! I sure as hell am.

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

This + That: Mon, April 27

1. Set up coffee for guests then did some trouble shooting for a malfunctioning heating unit. / 2. Cleaned a room as quickly as possible so I could move the guest from that room to one where they'll be warm. / 3. Disposed of a dead bird that came to its ultimate rest right outside of Room Ten's window. / 4. Put on bright lipstick to distract everyone from my dirty hair. (After a busy weekend I prioritized sleep over showering.) / 5. Propane delivery. / 6. Hired a new full time cleaning staff member! HOORAY! Oh my GOD hooray. / 7. Dog run. / 8. Calculating distances and whatnot for a split rail fence for the bar patio. / 9. Setting up for happy hour. / 10. Kept the bar open an hour and half later than usual because I couldn't stop talking art/family/life/EVERYTHING with two of our Resident Artists. I feel so happily fueled by interactions like this. / 11. Chef Steven, who is way too tall for this kitchen island but kicks kitchen ass anyway.

(What is “This + That”This is “This + That”.)

I Love Lamp: New Studio For Steven And....

Last Sunday, our neighbor Robert came by and picked up the mattress from our guest room for his new cottage.

We'd offered it to him because we'd realized that we didn't really feel the need to have a dedicated guest bedroom in the house considering we've got nine of 'em in our backyard:

(No, it's not that green yet-- that's a pic from last summer!)

So what to do with the room instead? We talked about moving the TV up there, hanging some hammock chairs... but nothing seemed to excite us as much as when Steven suggested, "What if I move my studio up there?"

It turns out, as much as he loved having a huge space and a mountain view, it was also a very public space with a distracting view. Our front door leads directly into that room and the stairs are open and right there too. And while you can see the mountains, you can also see where guests park so it's a lot of coming and going.

We tried to solve the privacy problem by rearranging his desks, moving shelves around to create a kind of faux-wall right when you walk in, and more, but nothing ever fully worked.

It looked significantly better when we gave the shelves a few coats of glossy black back in January, but it still wasn't functioning that much better which let's face it, is rather important in a work space.

One of the many things I like about Steven is that when he has a good idea, he acts on it immediately. So yes, we moved his studio that very night!

We had a momentary challenge when realized we'd have to dismantle his desk to get it through the door--

But then we kept going strong! Brought all the book downstairs and made a total mess...

And brought up some of Steven's stuff to his new space. I say "some of" because he decided to bring up only what he uses every day.

I forget where, but last year I read about a family who moved to a new apartment very near their old one (I think it was a duplex and they moved to the upstairs unit...?) and rather than moving all of their things at once, they went to their old place to get their things only when they actually needed them. In this way, after a month or so, it became really clear what they could live without and give away.

Anyway! Steven's new space is nicely streamlined like that. And he loves it! Here's what it's looking like after just a few days of use:

I'm so happy that he's enjoying it so much already!

So what did we do with the huge room downstairs? Well first, we put all those shelves to use and arranged our books:

Next we moved our dining room table in for a belated Seder with friends:

Then we moved it back and I drove to Albany and BOUGHT A BABY GRAND PIANO!

I know, that probably sounds borderline insane and random, but I've been dreaming of getting a piano of my own since, well... since I moved out of my parents' place at eighteen! And it never made sense til now. I kept moving, I lived in apartments, and now, here we are in a big ol' house without plans to move any time too soon so voila! And oh my god, it's only been here a few hours but already it makes me SO. DAMN. HAPPY.

I pulled out all my old sheet music and played through years of pieces. I played my favorite piano piece in the world first, Debussy's Dr Gradus ad Parnassum, and I literally cried.

I'd been looking pretty seriously for the past few months, but it all came together the morning after we'd moved Steven's studio I pulled up Craiglist again and there it was: a baby grand built in 1935, lovingly played by a lifelong musician since the 50's, in great condition, an hour and a half away, and within my budget...! It had to be viewed that day and picked up no later than the next. So when I finished doing coffee for guests I drove straight to Albany, played it for thirty seconds and surprised the hell out of the guy when I turned around on the bench and said immediately, "I'll take it." I hired VIP Piano Movers to pick it up and just like that, it's now mine!

I have to wait about two weeks to tune it-- let it adjust to the temperature and humidity etc of the house.

But it's in tune enough to play around on for now!

I'd love to get a big beautiful rug for the room... the sound is a little bouncy with all the wood, and come on, it would look amaaaaazing.

For now, rug or not, I'm more than happy to simply play an play and play as Steven works away upstairs...

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

This + That: Sun, April 5

1. Cookies for breakfast. (Hey, the've got oatmeal in them.) / 2. The snow melted. Then it snowed again last night. Sigh. / 3. Coffee at the Front Desk all morning. Checking folks out or sending them on more adventures. I closed that bar at 2am last night so I'm a liiiiiiitle sleepy. / 4. Steven and Waldo swing by to say hi. / 5. Housekeeping is a no-show so I spend most of the afternoon cleaning rooms. / 6. Still snowing. But at least it's melting! / 7. Sneak over to Steven's studio to read the latest version of a manuscript he's working on. / 8. Our neighbor brought us tulips for our anniversary the other day. (So sweet!) Next to our books on fly fishing it's like a little shrine to spring. / 9. Turn on the exterior lights and lock up the bar at 7pm after a visit with someone who wants to get married here and a few drinks with guests before they head off to dinner. / 10. Computer closed! Time to read more of Peter Heller's "The Painter" and watch Jeremy Wade's "River Monsters"! Yup. Got some serious fishing on the mind apparently.

(What is “This + That”This is “This + That”.)