Antiquing at New England’s Brimfield Fair

covered wagon at brimfield
                This beautiful covered wagon greeted me as I drove into the J&J Promotions fairgrounds.

I’ve been waiting to go to the Brimfield Fair for years – literally.  Held three times a year (May, July and September), the fair’s 55th season did not disappoint.  Granted, I only made it to about one-sixth of the entire fairgrounds, but what I saw was exciting and inspiring.  There’s something about all those beautifully worn items ~ clothes, kitchenware, furnishings, and all the oddities ~ that speaks to the history of so many people’s lives.  How they used these items, what they meant to them, and why they were discarded.  Part of why I saw just a fraction of the fair (besides the sheer size of it and the sweltering late summer heat) is that I met several exhibitors whom I spent a lot of time talking to.  For me, it was a lot like going to a design trade show, in that I knew that I’d find some kindred spirits as I perused the booths and happened upon some truly remarkable objects. Continue reading

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New Year. New Projects.

Usually we find the fall months (particularly September) a natural “renewal” time, when many businesses launch new initiatives to follow on the footsteps of the post-summer, back-to-school wave.  The new year doesn’t usually lend itself to this.  Yet two exciting projects just happened in the span of two weeks that brought a little lift to my post-holiday slump. Continue reading

Reaching Towards The Sky The Ironworkers of One World Trade Center

“Sky Cowboys” – courtesy of the NY Times 9.11 tribute site

You don’t want to be afraid of too much. 
You definitely need to be a little wild. 
That’s why they call us the Cowboys of the sky.

I had the unique opportunity to visit the unfinished 48th floor of WTC 7 last spring (my former architecture professor was one of the project leads).  As we walked the perimeter of the floor, we marveled not only at the artwork being done by the few artists allowed to call this unfinished space their studio, but also, of course, at the skyline.  It is a breathtaking experience to view the city from a space like that, but what really got my attention was the workers at WTC 1, almost eye-level with me from that vantage point.

These workers are fearless.  Called the “Sky Cowboys” in the New York Times video for their 9.11 tribute, many of the ironworkers are 3rd, 4th, even 5th generation.  Although legally required to harness, I saw a few walking untethered across some suspended beams.  They think nothing of it – which I guess is the point.  Look down too long and your mind starts going elsewhere.  At that height there’s no time to second-guess.

It’s these types of fearless leaders whom I think of this weekend.

Listen to the story of the Ironworkers who built New York via NPR’s All Things Considered.
Read about another fearless WTC daredevil.
Learn about other modern-day cowboys.

monday musings – what price, history?

Philip Johnson’s Alice Ball House (1953) is on the market.
Three beds / three baths / $3M.
Mediocre, yet situated amongst a multitude of other iconic mid-century Modern homes, including Johnson’s Glass House.
Should pedigree dictate price tag?

Pop-Up Retail

The concept of pop-up retail isn’t new.  Within the past 10 years, many retailers have played with this idea of getting their product out there in a temporary, or installation-like environment.

Trend Watching did an article about this concept about six years ago, featuring some familiar and not-so-familiar vendors who are playing with this concept. Continue reading

The Hand-Made Home.

During my time in the Bay Area over the past month, I’ve spent a lot of time looking around at new and curious things that have cropped up since I moved away. The list has focused on three areas (architecture / food / landscape) and how they have changed, or, more tellingly, look different to me now that I’m living back on the east coast.   Continue reading

Trading Places

I’m entering week two of a house swap in the Bay Area.  I lived here for almost six years, so visiting always feels a bit like coming home.  I’m reminded of the smells (jasmine, eucalyptus, rosemary), the sites (the Golden Gate, the hills, the jaw-dropping expanses), and the temperature extremes that make calling this time of year “summer” an oxymoron. But what I’ve been thinking about the most is the thank-you note I should be writing to Craig Newmark for making it possible for me to stay here, rent-free, for one month.  Continue reading