29 September 2011

28 September 2011

Real Estate Envy: Clingstone

If you've been reading my blog long, you'll know that I am a proud Rhode Islander who is always eager to share my love for my hometown. I relish the opportunity when a friend says that they're going to Newport-do I have any recommendations?

It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I've returned home from all parts of the country. My hometown, Newport, is accessible only by bridges on all sides. Crossing them is a conflicting mix of exhilaration and calm; excited to be home and instantly feeling grounded.


If you approach Newport from the West you'll inevitably pass Clingstone on your south side. This 10,000 square foot manse is a contradiction of the luxury of privacy and the inconvenience of isolation. It is built on a rock in the middle of Narragansett bay, roughly 100 years ago by J.S.  Lovering Wharton. Total cost of construction in 1905 was $36,982.99.
Boston architect Henry Wood, a distant cousin of the original owner, bought the decades-vacant  Clingstone in 1961 for $3,600.  

Each Memorial Day, the Wood family hosts a "work weekend"  to take care of the estate, which needs constant care given its location in the middle of the bay. A throng of family members and Clingstone fans tend to the needs of a 23-room building with 63 windows.

I noticed the shingling done INSIDE the house. This has to be due to how caustic the salt air is to paint, metal, etc. There's NO escaping beach spray, especially when you're in the middle of the bay. 

Being a decor snob, my first reactions to the interior of Clingstone were those of disappointment. Thinking clearly, there has to be limitations on what you can import onto an island. Everything must be transported by boat onto the island and must withstand the test of time and salt air. It's no wonder that the owners take a bare-bones approach to their decor. 
I thought this was hilarious. 
I
All photos above by Erik Jacobs for the NYT

 via m-Altruism
Check out the solar panels and windmill. Clingstone runs independently on its own generator and is completely sustainable. The solar panels heat the water for the house, which the windmill provides electricity. It also boasts composting toilets. 

I've included these shots so you can get a feel for how isolated Clingstone is from the mainland. It is sandwiched in between Jamestown Island and Aquidneck Island (which houses Newport, Middletown, and Porstmouth), and is South of the Newport Bridge. There are no grocery or retail stores on Jamestown, therefore the inhabitants must go onto the mainland to the West or go East to Newport. 

It may be isolated, but I'm sure that nothing beats sunrise and sunset in this house.

Just one last glimpse of Summer for us before it's sweater season! Enjoy today!

***UPDATE: Clingstone can be rented during the Summer for $7500 per week!***

26 September 2011

Weekend Recap

Went down to Virginia this weekend for a big 3-0 celebration of my boyfriend's sister and her hubs.  I will say, Virginia is for lovers....

of Chick-fil-a....Tar-jay.....and rolling green hills. (You have NO idea how much I missed Chick-fil-a since I left FL. It's like crack!)


Our hosts have their own chickens, who had an ADORABLE chicken coop. Which I forgot to photograph because we spent the first half of the birthday party putting together a ping pong table (FYI, only bring pre-assembled gifts to a bday party).

I've been so busy with work and travel that I've really not had much to say on the blog. I've taken a liking to photographing my days via Instagram, if you'd like to follow (bigbeigebox). For someone who is gabby by nature and basically talks for a living, I've found it hard to write about what I see and what inspires me on a daily basis. Probably typical blogger's block.

I skim blogs and magazines A LOT, and rarely read rambling text anyway. I've been drawn to blogs with great images and little explanation. In my creative absence from DIY-ing and decorating, perhaps I'll try to document the gorgeous things I see while walking around NYC for work. Design-related, of course.

Happy Monday!

19 September 2011

Sunday at MoMa

Went to MoMa yesterday to catch the Willem de Kooning exhibit, which I highly recommend (not pictured here-no photos allowed). I didn't know squat about this amazing artist and emerged from the exhibit full of appreciation for this amazing artist. Mr. de Kooning was constantly evolving; he continually built up and deconstructed his style throughout the course of his life and career. Being able to see his entire body of work allowed you to follow the transformation work by work. 
de Kooning Woman I (MoMa)

Now, what's so interesting is the lesson I learned at McQueen hit me again: in order to deconstruct something, you need to master how to build it. Mr. de Kooning was classically trained starting at a very young age and showed great aptitude. As you work your way around the exhibit, you can see his departure from realism and fine detail to his journey as one of the founding fathers of American Abstract Expressionism.

Wait, I KNOW this guy!!! Recognize something familiar from our shelter mags? (source)

Here are some snaps I took myself during my afternoon at MoMa. I'll be documenting my everyday ish on Instagram @bigbeigebox.



16 September 2011

NYC On The Street: Today

Union Square seen from the street. 

Marble Collegiate Church, 29th St. 
San Genaro Festival, Little Italy

Just a few snaps of my journey today at work. 
If you're in NYC, LOOK UP. You'll be amazed at what you find. 

Side note: Some really cool info about the Marble Collegiate Church-

On Sunday, March 19, 2006, the third anniversary of the start of war in Iraq, the congregation and friends of Marble Church hung thousands of ribbons on the iron fence that surrounds the church as a physical representation of prayers and a plea for peace.
Gold ribbons, displaying names, ranks, and ages of the thousands of American service people who have lost their lives, represent prayers for the surviving families and friends. Each Sunday morning during worship, the names of service people who have died in the war in Iraq are read aloud. At the conclusion of the service, their names are attached to ribbons and affixed to the fence with the others.

Blue ribbons represent prayers for the families and friends of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their lives, and for all who have been wounded. The toll of human pain and suffering is impossible to measure.


Green ribbons represent prayers for peace in the Middle East.
Since its installation, thousands of people walking past Fifth Avenue and 29th Street have been impacted by this image and have stopped to read posted information about the ribbons and review the names that are attached.
Marble Church congregants and friends continue to pray daily for the wounded and the day that war is no longer an option.

15 September 2011

Paint Hangover

 I don't know about you, but the green from yesterday's building has resonated with me all day.  The building manager kindly told me his source after I badgered him for a full 15 minutes outside the house.



Fine Paints of Europe "Coach Green." Sooo rich and glossy in person. I wonder how many coats it takes to achieve this??

13 September 2011

Dad's House


My Dad and Stepmom waited an entire YEAR for the house of their dreams because they fell in love...with the house. Its previous owner was transferred out of state for work and the house fell in the hands of the employer...and they were upside-down in their mortgage. The short sale process was at a stalemate, and my Stepmom was scouring the entire Island for a replacement. Their hearts were set on this house so they waited...and waited...until finally, the seller was approved.

The house was built in 1993 (crazy how "young" the house is for New England) in a nice little  "Development" down the street from my old High School in Middletown (the town north of Newport). The layout is great; high ceilings, tons of light, and a fully finished basement that has a large Queen bedroom and a full-size bath.

I was interested to see how their styles would play out in the house. Dad had been a bachelor for so long that it was indiscernible but my Stepmom had good style. They favored a Coastal vibe, which you can see throughout the house in their use of blues and New England accents. The house is so homey, and is peppered with accents that display their love for the ocean, family, and tennis.


 Living room. I couldn't shoot a good angle of this room for the life of me. The room gets so much light...I wanted to show off the lamps...and it was hard to get all the furniture in one shot. You get the idea. (PS the sign above the mirror reads, "Happy Wife, Happy Life." Hilarious)

Guest bedroom #1. The desk, chair, and headboards were my Stepmother's childhood furniture. She passed this down to my Stepsister, and I remember spending the night in these beds, under that same bedding. The desk was part of an antique vanity (the mirror is missing) where we did each other's makeup. Our names are scratched into the finish and are still there today. 
 Love, marriage, family. Little messages like this are strewn throughout the house. It's so sweet.
I know you'd all die for these botanic prints. Again, I grew up with these in my Stepsister's bedroom. You think I'd ever imagine that these would be popular now??
Guest Bedroom #2. I could not do this room justice when I was shooting it. It's HUGE (coming from a New Yorker) and it's completely closed off from the rest of the house. I stayed here during my stay and had my own full bathroom. It's a nice feature to have for guests, as everyone can have their own space and not feel like you're living on top of each other.
My Stepmom is all over this room. The toile, china blue accents, floral bedding. I loved the embroidered pillows with "Newport" on them. You could only get away with that here!



I regret I forgot to take shots of the exterior, kitchen (where my dad built his own kitchen island from stock cabinets from Home Depot), dining room, and their Master Bedroom. I spent too much time eating at Gramas and food comas ensued.

It's amazing to see that both my parents (remember my Mom's house??) have this crazy Newport style in common and I end up the Hollywood Regency Renegade!! All odds were with me toting a Vera Bradley bag and decorating my apartments in preppy, coastal toiles and stripes. 

Maybe it's the classic rebellion of a child against her parents, but either way I've learned that making a house a home requires surrounding yourself with things that you love. 

10 September 2011

09 September 2011

Walk on the beach this am

Found a beach that Higgins loved. Of course, it is my home beach-Second Beach in Middletown. Here's the view from the Surfer's End. The waves were huge thanks to TS Katia. This lady's too old and out of practice to challenge the sea with waves overhead.
The pic below is the view of St. george's School. It's a private boarding school that costs more than a BMW per year and houses kids 9-12 grade. The campus overlooks the beach and is to die for.

08 September 2011

Newport Back Alley

Went to meet up with a girlfriend for lunch at Brick Alley Pub. It's been our stomping ground since we were kids....except now, we take seats at the bar and exchange the diet cokes for bloody marys.

06 September 2011

Going home

Source: google.com via Sara on Pinterest

Today, I pack up the car and head home to Newport for the week to catch up on friends and family time. I'm absolutely excited to get back to my "ground zero" and be with myself, if you will.

The older I get and the farther away from home I go, I appreciate Newport more and more. I hope to share my love for my hometown with you this week, as I will be blogging remotely.





Newport's not all sprawling mansions and blue-blazer parties. There's a "salt-of-the-earth" mentality with the local families who have been on "The Island" for generations, including mine. My goal for this week is to show you the nooks and crannies of Newport and Aquidneck Island that make you feel like a local.

I'm leaving the city later this morning and making the trek with Higgins up 95. Wish us luck. 

03 September 2011

Weekend reads


Some long weekend reads graciously provided by my peeps on Twitter:

Great images, no frills. Just design and life eye porn:
http://www.theaestate.com/ (BTW, Tonia, I'm OBSESSED with this site!)

Foodie Love:

Another good shelter read (thanks, Raina!):

I'm FINALLY on vacation for an ENTIRE WEEK starting today. I'm heading home to Newport, RI on Tuesday to make up for not visiting during Hurricane Irene. I'm staying with my Dad and stepmom in their brand-new house and can't wait to see what they've done with the place since I was there last. Rumor has it the old man sprung for brandy-new couches and a big-screen TV. This is big news coming from a man with jeans older than me (I'm 30). 

Dad and I are going to attempt to make a headboard for my NYC apartment (finally). Please cross your fingers that it fits in my little SUV. 

Also on the list: thrifting for little items that will effectively style my bookcase and finding a few desk chair to upholster in emerald green linen. 

Have a GREAT weekend and follow me on Instagram (ceevee33)to see what I'm up to over the weekend!

01 September 2011

DIY Copycat: Tshirt Necklace as seen on Pinterest

I've seen this DIY floating around the boards at Pinterest and decided to give it a try tonight.

I had a pair of unfortunate high-waisted palazzo pants (from two years ago--I was ahead of the curve!) that were a disaster on me. At 5'3", I do NOT need to be in sweeping clothes, let alone pants that are longer than I am tall. Before I chucked them, I attempted to upcycle them using the tutorial above.

 I cut 3/4" (ish) strips until I got tired. Then, I stretched those bad boys for a few minutes, four strands or so at a time. Talk about a workout! I think I may be a bit sore tomorrow.
The strip curl nicely except at the seams. Keep in mind that these are cheapy Forever21 pants, therefore any part of the construction is shoddy.

This tutorial is easy enough but there is ONE caveat: You must find a garment that only has ONE sewed seam. I was able to cover one side of the exposed seams by wrapping a strip around the area. When I added two wraps, it looked crappy. Therefore I'd advise you to find a T shirt that only has one seam to avoid this.
It looks cheap. Not bad for the prototype, but I'm going to work on this a bit more until I get it right. This technique would look AMAZING with a tye-died t-shirt.

Has anyone done this DIY? Any success?
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