dressing up lancaster ave in paoli 

On the corner of South Valley and Lancaster Ave. have always sat these really cool 1920s store fronts. But for years they were kind of run down with apartments above.  When they were sold, people were naturally nervous because well, more tend to tear things down these days. They don’t often choose adaptive reuse.

But my friend from my living in Lower Merion Township days, Lauren Wylonis, had a vision and here we are: an absolutely stunning restoration and adaptive reuse…and an absolutely gorgeous retail store.

Kings Haven Design, another arm of her Kings Haven brand, which includes things like Kings Haven Properties as well.

The store is full of super beautiful and unusual things, a carefully curated collection.  This is a store that individuals just seeking that something special for their home and design professionals. As a matter of fact, you can read all about Kings Haven in the latest edition of my other friend Caroline O’Halloran’s Savvy Main Line!

What Lauren and her team have accomplished is extraordinary, and her taste is marvelous.

Lauren and I both made the move to Chester County from Lower Merion a few years ago at around the same time.  

“We have always shared a love of the cool old architecture of the Main Line and beyond, and Lauren parlayed that love plus her amazing taste and talent for finding the coolest pieces into the Kings Haven brands!

Check out her store! Adaptive reuse can be really really awesome!  I promise you will love, love, love the store!

Opens to the public December 10!

sunekrest

Wharton Esherick Farmhouse Sunekrest in Paoli

Wharton Esherick Farmhouse Sunekrest in Paoli

I have been busy, so I am behind in my photos. And I thought I would take a moment to share something really special: Wharton Esherick’s Sunekrest. Thanks to my dear friend Pattye Benson who is President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, Esherick’s Sunekrest was on their historic house tour in Septmenber – every year I think Pattye can’t possibly do better, and every year she knocks it out of the park.  The house tour is a fundraiser for the trust and it is so lovely and one of my favorite things.

From AmericanBungalow.com:

Many of the American Impressionists of the time were taking their canvasses out into the fields to paint from nature, and Esherick was longing to get away from the city as well. With a small inheritance he received from his grandmother, he and his wife, Letty, purchased an 1839 stone farmhouse that they nicknamed Sunekrest (pronounced “Sunny Crest”), situated on a five-acre plot in rural Chester County, west of Philadelphia. Esherick focused on his painting and farmed the land to feed his family. His work from this formative period was primarily oil-on-canvas and featured sites and scenes from the bucolic life that surrounded him.

If you are a Wharton Esherick fan, seeing Sunekrest is so amazing. His work, his furniture, a setting so beautiful it takes your breath away.  You can read about Sunekrest and other things in the Esherick family papers (partially online thanks to the University of Pennsylvania.)

dsc_7760A great summary of what goes on with the Wharton Esherick Museum which bough Sunekrest to preserve it in 2014 can be found in a grant proposal they completed for the Chester County Community Foundation I think this year.

I love woodcuts, the art of woodblock and Wharton Esherick’s are beautiful. I wish I had one of his prints. You can order restrikes of some of his works and amazing note cards through the museum.  

dsc_7799I also love the lines of his furniture. Simple, modern, ahead of his time and he bought out the beauty in the piece of wood he was working with.

Anyway, seeing Sunekrest was so very cool, and the people from the Wharton Esherick Museum are so nice.

Enjoy the photos!!

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january  stroll down memory lane 

 In the early morning twilight I can hear them. Just before dawn I still remember what they sound like and see them in my mind’s eye.

Who?

My favorite relatives who are no longer on this earth. It sounds creepy but it’s really not. They were very happy part of my growing up.

Maybe it’s a reflection of my 51 years or my inner child needs to let loose once in a while, I don’t know. But when I think of my favorite great aunts and uncles and grandparents and even my father it’s always at those predawn times when I am just waking up.

This morning I heard my Great Uncle Carl talking to his dog Lancelot. When I was little Lancelot was this absolutely gorgeous German Shepherd. He was my uncle’s pride and joy.

I rarely hear or can summon mental images of my maternal grandparents my paternal grandfather. They were the first to die when I was very young, so my memories of them are more faint. 

My paternal grandfather, Pop Pop helped me along with my father plant my first tomato plants and our garden’s first rosebush when I was little – the hybrid tea rose John F. Kennedy. That rose was one of the most spectacular white roses. It’s a shame you don’t see that rose very often anymore.

My Mumma, my mother’s mother, was Pennsylvania German from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She was blonde and blue-eyed and always wore her hair in a French twist. I swear I never saw that woman in a robe and bedroom slippers. She was always dressed with her make up on. She was a great cook, especially when it came to baking. I remember as a little girl she used to make those lemon and blueberry meringue pies with the diner-high meringue. It is also because of her that I learned how to do needlework. She did the most beautiful embroidery. As a matter fact, my mother recently gave me a whole bunch of now antique linens that were made by her and the women in her family.

My Mumma unfortunately slid into horrible Alzheimer’s or dementia when my maternal grandfather, my Poppy died. As a matter fact the last memory I have of Mumma speaking and acting clearly was when she called our house to tell my mother that my grandfather ( this one I called Poppy) had had a heart attack and died.  

Poppy had been older than Mumma. He was little and Irish and had been among other things, a carpenter. He made some of the toys my sister and I played with when we were little. Poppy was very sweet. I think I was in eighth grade when he died. When he got tired of too much women’s nattering he would turn his hearing aids off.

When my Pop Pop (my father’s father) died I think I might’ve been six or eight years old I don’t even remember I was that little. I remember the long ride to the church in North Philadelphia where he was buried out of and putting a little bunch of violets in his coffin. And then an even longer ride to the cemetery he is buried in.

But back to my Uncle Carl. My Uncle Carl was a pharmacist. He owned Trooper Pharmacy in Trooper, Pennsylvania. And I still have the mortar and pestle he gave my father. It’s still the best thing for making pesto. He had started out with his brother at another pharmacy they owned that was on the corner of 12th and Ritner in South Philadelphia.

My Uncle Carl and Aunt Rose lived in Collegeville. They lived up Ridge Pike when it was still country, and my grandmother and great aunts would refer to where they lived as the “country”. They lived in a big house and they never actually use the second floor it was so big. They had one child, my father’s cousin Carl who had gone to Annapolis to the Naval Academy and been in the Navy. He and his then wife Linda were so very glamorous to me when I was a little girl – they were quite the striking couple. I loved when we would go to visit them in Maryland. The second house they lived in was this fabulous Victorian in Ellicott City. I think at that time their dog was a Dalmatian.

My Great Aunt Josie used to do her big summer vegetable garden at Aunt Rose and Uncle Carl’s. She would go out there for extended periods of time in the summer and I still remember her tending the garden. Of course she also had a garden in the back of her house in South Philadelphia, and a giant grapefruit tree she grew from seed. The shame of where my Aunt Rose and Uncle Carl used to live is now everything around there is developed. Driving by today you would never believe there was a farm behind them with horses that would eat the apples from their Apple trees and so on.

My great aunt and uncle’s favorite place to get dressed up to go out to dinner was The Lakeside Inn. I believe that is actually in Limerick and I think it’s still open today. I remember one time my father’s family was all gathered there at the Lakeside Inn was for either a birthday for my great aunt or a wedding anniversary celebration.

We were all dressed up and gathered for this party that took over a good portion of the inn. Even my father’s brother was in town with his first wife and however many children they had popped out at the time. My father’s sister, my aunt was there with her daughters and husband.

We never saw my father’s brother and sister terribly much after a certain point growing up. They really didn’t get along with my father and they really weren’t nice to my mother… and they really showed little interest in my sister and I. 

I remember a family party at the Lakeside Inn vividly. When I was a little girl it was a very pretty place and I always felt very grown up being there. I remember at the party my father’s brother took all the children downstairs to the gift shop. Only he only bought little trinkets and presents for his children and my father’s sister’s children. It was at that point in time that I really decided I did not care for my uncle even if he was my father’s brother. There my then very little sister and I stood while everyone else were given little gifts purchased by my late father’s brother. It was just kind of mean.

My Uncle Carl, who was always the sweetest and kindest of men somehow got wind of what was going on and he took my sister and I downstairs again and let us pick out gifts from the gift shop so we weren’t left out of being treated. I had that little stuffed owl he bought me that someone had made by hand until it literally fell apart threadbare.

Another thing I remember about my Aunt Rose and Uncle Carl was that was where I first became aware of the sounds of summer on their front porch. 

It’s funny I used to look at my friends with big holiday gatherings of their families and wonder what that would be like. I remember it from when I was very very little but then it all stopped and eventually families went their separate ways. It got to the point where we would only see everyone at special family parties, weddings, and funerals. But I hated when I was really little being sent to the Antartica of the “children’s table” so maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.  

I remember one holiday children’s table in particular – I was really little and my father’s sister and husband and family were living in a rambling white house in Paoli at the time. It was I think Thanksgiving and the children’s table was a card table with a cloth thrown over it near the front stairs. One of the vegetables was black eyed peas. And that is literally all I remember. Other than my one cousin looking irritated all through dinner to be stuck at a table with the little kids.

It’s funny, you always think you forget things and then there are just these odd quiet times when you remember. Another person I think of sometimes during these quiet times is my mother’s niece Suzy. Suzy died of cancer the same day as my father a couple of years later.

Suzy was like a big sister more than a cousin she was in and out of her house so much when I was little. I remember before she got married she worked at a very cool clothes store Philadelphia on Chestnut Street. She always had the best outfits! Her wedding to her first husband was celebrated at our parish church old St. Joseph’s on Willings Alley. Her wedding reception was actually held at my parents’ house in Society Hill. 

I remember during her wedding sitting in the breakfast room off the kitchen on the bottom step where the back stairs up to the second floor of the house were with my cousin Carol eating water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. I also remember the wedding photographer doing my cousin Suzy’s portraits before the wedding in my parents’ bedroom and other places in the house when she was getting ready.

When I was in my 20s my cousin Suzy lived in Newtown Bucks County with her first husband and three daughters. It was always such a big treat to go spend the weekend with my cousin Suzy and her family. We always had so much fun. 

Suzy and I spend a lot of our time going to flea markets like Rices in New Hope. We would also explore antique shop after antique shop throughout Bucks County and in New Jersey across from New Hope.

I also think of Suzy sometimes when  I put my Fiestaware away. It was with Suzy that I saw Fiestaware for the first time. We were exploring on the other side of the river in New Jersey. We were not in Lambertville I forget where we were. But there was this antique store that almost exclusively sold vintage Fiestaware and they also in a section of the store sold imported Russian nesting dolls. Don’t know if the store still exists but I remember it vividly. I remember row after row of the happy colors of Fiestaware.

I have a lot of memories of my father obviously and him I miss at certain times a great deal. I always think of him a lot at Christmas because he loved Christmas and he was the most perfectionist of perfectionists when it came to decorating the Christmas tree. And my father’s tree was always silver and gold. It was a minor miracle when you could sneak a color on it. I have some of his ornaments still in the original boxes with his handwriting identifying what they are written on the box. 

And I had to laugh the other day as I looked at my Christmas tree and Christmas decorations which are still not all put away yet. I thought of him because one year everyone argued over who was taking down what and putting away which Christmas decorations and basically the Christmas tree stayed up until almost Valentine’s Day. That memory still makes me laugh.

I’m glad I have these memories of people who have gone before me. My friends always tell me to write things down when I remember them, but half the time I just forget – it’s sort of like my recipes. I’m thinking and 2016 I should make more of an effort to write these memories down while I still have them.

Thanks for stopping by.

the art of custom cabinetry, woodworking, and furniture

custom-kitchen-lg-aCabinet makers, custom furniture builders, and artisan wood workers are a dying breed.  It takes real artistic talent combined with years of work. Some people call themselves cabinet makers and so on, but they really aren’t. Seriously, it is an art form.

I love custom woodwork and cabinetry.  It’s luscious and beautiful.  baker

I do not often promote businesses and if I do I must have personal experience with them.  I am going to introduce you to one.

Sherman & Gosweiler Fine Cabinetry and Woodworking. They have been in business  since 1976 and I LOVE their work! If you can dream it, Dick Gosweiler can build it.  Whether it is an urban space like a chic Manhattan apartment or townhouse; a penthouse on Rittenhouse Square; a second home in Bay Head or the Hamptons; or even a simple mahogany-bookcasesfarmhouse in Chester County this is who you want.

In addition to making your dreams for your home come to life this company also can olengdo period reproductions.  One of my particular favorites are the mantelpieces and mantelpiece surrounds they have done over the years.  I mean don’t you just hate to see people put gobs of money into either a new house or an extensive renovation only to cheap out on a stock mantelpiece and/or mantelpiece surround for a den or living room or great room?

On my wish list for my home someday I would love one of their mantelpieces.smuckler

Anyway, just was thinking about house stuff and thought I would throw this up here.

Sherman & Gosweiler have a website and a Facebook fan page. If you need their services they can be reached at (610) 270-0825.  They are located at  401 East 4th Street in Bridgeport – that is their physical shop, but they travel pretty much anywhere for installations and whatnot.

What they say about themselves is as follows and utterly true:cherry-dining-table

Since our inception in 1976 we have always had the same philosophy: To craft beautiful and functional cabinetry delivered on budget and on time.  We are committed to making the entire experience easy and pleasurable for our clients. From creating a great design to a trouble-free installation, we are available to answer your questions and coordinate with other tradespeople on the job. Let us show you why scores of interior designers, architects, builders and hundreds of homeowners have put their trust in us.

slipping into uneven mediocrity

1Redhound Grille used to be one of our favorite  places to have dinner. From when it first opened on Paoli Pike until a few months ago it was always fairly flawless.

Not anymore. It’s like a hound that has lost its scent.

Once again this evening the service was awesome and the food was off. Things too salty, not cooked right. Just off.  At least this time we did not smell shellfish gone bad coming out of the kitchen.2

So I’m thinking they need to decide what they want to be when they grow up. Do they want to just be a local taproom, or do they want to be a restaurant? Or a hybrid combination of both?

It’s a little hard to tell.

And while they aren’t the most expensive place on the planet, they aren’t the cheapest, either.   And it is getting annoying going in and ordering dinner and it is too salty and not quite right.3

They advertise they do catering, but with a kitchen as currently uneven as theirs is, file under save your money.

Tonight they were rocking another odd fossil crowd with a band called Zoot Suit.  It was the second time we had the misfortune to be there when they were playing. They are as inconsistent a cover band as the food currently coming out of Redhound’s kitchen.  Zoot Suit has a following, which has now surprised me twice. But if you don’t like the band, you can always go see one of the band founders impersonate Ben Franklin – a freakish sort of sacrilege. But hey, cover band and cover historical figure impersonator…I guess it all makes a weird sort of sense.

Anyway, I liked it better when there were fewer theme nights (bingo, quizzo, karaoke) and they were just the Redhound: good food, good drink.

I don’t know why or where Redhound fell off the awesome train, but I wish they would get it back.   They just keep missing the mark.  And they truly have terrific staff and a great atmosphere.   That is what has kept us going back to give the kitchen another try.  But we’re not going again for a while.  It’s like throwing good money after bad.

missing dog in paoli named posh!

Have you seen me? My name is Posh. Please call 484.961.0859 or 610.933.0606 if you see me or have found me.

UPDATE 8.14.2012:POSH HAS BEEN LOCATED AND IS REPORTEDLY DOING WELL!

 

 

I received this from my friend Stevie at Main Line Animal Rescue this morning about a missing dog.  If you have seen her, please don’t be shy and use the contact numbers I am about to post:

Missing Dog!

Posh is a St. Croix dog.   She is a friendly, sweet dog who loves to run!  There have been no sightings since Sunday, 8/5  – please, if you live in the Paoli/Berwyn area, keep an eye out. Contact numbers for this search are: 484.961.0859 or 610.933.0606  – call them if you can assist with search too.

 If you have ever heard a volunteer at MLAR talk about the “Posh” Squad” you should know it is named for the famous “POSH”, the escaping dog! Well, she is missing again in Malvern/Paoli/Berwyn area (since 8/5/12) If you spot her or have any idea where she is PLEASE call us, we are worried sick!!!

 Posh, German Shepherd/Lab mix has been missing since Sunday evening, has on her invisible fence collar and tags. She is spayed and microchipped as well. There have been no sightings yet. She ran away from her home on Devon Road in Paoli. She is friendly but is a RUNNER!
 
Thanks!

I am also going to comment on a comment I received about aren’t Main Line Animal Rescue owners vetted so things like this do not happen.   Yes of course owners are vetted in advance, but accidents do happen.  And dogs, like it or not, can occasionally get out.  Please people! This is a missing dog and the family is distraught!

I realize people still have *issues* on how strict some rescues are, including MLAR, but it is with good reason – top of the list is you want a rescued animal to go home and become part of a forever family and not end up back in the system.  My sister volunteers with the ASPCA in NYC and I can tell you they are strict too.  I know other rescues, including breed specific ones which are also strict.  Chester County SPCA has rules too.

People love to gripe about rescue paperwork and yes it is a pain in the ass, but it is the right thing to do.  A real life example is a little female dachshund I met recently when over at Main Line Animal Rescue.  She was there a few years ago and went home with a lovely woman.  The woman died and her widower put the dog back in rescue because he has a new life or something that did not include his deceased wife’s pet.  I find his behavior personally morally reprehensible, but because of the paperwork they did this dog ended up back at Main Line Animal Rescue where she was from and they already knew about her, etc.  Now she waits for a new forever home. And she is safe and happy.

Most of my dogs have been rescues.  One of my most beloved came from Chester County SPCA , and I am currently a proud Main Line Animal Rescue family member.

Adopt don’t shop and if you see Posh, PLEASE call the numbers above.  I can’t imagine how her humans are feeling and chances are she is out there scared and just wanting her humans at this point.  This dog is a runner, pure and simple.  It doesn’t mean anything other than she is an accomplished escape artist.  It happens. I have owned dogs like this.

Thanks