Category Archives: Home Sweet Home

Kid & Coe: Bring the Kids!

The Mr. and I have always loved to travel together and have no intention of ever slowing down. True, bringing our daughter along requires extra baggage and planning, but we can’t wait to for the foreign stamp that initiates our future jet setter’s passport! We’ve had one excellent experience renting  a fabulous apartment on vacation so,  I was thrilled when I first stumbled upon Kid & Coe on Cup of Jo and soon learned more about the awesome moms behind the venture.  A brilliant start up,  Kid & Coe’s mission to create ‘a dynamic community of traveling families’ is based on the philosophy of collaborative consumption. Why not share the wealth? Kid & Coe features 100 gorgeous properties in some of our favorite destinations: Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Brazil.   Whether traveling across the globe to spend a few weeks in a Thai villa or living like a local in an L.A. bungalow for the weekend, rest assured all the essentials for the perfect family friendly stay will be covered.

Each time we travel, my husband and I feel blessed when we have the opportunity to meet and hang with locals. When we’re home in Dumbo, we guide international visitors towards the Brooklyn Bridge almost daily!  I’d love to list our sunny apartment on Kid & Coe, it would be the perfect base for a family setting off each day to explore NYC! I’d make my guests at home with white linens, Brooklyn made snacks, and a cozy crib with plenty of lo fi toys for the kiddos.

Our neighborhood boasts some pretty dope views, great coffee and kid-friendly stops, check out our favorites below!

Wake up

Let your spouse sleep in while you head to Brooklyn Roasting Company (25 Jay St) with the kids to sample some of the borough’s best java roasted on site in a huge warehouse space. Grab a seat on one of the bold orange comfy couches and enjoy your coffee with the sun streaming in, a perfect introduction to Dumbo’s architecture.

 Shop

Susan Lazar is a hip designer and mom whose line Egg Baby (68 Jay St) has outfitted Dumbo’s littlest residents since ’03. Organic cotton basics and festive classics in tiny sizes are the perfect wardrobe additions for your littles. The well edited racks of beautiful designer clothes at Zoe (68 Washington Street) are  strictly for the hippest of Brooklyn mamas. Neighborhood gem, Modern Anthology’s (68 Jay St ) masculine vibe lends itself to a perfectly curated vintage home goods selection and wardrobe basics for the caveman meets creative Brooklyn dude.

Move

Walk or bike to Fulton Ferry Landing, across Scribbs bridge and into the leafy, historical streets of Brooklyn Heights.   Kids of all ages will love Brooklyn Bridge Park‘s wide, grassy spaces, art and 4 playgrounds! For the full playground roundup, schedules of summer movie showings, rotating photography exhibits and food vendors visit the Park’s website first. Borrow a tapestry and enjoy the view with a picnic!

Pizza

If you’re hardcore, Grimaldi’s, Julianas and Ignazios all sling pies on the Old Fulton strip. My favorite place to grab a slice is Fascati’s (80 Henry Street) where thin crust is served up at the counter. Grab a booth at this local Brooklyn Heights spot owned by the same family since the 70s.

Date

For the most romantic, Brooklyn-y spot in the hood that is decidedly not kid friendly, dine at the Vinegar Hill House (72 Hudson) or grab a drink next door at Hillside while the kids are asleep a few blocks away. For a VERY special occasion, the River Cafe is a show of old New York elegance, recently reopened after a post-Sandy makeover.

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Target + Neiman Marcus

I was on the verge of frustration last night as the post Thanksgiving crowds made it impossible to make my way down 5th avenue after work when something wonderful happened!  As I cursed the tourists for slowing me down, I noticed a formerly vacant storefront decked out in Target’s signature red, its windows featuring black and white portraits of some of today’s best young designer talent. Could it be? A pop up shop on my very own block! The gentlemen wielding the clipboard told me to come back tomorrow at 9am and you better believe I woke up this morning ready to shop!

Typically these affairs are unfortunate, crowded and over hyped displays of consumerism at a low point. The Missoni for Target pop up shop during fashion week almost gave me a heart attack and I walked out with nary a signature zig zag.  This morning at 8:50 however, after a brief 10 minute wait on line and some free hot chocolate dispensed by a friendly Target rep, I entered Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection pop up shop and was VERY pleasantly surprised.

I have long been a fan of Target’s designer collaborations, if not for the hype, than for the innovation and imagination it can take for designers  accustomed to couture to adapt to the confines of mass market.  While fabric quality is usually an issue, sometimes certain pieces make the cut.    Proenza Schouler, Rodarte and Tracy Feith for Target all have a place in my closet!  These items are fun collectibles and a way to score a piece from designers you admire for the price of a dinner out.

This morning’s experience made my day!  First stop inside, free warm ginger bread cookies shaped like sunglasses made with the Band of Outsiders cookie cutters (29) definitely the way to a pregnant girl’s heart.

free cookies!

Then, we were given a 5 limit coupon, a quick ride up the escalator and a beautifully appointed,  spacious shopping experience filled with great gifts designed by the likes of Jason Wu, Caroline Herrera, Tory Burch, Joseph Altuzarra, Rag & Bone, Brian Atwood, Diane von Furstenberg, and more!

I scored some adorable presents, including a cozy gray Rag & Bone sweater for the Mr.  which is beautifully made in a cotton and wool blend.  The lack of synthetic fabric here is making me SO happy and I think it warrants the $70 price tag. For my flower girl Sofie, a super retro blue and green geometric print Tory Burch lunchbox($20) the matching thermos ($24) I couldn’t resist and I’ll be using it to carry hot tea to go on the subway.  The tiny Jason Wu dress($60) I picked up in red taffeta for baby Charlie to wear over the holiday season is making me wish for a girl, as did the baby Marchesa gowns, though I think the designer’s signature ruffles might overwhelm a tiny frame.

What else? Bright dessert plates by Tracy Reese,  dreamy, space inspired Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper designed by Rodarte, pet gear by Oscar de la Renta  and limited edition watercolor Proenza Schuler ipad cases and sweatshirts! For the most part I found the quality to be pretty good, with the exception of the chintzy Judith Leiber compact mirrors and Eddie Borgo trinket box.  Borgo’s letter opener however was beautifully designed and heavy, a great gift for a stylish desk.   The purple watercolor print dress in a 50’s silhouette by Lela Rose was quite pretty while a Thom Browne nautical/Americana inspired blazer ($179) and Marc Jacobs glittery pouch ($69) were cute but overpriced.  The Altuzarra cocktail shaker and glasses were memorable although I’d spring for a vintage set instead which are ubiquitous at antique stores and of better quality.  They paired perfectly with a chic black snakeskin tray with brass detailing ($80) but I could barely lift it off the shelf, it was so heavy.  For a large credenza, bar or entry way table, this piece would fit,  but forget about carrying drinks on it.

I would post pictures here but the format on target.com make them hard to lift so go see for yourself! I’ll admit, I went back for another round of 5 items (and gingerbread cookies). Surprisingly at 9:30am, there was no one online! If you happen to be in Midtown, stay out of my way, but definitely check out the pop up shop on 44th street and 5th avenue. If you can’t make it, the 50+ piece collection drops online on December 1st.!

Pole Etiquette

 

Don’t get me started on what has been one of the worst aspects of my pregnancy thus far, rivaling sobriety: commuting to work on the subway.  The ease of the F train, Dumbo to Midtown in 25 minutes with all of NYC’s best neighborhood’s in between has been a bragging point for me, since I first moved to Brooklyn.  Its SO convenient!  Lately though, I begin to dread descending the 78 stairs  and dust ball filled tunnel that lead to my formerly beloved letter line before I brush my teeth.  Never mind dodging men 5x my size running towards me in an attempt to traverse the 200 yards to the platform before the train closes it doors, or the slow climb I make back to daylight at the end of my workday, where I am frequently outpaced by an old lady carrying all of Dumbo’s recycling in garbage bags on her back.  I can usually handle the delays in between stops which engender shortness of breath, clammy palms, and a sweaty brow, the overcrowding which results in my extended (yet somehow still not obviously pregnant to my fellow straphangers) belly being shoved and jostled, or the endless coughing and sneezing which makes me glad I got my flu shot for the first time ever. The real problem here are those riders who  lack pole etiquette!  You know I am talking about you,  tall guy with your gangly limbs wrapped around the pole so that no one else can get a finger on it otherwise. Or the lady who has sandwiched the pole between her butt cheeks as she enjoys 50 Shades of Gray on her Nook.  Subway poles are public spaces and safety mechanisms.  Do not get all up on it in some misguided stripper fantasy of yours!   Just grab on, extend your arm and move aside so that your fellow straphangers don’t have to battle with gravity when the train lurches to a stop at 2nd Avenue.

With the change in your center of gravity during pregnancy, your balance is compromised and subway surfing becomes particularly hazardous to your health and that of those standing next to you.  Holding on to the pole on a moving train can be critical!   Given my stature, I have to really reach to grasp the high poles, and its is mind boggling that the seated person who has the pleasure of my belly in their face won’t offer me their spot.  In my pre-pregnancy days, I used to racially profile Chinese families sitting on the subway, thinking that most of them would be heading to school or work at the next stop,  East Broadway and I could claim their place.  Now, its Hispanic men who I look for. Their sense of chivalry allows them quickly to spot a compromised lady.  I barely have to bat an eyelash in their direction and a seat is proffered to me.

As I round the corner into the final stretch of this pregnancy, I am a little anxious about how my growing belly, clad in bulky winter gear will fare on my commute.  Lately I’ve taken to getting up earlier to ride the F train with the Mr. who  protects and stabilizes me for the first half of my ride.  He is constantly encouraging me to open up my coat and stick out my stomach in a vague attempt to steak my claim to a seat. Sometimes he rubs my stomach, talks about the baby and makes eye contact with unassuming sitters, loudly proclaiming that I am entitled to a seat in the disabled area! So embarrassing.

So, with the holiday season upon us, I ask you to please be aware of your surroundings and don’t hog the pole! If you see an elderly or pregnant woman on the train (I’ll be rocking a faux fur leopard print swing coat for the next 3 months), offer your seat! Courtesy IS contagious!

 

The Midcentury Modern List

 

Arne Jacobson Swan Chair

 

Back in my glory days I lived in an adorable studio apartment on 5th avenue in Greenwich Village.  Around the time I moved in, a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of Mid-century modern design.  We scoured flea markets, Craigslist, and even contemporary purveyors of the genre for studio sized furniture that was functional and fun. Even though mid-century modern design has become quite trendy and ubiquitous in recent years, I don’t think I will ever tire of the clean lines, beautiful material and smart design of the originals.  I convinced my husband that we absolutely needed a vintage credenza when we moved in together and my persistence must have struck a cord.  He took me to Copenhagen on our honeymoon, where I had the opportunity to visit the Design Museum and learn more about the origins of the the Danish design movement which emphasizes craftsmanship, materials and form and paved the way for mid-century style of the 1950s and 60s.

Now, I’m on the hunt for the perfect sized low mid-century inspired dresser to use as a changing table/dresser for my nursery, so I thought I’d put together this list for my own reference and yours. While there are many expensive dealers of mid century antiques around, (Baxter Liebchen I’m looking at YOU), if you browse Craigslist, eBay, and the independent purveyors (mainly located in Brooklyn, NJ and the Tri-state area) below, you are sure to find a reasonably priced, one of a kind piece to complete your Mad Men fantasy.  Feel free to add any helpful recommendations in the comments!

 

Circa 60

http://www.circa60.blogspot.com/

Repop

This shop formerly located by the Brooklyn Navy Yard is run by scruffy in-the -know hipsters. I bought a great coffee table for my studio, glass top on a base of a tree stump in the original location! The new Williamsburg location is double or triple the size and filled with great furniture and accessories. The prices are pretty reasonable too!

http://www.repopny.com

Modernista

http://modernistera.blogspot.com

Baxter Liebchen

Luckily, I have the nicest in-laws who gifted us with an original Arne Jacobson dining table from this spot. Be sure to check out this emporium for inspiration, but beware of sky high prices for original, refurbished antiques.

http://www.baxterliebchen.com/

Found Mod

I bought the credenza our TV sits on from this super sweet husband and wife team. They delivered the piece without me ever having seen it in person. Their descriptions, prices and customer service were spot on. Highly recommended!

http://www.foundmod.com/ (Lambertsville, NJ)
Furnish Green

I love this sustainable furniture showroom based right in the unlikeliest of places, an office building in Herald Square. I can browse at my desk and visit on my lunch hour. They have a great selection of antiques and many mid century pieces.  Some of the items can be a bit beat up, but the prices are right and the owners are very helpful.

www.furnishgreen.com

 

Mike’s MCM

http://www.mikesmcm.com/

Zara Home…is UGLY?

Zara Home is now available in the U.S. and design folk are excited about their stylish and affordable selection. I wasn’t blown away by the initial offerings and the lack of description, measurements and other important information one might need when ordering furniture and bedding off the web is disappointing.  Could the site still be catering to Zara’s European clientele?  The furniture, pillows and bedding seem to be grouped into several distasteful aesthetic categories that I’ll call: Versace Mansion, I ❤ Leopard Print, and Modern Metallic.

Perhaps Zara Home designers are not as astute as the creative forces behind the brand’s clothing who can analyze, predict and manufacture trendy spins on classic silhouettes moments after they’ve appeared on the runway. Yet, the prices, & free October shipping are redeeming, and since we all have  one beloved Zara staples in our closet,  I’ll give Zara Home another chance.

My aunt once taught me a great lesson about design.   If you isolate one object amongst a group of similar looking things, it starts to look a whole lot more appealing and you can judge it on its own merit. Below, I’ll test her wisdom on a few pieces from the Zara Home Collection and see if any of it is classier than I originally thought.

Versace Mansion


Verdict: The winner here, unless you’re a fan of Versace prints in a pastel Pucci palate is what Zara’s calling Monocle Nest of Tables. For $250, these gold rimmed side tables could class up your living room places strategically right next to grandma’s old couch. The interesting circular shape and clear glass top wouldn’t take up a whole lot of visual space making them ideal for a small room.

I ❤ Leopard Print

Verdict: Its a toss up between the leopard print covered tissue box which may bring on the sniffles, and the hangers which would be a really fun way to jazz up an entire closet.

Modern Metallics

This is definitely the least offensive category and I find myself liking a bunch of the items I’ve selected.  Zara has a point: shiny things do go with everything and I am partial to mixing metals.  While the pillow looks like something you’d put on your couch if you didn’t want people to get comfortable, the mercury glass bottles filled with white flowers would add a nice touch to the dinner table and the gold mirrored tray would look great on top of a vanity with perfume bottles.  The real winner though is the Lucite tables (does clear pass for silver)  because even though I’ve seen these around before, I think the Zara price is right.

Hiding behind all that leopard print (aprons & coasters are also available for the fierce hostess), there are a few classic, antique inspired gems.   I’ll admit I have my eye on a few of the tablecloths and maybe even some of the vintage inspired stemware.  Perhaps Crate and Barrel will be getting a run for their money?

Dumbo Skyline

I heart Dumbo! I’ve lived here for almost 2 years and in that time, I have made more neighborhood based friends than during my 8 year existence in Manhattan.  Living tucked away under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges with only a handful of restaurants and shops makes Dumbo feel like a small town or shtetl.  Dumbo-ites have a strong sense of community.  Though we are only moments away from the pungent fish markets of Chinatown and the rising futuristic structures of lower Manhattan, the breeze from the East River stirs up dust and BQE debris from the quiet cobblestone streets and you feel so far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The vistas in Dumbo, particularly the view of the bridge from Washington Street is featured in too many movies to keep count. Recently, I looked out my bedroom window and was captivated by a new addition to the skyline.

Watertower is a sculptural piece by Brooklyn based artist Tom Fruin, featuring reclaimed and recycled materials. I love how Fruin uses plexiglass salvaged from ‘the floors of Chinatown sign shops’  among other local sources to create
an ethereal stained glass effect. Reminiscent of an antique cathedral, the watertower shape is a divine work of modern public art.

Check it out below at night, and during the day. For more information on Tom Fruin, click here.

Pictures courtesy of Tom Fruin.

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Whatever Wednesday: Folding Sheets

After spending one too many mind numbing minutes trying to fold my sheets into perfectly symmetrical piles to no avail, it was time for amateur hour to end. Here at DD we take pride in our home and ya’ll know no abode is complete without a linen closet that has a semblance of organization! Putting your folded sheet sets into their matching pillowcase for easy access is a great pin-spired idea that is so two weeks ago.

organized sheets!

But how do you get those curved, elastic-y edges straight in the first place? I hadn’t a clue so I turned to google and found this quaint video demonstration.

While I disagree with Jill here, folding a fitted sheet is not one of the biggest challenges I will face in my life, overcoming my messy laundry pile and beating that fitted sheet into submission was my biggest accomplishment of the evening. Watch and learn.

Spring Cleaning

With passover quickly approaching I began to clean out my kitchen to ensure that not a morsel of leavened bread remains!  While I’m no suzy homemaker, spring cleaning particularly grody kitchen cabinets is quite cathartic.   My sister in law’s fridge is immaculate and I try to keep my refrigerator clean on a regular basis for my husband who balks at eating food passed its expiration date. Sometimes I sneak it into dinner.  Yet, beyond the refrigerator  and the crumb laden pantry, can you guess where the hidden source of crustiness lies?

If you guessed the area where cinnamon sticks commingle with vanilla pods, zaatar retains its scent from a trip to tel aviv  shuk hacarmel 3 summers ago, and sesame is both a type of seed and oil, you guessed right! In addition to removing everything, wiping down your cabinets with an environmentally friendly cleaning solution and lining the cabinets if you wish, for flavor’s sake, take an inventory and retire the aromatics that have lost their magic.

Did you know you had to refrigerate paprika and chili powder? For more details on keeping your armoire d’herbes fresh, check out FoodDemocracy.

Ingredient Shelf Life
Herbs 1 to 3 Years
Extracts 4 Years, except pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely
Ground Spices 2 to 3 Years
Whole Spices 3 to 4 Years
Seasoning Blends 1 to 2 Years

Marrakesh Épicerie

olives, hot peppers, capers & preserved lemons at the market in Marrakesh.

Tupperware Management

Never in a million years did I envision myself blogging about Tupperware but this tip will Genius Lid Solution!blow the minds of homemakers everywhere! Despite attempts at organizing my vast collection of mini bowls and plastic and glass (no worrying about BPAs leaching into your food!) Tupperware, the drawer that holds these critical storage accoutrements is ALWAYS messy. While the bowls and containers stack haphazardly, the lids fly around helplessly and I can never seem to find the one I’m looking for! Enter THIS solution from Apartment Therapy. Not only will it help me keep a semblance of organization, it gives me a motive to import all those Spice Girls & Red Hot Chili Pepper CDs onto my computer and do something useful with my old CD rack!!

Revolutionizing Dirty Laundry

After reluctantly doing a couple of loads of laundry last night, I remembered the post I  stumbled upon at TreeHugger.com  about a very cool washing machine for the future!  It uses dry ice, the substance of many a middle school science lesson to to wash your clothing. Here’s how it works:

“Dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, is sublimated (turned into gas without becoming a liquid first) and fired at high pressure into the dirty clothing. The CO2 reacts with the dirt and grease, removing it from the clothing.”

This futuristic machine, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we do laundry by eliminating the use of energy and water, was designed by Elie Ahovi, an industrial designer  at the French International School of Design.

Do you think our great grandmother’s would ever imagine doing laundry like this?

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