Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holidays!

Dear neighbors,

We wish you a happy and healthy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Year, and any other holiday that we might have missed. We hope your New Year is full of good things.

The walls are up!

I know, seriously?! Who gets this excited about sheetrock?! Me, apparently.
Just realized I've been very remiss in not mentioning the contractor. Sorry. The company name is Classics Reborn. They are Montclair based. Great guys. Highly recommend them.

Surprise inside the walls

Yesterday, as we were looking at the progress, and planning the mill work that will replace the built in cabinet that was there before, I saw a little piece of paper peeking behind the plaster. So, naturally, I pulled it. This is what it was:
I was trying to find an explanation online, but not much luck. Especially since my Spanish is so limited. Any help from you guys? Any ideas? Is this souvenir from Spain or Latin America, or something they might have seen in New York?

Ready to go!

All fixed. The new drain is ready to go, so we can start closing up the ceiling and the walls. This is so exciting. We might actually have this room back by Christmas. Shoot, now that I said that...

Back to basics

Finally! We have found a contractor and the demolition has been completed. In, like, one day. It was amazing. They came in at 8 in the morning, taped everything up, took out the ceiling, took out the built in cabinets, and done all of that through the window. We haven't heard the peep from them! Check this out:

As always, whenever we open the walls, we find something amazing behind them. Well, apparently, what are now our kids' room, have been connected with the door under the staircase. I went back to the original drawings, and saw that the room currently under construction was a nursery, and it was connected to the room that belonged to the Lady of the house. Amazing!

You see, in those days, nurseries were always placed far from the parents bedrooms, usually in the attic, next to the servants rooms, so not to disturb the parents. But, I guess, because Harry Fenn's studio was in the attic, kids were designated to the same sleeping floor as adults. Also, the fact that the mo…

Good morning to you too!

This morning, after we dropped the kids off to school, and settled to drink our coffee in peace, a loud noise came from upstairs. We weren't really sure what happened, so we went room to room. And this is what we found in our daughter's bedroom:

The plaster ceiling collapsed. Apparently, the bathroom drain upstairs has completely rotted out, and it was leaking, soaking the insulation and the plaster for weeks now. Today, it had enough, and it simply went down. This will be a fun holiday season with the family staying over, minus one bedroom and one bathroom. Oh, joy...

A Spring Affair

This weekend, Junior League of Montclair-Newark is having a fundraising event called A Spring Affair. It is a Fourth AnnualBoutique fundraiser. This 2 day Boutique will bring together over 20 of the areas top vendors for a fun filled shopping event. All proceeds support JLMN programs benefiting Children at Risk.

Check out the season's latest apparel, accessories and jewelry must haves. Featuring great merchandise for Mother's Day, Graduations, Teachers gifts, Father's Day and more.Boutique Hours
Friday, April 29th: 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday, April 30th: 10 am - 5 pmLocation
The Commonwealth Club
26 Northview Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJSpecial Events
Ladies Night Out Shopping and Cocktail Therapy:
Friday, April 29th: 7 pm - 10:00 pm

We went there this morning for a preview and have already snagged some really great gifts for Mother's Day and just because.

Happy Easter!

To all our friends and neighbors celebrating today, Happy and Joyous Easter!

Happy Passover!

To all our friends and neighbors celebrating this week, Happy Passover!

Yes, I know...

Sorry about the break. It got really crazy between the kids, school, work, business, family visits, volunteer stuff, and the House. Luckily, I made good notes, and took pictures, so I will backtrack and post everything that happened in the last 3 months. It wasn't much, but, you know, you are reading this, so you care :)


Interior decorating

If you knew us in person, you would know that we are definitely not decorators, but despite that have a very particular sense of style. So, now that nothing is leaking or rotting away (that we know of), we decided to turn our attention to the interior.

For the last two years that we have been in this House, we used the ultramodern furniture we brought over from our loft apartment in New York City: the lime green Cielo sofa, Cellula chandelier, glass coffee table by Milmueble, various pieces by Herman Miller, almost the entire catalog of Design Within Reach, and you get the picture. Not particularly Victorian. That is to say, while the pieces were beautiful and well designed, they looked very out of place in this House. On the other hand, we were not big fans of period furniture, either. While the House is Victorian, all the furniture doesn't need to be.

That got us thinking: what exactly should our furniture be like? This started us on a long and laborious process of visiting every …

Snowdrops are blooming!

It is simply amazing that nature is a force that cannot be stopped or tamed. After all the work we've done in our backyard, this is what we woke up to this morning:

Beautiful, isn't it? What, you thought I would be upset, having spent thousands of dollars for a perfect lawn? You must have me mistaken for my husband. I hate lawns [laugh].

There is snow in the forecast, but it looks like it's the last one. So, here's to that.

Mr. Fox

Yes, well, wonders never cease around here, right?

These days we are being awakened at all hours of the night by an altogether different animal - a fox. So, imagine our surprise when we saw our new backyard tenant hanging out under the old linden tree in the middle of the day.

Interestingly, I didn't find it that troubling, but the husband wants us to talk to the trapper again. Honestly, I wouldn't mind revisiting the groundhog issue again as well, since now there appear to be 2, one under the back porch and one under the front porch. Awesome.

They're baaaaaaaaaaack!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our favorite backyard yapper is back: the wild turkeys. And they are freakin' LOUD.

They woke us up at 5 am this morning, and then they refused to leave. Seriously, they were going to charge me when I went out to shoo them away. Crazy birds.

Well, at least the spring must be near, right?

Around town, part 2

Have you guys been to Prudential Center in Newark? There are some really cool things happening there. Besides the impressive concert line up (Ricky Martin, Lady Gaga, Usher, Keith Urban, Sade, etc.), and some great teams playing there (Nets, Devils, Liberty, just to name a few), we found out that they are also hosting Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

Well, what can be more fun on a terribly cold winter day than fun day at the circus?

And it was everything a circus should be: lots of amazing trained animals, fun acrobatic tricks, colors, music, bright colors and light. We definitely left the arena with our spirits uplifted. Make sure to get the tickets next time they are in or around town.

Guests in the backyard

Oh, you are going to love this one!

Ladies and gentlemen, the latest addition to our backyard zoo: a hawk. Can you believe it?

I haven't seen one of these in decades, easily, having lived in New York City. So to have one perched on a tree in my backyard was an amazing treat.

Also had me wondering, what is it doing here in February? Isn't it a little too cold?

Around town

Or sort of... In order to get out of the House, we decided to visit some of the local attractions.

This week, we visited Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. This is a rare treat, since the admission is so expensive. It came to about $100 for 2 adults and 2 toddlers, and that is not including the lunch. But, considering our mental state and the severe case of cabin fever, we thought of it as a mini-vacation.

Now, if you've never been to Liberty Science, it really is a sight to behold. The kids were too young for us to explain some of the scientific principles behind the games they were playing, so we just let them have as much fin as they could pack in a day. And fun they certainly had.

They spent most of their time in two exhibits: I Explore and Wonder Why. Everything in these exhibits is designed for young children, and it very much interactive. When there, children are encouraged to watch, touch, and engage. As always, we were amazed at the inventive ways children found to play.


I know it's winter and all, but seriously?!? Is this snow going to stop, EVER? These back to back to back storms are doing a number on my nerves and my physical stamina. I mean, we have 3,000 square feet of driveway!!!

Yes, kids are having a good time, sometimes, but we are a little tired of not being able to get out of the House. Somebody please tell me there is some kind of snow fall record, because otherwise, it's not worth it. And, just so you know, I don't care if I ever see that stupid snow shovel again. I want to move to California.

An addition to our library

We love this House. I think because of the stress involved in keeping it in good condition, we don't say that too often. But, we really love this House.

In addition, we have also become great admirers of Harry Fenn's work. And it truly is an impressive opus, to use musical analogies. So, when we heard that the first edition of Picturesque America is available for purchase, we jumped at the opportunity. Ebay being what it is, one is never certain. Also, the price seemed really low. We've actually looked at these volumes during our annual pilgrimage to our favorite antique book dealers in New York City, and the price was more than double. We balked and left the volumes in his store, only to be contacted 6 months later that they can be found on Ebay for half the cost.

We exchanged looks and pounced on it. Luckily, our bid was not challenged, and the package arrived today. And let me tell you, it is magnificent. The leather cover, the gold leaf embossing, the paper... Here, take…

Heating This Old House

As you probably heard me complain too many times, it is not easy or cheap. We considered several options, including conversion to gas, but none are really going to address all the issues. It is just a matter of fitting the pieces of the puzzle: better insulation inside the walls, new windows and doors, and finished basement. One other piece is the actual heating system we have, but with the furnace replaced in 2003, there is no reason to touch it. Or is there?

Apparently, there is. The thermostat that was managing the system, RiteTemp, was acting a little funny. We would have either extreme heat or cold. We never had completely comfortable. So, yesterday, we decided to replace it with this baby: Honyewell TH4000.

The results are amazing. It actually maintains the temperature at the level we want it to be. For example, if I wanted 70, it is always 70. Always. With the old thermostat, the heat would go up to 70-71, the heating would shut down, the temperature would slowly dip to 67, we wo…