Saturday, April 18, 2009


My husband is an artist and a lover of beauty. He is also a professor of history and is one of the most brilliant minds I've ever known. This juxtaposition of right/left brain tendencies has confirmed to me that creativity knows no boundaries. After a long three week run of my play, La Diva, we here at the Little House on the Northeast Side of Town are ready to attend to more domestic issues such as gardening, home renovation and spring cleaning. On a recent interview, I asked my husband what his muse has been to inspire him to create the haven that we call home. He states: "I grew up reading fairy tales and envisioned a world in harmony with nature where there was the possibility that something magical lurked behind every verdant corner or where animals talked."

Twenty-seven years ago on our honeymoon, he introduced me to his world and I have never wanted to leave it since. We spent two weeks in Carmel-by-the-sea where I saw nature and humanity exist as close as possible to a fairy tale. The seaside forests of oddly shaped trees, the call of the sea lions and most of all, the little cottages that dot the winding streets of the town captured my heart.

After that initial visit, it took us 15 years to buy our first home. Immediately, my husband applied his vision for our little post-war cottage. I too, had ideas. My muse has been the old world charm of the French countryside, which matched very well with his idea of a charming setting.

For both of us, stone, plenty of vegetation and natural materials evoke the feel that we want to surround ourselves with; timeless and enduring elements that have been here and will remain long after we are gone. The challenge for most people, is the expense to obtain these materials. Leaded glass windows are a must for the cottage look that we were looking for. One window alone adorned with leaded glass could cost several thousands of dollars. However, during an online search one day, I found a solution. Out of England comes a sturdy, industrial strength adhesive lead application that works like a charm. If you want to apply the leaded glass look to a window or a curio cabinet go to and you will find numerous sizes to fit your needs. We needed to replace some old windows anyway, so we opted to buy plain Pella© windows and make our template and apply the decraled. The results have been very satisfying.Months ago, I had reported on the progress of our bathroom. My husband did all of the plumbing and the reconstruction of the entire bathroom. With a busy school schedule, the final tiling had to be done by a professional, and after a long winter of anticipation, we are finally done. We had wanted the limestone look of a Roman bath, but again, natural stone is very expensive. We were able to find an affordable porcelin tile that looks just as good. What is left to do is to install the fixtures and we are ready for an Old World spa treatment!

Spring is around the corner here in our neck of the woods. Verdant paths of wild thyme and stone structures will soon greet us during the early hours of our walks and during our summertime soirées with friends. Our little haven is that much more special because it has been created by loving hands, inspired by the beauty of nature and fantasy.

You might say that the only thing missing here is the talking animals, but if you listen hard enough upon entering The Little House on the Northeast Side of Town, you just might as our friend Angela lovingly says, "Get sucked in" and hear the chatter of creatures both great and small.