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Hawthorne in Autumn

The Hudson Valley in Autumn is quite spectacular. Dreamy really. Although I am clinging to every last bit of Summer, it has been feeling pretty fall-ish so my mind keeps wandering into the next season. We always spend a few weeks at Hawthorne in October to enjoy the change of colors. The above photo one of my all-time favorites taken by the sublime photographer Kelly Merchant for a feature she shot for Design Sponge. The carpet of leaves telling the story. Customers often ask me at the shops how they arrange a stay at Hawthorne. The fine folks at Airbnb do a swell job of booking it. Caretaker Bill makes sure everything is in order at the house and looking spiffy. We have binders and binders of maps and ideas for things to do once you arrive. September, October and November are pretty darn magical in that part of the world. Click here for more information if you have any interest.

Happy Thursday from Seattle! X, T



 

 

Our Very Own Earl

We have been going to Hudson for over 20+ years, long before we had a home in the area. Walking up & down Warren Street is one of my very favorite activities of all time. Amazing vintage shops, places to eat, people watch, pick up a new book, get coffee, more people watching. You get the idea. Super easy to spend the afternoon meandering. Over the years we would spot art being sold in shops and on the street, all signed EARL. Usually painted on boards, some old, some new, always varying sizes. Often people, animals, things. They would catch my eye but for whatever reason, we did not buy one. Until the other day. I had heard the artist of these lovely, quirky pieces, Earl Swanigan, had recently died. At age 54. Something about that struck me. Maybe it has to do with him being younger than me. On our May stay I had heard of his passing and it made me long to have one in homage to him. Art is such an incredible legacy to leave the world when you are gone. Everything we have ever heard or I have read about this man is he lived life on his own terms. I say bravo to that! This sweet little bird caught my attention instantly when I saw it in a shop that has stacks and stacks of his works. It flew home with me as a little surprise to TPS. It snuggled right in on the windowsill between the two green wicker chairs on the front sunporch. A little piece of Earl. A man we did not know but am sure we would have enjoyed breaking bread with and getting to know. His little bird can watch over things while we are away. It can keep the two lions out front company.



 

 

A Table For Two

Actually make that a table for three, as Bailey slept on a blanket curled up next to me on the bench. But you get the picture. We are grabbing every chance we can to dine outside, savoring every moment of this divine season called Summer. We had a busy week-end of entertaining so it was relaxing having the meal outside be just us, having leftovers. Yep, even leftovers deserve setting a table. The view to the pond cleared up since we acquired the property along with Little Hawthorne. It sits in a wetlands area that we are going to foster naturally, allowing all sorts of divine creatures to thrive. It is a view we have longed for and take every chance we can to enjoy. The crickets, cicadas and an occasional frog the music for the evening. The big galvanized bucket we found a pair of at Brimfield awhile back. Completely forgot we had bought these big pots of geraniums on our last stay, so they were a pleasant surprise to me when we arrived. The pink blooms adding to all that green happiness as the sun set and the flicker of the candles set the relaxing tone as the eve slipped away.



 

 

You Know When You Know

My advice always when it comes to buying furniture or art, is to wait until you find just the right piece. You just know it when you see it. It feels right. It stirs something in your soul. Then your home is filled with things that tickle you at every turn. Wherever you eye lands, there is a memory. Visually it creates happiness and contentment. I promise, it will be worth the wait. Case in point. We have longed for a dresser in our bedroom at Hawthorne. Nothing over the years we saw excited us. Until it did. The minute I spotted it the other day, I knew. I just knew. Measurements were taken and the following day TPS came with me to look at it too, and he just knew. Ring us up, please! The piece perfect for the space and works just right with everything else in the room. I can’t stop looking at it. The wait was long, but oh so worth it. You know when you know.



 

 

Zinnias with Carrot Greens

Flower Friday brings a colorful bunch of zinnias mixed in with the greens of carrot tops. I am a big fan of mixing zinnias with overflowing late Summer herbs, such as rosemary. It speaks of the season to me and I quite like the contrast between the two. But I was having no luck finding rosemary at the farmers market on Saturday. I walked by a booth and one of the women working was helping a customer with a big bunch of carrots. She asked her if she wanted the long luscious carrot top greens or if she should snap them off. The customer passed on the greens and I swooped in and said, “I’ll take those if you are just going to toss them” and she kindly passed me the bundle. Done! These would work swimmingly in place of the rosemary. The leaves such a vibrant green and just so darn pretty. They got tucked here & there in the vase and the zinnias placed in around all that green goodness.



 

 

Little Hawthorne

Each day Little Hawthorne gets closer & closer to finishing its refresh. I must say, seeing it almost completed, I have fallen in love with it. The old soul of the house is starting to show itself, which is always a good thing in my book. The refinished hardwood floors gloriously telling a story. The light in the rooms shining from the beautiful paint job throughout emphasizing the lovely proportions. The new crushed stone patio singing in the back of the house with the tall trees swaying about. We will be hosting an Open House this Sunday from 1 to 3 for potential renters. We love the idea of someone being our neighbor and loving the valley and house as much as we do. Be it a full-time home for someone or a weekend place throughout the year for someone from the city. E-mail me at TedKennedyWatson@WatsonKennedy.com for more details about terms and pricing. I can’t help but hum, while changing the words ever so slightly, “Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be our neighbor.”



 

 

The Front Sunporch at Hawthorne

The front sunporch at Hawthorne was a major selling point when we bought the house, oh my gosh, now 6 years ago. Walking into it that first time, I felt transported. My heart rate felt like it dropped by several beats as I instantly felt more relaxed once crossing the threshold. Scott, the previous owner had completely redone the space, finding old windows to wrap around the room and engulf it in sunlight. We gave it all a fresh coat of paint and furnished it with a comfy down-filled sofa and ottoman on one end. An assortment of chairs over the last few years has filled the other end. Recently we found a green wicker set that completely fits the space to a T, or make that an H! Matching consoles on each side of the French doors that take you into the living room we made identical–with a lamp, candelabra and papier-mâché ficus tree. We love this room year round, but on a hot humid August Hudson Valley Summer day, it is one of my very favorite places to be.



 

 

A Front Door

Lots and lots of work happened at Little Hawthorne since our last stay. After breakfast yesterday morning we walked over to check out all the progress. To say we are over the moon would be a slight understatement. It is turning out just as we had planned. The sweet little house is getting spiffed up. I was so tuckered out from doing the show in the city for a few days I only clicked the below photo. Will create a post next week and show you the progress. But I wanted to show you how we had the front porch and door redone to somewhat mimic that of the other house. Our overall goal has been to try and make both houses seem like family, that there is a relation between the two. That the property and houses mesh and make sense together. The front door and entry was our starting point as they are so often a focal point and first impression as you enter into a home.



 

 

The First August {Flower Friday}

Zinnias always remind me of August. Warm to hot sunny days and vibrant to washed out colors like the sun has bleached them out a bit. Divine and happy in every way. All sorts of signs of Summer peaking and I want us all to revel in it. From the geraniums producing sweet flowers, to the celery at the farmers market that is too pretty to pass us and rivals any bouquet, to the dahlias that have so much stage presence that just a few blooms will light up a room. Oh and I forgot to post a few weeks ago the blooming jasmine outside our window in town, so today is the day. You can also see how much it has grown inside the window too. The apartment has smelled heavenly for quite some time. I wish you all a lovely first weekend in August Flower Friday in your part of the globe.



 

 

A Green Door

Work on Little Hawthorne is progressing each day. Things will look quite a bit different when we arrive in August than they did when we left at the end of May. We get lots of updates from caretaker Bill each week. Our niece Aisling who is studying to get her masters degree has stepped in to help with the exterior painting–a fun summer diversion from school. It is hugely meaningful to have family help on this project while we are away. The main goal has been to try and make the house look like it ‘belongs’ to/with the other house. Not twins but brothers born 30+ years apart. That your eye will look at them both and they relate to one another. First item on the very long list was a new door. We then had it painted the same vibrant green of the door at Hawthorne. Next up was taking down the metal railings that were super dated and we had identical wood railings built to match the other house. Dark green painted steps that are at Hawthorne now mimic those. Lastly, the light fixture will go and a galvanized version like we have at Hawthorne will replace it. Bit by bit, it is all coming together. Looking forward to showing you the inside once we are back. The transformation has been so fun to watch by way of photos. We can’t wait to get back and see it with our own eyes!