Build well & give back

February 2, 2010

There are not many places in Portland where you can observe and admire a true relic. Things in this city are mostly new, or at least of the 20th century. That is one of the reasons why I love to travel  – to see old stuff.

In Boston, you can walk The Commons and see a cemetery where two signers of The Declaration of Independence are laid to rest. In Charleston, you can view the slave markets where thousands upon thousands of slaves were imported and traded during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade of the 15th through the early 19th centuries. To get anything older than that, you really gotta cross the pond. Standing underneath an Gothic arch in Assisi or climbing the stairs of Brunelleschi’s Duomo in Florence, gives a perspective and sense of time that are truly humbling.

But in Portland, we just don’t have all that much old stuff. That’s why I’m happy to recognize, admire, and respect it when I run across something of note. This week I have re-discovered such a relic – The William S. Ladd Carriage House, circa 1883. I say re-discovered, because I went to college just a couple of blocks from this building and walked by it umpteen times. Back then, I admired it’s Victorian detailing and wondered about it’s significance. Today, I admire it’s newly renovated state and notice it’s prominent setting on one of Portland’s central city blocks.

The Carriage House sits at the corner of SW Broadway and Columbia, just five feet NW of it’s original foundation. The house underwent a two-year rehabilitation that finished in May ’09. Thanks to the united efforts and determination of preservationists, community members, and building developers, the house was spared from demolition and given a long overdue face lift. It now sits, juxtaposed to a beautiful 23-story glass and steel condo tower bearing the name of the original Carriage House owner, The Ladd.

The Carriage House is the last surviving legacy of a true Portland pioneer. William S. Ladd built well and gave so much back to his town & community. Over the decades, this building has housed horses, cars, artists, and architects. And while it may never again serve as a stable, it will shine on in the shadows of one of Portland’s newest city dwellings.

I think William would approve.

Check out this time-lapsed video of the Carriage House journey down Columbia Street.


El Niño?

January 27, 2010

January 24, 2010 ~ NW Portland

Today, it was 52 degrees and the air smelled of honeysuckle. Weirdness.

First Aid Kit

January 7, 2010

A friend recently told me that “Swedes are better than us.”

In most things design related, I would agree.

In manufacturing safe automobiles, I would again agree.

And when it comes to teenage, sibling, folk singers, I would most definitely agree.

The harmonies these sisters create together as Swedish import, First Aid Kit, are other-worldly and their lyrics seem wise beyond their years. I’ve been haunted by their tune – Hard Believer – all day. Grab a blanket, pour yourself a cup of tea and crank the volume – you’ve got some listening to do!

@my’s bar

December 16, 2009

I promise to have you all over for manhattan’s once I get it stocked.

That is, assuming that Santa can fit it down my chimney!


Shake ‘Em Up

September 16, 2009

A friend stopped into town last week for a visit and handed me a paper handled bag filled with vintage books. “Here,” she said. “Teri found these at an Estate Sale and thought immediately of you!” I happily accepted them and tossed the bag into the trunk of my car.

A few days passed before I had time to sift through my lovely gifts. I love old books – the way they smell, the feel of the paper, the penciled in notes from previous owners, and most of all, the content. There were definitely some interesting titles here, “69 Ration Recipes for MEAT”, no publish year listed, but early 1940s assumed. “Living in State – The Adventures of a Foreign Service Wife” – published 1959. And my personal favorite “Shake ‘Em Up” – A practical handbook of polite drinking, published in 1931.

“Shake ‘Em Up” is filled with gems like, what to serve if conversation languishes and your party needs a “Shot in the Arm”. Haven’t we all been there?
Or, how to prepare a phony bottle of booze, a “Bottle for a Certain Purpose”, for that party guest who doesn’t know when to say when. I may know one or two of those sorts!
And one I’ve tried just recently, “Hot Weather Drinks” – which “consist of Juleps, Highballs and Rickeys, and also the magnificent John Collins, whoever he was.” My latest Summer soiree was a hit thanks in large part to the Joe Rickey, a whiskey, lime, and seltzer concoction that looked fantastic served in my tall vintage ice tea glasses!

This skinny little hardcover publication “made for people who fling parties, people who go to parties, people who just have a table of Bridge, people who don’t really drink but feel that a cocktail or two enlivens conversation – in short for the American people in the twelfth year of Volstead, 1930.” is chock full of drinking etiquette, recipes and menu suggestions that may have been written for a certain time, and even a certain American, but prove no less entertaining and valuable today. My parties and gatherings will indeed be richer for its discovery!

I’ll leave you with this final excerpt on the possible ways to stave off the impending hangover. Cheers to the party flingers!

“Try to impress upon your subconscious that you must not go to sleep or to bed while your head is whirling. The penalty is a marvelous hangover. Drink quantities of water and hot coffee and keep moving; take violent exercise if you can. An extremely hot bath is also recommended, though it induces drowsiness. Another successful antidote for imprudent absorption is a series of long and very deep breaths. Fill your lungs completely, but rather slowly. The amount of alcohol one can work off in this way is amazing.”

MadMen Yourself

September 8, 2009

Be Sleek, Be Stylish, Be Yourself…


At some point in high school – I decided that I was born about 40 years to late. I should have been a child at the tale end of the depression,  a teenager & young woman during the innocence of the 50’s, and a totally rockin’ housewife at the height of mid-century goodness in the 1960’s.

While I can’t time travel and change my destiny – I can definitely enjoy some of that 60’s deliciousness as served up by the AMC hit series ‘Mad Men’. Whether you consider yourself a Dirty Martini or a Classic Manhattan – this fun site lets you create a retro version of yourself, or whoever you’d like to be!

Design is Key

September 1, 2009


I’m always one for forgetting which key is to what.

 This seems like a surefire way around that!