Kitchen Confidential

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! Thank you for your patience while Mr. B and the pups and I took a little vacation. Now its back to business.

As Mr. B and I ponder the design of the Barbot House, the kitchen is obviously one of the top priorities. Not because kitchens sell houses, but because I love to entertain. Parties, large and small; formal and informal; cocktails or dinner; are some of my absolute favorite things. The Barbot House has a history that is littered with stories of parties and gatherings, and I plan to continue that tradition … which brings me back to the kitchen.  Today’s kitchens have become something of a showpiece in the home … thick marble waterfall countertops, massive stainless steel appliances, glittering backsplashes … and for what? To roast a chicken? Me, I lean towards the kitchens of old: no attached family room, nothing fancy, just enough space to cook a dinner. Even if that dinner is for 30 …

BeechwoodEnter Nicholas Mele, who took pictures of the kitchens in some of Newport, Rhode Island’s most famous summer “cottages” (Beechwood, Astor residence above).  Places frequented by the likes of the Vanderbilts and the Astors, places where gilt was the norm. In stark contrast to their ornate public rooms are the kitchens of these historic homes, where staff prepared food in a space that reads practical rather than pomp. Newport Kitchen Newport Kitchen 2 Newport Kitchen 3 Newport Kitchen 4I can’t promise teal refrigerators, but I can promise a kitchen which has the sole purpose of being an ideal place to put together a meal … whether its for 4, or for 40 …

Southern Life, Southern Style, Southern Lifestyle

TMagNolaGood Morning Lacquered Lifers. By now you all have seen (a million times) the T Magazine piece on Sara Ruffin Costello and Paul Costello’s New Orleans Garden District home. I have seen it a million times as well, but I keep coming back to it. Obviously for the architecture – their Italianate home was built in 1868, and my Greek Revival Italianate mix built in 1873, but for the lifestyle. There is a comment in the article that Sara makes about living in New Orleans, which just about hits the nail on the head about how Mr. B and I live in Charleston. ” The other thing I love here is blending with all age groups, we hang out with a lot of older people here.” For a long time, this part of our lifestyle here in Charleston has been one of our favorite things. Age has never been a barrier to entry at a party we have been invited to, or a party we have hosted. TMagNola 5Sara also mentions what it has been like moving into a home with so much history, even history for those still living … now that we have moved to New Street, stories about our house keep coming back to us, and people have been eager to reminisce about all the wonderful times they spent here with the previous owners … who had a tenure of 52 years. TMagNola 3It seems that us northerners, Costellos and Brocks, have really lucked out with our transitions to the South, and to our homes filled with history. I look forward to getting our renovation started, and to uncovering more of the stories that the Louis Barbot house has to share. TMagNola 4 TMagNola 2 TMagNola 6

Photos via T Magazine 

Schafer & Bielecky

Lake PlacidGood Morning Lacquered Lifers … and good morning Gil Schafer. As most of you are aware, I have always been a fan of architect Gil Schafer’s work. He does a beautiful job renovating historic houses, as well as building new “old” houses. Case in point, this stunning “great camp” inspired Lake Placid house. Gil, if I ever owned a lake house, I would imagine it to look just like this one. While the design and architecture of this home are phenomenal, something else caught my attention … the rattan furniture on the porch.Lake Placid 2Bielecky Brothers. Manufacturing wicker, cane, and rattan pieces in Queens since 1903, Bielecky Brothers is the industry leader in natural woven furniture. Famous designers such as Billy Baldwin have designed pieces for Bielecky Brothers. And frankly, if one were to ask what I wanted the piazza at New Street to look like (whenever we actually get to the point in the project when we’re doing furniture) I would paint to this photo – no question. So thank you Architectural Digest, and thank you Gil Schafer

Photos via Architectural Digest