Friday, October 30, 2009

A Safe Haven Called Shiloh

Seven years ago, my husband and I found our dream yacht. She was in Boston Harbor , and it was cold and rainy, yet the moment we set foot on board we felt comfortable and at home. We had been looking for a classic wooden yacht for years, and had narrowed our search to Trumpys. She is known as hull #314, the first boat the New Jersey Trumpy Yard built after WWII, and was the first boat John Trumpy built for himself as a demonstrator. He called her "Aurora", godess of the dawn. There were 5 more Auroras in his life. This one was to go through many owners, including the actress Susan Hayward. The previous owner had acquired her after she was found washed up on the rocks following Hurricane Gloria in 1986 and had done a fine restoration job.
55" Aurora, Contract number 314, built in 1945 (Pilot model), built for John Trumpy
Sea Prince - Before
Shiloh - After
When we first saw her she looked a bit different than she did originally. She was also known as "Sea Prince", a strange name we thought, since she had been called "Sea Princess" prior, as well as many other lovely names like "Celadon" and "Broadway Lady". My husband had always liked "Shiloh" and when we looked up the meaning in the dictionary we found it meant "safe haven", which was perfect for her. Years ago my husband had cut out an article from Wooden Boat magazine that included a drawing of her original layout, and we set about to restore her to her original look. We have changed the yellow and green to the original blue and white, replaced a long missing walnut banquette in the main salon, replaced window treatments, carpets, tile, reupholstered and refurbished, and many other things.
Main Salon - Before
Main Salon - After
Aft Deck - Before

Aft Deck - After
It is an ongoing project. Yes, we are always busy varnishing, sanding, painting, and yes she is a lot of work, but the time we spend on her is so rewarding. There is a sense of stepping back into an era of bygone elegance - one feels the stress of the day melt away and time becomes insignificant. We call it the "Shiloh syndrome" when we and our guests hate to pack up and leave, and we always look forward to returning.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Solving Problems

Part of my morning routine is doing the NYT crossword puzzle before I go to work. I look forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and the paper. Not only do I enjoy it, I feel that it clears away the cobwebs and helps me think "outside the box" when coming up with solutions. I love it when I can come up with a great idea that really works and seems so natural that everyone is convinced it had to be simple - just like that crossword puzzle when it is completed.

My day is never complete without at least one problem - like how to make that small NYC apartment really work without putting too much furniture in it. I found my answer in a great multifunctional table with pull-out extentions that can be used with sofa height seating for dining or working on, or can be dropped to cocktail height.

I actually have this table at home - on my back porch. It's called a luncheon table and is by Starbay, a french company with a fabulous design concept - recalling the Grand Voyages of the early 19th century with a contemporary flair. It is perfect for this apartment. It even has a drawer on each side to keep your things in, as well as a display box in the middle of the table for interesting objects. It makes for comfortable dining and working without adding dining height chairs to a small space.

You might enjoy looking at their catalogue at Most of their pieces have a surprise element - like a hidden drawer, or a secret hiding place. Call me at (631) 928-7913 if you want to know more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gathering Round the Fire

I think that simple pleasures are the best, and at this time of year, a crackling fire is at the top of my list. Whether enjoying it alone or with a group of friends, a fire creates ambience, warmth and comfort.

I'm lucky, I live in an old house with six fireplaces, but I've also found an easy solution that works everywhere. It uses a clean, smokefree, odorless biofuel that needs no venting and can be used anywhere inside.

I have this portable one at home. I often use it as the centerpiece on the dining table. It's like having dinner around the campfire - mesmerizing! I gave them to my daughters for Christmas last year - neither of them have a fireplace in their home/apartment, and they love them! They provide instant atmosphere on a cold, dark day or a romantic evening.

For more impact you can hang this one on the wall. Installation is a snap! I have one to put up in my shop. It has a great modern look and looks like it is built in.

This insert is great for a fireplace that isn't real or can't be used - you'd never know.

You can see more styles at For more info, give me a call- 631-928-7913.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NYC Studio

Here it is - a 440 sq.' white box with high ceilings and lots of windows with a great view. The challenge: to create a warm, comfortable city retreat with all of the necessities, and a space that looks larger than it really is, without spending a lot of money. This is my first viewing, and it isn't the actual apartment, but a similar one on a different floor.

We'll be putting a queen bed in the alcove area, a loveseat and 2 chairs with a special table that will serve as a work space, dining table, and cocktail table all in one, along with 2 side tables from the previous apartment, and a rug that will delineate the living space. The colors will be taupe and off white.

Here's my first view of the apartment - the walls in the living space have been painted Shenandoah Taupe to expand the space, the rug and some of the furniture has arrived.

As you can see, we've already painted some walls, and moved some of the furniture in.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Having enough

You may be familiar with the story of a conversation between two famous authors, Kurt Vonnegut, and Joseph Heller at the home of a wealthy hedge fund manager on Shelter Island years ago.

In the course of the discussion, Vonnegut said to Heller that their host made more money in one day, than Heller would make in an entire lifetime on his book Catch-22. Heller replied that was probably true, but that he had something he would never have - he had enough.

Having enough is something that many of us reevaluated lately. For some, it has meant downsizing, out of need or desire to simplify our lives. For others, it may mean expanding, finally being able to afford that welcoming home, thanks to lower interest rates and prices. Some realize that it means getting rid of stuff, decluttering and organizing their homes so that they have more time for the things that are important to them.

Starting next week, my blog will deal with solutions to these challenges. I will start with a current project - a small studio apartment in Manhattan that belongs to a successful lawyer, who has chosen to downsize out of the desire to simplify her life.

I hope you'll return next week and the weeks there after as this project unfolds.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happiness is three small dogs...

"Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads."- Harry Truman


Pickles and Lucy

It is one year since Lucy - a lovable 6 yr. old Boston Terrier and her "little sister" Pickles, a 5 yr. old sweet, funny pug came to live with us. It had been 1 yr. since our sweet Rosie (seen on my website) had died at the early age of 9. I missed Rosie terribly, and our little Charlie was still despondent. When I got the call from a friend that due to circumstances she needed to find a new home for the two of them, I jumped on it, and haven't regretted it.

An old friend, Stephanie Massey recently photographed them. Stephanie has great talent with the camera. She senses the personality and captures the perfect moment for the shot. I wish I had her talent. I hope you all check out her website There are more pictures of Charlie, Lucy, and Pickles on her woof blog. I love her motto - "Life as it happens." It says it all. Some things just can't be put off until later.

We look forward to working closely with Stephanie on a new joint venture. I know that many of you have family photos that you would like to hang on your walls, but aren't sure how to do it. We will frame and hang them for you with a professional eye. Please contact us if you are interested.

In the meantime, don't forget that we are animal and child friendly, and specialize in practical, as well as green solutions that are healthy, easy to maintain, give an updated, clean look and even reuse what you have.

We have:
  • hypoallergenic mattresses without chemicals

  • hypoallergenic rugs and carpets

  • organic and recycled fabrics for window treatments, reupholstery or slipcovers

  • furniture made from recycled and sustainable sources without any toxic finishes

  • wallpaper from natural, organic sources

and, recently added

  • a line of very "green" greeting cards from Borealis Press - made with soy inks on acid-free, recycled, chlorine-free paper.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Welcome to my new blogspot

Welcome to "Simply Eva" my new blogspot - where I give you tips and easy solutions to design problems.

I have just returned from a long weekend on Mt. Desert Island, ME, one of the most beautiful spots in the country, and a mecca for painters. There was a juried art show in Southwest Harbor, with many outstanding Maine artists participating. One of them was a friend, Gloria Gustafson, from York. I particularly like the scene above that we woke up to everyday, painted from the inn we were staying at. Gloria has many wonderful works - check them out at She also runs a gallery in York with other Maine artists displaying their work as well.

I find that my clients are often a little apprehensive about buying art at an art show and thought I would pass on some tips for finding that perfect piece of art. The first consideration is, of course that you really like the artist and their work. Art shows are an excellent way to get acquainted with the artist.

If you are looking for a special piece of art for a particular spot in your house, be sure that you go prepared.

  • Measure the space available. If you're not sure how big or small it should be, make a paper cut out in a contrast color to your wall and put it up with magic tape, which won't pull the paint off of your wall.

  • Take a picture of where you want to put it and note the colors in the room. With the measurements and picture in hand, it will be easier deciding. Step back from the painting and ask yourself - does this work colorwise in the room? Does it have the proper impact? If framed, does the frame work?

  • Don't forget that the artists are always happy to do commission work and giclees and can change frames as well. Many will let you buy on approval as well.

First and foremost be sure that the art speaks to you. Art is an emotional thing. Take your time deciding, if necessary. You'll be living with your purchase a long time. Happy Hunting!