New York's Wilderstein House Dresses Up to Christmas

Design professionals have decked out that the Wilderstein Historic Site in a stunning array of Christmas decor for 2012. Tucked away on a tropical knob overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck, New York, this prestigious Queen Anne mansion is considered the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture and has a Calvert Vaux–designed landscape. The Wilderstein estate has also played host to important figures in American history — that the home was once home to Margaret Suckley, an intimate companion of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The pair’s near and well-chronicled relationship is the subject of the film Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Laura Linney as Suckley and Bill Murray as FDR.

Only a short drive from New York City, the 19th-century home supplies ideas and inspiration for traditionally elegant Christmas decor, either in person or through this virtual trip.

Location: 330 Morton Road, Rhinebeck, New York
Hours: Weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. throughout the end of December; open for tours May through October, Thursday through Sunday, from noon until 4 p.m.
Price: $10 adults; $9 students and seniors; complimentary for children below 12

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

Tess Casey of Aisling Flowers decorated the main dining area. Warm reds play ornate coffered ceilings and the first chandelier. Roses take centre stage on a gold-dressed dining table.

Rikki Snyder

Metallic ornaments, traditional candelabras and glittery artificial birds finish the tablescape. Pinecones, crimson roses and silver and gold decorations decorate a tree in the corner.

Rikki Snyder

Evergreen garlands draped in crimson fabric dress the fireplace.

Rikki Snyder

New flowers in the sink, vegetables in a colander and a simple hanging wreath add a sense of story to the butler’s pantry, decorated by Marijane Grassie.

Rikki Snyder

Designers in The Flower Barn gave the library splashes of holiday sparkle.

Rikki Snyder

Greenery, pink poinsettias and crimson ribbons decorate the fireplace.

Rikki Snyder

The crimson and pink color scheme has a fragrance on the desk.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

Geoff Howell styled the salon, with a trio of all tree-decorating polar bears.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

The combination of blue, gold and white brings a different feel to the more conventional parlor, decorated by Wonderland Florist. This miniature tree is trimmed with an unexpected combination of blue bows and dried hydrangeas.

Rikki Snyder

Gargoyles decorated the entry hall with red poinsettias and classic gold bits.

Rikki Snyder

Simple decorations are sufficient with timber this lovely. A simple pile of red and gold Christmas balls is this mantel requires for the holidays.

Rikki Snyder

A wreath of dried citrus, berries, pinecones and artificial veggies by Battenfeld Christmas Tree Farm greets visitors at the entry.

Rikki Snyder

Position window baskets with evergreens and red berries bring holiday color to the porch, decorated by Joyce Meisinger.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

The property surrounding the Wilderstein house was first bought by Thomas Holy Suckley in 1852, because his wife, Catherine Murray Bowne, wanted a construction site with striking natural features. The cedar and evergreen trees on the house gave the couple the link to nature they were trying to find.

Evergreens, crimson berries and pinecones come in a simple swag outside.

See more photographs from this holiday home tour

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Retrieval Tips From a Hurricane Survivor

Kerry Christopher had done all he could to prepare. It was September 2004, and Hurricane Ivan was barreling toward his Gulf Coast house near Milton, Florida. He’d spent two weeks boarding up his home, moving downstairs garage contents to an upper floor and packing up bric-a-brac. Just before he turned to leave, “I had a huge feeling of despair only type of wash,” he says. “It was very strange. I took a only and second kind of prayed. I had a very clear feeling in that point. The thought was, ‘Look around — that isn’t going to be here when you return. ”’

American Red Cross

Christopher’s premonition proved true. After taking cover in a nearby church while the storm raged, then making his way home through several feet of water to examine the damage, he met with a grim sight. “I had had a home on pilings,” he says. “And the only thing left was the pilings.”

Although Christopher’s religion staved off the shock — “I really felt that God had prepared me, and I was exceedingly thankful for that,” he says — he faced the lengthy and boring process of regrouping and rebuilding, such as all men and women who sustain property losses and damage in a natural catastrophe. Here are his best tips and suggestions for recovery.

• Salvage everything you can following the storm. “The water is about to harm some things rather than other stuff,” Christopher says. Scour your premises and surrounding streets for some of your belongings which are still usable or can be washed and repaired to working order. Search a radius — Christopher found some of his possessions a mile off.

• Take salvaged goods with you when you leave the website. Although Christopher’s home was in a fairly rural area, he says the area had some poststorm looting. “If you allow things sit there, someone’s going to believe it’s OK to find and pick it up,” he says.

• Be persistent in reaching out to government help. “If you’re going to try and get support from FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] with regard to shelter, you’re going to need to speak to them several times,” he says. “You’ve got to keep touching base. Request them, ‘What’s the deadline? Have I done everything?'”

• Use common sense through cleanup. “Don’t attempt to do more than you’re physically able to perform,” Christopher says. He also recommends wearing protective equipment such as thick gloves, heavy boots and long pants. And treat any cuts or scrapes immediately — you can easily get infected by bacteria and parasites in water.

Connected: 7 Initial Actions to Dealing With Flood Water Damage

• Canvass your area for spots with mobile phone coverage. Christopher and other local residents had to drive four or five miles every day to get to the only place they could find in which their phones would work. Expecting that, “Just find somebody having a landline,” he recommends.

• Realize that you’re not alone. “Ask for assistance,” Christopher says. “For many people, it’s just pride. I had that problem, where I felt I could continue to handle. Whenever the Red Cross showed up wanting to hand out food, I did not want to walk 300 yards and get it.” Finally he did, nevertheless, and also took food a quarter of a mile farther down the road to help out another household.

The hardest part of storm damage, Christopher says, is coping with long-term lack of power. “If it is possible to escape the area, escape from the area,” he says. “Apart from that, you just need to establish a whole different routine. You can not think of what you can not do — think of what you can perform. Redefine ‘normal.”

Although Christopher still possesses the lot where his house stood, he decided not to rebuild right after the hurricane because of the surge in labour and material prices. “Real estate values were also going up and up in 2005 and 2006,” he says. “I wanted to keep on the water but couldn’t afford to rebuild or buy another [home].”

Input the real estate bust of the late 2000s. Christopher bought a home on the water in 2010, a nicer and larger home much nearer to his workplace. “In hindsight, losing my old home at Hurricane Ivan was a blessing to me,” he says.

More: How to Prep for Disaster Insurance Claims | Recovering from Hurricane Sandy

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Scope Out a Family Greenhouse Grown From Scraps

“I’ve never been an idle person,” says Amy Moore. Aside from caring for a household of eight, picking and selling home made honey, and raising chickens and horses on her family’s 8-acre house, she’s recently built her own greenhouse using mainly recycled substances.

When picking 26 vintage oak casement windows at no cost from a glass cutter looking to unload them, Moore determined that constructing a greenhouse would be the ideal way to expand the brief Tennessee growing year and to get her kids involved in a purposeful home improvement project. With a circular saw, a jigsaw and a battery-powered drill, she spent about a month and less than $400 to erect an 8-foot from 8-foot greenhouse on her family’s ridge. Now she’s just itching to get the first season’s crops growing.

Resources abound for salvage projects like this — folks throw construction materials away all the time, and lots of stores specialize in classic and reclaimed materials.

When Moore was a youngster, she visited her grandfather’s lake home in Texas every summer. When”Granny needed a larger closet for canning,” she says, they drove around the neighborhood hunting for construction materials and”trash” that other people had chucked out and the resourcefulness of her grandfather stuck with Moore.

She stuffed all 26 windows into her Chevy Impala and schlepped them home — prior to taking stock of what she had. Putting them into greenhouse walls was”like putting together a mystery,” she says.

Assembling the greenhouse. Moore’s husband helped set up 4-foot parts of rebar into a railroad timber foundation. Moore attached 2-by-4 framing for the walls.

She included the three youngest of her six children (Anna, 10; Sarah, 12; and Zach, 15) extensively in this endeavor. Before they move from the home or get sucked into the active years of high school and college, she wishes to involve them in as many home jobs that would allow them to get their hands dirty as possible. They aided cut roof panels, applied the olive green paint and also helped with the framing.

Fourteen days later, the walls were up.

The windows and layout of the greenhouse strongly influenced its framing. Moore says that she framed the greenhouse rather unconventionally to adapt the maximum 27- by 42-inch window length. “Strong 2-by-4 horizontal beams between each row of windows provide stability and strength into the walls,” says Moore. “The weight load is completed from the flat beams and vertical 2-by-4 jack studs, while accommodating the existing pine frames of the windows.”

Building from the bottom up, Moore squared and plumbed the structure as she went. She used decking screws to build it, stating,”They don’t back out with the swell and contraction that wood goes through .”

Moore’s house is advantageously situated on the southeast side of a tall ridge, which provides shelter from many direct winds. “I do consider the 70-foot-tall trees a potential disaster. God willing, it’ll be here for a long time,” she says.

While Moore has a home renovation along with other garden construction projects under her belt, she is the first to admit that this project wasn’t without its own challenges. “I’m not an expert builder,” she says, and involving maneuvering a 6-foot-tall ladder on an 8-foot-tall wall and cutting rafters to fit flush on the roofing, Moore had her share of challenges. “I would take a glass of wine and stroll down to the hill and sit and stare at the greenhouse and contemplate,” she says. Taking a step back, she would believe,”I could get this. If I will pack six children in the van for a family excursion, find room for bag and have access to the cooler, I will earn a rafter fit flush on the roof.”

Fourteen days following the walls were up, a corrugated polycarbonate panel roof was around. While its longevity is yet to be determined, as of today it keeps the rain out. A pitched roof was initially envisioned, but this shed roof design demanded a whole lot less trimming and less square footage — a plus when the panels cost $30 apiece.

Bringing on heat. Winter on the ridge drops to temperatures in the teens, and Moore expects to utilize passive heating to warm the greenhouse. She’ll observe temperatures in it over the winter to find out if supplemental heating is required — solar panels, possibly. She’s looking forward to growing far more in the coming seasons, and maintaining a balmy temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit within the winters could make a world of difference.

She caulked the windows and then let her children have a go using the olive oil paint. Moore says she’s only a few more trips to the glass using the razor blade left to proceed.

To control air and heat flow, a transom above the greenhouse door is going to be inserted. Silicone caulking will make the joints tighter. This greenhouse will be forever, says Moore.

Contemplating that the plantings. Moore says pomegranates are essential for growing. Her grandfather climbed pomegranates and Shasta daisies in Texas, and this homage to his influence really brings the process full cycle. Avocados are on the wish list too.

She’s considering salvaged stainless steel restaurant shelving for stacking and showing the plants. For the time being, two hanging planters and heirloom tomato cuttings are examining out states over winter while temperatures have been monitored and sunlight patterns detected.

Moore is looking forward to the time she will invest in her new greenhouse. “It is ideal,” she says. “It is quiet but not eliminated. You can just sit down there and watch the trees, the horses and enjoy the home.”

Let her procedure inspire your project. Here are the materials she used:
Foundation: Salvaged railroad timbers and 4-foot rebar piecesFraming: Different lengths of 2-by-4s; various-size timber for trim, door frame and baseWalls: 26 oak-framed windows of various sizes; exterior latex caulk, primer and paintRafters: Seven 10-foot spans of 2-by-6s, stained and sealedRoofing: Polycarbonate panels using attachments and foam insertsWindow ledges: Scrap 1-by-8 oak shelvesDeck screws (2 inch, 2 1/2 inches and 3 inches)Door hinges (smaller for side windows, bigger for door)Antique wood doorDecorative door header: Scrap plate railMore: See a greenhouse that’s a workplace, also

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Color Guide: How to Use Plum

How is plum different from purple? Well, first of all, it is a purple, just an extremely red one. Think of plum skin and plum flesh. Plum is warm and vibrant, someplace between purple and magenta. But deeper. It is regal and classic, and although it’s been all over the runways this year, it transcends trends (although in the event that you care about these things, it’s quite au courant).

It can be quite dark or very bright, earthy or superglam. Plum looks luscious with olive green, chartreuse, marigold yellow, dark beige and grey. Yellow ocher and metallic gold too.

It may have an old-world feel — perfect for a traditional dining area with period trimming — or a bright, contemporary feel, depending on how it’s used and what colour you go for. And, as you may see, it’s fantastic as a cloth, especially a heavy one such as velvet.

angela varela cunha

Plum about the Walls

Plum is a rich colour that adds a whole lot of weight and depth to walls. In contemporary rooms similar to this one it is most often used as an accent colour.

European Cabinets & Design Studios

Another plum accent wall in a contemporary white area.

Rachel Reider Interiors

In a space with more architectural details, plum may be used on all of the walls. The glowing white trim makes it pop up and keeps the entire thing from becoming too dark.

Beccy Smart Photography

This is a beautiful combination that’s both modern and warm. I adore the mantel that blends in with the wall and of the white from the dark plum.

Winder Gibson Architects

Plum and chartreuse. It is weird, but it functions.


This vibrant colour is almost magenta and works nicely with other pops of very bright colours. It looks great in this contemporary area, but imagine it also in a formal dining area with white wainscoting and trim. It might be gorgeous.

Raina Cox

This architecturally fundamental room is cocooned in plum. It truly adds a sense of depth and coziness that could be lost if the walls were whitened. It works nicely for a bedroom or a small, romantic room such as a library. It probably wouldn’t work too in a living area lacking architectural details and flourishes.

LUX Design

The wallpaper is a subtle way to add a hit of plum into the space. It is a grayer version but still red as purples go.

Amoroso Design

Decorating With Plum

Plum and velvet were only made for each other: rich, soft, luxurious.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Tufted plum velvet will always do the job. It is similar to the little black dress and red lipstick: classic.

Vuong Interior Design

This lavish plum headboard adds a great deal of glam into an already glammed-up room. Notice how nicely the plum works together with the bluer purples within the room.

Rachel Reider Interiors

These colours work good with plum: beige, navy, turquoise and chartreuse. This chamber happens to combine all of them.

Elad Gonen

This one, too.

Vendome Press

Yet more plum with chartreuse, blues and pinks. Be still, my heart.

Gregory Carmichael

A spare and contemporary dining area is made richer by only some plum on the seats of the chairs.

April Force Pardoe Interiors

Plum with navy and warm wood. Very cozy.

Lisa gutow design

Plum with pink keeps everything from getting overly girly.

Economy Interiors

Here, plum with pink adds pop and character to an elegant but staid room.


This rich plum headboard appears to shine in this large, white space. Very dramatic, dahlink.


Blur Purple Fabric Candles – GBP 450

This rug, which makes lighter toward the middle, appears to shine. It would seem fuzzy against golden wood flooring.

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS

Waterfall Ruffle Shower Curtain – $79

This ruffled shower curtain brings a bit of Carmen Miranda to the home without feeling too kitschy.

Modern Pendant Lighting – $995

A warm plummy glow never did anybody any harm.


Armen Living Centennial Purple Velvet Loveseat – $880

Tufted plum velvet can be yours. Gorgeous.

Benjamin Moore

Elderberry Wine CSP-470 Paint

A dark, rich plum.

Benjamin Moore

Autumn Purple 2073-20 Paint

Additionally dark, but with a tad more grey.


Mature Grape SW6286 Paint

You’d need to get samples to detect the differences between this colour and the one above. Maybe this one is just a sliver lighter?

Paints Stains And Glazes – $35.95

A plum with a great deal of red. Nearly a magenta but a plum.

Benjamin Moore Summer Plum 2074-20 Paint

Just a little bit pinker than the previous colour.

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Artistic Carvings Create for Cutting-Edge Architecture

While construction materials often provide plenty of personality by using their inherent properties — the warmth and texture of wood, the veining of marble, the color of tile they are also able to become a canvas for artistic expression.

Particularly, concrete allows great amounts of saying, given the way it is formed and the time needed for it to place. These homes provide inspiration for exploring artistic texture equally on exteriors and in interiors.

LineBox Studio

Modern Petroglyphs in Ottawa, Canada

Canadian artist Christopher Griffin likens today’s concrete walls to prehistoric cave walls. His markings in real are “surprisingly similar,” he says, to early cave petroglyphs and pictographs.

LineBox Studio

Scenes of character cover his own home in Ottawa, Ontario. Here is a close-up of the whale visible in the preceding photo. Griffin spent the most effort not on the whale itself but on the “water” background, which provides the wall its texture.

LineBox Studio

LineBox Studios helped Griffin recognize that the transformation of an early 1900s Prairie-style building using a commercial extension into a residence for his family. The structure also includes an “organic skincare confectionary” his spouse runs.

LineBox Studio

Since the first photograph makes clear, the home is not composed only of concrete surfaces. Reclaimed wood from inside the home was reused on the outside, breaking up the grey. A strong contrast also happens with reclaimed cedar for the fence and deck. Yet it is still the concrete regions that grab the eye, like the person with the bull on the next floor in this photo.

LineBox Studio

This detail of a concrete wall really captures Griffin’s comparison with cave walls. The simplified animals not just recall the famous pictures of cave paintings, but they also appear to tell a story. The colour of the various panels functions together with the graphics, so the animals trek across the green ground.

LineBox Studio

Zooming out a little, we can realize that the walls are a yarn for even more artistic expression.

S2 layout

Laser-Cut Designs in Victoria, Australia

S2 Design created three townhouses constructed around a landmark 1920s electric substation in Balaclava, Victoria, Australia. Of concern here is really a precast concrete wall which forms the south edge of the residences. You are able to see the undulating line of the wall in the center of the photo.

S2 layout

Most of the 100-foot-long wall is approximately 20 feet high, but in its high point it tops off near 30 feet. Rough aggregate marks the tops of almost all of the panels, but the significant expressions would be the reliefs by artist Damon Kowarsky.

S2 layout

Kowarsky’s artwork was transferred to electronic files which were used to cut the shapes into formwork. So unlike Christopher Griffin’s quick marks in moist cement, Kowarsky’s art is figured out and aided by intermediate measures ahead of the concrete is mixed.

S2 layout

In a few areas, glass blocks are put into the concrete panels, serving baths in the residences on the opposite side of the wall. Kowarsky and S2’s work comes together at those minutes.

Design Platform

A Cutting-Edge Kitchen Colorado

Colorado’s Design Platform built a midcentury ranch’s kitchen round an island confronted with reclaimed barnwood. From this perspective we could see that something interesting is happening under the surface of the cantilevered table.

Design Platform

A closer look shows an aesthetic treatment of the surface, together with abstract tree-like shapes visible through cuts from the reclaimed wood. This layered artwork is the handiwork of Tandi Venter, whose paintings and jewelry are motivated by midcentury style; a lot of her pieces actually incorporate Eames furniture and so on.

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A Prewar Brooklyn Home Benefits a Modern Edge

This tour begins in the kitchen, where the placement of cupboards and other storage introduced a challenge. Designer Stefanie Brechbuehler, intent on creating a visually pleasing workhorse of a kitchen area, rearranged the layout to accommodate updated appliances, fixtures and flush custom cabinetry. “The placement and unique design of this cabinetry transformed the way the space functions and how it opens to the dining area and living room,” she says of her work on the home, in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn, New York. “You can say that the family lives in the kitchen”

in a Glance
Who lives here: A household of 3, originally from India
Location: New York City
Size: 1,300 square feet


Brechbuehler along with her staff members, Robert Highsmith and Ryan Mahoney, saved space by building the majority of the tall kitchen cabinets into the underside of stairs resulting in the second floor. The cabinets act as both storage area and a railing. They also add geometric play to the dining area.

Hood: Rangecraft, custom painted in brushed brass


The rustic live-edge counter tops makes a lovely partner for the sleek, custom cabinetry. The wood’s natural edge disrupts the sleek lines and sharp angles of the whole kitchen; it is a nice surprise as you come round the island corner.


Brechbuehler’s clients challenged the designers when it came to color. “We’re known for having an extremely muted palette. But because our clients come from such a colorful culture, we couldn’t really deny colour in their property. We infused our design with some colour while staying true to our design sensibilities,” she says.

The designer integrated brass accents with a pinkish colour through the flat, most especially in the kitchen. She bought brass fittings, door handles and light switches, and splurged on a custom hood replated in brass.

“I feel the brass details actually make the design sing,” says Brechbuehler.

Faucet: Rohl, custom-made in brushed brass


The clients, who”cook like crazy,” she says, have additional baking and entertaining for their listing of weekend activities. They threw a large party here, and everybody lingered in the kitchen,” Brechbuehler says. “That is really our goal in the conclusion: to enhance the lifestyles of our clients.”


The designer gets excited when she speaks about the hidden gem of this kitchen: the pantry. Its built-in outlets and countertop make the coffee maker and other appliances fully accessible.

“Everything is plugged in, ready to use and inside of the cupboard. Our clients love the pantry’s performance,” says Brechbuehler.


Wegner wishbone chairs in white laquer and oiled walnut work well with the sharp angles of this paper clip–legged dining table.


The living room is a study in midcentury furniture. Wood materials and furniture particulars warm up the area. Sliding doors with metal handles open into an office area drenched in sunlight.


The designer continues the design theme in the office with brass cupboard handles and a custom live-edge table.


A skylight provides the differently windowless bathroom with soothing natural light.


Brechbuehler left the exposed brick walls across the duplex (seen here in the master bedroom). “They show the bones and age of the prewar flat and work well with the warmer wood furnishings and flooring,” she says.

“I love that this household trusted us enough to design a space for them, a place where their kid can grow and play and revel in her parents’ cooking. The genuine love that they have for their home gives us much joy. It is a massive part of why we do what we do,” says Brechbuehler.

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Great Design Plant: Butterfly-Friendly Crossvine

Nearly any garden can benefit from the addition of a vertical feature, and flowering blossoms like crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) really pull double duty in this capacity. A vigorous and prolific bloomer, crossvine offers gardeners stunning color, year-round interest and an chance to use vertical components, like trellises and arbors. Keep reading to understand how to incorporate crossvine into an outdoor space that requires a colorful pick-me-up.

Hortus Oasis

Botanical name: Bignonia capreolata
Common title: Crossvine
USDA zones: 6a-9b (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate
moderate requirement: Sun to partial shade
Mature size: 30 to 40 ft
Advantages and tolerances: Crossvine is both heat and cold tolerant; blooms attract bees, butterflies and birds
Seasonal attention: Evergreen leaves for winter arrangement and orange-yellow blooms from spring until fall
When to plant: Fall and spring

J. Peterson Garden Design

Distinguishing traits. Crossvine features tubular orange-yellow flowers that bloom prolifically from spring until fall and long evergreen leaves which take centre stage during the colder months. It is a blossom that is fairly low-maintenance, as long as you give moisture that is constant to it. Although it is going to bloom in partial shade, the blooms will be more abundant in fuller sunshine.

JOHN DANCEY Custom Designing/Remodeling/Building

The best way to use it. This blossom is a very long one, growing up to 40 feet, so be sure to give it a distance which will accommodate it. Tall trellises, arbors, walls and fences will show it off beautifully, and though it’s a clinging vine, it is going to appreciate a service system due to its length. A cable trellis along your fence line will support the blossom without damaging your weapon, making fencing repairs or replacement much easier.

Crossvine may also be used in container plantings — only be sure to give it a big enough container for the origins to expand.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Planting notes.
Dig a hole twice as big as the root chunk of the plant, then carefully remove the blossom out of the nursery pot. Loosen the roots before putting it in the ground, then place soil around the root ball and gently down it. Water it and gently mulch up to the base of the blossom. If your vine has a extended tendrils, carefully spread them out and then put them onto your trellis or arbor that will help the blossom spread in the directions that you wish it to grow. More: Climbing Plants Suit Small Gardens

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