18 November 2014
I wonder if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been?
Instagram followers were one stage ahead. Needless to say….
A couple of short lovely days in New York…. staying with Valentina, for my birthday. A long-planned trip, because (in part) we hadn’t really made it to Italy this year. It was bliss. Being in New York always feels like being home; no-one makes it feel more like home than Val.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say we saw more than our fair share of hangovers. I’d be seriously lying if I didn’t admit to spending a disproportionate amount of time lying on Val’s deep comfortable sofa in the middle of the day watching movies. But that’s the lovely thing about going somewhere so familiar you don’t need to be a tourist. It was all about spending time together.
Well, so far so good. Early on Saturday morning, on a freezing, crystal clear day, we jumped in our rental car and headed upstate to Hudson. I’d never been and had been thinking for ever (okay, perhaps, in fact, since Val’s blog had whetted my appetite, although it’s probably true to say that every single one of Val’s blogs whets your appetite, don’t they?)… that it would be good to go. Nice to get out of the city.
We went via Storm King, where I didn’t know what to expect. We loved it.
Virginia Overton’s 500 foot long brass tube, which gently undulates across the landscape, was wonderful. With a childlike wonder you discover that you can whisper to each other down the tube and hear every word with complete clarity.
I adored Alyson Shotz’s Mirror Fence. Brilliant.
It was only upon getting closer that you realised why so many couples were sitting either side of the fence.
And then to Hudson. We arrived in a brilliant glow of late afternoon sunshine.
Everywhere on Warren Street are signs of restoration.
You guessed it. The gays have saved the town (well, who else was going to?). Twenty or thirty years ago Hudson had hit rock bottom. The slow decline of small towns is something that this blog has touched on from time to time (read here); not much excites me as much as the examples of reversal in the face of almost inexorable odds. I have a hunch that small towns have an incredible future, but it’s brilliant to see a place like Hudson today.
Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t let you know that my favourite thing of all in Hudson was their yellow and green painted hydrants.
And the old signs still around the place: And station wagons with decals:
(well, other cool cars in general, but more on that tomorrow). On Saturday afternoon at about 4pm Hudson presented an almost serene view of small-town America on the up.
This is the beautiful little house we stayed in… incredibly kindly lent to us by a friend of Zoe’s in the office who happened to be in London last weekend. It was stunningly beautiful. And my only sadness is that the recent World of Interiors ‘Black & White’ Issue had somehow failed to find Michael’s house? Mistake!!!
Well, okay, I’ll admit we spent the evening cooking some delicious duck and…. watching movies. Bliss. That sort of holiday,
The next morning we hit town. First stop was Finch; an incredible store. It’s brilliant. For a minute I was rather jealous of so much space.
How I long to have a wide trestle table to showcase our favourite books here in London!
Good old John Derian makes the final finishing touch.
I left Finch the proud owner of a dreamy Hudson Bay blanket, a little American present for Charlie. (Which was lucky because I got home to find the house filled with birthday presents, crazy, not just the pairs of socks I’d asked for).
Next stop, Red Chair. Also perfect:
And Rural Residence. Also perfect. How do they manage it all? What’s going on here in Hudson?
Can we get back to reality?
So, you see what I mean about cool cars:
Slightly cooler cars:
….And, well, some seriously cool cars:
Hudson, I loved you. We had such a quiet happy time here. The weekend passed in a dream. Back to New York in a pouring rainstorm on Monday; back to London on Monday night, arriving in a pouring rainstorm this morning.
I don’t think I’ve been so excited to get home in years. I think it’s true: absence really does make the heart grow fonder. It was wonderful being in New York, but London, it’s good to be home….. good night.
Before I sign off completely, a note that we’re looking for support staff in the shop right now… Christmas elves are needed. Please have a look at the news page here.
And in the new year, we’ll also be recruiting for someone to help on… STUFF… in the architecture and decoration office. More details will follow in a while, but if you think you might just have what it takes, please get in touch….!