Yes, you CAN do blue in the mountains.

Let's step out of the box and consider a new and somewhat unconventional color scheme for cabins and rustic mountain lodges.

Brown is the decorating color of choice in so many mountain interiors. When color is added, it is often with the addition of red or mustard yellow in toss pillows or area rugs, but really, brown prevails.  I see it all the time...brown leather sofas, brown wood walls, brown hardwoods on the floors, brown beams and wood clad ceilings, brown wooden furniture. Brown, brown and more brown!

There's nothing wrong with brown really, but...

Why not choose a pretty color scheme?  Why not choose cheerful, cozy, enveloping and comforting colors?  Why not a color scheme that works during the heat of the summer as well as the cold of the winter?  Why not blue?

And just to show how it's done, here is a Catskills interior by Rob Southern photographed by Peter Murdock for Veranda Magazine.  

This is a beautiful room.  The colors are so welcoming.  The carpet and drapes soften the room and create an enveloping comfort.  So many clients do not want draperies when I first start  with them and I often have to work hard to convince them, but these photos show how much curtains add to the architectural impact of a mountain home.  Without them, this interior would seem much harder, colder and darker.  Where the room now has both pretty feminine and rugged masculine aspects, it would be more masculine, dark and handsome without curtains.  The curtains and carpet also create a sense of warmth that would be very welcome on a cold winter day and yet the fresh blue color keeps the room cool enough for summer.   

Rugged log detailing contrasts with refined furniture choices--my favorite combo.

In the dining room, not too fancy, not too lodge-y.  Just simple good taste.  

A beautiful place to sleep.  Again, the curtains are so pretty and I'm absolutely mad about the nubby carpet texture.  It's almost like a wonderful fisherman knit sweater for the floor.  Crisp white bedding, the perfect shade of blue paint on the walls, a few fantastic antiques and a gorgeous fireplace--what more could you want in a mountain bedroom?  

The house is beautifully situated on a sloping lot with brilliant views.  

A great big deck detailed with perfection in more blue and white!

So how do you feel about brown now?

Howard Hughes' Former Summer Retreat on Lake Tahoe

I've been to this wonderful "Old Tahoe" log cabin twice.  The first was on the garden tour when I was able to poke my head into the entry where I was fascinated with a fabulous huge circular wrought iron chandelier with 6 wonderfully rendered owls perched on it.  After that brief glimpse of the interior I always hoped that someday I would be able to view the entire entire.  Then just a few years ago I was invited on a tour of lakefront estates for sale and this house was included.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed about the inside.

I only wish the photos I found of the estate included that amazing owl chandelier!  Enjoy...

One of many gorgeous views of the lake from the property.

Log walls, old stone fireplace, hand adzed front door, comfy furniture, stone pavers all add up to the perfect cozy mountain room.

Comfortable but special furnishings and details are found throughout the house.  The valance on the windows is fringed suede.  

A beautiful hand-crafted stick-style hutch and high boy in the dining area.

Down at the water are a beautiful pier and deck for boating and entertaining.

A great little spot to tuck into.

The kitchen is small but modernized and beautifully mountain perfect with fabulous views out to the woods.

A comfy rustic den.

The master with more unique custom made furnishings.

Bunk room--every mountain house needs one.

Here you can see the gorgeous clear waters of Lake Tahoe.

Wake up to water views all around.

The grounds are beautifully maintained and generous in a locale where every inch of footage is at a premium.  

Okay, so yes, this fabulous bedroom does need a new bedspread, but beyond that it's spot on.  

Private beach?  Yes, please.

Views to die for.

Decks galore!

A place to spend the day.

Love these custom made benches and window boxes.

The estate as seen from the air.

An exterior view.

Outbuildings and cottages.

Manicured lawns.

Four car garage.  Of course, at least one bay has to store the old wooden speed boat during the winter.

Peach Pie and LIghtening

Peach Pie!  Hint...Eat it at the lake on the beach.  That's how we do it.  

Actually, that's how we usually do it.  This year we have periodic heavy rain with lots of thunder and lightening.  I just came back from a hair-raising hike with my sister and a friend.  We got about 20 minutes out when the lightning started up all around us.  

First we ran away from the pond because of the lightning danger. 
Then we crouched down under some pine trees because of the heavy rain.
Then we remembered about the tree danger (lightening targets).  So we ran away from the trees.   
Then we ran to a low spot and laid down.  
Then we got really wet so we got up and decided to make a run for it to the car.
Then there were trees everywhere (after all, it's a forest), KABOOM!! so we ran willy nilly through them trying not to get too close to any single one.
Then we ran through a meadow, us being the tallest points for 100 feet on either side, squawking and screaming.
By then it was only 10 minutes at a full sprint back to the car, KABOOM!!  But this was only accomplished with much dodging of lightning strikes, short stops to panic and much yelling of instructions at each other that no-one paid any mind to.  KABOOM!!
Finally, wringing wet, hair standing on end, panicked and crazed, we arrived at the car, loaded 5 dogs in, jumped in ourselves, slammed the doors and sat panting and gasping for breath while the lightning crashed all around us.  

We'll be eating our peach pie indoors this afternoon.  Here's the killer recipe we use every year.  The crowd always begs for more.  Serve it warm from the oven with lots of soft, drippy vanilla ice cream on top.

Cooks Illustrated Fool-Proof Double-Crust Pie Dough

Makes enough for one 9-inch pie

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 t salt
12 T unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
8 T vegetable shortening cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup vodka chilled
1/4 cup ice water

  1.  Process 1.5 cups flour, sugar and salt together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds.  Scatter butter and shortening over top and continue to process until incorporated ad mixture begins to form uneven clumps with no remaining floury bits, about 15 seconds. 

  1.  Scrape down bowl and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.  Sprinkle remaining 1 cup flour over dough and pulse until mixture has broke up into pieces and is evenly distributed around bowl, 4-6 pulses.

  1. Transfer mixture to large bowl.  Sprinkle vodka and ice water over mixture.  Stir and press dough together, using stiff rubber spatula, until dough sticks together.

  1. Divide dough into 2 even pieces.  Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 4-" disk.  Wrap each piece tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.  (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.  If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling it out.  

The key to making a great peach pie is great peaches, of course.  I like to start with ripe and delicious local summer peaches from my farmer's market.  

To make the peach pie, cut up a bunch of peaches, put in the uncooked pie crust, sprinkle with flour every few layers of peaches.  To make 2 pies, use 3 T butter and 1 cup of brown sugar.  Melt the butter and sugar together in a sauce pan.  Pour half of the mixture over the top of the peaches in each pie.  Sprinkle with a little more flour.  Place top crust on top of pie.  Poke with a fork.  Bake about an hour at 350 degrees. 

7PM July 4, 2015  The view from the beach.  By now the skies have cleared.  

Thom Felicia's Lake House

This morning One King's Lane is featuring a curated "lake house" collection by designer, Thom Felicia.  As they often do, they have included pictures of Felicia's own home and his personal comments about it.