A Little Island Off the Big Island

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The Little Island is new NY close to the Whitney and the High Line.  Have a visit.

Which do you choose? NY? Or NJ? We’ll take them together.

The band. Naming rights remain unsold. Contact us for details.



This coat on Lisa caused the biggest splash in NY fashion.


Romey Buys a Building

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Jumping way ahead.  The Natural Mane in its new state.


As a successful salon business owner for over a decade, Romey knew she should own her own space instead of renting.  Any idea when the best time to take a financial risk and do that is?  Never!  So when is the second best time?  During a global pandemic, of course.  It takes a special kind of vision to fly directly into the vacuum.  Here is Romey’s story.

Before: The Barbershop

The discussion quickly became a reality in late 2020 when the 1850s era Berryville jailhouse (that had been a barbershop for many years) came on the market.  Here is what the space looked like before it was purchased.

From the back room

You can’t quite tell from here, but that floor is 5 layers of flooring all tottering on joists that are about to give up the ghost.


Florescent lighting and dated fans (instead of AC).  And that green.  No words.


Looking back (one of the stations is shown here)


The bathroom where the basement “access” was


The back was in better shape, though still green



Romey contemplates ownership

Before buying the building, finding a contractor and spitballing what renovation would cost was the next step.  Also an in-depth inspection.  Needless to say, Romey kind of knew what she was getting into.  Kind of only because a building from 1850 always holds surprises.  This was going to be a hell of a project!


The barbershop was utterly removed, the attic was exposed and cleaned out, the floor was removed, and lo and behold the bones of the building began to emerge.  But first, a permit.

Demo permit


Removing rubble


These beams turn out to be a treasure

One of those unexpected finds was a chimney basically hanging in space.  It had to go.  But the architecture review board had to approve first since the skyline changed.

Uh oh, an unexpected chimney ready to crash down and kill somebody (the beams are from the contractor)


Oh but these stone walls!


One day this will be a gorgeous window


But first a slight delay waiting for a building permit.  Thanks to Allen Kitselman, all of this permitting happened as smoothly as possible.

The permit (and the new holding company)

Floor and Plumbing

All that flooring?  Gone.  And all of the joists?  Replaced.  Plus the basement was parged and lined with plastic.  While the floor was missing, the plumbing trade got started bringing the building’s water system to code.  Everything was replaced.

For a while, it was fun to walk on the skinny boards that sufficed for a floor.

Floor joists and subfloor


Reframing the back


Plumbing in the basement


Hey look, subfloor


Framing the back of the main room where the stonework was not up to snuff


Repointing the stone was also an unexpected expense, but one well worth the investment.  just look at these walls.

Gorgeous stone


Yes please

The rest of the space was framed for drywall.

Shampoo area


Newly widened doorway to back (in order to meet code)


Looking almost roomlike


The HVAC and machine room (hot water up there too)


Drywall is always surprisingly fast.  And then it was up!

The back room


Those beams!


And this is before they were treated with oil


It’s coming together.  New crawlspace access below the window.


The boss woman checking out her future space

Painting and Lights

Finish work is always a thing.  Romey picked out flooring (local hardwood), wall, and trim colors, and supervised their proper application.

First the back, where a pocket door was installed


Back finish


HVAC and cathedral ceiling

Now look at this.  The space is coming together.

Gorgeous new floor looking back




Just wow

That eye for lines, color, and design shows right through.

Birthday Dinners

So what do you do in February with a space that is coming together and two February birthdays?  A dinner party in the space.  Cyn and Ant joined us to celebrate the new space and the old people.


By this time Romey and I had a habit of meeting for cocktails after work to check out progress.  This was a fun tradition and made the stress of renovation turn into celebration.  Magic.

This temporary window was installed to appease the architecture review board. Allen comes through again!


A repurposed sink from Cyn

Moving In

A one day move in included shampoo sink, work stations, retail, heck, everything.  Even some lights moved.  Claudio was more than useful.  Moving two blocks is way harder than moving 1000 miles.

Even the sign moved


Plumbed in shampoo station


W/D in their slot


Wired in work station


Retail shelving

The Completed Space

Several months later, the final move in (originally planned for January) happened in March.  And the salon was reborn in a fabulous, unique space.

A perfect blend of old features like the beams and the stone with sleek modern design befitting a place of beauty-making.

A new front light was icing on the cake

All told the project was an absolutely excellent way to spend the heart of the pandemic.  A new beautiful space built in the interstitial time.  Risk taking like this is brave, to be sure, and it usually pays back.

Be brave.

Coda: The Stained Glass

Six months later, the stained glass panel designed by Romey was installed.  Now the space is complete.




















How to top Proton Tuesday?! Radioactive Valentine’s Day!

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As usual, it started with zapping

But it was a special day!  The last day of treatment!  Which means bell ringing time.  Pizza was devoured. Bells were rung.


Feels good to be done.


A happy spool

There was little time left for Baltimore’s museum collection.  We headed directly to the American Visionary Art Museum.



Das boots (slightly radioactive)


After purchasing some items, many of which were plastic, we headed to the aquarium, driving like lost tourists.

The parking angel (really does something indescribably to the Audi)

The National Aquarium was mobbed on a Valentines Day night.










And then it was back down to Old Town for a very late dinner indeed at the Majestic.  Super fun at the bar (happy Catoctin Creek day!), and a delicious dinner.


The bar at the Majestic

Scallops. If you can’t watch them in an aquarium, by all means eat them.


Last word


I will dearly miss Proton Tuesdays (and Radioactive Valentines), but I hope they never happen again.





Proton Tuesday at Columbia Room

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For the penultimate Proton Tuesday, we celebrated at the Columbia Room (which is turning 10 not too long from now).  Craft cocktails are curative.  There was also Manifesto before zapping.



The best museum hot chocolate evah




Entranced and entrancing



Corduroy (on a whim)

The Columbia Room

Happy Birthday Columbia Room


Course one from the days of yore




Popcorn with truffle


Chartreuse (green and definitely good for you)




The fog



You have no idea how good this duck BBQ is. OMG.



Happy Birthday!




Proton Tuesday Alive

Other Proton Tuesdays included: the Portrait Museum and Fiola Mare as well as the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy, car buying, and Jojo Rabbit.  Love you Spool.

Grace Potter at the Anthem: Rock and Roll, Baby

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Great show. Lots of dancing and joy.



Though this was the second encore, the solo version of Release was the most powerful song of the set.  Yes please.  Need some of this.














Rock and roll ending.



Sailing Sydney Harbor

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The only bummer was that the jib was in the shop.  Without enough sail our huge Beneteau required a motor to move along.  Nonetheless, the day was perfect as was the wind.   Next time we’ll keel her over.

Eddie sails the boat

Sydney transport of the fancy variety



beer on the water

Under motor

The Secure Code Warrior crew

The lunch spread was delicious


Sydney landmarks

Madou and chess

Madou goes to the opera

Aaron goes to the opera


Iconic view

Garden Update 3: Post Beach

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Well, everything grew, a tiller was killed with bad gas, weeds sprouted with the corn…and two weeks went by while we were at the beach.

Here is how the garden looks at the end of June after a soaking thunderstorm.


The garden will make a cameo appearance at the solstice fire.

Garden Update 1

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When the garden is new (like, say, this month), it is pretty easy to manage.  After getting things started about a week late this year, things are looking good.  Most of the seeds have come up.  Weeding and thinning proceeding apace.  Sadly found the first squash beetles.

Here’s a video tour from the very end of May.



Garden Tour

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Seven hours in the garden later, the garden is finally up and running about a week late.  I usually get everything in around Mother’s Day, so I am not too far behind, but the rain put a serious kibosh on the original plan.

Here is a celebratory video about all of the stuff in the garden.  (I forgot to mention the cucumbers near the beginning, but I think I covered most everything.  Hopefully all the seeds will germinate and we’ll be off to the races.

Four days on skis (Norway)

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Day one involved cross country skiing. This is not a thing we do well. We got better.


At least there were waffles and beer! Though I think that home brew knocked my internals out of whack.

Our skiing all happened somewhere around here

Day two was also cross country.



On the third day, we arose from the dead and did some downhill.

Then it was back on the grindstone for more cross country.

This guy had better skis than we did



After skiing, there is always bubbly!

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