wrought iron fence
It’s Gategate! Wrought Iron Fence Doesn’t Protect Brooklyn Stoop Drinkers from Fines
By Sarah Grothjan
Andrew Rausa and two friends must have underestimated New York officials’ interest in regulating peoples’ drinking habits when they were given summonses for public drinking. Getting in trouble for drinking on your stoop is nothing new, but Mr. Rausa, a legal eagle, believes a humble fence gives him the right to imbibe, and he’s fighting back.
Two officers issued the summonses after witnessing Mr. Rausa and his companions drinking on their Brooklyn stoop, The New York Times reports.
“We were all kind of stunned for a second,” Mr. Rausa told The Times. “It happened over the gate. It was a very tangible physical divide–when they said the words ‘public property,’ it just didn’t make any sense.”
Mr. Rausa, who is entering his third year at Brooklyn Law School in the fall, said he used his iPhone to clarify what the New York administrative code defines as a public space. According to the code, it refers to anything “which the public or a substantial group of persons has access, including, but not limited to,” a park, sidewalk or beach.
Law background and iPhone in tow, Mr. Rausa vocalized his findings to one of the officers.
“I don’t care what the law says, you’re getting a summons,” the officer said, according to Mr. Rausa.
Instead of paying the mere $25 fines (and forever carrying a permanent mark on his record), Mr. Rausa told his friends to plead not guilty in an upcoming court proceeding, with Mr. Rausa representing himself.
“My issue,” Mr. Raussa said, “is not some yuppie, I-think-I’m-above-the-law issue. It’s the fact that I brought to the attention of the police officer that he was not in the right and he was not receptive at all.”
Sounds more like a know-it-all issue to us.
Sun Inn Holding Chicken BBQ Fundraiser
Chicken barbecue dinner to be held at Sun Inn Sunday to raise money for new $20,000 fence.
The Sun Inn will be hosting a Southern BBQ chicken dinner from 12 noon till 6:00 pm Sunday, in the North Green to help raise funds for a new wrought iron fence in front of the North Green along Main Street.
The fence will replace the wooden fence that was placed on the property when the North Green was being used as a staging area while the burned out Alpha Graphics building on the corner of Broad and Main Streets was being rebuilt.
The fence will sit on top of a two foot stone wall and stone pillars and is estimated to cost $20,000.
Tickets for the fundraising dinner are $30 each for adults and $15 for children 12 and under and can be obtained by calling the Sun Inn Preservation Association office at 610-866-1758. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.
Chef Michael Adams will be preparing the dinner which will be served in a tent in the North Green. Dinner seating’s are 12 noon, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm. Sixty people can be served at each seating.
Garden gates open into private spaces
By Julie Robinson
They say “come on in” or “keep out.” They block a view or encourage a look at the space beyond. Once inside, occupants leave through them or are held inside. Their design is sometimes utilitarian and practical, sometimes artistic. They often reflect the owner’s personality or the space within the gate.
Charleston landscape designer Beth Loflin considers a gate’s purpose, the style of the home and the space beyond and whether the owner considers the gate a focal point or something that should blend into the garden when she works a gate into a design.
“A gate is the first object you see when you enter a space. It sets the tone,” she said. “It can be welcoming or not so welcoming.”
Loflin’s choice of a simple loop of rope instead of a sturdy latch to secure the picket wood gate into her own backyard reflects her personal message. “Everyone is welcome. All you have to do is lift the rope. Latches are too hard to work,” she said.
When Bill Mills, Charleston garden designer and general manager of TerraSalis, steps out of his car to open the gate on his driveway, he appreciates the transition from his home into the rest of the world and vice versa.
“Coming into the gate, I let myself into my own private refuge,” he said. “When I open it to leave, I peer out into the world beyond.”
He designed and built the substantial wooden gates that open into his secluded Fort Hill home and property. He first planned to build stone gate pillars, but was inspired by the simple wooden gates friends in Vermont chose for their property.
“They described them as unpretentious, which is perfect for my home,” he said.
A look into a few other Charleston backyards and gardens reveals a variety of styles, materials and purposes.
Donna and Steve Mallory’s gate is both artistic and functional. They commissioned blacksmiths Matt and Tessie Wallace to create unique gates into the courtyard entrance of their Fort Hill home. Their house number appears twice on the gate. An easily visible “400″ in the upper left provides clear identification. Upon closer examination, a more abstract “400″ can be seen in a large “4″ on the left gate and a circle within a circle that’s part of the geometric pattern on the right gate.
The imaginative design was long in the making. The Mallorys first talked about replacing the old wooden gate that kept their border collies in the hilltop yard of their contemporary home about five years ago. “We wanted something different that was easy to open and close. It had to be something our dogs couldn’t get through, but that our friends could operate,” said Donna, who labels herself “gate-impaired.”
Steve eventually found inspiration in the website of a graffiti artist whose geometric designs resonated with him. He drew a rough sketch. “I thought we could adapt something like that into a gate,” he said.
He showed the Wallaces his design of squiggles, numbers and geometric shapes, which they used to forge, weld and install the wrought-iron gates. Matt worked a small dragonfly into a corner of the taller gate when Donna mentioned that she liked dragonflies.
to be continued
By Trey Popp
YOU ENTER A WROUGHT-IRON GATE on 8th Street, follow a brick path past a blaze of pink azaleas, duck under the low-hanging boughs of a heat-stressed holly, and settle around a table perfumed by the blossoms of a dwarf magnolia tree.
Any moment now, the Ladies Auxiliary will arrive in a parade of pearl necklaces and semi-permanent hairdos. There will be Cobb salads, she-crab soup with sherry, and a polite club manager who’ll end your intrusion with a gentle request for your membership number. Surely this magic can’t last.
Only it does—and with a surprising twist. After an icy old-fashioned from the bar, a waiter delivers a rectangular plate of Kindai sashimi and hamachi tartare dotted with pickled and fermented radishes, ponzu marmalade and a block of puffed wild rice. Not bad. Next there’s a salad flanked by two-toned triangles of something as delicate as chilled flan. Only it’s not. The bottom layer is house-made split-yellow-pea tofu, the top a pale jade gelatin of pistachio cream—but somehow the whole thing works as a perfect foil for a pile of mixed local greens tossed in pine-nut-milk vinaigrette. And now you’re thinking, “What’s going on here?”
What’s going on is Michael Caspi, who slipped into the head chef job at the Morris House Hotel about a year ago with approximately zero fanfare and one-tenth the buzzing fuss that generally attends the Philly arrival of a cook who counts Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud among his old bosses. All of a sudden the tofu geometry starts to make a little more sense.
M Restaurant’s venerable garden is a draw on its own, but Caspi has real treats in store for those who venture in for more than a happy-hour drink. One evening, they might include roasted barramundi with sweet-sour hibiscus sauce and leeks whose leaves break on the tongue like potato crisps; on another, a champagne flute of morel foam with blueberry puree at the bottom. If there’s beef ravioli on the menu, order it: The dish starts in the kitchen with a three-day confit of shallots in beef fat, continues with jus-soaked roast beef, and ends with you, in your seat at the table, eyes rolled brainward in ecstatic surrender.
If only you didn’t also have to surrender to sometimes boggling waits between courses. Caspi has yet to master the art of running a kitchen that’s not staffed with dozens of ingredient-obsessed perfectionists like him. But when the setting is this idyllic, it’s well worth swallowing that weakness to get a taste of his strengths.
Artistic flair transforms ‘hillbilly house’
Creative Shawnigan Lake estate owners make bold statement with their art choices, design
BY GRANIA LITWIN
With Elizabethan period furniture, sculpted African heads, paintings from Spain, standing stones from Sooke and even the mask of a mysterious green man from England, Catherine and Duncan Regehr have made a bold artistic statement with their Shawnigan Lake estate.
Since buying the Vancouver Island home more than a decade ago — when Catherine dubbed it the “hillbilly house” — the two have altered it beyond recognition, and the property too.
Now called The Willows, after a giant tree where the drive flows into the five-acre property, the property includes an expanded 4,000-square-foot house, koi-stocked pond, enormous vegetable garden, two-storey studio and extensive landscaping.
“When we first saw the property, there was junk all over the place and where the pond is, there was a swamp with alder trees,” said Duncan, who spent days digging up mattresses, cribs, children’s bicycles and more from the bog.
“All kinds of mystery items had been thrown in,” he said with a chuckle. “We had an excavator dig the pond and with the material he removed, we created mounds to help landscape the property.”
Clearing the site was a massive undertaking.
“There was so much foliage, you couldn’t see much. An old railroad used to come right through the property, and there was an old, falling apart cabin filled with horrors, that had to come down.”
Good thing transformation is Duncan’s specialty. It also happens to be the title of his art exhibition on view at Victoria’s the Legacy Art Gallery.
Catherine was equally smitten by their new home, and ready to take on the challenge.
“It was about half the size originally, and we had to make everything a little bit larger — it needed a lot of TLC …” she recalled.
“But I liked the feeling the moment I walked inside. Some houses, no matter how beautiful, have something about them you don’t like. This house just embraced and welcomed us … it has a soul, an energy.”
They immediately started knocking out walls, building a new garage and trying to figure out how to expand the space.
“We had been looking and looking at different ideas,” said Duncan. “I was interested in presentation and balance, but nothing seemed to work. Then Catherine landed on the idea of two additions and two gables.”
They moved the front door to the side as part of a new foyer, and added a sunroom with french doors on the other end. That was so Duncan could walk straight out to his studio and go to work, as is his habit most mornings before dawn.
An old barn, “a shell of a building with a dirt floor,” soon morphed into his studio. They poured concrete with in-floor heating and laid wooden floors on top.
“We also insulated it and added beautiful new windows, a second-floor office, skylights and a bathroom.” The exterior remained the same because they liked the look.
In the main house, they removed walls between four small bedrooms upstairs and created a spacious library and master suite with the help of local builder Tim McCooey.
“A great thing about a timber-frame house is, you can put up or take down walls very simply,” Catherine said. “It’s like houses in Britain that are built like sectioned boxes.”
The staircase originally went up the centre, with closets underneath, but they moved it to the side to open up the great room.
They also created a den with hidden storage along one wall, and made a very large bathroom on the main floor into a small bedroom. A utility room became the downstairs bathroom, and a laundry was added, along with the garage. Decorating the interior presented no challenge for these creative characters.
“We both fancy dark furniture, Elizabethan and earlier pieces, and lean toward something with beams and wonderful wood because we love old English homes,” said Duncan, an artist, actor and writer.
He has worked all over the world, shooting the Zorro series in Spain for almost four years, and movies in Africa, London, South America and more.
The two met in Toronto when he was working there three decades ago, and moved to Hollywood, where they were based from 1980 until about five years ago.
It’s no surprise the house brims with artwork and furniture they have collected over the years, from places ranging from Africa and China to the Far and Middle East, the Philippines and Europe.
“I’m interested in history and anthropology — that’s what fascinates me,” said Duncan.
It’s a very comfortable and inviting house, filled with things they love, said Catherine, who added it’s ideal for entertaining, with its large open plan and park-like garden where friends wander.
“I don’t buy something because it is trendy — I believe everything you bring into your home has to be something you really like, like a friend,” said Catherine.
She had always liked the look of willow fences in Britain and drew up some ideas for the vegetable garden. Their first concern was building something that would be deer proof, “but I didn’t want it to look like Stalag 19.” So she designed a rustic double fence, similar to the willow ones they’d seen in England.
Duncan translated the plans into reality after gathering hundreds of alder saplings from all over the property. Watching him wheelbarrow them around was like a scene from a Thomas Hardy novel, she joked, and the result is an enclosure with an eight-foot fence on the inside and a four-foot high one outside. The parallel fences are spaced just far enough apart for a large wheelbarrow to trundle between.
Wrought iron arches, covered with clematis, mark the corners and the interior fence is strewn with masses of roses, sweet peas, espaliered apple, pear, cherry and plum trees.
The owners grow flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables in their organic garden — everything from fennel, dill, cilantro and oregano to collard greens, garlic, leek, rhubarb and green beans. And this year, they have a bumper crop of blueberries.
As part of the new landscape concept, Duncan also moved the driveway, which used to come into the property past the studio.
“I changed it to sweep around the pond,” he said. He then placed large standing stones artistically around the pond and estate.
He even created a mini Stonehenge in the back garden, with stones he decorated with carvings of the runic alphabet and other inscriptions. “We brought them with us from our previous home in Sooke, in a huge dump truck.” Luckily, his father had taught him the power of fulcrums, levers and balance.