Custom Driftwood Signs

One of our customer's favorite goodies are our custom-made driftwood signs.  I am often told that people love their rustic authenticity.  Tomorrow is the first day of spring and our driftwood signs are a wonderful way to add a unique and charming element to your front porch or garden gate.  Indoors, they add interest when combined with a grouping of photos on the wall or hung above a doorway in your home.

We love designing them with our customers and really love to hear about all the neat places they end up like this one, that will be going on a boat!

This 5' sign went to a waterfront home in coastal Texas...

And this to a home in Cape Cod, MA.  A replica of the local lighthouse was hand-painted on this sign...

Another sign made for a boat...

They don't all go to beach towns, this one went to a mountain home in North Carolina...

We have many customer's order their family's name...

We also stock driftwood signs with some of our favorite saying's...

Look for our Spring-inspired driftwood signs coming soon!

March Beach Walk

A walk along the beach never requires good reason or a destination but today's just happened to be...seals.  It's the right time of year to see them here on Long Island and this morning's tide was perfect.  But the seals must have been off swimming, fishing or lounging on rocks off some other beach because they were not here.  Its about a 2 mile walk to get to them but with so much  beauty along the way, disappointment was as absent as the seals today.

Buoys on Driftwood

A path to the beach

A lone, simple shell

Beach dog, tracking deer prints on the beach...thus the sand on his nose


Conch Shell
Ruining my shot!

Seaside horses

Where the seals should have been, instead we found...

a lone Seagull and...

...a pair of Brandt ducks

Jingle shells

Crazy dog, swimming in March!

A purple sea urchin...1st time I have seen any sea urchin on Long Island

Favorite driftwood of the day, love the rock embedded in the wood.

Valentines Day

The Shell was a gift; I did not find it. It is unusual on the island. One does not often come across such a perfect double- sunrise shell. Both halves of this delicate bivalve are exactly matched. Each side, like the wing of a butterfly, is marked with the same pattern;translucent white.except for three rosy rays that fan out from the golden hinge binding two together.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"Gifts From The Sea"

2012 Dans Papers Literary Contest

This past summer Krishtia received an invitation to attend the first literary award ceremony at Guild Hall in East Hampton, L.I.
A few months prior she submitted her short story to "Dans Papers", whose weekly publication is graced by a different artist. Unknown artist to the likes of Andy Warhole have drawn people to pick up a free copy and wonder whats inside...and whats inside is wonderful!

Krishtia at Guild Hall

Dan Rattiner who founded "Dans Papers", over forty years ago while in college is known for his white fedora with wisps of his Alpine hair flipping up from the edges. He is the Author of "In the Hampton's", and "Still in the Hampton's". His satirical articles about the comings and goings of life on the East End of Long Island make you I love "Dans Papers" for the beautiful covers, the articles, the storys about the celebrities who share their summer place with the Shinnecock Indian? Or all of the above? We think its all of the above.
 Grabbing a copy to read at the beach in summer or with a cup of tea in winter is a short vacation. Krishtia's love of "Dans Papers" is what lured her out of her writers closet to enter. Four hundred applicants submitted their non fiction short story's about a real experience that took place on the East End. The winner would have a cash prize and their story read by the actress and daughter of Grace Kelly, Pia Lindstrom.

 A Shinnecock Indian named James was the winner. He wrote about the handmade shirt that he wears when he performs their traditional dance. A well deserved winner and a terrific story!

View from our table at B. Smiths Restaurant

Celebrating witha delicious lunch! Yum!

 All four hundred story's we have heard may soon be published! It was a fun late summer's day at Guild Hall.Afterwards we celebrated at B. Smiths dockside restaurant. I would like to share with you Krishtia's story. I'll wait while you make a cup of tea..... ready?

A Tale of Two Lights

Montauk Light House  Photo by Steven Lindgren

For Christmas this year, my husband gave me a good quality 35mm camera, one worth getting out of bed in the wee hours of a frigid January morning to drive out to Montauk and photograph the sunrise.  I hadn't been up this early in awhile and sadly, I'd forgotten how rewarding it is.  Truth be told, it was my brother who inspired me to go.  He’s a talented photographer and was planning to spend the day after New Years getting some shots of Montauk at daybreak.  I’m always down for a good adventure and I knew it would be a great opportunity to use my brand new toy.  Though a sunrise was reason enough to go, we had also heard reports of harbor seals on the rocks off the end of the Seal Haulout Trail in Block Island Sound.  My husband and my big, brown dog were also feeling up for a road trip, so the four of us packed up our truck in the wintry frost and headed East into the darkness.

We first catch a glimpse of a seasonally vacant Memory Motel about an hour before sunrise.   Montauk and its inhabitants lie dormant as we pass the traffic circle and continue straightaway down Montauk Highway.   We arrive at Montauk Point amid deer and dedicated surfers beginning to stir in the pre-dawn light.  Salty air seeps through the exposed skin on my face.  Today, Mother Nature kindly blesses us with soft winds.  Dignified and noble, stands the lighthouse upon the hill.  I briefly take notice of the light atop it.  But what I am enchanted by is a dimmer, demure light about one hundred feet below the famed one.  A lamp glowing softly in one of the lighthouse windows.  “Someone lives there?” I quietly think to myself.  Beyond the bounds of possibility says the cynic in me.  “A lighthouse keeper?”  My nostalgic heart skips a beat at the thought.  

A lighthouse keeper is really there quietly watching over a two hundred year old beacon still guiding mariners in our modern world of GPS and iPhones.

I am grateful for things like this in life.   That automation and technology did not replace the lighthouse keeper and her gigantic black Newfoundland is one redeeming point in the plus column for the human race.  Awestruck, I stand there in the parking lot for quite some time imagining the interior space in which she lives.  A perfectly frayed quilt strewn across a rocking chair next to an old, wooden table with a book or two and that softly glowing lamp upon it.  Beside it, her dog cozily curled up on an oval-shaped, braided rug.   Perhaps a pot of coffee brewing in a homey, no-frills kitchen.  Faded black and white photographs of past lighthouse keepers hanging on the walls of the hallway.  

Inspired before the sun even comes up, we walk Paumanok Path down to Turtle Cove just West of the fabled lighthouse.  Quiet solitude gives way to the roaring waves of the Atlantic crashing into shore.  The sunrise does not disappoint, it never does.  The seals are awesome too.  Later that day, we head back into town for pancakes, though I won’t say where.  The debate over the better of the two pancake proprietors in town is a heated one that I prefer to watch from afar.  Besides, we get a better taste of Montauk’s quirky, rural flavor watching a portly pot-bellied pig take his belly-dragging morning walk down S. Etna Ave.  This makes for some great photographs though the most haunting image of the day is still that lamp in the window.  I never photographed it, I never even thought to.  It remains etched in my mind, a romantic beacon of hope.  Hope for a new day’s sunrise, a new year’s promise.  Hope that some simple good things don’t go away in time.

2012 Christmas Decorating at the Vanderbilt Mansion

Our Christmas decorating project at the Vanderbilt Mansion, Eagles Nest is complete!  It was our second year working on this wonderful project and we were thrilled to be invited back.  Our El Morocco room was such a hit last year, that we were asked to re-create it again this year.  This room will once again host the mansion's holiday dinner on December 8th, 2012.  We were interviewed by the Vanderbilt staff for their press release and this is what they had to say.

"Mary Schlotter and her daughter, Krishtia Lindgren, who operate the design firm Harbor Homestead & Co. in Centerport, have recreated a piece of the famous Manhattan nightclub El Morocco in the Northport Porch. The Vanderbilts socialized with their famous friends at El Morocco in the 1930s and 1940s. 
Schlotter –one of the designers invited to decorate The White House in 2009 and 2010 – made Art Deco white-paper palm trees and decorated them with silver ornament balls. Using the nightclub‘s navy, white and silver colors, she created an El Morocco banquette and reproduced the club‘s sign and distinctive lettering. Seated at the banquette are William K. Vanderbilt II and his wife, Rosamund – in a life-size enlargement of a vintage newspaper photo of them, taken in El Morocco. 
Schlotter smiled and said, "When people attend the museum‘s annual holiday dinner, they can dine with the Vanderbilts."  To complete the atmosphere, Schlotter‘s selection of Christmas songs from the 1930s and '40s plays during tours."
See this blog post for details on the El Morocco room Christmas At The Vanderbilt Part II
We made these 8' tall white palms and the El Morocco sign,
Both reminiscent of the original nightclub's decor.
Willie K. & Rosamond Vanderbilt sit at their navy & white striped zebra banquette.
The table is set with vintage champagne glasses, a milk glass ash tray, silver mint-julep cup, a jewel-encrusted cigarette holder and a vintage beaded evening bag and gloves.  Of course, Willie K. has given Rosamond a trinket from Tiffany's, her favorite.
Palm fronds adorn the massive iron sconces that flank the doorway to the room.
The El Morocco tree was decorated with vintage black and white photos of celebrities that frequented the nightspot back in the day such as:
 Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.

The second room we decorated this year was the Lancaster Room.  This room will be used to serve dessert at the holiday dinner.  The primary component of the decorating here was vintage Summer 2012 dried hydrangea's.  We saved tons of them and used them everywhere in the room.  They were used in the mantle, tree topper and wreaths and adorned with chocolate brown and Tiffany blue decorations.  Some vintage some new. Here are the photos:
The ornately carved door leading to the Lancaster Room

The Lancaster Room Tree
Decorated with Tiffany boxes (Mrs. Vanderbilt's favorite), handmade paper cones filled with dried hydrangea, berries and pears and chocolate and Tiffany blue vintage-inspired ornaments

Handmade hydrangea wreaths hung with taffeta ribbon grace the 4 French doors in the room.

The gorgeous chocolate brown marble fireplace is topped with a hydrangea garland dripping with ribbons, ornaments and berries.
The copper, chocolate brown and aqua blue tones are a nod to the colors in the hydrangea's and the drape's in the room.

The spectacular results charm hundreds of visitors between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. The Vanderbilt offers its very popular twilight mansion tours, scheduled this year on the evenings of Wednesday-Friday, December 26-28, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Admission: $10 for adults, $9 for students and seniors (62 and older), and $5 for children 12 and under. Hot chocolate and cookies are included. 
Holiday season hours: Open 12:00-4:00 on December 22-23 and 26-30. Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

Giving Thanks

About a month ago, a very good friend had been working on organizing a corporate event.  The theme was incorporating happiness into your life.  There were gift bags given to the attendees with various items intended to promote happiness in one's life: instructions on how to effectively and efficiently meditate, a paperback titled "14,000 Things To Be Happy About", organic chocolate.  After the event, there were extra bags and she gave me one.  One of the items was a small orange book meant to be used daily to jot down things that you are grateful for. I decided to use it.  
That said, I am not a forwarder of emails that will bring me good fortune or something tragic will happen.  Nor am I a self-help enthusiast.  My husband read "The Secret" and I shunned him, he bought me my own copy and it collects dust on the shelf.  But I must say that adopting an attitude of gratefulness has undoubtedly bettered my life.  The more grateful I have become the more things to be grateful for appear in my life.  Life is so fleeting. There is no time to be anything but grateful.
Among many other things, I am thankful for this friend, thankful for this holiday to gather with my family and relax (after I am done cooking).

Artisan Marketplace

We had a wonderful time at Main Street Nursery's Fall Artisan Marketplace yesterday.  The weather was gorgeous, the quintessential Indian Summer day.
Main Street is one of my favorite places to shop and it was great to join them and other local artisans for such an amazing and successful event!

Our new line of 100% Soy Wax Candles: Beach Bonfire, Rustic Apple Galette, Ghost Pumpkin Spice & North Fork Vineyard

Team Harbor Homestead & Co.

Our Fall Themed Driftwood Signs...Order one from our site today!

Bonfire Season

It's October 1st and there's a chill in the air! The perfect time to cozy up by a beach bonfire. 
A family bonfire from the Summer of 2012

We're taking inspiration from Coastal Living's outdoor fire spaces too...

A Beach Cottage Renovation

We are happy to share with you some photos of our on-going beach cottage renovation!  Like many older homes, this house had its challenges but its breathtaking waterviews and private beach community are what drew the homeowner to this diamond in the rough.  And speaking of diamonds, half-way through the project, our client got engaged!  

The homeowner was out of college just 2 years when he purchased the home and therefore had a limited budget. He knew he wanted a comfortable, beach-style home that could be easily maintained with his busy schedule.  We started by knocking down a lot of walls, making an open floor plan that sweeps your eyes to the stunning waterviews of the Long Island Sound outside.

Have a look at some of the vintage finds we've incorporated into the design of this charming beach cottage on the North Shore of Long Island...  

We found these vintage wingback recliners in a consignment shop then reupholstered them in a sturdy navy blue stripe canvas.  They're comfortable & classy.

The fireplace facade was re-covered in river rocks and is flanked by a found oar which was painted with the number “12”,  the homeowner’s college baseball number.  

The wall’s were painted Benjamin Moore Montgomery White  which is very restful on the eyes.  We managed to save the heavily scuffed wood floors and stained them a rich dark chocolate color which contrasts nicely with the white/neutral tones throughout.

A Harbor Homestead custom-made round driftwood mirror was placed to reflect the water so that everyone seated in the dining room has a water view.

The dining room table is a Craigslist find.  Its worn, distressed patina is just what this young couple was looking for at a fraction of the cost. The industrial style galvanized metal pendant light is from Barn Light Electric evoking the look of old dock lighting.

Glass shelves float like water atop two vintage concrete corbels from an old New York brownstone.

There’s “Elton The Fish” whose tank is framed by a vintage ship's porthole sunk into a wall in the living room.

Here is a peek at the kitchen, a work-in-progress.  We are using Benjamin Moore Nantucket Fog on the walls with crisp white planked ceiling and bleached wood kitchen cabinets.  Hopefully the countertops will be here soon!

We will be posting more of the design as we near its completion in the weeks ahead including before and after photos.  The next phase is the completion of the entryway, mudroom and laundry room.  Maybe even a special wedding surprise for Ryan & Brenda from Harbor Homestead & Co. too :)

Last Day of Summer

On the last day of summer, I took a quick boat ride across Huntington Harbor to photograph a place called Puppy's Cove.  

This little trip had been on my  List of Things I Would Like To Do This Summer.  The late summer sun high in the afternoon sky provided great lighting to an already beautiful display of nature: lots of birdlife, fish & flowers everywhere.
Bee's & Goldenrod

Flower/weed...not sure of its name

White Egrets
Everything is still lush green but the yellow tips of the sea grasses are always a sure sign that Fall is in the air.  

What I really want to photograph is the Lefferts-Van Wyck Tidal Mill which is situated at the end of the cove on a narrow strip of land that separates Huntington Harbor from the tidal pond beyond it.  

I've admired its old, weathered grey walls from the boat many times and always wanted to hop off and get a closer look, today was my day.

Potato Farming

There are very few things I like about the end of summer.  But on the top of that short list is harvesting from the garden.  I am very fortunate that my humble garden sits beside sea...aesthetically and horticulturally.  At this time of year, my tomato's are 6' tall and inching up on the crepe myrtle's beyond them.  Not a lot of luck with tomato's this year though...bad crop.

Zucchini and lettuce doing nicely...

Cucumber's too...

New to the garden this year were new potato's.  I had so much fun digging these up this afternoon...

Grabbed some Rosemary on the way out...

And I'm off to make dinner...

Long Island figures prominently in the history of potato farming and I thought this was an interesting article...

Potato Barns

Potatoes originated in South America. They were subsequently brought to Spain where potato cultivation became common by the late 16th century. From Spain, the potato was disseminated to other parts of Europe, and was introduced to North America through European settlement.
Potatoes became a staple in North American farming in the early 18th century, but it was not until the early 20th century that American farmers began to cultivate them on a large scale. In the northeast, potato farming in the early 20th century occurred on a large scale in northern Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, as well as New York. By mid-century, potatoes were Long Island’s most important crop (Chamberlain 2006). As potato production became increasingly significant both to the region’s and the nation’s food supply, potato barns were constructed on farms specifically for the purpose of storing large quantities of potatoes. Where farmers had formerly stored small potato harvests in root cellars and other small underground structures, the modern potato barn came to the fore at the turn of the century (Visser 1997).
American potato barns constructed from ca. 1900-1950 are typically banked structures, built into a berm or hillside. The lower portions of most potato barns are usually built of concrete, while the upper portions are of wood-frame construction, clad in wood shingles or clapboard. In order to regulate heat and moisture, potato barns are built with few windows (one or two windows with shutters or shields are often placed at the gable end) and the barns have vents along the roof or at the gable end. The side walls of the barns, where exposed, are commonly reinforced by buttresses, and the barns often have a small brick side chimney. They are typically located at the side of roadways, for easy vehicular access, usually adjacent to the field on which the potatoes were grown.
While often located on the same parcel as a farmhouse, potato barns were sometimes constructed on separate parcels a short distance away. Because large-scale potato farming was generally a 20th century phenomenon, advances in vehicular transport enabled the farmer to engage in agricultural activities slightly further from home. While large-scale potato farming in Eastern Long Island persists today, there has been a dramatic shift in recent decades away from an agricultural economy, and towards a service economy.
Potato barns are an iconic building type in Long Island and other parts of New York State where potato cultivation has figured prominently. While many of these structures date to the 20th century and are constructed of materials such as concrete block or poured concrete, potato barns are an aesthetically distinct and historically important part of New York State’s built heritage and agricultural history.

New Arrivals

Between BBQ's & fireworks, we've managed to find time to locate some really great new stuff for the this cool vintage beach chair...for kids!

...and this charming antique wooden box...

...or this vintage wine crate (great storage for all your summer reads)

So stop by today!  

Furniture Makeover Photos

 Here are some before and after photo's of our latest furniture project.  All three pieces are being used in a client's master bedroom renovation.

This piece is really cool but it was never properly finished so it was chipping and peeling in all the wrong ways... 

Stains too...

After hours of stripping, scraping, sanding...

Primed, painted, distressed and sealed...

We used Benjamin Moore Dove White

This pair of night tables were given a new look too...



again we used Dove White...


Sailing Away...with Two Awards

Last week, talented gardner and blossoming floral designer, Mary Schlotter participated in The Centerport Garden Club's Flower Show at Harborfields Public Library in Greenlawn, N.Y. The show was themed Sail Away and Mary also had a hand in the making of some of the props such as the lighthouse in the center of the room and the flower arrangements on the tables in the cafe (pictured below). She took Third Place for both of her entries and in my humble opinion, she should have won First Place. But this was after all her flower show debut so Third is pretty righteous.
Congratulations Mom!

Sail Away Mural


Cafe table arrangements

Mary with her tablescape entry which included an arrangement with sea holly & daisies, a bucket of fresh lemons and a vintage beach pail filled with clams...

Mary's flower design...simple & elegant.
She designed and made the vessel out of razor clam shells...

Sea holly, snap dragon, white peony, hydrangea, bridal wreath, creative.

Some other interesting things from the show...

Spring Mantle

With tulips and daffodils in full bloom, spring arrived early and my winter laden fireplace mantle was in dire need of its own season change-and it had to be a budget conscious one.

Inspired by some white tulips I saw while at Home Depot for lawn fertilizer, I picked up a can of Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint and painted some objects I had in the basement & garage that were lying around gathering dust.  A dark blue birdhouse. A little cabinet with screen doors that was hand-painted multiple different colors and patterns. And a pretty hideous dark brown wood mirror.
I had the white glazed pots and mini-terrarium.  I scavenged some forsythia, creeping buttercups,mossy tree bark and vines. I made a small vine wreath and birds nest.  Gathered some eggs,chicks, birds and rabbits from around the house and....

My pride & joy of this project is this mirror...because it was so downright ugly.  I forgot to take a picture of it before but it really transformed once I hung the wreath with a pretty white ribbon from it.

Spray Paint $4
Total cost for the entire mantle: $16!!


I took a walk with Jackson through the woods yesterday and came across a carpet of pretty white snowdrops.  I could't stop myself from uprooting a few.  They'll go out in the garden once they're done blooming in the house.

Banana Splits

The other night while cleaning out the refrigerator, I noticed some older strawberries that were on the verge of not making the cut.  I've been making a real effort to be less wasteful when it comes to food so I started dreaming up possible recipes for these "about to bite the dust berries"....  

The winner...a strawberry sauce....  
Chop a pint of strawberries...

Cook in a medium sauce pan with 1/2 tsp of lemon
juice and 1/2 cup  of sugar...

Mash & stir for several minutes until the sauce reduces

...then came the Homemade Hot Fudge idea...
Hot Fudge recipe can be found here: Hot Fudge Recipe

...followed by the bananas that were sure to be banana bread in a few short days had they not been needed for these diet destructing deserts I had conjured up...

 All because of old strawberries...scrimpy yet scrumptious!
 Check out Harbor Homestead & Co. for the perfect accompaniment:
Our Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor Spoons 
and make your own Banana Splits tonight!

Montauk at Sunrise

For Christmas, I finally got a real 35mm camera (Thanks Marc :) one worth getting up in the middle of the night to drive to Montauk and photograph the sunrise.  I haven't been up this early in awhile and sadly, I'd forgot how rewarding it is.  Truth be told, it was my brother who inspired me (Thanks Steven:)  He is a great photographer who should morph his hobby into a living somehow.  He was planning to go and I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my new toy.

The fabled Montauk lighthouse didn't disappoint.  We got there about an hour before sunrise amid deer and dedicated surfers beginning to stir in the pre-dawn light.  What I am really captivated by though is the lamp softly glowing in one of the lighthouse's windows.  Really? Someone lives there?  A lighthouse keeper, my nostalgic heart skipped a beat at the thought.  Upon returning home, I researched it and it turns out there is still a lighthouse keeper at the Montauk lighthouse.  I am grateful for things like this in life - that automation and computers and technology cannot replace the lighthouse keeper and her gigantic black Newfoundland.  Jealous...yet inspired before the sun even came up, we walked down to the beach.

Here are the pictures, my first attempt at real photography:

Starting a New Year at The End

Christmas at the Vanderbilt Museum-Part II

We're opening the velvet rope & inviting you in for a glamourous evening at the legendary 
"El Morocco"...

As I mentioned in my last post, Mom and I volunteered to decorate a room at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport for Christmas.  As with any design project, we had our challenges.  The biggest was the sheer lack of well, anything, in the room.  No furniture whatsoever with no budget for decorating whatsoever.   Not $1. What we did have, was a sprawling waterview of Northport Harbor, some wonderful old iron sconces and light fixtures and a great theme of the El Morocco nightclub.  

The iron "sconces"  were actually once used as flag holders that flanked the beautiful iron door between them.  We filled the candelabra sections with oversized white tapers and placed flameless votives in the flag holders below.  Sprays of dried palms & silver and blue bulbs adorned with blue and white bows made them festive....
The El Morocco was noted for its celebrity clientele and its navy blue and white zebra stripe upholstered banquettes.
We built the navy blue zebra stripe banquette similar to the ones the El Morocco was so famous for.
We also built these palm trees -they're over 8' tall! 
The sign was also hand-painted.

Garlands with dried palm fronds, blue poinsettia and silver ornaments.
White & Blue tree...
We made tree ornaments with old black & white photos of celebs at El Morocco. 

The blue and white lanterns were in this room and worked
so well with the theme.

If you get a chance, stop by the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport and take a tour.  The museum is a wonderful piece of Long Island's history and they're in need of financial support.  If you have friends or family visiting for the holidays its a great idea to take them for a visit.