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One Mercantile


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Shopping: Everyone You Need to See in One Convenient Place

Rural Intelligence Style
The Fine Home Source Show this Saturday in Millbrook is perfectly timed.  Now that the rainy season is finally behind us, a refresher course in domestic amenity is in order, so we and our poor water-logged houses are prepared for the next challenge.  In a fraction of the time it normally would take to get even one home-improvement specialist to return a phone call, attendees can access dozens of experts whose only agenda that day is to give away free advice. If this is your idea of heaven, see you there.
For example, speaking of heaven, all those pyrotechnics we experienced this past summer got us thinking about lightning rods.  Do we need one?  Maybe there’s one already there?  According to Jimmy Crisp, of Crisp Architects, designers of fine homes such as the one above and the organizers of this event, it’s easy enough to find out:  “Go outside and look up at the roof of your house.  If you don’t see copper rods sticking up on each end of the roof and one on each chimney, you’ve got no lightning rod.”  Uh-oh. 
But then he assures us that not every house needs one.  “If you are surrounded by tall trees, they’ll take the hit,”  Oh. And fall on the roof, of course.  Not to worry.  If it’s a metal roof, the guys from Ultimate Roofing can patch it up, then coat it with a magic rubbery substance that wins a thumbs up from historic preservationists for its looks, yet is far more flexible and resilient than other roofing materials. 
Rural Intelligence StyleIf, as predicted, this winter proves to be as white as this past summer was wet, we’re going to wish we had the coolest and latest snowblower or plow on hand.  And anyone who lived through last year’s ice storm, will be eager to have a word with the experts in whole house generators, the kind that run on propane and automatically kick on the instant the electricity fails, whether the homeowner is present or in Key West.
Does your house need an elevator?  Before you answer, consider Crisp’s point, “If your choice is between building a ground-floor bedroom addition or adding a $20,000 (plus installation) residential elevator, the elevator could be a smart move.”  The same folks who do elevators also do dumbwaiters, which I secretly covet.  There was a time when every well-appointed, multi-story house had one, for the convenience of the servants.  Now that there are no more servants, one would think dumbwaiters would be more necessary than ever, right?  A mystery. 
It doesn’t take an ice storm to make us wish we had a woodburning stove. If you think of them as brutish, nasty-looking little things, we are sorry to inform you that you have been hanging out with the wrong sort.  The stoves that Monterey Masonry carries (above) look as if they belong in the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art, even the historic-reproduction Shaker one.
Rural Intelligence StyleFor those interested in going green (and who isn’t?), there will be experts on geo-thermal heating, renewable energy, soy-based expandable foam insulation, solar hot water and photovoltaic (electric) systems and rainwater harvesting. (This year, of course, no need, but next?  During a drought, gray water for the garden is a heaven sent.)  There’s also an operation that, if you insist, will sell and install a banal garage door, but what they are known for is their beautiful, sometimes expensive and elaborate doors that are ringers for the real thing—old barn and carriage-house doors. And there’s a purveyor of paints so non-toxic and ultra low odor, that, as Crisp says, “This is the paint the kids who come to the event will use to paint birdhouses,” including his own adorable little girls.  It’s that’s safe.

Rural Intelligence StyleOf course, there will be plenty of eye candy, too: exquisite, historic-reproduction lighting, such as the sconce above; spectacular conservatories worthy of an English stately home.  There will be a company there that does nothing but fashion romantic garden structures from natural branches and vines (the bridge at left), a woman who makes custom curtains, and a guy who makes screen doors. “That’s all Chris Janks does,” says Crisp, “—well-made, detailed to match your house, screen doors that work and don’t fall apart.”

And many more vendors, including one that has a foot in each camp: virtuous practicality and beauty: “There are two reasons to use reclycled wood,” says Crisp. “One, to save trees. Two, a fine old floor is more beautiful than anything new could ever possibly be, and it’s recycled!”

Fine Home Source
Millbrook Band Shell
3327 Franklin Avenue, Millbrook
Saturday, September 26; 10 a.m - 5 p.m.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 09/18/09 at 07:11 AM • Permalink