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Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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RI Archives: Style

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The “Best Of The Interwebs,” According To The Wandering Eye

Our Wandering Eye blogger, interior designer Carey Maloney, and his husband, architect Hermes Mallea, are principals in the Manhattan based design firm M (Group). He signed on with Rural Intelligence early on to document the restoration of their neighbor’s historic manse, but over time his mind and his eye have wandered to topics further afield.

Walking to work, pondering on the next blog, I quickly start to ponder on more important things — like work.

And at work, we use the Interweb a lot to scout out antiques, check the specs on all sorts of products, suss out images, follow and engage with social media (hahaha — Hermes will argue that is a transparent attempt at my rationalization of web surfing on company time).

Okay, let’s have a “make up a dirty caption” contest!

I am constantly amazed at the new sites I am introduced to – and the information they provide.  The new hardware out there is pretty rad too. Sadly, I am also constantly amazed at how uninformed and computer illiterate many of my peers remain — and how resistant to new technology they are. Way back when this whole mess started, 20 years ago, when we graduated from a typewriter to a word processor to a 100-pound Dell computer, I declared I was not going to be completely left behind.  This mutton was going to make every attempt to keep up with the computer savvy lambs.


And I do love me a new toy. So, to Hermes’s dismay we’ve ended up with a herd of Nest thermostats and a security system I can access — and watch! —  from anywhere. We have iPads to run the house and wacky WiFi that requires three “zones” and lets me work/play outside or in. I tried out those fitness bracelets (wonder where that thing went?) and I would long for a pair of Apple glasses but the frames are très unflattering.

Oh — and as to the Cuban. His Luddite tendencies are deeply ingrained. I ran to the grocery store last weekend and when I returned, it took me a moment to realize the television in the kitchen was on — Hermes was cooking. I didn’t know he knew how to turn on the television!!!!  I was so proud — and then scared. It was like Baby’s First Word, and the brats never shut up again until they are surly teens. Turns out changing the channel was a step too far — but it’ll happen.

So here are a few products and sites that are current favorites…

A screen grab of someone in Austin — it’s 102 degrees! Texas: Conservative AND hot. Bad combo.


First – look at the damn thing. What’s not to love? It is handsome. Ours operates both heating and cooling. Over time it learns your schedule and routines (not as creepy as it sounds) and the NEST incorporates that information into the functions. 

These things are precise. If you aren’t in a room for a period of time, it goes to sleep, kicking off the energy-sucking compressors or boiler. I can remotely turn on the heat when we leave the garage in town, and Hermes’s bedroom is warm when he arrives. (Trust me – this is KEY. When I forget and the house is cold upon arrival, my blood runs colder.)

They aren’t cheap (hahahaha) but they do save energy. Granted, I don’t know how long it will take to recoup my investment — if ever. Like the PC Rhinebeck clients who put in a geothermal system (we used the same company that Bard dorms use… Super-size me!) to save energy, but it cost seven figures. Sorta cancels out the benefits, but it’s nice that they tried.


Here is a screen grab of my Pandora.

Pandora is a music service you pay $4.99 a month for. Try it out for free — with commercials — and then subscribe if you like it. We love it. You put in a musical artist or genre and the service pulls similar songs by “similar” artists and creates a playlist that goes on and on and on. You hear things you know and things you don’t. 

Spotify is $9.99 a month and lets you choose an artist and then gives you access to complete albums to create a playlist. I haven’t figured it out yet — it takes a bit of effort to get up and running. But my 20- and 30-something friends swear by it, so I am giving it three months to figure out.

The M(Group) Stuff Pinterest page.


I resisted this site for a loooong time. I thought it was another useless “design” site with dopes posting useless self-aggrandizing photos. But then I played around with it and realized its value. Say you want images of “American Empire Furniture.” The search turns up scores of images with that hashtag and the pics are posted by antiques dealers, museums and generally savvy type people — and sure, some dummies. I found the perfect porch shades to show our next door neighbors. I found my book, STUFF, with slews of entries (gratifying). Then I found Hermes’s book under “Havana Houses” and he blows STUFF out of the water… (I hate him).

Yesterday I needed to show a client how his apartment would glow with high-gloss Dutch paint ceilings throughout. This isn’t exactly a budget-friendly suggestion. It’ll be a pricey ceiling. He kept kvetching, “I can’t envision it.” But under “high-gloss ceiling” I found endless examples and the deal was done. (Well, in reality he kept saying he couldn’t imagine it until Hermes weighed in. Hermes, they believe.)

[Editor’s note: We’re on Pinterest, too. You can find Rural Intelligence’s Pinterest pages here.]


OK — when the Interweb crashes and the WiFi dies, we’ll be back to a transistor radio and rabbit ears on the TV. In the meantime, pitch the old stereo and big speakers with wires — for wireless SONOS.

These self-contained units connect wirelessly. We have them all over the place. And they’re so portable: just unplug, move and boot back up. Your personal music is on it — your radio stations and Podcasts. Pandora and Spotify. Everything in one place. You can listen to different things on each module, so I can “Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle” while El Jefe listens to Poulenc.

Frankie Maloney’s summer job: lifeguard.

And after spending all that dough on new hardware and subscriptions, with all that money you must have left over, I suggest you put in a pool. Our house cries out for a Gunite extravaganza with lots of old stone around it. I heeded the call to the best of my ability. Went on Amazon and for $36 got me a wading/soaking pool that I love. It took me 20 minutes to set it up and stick the hose in. Two hours later, I was happily floating and re-reading I, Claudius

Hermes has resigned himself to it. At first he was horrified it was within sight of our neighboring Carmelite sisters. I made him walk over there and look, and as long as I keep my britches on, it can stay. Frankly, it’s best for everyone if I keep my britches on.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/21/14 at 02:17 PM • Permalink