From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–


Our Grandparent’s generation got it right, man– the fully loaded, properly-appointed basement bar. via here


Like a lot of us affected by the ongoing economic instability, I’ve had to tighten the purse strings a bit lately.  Simply put– I’m spending more time at home, and less dough on going out.  That said, my penchant for enjoying a stiff drink with friends has inspired me to bring back something my Grandparent’s generation held sacred and all had– the basement bar.  Let us be clear before anyone reads on– this is not about having an additional fridge stocked with Corona you bought from Costco, a jumbo bag of chips, and a few crappy bean bags that reek of stale beer from your frat house days.  That’s the JV approach, and not an atmosphere where anyone serious about drinking and socializing wants to hang. In short– it is not a bar.


Can I pour you a tall, stiff one?  Does anyone wear a tie at home anymore, let alone in their basement? Circa 1965– via here


The home bar craze started post WWII, as more Americans realized the dream of home ownership (late 1940’s to early 1970’s being my unofficial Golden Years).  As families migrated more and more to the suburbs, they found themselves enjoying entertaining at home.  Probably because as first-time home owners, they truly busted their asses to get into a house– saving every nickel (they’d never even consider defaulting on a mortgage), and when they finally settled on their dream house, they were truly proud of it, and wanted to show it off to friends and family alike.  Also restaurants and bars were still largely urban back then.  It would be many years before the suburbs were teaming with every silly “TGI– what is that ridiculous friggin’ costume” restaurant/bar franchise.  The other great thing back then– the “politically correct” culture of today was not around to stop grownups from socializing– sans kids. Back in the day, entertaining the children  was what the TV upstairs was made for.  With the kiddies safely locked away watching Rawhide, the adults were free to to enjoy top-shelf spirits, Chesterfield smoky treats, and boozy, adult conversation in the privacy of their own homes– truly paradise on earth.


Circa 1949– Glamour gal, Eileen Howe, having a drink on New Year’s Eve in Samuel Spiegel’s home bar.  Photo by Peter Stackpole for LIFE magazine.


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It’s not to say that I’m not a fan of his written works, but what I love Truman Capote for more are his brilliantly bitchy Black & White Ball of 1966 to celebrate the release of In Cold Blood, and his subdued and soothing studio hidden among the scrubs in the heart of the Hamptons that he personally designed as his own private oasis. I believe that most of these pics of the Mid-century modern beach studio were actually taken in 1965 (except for the last pic of Capote seated in his robe), though this story is from the archives of Architectural Digest, ca. 1976. Sadly, it no longer looks quite as charming as it does in these old photos. Through subsequent updates by later owners the beach studio has been sterilized a bit and is sorely lacking Capote’s self-proclaimed intentional untended chic and quirky touches.

1965– Truman Capote standing on the ledge of the fireplace in the living room of his Hamptons country studio near Sagaponack on the South Fork. –Image by © Condeˆ Nast Archive/Corbis

From Architectural Digest, 1976–

It is virtually impossible to find his Long Island home in the Hamptons, but that’s exactly the way he wants it. Hidden behind scrub pine, privet hedges and rows of hydrangea bushes is Truman Capote’s two-story, weathered-gray beach house near Sagaponack on the South Fork.

He lives in the heart of the Hamptons—a stretch of rolling potato fields and lush farmlands married to the nearby Atlantic Ocean. A year-round farming community and a summer place for city people, it is here that antique farmhouses vie with modernistic glass houses for the dunes and fields. Mr. Capote once called Sagaponack “Kansas with a sea breeze.”

1965– Author Truman Capote relaxes in a wicker chair outside his Long Island home in the Hamptons. –Image by © Condeˆ Nast Archive/Corbis

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Life Would be Better | A Simple Summer Home

Asummer home

The Talbot Rantoul summer house designed by architect Eliot Noyes. Neil Rantoul cleaning his rifle on a pull-down bed in the boys' quarters which doubles as a painting studio-- Martha's Vineyard, MA 1965.


I was talking with a friend today about how a guy needs space.  We need some time and a proper place to check out of this rat race and clear our heads– work with our hands, create something– just chill with the family. Then I see this image and it hit me like a stiff punch to the sternum– confirming that my life is incomplete without the perfect (but not overly done or fussy) summer home getaway.  I mean, come on– this place is perfect, right? Timeless clean lines, super functional, open and breezy, room to roam and be creative, comes with a gun– I’ll take it.  

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Have House, Will Travel.


Seeing ACL’s story Cottage in a Day instantly brought my wife’s cousin to mind– Dee Williams.  Dee definitely moves to the beat of her own drum.  

From Time— A few years ago, Dee Williams, a toxic-waste inspector, put her 2,000-sq.-ft. bungalow in Portland, Ore., on the market and moved into an 84-sq.-ft. cabin on wheels that she built using salvaged cedar, torn-up jeans for insulation and solar cells for power. Then she hitched her tiny house to a biodiesel truck and drove to Olympia, Wash., where friends let her park in a grassy corner of their backyard. Although Williams, 43, admits that she misses having room for friends to spend the night, she says, “I love my tiny house.”

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Star Spangled Manor


To say that my friends, Eric Jones and his wife Cary are patriotic– is kind of like saying that Martha Stewart is anal.  It’s a major understatement.  I asked him how many antique American flags they own– he lost count at 220.  By now you probably noticed the vintage Goyard trunk resting casually under the table…


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