a person with just a little commonsense and a chance to adhere to several instructions may paint the car at home and conserve 100s, otherwise thousands, of money. (more…)
a person with just a little commonsense and a chance to adhere to several instructions may paint the car at home and conserve 100s, otherwise thousands, of money. (more…)
The most comfortable hammock is the canvas. But in reality, the subject matter: the real comfort is to feel in a cocoon, suspended without the air, and to enjoy nature without touching the ground! (more…)
This is an honest review of my newly-bought Paderno World Cuisine Tri-blade plastic Vegetable spiralizer. It is just convenient enough to make me, a typical busy work-lady and housewife share my thoughts for you folks out there who are also surfing the internet for in-hand reviews rather than reading the fancy, sales-pushing features from the companies just like me.
I had always been a fan of the art of cooking. Making a dish to taste good for the stomach is one thing but it’s the appearance of the dish that builds the appetite first. So I had this idea of making spiral fruit that looks like pasta and the first tool I think : it is Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer. For a decent price and amount of good reviews on the site, I decided to get it right away. The first look ?it comes in 3 plastic parts and can be assembled easily; But is rather big for a tool in kitchen and vulnerable as it’s made of plastic and thin blades.
It comes with 3 blades for different types of spirals: thin, long and pasta-like, which suits my creativity for various food decorations. You choose the main blade on top, and put the rest two on the storage space at the bottom. To start spiralizing, you must first firmly attach the tool to the counter by pushing it down, then you can attach the vegetables between the pointy handle and the shredder. Note that although the turning handle looks thin and easy to break, it does! You should always use the rear handle to push when turning the wheels. That’s what it’s made for.
Bottom line: Easy to install, vulnerable but light look, careful with the handles.
First thing I try to make is Cucumber salad. Put on the thin original blade, cut the heads off, turn and push the wheels for like 10 rounds and walaa. The sharp blades made it smooth when pushing and rolling the attached cucumber in place. A few rounds of carrots and cabbages slicing made the salad dish eye-catching and ready to serve in only 5 minutes. Even though the cabbages are bigger than the blades?size, it does not cause any problem for the tool. Just put it in, push and turn, the whole cabbage is neatly shred. Simple as that.
Next dish that would make a great appetizer is fried apples. You can change the way and the taste of the original, big sliced apple dishes simply by using the thin blade shredder. Note that you must first cut of the core of the apple to make the turning easier, or else it won’s fit the blade hole. If you feel that cutting apples is just as fast as shredding them, consider both the slices. Thinner slice DOES fries and cooked faster, right? I put the cooked slices around the dish, pour cinnamon and hot sugar with butter in the middle and my family loved it. Convenience and style at its best.
If there is one thing I love about cooking, that is creativity. It’s just a way to make things less boring, sometimes even cause less tears . Don’t you just hate it when dealing with cutting onions in the kitchen? Well this is where the shredder comes in handy. That’s right, attach the thing in and roll away. Less crying, less hand-cutting. Do try out with different blades folks!
Bottom line: function clear and convenient, be creative, worth the price.
One thing to be concerned about, the thing has blind spots and peeled fruit can get stuck in quite easily. Good thing it is made of plastic and can be disassembled when washing. Be careful though, the blades are thin and sharp and can cut your hand easier than a normal knife would. Keep it safe from your children!
A 8/10 for this piece if innovation. It works with most veggies, easy to operate and fast cleaning. I suggest you try out with different blades food mix to make your dish more appealing as I have only used this for a month. May you work your best out of this and thank you for reading my honest review.
“The house was in poor condition, but luckily it was in original condition. It hadn’t been chopped up or altered in any major way, which was important to us,” recalls Eric Brill. An oil trader now youthfully retired, he and his wife embarked on several months of major repairs before even moving in. The couple called in contractors to patch gaping holes in the plaster walls; to sand, prime, and paint 200 steel-framed casement windows; and to reroof the interconnected volumes that make up the structure. (At 10,000 square feet, sprawling over three levels and multiple wings, the Mandel House is huge.)
All the repairs have been mindful of original materials and finishes. When in doubt, the Brills consulted stacks of blueprints and period photos to make sure that restorations matched Stone and Deskey’s designs. As a result, the house now looks pretty much as it did in the pages of Fortune. Illumination designed by Kurt Versen remains intact, and the kitchen needed almost no work. Other rooms required sprucing up. In the dining room, glass blocks installed during a previous restoration were replaced by better reproductions. In the swank ground-floor lounge, cheap recliners, the Brills reinstalled an original Deskey banquette, weathered from years in storage, and re-created a plastic-laminate bar with stools covered in lemon-yellow leather. Behind the banquette, a mural by Witold Gordon was entirely repainted from vintage photos.
There are rooms that the Brills and their three children rarely enter: the squash court adjoining the three-car garage, the servants’ dining room, and the cactus-filled “plant room” near the front entrance. Other spaces have been adapted to more practical uses. The Brills combined three maid’s rooms into a rec room centered on an enormous pool table (designed by Deskey, of course). A chauffeur’s bedroom is now Nannette Brill’s ceramics studio.
The public areas remain mostly as they were in 1934, with Deskey’s elegant furniture anchoring vast spaces with broad views of the outdoors. The fact that the house came with about 60 Deskey originals–some production items and some custom pieces, including a Steinway grand piano, a Bakelite-and-chrome dining table, and built-in wooden cabinets and shelving–keeps the period look authentic. The owners hired William Louche, who has restored furniture for major art museums, to repair Deskey pieces including the piano, dining table, sideboard, and shelving.
When Louche arrived on the scene, the finishes on some of the wood furniture were “like powder,” he says. “You’d touch them, and they’d flake off. And they were so opaque you couldn’t see through them.” Several wooden pieces had lost entire swaths of finish; other pieces had even lost veneers. Louche applied rejuvenator to clear up the cloudy finishes, always being careful not to alter patina, and replaced missing sections of veneer with new ones. “As much as possible, everything we did had to be reversible,” he explains, in case original elements someday turned up. He cleaned the chrome legs of the dining table and various chairs with acetone, alcohol, and calcium carbonate, none abrasive to the original metal.
When furniture to match missing originals couldn’t be found, the Brills combed auction catalogs and antiques shops for items of similar vintage, mostly by Deskey. The couple also added collections of Soviet constructivist posters and machine-age artifacts to the ensemble. A Walter Dorwin Teague camera posed at the bottom of the spare, towering staircase is one of the family’s favorites. A perfect analogy to the house, the sleek and aggressively modern camera is aristocratic in its self-conscious sophistication.
With a listing on the National Register of Historic Places officially secured, some people might rest on their laurels or at least relax in their landmarked masterpiece. The Brills, however, are already contemplating the next improvement project in the unending series: the admittedly monumental task of waxing the original cork and terrazzo floors. Louche is planning to return to touch up some furniture finishes that have clouded again, probably from sun exposure. Then there’s the possibility of re-creating Stone and Deskey’s paint scheme, in which different colors articulated the planar composition of interior walls, like a cubist canvas. For the moment, however, the walls of this high-maintenance home are staying white. As Nannette Brill says, “White is just so easy.”
SOME PEOPLE LOVE crisp new apartments while others like older-style places where a sense of history emanates from the walls. But Emma Persson Lagerberg and her husband Bengt Lagerberg didn’t realise how much they preferred the latter until they had experienced both. Six years ago, when Emma was pregnant with their first child, Otis, they moved from an older apartment into a new terrace – and quickly realised that it was the apartments with history, especially those that hadn’t been extensively renovated, which really captured their hearts.
“If you like to let your interior design gradually develop, want to combine different styles and also appreciate the atmosphere of old rooms, you should move into an older house,” Emma advises
So the couple went house-hunting again, looking for an older place that hadn’t undergone a complete renovation. “There are a frightening number of apartments with new, extravagant kitchens with the best modern appliances, but you get the feeling no one ever actually uses them for cooking,” Emma says of their search. “We wanted an apartment without an elaborate kitchen and also without lowered ceilings with inbuilt spotlights, which are yet another trend of the past decade. I am not fond of them!”
The couple eventually found an old, delightful 130 sq m apartment, that had not undergone a renovation formany years. It fitted the bill perfectly. “It’s a house with walls that are 100 years old, so you get the feeling that this is a place where many people have lived and loved,” Emma says. “And it only appeared a little worn. Old apartments get worn in a much nicer way than new ones; the materials are often of a much better quality.” But as much as they loved the place, particularly the generous proportions of the rooms, the high ceilings and the beautiful old windows and doors, a small renovation was in order.
Bengt did most of the work, painting the floorboards and walls, and boarding up a doorway between the kitchen and Otis’s bedroom. Then the couple stamped their style on the home. “I am not interested in design classics, especially when they act as status symbols,” Emma says of her furnishing choices. “If I like a piece of furniture I don’t mind it coming from a budget store or second-hand shop like recliner chair and set of chairs with sofa.” But she always chooses pieces made to last. “There are few fragile things in this home – it just doesn’t work when you have two small children,” she says. “We like to be surrounded by a small degree of untidiness. Bengt and I fall for homes where the personality of the occupants is clearly evident.” This is certainly the case at their place. Emma, Bengt, Otis and Ib are home, at last.
WHEN PHOTOGRAPHER Don Flood went house hunting with his wife Jenny Brunt, the couple didn’t expect their search would end with this stunning architect-designed home, built in 1958, with beautiful gardens and a swimming pool.
A few weeks after first viewing the property, the couple and their two daughters, Ella and Edie, moved in. That’s when the major renovation began.
The living room was the darkest room of the house as the main entrance door was made of solid wood. It was replaced with large glass doors, which unleashed an abundant flow of light, now making it the brightest room. The walls between the kitchen and the living room were removed in order to open up the kitchen and make the home more of an open-plan layout.
To open up the house to even more natural light, the couple took down trees in key areas of the garden. “The small patio outside was overgrown with plants, which didn’t allow any light through to the house and so they were removed,” Don explains. “After it was all gone, light streamed in.” The natural light also emphasises the many architectural details of the property, such as the living room’s asymmetrical walls.
Sliding glass doors throughout accentuate the notion of the exterior blending with the interior. Nature is also welcome inside the house, especially as a feature in the bathrooms. In the guest bathroom, plants grow in what was previously a shower, and Mother-in-law’s Tongues (Sansevieria triafasciata) border the bathtub in the main bathroom.
When it came to the interior decor, both Don and Jenny knew the look they wanted to achieve. “We enjoy a more simple style, but with space for colours here and there,” Don says. Stark white walls and a pared-back palette not only add to the feeling of light and space in the home, but are the perfect backdrop to showcase a gallery of artworks and photography, with pops of colour also emerging through furniture, accessories and plants.
The couple’s love of scouring vintage stores and flea markets is evident in the interior of their house. Although modern in style, it is home to an eclectic mix of vintage and retro designer finds, such as Eames chairs, 1960s light pendants, shagpile rugs and many 1950s pieces. Items from earlier periods also feature, such as two armchairs in the living room by Arts and Crafts designer Charles Limbert.
“The decor creates a lifestyle that is light and colourful,” Don says. A perfect home for this photographer and his young family.
For a versatile collection of tableware that can be dressed up or down, you can’t go past a basic white crockery set. And you don’t need to have a perfectly matching set mixing different brands and types of crockery will create a more interesting look. And the different shades of white will only add to the appeal. You may want to start with an inexpensive dinner set – there’s no need to worry when an item breaks – and gradually add pricier, eyecatching servingware. Dress up white crockery in a simple and stylish way with white napkins and candles and plain cutlery. You can easily change the look of the setting to suit your occasion. For example, a bare table with placemats works well for a breakfast or brunch; a crisp white tablecloth is perfect for a dinner party, or keep it casual with a roll of art paper used as a tablerunner (see “Make”).
Modernise antiques and traditional pieces with smart colour combinations for a rustic, banquet-style dinner setting. Start by choosing a simple colour scheme of white or cream paired with a subtle highlight like blue, red or purple with hits of black. Then mix and layer traditionalstyle tableware in these shades. For a modern touch, choose a patterned tablecloth that suits the theme (we chose a fun fruit design) and angle it so it skews slightly off the table. And for a real provincial banquet feel, ruffl e and place another tablecloth in a different colour in the centre of the table, like a tablerunner. Pile old books in small stacks to create little “steps” for various platters, bowls and clusters of candles. Embellish the table with antique elements like crystal glassware and antique silver cutlery. A ceramic or enamel jug filled with fresh fl owers, or a silver platter piled with fresh fruit and bread, creates the perfect banquet-style centerpiece.
For a natural look that’s suitable for everyday use and also sophisticated enough for entertaining, look for organic and unfinished materials. Think raw timber, unglazed and textured ceramics, cork, linen and unbleached cotton. Choose tableware that has an “imperfect” handmade feel look to Wabi-sabi for inspiration, a Japanese aesthetic combining transient and stark beauty (wabi) with the beauty of natural patina and ageing (sabi). And keep an eye out for commercial ranges that are designed to be asymmetric and not uniform in shape. Think pared-back and simple forms – shallow coupestyle or plain flat-bottomed dishes and carafes with indentations instead of handles. Use small bowls and vessels for condiments and spices, timber chopping boards as serving platters and plain carafe-like pitchers for coffee and tea. Combine basic everyday dinnerware in cream and off-white shades and serving platters and bowls in natural earthy tones like browns and greens. For an art-inspired feel, invest in fine handthrown porcelain crockery and use as feature pieces. Layer a tablecloth with linen or cotton placemats and napery in muted natural shades like green, cream and beige. Decorate the table with simple handcrafted items like old wine bottles with the labels removed and use as candleholders; or try hand stitching your own napkins.
For a dramatic and atmospheric tablesetting, be inspired by Middle-Eastern style. Look for weighty crockery with handpainted designs and textured patterns in rich, deep colours. Pair plates and bowls in shades like purple, blue, red, yellow and orange, with silver and gold-rimmed plates and glassware. You could also use coloured Moroccan glass teacups and traditional terracotta serving bowls and tagines. Keep tablelinen in the same shades choose napery in colours that are lacking in the tableware. There’s no need for placesettings to match, just stick to a few chosen colours and mix pieces, creating layers with nesting plates and plates under bowls. Painted tiles make colourful crafty additions as coasters or trivets. Ornately patterned cutlery, and copper, brass and silver pots, pans and dishes also work well. Set the mood with tealights in stained glass or stencilled ceramic votives, subtly scented incense sticks that won’t overpower the food; decorate with flowers like oriental lilies or orchids in small dishes, and scatter rose petals on the table to finish the look. For casual dining or a themed evening, try laying this setting out on great coffee tables or best recliners with cushions and ottomans as seats.
DO YOU LOVE doing laundry? No, us either. But a perfectly organised and beautiful-to-look at place to do it would make the job less tedious. Sure, the laundry may never be the hub of the home like your kitchen, or a sanctuary like your bedroom, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a boring space devoid of style. Read on to find out how, with some decorating know-how and a few savvy storage solutions, you can create a laundry to be proud of.
THE DECOR Extend the rules of interior decorating to this underadmired space. Play with colour. Bold hues – like our orange wall (right) – are said to be energising, which is helpful in the laundry!
Hang a curtain along open shelving to hide unsightly bottles. You can coordinate your curtain with the ironing board cover as you would with soft furnishings in a bed- or living-room setup.
Put artworks on display, too. Here, a “Brilliant” poster in a white frame looks graphic and reminds you just what a great job you’re doing!
THE STORAGE Make the most of wall space, particularly if your laundry is in a cupboard. This arrangement features a wall-mounted shelving unit with a vertically lifting door to hide all your bits and bobs. On top is the perfect place to stack towels.
Nina Rosace, author of Home Sorted! ($24.95, Homesorted.com.au), says it’s best to have two washing hampers – whites and colours – to make doing laundry easier. “Take clothes to the laundry and sort them into their appropriate hampers daily,” she advises. In this space, two hooks hold lightweight hampers so you can do just that.
A clothes line above the sink is handy if you have the space. If you need a stepladder to reach it, choose something attractive, like this timber number, instead of the usual fold-out metal types.
THE DECOR Make your laundry aesthetically pleasing and it will be somewhere you don’t mind spending a bit of time. Here, timber-panelled walls set the scene for a rustic but contemporary laundry space.
Instead of a colour scheme, this room features a palette of various timbers – the hanging ladder, shelf, hampers and stepladder – to create visual interest.
Potted plants, too, add to the natural look. And they’ll do well in the laundry thanks to the humidity. Choose succulents and indoor-friendly varieties and make sure they get a bit of sun.
THE STORAGE Get creative with your organising. In this laundry, a suspended vintage ladder makes for a cool visual feature and, more importantly, is great for hanging drying clothes.
Below it, a floating shelf is the ideal spot to keep canisters full of brushes and sponges as it’s within reach of the sink, too.
Beside the sink, a portable caddy holds cleaning products so you can easily carry them when cleaning the house. If you have the space, Nina suggests you have two caddies: one to hold the detergents and another to keep all your cleaning tools.
As for clothes, allocate a different hamper to each family member to make sorting out whose is whose a cinch.
Due to lack of storage space or the fact that you use it daily, the ironing board is often left out on display for all to see. Transform it from an eyesore into a focal point with a cool cover. There’s a wide range of colours and patterns available, such as these displaying a cherry print, a ruler motif and gingham checks, so you can choose one to suit your style. Plus, covers are inexpensive and slip right onto the ironing board, so you can update the look in an instant – and for next to nothing!
THE DECOR Love the luxe look of wallpaper? Yes, it looks great in living rooms and bedrooms, but this wall treatment is also a great way to spruce up a laundry.
Setting the scene in this laundry is the Porter’s Paints “Dragonfly” wallpaper. It lends large-scale drama to the small space, so everything else is kept minimal, but equally as sleek. The “HOME” Scrabble-piece artwork, the bold globe pendant light and the ironing board all feature a smart monochrome scheme to work with the wallpaper.
THE STORAGE If your laundry area is the size of a postage stamp, a good solution is to go for custom cabinetry and fittings. Brands like Hettich (Hettich.com.au) can help you design a Tardis-like laundry behind a pair of cupboard doors. You can include everything from a linen cupboard to the washer/ dryer and a pull-out ironing board. But if a custom job isn’t on the cards, there are plenty of easy ways to get more from your space.
It goes without saying that you can’t keep too many products in a small laundry. A single shelf within handy reach of the sink and washing machine is all you need to hold your washing powders and detergents. These, too, are kept nice and simple, decanted into a collection of like-shaped bottles and jars. To help identify what’s what, they’re labelled with blackboard tags that you can write on.
If you like the presidential style, read this article.
A visit to the Cushing House Museum is like a visit to a weathy uncle with a collection of amazing curiosities from .his travels around the world. This 21-room Federal-style mansion, headquarters of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, not only contains a large collection of maritime and other historical objects, but also evokes the sophisticated 19th-century lifestyle of a prominent Massachusetts family.
The house at 98 High Street in Newburyport is sometimes called the Hunt-Cushing House, a reference to the original builder, William Hunt, a sea captain. Hunt began construction in 1808, at a time when mansions of wealthy maritime traders were springing up all along High Street. Set on a ridge, these houses were positioned to overlook the river yet were safely removed from the hurly-burly coarseness of the wharves and ships.
Hunt died in 1811, but his widow, Sarah, continued to live there. A need for additional income caused her to sell the north-facing half of the house in 1818 to John Newmarch Cushing, a shipowner and captain. Descended from Matthew Cushing, a Puritan who came to America in 1638, John was part of a family with a long history of involvement in the religious and governmental affairs of Massachusetts. He moved to Newburyport, one of America’s largest ports at the time, in 1802 for the many opportunities it offered. Very successful, he became master and part owner of his first ship, the 303-ton Hester, before the age of 30.
Sarah Hunt sold the remaining half of her house to Cushing in 1822. It was the Cushing family home for the next 133 years. Among John’s children were three sons: Caleb, William and John, Jr. All three would become experienced world travelers. William and John, Jr. carried on in their father’s business, both becoming wealthy shipbuilders. Their half-brother, Caleb, turned to politics, forging a distinguished career that made him one of Newburyport’s leading citizens. A graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, Caleb was elected representative of the Massachusetts General Court at age 26. He traveled to France where he visited numerous gardens, the elaborate formal designs of which he later applied to the family home. After serving four terms as Congressman, he was appointed a special envoy to China in 1842. Described by a contemporary as, “a man of prodigious intellectual and physical energy; with no taste for recreation, no willingness for rest,” Cushing bought every book he could find on China and began his study of the Chinese language. This he added to his command of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, and Danish.
A few years later, using his own money, Caleb raised a regiment to fight in the Mexican-American War. He returned home to become Newburyport’s first mayor in 1851. President Pierce appointed him Attorney General in 1853 and he later served as an advisor to President Lincoln and as Ambassador to Spain. Although rarely at home, Caleb maintained his residence at 98 High Street until 1849, when his father died. Caleb then bought another property on High Street, while William and John, Jr. divided the family house in half and continued to live there. In 1869, with Caleb spending more time in Washington, William moved into Caleb’s house, leaving the old family residence exclusively to John Jr.
John Jr. had an ongoing interest in gardening and horticulture, which he passed on to his children, most notably, his daughter Margaret, born in 1855. When she moved back into her family home after the death of her father in 1904, the French-style garden started by her grandfather and uncle became one of her principal interests. Margaret never married and lived at 98 High Street, much of the time with her bachelor brother, until her death at age 100.
In contrast to some old houses where financial constraints precluded improvements, the Cushing house remained unchanged because Margaret saw its preservation as a way to honor the memory of her ancestors. In 1955, her heirs gave the house to the Historical Society of Old Newbury. The decision to offer the house to the historical society was an apt one considering its collections. In 1772, an association formed in Newburyport called the Marine Society sought to improve the public’s knowledge of the sea and navigation, as well as to provide relief for impoverished families of mariners. The group eventually amassed a large collection of nautical-related items. The Marine Society was defunct by 1909 and its collection was merged with that of the local historical society, begun in 1877. The merged collection now includes 19th-century toys, Hawaiian Island quilts, Oriental artifacts, portraits, needlework, silver, and clocks along with Cushing family objects.
The Cushing House Museum is open to the public from May I to October 31, Tuesday through Saturday, by appointment at other times. Admission is charged.
Although his career took him to Washington, D.C., and Great Britain, Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, always returned to his birthplace of Kinderhook, New York, just south of Albany.
He retired to his hometown, spending his years in an estate that he envisioned as a sort of northern Monticello. The elegant house and surrounding lands, which he dubbed Lindenwald in honor of the site’s many linden trees, were purchased in 1976 by the National Park Service and are now open to the public.
Van Buren generally is less well remembered than other early presidents. He was not a wartime leader like Washington and Lincoln, not a military hero, and lacked a colorful personality like Andrew Jackson. If anything, there has been a sense of negativity surrounding him: His administration presided over the worst economic depression America had yet seen, The Panic of 1837, as well as the forcible removal of American Indians from their homes in the East, leading to the infamous “Trail of Tears.”
His enemies gave him nicknames such as “The Fox of Kinderhook,” and “The Little Magician.” But those who knew him well liked him and were loyal. His supporters included Andrew Jackson, who preceded Van Buren as president, and South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, who became a bitter critic of Jackson over tariffs and states’ rights, but continued to support Van Buren. Van Buren’s proponents point out that these events were largely out of his control. To his credit, he initiated the independent treasury system and opposed the extension of slavery to new territories.
Van Buren was born to Abraham and Marie Hoes Van Buren in 1782, the final year of the Revolutionary War. His parents, well-off though living modestly, owned a tavern that was Martin’s boyhood home. Tavern life brought him into constant contact with all kinds of people, which no doubt contributed to his noted affability, social agility, and courtliness. His ancestors had come to the Hudson River valley 150 years earlier from Holland. As a young boy, Van Buren spoke Dutch, learning English when he began attending school. Demonstrating an aptitude for debate, Van Buren decided to become a lawyer and began his apprenticeship at age 14, as a clerk to a local attorney. By 20, he had completed his apprenticeship in New York City and was admitted to the state bar.
Van Buren’s law practice in Kinderhook flourished, and he became active in local Democratic-Republican Party (this party was a precursor to today’s Democratic Party) politics. He was elected state senator in 1812 and appointed attorney general of New York the following year. For the next eight years, Van Buren immersed himself in the rough-and-tumble party politics of New York.
Meanwhile, Van Buren had married Hannah Hoes, a distant relative on his mother’s side. They had four sons, the last of whom was born in Albany after the family moved there in 1812. Although their marriage was a happy one, it was short-lived. Hannah died in 1819, when she was 36 years old. The elder two boys were already enrolled in Albany Academy; the younger two were sent to live with Hannah’s sister, Christine. His sons remained in various academies until adulthood, seeing their father mainly on holidays.
Van Buren was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1821. During the next seven years, he helped form the Democratic Party. He also managed the campaign of the party’s first presidential candidate, Andrew Jackson, ensuring his sweep into office in 1828. In the same year, Van Buren was elected governor of New York, a post he held only 71 days, until Jackson appointed him Secretary of State. He resigned from that position under political pressure in 1831, but Jackson immediately appointed him ambassador to Great Britain. The Senate refused to confirm his appointment. He became vice president to Jackson in his 1833 reelection and then president in 1837. But all his efforts weren’t enough to help him gain re-election in 1841. Opponent William Henry Harrison took advantage of a fiscal depression to paint Van Buren as an addled, used-up man whose extravagant tastes were in stark opposition to his own man-of-the-people image.
Before his term ended, Van Buren bought a house with 137 acres of land in Kinderhook. Judge Peter Van Ness built the brick Georgian house in 1797, but Van Buren must have known that this property once belonged to his paternal grandmother’s family.
In May 1841, Van Buren moved into the house full-time and immediately set to work improving it. He removed a stairway in the wide center hall, which he then had papered with 51 vividly colored panels imported from France that composed a scene entitled Landscape of the Hunt. The hall became his dining room with luxury set of table, reclining chair, and other furnitures. where he entertained friends and visiting dignitaries. He also added a bathroom where he invited guests to “wash off the impurities of Mammon.” Outside, he planted a large garden, built a greenhouse, installed fruit orchards, and dug a deep well to supply a series of fishponds. His farmhands successfully grew vegetables and tended livestock. Despite his continuing involvement in politics during these years, which included another run for the presidency as a Free-Soil party candidate in 1848, he listed his occupation as “farmer.”
The greatest change to Lindenwald occurred in 1849, when the house was completely remodeled. Van Buren had offered Lindenwald to his youngest son, Smith, if he would live in it and get involved in managing the farm. Smith agreed under the condition that he be allowed to expand and improve the aging house. With his father’s approval, Smith hired Richard Upjohn, an architect known for designing churches (his best known is Trinity Church in New York City). Upjohn returned a design based on the emerging Italianate style, with hints of his earlier Gothic work. Chief among the design elements were a four-story tower, a central gable, attic dormers, and an elaborate porch. The finished house was painted a bright yellow. The elder Van Buren said: “The idea of seeing in life, the changes which my heir would be sure to make after I am gone, amuses me.”
The new plan also called for kitchen stoves, running water, a furnace, and many additional rooms, making Lindenwald quite luxurious. With few exceptions, Van Buren spent the last decade of his life close to home. He died in 1862.
The house passed out of family hands only a year after the president’s death. At various times, it was used as a private residence, a nursing home, and an antiques shop. When the National Park Service acquired it in 1976, it was in poor condition. Park Service conservators spent years restoring the house before it was opened to the public in 1982. The interiors reflect the period between 1850 and 1862, with numerous documented family pieces of furniture, and elegant wallpapers reproduced from original fragments. Van Buren himself would feel quite at home in the restored center hall: His large dining table and carpet have been exactly reproduced.