Shopping the Upscale Stores in New Preston, Connecticut

A view of the stores on East Shore Road in New Preston, Ct 06777.

Looking at the Aspetuck Falls which is directly behind the shops on East Shore Road in New Preston Ct. and can be seen from decks, porches and windows on the backsides of the stores.

If you are the reader of “shelter magazines” (Veranda, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, etc) as I am, you will have noticed that many of the stylish properties shown in those periodicals are located in north-west Connecticut.  Litchfield County Connecticut, or the Litchfield Hills as it is also called, is a place where many people from New York City and Boston spend their weekends.  The Litchfield area is also called, by some folk, the “Anti Hamptons”, as people who weekend there want a place away from the hustle-bustle of more populated areas, and look for a place to commune with nature and get away from it all. The Litchfield Hills are like no other, and one of its jewels is the hamlet of New Preston. New Preston, Ct is located at the crossroads of Routes 45 and 202, on the east side of Lake Waramaug.

New Preston has a grouping of stores where it is not just about fine products, but also about how perfectly everything is displayed. Recently my friend Marguerite and I took a day trip to the area. In this blog post I’m going to show you the stores and go over some of the principles of interior decorating at the same time; as each of the New Preston’s stores is a perfect visual, showing what good design is really all about. Continue reading

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Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips) | 5 Comments

A look at the August 2017 garden, here at Whimsey Hill House

Fred Gonsowski’s garden at Whimsey Hill House, August 2017

Every gardening season has its challenges, and this year was one for the books! Here in up-state New York, during May and June, there was either too much rain (practically raining every day) or days that were hot and humid, which made working outside almost impossible. On an average year, I plant the canna and dahlias tubers around May 1st, but this year, with all the steady rain, I got part of them into the ground around June 15; and ended up throwing the rest away out of disgust. When trying to turn over the soil to plant the dahlias and cannas , it was soo wet, that the next day I experienced back pains; not something a gardener wants to have to go through.

Each Spring I started zinnias and other plants from seed, and buy flats of annuals at a local garden center. With the constant rain, I probably planted about half of the plants that I grew from seed, and just discarded the rest. The annuals that I bought at my local garden center were planted, but they just sat there, not producing much growth, and definitely minimal flowers. The only plants that did well, this year, were the perennials that have more extensive and stronger root systems, and the unwanted grasses and weeds that sprouted with great abundance in the beds and borders.

One more bit of gardening observation… with all of the rain, the flowering time of a lot of my things was pushed back about three weeks; plants that should be in full bloom around July 9th, were doing their thing at the end of the month.

So now that you’ve read my little gardening rant, lets look at some photos of how the garden looks this year. Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, The Summer Garden | 21 Comments

BuzzFeed included one of my Interior Decorating Illustrations in their post titled “21 Little Changes That’ll Make Your Space So Much Homier”.

The cover photo from the BuzzFeed article.

Fred Gonsowski’s illustration used in the BuzzFeed post titled “21 Little Changes That’ll Make Your Space So Much Homier”, written by Natalie Brown.

Over the years online companies like The San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate), RedBook Magazine (RedBook Mag.com), and eHow have used my different interior decorating and gardening articles, as either references or resources for their online posts. Recently Natalie Brown, who is an editor for BuzzFeed asked if they could include one of my illustrations from my post titled “Interior Decorating with Accent Lamps” and a link to my website for a piece that they were writing on interior decorating; of course I said Yes!) (I’m #2 on the list). Continue reading

Posted in Lighting, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources | 10 Comments

Visiting The Real Housewives of New York (RHONY) Dorinda Medley’s home, Blue Stone Manor, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Dorinda Medley and me in her Living Room at Blue Stone Manor, on the day of the Lenox Garden Club Tour.

Garden tour patrons approaching the front door of the mansion.

On July 15, 2017 The Lenox Garden Club held its biennial garden tour, and one of the show-stopping properties visited was Blue Stone Manor. Blue Stone Manor is the country home of Dorinda Medley who is a reality TV star on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City. Dorinda and four other property owners were kind enough, to open their gorgeous homes and spectacular grounds, for the day, as a fundraiser for The Lenox Garden Club. People from far and wide traveled to Great Barrington, Massachusetts for the “sold out” tour. This blog post shows some of the well-appointed rooms and grounds at Blue Stone Manor, decorated by the super tasteful, effervescent and charming Dorinda Medley. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Summer Garden | 10 Comments

Starting an African Violet from a Leaf Cutting

Step-by-Step instructions on how to start an African Violet from a leaf cutting.

Are your African violets getting old and unshapely with multiple crowns and suckers? Do you have a friend or co-worker who grows the most beautiful African violets, and that person will give you some single leaf cuttings, so you can start some plants of your own? This blog post shows you the two easy steps that it takes to growing an African violet from a leaf cutting. Continue reading

Posted in House plants / Forcing bulbs | 6 Comments

A look at my Easter 2017 decorations, here at Whimsey Hill House

A late Easter, like we’re having this year, to me, is the unofficial start of the growing season here in up-state New York. With the late Easter, no matter how cold or snowy the past Winter has been, I seem to have snowdrops, winter aconite, crocus, hellebore, daffodils and hyacinth that have set buds and are starting to bloom. This blog post shows the decorations that I’ve put up to celebrate the Easter holiday and to herald Spring. Continue reading

Posted in CHRISTMAS / Easter | 22 Comments

Arranging furniture and Decorating a 19 foot long by 14 foot wide Living Room with a Brown Leather Sectional Sofa

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img_3024 Recently a reader, whose husband is a house builder (Texas Barndominiums out of Floresville, Texas, texasbarndos.com) asked for my help with the decorating of their new house that is also a “show house”.  I said yes to her inquiry, but would only do it if I could turn it into a blog post that might inspire my readers. Melissa,  the builder’s wife, had already purchased some furniture and wanted suggestions for extra things to buy, so she could create a home that is a warm and inviting place for her family,  friends and husband’s clients to see. Looking at what she already has, the size and height of the room, its location in the house, and what textures for surfaces are already in the room, this is what I think she should do. Continue reading

Posted in Arranging Living Room Furniture, Interior Decorating Principles | 7 Comments