HOUSE: Newburgh

Dining room corner.


This is one of my favorite corners in the house. It’s in the dining room, the darkest part of the house. It does get some light midday, but because it’s at the center of the house and we have no side windows, it tends to be a little gloomy and shadowy most of the time. I like that. The plant, however, would argue me that a little more light would be quite nice, but he’s managed to stay alive for more than two years now—a record for a houseplant under my care neglect.

dining room window

Yesterday Sue left a comment asking what happened to the Matte Stephens “Charlie Bird” print that used to be in my living room. There he is, sitting on top of the ESU! I move stuff around a lot.

I keep some special things on those shelves: My grandmother’s transistor radio and Danish fish ashtrays, my collection of books by J. Otto Seibold, my Optic Nerve comic books…

Inside the sliding doors and three drawers are the biggest messes in our house, outside of the Basement of Doom. You’d be amazied how much stuff I’ve crammed in there! Sometimes you just need to shut a door and forget about it, though.

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  • Reply Mariela Ramos January 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Very nice room : )

  • Reply Twiggs January 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    hum, so cozy!!!! i love the way you combine brown and white!! 🙂 happy new year!

  • Reply Sarah B January 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    You have photographed it well as the light looks nice. Seeing the Elvis poster makes me want to watch one of his movies, perfect for a holiday relax.
    I was thinking yesterday that of all the rooms ( not that many) at my house I chose the darkest one to be my art studio. Silly! But a nice room nevertheless.
    Ps thought of you when a saw a story on tv about book covers. Very interesting 🙂

  • Reply Lauren M January 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Hi! Is that the Norden dining table from IKEA? I’ve been contemplating buying it for a month now. If it is, do you like it and is it sturdy?

    Thanks 🙂 oh and I L.O.V.E your blog

    • Anna @ D16 January 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Yes, it is the Norden (the big one with the leaf), and yes, it is extremely well-made. We bought it about 6 years ago and we’ve moved with it twice—it’s gotten a lot of use, and it’s no worse for the wear. It’s a solid wood table (very heavy!), and we fully expect to own it for many years to come.

  • Reply Michelle January 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    hi! I have that Matte Stephens print too! It’s fun to see how other people use artwork in their homes. Mine is in the bathroom.

  • Reply Krysti January 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Where did you find The Smiths poster?!? I must have it.

    • Anna @ D16 January 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Krysti, I bought it at a record shop about 20 years ago! I imagine you’d have to go the eBay route to get one nowadays.

  • Reply read me... January 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Anna, is “Quincy, the Hobby Photographer” in your collection?

  • Reply Lori E. January 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Ok, I am bringing your honesty into question… 😉 I can’t imagine you having a messy drawer or cabinet but it makes me feel SO much better that you do! I believe God created closet doors especially for me… I am often shutting and forgetting! 🙂

  • Reply paule January 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Does any of your fire places work? When i went to my parents house for christmas, i made a fire every day. for a week. now i miss it!

    • Anna @ D16 January 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      The “fireplaces” in my dining room, bedroom, and guestroom are actually just decorative mantels on chimneys with grates over heating registers in the center. Back when the house was built (late 1800s), the registers would have allowed heat from a coal stove in the basement to warm the entire house — very much like forced-air heat in today’s homes — and the exhaust would pass through the chimneys. This system was put out of service when the cast radiators were installed soon after, and the registers have been blocked since.

      The big marble fireplace in my living room is set up for a gas stove (that’s the little pipe sticking out of the wall on the right side), not an open fire. It was never a woodburning fireplace. Attached row houses seldom had woodburning fireplaces because of the shared walls — a fire in one house would quickly spread to the one next to it. The setup in my house is pretty typical for these skinny Victorian homes. 🙂

      I wish I had a woodburning fireplace, though!! Whenever I’m at someone’s house and there’s a fire going, I never want to leave.

  • Reply Ella January 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I love hearing about other people’s messes. Ive been going through a lot of stuff latley, sorting, throwing and giving away, only to realize how much more there is left. For a while it actually felt like I was making things worse! That’s changed though, thankfully. Sorting things can really become like a very boring drug. The attic I pretend doesn’t exist though, except for when I go up there to cram more stuff into it… Ojoj.

  • Reply Allyson January 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    LOVE the Smiths poster. Your house is basically my dream house.

  • Reply dkzody January 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I too love a wall of cabinets into which I can throw so much and close the doors. I have 11 feet of such wonderful cabinets in my living room. One cabinet now sits empty, though, because I am working at clearing out all extraneous stuff.

  • Reply me @{life or something...} January 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    “Sometimes you just need to shut a door and forget about it, though” welcome to my life.

  • Reply A January 5, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Ikea is one of the world’s worst companies if you wanna save the planet. It’s cheap yes, but who pays the price for that? Hmmm… oh, yes it’s poor countries and the good old mother earth. Please stop promoting this non-lasting shit on your blog all the time. You have so many readers, you’re a great impact. Here in Sweden, trendsetters, deco bloggers and climate fighters have all abandoned the creepy company that tells us to buy more and care less. sorry about this rant.

    • Anna @ D16 January 5, 2011 at 8:13 am

      If you care so deeply about this, why use a fake email address and a fake name? I’ll never understand why people choose anonymity so frequently when expressing opinions that (presumably) mean a lot to them. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they won’t even reveal contact information to the owner of the blog on which they are commenting. But that’s neither here nor there, I suppose..

      So here’s a question that I’m honestly interested in hearing your answer to: If I keep my IKEA dining table for, say, 30 years (that would put me in my mid-60s), and I keep the Eames storage unit for the same 30 years, how exactly does that have a negative effect on the planet? I am just as selective in buying goods from IKEA as I am from anywhere else. I do not view the things I own from IKEA as being “disposable” any more than I do things from other stores. My consumer ethic is still exactly the same.

      Truthfully, given the choice of materials and the overall ethics of the two companies, I would argue that a solid wood table from IKEA is a more ecologically sound choice than a laminated wood shelving unit from Herman Miller. The main difference, though, is in the price…and, of course, in the ubiquity of the objects, which is what I suspect naysayers of IKEA are actually responding to with this type of comment.

      Do you know where the Eames storage unit was manufactured? Do you know what types of materials were used? How much waste does Herman Miller produce annually? What are their profit margins? In material cost, how much is the unit actually “worth”? Do you know, or have you chose to only point a finger at IKEA, because it’s easy?

      This may come as shocking news to you, but all manufacturers want you to to buy more and care less. That’s how consumerism works, that’s how companies make money—by establishing a customer base that will continually purchase more products, not necessarily because of wear and damage, but because they perceive a need for change and “betterment”. Period. The problem is not with people throwing away things because they’re broken, it’s with people disposing of salvagable, serviceable, perfectly usable furniture because they want something new and different. When you read statistics that show the average household as renovating their kitchens or bathrooms once every decade, do you honestly think that’s because they used IKEA cabinets? No, it’s because styles and trends have shifted, or because they have increased their economic standing and perceive a need to “upgrade” to more expensive (though no more functional) materials.

      You need to take a bigger view if you care about more than just lip-service. The greatest positive environmental impact a person can make comes from not consuming any animal products, for example. Live in an old house, don’t build a new one. Don’t drive. Think about where your food comes from, and how it got on your plate. Don’t replace old windows. Learn how to fix and repair things. Buy used furniture whenever possible. Think about whether you really love something before you buy it, no matter where it comes from. Don’t renovate structurally unless necessary, and then, use the longest-lasting permanent materials as possible to sustain the life of your home. Accept that sometimes “good enough” is good enough, and move on. Stop buying more stuff. Love what you have. Support the positive efforts of others.

      Understand that I am not attempting to make a case for the ecological value of goods from IKEA — or from any manufacturer of mass-produced goods. Anonymously bullying people into feeling ashamed of their “non-lasting shit” (as you so eloquently put it) is not how you’re going to “save the planet”, though. Take a broader view, and look at the facts. Stop trying to take the easy road of inaction by pointing a finger at an easy target.

      And for goodness sake, stop with the fake email addresses. If you really care, own your opinion.

    • dkzody January 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

      I agree wholeheartedly. Said by a person who has lived in the same house for 30 years with almost all original furnishings. That wall unit I mentioned earlier, it’s been with me for 37 years, being moved twice. Buy what you love and then keep it.

    • Anna @ D16 January 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

      I’d add to that sentiment by saying that if you wind up not loving something so much anymore (it happens!), figure out a way to modify it so you do love it—or turn it into something else. If all else fails, donate it to someone who can use it and love it more than you do. Sometimes the things that we might regard as “dated” or unstylish are exactly the things that can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. A lot of my stuff comes from people who decided they didn’t want something anymore, and I’ve tried to do the same thing in return—whether it’s to a family member, a friend, or the Goodwill.

  • Reply Sue January 5, 2011 at 6:52 am

    There he is!

  • Reply Lori E. January 5, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Anna, seriously, even your “messes” look good! 🙂

    As for “A”, way to go. I am all for green without the guilt. I do what I can, when I can to help the environment. Some days are better than others but I am a firm believer even a little green is better than no green. And maybe “A” doesn’t read your blog enough to know how much you mention ALL the ways you and Evan are green and how much you encourage all of us with your ideas…

    • Anna @ D16 January 5, 2011 at 10:06 am

      I should take a photo of my basement for you! I promise it looks really, really bad. And now I have to stop talking about it or else I’ll get paranoid that it can hear me, and somehow destroy me in my sleep.

      I really don’t like the whole “this is the problem, so stop doing it” approach to activism (or whatever you want to call it), regardless of the issue. I think it’s polarizing and demoralizing, and doesn’t really accomplish much. I prefer a more holistic approach to almost everything in life, and I think it’s really important to pay attention to all of the small decisions we make throughout the day rather than just focusing on one company or practice. The alternative is really just an easy way for people to feel like they’re making a difference (like throwing away perfectly good “non-green” items in their home and replacing them with “green” versions — this accomplishes nothing, and just adds to waste!). I don’t really even like the word “green” for that reason — it becomes a catch-phrase that’s easy for corporations to use to make people feel good about themselves without really putting much thought into what they’re consuming and why.

      Anyway…I have to work now. 😉

  • Reply couve illustrations January 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    That corner is very cozy and that the smiths poster looks great there.
    I love Matte Stephens work. I found him not too long ago and i really think I need to get me one of those!

  • Reply Lori E. January 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    LOL about your basement. I call ours “the Dungeon” so I feel your pain (and your fear…). It definitely is the trendy thing to “go green”. And it has become a political mess too. I have never understood the attitude that comes in when people try to go “green” (for lack of a better term). To me it is just a smart, caring, frugal way to live. Granted, unfortunately, I haven’t always felt that way but like I said before, I do what I can when I can and try not live under guilt and pressure for not doing more… And I love the challenge of it all. Trying to turn trash into treasure and seeing the diamond in the rough kind of stuff. And one of these days I am going to try my hand at making my own cleaners… 🙂

  • Reply Mandy January 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Oh I love that book too ….. and I love what you have done, it all looks so great !!!

  • Reply Monica January 6, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Referring to your reply to A’s comment – You SO rock Anna! I am glad that you took the time to rebut so eloquently.
    On another note are those candlesticks in your, awesome, ESU? Metal with a sphere in the middle. They look familiar to me.

  • Reply Natalie January 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

    You can put a bamboo in dark corners, it can survive anything…

    (I love your Smiths and Morrissey Photos!)

    • Anna @ D16 January 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Tell that to the two bamboo plants I’ve already killed!! Believe me, I can kill anything green. (Except Kermit, he’s off-limits.)

  • Reply Becky January 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Lovely corner! I really love that you pay attention to every little detail of your house – from the plant pots to the pictures and picture frames! It really makes for such a beautiful experience. Your house always looks lovely and cozy.

    Also, if you want me to punch “A” for you, I’ll do it (only kidding!). But seriously, your response to A is spot on – you do what you can, but we can all only do so much, and guilting ourselves or others is nonproductive and rude.

    • Anna @ D16 January 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

      No punching, please 🙂

      I’m totally up for debating the subject s/he raised, but there are more productive ways to do it…you know? Hit and run anonymous blog commenters don’t really care about having a discussion, though, it’s just about trying to point a finger and make someone feel badly.

  • Reply Lori E. January 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to check our local library and see if they have it! 🙂

  • Reply Caroline January 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I love your ways. Please keep sharing your life. 🙂

  • Reply Stacey January 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Gorgeous and love all the natural light in the space!

  • Reply Sarah January 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your space, the contrast between the white room and Danish wood is really beautiful and gives the room a real warmth

  • Reply denise January 9, 2011 at 5:09 am


    Firstly, all the very best in 2011. This is off-topic, but I have just read (in a day) Eating Animals. On your recommendation. What can I say but THANK YOU. Devastating and life changing, and in my case reconfirming. Many years ago I read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and was indeed fortunate enough to have him as a lecturer. That changed my life, nearly thirty years ago, and I became firstly vegetarian, then vegan. Years later backpacking in South America, the food often terrible, after several months succumbed to salmon, fresh and ate fish ever since. No more. Not ever. I needed a reminder of why I had been so committed in the first place and Eating Animals was it. Again, thanks.

    The following is emotionally devastating but if you eat meat (and if you don’t), if you care for the plight of the creatures of the earth and indeed, humankind, you must watch. Earthlings: pour a very stiff drink.

  • Reply Lisa McCabe January 11, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Hey there — Can you tell me the name of the black paint you used?

    The room looks super.

    • Anna @ D16 January 11, 2011 at 7:28 am

      In the living room? BM Soot. Further details are in the post.

  • Reply Sandra January 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I don’t know if you know of this website already but I think you’re going to enjoy it. It’s a blog about Scandinavian design.

  • Reply A January 13, 2011 at 5:19 am

    On the 26th of january, it will become much clearer to those who choose to keep their eyes closed, what kind of company IKEA really is. On that date, SVT (Sweden’s only non-profit TV station, owned by the public) will air another documentary that will chock us all. But even without these facts, that keep popping up in media, it’s pretty obvious to anyone who cares about the planet that IKEA stands for fast, cheap, non-lasting products. Yes they do some CSR activities (as do all multi-national companies, including BP and Shell eeew). But is IKEA an ethical company, driven by ethical principals and does IKEA respect the need to combat climate change etcetera? No. And yes, you will find it out too in the US. In time. In Sweden, only poor people and people who don’t give a shit about the climate shop at IKEA these days. The rest of us prefer to see the truth. Thank you.

    • Anna @ D16 January 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Again with the fake email address, huh? What is it you’re afraid of? Internet bullies love anonymity, it’s true…

      Anyway, I’m not disagreeing with your claims about the ethical problems with IKEA’s manufacturing process. If you’d read my earlier reply to you above, you’d know that what I take issue with is the idea that somehow IKEA is any more of a problem than any other mass-producing furniture company. I’m under no false illusion of IKEA being some kind of special case in the world of inexpensive manufacturing.

      By the way, 80% of IKEA’s sales are in Europe, so you might want to check yourself before you start saying that “only poor people and people who don’t give a shit about the climate shop at IKEA these days”. What a horrible, hideous thing to say—that’s an extremely classist attitude that I find completely repellent and demeaning.

      It seems to me like you have a certain line that you like to regurgitate over and over on this subject, and that you’re not really interested in talking about what’s going on here in BROAD-VIEW, long-sighted manner. IKEA isn’t the problem. WE ARE. All of us humans, and all of the decisions we make every day about what we consume and what we dispose of. You can pat yourself on the back all you want for being too good (and, according to your earlier claim, too wealthy) to shop at IKEA, but I suggest you take a hard look at the rest of what you’re consuming and see where else you can make changes, too.

      You might want to start with your toxic attitude.

  • Reply Annie Markantonatou January 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    lovely! like so much the elvis portrait!

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