A Return to Saltbox Farm

Saltbox Farm A while back I was asked to photograph the culinary delights of Chef Ben Elliot, owner of Saltbox Farm in Concord, MA.  It was so much fun the first time around, I was ecstatic when asked to return and photograph a new venture on the farm;  the addition of  The Little House.  Located on the farm is a small cottage style structure that had been endearingly nicknamed, “The Little House.”  This gorgeous “little” house has been transformed into the headquarters of Salt Box Farm and now is home to their stellar line up of cooking classes, as well as housing one of the coziest private dining rooms I’ve every seen.  There is a particular simplicity and honesty to Saltbox Farm and The Little House, that it’s allure becomes infectious; it’s that wonderful thing that happens when you pair amazing food with a beautiful environment – is there a name for this phenomenon?  If not, there should be!

Saltbox Farm - The Little House Dining Room

Saltbox Farm Little House

Saltbox Farm - The Little House

Saltbox Farm - The Little House Pasta Making Saltbox Farm - The Little House Goose Prep The_Little_House_Final_Day_2-14

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Masters at Work

Masterpiece - Legs!

In the modern world of big box stores and disposable goods, it’s so refreshing to meet people who are still dedicated to creating quality goods by hand.  Masterpiece Woodworks crafts heirloom quality furniture for a wide variety of customers; the craftsmanship and artistic skill coming out of this shop is mind-blowing!  Seriously, it’s a bit ironic that down the street from the shop’s Avon, MA. location, lies the masters of flat-pack furniture, IKEA.  I was recently asked to capture the shop and the team for use in updated marketing campaign. Here are some of my favorite images and a small sampling of their work:

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Shop dog, Rosie, eagerly awaiting the lunch truck arrival

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View of the recently renovated showroom and just some of the custom options available.

Beautiful console with white lacquer details

Custom cabinet with a gorgeous finish

COFFEE TABLES EBONIZED OAK W PAINTED ACCENTS 1593b

Ebonized Oak Coffee Table with Red Painted Accents

DESK ROSEWOOD LEATHER STEEL 2007 1287a

Rosewood Desk with Leather Inset Top & Steel Legs!

GAME TABLE WALNUT W LEATHER TOP 2008.5

Walnut Game Table With Leather Top & Brass Details

Partners Daryl & Rick apprenticed in the same shops and upon returning from a cross country motorcycle trip, the two decided to start own their business.  Over thirty years later the two are still going strong!

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Daryl Evans – Partner & Master Craftsman

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Rick Hulme – Partner & Master Craftsman

The beauty of Masterpiece Woodworks lies not just in the finished product, but the accessibility of the process and customization of design. In 2012, Creative Director Beth Borque, joined the team at Masterpiece, and spearheaded efforts to updated the companies website and marketing strategies.  It was such a pleasure and honor being asked to capture this dynamic team and the artistry that abounds!

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Yet more detail options…

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The Masterpiece Woodworks Team

Stitch by KMIDesign – Cambridge, MA

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Ever look at a shelter magazine or blog and see spaces that look frigid and sterile? You sit and wonder, “Does someone actually live there? Ok, clearly these people don’t have kids or pets or personalities.”  Well if that is your impression of what high-end interior design looks like, look again.

Cambridge based Kate Maloney Interiors creates gorgeous spaces that are meant to be lived in by the whole family.  Kate and her team infuse each project with a quirky mix of pattern, color and texture.  Though usually not one for labels,  Kate’s style could possibly be coined as, “Cantabridgian Chic” or perhaps “Boho Modern.” Whatever the label you come up with, each home is always a great balance of the old and new; creating spaces that are timeless, stylish and always functional.

Established in 2003, Kate’s design office recently expanded to include a new retail venture called Stitch. “After years of discovering new vendors and pieces that are one of a kind,” Kate says “we’ve decided to bring our passion for the unique to market!  Stitch is a collection of everything we’ve fallen in love with but haven’t found a home for yet.”  Located on the 2nd floor of an old, brick Quaker Oats’ building in Central Square (and just 2 floors below Kate’s design studio) lies the home of Stitch.  A small, sunny space that houses the great finds Kate and her team have amassed along the way. The carefully curated collection houses vintage finds and modern treasures alike.

I recently had the pleasure of photographing the space for Kate and wanted to share a glimpse of the fun.  Though Stitch is open by appointment only, you can shop their website anytime!!

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Like Kate’s work?  Be sure to also check out The Velvet Fantastic, a blog written by Kate’s long-time partner in crime and design godess, Thiara Borges.  Together, these ladies are awesomeness overload!

Saltbox Farm – Concord, MA

Saltbox Farm is one of those places that somehow manages to capture an amazing essence of New England and distill it down to its truest and purest form. Pastoral fields, chickens running about and a weathered patina that seems to only get better with each passing season.  It’s the kind of place where modern cars somehow seem odd, you would half expect company to arrive via a horse drawn carriage and messages to arrive via telegram.  Owner Chef Ben Elliot’s grandfather built the farm in the 1940′s and modeled it after a 1720′s Saltbox.  Today, Ben carries on the tradition of the farm, using the land to harvest fresh produce, keep livestock and grow his culinary enterprise.  My dear friend, Chef Molly Loveday, has teamed up with Ben at Saltbox; together they not only run the farm but operate a successful catering company and offer private/group culinary classes.  I recently spent the day with them and when not filling my face, I managed to make a few pictures!

Fab: 2011 Timeline

This is just bananas!!! I’m an avid Fab follower but never really knew the back story of the company.  Found this little slide show inspirational and informative.  Can’t believe they accomplished all this in less than a year!!

Paperwhites & Mercury Glass

So winter is officially upon us and though it’s not typically the time of year one thinks about gardening, there are still some nice options out there for adding a little greenery to these bleak winter months.  I honestly don’t have much of a green thumb, but this little combo was super easy and somewhat inexpensive.  The original scheme came about as Matthew and I were looking for simple & easy wedding arrangements.  Cut flowers can be crazy expensive so we searched a bit for potted plants that we could work with… but again, it’s winter and our options were limited so we went with one of the mainstays of the season; paperwhites.

They are simple, tall, elegant & super easy to care for.  Because we needed them bloomed and ready to go we purchased them potted and fully opened, but growing these little guys is pretty simple and can be done anytime of year; here’s a quick tutorial from Apartment therapy.  From bulbs these are literally dirt cheap, I think we paid about $9.00 for a pot with 5-6 bulbs.  For potting containers we went with Mercury Glass.

Found these pots at Mahoney’s in Winchester, MA for only $3.99

This stuff is everywhere right now and I was able to amass various sizes and shapes easily. We also wanted to include candles in the mix and there were plenty of options to do so.   I think the silver & white theme is adaptable to most schemes as well as the more austere winter palette.  Originally mercury glass was made by sealing a silver nitrate solution between a double walled glass vessel.  Mercury was never used in tableware, but it was used to make mirrored surfaces.  Today it’s mostly made by spraying a metallic paint on the inside of a glass object.  Most containers said not to get them wet or use them as vases, but we ignored the warnings and most of them were fine.  The only ones that didn’t survive were from Michael’s.

We started by adding a bit of soil to the bottom of each container.

Next, separate the bulbs.  The ones we bought were pretty tangled and survived a good amount of tugging, we eventually turned to just cutting the gnarled roots… again, I’m not much of a gardener so don’t know if that’s the best way to go, but it worked for us and they survived!

Here are a few examples of the other containers we used…


West Elm $39.00

West Elm $34.00

Michaels $13.99-16.99 (I wouldn’t use these ones again for planting)

West Elm $4.00-5.00

And here are the final results!!

I think the key is to use a large variety of shapes and sizes. Oh and if you like those stars hanging in the background, check out Matthew’s post about them over at his blog, ” The Things I Think About”

The glassware looks great in the day, but I love it best when all the candles are lit and the whole table just glows.

Because of time constraints I didn’t have time to experiment, but have since read that making your own mercury glass is pretty easy.  If I test it out I’ll be sure to update with the results!!  Also, haven’t tested this theory but thought that maybe spraying a clear, waterproof sealer could help protect the inside of the vessels and make them a bit more durable?

Wellspring House of Gloucester, MA Celebrating 30 years with Shawn Colvin & Paula Cole

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of photographing an amazing event for Wellspring House that took place in Rockport at the Shalin Liu Performance center in Rockport.  Wellspring is non-profit that helps supply housing, education & job training for families in need and has done so for the past 30 years.  Thursday night’s celebration was highlighted by performances from Shawn Colvin & Paula Cole, the two sang a handful of songs together as well as performed their solo gems.  For me the highlight was the cover they did of “America” by Simon & Garfunkel, it was gorgeous and they sounded great harmonizing together, oh and I could listen to Shawn sing “Polaroids” forever, such a great tune. This was my first time at the Shalin Liu Performance Center and to say it’s beautiful is an understatement.  This building was one of the best venues I’ve seen in a long time.  Check it out if you get a chance.

Here’s an interior shot of the music hall.  The wall of glass behind the stage looks directly out to the ocean!! It was too dark to tell for this event, but check out the images on their website to see.

Shawn & Paula at the pre-show reception

Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, executive director Kay O’Rourke, committe member Caroline Hovey… see below, this picture was used in the Boston Globe article about the event!

Love that I was credited as “Joey” Chartier, it’s that “sometimes y” that’ll getcha!

Oh, and special thanks to Franco Cardaropoli for shooting the event with me and Amy Oman for getting me the job!!

Chase’s Daily Sneak Peek

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a few days with the Chase family in Freedom & Belfast, Maine.  They are an amazingly hardworking and dedicated family of 5 that run a farm, restaurant/bakery & market. Matthew and I stumbled upon them during our vacation in the beginning of July and were enamored with what they were doing.  I was ecstatic that they agreed to let me invade their space for a bit and photograph them.  I’ll be posting more shortly, I made over 3,000 images while there and still sorting through them all, but couldn’t wait to share a bit with everyone.

Megan washing carrots at the prep station.
Addison Chase, I could listen to him talk for days!!
They had just finished harvesting over 400 lbs of garlic.

Penny drives the truck every morning that transports the produce from the farm in Freedom to their restaurant in Belfast. She also cooks on the line as well as grows some amazing flowers, see below.

Penny’s flower beds. She picks bouquets every morning to sell at Chase’s Daily and also grows edible flowers that adorn various dishes and the mesclun mix.

The busy restaurant  is open from 7-5 most days and serves lunch from 11-2:30. Friday is the only night they serve dinner, oh and they serve brunch on Sundays… I’m so heading back up on a weekend asap!!

Newly harvested beets, just picked and heading for the prep station.

Ariel heading out  to pick in the morning fog.

A view from the street behind Chase’s Daily

Also, check out Matthew’s review of the food on our trip to Maine over at his blog, The Things I Think About.  There area a few additional pictures of Chase’s and descriptions of some of the food we had there.  I’ll be posting more soon as well as a short multimedia piece I’m working on which includes audio from various interviews and tons more images from my trip!!

Panoramic Night Sky Photograph

This is insane!!!! Check out this 5,000 megapixel picture of the night sky that was made from over 37,000 exposures!!

Photo by Nick Risinger

All of these photographs were stitched together to create an interactive, 360° view of this at Photopic Sky Survey that will just blow your mind!!  Nick Risinger traveled over 45,000 miles by air and 15,000 on land to achieve this accomplishment.   When reading about this though, it made me a bit sad to realize how our view of the night sky is getting weaker as light pollution becomes a real problem for so many places.  Looking into the night sky is one of those things that can be so beautiful and overwhelming all at once;  makes you realize just how tiny our little corner of the world truly is.

All this star talk reminds me that I need to get my butt over to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  I’ve always wanted to attend the monthly observatory night, which is held on the third Thursday of most months.  It a free program that’s open to the public and is described as a “non-technical” lecture with “telescopic observing” from atop the observatory’s roof.  I think that might be politely saying, “stargazing for stupid people?”  Count me in!!

Barbara Bosworth - The Milky Way

BOOKS!!!

After having worked in bookstores for 10+ years I’ve developed a mild obsession with books, not to mention some overstuffed shelves!!  Books are like little, portable worlds; each with a different point of view or focus and always willing and ready when needed.  As a designer, books will always be your best friend, they can provide not only inspiration but make the best accessories money can buy.  When styling and finishing out a space, they can say a lot about the person or the home, and its intention.  Bookshelves on the other hand can be tricky.  Too many shelves and not enough books = sad and underwhelming; too many books and not enough shelving = chaos.  Finding that right balance of book to shelf is hard!! Then there is the organization, do you go nerdy and alphabetize everything, divide by subject? Perhaps you go purely aesthetic and arrange by color? Or maybe minimalist and turn all the books backwards, exposing just the pages? I think it really depends on the space and personal preference I guess.  I love collecting random objects and for me bookshelves are one of the best ways to showcase collections and those one of a kind finds.  When adding shelving into a space I think it’s always best to over estimate the amount you will need. This not only allows you to grow your collection without cramming everything in, but gives you space to display fun, little vignettes that can easily be revamped when you get bored!

Boredom with a static display obviously wasn’t the case for the two who made the video below, take a look at this is amazing and super inspiring animation.  I guess it shows with a little creativity (and a lot of time) you can create beauty using just about anything.  Also to note, they list every book used in the credits, now that’s patience and attention to detail!!

For the ultimate in all things book + shelf, check out the Bookshelf Porn Blog. This is a cool photo collection dedicated to book storage and art!! Here is a highlight from that blog and an ingenious use of space…

Stair Bookcase - Levitate Architects, UK

Stair Bookcase - Levitate Architects, UK

The next set of images is a space that I have pined for ever since I laid eyes one it.  They come from a Design Sponge Sneak Peek into the home of owners of the Brooklyn Home Co.  These people know a good bookshelf when they see one and aren’t afraid to use them, oh and they have a rolling library ladder!  I’m so getting one of these one day.

On a much grander scale, is the Seattle Central Library by architect Rem Koolhaas and OMA.  Though I’ve never visited in person, I’ve drooled over these images and found them to be very inspirational while working on my thesis.  The conception and design of this library is truly innovative and breathtaking. All images are from The Seattle Times.

Lastly, I couldn’t do a post on books without mentioning my favorite bookstore and former employer of almost 8 years, Brookline Booksmith.  It is here where I learned to perfect the art of sliding on library ladders down long aisles and precariously balancing stacks of books between my chin and hands while deftly maneuvering between crowded stacks and browsing customers. This place is a fixture in the independent bookstore world and rightfully so.  They have been thriving since 1961 and are everything you could want in a bookstore and more.  On top of an amazing selection they also have an all-star author reading series.  If you are ever in Brookline, Ma (Coolidge Corner) stop in and buy lots of stuff. Oh and the used book section archives all the fun things they find amongst the dusty pages and put them up on the site for all to see… UBC Find of The Week Archive here are a few gems: