"Summer is just a sneeze in a long, bad winter cold," Joni Mitchell once penned. The comparison is especially true in the northeast where cold winds can persist until mid-May and return in earnest by early September. The lesson here: take advantage of those long, languorous summer days before they vanish! While I tend not to read too many magazines during the summer months (too busy swimming, boating, outdoorsing) the one I do read from cover to cover is the July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living. I always find at least one great new recipe to add to my repertoire and I am more drawn to the gardening features than I am in any of the year's monthly issues. The 2021 issue is a nice little summary of summery to-dos and must-trys.
It was reported recently that Martha has sold her iconic home on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton, New York. I know that many of Martha's readers and viewers consider that home to be a beautiful reflection of her design aesthetic. Second only to Turkey Hill, perhaps, it is the home Martha's fans considered to be most familiar in terms of its style vernacular - particularly throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. It goes without saying, then, that we will miss seeing it in the pages of Martha's books and magazines going forward. The home was reportedly sold to former Huffington Post publisher Kenneth Lerer.
I thought it would be fun to do a post about the house and the role it played in Martha's work. From a line of paints to a complete furniture collection based on the home's atmosphere and aesthetic, Lily Pond was enormously influential in the creation of many of Martha's products. It was an oft-used site for her magazine photoshoots, both indoors and outdoors, and was also frequently used as a set for her television show: season five of Martha Stewart Living features an extensive number of episodes filmed at this address, particularly cooking and gardening segments. Below is a brief history of the house, how it came into Martha's possession, how it influenced her business and a brief synopsis of some of its iconic style signatures. I hope you enjoy it!Built in 1873, the house once belonged to one of East Hampton's most memorable preachers, Reverand Talmage. It stands on the site that used to be called "Divinity Hill" for the many ministers from New York and Brooklyn who stayed at its boarding houses. Some still call Lily Pond the DeWitt Talmage House, named after the longtime summer resident who commissioned extensive renovations to the home in 1893.
"I was attracted to its quiet, serene appearance, and though most of the houses were tucked behind privet barriers, some of the gardens were fully exposed. The most wonderful one was on the pond itself. It was breathtaking. I stood and gazed at the profuse and colourful flowers, making mental notes of the types that were blooming so perfectly - dahlias, salvias, asters, daisies and roses."
Thirty years later, Martha would have her own home on this lovely street. It was apparently Martha's daughter, Alexis, who encouraged Martha to purchase the old house in 1990, shortly after her divorce from Andy Stewart. It was a place to start a new garden, make new friends and create something that was entirely hers.
Martha completed an extensive renovation of the shingle-style summer home, which had been badly neglected. Replacing the cracking plaster ceilings with beadboard and removing the outdated heating system in favour of a more eco-friendly modulating gas boiler were among the necessary changes. Martha also completely renovated the kitchen, installing new marble counters, mahogany cabinetry and a beautiful floor of handmade cement tiles from Mexico that had been dyed a deep teal. Outdoors, Martha planted sumptuous gardens of climbing roses around her front porch and big patches of purple hydrangeas. There are over 1,800 tulip bulbs planted on this relatively small lot (just one acre) as well as hostas, Japanese maples and other shade-loving plants. The interior features large, open rooms with hardwood floors and big, bright windows. The six bedrooms played host to numerous guests during the summer months, when Martha entertained there frequently.
Even exterior spaces, such as the porch, were treated with refreshing hits of teal.
Martha's Pâte Brisée (All-butter Pie Crust)
(Makes enough for one double-crust 9-inch pie or two single crust pies)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
¼ cup to ½ cup ice-cold water
Step One: Ensure all your ingredients are cold before using, including the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about ten seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or use your fingers).
Step Two: With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough begins to hold together without being wet or sticky. (If doing by hand, mix with a fork as you pour the water). Do not process for more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount together; if it is still too crumbly or sandy, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until it begins to come together. It should still be somewhat loose but hold together when squeezed.
Step Three: Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. The dough can be kept frozen for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before beginning to roll it.
PREPARING AND BLIND BAKING A PIE SHELL:
Step One: On a lightly-floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-inch round, ¼ inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough, leaving a one-inch overhang. Tuck overhang under, flush with rim, crimping edges. Pierce bottom of pie shell with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Step Two: Preheat oven to 425. Line shell with a large round of parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are slightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove pie from oven and remove parchment and pie weights. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and return pie shell to bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
If food be the music of summer, play on! June has become the annual food issue of Martha Stewart Living in recent years and the 2021 edition is no exception. I have to admit that there is something about summer food that is so alluring. Maybe it's all that fresh produce at the supermarket. Or maybe it's the way we tend to prepare summer foods (casually, alfresco, oven-less) that bolsters its charm. Whatever the reason, I'm always down for some good summer fodder.click here). And yet, I found myself wanting to reach in and grab one all the same, which is really the point, isn't it. The photo, by Con Poulos, is more than effective in this way.Armitano Domingo Ceramics - the subject of the magazine's American Made feature on page 28. Ceramicist Marc Armitano Domingo creates beautiful porcelain pieces in simple, delicate shapes, which he then embellishes with hand-carved edges and whimsical painted details, such as garden insects and filigree. I'm in love.
So many of us on the consumer end of the Martha Stewart spectrum have been wishing for a one-stop shop where all of Martha's products can be viewed, accessed and purchased. That wish has now been granted! In the wee hours of the morning, Martha.com launched - a new online portal to all of Martha's partnerships and product lines. No more skipping from one site to another to another to another in order to shop for Martha's wares. Martha calls it her "shop of shops."
I've always been something of a calendar buff. I love a bright, engaging wall calendar to hang in my kitchen each year: they keep me organized at a glance and the monthly change of imagery is always refreshing. I tend to go for art calendars most often; ones that feature the work of a particular artist or a collection of works that fall under a specific theme - Japanese woodblock prints, for instance. If the calendar doesn't feature artwork, then it's definitely something garden related. Currently, I've got Martha's 2021 "Flowers" calendar up, published by Andrews McMeel. It will be replaced in January with the follow-up, "Martha's Flowers" 2022 Wall Calendar which came out yesterday. You can find out details about it below."Martha's Flowers" book, which was published in 2018, many of them unused outtakes that have not been published before.