The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

Axe Table September 9, 2012

Chris Duffy of the so-called “Grimm design collective” designed this table around Little Red Cap. Web searches reveal nearly nothing about such a collective, but Duffy’s website features a number of other amusing tables.


New Kitchen Shelving April 22, 2012

TowerGirl @ 8:29 am
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I love my apartment. In a city like San Francisco, where the rental market has higher stakes than a professional poker game, you are often forced to settle for a place that has only few of the characteristics you want. Our apartment is nearly the perfect: great location, a parking space, great light, high ceilings, spacious living space, and an office/guest room. The one blemish on all this perfection is the kitchen. It’s small and not terribly user-friendly. If you are a gal like me who loves to cook, it’s a problem.

What you see above is what we have to the left of the kitchen entrance. What you see below are the Ikea butcher-block carts we’d placed to the right of the the entryway to give a bit more counter space and a bit of storage.

The problem is it just hasn’t been enough storage. I tried attaching hooks to the carts, I added some bins, but it always looked messy and things were hard to get to.

Yesterday, my genius of a husband built me shelving and a pot rack to add to the carts. The result is organization bliss. Ahhh!

Now, I do believe my apartment in just about perfect.




Cut Off October 9, 2011

TowerGirl @ 5:13 pm

I am not allowed to buy new furniture for a very long time. Seriously, I am cut off.

Since moving into our new place I’ve been splurging a bit too much. Our last new item arrived this week and now I forcing myself to abstain from all future purchases. However, I do want to share the latest acquisition.

We’d been searching high and low for a hutch to store our plates in since the small kitchen does not allow for storing them there. It turns out attractive hutches are really hard to come by. I looked everywhere. Then last weekend we took a little drive to Santa Rosa and stopped into a cute little shop called Cokas Diko. They specialize in “wine country” furniture, though I am not entirely sure what that means. What I do know is that they had a gorgeous sideboard made from reclaimed wood. We loved it, but it wasn’t hutch.

After spending far to long pondering every piece in the store we came back to the sideboard. Casey pointed out that, if we stacked the vintage milk crates I’d toted cross country on the sideboard, we could easily make it work for storing our dinnerware. I liked this plan and so we purchased the sideboard.

It happily and beautifully accommodates our plates and even allows our printer to perch unobtrusively. It’s good that I love since it is the last piece of furniture I am allowed to buy, ever. Seriously.



Crab Shack September 30, 2011

TowerGirl @ 2:14 pm
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I place no credibility in astrology, unless it happens to happens to suit my purpose at the time, then I am happy to embrace my crabby ways. My limited knowledge of my astrological profile is laughable, but I do know that Cancers are supposed to be notorious nesters. Since this is very true of me, I’m happy for this convenient, if flimsy, excuse for my constant need to make my space homey, welcoming, and perhaps a little bit chic.

Last year I tried to bring order and loveliness to our Haight Street apartment but was only marginally successful. The space was very limiting, but it was what we had for the year. As our lease wound down I became obsessed with finding a new apartment. If you are at all familiar with the San Francisco rental market you know that finding the right apartment takes luck, voodoo, and the tenacity of a hungry T-Rex on the search for dinner. Even if you possess this magic trifecta, it is unlikely you will find everything you want. Compromises will have to be made.

We wanted a place within walking distance of Case’s work, parking for my car, 1-2 bedrooms, quiet, charm, a nice kitchen, and some outdoor space. I stalked Craigslist, I visited many apartments, I dragged out-of-town guests apartment hunting, and then, finally, I found the perfect place. Megs was visiting when I found it and she is officially my good luck charm.

This is a wonderful apartment. It is in the Russian Hill neighborhood of the city and close to North Beach, Chinatown, The Ferry Building, and Union Square. Case can walk to work and he often takes a cable car home. He loves that. It is on the top floor so we have no one clomping around above us. It came with parking and has one large bedroom and a small second bedroom. There is a postage stamp yard that has its charms, like lime trees that are currently heavy with fruit. The downside is the kitchen is much more compact than I am used to. I’ve been tweaking it bit-by-bit and I think I finally have it functioning well and looking cute.

I added my little butcher block carts from Ikea to make it work more like a galley kitchen. Since I am not allowed to hang a pot rack, I’ve added hooks to the carts to hang measuring cups and pans. I brought in some old milk crates for added storage.

The kitchen is off of the combination dining/living room. For the first time in ages I have the space to have a table and chairs set up full time. I am loving the feeling of having a true dining space again.

Obviously, I need to find the right table lamp for the top of the buffet. Right now we have a floor lamp there which looks rather odd but gives off great light.

The living room area is my favorite. It is very cozy and faces the working fireplace! We have the same, old couches but a new desk and new accessories. The rug is new too and I am quite fond of it. We are still looking for a new coffee table, one that will allow us have the projector at the right height. We project on the blank wall over the dining table.

The guest room and bedroom are still being tweaked, but this is home for the foreseeable future. My nest will continue to be feathered and fluffed, but that’s what I do. We Cancers are like that.


Tomato Bliss August 28, 2011

TowerGirl @ 11:55 am
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early girl tomatoes

My mother and I have always shared a passion for August tomatoes. Those fresh-off-the-vine orbs of succulent red yumminess. A farm fresh tomato, at it’s peak of ripeness, simply tastes like summer.

Now that I’ve moved San Francisco I am haunted by guilt. I have discovered tomato nirvana and my mother is not here to share them with me. Of course, I am not allowing this guilt to stop me from indulging in tomato gluttony. Yesterday I made my pilgrimage to the farmers’ market and picked up seven pounds of gorgeous Early Girly tomatoes.

When I returned from the market yesterday I de-stemmed and halved my tomatoes. I covered large baking trays with parchment and covered them with tomato halves. Then I brushed on a little olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. They went into a 200 degree oven for about 7 hours. I read about this method in Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life and have been obsessively roasting tomatoes ever since.

oven-roasted tomatoes

This morning it was time to take those roasted tomatoes and make soup.

Sandee’s Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 1 large sweet vidalia onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 pounds Early Girl tomatoes, slow-roasted
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 box organic vegetable broth
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar


Melt butter and warm olive oil together in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and let caramelize slowly. I kept mine on the stove for an hour. Then add garlic and raise heat slightly to soften garlic.

Add roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth, and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add red wine vinegar and adjust salt.

Let simmer for an hour and then remove from heat. Puree in batches. Adjust seasoning and serve.

I firmly believe that grilled cheese sandwiches must be served with tomato soup. At the market we also grabbed some delicious Toma from Point Reyes Cheese Company. We’ll be grilling that on sourdough bread for lunch. Sorry, Mom!