Desk Drama!

Being the author of a blog with the word "unique" in the title comes with a certain level of stress. I feel the need to live up to a standard of creating unique pieces and decor while also trying to balance family, work, etc. A simple search for a computer desk has left me boggled for months and still with no answer or solution in sight. However, my time to make a decision has come as my new iMac will be arriving any day now and it needs a happy place to hang it's hat.  So - what to do and how to do it, that is the question!

I turned to good ole' fashion inspirational photos and stumbled across an amazing photo gallery of "unique" options for computer desks. The site is and contains several inspirational galleries for home projects of all types and all tastes. I found the desk ideas under the gallery titled " Design DIY Desk for Computer". 

Here are some of my top picks from their gallery (all are contenders at this point):

#1 Pick - Antique Door with Glass Top and Workhorse Legs

#2 Pick -  Reclaimed Pallet Wood

#3 Pick - Antique Sewing Machine Base

#4 Pick - Wire Basket Legs

#5 Pick - Reclaimed Barn Wood Top

I will post photos of the idea I select as soon as it is set up and ready to go. They all seem to fit the form and function of what I am looking for in a computer desk, so the decision won't be easy. As long as you have fun going through the process of design, that's what matters right? 

"Spring" into action!

OK - so I know we are still deep in the heart of Winter, but I can't help but day dream on a day like today (-15 with the wind chill in upstate New York) about Spring time. In Spring, all the colors begin to change and the fabrics and moods of our homes can take a turn toward the bright side. If you follow The Unique Nest on Facebook then you may have seen several of these photos already, but I thought I would share them here for everyone to see. I personally am most excited  for blues and yellows this Spring, and mixing them with the existing gray palette of my home.

The Spring 2014 Color Report has been released by Pantone - and those colors go far beyond just fashion. They are the colors of Spring that will work really well with home decor and accents. Country Living has a wonderful feature about using these colors and great design tips...check it out here.
 pantone spring 2014 colors
Over the past few weeks I have captured some inspirational photos either while out and about, or right around my home, that I feel capture the look of Spring that I will be going for.

Keep in mind that Spring is a time to play around with colors and patterns that you may not have used before or that you haven't seen in some time. One of my favorite interior designers, Sarah Richardson, does an amazing job showcasing the use of pattern and color in her "Cottage" series. Below are just two sample photographs of ways that she incorporates that Spring feeling through the use of fabric, color and pattern:
Sarah Richardson Design
Sarah Richardson Design
Lastly, if you're anything like me, the void of not having a garden to tend to is driving you mildly insane. So - try starting some small potted plants with herbs to give you the look and feel of being outside, even though it's still too cold to garden. These herbs will come in handy when cooking and will give you a look of greenery in the kitchen. Check out these really cool samples of herb gardens I found online:


Oh so charming!

~ Spartina 449 ~ 

This will make for my first official post on jewelry of any kind. And while 'The Unique Nest' has covered tea houses, reclaimed wood shops, interior design, and more - I could not resist telling the world how amazing the Spartina jewelry line is.

Like most of my shopping excursions, I go in for one thing, and come out with three things I didn't need. I guess that exhibiting self-control in the retail world is not one of my best skills. While headed out to dinner with my husband last night, my purse zipper split and I couldn't close my bag. So I stopped at one of my favorite shops, Wit's End, in Clifton Park NY. Although I didn't end up with the bag I needed, I did get to pick up my first (but I know it won't be my last) Spartina bracelet.

If you're familiar with brands like Alex & Ani and Pandora but longing for something different and (I think a little more sophisticated), then this is the jewelry line for you. What really separates this line from anything else is the way the charms connect to the bracelets, necklaces, etc. Check out for details on the way this works...very cool! The bracelet below is from their "bangle" collection and comes with their signature mermaid charm (which is their brand logo). The retail price for this set of three bracelets, charm and bracelet slider was $45 (not bad right?!?)
The other super-impressive thing is their packaging. I love checking out the ways that companies market their products and packaging is so important. The case you get when you buy a Spartina bracelet comes with loops inside to hang the multiple charms you can buy (most charms range from $12-$16 each - see example price guide below). The charms come in a multitude of designs but many of them have a nautical feel, which I absolutely love, which is inspired from the Daufuskie Island that the company originates from.
If you like their jewelry then wait until you see their handbag collection. It is so incredible! (see examples below). In addition to bangles the company also offers cable bracelets and other styles that are to die for. 
Below are some sample prices of charms that you can buy from Spartina. Their charms easily comes off and can fit onto bracelets and necklaces alike. 
If there's not a retailer nearby that sells the Spartina line, you can buy directly from their site. If you're a store owner, they have a lot of information on wholesale pricing on their website. Happy shopping!!!


Inviting Entryway

It takes a while to settle into any new home. This certainly holds true when you build two homes in two years time like I did. While I plan to take my time on certain projects, an entryway holds some level of importance as it is the first impression to the home.

Our entryway is light and bright but small. It was a challenging space in terms of furniture size and how to jazz it up. While I still ponder what the space should truly be someday, for now I had a plan. The plan was to find an existing piece of furniture and for a max budget of $100, decorate it so that it feels inviting but also purposeful.

Below is a "BEFORE" photo of what the entryway looked like just a couple days ago:
Over the last few days I had some time to pick up various items at local shops that I thought might work well in the space. Also, I had a mission-style sofa table that was collecting dust in another location of the home. Turns out that it is pretty much the exact dimension of the entryway (give or take a couple of inches). I used the sofa table and a neutral tone floral table runner that I owned to set the scene. Here are a couple shots of the "AFTER":
Some of the detail pieces I used were items I already owned, like the metal egg basket below that is filled with sones and shells that we collect at the beach in Wellfleet each summer. The picture frames I found in basement storage boxes and the Lincoln print is a favorite of my history teacher husband.

The wall unit below was a "scratch and dent" deal at Homegoods for $36. The chalkboard hangers were $5 on clearance and I chose to write our home address on them. For now they are housing a couple fun knick knacks I own.
The bins below are perfect for a lot of kid clutter, stationary and books that I wanted to try and hide. They fit well under the mission table and I LOVE the look of both of them. 
Storage Crate for Books, etc.
Storage Basket for Larger Misc. items
For now I'm happy with how this all came out. It's fun to try and find new purpose for existing items and pair them with some new finds. It's amazing just how much stuff you can find lying around your home, and it's fun searching. This whole project cost me right around $100 and gave some life to my drab entryway.

All hail the 'Silver Fox'

Remember going on field trips as a child? Remember your favorite field trip....the one that you were in awe weren't sure where to look next? So much to take in and so much to explore! That's the feeling I get every time I step foot into Silver Fox Salvage in Albany, NY (they also have a location in Los Angeles, CA). 

Silver fox offers "an eclectic variety of DECORATIVE Architectural Salvage including antique and vintage lighting, stained and leaded glass, doors, windows, fireplace mantles & inserts, wood flooring, ornate wood trim, metalwork, and antique and reproduction hardware". Their items are eclectic and one-of-a-kind. I scored this antique printing press drawer with both metal and wooden letters/numbers that I now use as wall art:

Printing Press Drawer & Letters/Numbers

I cannot recall how I stumbled upon Silver Fox a couple years back, but I'm so glad that I did. They carry amazing pieces that are sure to leave your home feeling "unique". The tin and wall hangings featured in my post "Metal Meets Wood" are from Silver Fox. I also have a piece of reclaimed wood that is fastened atop a half-wall in the new home we built in the summer of 2013 (see photo below). 
Reclaimed wood on our 1/2 wall from Silver Fox
Here are some photos I took during my recent visit to their store. Inventory changes daily so if you see something you like - BUY IT!
Decorative moldings and trim pieces
Antique Wooden Shoe Forms, etc.
Reclaimed wood pieces tinted in various colors
Storage anyone?
Shabby chic?
Copper sink insert into hand-crafted vanity
Silver fox will custom make just about anything you want. I was there last week inquiring about a custom desk for a nook in my home. I typically work with Camille but all of their staff are super helpful and wonderful to work with. They make incredible dining tables and lighting fixtures as well. Their craftsmanship is top-notch and their prices are more than fair. Especially when you consider the fact that no one else you know will have the same creation that you have. For more information on store hours and location visit

Venison Bourguigon

Every year my husband tries to get me to eat venison - and every year I just can't get past the "gaminess" of the flavor. Our good friend Steve and his wife Andrea give us fresh venison each season (depending on how bow hunting season goes...he he) and while my husband Carmen is overjoyed, I'm not always as enthusiastic. But this year my husband was on a mission; a mission to cook a dish in which I wouldn't even know that I was eating venison. While I hate to admit it...his attempt was a success!
The recipe came from The direct link and instructions to the recipe can be found on 

3 Tb. olive oil, divided
8 oz. chopped bacon
3 lbs. deer roast meat, chopped into large 2 inch chunks
2 lbs. carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, halved
½ cup Brandy
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
2 cups Venison stock (sub. beef stock)
2 Tb. tomato paste
4 Tb. butter, softened
¼ cup flour
Salt and Pepper
3 lbs. baby golden potatoes

This really was a great winter meal for the whole family. Served over baby golden potatoes and with a warmed french baguette, it was really delicious! Give it a try...

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