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Thursday, June 24, 2010

God bless America

Dumplings, I give you the most batshit story ever to appear in the Home & Garden section of The New York Times...

Meet Sandra Foster, married to Todd Foster, "a great bear of man."

Mrs. Foster renovated this shack former hunting cabin for $3000.

Turning it into a her Shabby Chic vision of paradise.

Because the playhouse cabin is not heated and has no kitchen or bathroom, Mrs. Foster crosses a picturesque stream each day to return to her real home.

This 1971 trailer, affectionately named "The Groove Tube" by her "bear" of a husband.

Mr. and Mrs. Foster were married in 2000 in a Renaissance-themed ceremony. Mr. Foster sewed 19 cloaks for the occasion.

Mrs. Foster completed the renovation of her outhouse cabin in less than a year's time, doing most of the work herself.

Mr. Foster, a part-time poultry worker with chronic back problems, cannot access the sleeping loft.

Mrs. Foster enjoys gardening and listening to Rush. The band, not the Limbaugh.

Discuss.

[The New York Times]

70 comments:

Rebecca said...

There is a lot of crazy here, but her homeless teenage years made me a little verklempt. Am I getting soft or just hormonal? I did cry at the trailer for a Sandra Bullock movie earlier this evening...

Amy said...

Why didn't they invest that $3,000 into an upgrade for their trailer to make her a little happier there? Maybe a new mattress and/or bedding, etc. for the one they have? My common sense is blaring off alarms on this- yes beautiful, practical?-hardly. Ah, to each their own.

Paul Anater said...

Thank God I'm not the only one. The Twitterati were swooning over this thing all day. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Can a building cause cavities?

Raina Cox said...

Rebecca and Amy - Hello to both of you and welcome to this deliciousness!

Paul - Just when I decide to take a break from the NY Times because their Home stories are so blah, they go and deliver this nugget of, um, gold.

Lauren said...

I haven't read the article, but my immediate thought is this seems to be like Steve Martin in "The Jerk" in which the family traded their shack for a bigger shack! Except this is a "shabby chic" shack.

ginger said...

I always get caught up on the details - his "man cave" is a shed covered in a tarp which is also their kitchen? Sounds downright charming.

I think the pink boots are awesome.

(I hope my hub never finds this stuff, he might get inspired)

my favorite and my best said...

aww man ya beat me to the post!
a friend sent this to me this evening and i nearly fell out of my chair.
this fucking loony toons with her big hairy husband is brilliant times material. "can't access the loft"...hmmmm.....don't think she had that shit built up high on accident.

GiniGL said...

Given the afore-blogged moratorium on hate, I am biting my tongue.

But can I at least say I dislike this immensely? Especially since they HAD to be making fun of her at the Times, right?

Right?

Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation said...

I really, really, really don't want to see what the inside of that trailer looks like. Please tell me there aren't any pictures of that.

Raina Cox said...

MFAMB - Jenny, if you don't blog this, we are no longer friends.

GiniGL - I have to give it to that reporter - "restraint" must be her middle name.

Sharon - Nope, no photos of the interior of "The Groove Tube."

sherri said...

I think my mind just spotaneously combusted. wtfffffffffffff?

Paul Anater said...

I just re-read the article and the writing's actually brilliant. Joyce Wadler is not heaping praise on this mess by a long shot and it's pretty clear she thinks the missus is bat shit crazy to use your expression. I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall during this editorial meeting.

Raina Cox said...

Paul - So if the reporter describes Mr. Foster as a "bear" twice in one article, what is she really saying?

Appletree said...

I...I ...I really don't know what to say. But in the first photo it looks like she doesn't like him touching her. Is it just me?

Paul Anater said...

Ummmm, that he shits in the woods?

Raina Cox said...

Appletree - It's not just you.

Paul - That too.

Sally J said...

Just askin...if she has a bad back and can't get into the loft, how the heck did she build the thing? I think the pink boots tell us all we need to know.

Raina Cox said...

Sally J - It's the Mister who has the back problems.

Robin said...

Green acres is the place for me.....

Sketch42 said...

At least its interesting? They have given us so many duds this year...

susieq said...

Hilarious. Bear, Groove Tube, saccharine shabby...

autrichenoire said...

First off, i don't understand why someone(aged over 10) would do that. May be something is getting lost in the cultural translation.
Second my kids would kill for that cabin oh who are we fooling? Raina was spot on..playhouse.Imagine the tea parties and and playing Rapunzel up in the loft let down your hair.

Angie said...

What the hell is going on at the Times?

Lexy said...

Yikes. It's too overdone for my tastes and I'm afraid the lack of indoor plumbing is the absolute deal breaker for me.

I've seen similar set-ups thought, and I like the loft idea.

I kind of wanted to see into the trailer for contrast.

Belly said...

Oh God. Sh can't stand her man so much that she builds herself a house (mmm... not sure about the right term here) across the stream, where he can't enter the loft? and with 3000$ she could at least install a bathroom. Just saying.

Debi Altbergs said...

Oh my goodness - what a riot. Off to read the whole article so that I can start my day with a laugh. You are right that they appear to be absolutely bat shit crazy...I find the red boots hilarious. Great post Raina!

Jill said...

I wouldn't want him accessing my sleeping loft either.

Why does she remind me of Pia Zadora?

Raina Cox said...

Angie and Lexy - Hello to both of you and welcome to this deliciousness!

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I'm an innately nice person whose Mama taught her not to say anything at all if I couldn't say something nice. That said, there is a lot of creativity that went into this project and the lady of the house is just as cute as a button.

ModFruGal said...

There was one shot of the groove tube interior...I can see why she felt the need....

Raina Cox said...

ModFruGal - You're right! I totally missed that photo because I was completely engrossed in the article.

Thanks!

erin@designcrisis said...

I was sort of halfway defending their insanity in my mind (probably out of nostalgia for my ass backward hometown -- they could have been my neighbors. Ok, they could be my relatives), but listening to Rush put it back into context for me.

I love guilt free gate!

lil Me said...

Kinda reminds me of Carnies. Not that there is anything wrong with Carnies just saying.
The shack is cute I guess, little fussy relative to the size.

Three Owls said...

It's all very doll-like... in a creepy way. Egads.

Naomi@ThirteenandSouth said...

So this isn't a joke?

Hell if I was married to him and lived in a trailer I might do the exact same thing.

I kinda of dig the all white interior, it feels like a fairy tale. Maybe she has tea and crumpets with tree elves and wood fairies.

karly / design-crisis.com said...

There's a lot about this story that's just not adding up for me. them as a couple for one. Her interest in Rush for two. I believe that her building a bed he can't reach backs up my first objection.

Man this shit woulda made a good wife swap!

Tracy said...

The comments are too much!! My kids and husband are wondering what I'm cackling about. Raina's version of the article is SO much better, though as someone else said, I admire the restraint of the author from NYT as well.
I actually find the little cottage very pretty, though I personally don't like that much white. And the lack of heat, indoor plumbing, and other necessities. But I think I'd need to escape that trailer, too!

houseenvy said...

"The stress became so intense that Ms. Foster had what she called a nervous breakdown: falling on the floor, screaming, crying."

Blimey, that happens to me on a weekly basis. Must seek help.

I cringed when I first read this but, on reflection, the woman has set out to achieve her goal in whatever way she can, rather than moping about it, so good on her. Don't particularly agree with the goal itself, but hey ho.

Jillian said...

It was Mr. 'Bear' Foster, in fact, who made the 19 cloaks for their wedding. My mind is confused although kind of enjoying that odd mental image.

Also, I love how the author slyly mentions in parentheses that Mrs. Foster sister only remembers the family being homeless for less than a year rather than multiple years as Mrs. Foster claims.

Good to ya, NY Times, for mixin it up. I read every last word of this article rather than just every last word of the photo captions this week! (p.s. love your blog)

Raina Cox said...

Jillian - Corrected! Thanks so much for spotting that.

I did notice the discrepancy in the sisters' stories. Methinks Mrs. Foster likes a bit of drama in her life.

Teri said...

Does the trailer have a roof? It looks like it has a roof.

Oh my, but I do want those pink boots!

Raina Cox said...

Teri - OMG!

*laughing my ass off*

It's all peak-y and gable-y!

Teri said...

I know! How insane is that!

And, they have a big screen tv and this- and yet live in a trailer, hmmmmmmmm.

And, where does she live during the week.

And- who brushes their hair in front of company? Especially a reporter? I'm wondering if she isn't a little bit off.

Raina Cox said...

Teri - I think the train left "A Little Bit Off" a long time ago.

Mackenzie {Design Darling} said...

i don't know which i like more: the outhouse, your summary, or all the comments. the roof on the trailer has me doubled over.

Bromeliad said...

That's one way to escape the dog hair.

The Zhush said...

I read this in the NYT, and then immediately clicked over here...had a funny feeling that maybe you might have seen this too! :) I'm totally digging the cray-cray...
"What you say about his company,
is what you say about society,
catch the mist, catch the myth, catch the mystery, catch the drift....."
ahhh, takes me back....

Mrs Woog said...

Need an oxygen tank am laughing so much. A whole mini-series should be written about this - with the finale being the bear finally getting to the sleeping loft and banging his wife senseless - rocking that cottage so much it explodes in a puff of white timber and nasty chiffon curtains - just a suggestion.

Raina Cox said...

Mrs Woog - I'm going to write Bravo and suggest Mrs. Foster star in "The Real Housewives of the Catskills."

Mrs Woog said...

Yes - perfect! The dog and the gumboots should also have a spin-off series.

Raina Cox said...

lil Me and Three Owls - Hello to both of you and welcome to this deliciousness!

nkp said...

I laughed. I cried. I shook my head in disbelief. I think that this may be my favorite post of yours EVER. Sheesh, you couldn't make this shit up if you tried. I wonder if "the bear" joins her and the mutt for tea? $3,000, pink rubber boots, OY, I'm still shaking my head in disbelief...

Things That Inspire said...

I think this is great - a little oasis of pretty in her life, a real escape.

The Down East Dilettante said...

When I read the article a couple of days ago, I just scratched my head and kept going 'huh'? all the way through. Definitely oddly adjusted couple, but I live up here in this odd place where we have tons of left-over hippies in little home-made cabins in the woods---often imaginative and charming---usually less than a mile from the billionaires in their less imaginative oceanfront palazzos, so I found myself more sympathetic to the crazy than some of your readers apparently did, just because here in rural maine, we all live close together, and one gets to see more the tapestry closer up. And personally, maybe now that she's been empowered by building the cabin---which I find kinda charming---I like people's fantasies, even when they aren't mine---maybe she'll go on to build a bathroom. Or maybe ditch the guy who can't keep a job?

And those are my opinions.

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

She has stacks of Limoges china.
In a shack.

I wonder how she lives Monday through Friday on Long Island.

Alexis said...

I have a secret love for this story, because I am desperate for my own shack, although mine would be decorated quite differently.

And I want to see the 19 cloaks that Mr Foster sewed for their wedding.

Sol Kawage said...

I just read the story. This woman, while undeniably crazy, is not unsympathetic. She's the money earner in that couple, the guy is a fucking slob, and she puts up with him because he scatters rose petals around.
Resorting to a fucking white shed cramped with porcelain knickknacks instead of realizing that she can dump the bear, this I rebuke.

SPLENDEROSA said...

Good grief, this has to be a joke!
Impossible to believe and, people, I'm gullible. Too smooth to be real.

Tonia @Chic Modern Vintage said...

I saw this and wondered why in the world why there is not a bathroom, at least, but since she didn't ask me...and she didn't borrow any $$ from me for this project either. I'll keep my other comments to myself.

*Chic Provence* said...

I guess I am part wood fairy because I love this little house...in my post about the same thing I ignored the trailer, the bear of a man, the homelessness, etc etc and went with the romance....I personally would love a little hideaway comme ci!

But this post is quite hysterical and I am laughing in the refreshing viewpoint

bisous!

Kit

Raina Cox said...

*Chic Provence* - I think Mrs. Foster "ignored the trailer, the bear of a man, the homelessness, etc etc and went with the romance" as well. Which is lucky for us or else we wouldn't have this fantastic story to discuss.

Also, hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Lauren said...

sorry i'm late to the party but you have me dying over here. just woke up my sleeping husband laughing out loud.

melina bee said...

I beg to differ with most of the comments. I think this is actually really cool and so what if it is not the standard, normative domestic experience? They are living with less and are happy and creative. I live in the pnw where this kinda stuff is generally lauded, even by the architectural community (like say at the architecture school I attend). I love her "shack" and applaud her keeping her childlike sense of wonder about space and for following her own passions rather than trying to keep up appearances.
ps: As a petite woman who is dating a "bear of a man" I'd like to add that they are hands down the best cuddlers if that helps people who are confused about these two as a couple

Raina Cox said...

Melina Bee - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

I took the repeated referrals to the "bear" of a husband as a not-so-subtle reference to LGBT definition of the word.

Jesselyn said...

I work at a library and was checking this issue in today, saw the photos in this article and literally thought "Uh oh, shabby chic, Raina will NOT like this."

Raina Cox said...

Jesselyn - You know me so well.

Karena said...

Raina not sure how I missed this one! Pleeease! Help these people. I mean gosh there were lots of outhouses when I was a little girl and went to visit family in Mid Missouri! I guess some might be still standing. The brothel madam is intersting as well! Does that look sexy, or is it supposed to be the schoolgirl look?

Karena
Art by Karena

Road to Wonder said...

A belated thank you for this. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. If you read Design Crisis, there was a great post about the couple that lives in the yurt, also featured in the Homes section.

Raina Cox said...

Road to Wonder - Actually, the ladies from Design Crisis are good friends of mine:

http://tinyurl.com/yf5dhlc

And welcome to this deliciousness!

The Practical Aesthete said...

"Roar, roar, roar, She-Bear...nobody understan" you!" Brilliant post, Raina. So funny we peed a little.

Oh and G'day Mrs. Woog!