On Second Thought

Dear Mr. Blandings,

I agree.  Perhaps I should give the Duck Club a try.  The dead-mouse-in-the-olive-oil story notwithstanding, I can see that it has a lot to offer.  I appreciate your showing me the minutes dated 1972 stating, “Wives’ opinions are considered irrelevant and will not be considered in matters of decor.”  Still, I have enclosed a memo to the members for them to consider a few changes.  A spit and polish if you will.


To:       Members, Fontana Farms Duck Club
From:  Mrs. Blandings
Re:       The Benefits of Good Design
Gentleman, I hope you do not think I am interfering in your peaceful retreat, but I am enclosing images of a John Stefanidis project in Scotland that I thought you might enjoy. While originally uninterested in your clubhouse, this rustic gem has provided a bit of inspiration.  I think you will agree that it could serve as a model for your renovation.
The tackle room is simply charming. The rustic, industrial lighting, cubbies for supplies and a well-stocked bar would surely be a welcoming sight. I’m sure you won’t mind if I store a needlepoint project or two bottom right.

The living room is chic and cozy.  The graphic display of the black and white prints in their sleek silver frames really pops against the wood, don’t you agree?  And fresh flowers are always a nice touch.  
A small print in the kitchen would be a bright and cheery way to start the day, and, as you leave at o’dark-thirty to begin your blood quest, this would certainly lift your spirits.  Mrs. Milledge could make her delicious, homemade jam right there while you are away.

No need to sit around in the evening watching T.V.  Once these simple changes have been made, wives and children can enjoy the Duck Club, too.  We can play charades.  What fun!

I’m sure you will agree that the entire membership would benefit.  If, however, you are determined to move forward with the original plan, which is, if I understand correctly, clean out the refrigerator and order two pleather recliners, Mr. Blandings is correct.  Nebraska Furniture Mart is just the spot.
All images courtesy of Rooms by John Stefanidis; photography by James Mortimer.  
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30 thoughts on “On Second Thought

  1. I love these photos! Especially the tackle room, for some reason. Maybe because of the combination of natural light and the relaxed atmosphere of the room (I love that there is a little bar area mixed with the rubber boots etc.). I noticed there is little or no overhead lighting in the rest of the photos, which gives the rooms a cozy feel.

  2. Another wonderful book conjuring up images of such delicacies as “roast mouse with a drizzle of olive oil and duck confit.”
    I read your words, and an illustrated story comes to life. (of course, my illustrations!)

  3. Darling I think you lost them at “Scotland”. You should have lied and said the club was in Texas. Then their good ole red blooded American competitive spirit would have kicked in. As soon as they read Scotland they thought “kilts”. And the letter was sent to the trash.
    Ed at Swank

  4. camellia – the tackle room sold me – I wish I had the space for a similar mud room. Oh, except for the bar, though it could come in handy as I am returning from the ever-harrowing carpool line.

  5. Ed – There is a movement afoot for a wife to spend the night Thanksgiving weekend; if I could make that go away they’d do anything for me.

  6. This is HILARIOUS and hits really close to home since I am married to the Original fanatical duck hunter ever!!!….I cannot wait to show this to him. He will get a big kick out of it. For years I have wanted to take over the decoration of his duck hunting haven in Arkansas, but to no avail, of course!….The pleather recliners really got me! Mrs. Blandings, thanks so much for giving me a good chuckle to start my day!!!

    Loved it!!! MIMILEE<><

  7. Love it! You are too clever, and Mr. Blandings is a lucky fellow to have you decorating his life!

    If the duck club looked anything remotely like those pictures, I have a sneaking suspicion the wives would plan a revolution that would make Castro’s pale by comparison. Patricia, you need to lead the charge. You might even have wives from Florida join in on your behalf.

    Everything about this Scottish retreat is perfection. I love it, but I love Scotland in all of its masculine, rugged attitude. In our residence (as opposed to our retreat), I have always tried to have a masculine sensibility downstairs and a more feminie vibe in the bedrooms upstairs. This, though, makes me want the total masculine package. Love everything about it.

    Thank you for this food for thought on a sunny Friday morning.


  8. love your blog. I grew up in Texas and thought I knew about hunting until I married my husband. Wow. This post made me laugh so hard. When my husband bought his duck club I said fine but lets call it a nature retreat. That did not stick. I went for the second time to our duck lodge/great family spot. Yuck!!! I too agree if the inside was pleasant and I could read and look at magazines. How pleasant for us all. But to no avail. They went with the velvet recliners from Haverty’s.

  9. Mrs. B.

    You’ve heard the expression “put lipstick on a pig”? There’s not enough lipstick in the world to help our duck club. Sometimes a double wide just needs to be a double wide. Besides if our place looked like this…you might forget what I look like.

    Mr. B.

  10. Mimi Lee – glad to make light of what can be a tiresome situation. Every year as the “Rockwells” behind us troop off to cut down their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, we are watching that darn parade waiting for Mr. Blandings to return from hunting.

  11. Mr. Blandings – always a pleasure to have you drop in – funny what brings on a comment. Seems with duck clubs, unlike husbands, it’s the outside that matters more than the in. If you needed a cocktail fork for beanie weenies, why did God give you fingers anyway? We’ll keep it “No Girls Allowed” never fear.

  12. I am so laughing, Mrs. B!! I totally relate……My hubby just read Mr. B's response and cackled! When he said a "double wide just needs to be a double wide"…we hooted! Every year I go into a total state of depression when duck season opens, but there is no use in it, cause he will be doing it as long as he is able bodied (and he's 61!)……My two sons are also into the duck hunting thing too so it's in the genes I guess!
    Well, as I always say,"It could be worse!"………<><

  13. Pleather…. hmmmm… leather can be just as easily wiped clean and gains a really great patina over the years. They don’t call them “club chairs” for nothing. Add a few Hudson Bay blankets and a good percolator and you’re in fine shape. Too cosy and you won’t want to leave at oh-dark-thirty.

    Great post. It made me chuckle.

  14. Living in the North East I’ve never heard of a duck club…but your discription is more then enough for me! I once pulled a mole out of one of the poodle’s mouth and I still have nightmares about it!

  15. Obviously, I’m not alone in this sentiment but Nebraska Furniture Mart gives me the dry heaves. A few years ago, I was looking for a middle-of-the-road sized Windsor chair in black for my kitchen table. Everything I found was either too bulky or too petite. The “designers” in the designer section (whatever it’s called) had no idea what I was talking about. No idea. Started showing me Chippendale side chairs in a catalog. I haven’t been back since.

  16. Patricia — the Friday installments are a huge success. I had to take a few minutes tonight to see what you had posted and I was not disappointed. The images are perfect too.

  17. Mrs. B — been out of town and couldn’t log on. Great post, so clever as always. Love the NFM crack. See you at the Plaza this weekend, dahling.

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