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Ricky Saetta. Photo credit: David Benthal

Look up. You may have started to notice the robins. Those sweet red-breasted harbingers of springtime have been busy constructing their little tree-top homes, getting ready for the upcoming spring season ahead. But have you ever found a discarded nest and really taken a good look at it? It’s a pretty amazing structure, expertly built with bits and pieces of things that, alone, would never catch your eye in nature, but when woven together become so much more than the sum of their twiggy parts. 

Maybe it’s the long, gray winter season we’re about to leave behind; or the fact that, much as we like getting outside and diving into all the North Fork has to offer, there’s something about March that makes us want to want to grab and savor that last month of gettin’ cozy. And maybe even hunker down to learn a little more about the processes of myriad methods of nest feathering, as it were. 

When we look around our towns here, we’re always finding people who inspire us to think outside the box — especially the ones we live in, be it a house or an apartment or an RV. The wonderful Lilly Parnell got to go inside the wild world of Ricky “teevee” Saetta, who’s dreamt up the spectacular interiors of some of your favorite shops and restaurants here on the East End, and learn more about where this creative carpenter finds his creative spark (hint: he makes unique playlists for each and every project he dives into and listens to them non-stop!). If serene surroundings are more your speed, check out Emily Toy’s story on designer Cristina Peffer, whose soft palates, natural materials and fibers and smile-making touches of whimsy can be found in both the curated interiors she creates for her company, Ram Design, as well as in her recently opened Shelter Island shop, Ram Design Home.

Growing up, staffer Amy Zavatto remembers her parents taking their well-used, favorite pieces of furniture on more than one occasion (there were four kids jumping up and down on them, after all) to decades-old Wallace Home Design in Southold, in order to have new life stuffed and sewn into the family’s favorite perches for romp and repose. It made her wonder: is it still something people do today when everything seems so very disposable and, if so, who does it? Amazingly, the answer is yes, and it’s the work of one talented Riverhead man: Joe Koplinka, a third generation craftsman who’s worked for the business since the original Wallace family owned it, and who happily stayed on with current owners and keepers of the craft, Mike and Renee Lisowy. 

Did you happen catch the New York Times story about “bookshelf wealth” and the latest TikTok trend of using books as aesthetic extras? Did it kind of… irk you? Yeah, us too. But it inspired writer Lee Meyer to get serious about building a book collection with personal meaning. For this story, he combed the stacks of Shelter Island’s beloved Black Cat Books and got advice from owners Dawn Heberg and Michael Kinsey on how to build a book bonanza with heart. And drawing on that same notion, wine journalist Lana Bortolot talked to some cellar stars on the North Fork about how to take all that lovely North Fork vino you’ve been stockpiling and turn it into a properly stored (perhaps beautifully displayed) collection to share with your family and friends.

So, come on in, North Forkers. Before we throw up the storms and clean the screens, let’s hibernate just a little minute longer — grab a warm blanket and let these we hope these stories of creativity and inspiration chase away the last gasps of winter and fuel your springtime dreams.