Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell might be cookbook and memoir authors, reality TV stars on the Cooking Channel’s “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” and winners of “The Amazing Race” – but they’re in no rush. The couple traded in big city bustle for quiet country life (not entirely by choice) and they’re loving the change of pace.
“We were two Manhattanites with great careers in the city. Then in 2008, we both lost our jobs in the recession. And we had to figure out a way to reinvent ourselves,” says Ridge, a physician who was VP of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia (Stewart blogged their 2013 wedding).
Kilmer-Purcell was an ad exec and author of two memoirs: ”I Am Not Myself These Days,” about his drag days, and “The Bucolic Plague,” about the couple’s weekend adventures fixing up the Beekman Mansion, a 200-year-old estate in Sharon Springs, New York.
When they found themselves out of work and the part-time country digs became a full-time residence, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell’s fast-paced lifestyle got dumped on its head.
Building the brand
Suddenly they were learning how to live by the seasons. They started growing their own food, and a neighboring farmer brought his herd of dairy goats to their property — so they started a line of goat milk products. “Farm to table” took on a new, very literal meaning.
From there they created the brand Beekman 1802, named for the year the house was built.
In addition to the soap, Beekman1802.com and the Sharon Springs brick-and-mortar shop sell artisanal furniture, décor, clothing, cookbooks and food, including Mortgage Lifter pasta sauce, with 25 percent of the proceeds going to help small farmers. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell also just launched a furniture and bedding collection with Bloomindales and a selection of their food products will be sold at Target starting in the spring.
The biggest – and most rewarding – challenge in living seasonally was learning how to wait.
“Living in the city, it was always about instant gratification: Having what you wanted the second you wanted it,” Ridge explains. “When we moved to the country and started growing our own food, starting having to drive 30 minutes to get to the nearest large store, we had to deal with delayed gratification — which makes us appreciate things so much more. It changed our whole philosophy on life.”
Ridge suggests bringing that philosophy into your home by “starting with one seed.”
“Consider planting just one thing in your house. One tomato plant or one pepper plant” he says. “Then you can watch that process – you want to wait for something before you have it. Or if you love basil, plant it and deny yourself any basil until it’s ready. You learn to appreciate it so much more.”
See them live
The Beekman Boys share tips on living seasonally this Friday and Saturday at the Philadelphia Home Show, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets).
Jeff Devlin from DIY’s “I Hate My Bath” and HGTV’s “Spice Up My Kitchen” will also be appearing this weekend, along with other design, remodeling and organizing experts and over 300 exhibitors.
Tickets for the Home Show are $13 at the door, or $10 in advance at www.phillyhomeshow.com.