Wednesday, September 29, 2010

White Pumpkins for Fall

My Mother in law just gave me a ton of old doilies, which I wouldn't nornally use, but in this case,  I think they are just the platform for these cute little white pumpkins.

Little White Pumpkins on the Kitchen Island.

Pumpkin on the sideboard.

must say, it has been really hard for me, until now, to FEEL like getting fall ready.  I mean, when it is like 90 degrees outside and everything is so dry, it is hard to believe pumpkin season is around the corner. So, yesterday, as I was walking the kids to school, in a slight drizzle, with a little nip in the air.... my daughter screetches "oh Mom, LOOK at the pumpkins on the front porch" of a house we had just walked by.  And I thought to myself, "It IS fall, isn't it!"  So, off to the grocery I went. I didn't hesitate to buy these fabulous white pumpkins.  Just the thing we need to get fall started, a slight twist on the ol orange pumpkin.  I will wait a couple of weeks for those, but until then, these little gems scattered around my home have convinced me it really IS fall.

What do you do to get fall started?

My friend Rene over at Cottage and Vine is having a  "falling up" link party.  So if you have anything "fall like" to share, stop by.

Have a wonderful, Fall day!  It is nice and drizzly and cloudy here.  I might have to make soup for dinner...butternut squash anyone?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back in the Saddle

via House Beautiful
via This is Glamourous

via Photographer James Merrell
I can see living in this bedroom, many horse dreams in that bed.

via Velvet and Strawberries
Aren't these colors just beautiful???
via This is Glamorous
My Daughter has the SAME Horse bedding.(on the pillows) 
I think she might dream of this scenario, a bucket load of ribbons.  she is my horse crazy little girl!
via Heather Bullard

Literally....I had my first Horse Back riding lesson in 15 years yesterday.  It may have been in the glorious rain, but it was wonderful just the same.  I was a bit rusty, but my muscles remembered what to do, crazy that muscle memory... It brought back memories of horse shows and ribbons, too! I have no idea where my ribbons are, but if I can find them I might have to create a display. 

Old ribbons can be found at antique stores, they have a beautiful patina and the colors aren't just blue, red, and yellow, they had pink and green and white and orange...just beautiful!   It just makes you think about the recipient of those proud they must have been when they recieved it.  I displayed mine proudly.  Looking back, it wasn't in the most beautiful of ways (although, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I thought they were wonderful!)

Do you have ribbons or trophies that you would like to display?  I must say that I am more of a fan of ribbons than the FAB trophies that my children have started to recieve....ugh!  But they are proud of them, and they deserve a display as much as my coveted ribbons.  Sigh:)

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello Fall...

 The air turned this weekend, (a bit late) and I feel Fall in the air. Wishing for a fireplace/pit....a girl can dream can't she?? Enjoy the eye candy.
via Things that Inspire

via Things that Inspire

Lee Kleinhelters Outdoor space from Cottage Living

Outdoor Fireplace via Southern Living

via Southern Living

via Southern Living

Friday, September 24, 2010

TA DA!!!!

 And How about that puppy in the office enjoying the kitchen, hoping food will fall from the sky!

I was supposed to take pics yesterday, the day got away from me and I cleaned last night.   So this morning after the kids go to school, I was all ready and my husband decides to USE the kitchen and make eggs...the nerve.  At least I know HE likes it too!  At least he cleaned up after himself.

My Island...the center of the kitchen, the Hub, with the Walnut top that I Happily chop on!
We are done...a kitchen in a week.  (the recap, the highlights, the good and the bad)  Thanks for sticking with me, I just thought that instead of doing a before and after post, there was just so much that needed to be said.   So, here it is.  OUR kitchen, the heart of our home, where it all goes down.    We have only been here a few short months and have already created so many memories.  My children sit at the island, just as I had imagined and talk to me the "waitwess!", my friends come and have coffee and we chat, my college age brother stops by and makes his eggs, and steals cokes (and the occasional beer) out of the drink fridge, I had my first ladies luncheon, and so many art projects have already been created on the island.  I am looking forward to our first Thanksgiving and Christmas. Where the food and drink will flow with family and friends.

The pantry/office  It really does work!

The Display Wall,
the cabinet holds all of my green and pink depression glass. 
And to the right is the drink fridge and coffee area.
Part of me wishes I had a sink over there, but then I would have lost valuable storage....

Here are a few little behind the scenes things that I was so happy we built in.  Again, the beauty of custom cabinets, and the beauty of a great cabinet man that will create a drawer to fit compost and another drawer int he pantry to fit the 50lb bag of dog food!

THE compost drawer
(this is great b.c I chop on the butcherblock, and just wipe it into the drawer) 
The trash pull out is under this. Makes cleanup a snap!

The good bad and the ugly...that would be the coffee filter. 
My little nook
(Since the wall here was 8" wide, I fought for this little nook!)  Then men thought I was crazy, but now know how smart it was, it adds 6" of counterspace to the right side of the Range)

The spice pullouts next to the stove.

The Printers cabinet

These are 4 drawers that look like 8.  I wouldn't dare show you what is inside!

The Sink Grid
This really saves the sink, AND I will never go back to a 2 bowl sink!
(my husband's breakfast this morning!)

So there you have it.  Our KITCHEN. 
Just a little reminder, this is what it used to look can read about it here.

Have a wonderful weekend....we have family coming into town.  I love having guests.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Home, Home and the RANGE....

Where you sear and sizzle all day,
Where seldom is heard is a burning dessert,
And the pie is eaten all day.
(he, he couldn't resist)
via House Beautiful....La Cornue Range. 
Can I achieve a similar look with out the pricetag...

via la dolce vita
via Veranda

So here we are on Thursday, the day before the reveal. And I have to tell the story of THE stove RANGE.

I didn't know walking into this that a Range could cause so much angst, drama, hours on the phone, but sometimes you must do what you have to do for design....

Now most people when renovating go to their nearest appliance store and pick out what they want...walk in and say we want xyz package.  The low, mid, or high-end or a mixture of the two.  Maybe a Wolf or a Viking...We started out like that , but I decided I didn't want just ANY Range....I want something different....something not seen every day.  Scott rolled his eyes, said you have this much, make it work.  So, I chose to mix it up just a tad to save a little bit for MY RANGE!  Scott wanted GE (because there is a parts store around the corner, and he is a self-professed fixit kind of guy...)  So that part was easy.  Stainless GE Cafe for Fridge, Microwave, and Dishwasher.....BUT not too crazy about the stoves...NATCH!

The internet here i come.  Now if money were no object, with the above photos as my inspiration La Cornue it would be...BUT head out of clouds, reality has set in.

So I started here...
The Five Star Range, but once I saw it in person the oven was sooo tiny. 
Did you know that when you go to a 36" stove that many of the oven's actually get smaller, this is the case with the Wolf, Viking and Five Star....Just an interesting fact.

But this led me down a path to a black Range with Stainless or Chrome finishes.  That way there wouldn't be so much stainless in the kitchen.

I went to another higher end appliance store in town and found this....AHHHHHHHH, and the angels started to sing.  This is EXACTLY what I wanted.  The Bertazzoni Heritage Edition....Ohhhh, the price tag is NOT what I wanted.  Moving on.

And led me to AJ Madison which is a great site to source appliances. Where I found this.  The Fratelli Onofri Royal Chantishire....Now if that name doesn't make you want the stove I don't know what will.  But I needed to see it in person before I could make the purchase.

So I marched myself up to Hendersonville, NC and found a dealer.  There it was, in all of its prettiness with plinth legs.  I had found my Range, got the look without the huge price tag, and the oven wasn't too small.  So I ordered it from AJ Madison in February...they said it will be here in a month...perfect!


Soooooo, February came and went, so did March, and we were moving in April...Still NO stove.

I called and it wasn't going to be here until the end of May...WHAT!  I said REALLY, is there anything else that is comparable???  Wouldn't you know they said my Bertazzoni was comparable and they would give me a discount for the don't have to ask me twice...SOLD.  

If I can get a discount on the stove I WANTED to begin with.  SOOOOOO that is how I got the Range I really a discount price...and it fit better than the one I had origianlly ordered....small little renovation miracles, the Range Gods were looking over us.  AND if I had gotten the Fratelli, I would have had a big gap around the stove and that WOULD NOT have been good.

(this was the shortend version, there was a bit more of knashing of teeth and trips to appliance stores to figure this all out...but I won't bore you with those details)

The stove was delivered/landed 1 week after we moved in, it came on a Penske truck. 

And to this day, Little B says "Hey Mom there is the Stove Truck!"  He thinks all Penske trucks deliver stoves.  The mind of a 3 year old.

Have a great day...I am froofing a bit for the final reveal.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Marble Madness

via decorpad

 I have loved Marble before Marble was "in", so there was never a question in my mind (well there was the soapstone moment) as to what kind of countertop we would install.

There has been much debate on the subject as to whether Marble is a good surface for the kitchen.    My thought is that "if it has lasted for hundreds of years in many kitchens, that it will last 20 years (hopefully) more for us..  There is a great thread on apartment therapy on the subject and good ol has had MUCH debate, if you are so inclined.
via house beautiful

  Here is wonderful quote about marble from a marble fabricator in atlanta.

 "Here's what marble will do in your kitchen-it will ring, it will stain, but it will be beautiful. Most of my clientele has traveled the world and they see patinaed marble, they see that there is nothing more real than that. I love working with marble and if a client wants it, I'll do it. But I'll also tell them that they are not going to call me every week to clean up an orange ring or a glass ring. If the homeowner is not going to appreciate what marble does and how it looks as it ages, I won't do it in their kitchen." John Howard, a salesperson in the G&L Marble Atlanta showroom.

Now, I am not going to say that the actual picking of the TYPE of marble was easy.  Being the researcher that I am, I delved in full force on my quest for the perfect marble.  I always thought that I would want Cararra, (a beautiful white with grey veining), and Calcutta was beautiful but a bit too expensive.  I came across a beautiful type of called Alabama White and perfect price too.  It had the beauty of the Cararra with just a little bit of caramel veining that I loved from the Calcutta.   Now all I needed to do was see a slab in person.  So this girl found a slab in Elberton, GA...and treked herself 3 hours to see her slab.  Did you know that Elberton, GA is  the Granite Captial of the World?  I didn't, but do now.  It was beautiful, and I said MINE!  Now off to my fabricator it went to be honed and cut. I had a hard time finding out much about Alabama White, here is a nice little article I found during my search.  And if Jill Brinson used it in her kitchen, well....

via House Beautiful
Jill Brinson Kitchen
(Alabama White)

my slab

I must say I am really happy with the decision to go with Marble.  I have my ring stains, and etch marks. but it means my kitchen is being USED!  And there is not ONE stain.  I have left coffee sitting there for a day, with not a problem.  We sealed it well, and I will continue to do so.  Here is a great link on the care and maintenance of marble. (you CAN get the etching there!)

The first stove to the right had not come in yet...
note, good idea to have stove BEFORE stone is fabricated, we had to do a switcharoo on the stove
(blessing in disguise really, but the original stove would have left a 1/2 gap, YUCK!) Lesson learned.

If Marble is the way you want to go, I say GO FOR IT!  Don't let the naysayers talk you out of it.  You will have fabricators say "you want WHAT in your kitchen??, You know it is going to stain, chip, scratch, etc...."!!!  I just said
"yes, I know...THANKS, please get me my MARBLE!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

How things have changed, we found this in a wall....for the original windows
Pay attention to the second step...the guys on site got a huge laugh about this...hehe!

A renovation is fraught with DECISIONS...some days I was like "if I have to make another decision, my head is going to pop off my neck!"  Other days, I was like "bring it on!" but either way I felt that once the decision was made I felt much better (until I changed my mind!)  Anyway, here are some of the MAJOR decisions that were made that really affected the aesthetics OR the functionality of the kitchen.

The first decision is to pick the right people...we acted as our own contractors (I know crazy, right.) But we payed a contractor to be our consultant.  We payed the subs directly. This does save money, and I had the time to be AT the jobsite EVERY day...I enjoyed it....might not be for everyone!   He helped us with all of the HUGE decsions, and helped keep it on track.  This helped with the pocketbook, AND helped me get some of the upgrades that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.  Brian Hallman, of Hallman Construction, he was just awesome.

The next was our cabinet maker, Rayne Mueller I just can't say enough, it was this collaborative, great relationship.  We had so much fun (at least I did) working together.  He let me come down to the shop whenever I wanted to check on progress...and there is that moment with the columns...will get to that in a minute!

Here are a few of the MAJOR decisions....after all we are doing this in 1 week I can't touch on them is bringing back memories!

Load Bearing Walls

When we started knocking down walls, I got a phone call saying "those 2 walls you wanted to knock down, well BOTH of them are load bearing!"WHAT, WHAT, WHAT!!!  So we had to pick the lesser of the 2 evils.  I KNEW I didn't want a header in the middle of my kitchen, so I HAD to reign in the kitchen design and NOT go 2 feet into the dining room as originally planned....AND there was a column that would be right in the middle of my new opening...thankfully I had months to figure out HOW I was going to deal with this.  Thank goodness for blessings in disguise, I didn't NEED those extra 2 feet, AND the aesthetics of the kitchen really were driven by this one crucial moment, and I am so HAPPY it turned out the way it did.


Banksey's Elephant in the room
Soooooo, THAT stupid column turned into the elephant in the room, literally.  What to do with it, we went from 1 column, to 3 columns, to arches, back to column, 2 market, 2 market, 2 buy a fat pig!!!   One thing that helped with this decision was taking pictures of the space, and then tracing on top of it my vision.  A trick of designers.  You are using the actual space, so your space is what it is....

ANd then one night, the DAY the columns were to be built I thought PANELS!  We will panel the opening, clean, simple, INGENIOUS!  The next day I ran down to the cabinet shop screeched into the parking lot....

me: "Please tell me you didn't start the columns...
rayne: NOPE we were just getting started"....
me: YAY!!!!,
rayne: why?
me: "because I changed my mind, change them to panels instead."
rayne: "okay, how do you want them designed?"
(okay there might have been some rolling of eyes, and snickering at my ability to change my mind right at the precipice but this is how I remembered it!)

Crisis averted!  Every time I look at them I smile and think....good decision Gretch!

Although when the kitchen was done and my younger brother 20 (who is a self prescribed no it all) said, don't you think the kitchen would flow better if you didn't have this stupid column"!  Duh, don't you think I thought of that @!!!**$$? (please excuse the french, I might be a self prescribed potty mouth!)


Some of my many drawings.  This really helped to figure things out!

The island was a HUGE part of the kitchen.  I knew it would be great for storage, but I also wanted it to seat 4 people, and NOT all along one side.  I drew that sucker up so many times....imagining my family or guests sitting there, me cooking, how were we standing?  Where were we sitting?  How much storage would I have?  Do I gain 12" of cupboard to lose a seat....Again so happy for the sleepness nights, it is exactly as I had imagined it! 

A sink CENTERed or NOT?

So I only had 13 feet to work with on the sink wall and wanted a 30" sink, a 36" stove, prep space, AND a window smack dab in the middle of it all...what is a girl to do?
Upload my design to of course and let it be torn apart...I mean TORN.  Now, I spent many an evening with my feathers ruffled about "how dare they say they couldn't work in MY kitchen!"  But when it came down to this design, someone just simply said...why don't you just move the sink?  An  uncentered sink? I moved it.  AMazing how just one small adjustment could change everything.  Now I have 30" of prep space AND there is space behind me while I do dishes...the flow of the space is awesome.  Sometimes flow trumps aesthetics....  Who needs everything centered anyway???

One more thing that helped the decision making process....I taped off the entire space after demo and prentended to work in the space.  Being careful not to Step on the island!

So those are some of the MAJOR decisions...the headache is coming back as I write! 

A kitchen renovation is so important, AND it is really important that whomever helps you design your space takes EVERYTHING into consideration....luckily I was my own client and knew EXACTLY what I wanted.  SO when your designer starts measuring your cookie sheets, and counting steps in your space, don't think she is crazy...more than likely you are going to get EXACTLY what you want!