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People dream of this.

28 Mar

When I bought my mess of a house almost two years ago I remember hoping that somewhere under all the walls that would be ripped out and rearranged, that anywhere there might be just a tiny bit of brick. I wanted to peel back a layer of drywall or section of icky paneling and find a strip, a sliver, just a smidge of brick. Of course, I had these grandiose dreams of brick because of pictures like this:


Clinton Street Baking Company


Better Homes & Gardens

I recall the day Brad let me know he & the demo guys found some brick. You might have thought—if you were a stranger watching me receive the trail of text messages—that I had won the lottery or bumped into Adam Levine while crossing the street. I was that happy at the prospect of it all.

Even if only a sliver of brick like this:


Not so much. This is what my house handed me: Brick with gloppy mortar hidden in the middle of a wall that would soon be torn out to open up the kitchen. And, that was the end of that. No interior brick for me. Some dreams die a quick death.

Nearly two years later I’m standing in Allen’s kitchen helping him decide on a cabinet layout when he says, “I think there’s brick under this wall.” Really? “There’s brick in the basement right below us that’s in pretty good shape.” Guess what was hiding under Allen’s drywall.

People dream of this. I dream of this…

Could it look any better?

Hello, demo.

The hard part (making selections) is over and the rest is like clockwork: floors, cabinets, counters. I’m eager to see this kitchen come together over the next few weeks!



The Details

28 Feb

I’m helping Allen (neighbor/friend/outstanding real estate agent) with a few projects around his house, first and foremost the revamping of his kitchen. Allen sent this picture my way with a note asking me to check out the tile. I like that tile. I like the whole thing. Well, for good reason: this kitchen belongs to Tommy Smythe, you know, Tommy Smythe from Sarah’s House. He’s brilliant. Of course, we like this kitchen.

Many times I’ve stared at this kitchen as a source of inspiration. There’s so much to notice, so many details. I have such an appreciation for this particular work. As Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

Let’s take note of the details–I mean, design.Black and White

This kitchen is beautifully balanced, don’t you think? I like the dark lower cabinets and white upper cabinets.  The dark-painted window frames/muntins and door create interest make the space less stark. And, it’s nice to see windows with different patterns.  Rather than going busy and distracting, the herringbone pattern draws the appropriate amount of attention to the floor, which is a really nice compliment to the dark cabinets.


I can’t think of anything that would look better there than that antique, mildly rustic table. It brings a bit of warmth and comfort to the mix.


Cabinets that climb to the ceiling tend to make a room feel bigger. Notice the glass doors: they aren’t everywhere, just used on the wall near a door. Glass doors create a sense of visual space. Using glass doors by the door establishes continuity and creates a sense of airiness in along that wall. So, if you’re thinking of using glass cabinets, use them wisely: place them well and fill them with lovely things. My rule is to go all white or all color. I have very little middle ground in my life.

Okay, let’s notice a few more details:

  • the wine rack–the one that isn’t above the refrigerator–because your eye follows it from floor to ceiling (or ceiling to floor) it creates a sense of height, which is really nice
  • the built-in workspace/desk with a small bench that keeps the space open
  • the pulls on the cabinet drawers
  • the taxidermy above the pantry door
  • the light fixture you might or might not have chosen but manages to pull it all together and to the center as good light fixtures should

And, finally, the stainless sink and counter space is a nice break from marble.

All credit is due: Tommy Smythe (Design) // Michael Graydon (Photos)

Isn’t this a classy and comfortable kitchen? What’s your favorite detail?

Inspiring Kitchen

29 Aug

I carried this kitchen around in a notebook for months. Wrinkled and a tiny bit crumpled I’m hanging onto it as inspiration for the next kitchen (whenever the next kitchen happens). Brad–the good and smart contractor who built my house–handed me this photo and a this-is-so-you comment when we were coming up with ideas for my kitchen. It is so me. Until yesterday, I have wondered where this came from and then I saw it online with photo credits to Better Homes and Gardens.

Do you love it or what? The glass cabinet doors, the wood floors, that hood–it was the hood that did me in. When I saw it online I immediately thought of you all and wanted to share.

It’s silly but this picture makes me a tad sappy. It takes me right back to the early days of renovating my house when ideas and vision seemed easy to come by. It represents the creative process, the ideas, the hard work, and one of the bravest things I’ve ever done with one of the dearest friends I’ve got. I miss renovating.

Speaking of dear friends… I know you’re wondering, where is Brad? He is well and incredibly busy, elbow deep in renovating a hundred-year-old farmhouse. It is such a cool house. I cannot wait to show you a few pictures.

I heart Keri Russell’s kitchen.

29 Jun

The latest copy of Elle Decor feature on Keri Russell and the Brooklyn brownstone her contractor husband renovated. I am most in love with the kitchen and dining room. Shocker. I always like the kitchen. I love the cabinetry her husband made–it looks so nice against the clean white walls and the classy marble counters.

Enjoy the whole article here.

As for my house, I am working on some after pictures and will start posting those within the week. Sorry to have kept you waiting so long.




Kitchen Transformation (Before + After)

5 May

Craig Johnson (Superior Woodwork) installed shelving in the kitchen and we are all quite happy with the way everything is shaping up. The guys at Superior Woodwork do trim work, cabinetry, closets, door installation and are some of the nicest guys around.

Every now and then I remind myself of what was–it was a mess. As for today, the kitchen is my favorite room. But that could change tomorrow…

Here’s a look at the transformation.








Sorry for the variance in picture quality. What can I say? It happens. Thanks for reading anyway!

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby Right Round…

31 Mar

The kitchen is my new top priority.

I’m working on getting a few important details in place: the island and open shelving. All the things piled on the countertop are shelf-bound. In due time. In due time.

As for the island, I rounded up some cast iron table legs from my uncle’s workshop. He helped me disassemble the work table right there and I’m very excited to see this piece come together. I think the island will likely be 2×6 with just enough room to slide a few stools underneath. For the time being, I placed an old blue table in the middle of the room–a makeshift island.

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking for bar stools. My preference is for a draftsman style. What can I say? I like things that spin. Like a record, baby…

Here’s what I’ve found online.

Industrial Stool from West Elm

Rustic Stool from West Elm


The Factory Stool from Sundance Catalog

Coopers Draftsman from Wisteria

Industrial Steel Chair from Wisteria

Industrial Swivel Stool from Wisteria

Smart and Sleek Stool from Wisteria


Which is your favorite?

Good Galley

1 Feb

Brad and I have been working on ideas for a galley kitchen. In all the hunting and pecking that I tend to do amidst the daydreaming I ran across a couple of pictures, compliments of Southern Living, that are nothing short of lovely.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Matthew Gleason

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn, Robbie Caponetto; Styling Matthew Gleason

Meanwhile at Bradford, trim work begins today, a rather large farm sink sits perched on a cabinet and the dutch door is functioning as it should. Thank God from whom all blessings flow. And the master bath sink situation still looms over me. I have that throw-in-the-creative-towel feeling. I’m just being honest here.

Things are moving at a very rapid pace. I am reminding myself to enjoy the process because this has been a very good process—full of gifts.