18 Jul 2012

A Kitchen Journey

Countertops, KBIS, Kitchen, Vision 12 Comments

Fun in a Kohler VibrAccoustic tub at KBIS2012

Attending trade shows is invaluable for designers.  Not only do we see all the great new products, meet with our reps, network with our colleagues, and hear from celebrity designers, but we also get a chance to win prizes.  Such was the case a few years ago when I went to Vision and won a Rowenta iron, in my opinion the best iron on the market.  That was the same year I won an award in the Vision Design Competition.

Just this past April I won a prize that took my breath away, it was so perfect!  I was walking through KBIS with designer friend Cyndi DeLapp and since I want to change out the kitchen countertops in my 1 year old home, I was drawn to this display like a bee to honey.

Cambria caught my eye

But why would I want to replace counters that are only one year young?  To answer that question, let me take you on a little kitchen journey.

When we got married, my husband and I had discussed what kind of house we wanted.  The decision soon came down to choosing between remodeling an older home or building a new home.  My dear husband likes everything new and doesn’t like major remodeling, so it was a short debate.  And since we were both working full time and I am practical (form follows function!), we decided to build new.   So build new we did and we’ve built every home we’ve ever lived in.

I'd love to live in a home like this!

Even though we both are in love with the wonderful millwork and unique architectural details of older homes, the thought of spending every weekend working on the house was not appealing and we were in no position to afford remodeling an older home or purchase one that had already been restored.

As I love many different styles, I was not complaining about the opportunity to pick new styles and finishes!  Especially in the kitchen.

The kitchen in our last house was the reason we built that home.  We cook together so we had learned, the hard way, never to position a sink that couldn’t easily be reached from both sides. In fact I’d insisted on a small prep sink close to the rangetop, thinking that he’d use that.  Maybe it was a Pavlovian thing, but he still came to my big one bowl sink anyway!  At least it wasn’t in the corner.

This Wolf rangetop grill inspired my DH to cook almost every night!

The best part of that kitchen was the Wolf gas rangetop/grill and the Thermador jet engine powered range hood.  The range hood was so powerful, we had to be careful not to get sucked up out onto the roof.  One time Charles tried grilling an entire package of chicken thighs indoors and a neighbor rang our doorbell to see if all that smoke pouring out of our home was something we should know about.  I credit the Wolf with getting my husband into cooking dinner every night.

my former big kitchen

This kitchen was large, with two islands, two sinks, and two built in pantries, one of which we set up as a coffee station to hide our big bulky automatic coffee maker.  There were so many cabinets, some of them were half empty.  And we had enough countertop for a small plane to land.  We opted for Ubatuba granite and selected a full bullnose edge.  I loved the shiny granite, but then we noticed some chipping along the sink edge (the sink that was supposed to be just mine).  And then we noticed the granite was losing its shine.  So we put a lot of time and elbow grease into polishing it, but really the granite was ready to be re-sealed.  So we decided to move.

Not really.

It was a beautiful home but it was situated on a corner, it had a screened in pool, lots of trees which translated into lots of falling leaves and pine needles to clog up the gutters and get stuck in the screen enclosure, and basically just lots of outdoor maintenance.  Probably not any more or less than any other home, but we decided it was time to downsize into a home where we didn’t have to worry about lawn maintenance.

My former home

After much searching we chose a GL Homes community a half hour south of Tampa and built our smaller home.  Unlike our previous semi-custom home, our new home is a cookie-cutter but it has features we love.  Our number one love is the lake.  Just looking at the water is so relaxing, and since the clubhouse is right across the lake, we feel like we live in a resort.

Living on this lake made us feel we'd found a pot of gold

After two homes with the typical Florida split floorplan, we were drawn to a completely different floorplan.  While my entrance hall is nowhere this long, this photo is an inspiration.

I love everything about this hallway

I love this hallway with the trimmed doorways, wood floor, and beautiful lighting fixtures

But what really sold us on the floorplan was the kitchen.  It’s a wide U shape, very efficient even for two cooks.  There’s enough cabinet, counter and floor space for two cooks to work around each other without colliding.  We upgraded the cabinets through the builder, but took the standard white Corian counters with the intention of replacing the counters, sink, faucet and range when the money gods smile upon us.

It's dark and rainy today so I had to turn on the lights

“Why,” some guests ask, “would you want to replace counters that are almost new?”   Well, just about anything looks good when it’s new.  And we do love how the white Corian is a bold contrast against our dark cabinets.  But the Corian is already showing scratches.  And my design aesthetic is crying out for some pattern — not as busy and bossy a pattern as granite, something more  subtle but definitely more than plain vanilla.   For about 2 minutes I considered Carrara marble because I love the look, but you already know how I feel about maintenance, don’t you?

Next post:  What I won at KBIS that blew me away

06 May 2011

John Rosselli Antiques – Chandeliers, Lanterns & Sconces, Oh my!

Antiques, Interior Beauty, John Rosselli Antiques, Lighting, Mirrors 11 Comments

As an avid lover of French and Asian antiques, stepping into John Rosselli Antiques took my breath away.  The shop is a large gallery of objets d’art.

Lanterns, Mirrors, Sconces, Furniture, Pottery - Beauty everywhere you look!

I don’t know about you, but typically most shops have a few items that catch my eye and make me covet them.  But everywhere I looked in John Rosselli Antiques, I found something I loved.

This lantern makes me feel transported to another world

On the back wall in the photo above are a pair of sconces I would love to have for my new dining room.  See, for the past few months, in addition to focusing on client projects, my husband and I made the decision to downsize and live a Slow Home life.  This entailed staging our former home, selling said home (not so easy in this slow Florida housing market), and then moving into a temporary apartment for a month or so.  And now we are in the process of moving into our new abode.  Consequently, I don’t yet have time to showcase all the wonders of John Rosselli Antiques in one blogpost, so I’ll just tantalize you with an array of some of the beautiful lighting.


I apologize for the blurry photograph but I just had to show you this cool star shaped pendant lighting fixture.

An unexpected star to liven the mix

And this is just a sample of the beautiful lighting to be found in John Rosselli Antiques.

Entrance of John Rosselli Antiques

In the next post, I’ll show you the fabulous mirrors…or maybe the outstanding collection of blue and white pottery…or maybe the beautiful furniture…

Which would you like to see next?

02 Dec 2010

The Beauty of Things Remembered, Part 2: Decorating with Holiday Memories

Holiday Decorating, Interior Beauty, Recipes 14 Comments

Beauty is often captured in our memories and never is this more true than during the holidays, be it Christmas, Chanukah or any other celebration.  So walk with me and consider:  what will you do to bring alive your memories or create new ones this holiday season?

Even our grand-dog couldn't wait to get in on the action on Christmas morning

When I was a child, Christmas was about Santa and the pile of brightly wrapped gifts under the tree.  I can still vividly remember searching the house looking for where Mom hid the gifts, posing on Christmas Eve in our pajamas holding our stockings, and waiting for Mom and Dad to wake up (usually at 6am) so my brother and sisters and I could swoop downstairs to tear into our presents.  After the piles of wrapping paper were collected, Mom would make scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee, with hot chocolate and marshmallows for us kids.  And when I got married and had my own kids, I continued that tradition.  One of my favorite coffees is Reindeer Blend by Caribou Coffee for our Christmas morning.

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12 Nov 2010

A Beautiful Day at the Beach

Beach, Daughter, Florida, IronMan, swimming pools 3 Comments

Sand Key

It’s Day 3 of my daughter’s visit and since she lives in the middle of Pennsylvania, far away from any beach (and from us), we all decided a day at the beach would be the perfect mini vacation.  Even though it’s November and much too cold to lounge on the sand in much of the country, it’s perfect beach weather in southwest Florida.  Not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right, as Goldilocks would say.

For those of you wishing for one last summer hurrah or who are already shivering, I hope you enjoy this as a little virtual escape.  It’s finally gorgeous here, the kind of weather I wait for all year.  My reward after the hot, humid summer where I feel like a wilted hothouse flower!

hot & humid is not my natural state of being!

I rationalize that the long, hot and humid summers are comparable to the bitter cold and gray days of winter up north.  Except I don’t need the heavy coat, gloves, scarf, hat, and boots.  I like wearing boots though and I’m happy to live in the Tampa Bay area because it does get cold enough to wear blazers and boots for a month or two.

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10 Nov 2010

Throw Yourself into Comfort!

Color, Online Design, Redesign 3 Comments

Williams Sonoma

After a few teasing days of chilly weather, the temperatures are back in the 80s here in Florida.

It's still warm here!

But it won’t be much longer before we Floridians with our thinned blood will be shivering!  Rather than raising the thermostat and your heating bill, why not stay warm by cuddling up with a warm throw?

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