Friday, April 11, 2014

The Friendship Kitchen Reveal!

 To think this all started with a long walk... 
Thanks for visiting and supporting the post! It has been fun to share the journey and I hope you enjoy seeing the end result! 
   
The old window was beautiful but we needed to have functioning windows for this working kitchen.  So we added three double hung windows to frame out the beautiful seasonal view!

Center stage under 2" blanco Carrara marble, the Kohler farm sink hearkens back to the age of the home. The apron front with its slightly imperfect hand, feels hand crafted. On deck the Rohl Perrin & Rowe bridge faucet, in polished nickel is a sculptural water way and one of the few things with curves in this kitchen.
 Sherwin Williams "Frosty White" reduced by 15% was applied to the exterior wall cabinetry. 

A 1904 home demands beautiful inset cabinetry! I selected glass cabinets to flank the large window to expand the feeling of the window. John Atwater Designs illuminated the glass cabinetry from within.

The original columns to the porch appear as though they are sitting on the counter, when in fact, they are actually floor to ceiling supports. The counter was cut to wrap around the columns and then a new cap was placed on top. There are a total of six columns buried in the far corners of the kitchen walls. Converting the old porch/family room into a kitchen that would except cabinetry had a few challenges.  First, the walls had to be built out to the same plane as the columns and in doing so, the skewed walls would be made square and inset cabinet ready. 

Custom handmade subway tiles from Waterworks are the perfect compliment to this old home. They look like they have always been there for decades.
A microwave and beverage refrigerator lends itself to easy access for the host and  less visible on the opposite side of the island.  By selecting "Dovetail" by Sherwin Williams for the Island, I could achieve separation from the wall cabinetry. This helps to giving the island the look and presence of a piece of furniture in the room. 
We explored several locations for the Thermador stove. When weighing the option of facing the wall or the serenity of the garden, the view won. A marble sill wraps the inside of the window as a safety precaution. Deep window sills are the payoff, as a result of building the room in to except the cabinetry! The hood lines up perfectly with the window grills...no obstructed view here!
The more masculine wet bar faucet lives in front of a window from the old porch that has a view into the dining room of the home. Brick from the once exterior is now the inspiration for the subway tile.
On the opposite side of the kitchen we took advantage of the depth and added two bookcases to flank the new french doors (once large window) that will eventually lead to a wrap around deck. Using existing pieces from the home this side of the room is warm and cozy and feels like home. The flooring is 8" wide hickory from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.
Our French lantern found at Brimfield hangs from the "opaline" barreled ceiling! 

Gatherings made easy with this large family style island.  Why Carrara you ask?  The owners embraced its ability to reveal a time-worn aesthetic. Their home is one of history and honoring the past while indulging in the conveniences of today. Did I mention that two sound speakers and more lighting are housed in the islands underside! More of John Atwaters work.
To see before pictures and read the eight part back story to this post start here! 


Kitchen made possible by *Cortizo Interiors, John Atwater Designs, Pat Considine & Metropolitan Cabinets. All images are the property of Cortizo Interiors. If you use them please credit the source. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship & Renovation: Finally! Sunday Dinner In The New Kitchen!

Over the past year, Sunday dinners have become a tradition for the four of us. Today, Sunday dinner will be the first real dinner in the new kitchen...the timing couldn't be more perfect! 
 
I packed a little goodies-tote of: Gouda infused with pesto, crackers, zucchini bread, two bottles of their favorite wines and a pink azalea. We arrived a 6:00PM and the sun was still shining. Everyone had set their clocks ahead the night before. I can't deny how excited I was. It felt almost like I was attending the premiere of a show! There was definitely excitement in the air! We were about to grace the kitchen with it's first real meal. 

The island was dresses in beautiful cheeses, a spinach artichoke dip, olives and other delectable appies. There was also a beautiful bottle of wine and special gift for me that will remain my little secret. Everyone was poured a glass of wine and as I watched them move throughout the space, everything was as it should be. Their kitchen suited them so well and they looked beautiful and at ease in it. I was instantly content and elated.

On the menu: A lovely celery soup, barbecue brisket and mashed potatoes. My husband Jorge graced the table and asked for a special blessing for the host and the kitchen! We held hands extra tight that night as I thanked God for a well traveled Journey of friendship and a successful renovation. The take away, two life long friends! 

The End
(not really)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship & Renovation: The Final Stretch.

Part Seven

Bright and early on Saturday, March 8th and I receive a text,"Let me know if you want some coffee?" Translation: "Come over, I need someone to share in the excitement!" The kitchen was 99% done, the back splash was the only thing left on the punch list...I was there in 3 minutes! 

"I become strangely attached to my projects & get just as excited as my clients. Secretly desiring to move in:)" 

The day before Jerry and Pat worked late into the day clearing out all the tools and leftover debris. If you've ever been through a renovation you know that dust gets absolutely every where! So Vacuum out, Swiffers wet and dry in hand and let the deep cleaning begin! As we wiped everything down, the kitchen Slowly began to rise out of the sawdust. 

Next, JD returned the glass panels to the French brass lantern fixture and screwed in all five of it's filament(old-fashion Edison style)bulbs. The music was flowing out of the hidden speakers buried in the island and the kitchen began to sing! 


We stood back and admired all the hundreds of decisions that lead us to that very moment. Everything culminated into one big exhilarating exhale. The kitchen was done and it was beautiful. As I looked around the room I thought of all the moments,meetings, decisions, shopping ventures,glares,verbal tug-of-war and joy that went into creating the space shared by all of us. This project was a collaborative effort by all involved. The home owners JD and AD, Pat Considine builders, Jerry our tireless contractor, Metropolitan Cabinets, Mr. Mike the painter, the plumbers, tilers and the genius of John Atwater lighting designs all made this project possible. Every hand that touched the project is responsible for the outcome. 

That evening after much cleanup, the three of us ordered a pizza and collapsed with a smile on our faces and a feeling of contentment. Sigh...

The final post is just around the corner... - Michelle

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship And Renovation: An Island Apart From The Rest.

Part Six

In general kitchen's are not easy, but this kitchen was especially challenging because of it's previous function as a porch. It had to function efficiently as a four season space while we preserved its original architecture. Limitations on ventilation for the stove location left us fewer options, while heating/ac issues also had to be addressed. After many arduous hours of planning with the home owner and contractor, the layout was finally all set...with the exception of the island. I knew I wanted the island to feel like a large family table, so that immediately ruled out a long bank of cabinetry. We played with the seating placement and eventually we decided on wrapping seating around one end of the island, which would mean we needed legs for support as cabinetry would support the opposite end. Two inch blanco Carrara marble would serve as counter surface, so sufficient support was crucial. 

Amazing how sometimes the magic is right in front of you!

Four years prior, while living in the south end of a Boston, the home owners purchased two old rusty gate posts from an antique dealer in Ipswich, Massachusetts. When they moved to their current home, the gate posts lived outside on the patio as garden Sculpture.  One evening while relaxing on the patio one of the homeowners realized that the two gate post could be repurposed to create the perfect legs for the island!! This detail is just one of the elements in the kitchen that are a true and unique reflection of them as it tells their story. 
A work in progress...

More to come... - Michelle

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship & Renovation: Brimfield Flea Market.

Part Five

Once we had a new kitchen location and vision, the prowl began for goodies to outfit the space! It was very important to me to keep the space looking like a reflection of the owners. A perfect blend of old and new, with a little something unexpected thrown in! So off to Brimfield we go!

This one of the many great tents that day. My favorite piece at this tent was the propeller! I wish I had it now for the den in their house. Oh well...I guess we'll have to make another trip!

It was an early September morning when we hopped in the car and drove west to the largest antique flea markets in the country located in Brimfield, Massachusetts.

Along route 20, for one mile, you'll find 6,000 vendors waiting to sell you just about anything you can imagine. This is one of the most eclectic markets around! Brimfield is a melting pot of antiques, reproductions, kitsch and a lot of very interesting outfits and people...I love it!!

On this trip we stumbled upon a vendor "Pascal" from Atlanta. He had a wonderful tent filled with beautiful home accessories and furnishings. We pined over two wing chairs for the longest time, but eventually we set our sights on a 4 ft tall, French (brass) - 6 lite lantern fixture that would eventually grace our kitchen project! It is now the jewel of the kitchen and a constant reminder of the wonderful day we had at Brimfield!

Can't wait to share the big reveal! More to come... -Michelle

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship and Renovation: Kitchen Epiphany.

Part Four

Ten months after meeting my new neighbors, I felt as thought I'd known them forever. We shared many great times together which consisted of, late night conversations, gardening projects, wintry Sunday dinners (always with a roaring fire) to late summer lunches on the patio with music filled air as we sipped on great wines. There was always an impromptu visitor or two or three, turning an ordinary day into an unpredictable evening.
The rear of the house and once open porch.
During this time, there were many conversations about rescuing their home from the existing 1970's look-a-like kitchen that was installed in 2002! On their own, they had already begun this project prior to our introduction. They had a basic kitchen plan from a big box retailer and had taped out an Island plan on their kitchen floor. Initially I kept my thoughts and ideas to myself, respecting their direction. They both had a sense of style all their own, I didn't want to impose, but this was a challenging project and eventually they asked me to chime in. I tried not to dominate the discussions with my ideas.  These were my friends first, not my clients. However, I did the best I could in trying to help them find their way...my thoughts were restless.
 Shawmut, "the perfect dog," stands on the imaginary island in the old kitchen.
After a long day in August 2013, I put my head on my pillow but could not fall asleep. I was reviewing a few meetings we had with a contractor friend of mine who I suggested help us with the project. He had some great ideas for the current kitchen space but something still was not sitting right with me. This was a beautiful big house with a small kitchen that fell short of facilitating all of their needs...then suddenly it hit me! The current kitchen space just wasn't big enough! We were in the wrong room! It would never suit all of their needs and didn't rise up to how they lived. There was a family room that was not being used to its full capacity, it would soon become the focus for me.

Originally the family room, which is located in the rear of the house, was an open porch with supporting columns that was eventually enclosed. It showcased a bead board semi-barreled ceiling that framed a grand palladium window. There was not need for another moment of indecision! YES! This is our new kitchen!

That night with some hesitation, I sent a late night text. Although I felt this was the best way to go, I always expect a mixed bag of emotions from a homeowner when broaching on a new direction. The text started with, "What do you think about relocating the kitchen to the family room?" Well, all I can say is, the excitement on the other end kept me up all night! I could not imagine the kitchen being any where else. Time to scrape all previous plans and get to work!
 Once the open porch, now enclosed family room...soon to be the new kitchen.
Barrel ceiling, palladium window and columns reveal the rooms history.
Shawmut oversees our landscaping project in the spring of 2012. More to come...  -Michelle

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship and Renovation:The Flask!

Part Three

Early to rise as I was running errands on a Saturday morning in the summer of 1998, a yard sale would distract me from my mundane chores. I stopped to parooze hoping to find something out of the ordinary. There were some interesting pieces, one of which was an old Flask. I wasn't in the market for a flask, nor did I need one for any particular reason. However, there was something special about this old beverage container. It sported a silver cap and was wrapped in well worn leather that bared the La Crosse marking on its underside. I don't know why I felt so inclined, but I purchased it and I held onto it for 16 years, until one day in 2013.
La Crosse Draper flask
While visiting neighbors at an open house, a discussion about my friends home was holding my interest. Apparently, the family who original built my friends home were, John Draper and his wife back in 1902. In fact, many of the neighboring homes belong to various members of the Draper family. All beautiful, some stately, would give one the impression that the Drapers lived very well. To this day the Drapers run and operate The Draper Knitting Co., which produces a wide variety of textile based products.

As I listened intently, a thought came to mind...

The next day, I opened the red Chinese sideboard where I kept little treasures that I rotate for display and found the flask. Although it was old and worn, I knew that if I gifted it to my friend JD and AD, they would see the beauty in it and appreciate it. You see, the day I bought that flask, I bought it from a yard sale that was held on their front yard. The women who sold it to me had mentioned that the flask once belonged to the Drapers. It seemed to me that it was only right to take it home.  

Today, I can tell you it is appreciated and even gets used on occasion. For some odd reason, this makes me very happy!

More to come.... -Michelle

*Referring to our home owners as JD and AD to respect their privacy.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship and Renovation: The First Invitation.

Part Two

In December of 2012, I attended a holiday party not far from my home. It was the first formal invitation my husband and I received from the homeowners. The house was nestled comfortably on a generous one + acre parcel and setback approximately 100 ft. from the street.This stately brick 1904 home and its circular driveway exhibits grand curb appeal for all who come to visit. Steps onto the main entry are anchored by supporting columns necessary to feature the grand balcony above. Charles Mingus and jazzy blue notes play from outdoor speakers, gently escorting its guests toward the pristine front door.

Beyond the entry, I became energized and excited by the mix of traditional, vintage and industrial elements. The living room walls were painted a pewtery grey with a beautiful white fireplace for a focal point. A gold French oval mirror adorns the wall above mantel. A pair of collected leather chairs sit to the right of the fireplace, separated by a small occasional table. Directly across from the chairs, a large sofa flanks the opposite side of the fireplace and is set in front of a pair of extra long windows with crisp white casements. In the corner, an elevated large red Paris subway sign reads, "METRO." A 5' high free-standing wine rack guards the entryway, while most of the furnishings rest in their proper places on a red and navy oriental rug. The vibe is cool and current and it's evident that the owners have a story to tell.

It was a memorable evening in so many ways. There was no shortage of great food, atmosphere or fabulous music. What I found most impressive was the hospitality and sincere energy of the hosts and their friends. My expectations were exceeded by the warmth and welcoming arms of everyone attending. Little did I know...that night would be one of many more shared moments with these two lovely gentlemen, who I now refer to as dear friends.

The next few post will touch on our journey and our collaboration to complete the renovation of their new home and all the fun we had along the way!  More to come...  -Michelle

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Journey Of Friendship & Renovation: A long walk.

Part One

 My connection to this house and its residents all began with a long walk...

It all started on a well rehearsed brisk October walk. A route taken many times before with Nancy, my dear friend and walking buddy. Our walk was nearing its end as we approached one of my favorite homes on the historic and scenic way. We both spotted the couple we assumed were the new home owners. Spontaneously Nancy and I proceeded to greet them with a long overdue "Welcome to the neighborhood!". Our brief introduction turned into a two hour tour and visit. We repeatedly insisted on leaving them to their day, but quite frankly we were all having such a great time it was hard to pull ourselves away. This was the beginning of a friendship between myself and two lovely transplants from the south end of Boston, which ultimately led to a dreamy kitchen project that became a labor of love.

                                                More to come... - Michelle



Illustrations are my own and enhanced via Waterlogue. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

EASING INTO THE NEW YEAR!

It's been a while since I've sat at the keyboard to check-in, but I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the holiday season! As the New Year comes upon us, I hope you are at ease, without the pressure this season can often bring. I wish for you the time to reconnect with family and friends, reaping all the benefits of your efforts for the past year. Some of you may be on the party circuit for the New Year while others may be looking forward to a pause or celebrating at home. I dream of calling out for Chinese take-out/sushi! In my book, this is not settling. Alone or with friends, keeping it simple can be stress free and lots of fun.
I had a lot of fun pulling this table together for this Sushi inspired New Years table. I didn't purchase anything, I only used things that I've collected over time. Hunting and gathering throughout my home always reminds me of what I have and how I can make it work in other ways...that's the fun part!

A patch-work Asian inspired piece of fabric was used for a tablecloth. The gold tray was bought at a yard sale this past summer for $2.00! Normally it lives on my credenza. The lavender glass candlesticks I purchased at Anthropologie several years ago.
Loving this glass votive gift I received at Brimfield, from Rue La La! I used paper and cloth napkins for multi-use and contrast. White square plates add a bright spot against all the color. 
Gold French ribbon is tucked under each plate...just because. 
Amethyst and malachite colored bento box bowls for miso soup, compliment the amethyst glasses.  
Different  chop sticks at each place setting.
Teacups for green tea and small leaf bowls for wasabi and soy sauce.
These are one of my favorite pair of chop sticks. The more worn they become, the more I love them!
Okay, so maybe I'll have to order some flowers along with the take-out! Ha! Willow or and orchid would be nice! 
I hope you've been inspired to have a festive New Year 
how ever you choose to spend it! 
Happy New Year!
2014!