7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

This a great article from Dwell Magazine.

If you have serious culinary chops and take pride in preparing meals that wow your family and friends, keep these tips in mind when designing or renovating your kitchen.

If boiling eggs is not your forte, and you’d much rather eat out than experiment with new recipes, then a basic kitchen may be all you need. But if you’re serious about cooking and love nothing more than spending hours trying out new dishes that’ll impress guests at your next dinner party, then here are some elements to incorporate for a professional-grade kitchen.

1. The Magic Triangle

When planning the layout for your kitchen, refer to the “kitchen work triangle” with the cooking area, sink, and refrigerator at its three points. Though modern kitchens have evolved, and it is sometimes geometrically impossible to abide by this configuration (for example, in a single wall kitchen), the triangle is a good concept to keep in mind when designing to maximize functionality and ease of movement.

What they did not talk about is the new triangle, where the refrigerator is off to the side and a little out of the way.  There needs to be space across from it or beside it to put food when cooking, but it does not absolutely need to be part of the triangle anymore.  I love the cooktop part of my triangle, as I am working there, more than in the refrigerator. (unless I am really hungry)

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2. Two Sinks

Install two sinks so that you can clean fruits and vegetables in one while washing or stacking used pots and pans in the other. Ensure that the sink is deep and the faucets are high, so you don’t have to worry about water splashing onto the countertop as you strain your pasta or wash your dishes.

I have a little different take on this.  My utility room is adjacent to my kitchen, so I added a large stainless sink in there if I need a place for pots and pans.  If I am entertaining, I do not want my guests to see dirty pans in my kitchen, so this works great! 

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3. Plenty of Durable Work Counters

As a home chef, you’ll be engaged in many food preparation tasks, so think about how to maximize counter space. Surface counters made of quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces are good choices for their durability, and antibacterial and anti-staining properties. Such surfaces are ideal for areas where you’ll do the most peeling, chopping, and blending.

Quartz is the new popular countertop and it is great, but if you select a plain one, be prepared to constantly be cleaning it, as it shows every spot.  I love a good granite that hides a little.  

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4. Built-In Appliances

Integrated appliances are your best bet for freeing up space, hiding unsightly electrical cords, and getting a clean, streamlined look. Wherever possible, choose built-in ovens, dishwashers, coffee machines, microwaves, and pullout fridges. This will help free up more counter space and make your kitchen look much more inviting.

I love making my dishwasher and refrigerator look like cabinets.  Now there are drawer refrigerators and freezers.  I hide my microwave and toaster oven in my pantry.  Clean is the new look!  

5. Good Lighting

A bright kitchen is not only healthier for your eyes, it makes preparing food safer and will probably put you in a cheerier mood. Locate your kitchen close to windows or incorporate skylights to increase the amount of natural light it receives. When choosing light fixtures, consider ambient lights, task lights, and accent lights. Use down lights to prevent glare and shadows, strip lighting under cabinets, and wide-rimmed pendant lights above the bar or island counter.

In my last home I had windows under the cabinets that looked out to the garden.  It had a wonderful effect.  We added another window when we remodeled last summer to take full advantage of our water view. 

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6. Ample and Intelligent Storage

Easy and intuitive access to a large pantry, spice racks, pots and pans, utensils, dinnerware, and cutlery can make all the difference when you’re preparing a feast for a large group. Consider storage systems which hold all your kitchen basics neatly and beautifully like a secret armoire.

I personally think that although this is “cool”, there are a lot better use of space, than hanging your utensils and knives.  One knife block on the counter is quite practical. 

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7. Wine Storage Facilities

Good food isn’t complete without great wine, so consider including wine storage facilities.  We love ours and use it every day.  

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7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

 January 21, 2018 by 

Recently some 60,000+ people gathered in Orlando, FL at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) hosted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. It’s where companies that supply the kitchen and bath trade showcase their wares to interior designers, retailers and dealers, architects, builders, and remodelers. KBIS is part of Design and Construction Week with the NAHB International Builders’ Show.

Kitchens take center stage at KBIS and have been a focus of my research over the past year as well. I participated in a series of AuthLux day-long workshops on luxury kitchen and bath design sponsored by ROHL, the kitchen and bath luxury fixtures company, and part of the Fortune Brands family of companies.

An excerpted hour-long version of that full-day event was presented at this year’s KBIS, but I thought to share more insights from an AuthLux Summit panel discussion about designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today, hosted by Dallas-based interior designer Denise MaGaha.

The kitchen unlocks the value of a home

The kitchen is now the showpiece of the modern home. “The ultimate design statement of the home starts in the kitchen,” said MaGaha as she introduced the discussion focused on the three essential design elements for the modern kitchen – Cabinetry, Appliances and Water Appliances. “With the trend toward open-floor plans, the kitchen sets the stage for all the other design decisions in the home.”

The kitchen’s importance to the home owner is second to none. In today’s open-floor home designs, the kitchen takes center stage as the place where the family’s lifestyle starts. Kitchens are the most important selling point in home buyers’ decision, according to Realtor.com, and homes listed with “luxury kitchens” sell faster and command a higher selling price than similar-sized homes in the same ZIP code.

It’s no wonder then that interior designers find the greatest demand for their services in remodeling kitchens. Some 80% of home remodeling projects take place in the kitchen, according to the National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index survey.

Here are some highlights from the panel discussion:

Upscale cabinets must be as beautiful on the inside as on the outside

Cabinets are the grounding element in the luxury kitchen, as all the other elements are mounted on them or placed within them. What’s more, they set the design style for the kitchen. “Today we see transitional and modern style with strong architectural references increasingly popular,” explained Jason Artus of Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry, based in Lancaster County, PA.

“That’s also why we find European style frameless-constructed cabinets growing in demand,” Artus said. Frameless cabinets allow for additional storage with wider drawers and pullouts because they do not have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box and no center stile coming down in the middle of two cabinet doors. Frameless cabinets give a sleek, simple aesthetic that provide easier access to the items inside.

Another trend Artus sees in luxury cabinet choices is more drawers, instead of hinged door cabinets. “Additional drawers in the kitchen results in more accessible storage and organization, which is a top priority for clients to be sure that each and every kitchen item has its place.” And once those drawers or cabinets are opened, lights need to turn on automatically to guide the way.

And for the luxury home owner, the outside is just as important as the inside when it comes to cabinets. “It is expected that today’s upscale cabinetry look as beautiful on the interior as it does on the exterior,” Artus said, as he points to growing interest within the design community in white oak on cabinet interiors for “those looking for a lighter option to pair with darker exterior finishes.”

Luxury kitchens mean chef-quality appliances

While cabinetry provides the modern kitchen’s form, the appliances provide its function. And today that function is going more high-tech as smart technology is added into the mix. Selecting appliance brands that serve their function in style and are ahead of the curve in innovation is key.

Juanita Galliford, of Thermador, part of BSH Home Appliances Corporation, shared that her company has been at the forefront of kitchen innovation since its founding in 1916. It invented the wall oven and cooktop combination and was the first to introduce stainless steel. And in 1948 it brought the first professional-quality and performance ranges to the home owner, followed by the first self-cleaning oven in the 60s. When it comes to kitchen appliance innovation, she said, “Thermador has led while other brands have followed.”

On the cutting edge of cooking technology today is the steam/convection oven, Galliford explained. “The steam oven is one of the healthiest ways to cook a meal. Traditional ovens pull moisture out of the food as it cooks, while in a steam oven food is cooked in its own juices, enhancing flavor and retaining nutrients,” she said and told how it is also super-fast, allowing a 14 lb. turkey to cook in only 90 minutes.

And in the modern luxury kitchen, the refrigerator has taken on a new role as the “culinary preservation center,” noted Galliford. “Refrigerators are no longer just about preservation. Today’s homeowner wants personalization allowing them to customize the line up of cold storage combinations that give them exactly the cold storage solutions they desire.” So a modular concept in cold storage is required allowing the homeowner to pick fresh food store, freezer and wine storage combinations right for their needs.

From sink and faucet to water appliance

And perhaps the most overlooked, yet most critical function in the kitchen is the faucet and sink, which ROHL has redefined as the water appliance. “The most used appliance in the kitchen is actually the faucet/sink combination,” said Greg Rohl. “A family of four uses their water appliance 20-30 times a day. We encourage designers to think about reallocating budgets towards this most heavily used ‘appliance’ allowing clients to spend more for better quality and more attractive solutions.”

To discover the water appliance faucets, fixtures and fittings that meet 21st century needs in quality, style and function, ROHL canvases the world to find products that meet the luxury homeowners’ needs, like the innovative Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet, which founder Ken Rohl discovered in Europe in 1983 and which became the flagship product for the ROHL brand.

Through close collaborations with its worldwide partners, ROHL finds it critical to maintain authenticity in time-honored material and craft while adapting to modern needs. “We work closely with on-staff engineers and industrial designers to incorporate low-lead material requirements, meet California water-use and flow restrictions and IAPMO and EPA WaterSense criteria without compromise,” Rohl noted.

Designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today

Designing the kitchen of tomorrow today requires bringing many separate components provided by a variety of suppliers with unique expertise together into a cohesive kitchen package that combines beauty and function, efficiency and style. “Traditional kitchen configurations with upper and lower cabinets are being replaced by full-on kitchen islands – grounded by larger sinks, faucets and accompanying accessories,” Rohl explained. “Today, and in the future, the multi-function sink/faucet combination will continue to be the mainstay of the kitchen, flanked by the cooking and cold storage appliances, and installed with beautiful, architectural cabinetry that defines the kitchen’s style.”

The kitchen’s place of presence in the home is without doubt. Yet its form and function continues to evolve with technology, product and design innovations. Perhaps Christopher Peacock, a high-end cabinetry designer in Norwalk, CT expressed the evolution of the modern kitchen best: “It’s almost not worth calling it a kitchen anymore—it’s a living room that you can cook in.”

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

IS THERE ANYTHING CLASSIC IN A CURRENT TREND?

Every year new trends are announced and we respond to them in some manner. Just how important they should be in your lifestyle is usually at question. “Consumers always want to see something new, but they want that with something familiar”, according to Leatrice Eiseman –executive director of the Pantone Color institute.

There are some that think it is important to have the current trends in design be a part of your home and others that really don’t care. What is most important is how do you bring your home environment current so you enjoy living in it. If a trend seems terrible to you, then bringing it into your home is not the best idea for you.

If you want to add the latest color trends in your home every year, there are many ways to do it and not spend a fortune. Remember when you buy a trendy piece of furniture, you are most likely going to have to live with it a long time. Accents added in the latest and greatest color and/patterns are not terribly expensive to replace when you tire of the trend, as most of us do after a while. If you love a trendy new color, throw pillows or vases might be an easy solution and not cost a fortune. I love that we now have Home Goods, TJMaxx, Marshalls and Ross as great sources for buying easily replaceable accessories. Little or no guilt when you spend $20.00 on a accent rather that the $200 a custom-made designer pillow might cost.

That beige or gray neutral sofa may look dull on display at your local vendor, but it will go with everything you put on it over the years. Look for simple classic lines and you will not grow tired of your furniture. Look for fun splashes of color to liven it up every year or every season. When you shop for your “big” items, if there is even a tiny doubt you will not love it in five or ten years, then it is probably not a good choice.

Clean lines are always in style. Ornate looked great in the Victorian era and if you have a few  family pieces, they can look fantastic in a very modern interior, as a lovely focal point, but a whole room of them might be kind of depressing. Think simple and you won’t get tired of it.

If you go neutral in most of your home, you won’t have to change much often. Paint a wall one of the newly trendy colors and love it for a while. Paint is relatively cheap and easy to replace. Add a couple pillows in a coordinating color and you are looking trendy. Add flowers in the new colors (if appropriate) and your friends will think you know what you are doing.

Texture is another way to add interest to a neutral interior. Trends in texture do change, but they seem to have a little more longevity. A cowhide rug may not go out of style, but florals and certain print designs don’t say in fashion for long.

Avoid trendy when it comes to big signature pieces, as you will want ones that meet the test of time. Dining room tables, beds, kitchen cabinets, flooring and architectural details are not the place to be trendy, as they are all expensive to replace. Pick ones you love when you see them. Pay a little more and get something that is made well with great lines.

One of the most important things to remember about trends: if you don’t like it when you first see it, you most likely never will. That being said, there are some trends that never go out of style. Tasteful animal prints are always a fun look in small doses. Some say granite in the kitchen is on the way out, but I am not sure I am totally on track with that one. Beautiful classic

oriental rugs always add interest to a room and I personally think some of the Mid-Century modern furniture will never go out of style. Mid-Century modern seems to a “trend” coming back to be popular, but I think it never went away as it has always been classic, workable and beautiful. From a designer point of view, they have never made anything more comfortable and beautiful than an Eames Lounge chair or as elegant as a steel and glass Platner coffee table or side table. If I could afford four Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chairs from 1929 in my living room, I would be forever happy.

Balance may be one of the key words in bringing trendiness into your home or office environment. Function of the piece should be an important part of your decision making when buying long-term pieces. Maybe this year the glass dining table is popular. You buy one, then you remember you sometimes have twenty for holiday dinners and the glass table does not expand. That brings the word “versatility” to mind. Can you use that trendy item some other way in the future? Can you paint it? Can you change it?

I have a beautiful old-world Baker round dining table I bought twenty years ago. When I got tired of the wood look, I painted it black and put a dark wax finish on it. I paired it with see through ghost chairs, so it now looks up to date. It expands and I have seated twelve for dinner. Think about what you have and how you can change it, to make it more current. Good lines always look good.

Timeless design always doesn’t pull from trends and is quietly understated, simple and sophisticated. Let go of the idea that your taste will never change. As we go through life our taste changes. What we should strive to do is to find something that is highly functional, not bland, while being subtle, adaptable and will pass the test of time.

If you are having a hard time finding the right balance in your home, it might be the time to hire a professional interior designer. I would love to help you make your home your living paradise. It is what we designers do.

IS THERE ANYTHING CLASSIC IN A CURRENT TREND?

Bread & Butter Pickles

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Here is another easy and fairly fast recipe that I made the other day.  I just put my jars in the dishwasher at the highest temperature, rather than do the whole water bath described by America’s Test Kitchen.  The cucumbers are from my garden and the lone red bell pepper is the only one that lived in my garden.  Happy to put the two together in the same recipe. My husband loves these on hamburgers or as my youngest son called them: “Hammaburgers”.  I like them just plain as a side dish or on a slice of delicious bread.

Bread-and-Butter Pickles

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

We wanted a bread-and-butter pickle with a crisp texture and a balance of sweet and sour—perfect for adding to a char-grilled burger. Most recipes combine cucumbers and onions in a spiced, syrupy brine; we cut back on the sugar and added red bell pepper for its fresh flavor and color. Cucumbers can lose their crunch when processed in a boiling water bath; we found that combining several crisping techniques gave us the best results. We tossed our sliced vegetables in salt to draw out excess water.

We added a small amount of Ball Pickle Crisp, which helps keep the natural pectin from breaking down, resulting in firmer pickles. Finally, rather than processing in a boiling-water bath, we employed a technique known as low-temperature pasteurization, which involved maintaining our pickles in a hot-water bath at a temperature of 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes—in this temperature range microorganisms are destroyed and pectin remains largely intact.

INGREDIENTS

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2 pounds pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 onion, quartered and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2‑inch matchsticks
2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon Ball Pickle Crisp
FOUR 1-PINT JARS

1. Toss cucumbers, onion, and bell pepper with salt in large bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours. Drain vegetables in colander (do not rinse), then pat dry with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, set canning rack in large pot, place four 1‑pint jars in rack, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to simmer over medium high heat, then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.

3. Bring vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, and cloves to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and remove from heat.

4. Place dish towel flat on counter. Using jar lifter, remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on towel and let dry for 1 minute. Add 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp to each hot jar, then pack tightly with vegetables.

5. Return brine to brief boil. Using funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over cucumbers to cover, distributing spices evenly leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Slide wooden skewer along inside of jar, pressing slightly on vegetables to remove air bubbles, and add extra brine as needed. 6a. For short-term storage: Let jars cool to room temperature, cover with lids, and refrigerate for 1 day before serving. (Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 3 months; flavor will continue to mature over time.) 6b. For long-term storage: While jars are warm, wipe rims clean, add lids, and screw on rings until fingertip-tight; do not overtighten. Before processing jars, heat water in canning pot to temperature between 120 and 140 degrees. Lower jars into water, bring water to 180 to 185 degrees, then cook for 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain water between 180 and 185 degrees. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seal, and clean rims. (Sealed jars can be stored for up to 1 year.)

Bread & Butter Pickles

Back to the Studio

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It was a summer that I did not venture into my art studio, and yesterday I realized painting is what makes my heart sing.  That and some great Rhythm and Blues music in the background make for a wonderful day.

Two days ago I picked up a piece from a wonderful Interior Design Studio in Edmonds that sells quite a bit of my work.  The owner took me to house she is redoing and asked if I could do something for the living room to put above the fireplace. The colors were rich grays, taupes, bronze and a little bit of yellow green.  This piece is 30″ x 60″ and painted over a previous piece I had done a long time ago. Purple Abstract 30x48

It was done in a time when everything I did had some purple in it.  In the last couple of years I have finally grown tired of purple. I find painting over a previously painted abstract gives depth and life to a new painting.

In this case, since it was already framed, I just used green guerrilla painters tape to cover the frame, so did not have to remove it and could get right to painting.

Whenever I do a bigger piece, I make it so you can hang it vertically or horizontally. It is one thing I do to make it easier to use in what ever environment you hang the art.  In my own home, I may hang it one way for a while, then change 90 degrees in another place.  That way I don’t grow tired of the piece as quickly.

At the end of the day yesterday I felt this piece was complete and had a great start on a second piece.  I plan to spend a lot more time in my studio in the days to come.  It makes me happy!

Back to the Studio

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

This article came on my newsfeed this morning and I thought it was very interesting.  While I agree with most, I do not agree with all. There are as many opinions about design as there are people with opinions. 

Drop the paint can, step away from the brick and read this remodeling advice from people who’ve been there

April 21, 2016
There are a million and one things to consider when taking on a remodeling project. Some of those decisions have the potential to significantly impact your home — and in turn your emotional well-being — for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional your new kitchen is, for example, if you hate the flooring material you chose. It’s going to eat away at you every single day.

In hopes of preventing these situations, we asked readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. But remember, the thing about advice is that you don’t have to take it. After all, the main takeaway message here should be that no matter what, it’s your home. And you should do whatever you want. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

30 Design Mistakes You Should Never Make from Houzz

……..Fashion Over Fifty……..

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Yesterday on one of the social media that I skim every day, there was a link to an article about what you should and should not wear if you are over the age of fifty. With my birthday coming up and growing closer to seventy I read the article. It basically said wear what ever you damn well please, as you are old enough not to care what other people think.

I disagree with the premise of the article, as I think you should wear whatever pleases you ALL your life. Work may give you some restrictions, but when you are not in your work environment, dress to make your heart sing. I have always dressed how I wanted, not how I should. I am short and told not to wear long flowing clothes or big jewelry. I have done both all my adult life. Aging I find I want more comfortably stylish clothes and I find some fitted items, just don’t look quite as good, now that I no longer have that twenty-two inch waist.

The other thing I found very humorous was an article on what to wear in summer if you are over fifty and not one of the models featured in this article was over twenty. Like a fifty year-old is going to look the same after the estrogen has gone and middle has widened a little.

Below, the first photos show a series of women wearing exactly what they want. I am certainly not saying I would wear most of these, but they are comfortable in their own skin. I do like that!

What I did find after looking a while were photos of women looking fabulous over fifty and an inspiration of guidelines to follow.  Dress simply and elegantly. This has always been my attempt at fashion.  If you look in my closet, I don’t have a lot of color and I have mostly non-patterned clothing.

I think the following women look fashionably fabulous.

White

Having shared that, I think you can find what not to wear at anywhere the best at Walmart. The things I think should be taken out of your closet at any time is anything that you do not feel good in or look wonderful in.

In my case the short shorts and mini skirts left a couple of decades ago, but can look bad at any age as you might notice in this lovely photo?

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Showing off your mid-section unless you are in perfect shape should not be an option.

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See-through clothing just doesn’t look good on most people. Showing everything is really showing nothing.

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Short shorts do not look good on 90% of our population.  Please look in the mirror before you embarrass yourself by going out.

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The most important thing to remember is that other people do not see you as you see yourself.  I once had a hairdresser say to me: “We look in the mirror and we see ourselves as we looked when we were twenty.” Personally that twenty year-old is a fond memory. Every gray hair was earned and every line on my face is from smiling at what life has to offer.

There are a few things I think don’t work on an aging body:

  1. Mini-skirts or short shorts
  2. Low rise pants that exhibit that mid-life roll
  3. T-shirts with “Sexy Grandma”
  4. Plunging necklines or waist high slits
  5. See through anything
  6. Pajama bottoms anywhere but home
  7. I hear hoop earrings should be on the list, but I still wear mine (dang)
  8. Thigh high boots, especially stilettos (do you want to kill yourself

What I do think is good, is anything that looks good on your body and feels comfortable enough to wear for several hours.  Know a good seamstress and alter your clothes so they actually fit.  Remember loser always looks better than tighter, at any age.

Let’s get dressed and hit the town.

……..Fashion Over Fifty……..

The Quiet Life Begins Again

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Summer is coming to an end and the  entourage of guests is coming to an end at the same time. Entertaining my six year-old granddaughter had highs and a few lows. With little people it is interesting how perfectly behaved they can be for about two to three weeks, then familiarity begins and you are no longer a “fun” person, you are just another boring adult.  You have not changed, but their perception of the environment takes a turn. You are no longer new and exciting.

Summer Camp at the Boys and Girls Club saved the day for most of the summer, as she made new friends, had lots of fun activities and great field trips.  I joined them bowling in Silverdale, but decided the bus ride was a bit unruly for me, so did not sign-up for any more field trips. It was joy to watch my granddaughter bowl for the first time ever.  Of the three busloads of children, the high score (using bumpers) and on my team was 99.

When my son recently came to pick her up, we decided to take her bowling. So my off we went.  We discovered a ramp you can use for littler people that lines up the bowling ball and they just push it off. The one in Silverdale is hand-made wood, but worked just as well.

It certainly improved her score. She came in with a score of 98, the best of the group. The rest of us came in with scores in the 80’s. Maybe they should have ramps for all ages, especially seniors. Guess we are not a family of bowlers. The last time I personally bowled you had to keep your own score, not a plasma screen up above the alley for all to see just how bad your were.  They have senior bowl three games for free on Wednesdays.  Maybe I should work on improving my score, and it my be good for my arthritis as my hands were pretty sore.

This should have been the best summer ever, as my granddaughter is a joy to be around. In reflection I think I will try to only remember the joy of sharing her summer and not the heartache of some other visitors. It was a summer where I learned maybe you just need to make yourself happy and not feel responsible for the happiness of others.

My three adult sons got to spend a weekend together. It was not without its events, but they did get to spend time talking and catching up. A couple of their friends they had not seen in a while came over and they all initiated our new beach side deck. Pavers are now under the fire pit, rather than warped boards.

My husbands children arrived for the next weekend. They spent time on the new deck and added a little more initiation rites to the deck as they stayed up and talked into the night. Maybe we need to think of a way to have “smaller” fires. I wish I could say that weekend went well, but it ended on a majorly sour note.

We all see the world through our own set of blinders. We see what we want to see, how we want to see it. We can all be in the same room at the same time and have a totally different experience. Our memory of what is said and done is biased by our view of life. The bias can be small or it can be extreme. I learned a little of the extreme before I had to start blocking emails.  I now know my view of the world is my view and only my view. People may understand how you see the world, but they do not see it the same way.

Next summer I think we just take a vacation. It would probably cost a lot less money than what we spent on toys, clothes, food and wine and for some reason I think it might a lot less stressful.

As our children grow into adults and become the people they are going to be our role changes and we are no longer the parent. Adapting to whatever role we have or don’t have in their lives is not as simple as one might think. We are no longer the person of knowledge that we were in their youth. As we become grayer in hair, we are perhaps grayer to them, not the lively over-active person they have always known.

One night I took my granddaughter to a local Mexican restaurant to dinner. We ordered guacamole with the chips, as they come with just salsa. I ordered two tacos and she had a quesadilla. Neither of us are big eaters, so I never order full blown meals there. When I the bill came I was charged for two orders of guacamole. I pointed it out to the waiter and realized by his expression he did not think I would notice.  Telling my older neighbor about this she shared that she thinks people see your gray or white hair and think you have less gray matter in your brain.

When I started getting gray hair, I did not start getting stupid. When I started getting gray hair I did not start to get meaner, but I do stand up for what I believe in. As I get more gray hair I am seeing people view you differently than they did when you were younger. I am finally okay with that, but I do think you need to look for the humor. The other day when I was out running errands I found a sign to put by my front door.  If I can match the paint, I may change the W in WITCH to a B.

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The Quiet Life Begins Again

Changing Lifestyle

As we grow older we realize the beautiful and expensive things we have collected over a lifetime are not important to anyone in our family but ourselves. It seems the times of collecting fine china, crystal and silver belong in their dark ages.  The time in life when we entertained more lavishly is gone.  Our family will not enjoy our collections and will sell them or donate them (not knowing the value) after we die.  I have found in my personal life that not only do my step-children not value or respect what I have, but they resent that I have it at all and cannot understand why I have not sold it.

So surprise to you all, I am not waiting to die, so they can have it.  I worked hard to earn the money to buy what I have and now, or received them as gifts from loved ones, and I am going to be listing it all on Ebay, Replacements ,Amazon or with an auction house and take a nice cruise with what I may earn. (maybe take two cruises)

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I bought these gorgeous, (no longer made) wine glasses when I worked at Macy’s, then The Bon Marche.  I would buy them two at a time when I had a good sales month in the Interior Design Studio I managed within the store. Back then they were $160.00 each on sale with my manager’s discount.  I used to love purple and now after it being my favorite color for twenty years I don’t really even like it.  So almost twenty years ago I was still entertaining and setting a beautiful table. Today, some nicely stemmed Reidel wine glasses take their place on the table. These ten perfect glasses will be on sale soon.

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These two beautiful Waterford Scotch Glasses were a gift from a good friend many years ago.  At the time they sold for over $250 as they were a special edition one year and never offered again.  My stepson took one of them to the beach and has never forgiven me for asking him not to take them for drinking booze on the beach.  He will never understand that they were a gift from someone special in my life. He never thought to ask why they were special to me. He didn’t think to ask if they friend were still alive or if they died. His older sister just thinks it is stupid to keep something this valuable.  Life memories that involve an object rather than a sailing trip do not register to her.  It is funny that neither of them asked why I only had two? So guess what guys, they will be on the market too!

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These four tiny cordial glasses made by Waterford were a wedding present to my late husband and I in 1976 from one of his partners and our good friends at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  I love the feel of them, the texture of them, the joy of putting something wonderful in them and enjoying every last sip.  The memory of receiving such a lovely wedding gift always made me smile in the past, but now knowing the resentment they brought me, just by keeping something I cherish I can’t look at them ever again, and they will be sold soon.

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These smaller Waterford Brandy glasses were another 1976 Wedding gift and have been lovingly cared for and used for over 45 years.  I am not really sure how I feel about someone coming into my home and my treasures and treating me badly because they do not believe in collecting anything.  My own son’s know the history and respect it, but my new family never asked. They assume I am a bad person because I have nice things and want to keep them nice.  Is that a crime? Is it a crime that I do not want them used at the beach or around the fire pit.  I have safely used them in the house for a very long time.

Now I do have a little Mesena Baccarat which is from a terrible marriage that last three months and for Heaven’s Sake I should have gotten rid of those many years ago.  It is soaking right now, as it is dusty from not being used in so long.

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In reality, this is what I would love to do to all the collections I have proudly collected, but I am realist.  These are no longer popular and damn it felt GREAT to throw them in the garbage and hear the glass shatter. I started laughing at what I had done and did not feel an iota of guilt. Looking at the shards of glass I had the passing thought, that life has harsh edges and we can hide it in a glass of wine, but it is still there.  It did my soul good.

No one in life should make you feel bad about what you have, what you like, what you nurture, what you care about and what you don’t want or need to share with them.

No one should ever think that what you have is automatically theirs or theirs to use. What happened to asking permission?

The home I live in now with my husband is not a “Family Home” although I was recently told it was.  No family grew up in this house, nor is it that “lake cabin” where you went every summer.  A family home is one where the family grew up in or went to every summer or winter. Ours is a home where I personally bought waterfront land, designed and built a home to live in, in any manner I chose. My sons family home was sold many years ago. It was a beautiful designed for my sons to grow up in and hopefully remember their father.

Grown children are welcome to come if they can abide by three or four rules.  If they cannot, they do not need to visit. It is sad to me that some grown children (not mine) think they have the right to come in to a house now shared with a wonderful man and think their rules (or lack thereof) apply to our house. It just isn’t so.

 

 

Changing Lifestyle

West Sound Home & Garden Magazine

Home on Cover

Normally I post about food or art, but today I am sharing an article about my own home featured in a local magazine.  I bought the land about thirteen years ago and designed and built a home for me to live in as a single woman, as all my children had gotten on with their lives.  I was not sure at the time, if I wanted to live here or move back to California, where I am a sixth generation family member.  I moved there for a year, but could not get close to the beach, hated the traffic, realized most of my past friends had moved on and totally hated living in a townhouse, with a gate and for the most part not so friendly neighbors.  The problem started, when I trusted a builder to follow my construction plans, and he did not.  He cheated out on absolutely everything, changed my floor plan without my permission and totally changed the feel of the house.  When I moved back to Washington, I lost money on my townhouse in Carlsbad and did not have a job.  I did not have a job for over a year, so making changes was not in the budget.

When I married about six years ago, after being single for over twenty years, it was an adjustment using a home designed for one person for the two people now living in it.  After about five years, we decided to make the changes you see featured in this article. This is the second home I’ve had featured in a magazine.  My 1998 home on Wing Point, Bainbridge Island was featured as home of the year in Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine.  They are very different homes, as that was designed for myself and my three teenage sons.

https://wshg.net

Art in Residence

In the hands of Mike and Diana Kingsley, home is a canvas.

Art in ResidenceWhen it comes to interior design, Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley wrote the book. Really. An artist and holder of a master’s degree in interior design, Kingsley authored “Hand Drafting for Interior Design” during her years of teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. The book is a popular text in a hundred colleges across the country and abroad.

When not authoring textbooks, she is a whirlwind of creative energy. The artist-author fills her semi-retirement with painting, sewing, cooking and photography, as well as her beautifully visual cooking and commentary blog.

Art in Residence - Diana and Mike Kingsley
Diana and Mike Kingsley

Considering this surplus of interests, Kingsley was just the woman for job when the time came to plan a new residence. As the last of her three sons graduated from Bainbridge High School, the designer started the search for a home site on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2005, she found just what she was looking for in Kingston.

Art in Residence“I had no idea where I wanted to live until I saw this property,” she says. “There was the beach and this fabulous view. I just wanted to walk on the sand.”

Set on the shore of Apple Tree Cove, the lot looks across broad tide flats to the Kingston Cove Marina and the comings and goings of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. Flocks of sea birds ride the waves and ospreys float in the sky. Changing weather alternately mists distant docks and glints sunbeams off passing boats. Kingsley was enchanted. She knew she’d found the one.

Kingsley also knew who would design her home. She would. First of all, the house would take advantage of the view over two stories. Deep porches on both levels would be roomy enough for dining and reclining. Finally, the master suite would occupy the entire upper floor.

Art in ResidenceFor Kingsley, the design was the easy part. The tough part was acting as her own contractor. The foundation was barely dry before she made a temporary move to California. By the time she returned for a visit, the work was nearly wrapped up. Except some of it wasn’t per agreement, including the kitchen appliances.

Disappointed but undeterred, Kingsley moved in and moved on with life. The next few years brought good things, chief among them her future husband, Mike. As the newlyweds settled into the Kingston house, Diana and Mike Kingsley found creative compatibility.

Art in Residence“I design things and my husband makes them happen,” she says. “He’s very handy.”

“So far I have a 2-to-1 ratio of projects desired to projects completed,” Mike Kingsley replies, smiling at his indefatigable wife.

Considering the couple’s combined talents, what happened next was inevitable. They gutted the house and began a complete remodel.

“We ripped everything out and loaded it in dumpsters,” Diana Kingsley recalls.

Art in ResidenceAfter 12 years in residence, she knew what she wanted to rise from the metaphoric ashes of the original house. She wanted a look that was beachy, low-key and comfortable. Kingsley wanted muted colors to reflect what the eye sees outside Puget Sound windows for more than 300 cloudy days a year. She wanted an understated carbon-gray exterior with orange accents. Mostly, she wanted people to stay out of her kitchen.

Kingsley makes no apologies for being the queen of her kitchen. She loves to cook. She also loves to entertain. An invitation to dinner with the Kingsleys is a recipe for a most appetizing evening. Kingsley needed a kitchen worthy of her talents.

Art in ResidenceThen the designer had an inspiration. What if her real-life project became a lesson for her students at the art institute? Kingsley invited 30 students to her home to plan 30 individual redesigns. One of the plans was an eye-opener.

“A student suggested getting rid of the kitchen island and making the kitchen u-shaped,” she says.

Kingsley realized this new configuration was just what she wanted. It would keep guests from wandering underfoot while she cooked but allow them to keep her company on stools on the far side of the counter.

Art in ResidenceWith this as the basis of her new kitchen, Kingsley added view windows and new cabinets, upgraded the appliances and chose new flooring. Her husband saw to it that her dream pot rack became reality. A new color scheme paired soft-gray walls with crisp-white cabinetry. Granite installed by Grandy Marble and Tile of Kingston added visual movement to the otherwise peaceful presentation. The result is a casually elegant cooking center that reads like a sigh of relief at the end of a hectic day.

Art in ResidenceJust off the kitchen, the couple added two small rooms tucked behind roller-mounted barn doors: the bead-boarded utility room and a pantry. The red-and-white pantry highlights Kingsley’s evolved sense of order with rows of spices and teas neatly labeled with her husband’s label maker, a device that she adores.

Art in ResidenceOf course, for a designer, the furnishings are as important as the layout. Kingsley loves the clean, classic lines of the 1970s. Examples of these in the Kingsleys’ home are the retro upholstered metal stools that Mike Kingsley had cut down to fit the kitchen counter. The home also boasts a Platner table and see-through Lucite “ghost” chairs. In contrast to these streamlined pieces is Mike’s handsome, 1907 Estey grand piano that holds sway in the living room with the good-natured solidity of Winston Churchill at an artist’s colony.

Finding the perfect wall art was no problem for Kingsley, a skilled artist whose paintings and drawings are shown and sold at Interiors of Edmonds. Whatever the theme or size needed for her own rooms, she retired to her backyard studio and created it herself. Recently, her works lean toward big, bold abstracts.

Art in ResidenceAs handy with a sewing machine as a paintbrush, Diana changed out all of the living room fabrics. In the bedrooms, Mike cut the wooden headboard forms and she upholstered them in heavy silk tapestry and made pillows to match.

Both of the Kingsleys are happy in their home at the beach. He enjoys the short walk to the Kingston ferry. She is learning to live retired by the shore of what she describes as a 12-hour-a-day waterfront, meaning there’s always something to see, from raccoons and herons to paddle-boarders and that kid who had to leave his boots behind in the calf-deep mud of the tide flat.

As Mike Kingsley points out, their home is a work in progress. Yet, in the hands of a woman who admits she’s “too hyper to be a good retiree,” there’s no doubt it will all come together.

“People ask me, ‘How do you get it all done?’” Diana Kingsley says with a shrug. “How do I not?”

To read Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley’s cooking and commentary blog, go to www.kingstoncovestudio.wordpress.com.

There are still a few more things we hope to add to the home.  Last week we finished a deck by the beach and are awaiting Orange Polywood Adirondack chairs to complete the look.  We will be adding privacy panels on one end of the deck and an outdoor fireplace on the other.
Next summer we plan to just enjoy it all!
West Sound Home & Garden Magazine