Monday, January 31, 2011

A Kitchen Worth the Wait

This is where I do the baking. The shelves behind it hold the essentials. We added casters to the table so we can wheel it around the kitchen.

We modified a buffet with a prep sink and topped it with old marble. It's sandwiched between the refigerator and double ovens. Now, it's the espresso counter.

We opted for white marble and black granite. We also installed underfloor heating-love it!

The breakfast room overlooking the creek.
I used to have the smallest kitchen of anyone I knew. In fact, my friend's endearing name for it was the" Holly Hobbie Kitchen". In the beginning I found it charming, but that quickly gave way to frustration. It was almost impossible for two people to work in the kitchen at the same time; if we could manage it the reward would be a refrigerator door to the backside. Because a kitchen renovation is so costly it was one of our last projects. With some stretching and reconfiguring we were able to create a kitchen that works well but maintains its homeyness. After 15 years of struggling to cook and bake in cramped quarters, I am very pleased.

*The copper and brass espresso machine is made by Elektra
*I'm in love with our underfloor heating-check it out at

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Perfect Patio

In the autumn of 2009 we decided to tackle our backyard and have a new patio put in. The moles destroyed our previous patio because the stones were held in place with ground cover. For the new patio we hired a concrete contractor to pour the base and form the low wall. We reused the stone from the old patio to construct the new one.The addition of the stone wall was my husband's idea- I have to admit I was reluctant because I believed it would obstruct the view of the creek. However, it proved to be a brilliant idea. It not only provides some protection from the rising water in winter, but it also provides a great deal of extra seating. Shortly after we finished the patio our friend built us a gorgeous wraparound window box that juts out over the patio. Last summer it looked amazing overflowing with ivy geraniums. Our backyard is still a work in progress, but the addition of the patio really set the tone for our future projects.

*The chairs pictured are from Pottery Barn's Palmetto collection
They're sturdy, comfy, and beautiful- I highly recommend them.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

For the love of the land

A view of the side garden

The addition
 When we bought Brambly it was a tiny, virtually characterless speck house. My husband and I wouldn't have stayed too long if the house hadn't been built on such a breathtakingly beautiful piece of land. It was situated on the edge of a small village. The back of the house was twenty feet away from a wide creek and an expanse of heavily wooded, uninhabited land. The woods were densely packed with crack willows that were warped into the most whimsical shapes from the pressure placed on them by countless blackberry bushes. Seven years and two children later our tiny house was bursting at its seams, so we decided we either had to relocate, or renovate. We decided to stay. Since then we have built additions, knocked out walls, carved out niches, replaced every window, painted, papered, covered up every bit of bumpy texture, had endless amounts of woodwork installed, etc.. Of course, that was just the beginning; we then had to find the right furniture, area rugs, fabrics, and accessories. I spent countless hours hunched over my sewing machine creating double-wide, lined, and embellished draperies for every room. Next, I focused on duvets, shams, slipcovers, and pillows. My poor husband became a permanent fixture in the garden as he took on the daunting task of taming the wilderness and turning it into an enchanted English style garden. It seemed he was endlessly planting boxwood and roses. He formed his own ornately designed cement pedestals for his prized urns-they're now sentinels in his meticulously manicured, boxwood bordered perennial gardens.Although the work has been costly, and at times almost unbearably frustrating, it has also been extremely satisfying.