Wednesday, 25 February 2009

My Dad's Kitchen

Dagny from Beautiful Living tagged me to do a post about my kitchen...

Well, the thing is, I don't really have my own kitchen! since we're in the process of looking for homes now :) My mom & stepdad's kitchen is in the process of being redsigned (I will show before & afters as soon as we're finished!) so I'll have to show you my dad's kitchen, which we're in the process of decorating now. (I did a post on this kitchen when I first started the blog, so I apologize for the repeat for those of you who read it the first time, but I've tried to include some more details & before pictures in this post!!!)
My dad lives in our old 1920s family cottage in Antioch, Illinois, a little lake town outside of Chicago:
So, we've completely renovated the cottage & are now in the process of trying to bring back some of its old charm. (I live vicariously through my my dad & he lets me make the design decisions although we've had some battles!! Believe it or not my dad is very into Italianate, ornate, more is better type of decorating!!! ahhhh) Anyway, below is the kitchen after the house was gutted (and all new natural-finished hardwood floors installed) but before cabinetry & details were added. The cabinets you see are "temporary" cabinets & islands & that type of thing:

And here is is now:

We used standard Home Depot cabinetry & had my dad's (amazingly talented!!) carpenters from GPS Constuction add in custom details, saving a ton of money. They lined the sides of the cabinets with beadboard, added corbels to the island, built a custom stove hood and put beadboard & beams on the ceiling. They also created 2 arches & put the stove in the nook created by on of the archs.

Below, yes that is a TV in the dining room. (My dad's a bachelor.) No worries though- that baby's history!! (See pic beneath)

More of Home Depot's standard cabinetry was added into this nook & we removed the wood panels from the upper cabinets & had glass put in so we could showcase my Grandma Maestranzi's china, which has been in the house since the 50s. As you can see, adding hardware to the cabinetry is still on my to-do list. The backsplash here is beadboard and the carpenters matched it up perfectly so it continues right into the uppers:

I had so much fun displaying all of my Grandma's old china. She had a hodgepodge of different collections & over the years at the lakehouse so much of it has been broken, because it's what we use for daily use, but it all works really well together:

Check out some of the hysterical details below. Do you see above the high chair that I had hung some of my Grandma's china mid-construction?!! I am such a nut & was just so excited to get it up there. And the clock too? The truth is, my dad just got so used to his "temporary" kitchen that we never thought he's finish it, so I just started hanging things! (OCD much? haha) Even now my dad refuses to get rid of his hot pots and convection oven & all of the little gadgets he used "before the kitchen." (Thank goodness we have a ton of storage- it's all under the island now!)

Here's that area of the kitchen now (below) It's hard to tell but the ceiling is inset with beadboard and you can see in the center of the beam there's a little electrical hole where I'm putting another chandelier to match the one in the dining room.

Here's the chandelier (by Currey & Company) in the dining room & I'm sort of obsessed with it. It's a cross which is really special to my family & it's such a strong, rustic element. I love it's heaviness against all the white. It's also strong enough to handle the farmhouse table beneath.

Now, I need some honest opinions about the chair situation. These are the antique chairs we've had for years that I stole from another room for this picture. They're all mismatched but they work nicely together... (in fact I love them) BUT my question is... should I go for new ones in here (because I will have to either replace these in this room or the other room I took them from) for this room? My original thoughts were these wingchairs (below- check out the nailhead detailing) on the ends in a neutral linen-like sunbrella fabric (we are messy!) and then go with hard-backed dining chairs in for the middle chairs. OR should I keep it as it is? (A rug's going down & natural shades & linen drapes are replacing my boughs of fir but I was thinking I still probably needed some more fabric/ layers in the room... so what do you think??) Just a bit more info---- it's freeeeezing a lot of the year so I like the wingchair idea but it's also a lakehouse that sees lots of traffic in the warmer months... Has anyone used sunbrella for something like this? (And you know I want it fairly light) Any pros/ cons/ advice??

Here's a close-up of the wooden bowl I found at Volo Antiques. Fell in love with it & thought it was so unique & am seeing them everywhere now... I think because I'm noticing them now that I have one! But really, everything looks good in it (We had family over the night before I took these pics & served french bread in it & I cannot tell you how insanely happy it made me to have this finished kitchen & everything so easy & pretty)
Here's my little guy's highchair. (I love these Eddie Bauer highchairs because they're so pretty & still so functional... I have a pale wood version of it at home & my cousin has the cherry version- THE BEST! People told me my house would be all babied-out & I was so scared of all the plastic and primary colors but there are so many grat companies out there making stylish baby stuff now!) (Also, you can see those plates still hanging there!! haha)
Below if a close-up of the custom hood. I was surprised by the shape/ size (distance-decorating is not always the easiest!) but now love it:

Above, the vintage linen dosh towl is also from Volo (I promise to do a post on it next time I go!) & I framed prints & hung them over the stove for a makeshift backsplash. Below, I was having such a good time putting things on the island. I made a million arrangements I was so happy with it but this was left ovr from the nigt before. (I know those birch candles should be so cheesy to me because they go against certain principles I have, but for some reason I love them!!)

Below are some apothecary jars I found at Target to use as food cannisters:
And (below) here is a pair of wooden candlesticks I found at Volo for $5!!
Below, I set the table with my grandma's old china & mismatched silver and mixed in some pieces I found at Volo (the sprarkely glass cups, large center plates and aluminum bowl the flowers are in) and Target (mercury candle holders & linen napkins) I had so much fun doing the flower arrangement as it was the first on I'd ever done with the spongey thing -an oasis I just learned!- inside.

We're in the process of decorating the rest of the house now & I can't WAIT to show you!!!!
And here are the questions from Dagny:
1) What color is your kitchen? Home Depot's "Raffia Cream" and dining room base is "Gobi Desert"
2)Describe your kitchen. (I showed pics for this one.)
3) Describe your dream kitchen. Very similar to this one but I would love to have gray slate or soapstone or concrete countertops... No uppers & a huge window instead of uppers accross the back. Big island with lots of seating is a must. I would do lots of family dinners right there. Beautiful lighting.
4) What's your favorite activity in the kitchen? Hanging out with friends family & eating/ drinking/ preparing food... socializing
5) Name one thing this kitchen is lacking/ missing: lighting!!! Still on the to-do list is to get lighting in the glass cabinets, undercabinet lighting & also that second chandelier!!
6) Do you cook & bake a lot? Not as much as I used to when I had my own kitchen... Now we trade-off cooking nights & I find it's just not as satisfying when it's not my own kitchen :(
7) What don't you like in your kitchen/ what would you like to change? In my dad's kitchen, I would change some of the smaller details (which I'm pretty much over now) like some of the moldings used I think are too flowery/ feminine for such a simple space, the corbels were more ornate than I would've liked... (It really is hard to do some of that over the phone) oh yeah.. and that faucet is OUTTA THERE!!!! ;)
8) What do you love about your (dad's) kitchen? I just love the feeling, the spaciousness, the simplicity & how easy it is to work & entertain in it.
9)Worst kitchen activity? Definitely cleaning up.
10) Tea or coffee? "Meh" to both although I sometims get really into mint tea...
11) Chocolate ore vanilla? hmmm.... gotta be both!
12. Prepare food, or eat it? I like both too! I love to eat & I know just what I love so I guess that's why I like to cook!!
13. Do you prefer to serve your meals in the dining room or the kitchen? Really depends upon my mood/ level of exhaustion.
So there you have it, the kitchen I pretend is mine until I have my own:
Instead of tagging 3 of you lovely bloggers (because there are so many of you whose kitchens I'm dying to see!!!) I'm just kind of tagging everyone & whover wants to do this post can put a link to it in the comments section.
can't wait to see them!!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

In Love (design-wise!): Atlanta Bartlett & Foster House

I cannot get over Atlanta Bartlett. She is the author of one of my favorite books, At Home With White, and I honestly don't know why I hadn't looked her up sooner. Below = perfection.

Anyway, Atlanta is an interiors stylist who works with her husband, designer Dave Coote. They own The Beach Studios, an agency in the UK that provides shoot spaces for the film, photographic and television industries. There are so many amazingly beautiful locations that it will take me a bunch of posts to get through them all so for the next few weeks/ months/ however long it takes me, I'll be doing Atlanta Bartlett & The Beach Studios location posts.

First, I just want to show you some photos of her work so you can get a feel for her beautiful, relaxed style. Below, a more modern bedroom:

Here is her more formal, French-inspired location:

A country kitchen (below). You'll see lots of grain sacks & linens throughout her work.

Would love to sit down to a lunch here:

Her styling is amazing: (Seriously? making an unmade bed look so good?!)

How pretty (below)? You know I'm loving the linen!
Love the floors & the round window (below):
How gorgeous are these velvet drapes below?! I love how luxurious they are, but how casually they're hung. perfect! And below is a series of photographs of Foster House, one of The Beach Studios' locations. (There are so many!!!) It's "Only one and a half hours from central London... Fabulous new house location in the heart of the Kent countryside only 10 minutes from the coast. Arranged over 3 separate buildings set in 3 acres of grounds which also boast 2 vintage Airstream trailers."

It's described as a "stunning 6 bedroom New England style property. White weather boarded exterior." Downstairs accommodation comprises one 32ft/10m L shaped reception room with tongue and groove walls, an open fireplace and a modern style Baltaup kitchen at one end.
I've been noticing these shalves lately that go accross the whole wall. Wouldn't this be the best place for an ever-changing display?!!
The table (below) is so perfectly worn:
Hutch-love (below): "A separate living room with an inglenook fireplace and wood burning stove." The wood nook (below) is on my list of things that is definitely happening in my house (as soon as I get one! ;) I just love the warmth it adds to a room & it's so incredibly functional too.
"A generous hallway and a tiled scullery. All other floors downstairs are dark stained fumed oak boards." I love the tongue-and-groove walls & ceilings!!!
How beautiful is this little marble-topped console?!
I just love the mood of all of the spaces in this house.
"Upstairs offers 3 bedrooms for photography. Bedroom one has an antique iron bedstead, windows on 3 sides and pale grey painted floorboards. " I want to go on vacation here. WOW How could you worry about anything here??!!
I LOVE all the windows in this bedroom. It's like a treehouse! I really can't get over it. It's amazing.
And what a beautiful idea with the baskets under the bed for pretty storage:
"Bedroom two has a french antique carved wood bed head, Neisha Crosland wallpaper on one wall and pale grey painted floorboards. " I often see wallpaper in these "attic" rooms & I think it does a lot for the small spaces. Put behind the bed the way it is done, below, makes the bed the focal point & also adds some height to the wall.
"Bedroom 3 has original beams, and an upholstered bed head covered in original 18th century embroidered linen and painted bone wood floor."

I love all the nooks & crannies this house seems to have:

So, isn't Foster House beautiful?!!! It is THE perfect country house to me. (Because I'm really ever going to have a country house! hahah ;) Below are more photographs from a variety of locations. This little work area below is so great. I think there's room in lots of living areas to put a little workspace like this in. (perfect for bills, emails & blogging! ;)
Again, loving all the white (below) and the books make this space for me:

Below, I would possibly have to stuff my cat & keep him there on top of the chair because he looks so perfectly there!! (No, I'd seriously only do it if my cat was really old ;)

hahaha I love the pattern in the curatins (below):

Love the horizontal paneling in the room below: Definitely putting me in the mood for DC cherry blossoms & springtime!!!

Below, a perfect little party:

Welcome home: (Such a beautiful & creative alternative to a wreathe!)

Below, more of those grainsacks we've been seeing so much of lately!!!

Pretty little vignette:

More pictures from the more formal French-inspired location:

LOVE these floors below: What a gorgeous silhouette!!! (below) The pop of green makes this picture for me.

Another beautiful "messy" bed:
Definitely feeling insired to do my family photo wall!!! (I think I may really do it soon!!!) I have been collecting the pics for years & have never gotten around to it! I just adore the picture below. The little guy playing onthe sofa & the lived-in, beautiful room... all the white! :)
Ooohhhh another kitty ripe for the stuffing!!
This dining room table mathces that beautiful coffee table from a few pictures above. I wonder who make them?

Loving the stripes (below): Below, a great way to turn every day objects into art:

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this peak at Atlanta Bartlett's work & I will be showing lots more if it in the next few weeks/ months/ however long it takes me to share it all (because it's all this amazing!!) hope everyone had a great weekend!!
ps- i do love cats, i promise!