Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why I Love Love Love My Kitchen

I love my kitchen because it's big enough for two people to make Christmas Cookies at once.

Here's our wonderful mess.
The outside temp was just above freezing and the Christmas tunes were blasting.
Winter Wonderland--Atlanta style.

The mixer was plugged in the island, we used two sinks and every measuring cup, bowl and cookie sheet we had.

When we planned this kitchen we wanted it to be able to handle at least two cooks.

Today, it did.
The island is just incredible.
  It's a Goldilocks Island: not too big, not too small, just right.

From top clockwise:
Spicy Cheese Straws, Lady Fingers, Fool Proof Fudge (yeah right), Tea Cakes.

Not shown; the Divinity that flopped, ( we call a "do over")
 the Spicy German Cookies (Pfeffernusse) that have to stay in the fridge over night.

Christmas baking is a special family tradition we try to enjoy every year.

Merry Christmas to all !

Monday, December 6, 2010

Deck the Halls and the Mantel!

It's time to break out the shiny balls and deck those halls or in my case do something with the mantel.
Here's what I came up with--

I re-used the large empty picture frame and the vase on the left that stay out year round. The vase started life at Holly's wedding, holding a gorgeous arrangement of white hydrangeas.  Most of the time it displays coral from St.Croix that I picked up off the beach on our 25th Anniversary Trip--I probably wasn't supposed to bring it back, but I digress.
The empty frame came from a yard sale for $5.

This vase came from Tuesday Morning several years ago. It has held all kinds of things from shells to coffee beans and pillar candles.  Something the magazines and bloggers don't tell you--it took me an hour to arrange these balls.  It's not easy.

Here's some inspiration I used from Better Homes and Gardens online.

I thought I needed more balls than this picture. More is always better when it comes to balls.

I tried hanging the ornaments from ribbon, but my ribbon was too fat, so I ditched that idea.

I do think I need something else at the bottom.

Maybe I should hang some stockings with care.

Stay tuned for commentary on trimming the tree.


stop by my website at http://www.pattihinkle.com/

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tiling the Backsplash

Last week I tiled the kitchen backsplash.
Here's a "during" pict.  I forgot to take a "before" I was so wrapped up in getting started.

As  you can see by the time I took this picture I had finished most of the project--note the area behind the range.

We chose plain white subway tile because it's so classic and another element of Christopher Peacock's "scullery kitchen."

If you look online for tiling directions you see lots of nice neat work spaces with tidy people.
Here's how it's really done:

This isn't my first backsplash. 
I learned a few things along the way.

- Rent a wet saw -gotta have a wet saw! I rented this one from Home Depot.  They offer two sizes, I got the small one.

-You don't want to mix the thin set and grout by hand.  Here's how I do it.

Yes, that is an old beater off a hand mixer attached to the cordless drill.  This is a lot like making cake icing.  I guess you could use a hand mixer, but mine died, so... 

-Start in the middle and work to the ends, but lay the tile out first to make sure you aren't cutting tiny slivers on the ends.  The smaller the piece, the harder it is to cut it to size.

It would drive me crazy if the tile wasn't centered on the faucet.  Luckily the pieces on the ends were big enough and I didn't have to "cheat" the first tile over too much.

Note:  this isn't the faucet we want, it's the one we installed to pass the inspection and get the Permit of Occupancy from the city.  I'm working on getting parts for the one we bought to go here--it's much prettier.

-Think through the whole project before you start.  The details matter.

I had to decide where to end the tile on the sides of the hood. I decided to end with a bullnose piece that comes just above the bottom corner.  In some magazine pictures of show houses the tile goes all the way up to the ceiling.  I wasn't feeling that. 


Another detail was ending the tile along the side.  I ended with bullnose in line with the front of the cabinet.--see above to the far right.

Among the details I missed were the outlets.
The outlets need to sit on top of the tile. At first mine were underneath.  A few tiles had to be redone.
And a little teeny patch had to be made--it'll be hidden by the outlet cover.

-Use a laser level. This is one tool I love, love, love.

Finally my last tip:

-Wear gloves.  Tiling is messy and ruins one's manicure.

Finally, the finished product:



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kitchen Knobs and Pulls--Christopher Peacock Style

Finally, I'm posting about the knobs and pulls Steve picked out for our kitchen.  We just love Christopher Peacock Kitchens and have tried to copy elements of his style in our new kitchen.

In some places we think we've done a pretty good job and not so much in others.

Steve ordered the pulls and knobs online and they took WEEKS to get here.  It was quite interesting opening the drawers and cabinets without knobs.
The pict  is the "china hutch."  We keep our everyday dishes (not china mind) here. The silverware is in the top drawer and some assorted bowls and serving pieces are in the lower drawers. It's great having a nice wide drawer for the silverware.  I can find things.

Articles and blogs I've read compare kitchen hardware (pulls, knobs and hinges) to jewerly.  Good hardware adds the finish and style, like jewerly can give the style to a great outfit.
I just love how the shiny chrome looks on the dark stained island.  It really adds the bling without going overboard.
This shot of the dishwasher pull shows the clean, simple detail. No patterns, no designs except for a small area around the knob.

We're finishing the kitchen slowly but surely.
Maybe pretty soon I'll be able to blog about how we put glass in the cabinet doors.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ansley Park Tour of Homes---A walk through time

One thing I was really looking forward to when we moved intown was being close to all the intown home and garden tours and festivals.
We've tried to take advantage--there's so much to do we can't keep up.

Last weekend was the Ansley Park Tour of Homes featuring homes designed by Neel Reid at the turn of the last century. (1909)

There were two apartment buildings on the tour.

One South Prado was the home of Margaret Mitchell after she published GWTW.  It was the Della Manta apartments back then. She lived here in unit 3 at the time of the accident that lead to her death.  The story goes that she requested that the original Gone With the Wind manuscript be burned after she died.  It was burned here in the basement boiler of this building.  The apartment where she lived was featured on the tour.

Photography wasn't allowed so I'm using some pictures from a listing we had here last year.

The front entrance was moved from Piedmont to South Prado when the building was converted from apartments to condos in 2005.
I guess this new entry is easier to get to, not on a busy street, and closer to parking.

Here's the living room in our listing.  This unit is roomier that the unit on the tour. 

One thing that struck me about Neel Reid's design was his use of big windows and lots of them.
All the homes were bright and airy--except in cases of "modern improvement".

This room is often used as a sunroom.  I think the bookcases were added--not original to the design.
Notice the transoms above the windows.  This unit is on the third floor and overlooks a wonderful old oak tree.
The view is to die for.

One of the homes on the tour is for sale.
Let me know if you're interested.
It's only $2.5 million.
262 The Prado

This was the only tudor style home on the tour.
The inside is anything but stuffy old tudor.  I loved the contrast between the traditional style of the house and the collection of ultra modern art.  I didn't care for all the pieces, but I appreciate the style.

This door is original. The entry was moved from the front to the side of the house to give a larger foyer.  They turned the old entry into a powder room--it was that small.  The guide said Reid had designed the entry to be a small tunnel like space that then opened into this larger grander hall.  It was intended to give people a feeling of anticipation and surprise.
I get it, but I think I like this change. 

The living room still has the original mouldings, fireplace and wood floors.  The mouldings were very similar in all the homes.
Clean lined, symetrical and classic.

This hallway leads along the side of the house from the foyer, past the living room to a sunroom.
Again, look at all the windows and the natural light. 
The open flow of the rooms surprised me.

Photography wasn't allowed so I don't have more pictures.
The other homes were more the classic Colonial-Federal Revival Style.
Go to the Ansley Park Tour website for more information.

This coming weekend is jam-packed with fall festivals and football.
I'll have to prioritize.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eden Gardens State Park

Last week while we were at the beach, Steve and I visited Eden Gardens State Park which features a really

Pretty Old House.  We'd seen signs for the park on highway 98 on the way to Tops'l and decided to take a little day trip.

The park gardens are just lovely with huge live oaks draped with Spanish moss and ferns.

One tree they call The Wedding Tree is over 600 years old.  (A core sample was done to date it.)

 Weddings are held on the grounds. I wish they'd had pictures from some of the weddings--what a great setting.
They have about 50 weddings a year here- probably a good revenue source for the park.

The following is from the History section of the Eden Gardens' website.

... the tranquil home of the William Henry Wesley family and the bustling Wesley Lumber Company which included a sawmill, planer mill and dry kiln with a dock for loading barges in Tucker Bayou. Wesley built his home in 1897 and lived there with his family until 1953 when his wife, Katie Strickland Wesley died and it was sold along with 10.5 acres. In 1963, Lois Maxon fell in love with the house and purchased it, converting it into a showplace for her family antiques and heirlooms. She developed the grounds as ornamental gardens and in 1968 donated Eden Gardens to the state.


William H. Wesley went into the sawmill business with Simeon Strickland, the man who later became his father-in-law. They built a sawmill on the edge of Tucker Bayou, on the northern edge of the property in Point Washington, Florida. The sawmill pictured in the photo was one of three that Mr. Wesley operated in that location between the 1890s and 1930s. The Wesley sawmill was used to cut yellow heart pine, forested locally in the Panhandle at the turn of the century. After the logs were cut, they were floated to Pensacola on barge-like structures for shipping to locations nationwide. Final destinations for the lumber included Chicago and New York City. The sawmill shut down in the 1930s as all the pine available for logging in north Florida had been timbered out. Yellow heart pine was a prized wood for building because it was a very hard wood and it has proven its worth to this day. The Wesley House has withstood the problems associated with Florida's climate, moisture and insects, unlike other buildings of that era.

Here's Tucker Bayou.  We sat on a bench overlooking the water.  It was so peaceful. Dolphins were swimming around in the quiet water.  When they came up to breathe we could hear them blow.
I loved it.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Pantry Takes Shape

A pantry is a wonderful thing to have.  It's where you hide those awful plastic thermos jugs and the dogfood, plus the brooms, mops and the Swiffer.  Also it's a good place to stash liquor and the potato chips.  And, if you happen to have any- it's where you put the canned goods.

In our old house we had a walk-in pantry--what a luxury.  The previous owner said the reason she bought that house was the walk-in pantry--she had two boys, so I believed her.  Since we loved that pantry and knew it was a good selling point, we realized we had to include one in this house--not as big, but as roomy as possible.

Here is it, tucked into the corner next to the fridge.  Luckily we had a door we could reuse, complete with crystal door knob and hardware.

We labored over what to do for shelves--should we go with the wire racks from Lowe's or maybe build wooden shelves?
I thought something almost industrial or from a professional kitchen would go with the "look" we were after.

Here's some inspiration:

(McAlpine Tankersly Architecture)

(Briggs Shelving)

(Restoration Hardware)

(Restoration Hardware Baker's Rack)

And finally the "in the flesh" shelves from Ikea.
  I liked the "professional kitchen" style and thought it would go with the other parts of our kitchen.

Of course since nothing is easy these turned out to be 3 inches too long. But the style was right.
We found that Ikea sells wooden shelves for these units--and we could cut them down to fit.

I spent 3 long hot--very hot steamy sweaty--days priming and painting.
Here's what we wound up with:

There's a touch of the industrial with the adjustible metal hangers.
Not exactly a match for the inspiration, but we gave it a shot.

Next time I'll measure the shelves and then build the pantry.