Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nantucket Summer Trip

We returned from our annual summer trip to New England a few weeks ago.  I am a bit delayed capturing it on the blog because we came back to a whirlwind of activity - film camp, basketball camp, band camp and a book photo shoot of our entire home.  (I will blog about the photo shoot soon.) However,  I wanted to make sure I took the time to document our trip before the memories become a little hazy.

We drove to Nantucket this year.  A first for us since we normally fly.  We decided somewhat what spur of the moment to drive and make it a 13 day trip instead of just a week.  I know it is going to sound crazy, especially coming from me, who in the past would do everything in my power to avoid any sort of road trip beyond 90 minutes, but the drive there and back was one of my favorite parts of our vacation.  We took 3 days to get there and 3 to return (it's about a 12.5 hour drive total). We took a few detours to make both spontaneous and planned stops.  My favorite moment was at a rest stop on the last leg of our trip home, when I spied Andrew squeezing Charlie in a bear hug and asking him if he knew how much he loved him.  I vowed then and there to always drive (within reason, of course, no cross country trips for us), to sing duets with Jimmy (loudly and very off key), to listen to podcasts and talk about odd events in history with Andrew, to drive through tunnels dug through mountains, to stop at country motels for the night with small beds that aren't really meant to be shared, to pull off course to lunch at the oldest inns and taverns in America, to leave the highway and take back roads through charming towns - it was all good.  The all-American family road trip has its value, both in the the way it lets you see the country and how it brings you closer as a family.  I finally get it!  Though when children are younger I still say fly whenever you can!!

On the way down we stopped in Buffalo, NY to see Niagara Falls and eat wings (of course!).  We went on the Maid of the Mist and got soaked.  In part from the falls and in part from the shower that broke out about halfway through the trip.  It was so windy and wet and we looked completely hilarious in our flimsy little blue ponchos.  We climbed the crumbling stone steps alongside the falls afterward (still in the rain and still very windy).  It was Andrew's favorite outing of our vacation.  From there we headed east to explore the quaint towns of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.  We stayed in Lenox and I made Jimmy promise to bring me back in the fall because it must be spectacular.  Before heading to the Cape we spent a half day at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.  Charlie's favorite outing of the trip! On the drive back to Ohio we went through coastal Conneticut and ate at the touristy Mystic Pizza, because how could we not? We explored Essex and Madison as well.  The RH Julia Bookstore in Madison was so lovely - thanks to the Instagram friend that recommended it.  We left with a bag full of books. We did a lot of walking down old streets and hunting out the most charming spots to sit, to eat, to house stalk.

Nantucket was perfect.  I mean really perfect.  You don't get too many of those in a lifetime.  Stretches of days where everyone is happy, sun kissed, and enjoying each other's company. The weather was spectacular for the whole week (sheer luck).  We rented one of the old whaling cottages right in the center of Sconset, complete with sloped floors, mysterious little hideaways, and oddly placed staircases.  I loved preparing breakfast on the old butcher block counters with my bare feet occasionally stepping on sand traipsed in from the beach.  We woke up each morning (early. so early) to a view of the sun coming up over the ocean and the sound of sea gulls outside.  Jimmy and I walked the bluff after tea and coffee on our little patio and gathered wildflower bouquets from empty fields to fill the glass jars in our cottage.  It was chilly at night but we slept with the windows open anyway.  Jimmy and I enjoyed a lovely date night and after dinner we took a blanket and wine down
 to the beach to watch all the stars come out in the clear, black sky. Our backyard was a shell street
with a path down to the beach.  We biked, spent hours and hours at the beach, ate lots of seafood and found a few treasures to bring home for souveniers.  A highlight was chartering a sailboat for just the
4 of us for a cruise around the island... Jimmy played quite a bit of golf...  Charlie attended a Celtics basketball camp one day and Andrew did lots of exploring by bike...  We had a fabulous dinner at the wonderfully quaint Ship's Inn (a new favorite of this trip. I have ambitious plans to recreate their chocolate soufflĂ©!) We saw an incredible sunset at Madaket, but it was so chilly we didn't linger too long after it went down....   We  biked to Sankaty lighthouse after dinner several nights....  I did a few more meals at home this year than in the past.  The more often we go, the more we tend to hunker down in Sconset and take fewer trips into town.  What I miss most when we return is the beautiful light of Nantucket and the smell of the air in Sconset.  It is hard to capture in words.  And pictures don't do it justice.  (PS. All pics with iPhone this year since I misplaced my charger for my camera battery.  Which I found pulling into our garage at the very end of the trip - inside of the glovebox!! Ha.)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Work || A Charming Cottage Kitchen

I'm so excited to finally share this charming kitchen with you!   The homeowners, Matt and Katie,  are best friends and neighbors of ours and it was such a honor to have them entrust me to create their dream kitchen.

I've "helped" them decorate their home over the years with a suggestions here and there, talking Katie into and out of purchases and starting her obsession with check fabric.  She is totally responsible for my love of embroidered clothing, so you see, we are good for each other. ;)  However, when she first asked to me to design their kitchen, I wasn't so sure it was the best idea.  When you are so close to someone and know their taste so well it could either be a match made in heaven or put a strain on the friendship.  I have really strong opinions about what I think will look best and there were a few areas that took some convincing  (I lost the battle for a butler's pantry and I might still mention it every time I'm over. Haha.)  Thankfully, the whole experience brought us closer together and resulted in a kitchen that couldn't be more "Katie" if it tried.

Katie and Matt (and their three beautiful children) live in a 1920s tudor with beautiful old millwork and character filled nooks and crannies. The rooms are small, but cozy and bright, with a very fresh, cottage feel, so my biggest goal was to create a kitchen that was in keeping the period and style of their home, with a scale that made sense with the other rooms.  For example, a massive island with seating for five just didn't make sense, even though it took a few rounds to "sell" them.

Their wish list included:
gray painted cabinets
a copper hood with scallops (Katie was in love with one she saw on an episode of Fixer Upper)
a farmhouse sink
an island
open shelving
a beautiful fabric for window treatments
brass hardware (well, at least one of them wanted brass and the other kept referring to his Grandma's brass hardware, that he didn't love.)

Here are a couple before photos:

 ^^The new kitchen sits primarily where the counter with the glass cabinets above it is through to the old dining area. The stove wall is where the glass doors were. They have a dining room adjacent to the kitchen for eating as a family now.^^
^^The area where the door and stove are in the above is now closed off to create a laundry room.  This is area where I wanted a butler's pantry. Dang laundry and real life. haha^^


^^ A pretty side by side casement window over the farmhouse sink and little furniture feet on the base of the cabinet made this an extra charming spot.  The sconces over all the windows are one of my favorite details.  They give off such pretty light too.  All the hardware and lights are unlacquered brass that will continue to darken over time.^^

^^Custom slips for the counter stools and farmhouse table legs on the island.  I love when there is space to have stools on more than one side, to encourage conversation and make it feel more like a table and gathering spot.  The pendants were made with a custom length for 8 foot ceilings.  The counters are quartz.^^

^^ A repetitive scallop detail on the cake stands and plates, in keeping with the cottage feel of the kitchen.^^

^^ Pantry wall^^
^^ Hours were spent finding the perfect fabric.  We both adored this one and knew it was "the one"  the second we saw the sample.^^

^^The first plans called for a corner cabinet here to allow for more counter space, so glad we skipped that an added the cabinets down to the counter which feels more like a cupboard^^

^^White subway tile to ceiling on this wall^^
^^Tile to just under shelves on this wall^^
^^I wanted to show this shot so you could see the adjoining mudroom.  I picked out slate tile for the floor and a deeper gray color for the built-ins (there is a full wall of storage cubbies opposite the bench), we pulled in the same fabrics and a touch or blue and white on the umbrella stand to help the spaces to work together.  Walls are painted the same as the kitchen. The mudroom was a new addition.^^

They couldn't be happier with the final kitchen and I feel the same!  
Thanks for visiting and letting me share the details.  

Sources listed below with permission from the homeowners:
Counters: Misty Carrera, Caesarstone
Cabinet Color: Repose Gray, Sherwin Williams
Wall Color: Swiss Coffee, Ben Moore
Hardware: Bona, Oakley, OH
Hood: Custom, Copper Smith
Roman Shade Fabric: Chelsea Editions
Bar Stool Fabric: Chelsea Editions
Sink and faucet: Kohler
Pendant Lights: Circa Lighting
Sconces: School House Electric