Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kitchen Progress

I was supposed to be making progress on some of the projects that were already under way but one thing sometimes leads to another.  When I was finishing up painting in the kitchen, I got sidetracked and started a new one.

The kitchen has gone through a few different stages.  This is what it looked like when I bought the house, the scrambled eggs and band-aids color combo.  It's been painted a few times including the hideous tile that was primed and painted BM Decorator's White.

To make room a new bathroom, I gave up about 2-1/2 feet out of the kitchen.

That ended up looking like this.  I had a 1960s dishwasher (used only for storage) on one side of the stove, and a microwave cart on the other.  The old table in the middle of the kitchen that used for prep space was too big for the smaller kitchen.

I tried the green antique console table which looked great but was too low and too small to be practical.

I was lucky to find an old, paint spattered lab table with slate top that was the perfect size and height for an island.  A real bargain found in Maine.  So, as I was painting, I thought this dishwasher and microwave cart solution was just a little too pitiful.  So I scoured the house for Home Depot gift cards and cashed them in for a few adult kitchen cabinets. 

I primed and painted them with Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray.  It was great luck that the top to the old dishwasher and microwave cart fit the cabinets so I didn't have to buy countertop although I have my eye on a butcher block slab at IKEA.

Yes, I've decided to go without a microwave.  Totally old school.

I thought this looked so much better although not a great deal more efficient.  As much I loved my vintage cow print above the stove, I thought open shelving would let me keep things I use everyday (and a few snazzy decorative items) right at hand and open up a little room in the cramped pantry.

Back to Home Depot.

And voila, new kitchen shelves.  The brackets are a 10" wood bracket that I painted Benjamin Moore White River.  The walls are Sweet Spring.  The shelf is 1x8-inch pine to which I tacked a 1x2-inch board on the front to make the shelves look chunkier.  You can see what I mean on the end of the shelf (above).

But from the front, it looks just like thick slab of wood.

I'm still working on where everything goes, but I love having everything at hand.  I also added a vintage metal clipboard that's perfect to keep a recipe at eye height.

I painted the sink cabinet to same Rockport Gray as the new cabinets. The old upper cabinets match the open shelves for a consistent look.

A few weeks ago when I met Carol from House and Home Defined, she mentioned that she liked going antiquing so we made a play date and went to the Cambridge Antiques Market today to look for a few things I wanted for the dining room and kitchen shelves.  

The Cambridge Antiques Market is a multi-dealer store and has a little something for everyone.  This was one of my favorite booths.

I have real weakness for pottery and this stuff was beautiful.

As luck usually has it, you never find what you're looking for but you find a few things you didn't know you needed.

I came home with these old mezzalunas and some weird pair of clippers.  I think they're great as sculpture.

And those have found a home on the wall as you walk into the kitchen.

Carol and I had a great time.  I can't tell how nice it was for me to walk around such a place with someone who shares my excitement and vision for things.  What until you see the little project she talked me into!

I'll add it to the list.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bow Street Flowers

A little while back while reading comments on the Small but Charming blog, I found a florist whose blog photos really caught my attention.  Not only were their flower arrangements stunning, but they had rabbits running around their shop.  Turns out they're local!

Photo:  Weddings by Two

I was off work today running errands and found myself driving by so I stopped in to introduce myself.  The lovely women of Bow Street Flowers, welcomed me with open arms and even offered me a seat to sit down and chat.  We had such a great time, I would bet I was there over an hour.  I even scored a big hug from Shelley and Gillian when I left!

I didn't have my camera with me so I hope they don't mind I've borrowed a few photos off their blog and website so you can see what they do.

For my local followers, I hope you'll stop by their store and see their lovely shop.  It's on Beacon Street between Inman and Porter Square, about half a block from Dali restaurant.  Tell them I sent you!

Bow Street Flowers
108 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA  02143

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back Porches

My back porches have been the source of a few sleepless nights.  My vision for the front of house has been clear from the very beginning, but the plan for the porches has always been cloudy.  The porches are not original, they were added around 1940.  If you recall my earlier stories about the house being a two-family house, it's my belief that the porches were added as a requirement of second egress from the upstairs apartment.

Here's what that area of the house looked like a few years ago.  After ripping out the ramp, the old concrete patio underneath it, and the sidewalk that ran across the entire lawn...

...I ripped out the staircase that rendered the lower porch unusable, swapped out the old barn railings for a square-spindled balustrade and painted them to match the house.

And after renovating the front part of the house, the porches were painted to match the new exterior.

Here's a closeup of them.  They're just not right.

If you've been following for a while, you'll remember I investigated closing in the porches to expand the kitchen and create an incredible master bedroom suite.  It would a good idea ONLY if I were planning to sell the house in the short term.  The square footage it would add to the house would provide a great return on investment.  But as everyone agreed, keeping the porches is a better idea.  

So I've been collecting images of two-story porches on old houses and narrowed it down to two.

The first option uses a series of single columns with a second story porch that sits behind the columns.  In the end, I felt this would give too much importance to the back porches.  Better for a front facade I think. 

I think the better approach is to break up the vertical elements into two distinct sets of smaller posts/columns on each floor.  

I also want to replace the windows in the kitchen and master bedroom with French glass doors.  This is a much more symmetrical treatment that seems perfect for a Greek Revival.

This is the architect's drawing of the new plan.  It may look a little funny just because we've left off the siding so the columns and balustrades are more clear.  It would have clapboards just like the rest of the house.  I think I'm happier with this than anything else I've considered.  By closing up the old door, it also leaves room inside between the dining room and kitchen for a pantry closet or an old hutch.

It does break up the porch into two smaller areas.  I could get maybe three chairs one side and little cafe table on the other.   I think that would be just fine.


I've got a lot of little projects that need finishing up so I hope to work on those and enjoy the summer a little bit.  So I won't be posting too much unless anything newsworthy comes up.  I hope everyone enjoys their summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Day in Provincetown

Last year I did a post on Ferol Warthen and the Provincetown print.  Her work is very scarce so I feel lucky to have one of her little prints (about 2x3 inches) entitled "Violets."  When mom and I were in Provincetown a few days ago, we visited the museum and I was thrilled to see...

...her original woodblock for the print.   I still think the blocks are as lovely as the prints.

Here are a few other random photos from our day in P'town.

Painting by Byron Browne at PAAM.

Penelope Jencks "Stuck" sculpture at PAAM.

The gardens were beautiful.

The next several paintings were ones that mom loved.  She made me take the photos so I thought I'd share them.  Our tastes are very different but the things she chose are still very lovely.

You can frequently see the charming seaside cottages...

...depicted in paintings in the town's many art galleries.  (I wonder if the owners find it weird?)

We enjoyed all the beautiful homes and gardens.

The quaint shops.

A little local color.

A place to sit and enjoy the artwork at Julie Heller East Gallery.

And a walk by John Derian's house.  

I first noticed this 1796 house when it went up for sale a few years ago.  It had great bones and amazing view of the harbor but was in desperate need of restoration.  It's been nice to see it come back to life.  See inside photos on Martha's website here.  It's very crusty chic.  I love it.

This was the only day during mom's visit that it didn't rain, so this was a great day.