Monday, September 28, 2015

Renovation Wrap-up: The Kitchen

This is long overdue but rather than waste time on apologizing for why it's taken me so long to post these photos let's get right to it. 

Remember this gem? Oh, I know, cheery yellow, tiled countertops, tiny drawers  and parquet floors were the rage in the late 1950s but with the exception of the appliances nothing in this kitchen had changed since then. 

Let's break it down (which we did- literally):

This one is almost too easy- the transformation. It was a wall with a fridge plugged in, blocking the patio door. Thanks to my generosity, we broke through the wall behind the fridge, eliminating one of the closets in my office and created the space for the fridge, oven, microwave, pantry and storage.

An electric cooktop and minimal hood became Mr. G's dream gas cooktop and a hood vent so strong it will pull the hair off your head. He's happy so I'm happy.

Poor old ratty porcelain sink and rotted countertop. Now we have dual stainless steel sinks with these fabulous removable grids that stand on rubber feet and help protect the sinks from getting overly scratched.

Here's the big news: painted wood is actually more 'in' than natural wood right now. But for us, we wanted a more modern feel so stuck with a midcentury favorite (fir) and kept it natural.

 One of the big pictures- from demo to finish. The space didn't actually increase at all but the use of it did. A better layout, and extending the counter but not the cabinets above it means we have more storage but still have an open feel.

This was our kitchen...

This IS our kitchen! It wasn't an easy trek but we made it to the finish line and now have this great new kitchen to cook in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Around Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Before I move back into the land of home renovations I wanted to share the last place my mother and I visited when she was here recently. If you've ever had the chance to see a Chihuly glass sculpture then you know what an amazing visual experience they are. He's from Seattle so there is a permanent exhibit of his work here. Needless to say, it's a magical experience.

You can't talk about a trip to Seattle and not include a photo of the Space Needle! It is in the same center as the museum so I grabbed a quick shot before we went in. We opted not to go to the top- this trip.

One of the first rooms you enter is dark (as is much of the museum to better showcase the glass) and filled with these gorgeous bowls with fluted rims and ethereal combinations of color.

 From the outside the bowl is light greens and yellows but inside it is a sea green. I love that the rim is an almost neon blue ribbon around the top.

Two such different but vibrant colors- the fiery red on the outside but cool lavender inside.

This is a close-up of my favorite bowl. The gradations of blue with the pink white interspersed made me think of the ocean in sunlight. There is a feeling of movement in the colors.

This piece is a stunner, hanging in the corner of a room like a Rorschach test. What is it- a writhing mass of icy snakes? A whirling dervish? It is fierce and fragile at the same time.

Also along the theme of water, this is a massive installation that goes from floor to ceiling but it is the smaller hidden glass pieces that fascinate me.

If you've ever been to Las Vegas you've seen a Chihuly ceiling sculpture at the Bellagio. This one looks as if you're walking under the ocean floor with fantastical sunlight infused creatures floating above you. Magical.

This beautiful flower chain floats in the glass house. It has almost Chinese dragon feel about it.

Up close the feeling turns into one of Chinese fans- all lovely and striated, almost floating on air.

As you can see, I find much of Chihuly's work to be almost meditative. I can easily imagine sitting and looking at a single piece for hours- especially the glass house piece above, the ceiling sculpture and the bowls. Largely, because the play of light changes the eye's perception of shape, color, and meaning. Almost like looking at clouds as they shift from one shape to another.

Have you ever seen any of Dale Chihuly's work? If so, where and what did you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Around Seattle: Pike Place Market

It’s been almost a month without any updates on the house and for that I’m sorry. For all intents and purposes the renovation is over and we are living in our home but things did not go as planned and it’s taking me longer than I thought to get to a place where I want to write about it. Needless to say, it did not go as we expected it to go, but I promise to get back to all that next week. It’s just been quite overwhelming. Instead, I thought I’d go with a more fun touristy post because my mother was here last week for her first trip to Seattle. We did all the kinds of things you hear about when you hear Seattle. It was a lot of walking but a lot of fun, especially because we had absolutely perfect weather. First stop was the world famous Pike Place Market.

Of course I have to start out with a fish photo because that is what this market is known for. This is the fish counter where the workers throw entire salmon back and forth to each other but we missed that show.

 The rainy climate here has one very definite benefit- lots and lots of gorgeous flowers. We saw stall after stall of bouquets like this and they're only $10 each. At those prices you could have  fresh flowers in your home every week for less than your Starbucks fix.

The rest of this post could be nothing but fresh flowers because they are all so exquisite but I'm going to refrain except for this dahlia. Because really, who can resist such beauty?

And once you get these gorgeous flowers home you can't put them in any old vase. I loved these stained glass holders. Imagine how pretty they'd be in front of a window- the beauty of the flower and the sun shining through the glass.

And if you're allergic to real flowers, these adorable flowers are ceramic! The pots, the 'dirt', everything is sculpted from clay and painted. The detail up close is amazing.

No matter where you turn this time of year, there is color at the market. Flowers, fabrics, fruits, and even peppers.

Do you have a local market you like to visit? If so, what's in season in your neck of the woods and what's your favorite thing to buy?

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