Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haven to be on Kitchen Tour

Harry and I are honored to have been asked to put our house on the local Kitchen and Garden tour this spring. A local photography duo, GiammarinoDworkin Photography and Styling came by on Tuesday to take some shots for the publicity. They generously give of their time to the Fan's Woman's club and were kind enough to forward some of the shots to me. Now that the kitchen is complete and I have some decent shots, I can give you the complete tour.

Above is a shot taken toward the east. Lovely morning light comes in and floods the sink area while I make coffee for Harry and myself. The dishwasher is hidden behind a panel to the right of the sink. It is a Bosch and is so so quiet. To the left of the sink is a double trash bin, again hidden behind a panel.

The counter tops are Carrera marble, honed. This choice was made despite several warnings but I just love the way it looks. It is not for the faint of heart, though - it is showing some wear and tear already.
Here is the "before" shot facing in the same direction. The configuration of the kitchen pretty much remains the same - sink, range and dishwasher are in the same locations. We added a window in the northeast corner to add light and for balance. The wall to the right was removed.
The shot above is taken facing north toward the back yard. The range is a duel fuel Wolf and I have gotten used to the convection feature. On either side of the range are drawers - so much easier to use than cabinets! The island is made out of alder to coordinate with my Welsh dresser.
I purchased this Welsh dresser at Urban Country in Bethesda years ago for the Living Room in northern Virginia mainly for books. When we moved to Haven I made finding a place for this in the kitchen a priority. Now it is home to my Portmerion collection and hides all other bits that I need at my fingertips. The table is a gate leg that was the first antique that Harry and I purchased together in Seattle at an antique shop right at the ferry landing. The set of eight chairs were purchased at a flea market at the Meadows race track south of Pittsburgh many moons ago. The chandelier has followed us around since we lived in Alexandria, Virginia - it has sentimental attachment and helped to set the color palette for the other light fixtures in the room and the wall tile behind the range.
And speaking of wall tiles, they are glass subway tiles, purchased from my brother-in-law's company, Villi USA. In the original kitchen, to the right of the refrigerator was a powder room/laundry room.
The door above led into that space. All of that was removed (laundry moved upstairs and powder room moved to under front stairs) to open up the space and eliminate bathroom activity right next to the eating area. Here is a "before" shot of the wall where the back stairs are. That gas heater was a sign that things were probably pretty chilly back in this part of the house. Luckily, with insulation and our new heating system, we are always comfortable. That light fixture mysteriously disappeared before closing - it was supposed to convey. I was sure I could make a bundle on ebay. Now that wall houses a double row of shallow shelving where I keep all the kitchen staples and dog paraphenalia. The back stair railing was changed to open it up more to the room.

Here is a shot taken toward the family room.

The original heart pine floors could not be salvaged from under layers of asbestos and carpet. I've blogged about that here and here.

And lastly credit and thanks go to the awesome team at Reveal Build, LLC for helping me to design and build the kitchen and family room of our dreams. They were in my house every day for about 5 months and they and all of their subs were extremely hard working, professional and fun to be around. I miss having them here. Strange, I know--but true.

The kitchen and garden tour is in May. I'll send further information about it as time nears. In the meantime I have a lot to do to get ready. The foyer and upstairs hallways and stair case have yet to be painted. I counted the pickets the other day - 77. We're expecting snow this weekend so I'll have a project to keep me busy. The back yard has great bones but needs a spruce up. I love a project and having a deadline.
This shot was taken from my office window last April. It is truly a haven and I'm so lucky to be the current caretaker.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bead-less in Richmond

One of the things I miss most about my former life is my beading group. I joined Northern Virginia Bead Society several years ago and through that organization, and several classes at Star's Beads in Vienna, got hooked on beads, wire, silver, etc. I was also part of a group that got together on Fridays and we would help each other on projects, learn a new technique or go on a field trip. Lasting friendships came out of that group and I try like heck to keep them going. One of the highlights of the year in the Bead Society is the challenge bead project. The membership is given a bead or set of beads and the directive is to create something with them and show up at the Christmas party for a show and tell. It isn't a competition, just a fun show and tell.

This year we commissioned Lisa St. Martin to make a glass bead for each of us. This is what we all received: Photo courtesy of Anji Johnston

This year we arranged to have the pieces in a show at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center.
This is a wire bracelet that I created using the focal bead and other lamp work beads created by Lisa.

Susi DuPuis creates beautiful flowers with old plastic containers - recycle art!!
Beth Eltinge combines her talents with peyote, Russian spiral and brick stitches to create this lariat.
Alison Lovitt-Reinfeld creates amazing multiple strand necklaces.

Denise Rivers combined her talents in wirework, bead crochet and bead stringing to create this masterpiece.

A gorgeous creation by Janet Flynn

And last but not least, Raye Ann Fife combines bead embroidery with semi-precious stones - just incredible.

There are several more pieces not pictured here. The show is up until the end of January so if you find yourself on I-95 near the Lorton exit you should pull off and see the show and visit the other studios. What a great re-use of an old prison. If walls could talk!!!
Here are some of the talented crew - I miss you guys!!!

Thanks to Julie Glixon for letting me use her photos.

Is there a bead community lurking out there in RVA? There are a few great shops but they don't seem to offer the same caliber of classes that I had access to in the northern part of the state.

That's okay - I'm thoroughly ensconced in my acrylic painting class right now.
I think this painting is done - how does one know when to stop??

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Painting Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart

as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

I know it is a strange time of year to be writing about peonies but I started a painting last week of a peony - my favorite flower. According to ancient folklore the moon goddess created this flower to reflect the moon’s beams during the night. Many artists before me have put brush to canvas in an attempt to capture the flower's allure.

For Christmas Harry gave me a subscription to The Artist's Magazine and on the cover is an oil painting of an arrangement of peonies. I thought, "hmm, I wonder if I could paint like that."

The medium I'm currently using is acrylics. So, last weekend I pulled out an old gessoed board and got to work. I did a rough sketch and then did the under painting and in class on Monday I started blocking in some true color.

I need to go back in and do some more drawing of pedals in the center.

I got some new brushes for Christmas. I'm stuck between not wanting to use them as they are so pretty and hovering over the paint with them!!

I also received a box of soft pastels. Watch out Wolf Kahn.

I'd love to stay home and paint today but I'm off to Charlottesville to meet some friends for lunch. I wish I could visit Monticello today as I just finished a great book Saving Monticello by Marc Leepson about the Levy family's involvement in the home. I highly recommend it. I think I'll go to Charlottesville again in the spring - it is way too cold today to venture up that mountain.

Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside

Radiators. Objects of art or things to hide? I grew up in an old Tudor outside of New York City that had radiators. I remember the oil man dragging his hose up to the house and pumping the tank full. And I can remember curling up on the bathroom rug in front of the radiator, trying to get as close as possible without burning skin on those frigid New York mornings.

Aside from their ability to gently and evenly heat a room, radiators can dry wet gloves,warm bath towels, and, topped with a pan of water, they can even humidify the air. Late Victorian–era ones with embossed scroll work and floral motifs are also a reminder of a time when even the most utilitarian fixtures featured high-style design and fine craftsmanship. I'm lucky enough to have a couple in Haven. The one pictured above in the entry is too pretty to hide and we need the full exposure to knock the cold back that comes through the front door. The poodle knows where to hang out.

Detail of Living Room radiator

The radiator pictured below, from the guest bath, for some reason, never was renovated. I'm hoping that there is someone in town that specializes in this as I do not want to paint this thing.

The one in the Dining Room had to be covered up as it was messing with my need for symmetry on that wall. I had a cover made and painted it the same shade as the walls.

I love the banging and hissing noises they make - signaling heat is on the way. That combined with the train whistles and sirens harmonize into a city symphony that we listen to when we're all tucked up in bed.

One of the first things we did when we started to renovate was install a heat pump system that also supplies central air conditioning. Heating specialists tried to convince us to lose the radiators. After much thought we've opted to stick with a dual system. The heat pump keeps us warm (and dried up) when the temperature isn't so bad out and the radiators kick in when the heat pumps can't keep up. Gas prices in Richmond, for some reason, are high compared to other places we've lived. We heard nightmare stories about $400 a month gas bills - the heat just goes right up to the high ceilings and out through the uninsulated windows.

I hope no matter where you are right now that you're as warm and toasty as I am.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Looking Forward and Back

I, for one, am glad it is over. I felt a bit melancholy this year - I guess because I'm in a new city and, although I loved all the Richmond festivities, I missed my old friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. I also lost a beloved uncle on Christmas Eve which, although not unexpected, still sent us all reeling and trying to figure out how to get to Erie, PA and then deciding not to go as they were having yet another snow storm thanks to that lake effect situation that they are always in at this time of year. I did snap out of it from time to time thanks to a visit to my older sister's house outside of Baltimore and a visit to the in-laws in Reading, PA. A stop in Reading is not complete without at least one pint of beer and a Reuben sandwich at the Ugly Oyster bar in downtown Reading and a visit to the Vanity Fair outlet for some new sneakers and the after Christmas wrap and card sale. After a stop in D.C. to get a few days of work in and a visit to my friend Loi and his new home, I was ready to come back to Richmond and put all of the Christmas decorations away.

I'm trying to look forward and not back so, although I don't make New Year's resolutions, I think this is a good time of the year and my life to make some lists.

1. Get out from behind the computer and get to know Richmond better.
2. Paint more often. I started an acrylic class last year and I am enjoying it and hope to make major strides this year with the help of my teacher, Adele Castillo. Credit goes to Anji Johnston for her suggestion that I pick up a paint brush. This blog is likely to become more of an art blog as decorating funds have dried up. This painting of pears is in progress.And here is an under painting of some peonies that I will take to class tomorrow. Depending on how it goes I'll post more photos of it Tuesday.
3. Jog the entire Ukrop's 10K. I haven't lived in Richmond long enough to have gotten attached to Ukrops grocery store but most long time Richmonders are in mourning after the sale of their beloved grocery to the same company that owns Giant (Washington, D.C.) However, I have lived here long enough to know the Ukrop's family is extremely generous to charities and the 10K is one example of that. The race goes down Monument avenue - a few blocks from Haven. Harry and I are in training.
4. Start doing the research into materials for renovating the Master Bath. Here is a before:
The space itself is quite large and it has a gorgeous Palladian window that lets in tons of natural light.Welshie soaking up the rays on a 20 degree day.

Lots of issues need to be resolved - like - lose the linen closet and install a shower? Heat the floors? Take the tile way up onto the 10' walls? Double vanity or single? I'm not sure when we'll get to this but hopefully in 2010. I can't stand the gray carpet much longer. Another "before" shot.

I could add a zillion more things but will spare you for now.

Happy 2010 from Haven on Hanover!!