Saturday, June 23, 2012

Old and New in Kitchen Renovation

I want to start this post by thanking Stacy at Red Door Home for recognizing Tone on Tone as blog of the month in June. One of my first supporters, she has been a tremendous friend. Thank you, Stacy! I’m thoroughly honored.

Speaking of friends, I’d like to share my friend Tracey’s beautifully renovated kitchen. A few things about Tracey: she is incredibly kind and family oriented; nuts about France; and very respectful of the architecture of her early 20th-century home in a historic neighborhood. In creating a family-friendly kitchen, inspired by France, Tracey handled the renovation with passion, care and respect for the original spirit of the house.

Let’s start the tour:
Tracey and her family wanted a French country kitchen with character and warmth. The French enamel range-oven is by Lacanche, and steel hood was custom designed around an unusually small antique iron fireback. Old tiles are being considered for the backsplash.
 Above is a photo showing the before. The 1980's picture window is now two double-hung windows over the farm sink (below).
Open shelves and two sinks help make the kitchen accessible to all.
We enjoyed tea with Tracey's homemade scones and her daughter's green tea cookies - yum!
New Tolix counter stools from France.
These vintage French industrial pendants are from my shop. I am delighted they found such a lovely home.
The cabinets are cypress with a custom-aged finish with white-washed coloring.
Reclaimed pine beams add cosiness to the 11' ceilings in the kitchen and breakfast room.
Doesn't Moose (all 150 lbs) look dashing in his summer cut?
The antique terra-cotta floor tiles were reclaimed in France.
With specks of fossils throughout, the honed 2" thick Massangis Jaune Clair limestone countertops have a time-worn feel. BTW, coasters are not used on the countertops; isn't that awesome?
Hi, Sophia! This is Tracey's little niece. Sophia stopped by for tea, and played the piano for us. Then she left to go to the pool; seems like she's having a good summer :-)

I hope you all are having a good summer, too. A special thanks to Tracey and her family for allowing me to share their kitchen!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Swedish Gardens and Landscapes

For a country with such a cold climate, Sweden offers surprisingly glorious gardens and unique landscapes. Cool summer temperatures and long hours of sunlight together with fertile soil help offset the short growing season.

I discovered Sweden’s beautiful landscapes when we first traveled there in the mid 1990s. A short drive outside the cities leads to verdant woodlands of pristine white birches, fragrant evergreens, lush ferns along with ancient rocks and boulders covered in moss and lichen. Equally lovely, the countryside is scattered with wildflowers.

Enjoy these photos from last week's trip and past visits.
Yellow fields of canola rapeseed plants burst into bloom in late spring.
 I love the barns dotting the countryside.
 We visited the herb, hops and vegetable gardens of Carl Linnaeus, the father of botany. A charming "green roof" on an 18th century cottage. Goats would have been placed on top to keep the grass in check.
Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a renowned Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. He is often portrayed with a sprig of his favorite flower: Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis).
Many of the medicinal and herbal plants in this garden would have been studied and used by Linnaeus. We noted lavender, thyme, sage, verbascum, chamomile, hops, valerian and more.
Violas growing under hops.
I love the lichen surface on the rustic, silvery willow fences. Behind is a row of garlic plants.
Isn't this "living" willow edger a great idea?
My first time seeing the angelica biennial herb plant.
Drifts of lupines were blooming everywhere last week---from roadside to meadow fields. A challenge for us in DC, I was especially excited to see lupines growing so vigorously.
We revisited Gunnebo, one of the finest Gustavian homes. The all organic gardens range from dignified and structured to naturalistic and informal.
The Chinoiserie railings are charming.
 Gray-on-gray Gustavian color scheme on the barns.
The cottage cutting garden.
A view of the woodlands beyond the parterre and fountain.
Last, a visit to a private garden with this amazing conservatory and antique statuary.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My New Home Office

I love old houses! Our 1916 Mediterranean style stucco home is full of period details such as the front loggia, green tiled roof, and gracious French windows and doors.
There are also drawbacks to life in “this old house.” One disadvantage is the lack of closet space. It never bothered me that a guest bedroom did not even have a closet. Pack light, I advised guests.

Recently, I converted that guest room into my home office, and knew it was time to install a closet system---something that could store my design boards, floorplans, samples, loose fabric memos, and files. So, I designed a built-in wall unit consisting of bookshelves, desk, drawers, and a wardrobe (for clothing should it be converted back to a bedroom). 

My office is still a work in progress, but I want to share what I’ve done.
My new home office with lots of storage. The upper wardrobe on the left is actually one unit (not divided) that can accomodate a large TV.
 The guest bedroom before the changes.
 This is my sketch. I made one change: a shelf, over the windows, for my collection of vintage garden items. 
 Two 56" wide drawers hold loose fabric memos. Since the drawers are so big, I went with oversized bin pulls from Restoration Hardware.
 I found the perfect metal bins, in two sizes, at Container Store.
I decided to continue our 9" baseboards around the front of the cabinetry, and had base drawers installed for more storage---great for floorplans.
 I am using these white magazine holders from Container Store for files.
 Looking down to the garden. Maybe I'll get a Mac for Christmas :)
 The green tiled roof over the front loggia.
 We made this custom 80" high bulletin board: stapled old linen curtain panel onto homasote board, and framed with stock molding from Home Depot. So pleased with how this DIY project turned out. Thank you to Nancy at Powell Brower for telling me about the homasote!
 The sitting area with a Swedish chest, terra-cotta finial converted to lamp, club chairs, antique French floral painting, and contemporary abstract painting. Eventually, I would like to cover the entire wall with artwork.
 A Swedish folksy demi-lune with 2 unusual variegated myrtle topiaries. The mirror is quite beat up, but I love it.
 I would like an ottoman with wooden legs on castors....probably in blue and white ticking fabric.
My latest plant obsession: fancy leaf geraniums. I am growing these for the foliage, and will pinch off the flowers unless they are white :-)