Thursday, August 20, 2009

Designing Jewelry in Chaos – Who Moved My Island?

Someone mentioned to me recently that they were reading my blog to see the progress of my kitchen renovation, but wanted to see what the project looked like in the “before” photos. Of course they also mentioned that it was a “unique” concept for a blog – interior designs as inspiration for jewelry design. Well, I am afraid to say. . . it is a strange combination - but it is my life. I was an interior designer for 25+ years until I moved to Arizona and decided to try my hand at jewelry design. This of course, is the Cliffs Notes version of what happened.

Kitchen Before All The Mayhem Started

As it turns out, I actually had taken some photos of the kitchen and family room before we began this little odyssey. The last two weeks have really been about moving plumbing & running electrical lines in addition to more demo.

Family Room Fireplace Before

We bought this home from the original owners who apparently thought “outside the box” on some of their ideas. Such was the case with the fireplace. When we moved into the house, much to my chagrin, we were dealing with an electric fake fireplace that was truly an eyesore. It was not until the painter was changing the color from a very unappealing flesh color to riotous red, when he discovered what appeared to be a wood burning fireplace unit that had been pushed back into the recesses of the corner with the electric fireplace taking center stage! The entire concept was unimaginable to me! Who in their right mind would prefer fake logs to the real deal? I had to go outside to check if we actually had a chimney. Eureka – we did!

Family Room Fireplace After "Mantle", "Crown" And Electric Fireplace Are Removed

Suffice to say the idea of hooking up the original fireplace and getting rid of the ridiculous “mantle” that was apparently installed by someone with a severe case of vertigo and also removing the equally absurd decorative “Santa Fe” crown – was like finding a stash of diamonds for me! This idea has been stewing around in my head for several years, but I had no idea what might be involved in correcting this little horror or how much it might cost. Since the kitchen and family room are visually one space and we were making a mess anyway – it seemed like a good idea to rip everything out. More demo – more dust!

Kitchen Island Moved 6" - A New Wall & Base Cabinets Installed

There was a light at the end of that dusty tunnel. When the house was built, I suspect the crew must have been working on a Monday after a hard week-end of partying. The lines for the plumbing in the island were much too far away from the rest of the kitchen – 57” to be exact. As a result, the island made for a space planning nightmare! I made the decision to move the island back 6” to give us a smidge more room around the table. This little folly is pretty much like fixing a gunshot wound with a ban-aid – but it’s the best we can do! In any event, the island was torn down, the plumbing moved, a wall constructed and base cabinet boxes installed. The jury is still out on this idea.

My Favorite - Calcutta Oro Marble

Today the crew will begin the process of making the templates for the marble and I am so thrilled. My hubby knows that I have a radar for choosing the most expensive items in the showroom and this marble was no exception. Once I got a look at the Calcutta marble slabs – nothing else would do. Of course, that means we are already very much over budget. The truth is that even though I will take the blame for this budgetary disaster, hubby really liked the Calcutta as well and it became the inspiration point for the kitchen.

Somehow (and I don’t really even understand this myself), I have been a very busy bee making up jewelry for custom orders in the midst of all this confusion. Beading must be much more therapeutic than even I realized!
Densely Embedded Tourmilated Straws Create A Very Dramatic Feature Bead

Merlot Colored Pearls And Softly Cupped Petal Pearls Create A Dramatic Cluster

Since red is the color for fall - I decided to make up some earrings with some intriguing tourmilated quartz beads falling from a cluster of merlot red pearls. I loved the way they turned out and will probably make up a necklace using the same colors to add to the “Flora Collection". These colors remind me of the velvety deep red found in Celosia or Cockscomb. So, here I am again, designing jewelry in the midst of chaos!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Designing Jewelry in Chaos – What Lies Beneath

Okay. . .we are really hip deep in it now! It’s official. . .it’s too late to turn back! The kitchen demo has not only begun, but it is now a work in progress. This is clearly not the glamorous side of interior design! When hubby agreed to let me give the kitchen a facelift – I’m not certain he realized it would be deja vous.

Just before we moved from Boston to Arizona we underwent a massive renovation that went on for what seemed like forever. As a matter of fact, the paint was barely dry when we were transferred. We endured six months of dust, confusion and make-do meals and I don’t think it is my husband’s finest hour (or mine for that matter). Renovating a kitchen is probably the most disruptive remodel a family can make.

Furniture shrouded in plastic

The island will be the last item to be removed

We let the dust settle from the kitchen demo and went off to Boston to see our newest grandson last week – knowing what was waiting for us when we returned! On Monday, the carpenter just had some drywall delivered and it allowed us to get back into our routines after the visit to Boston. Tuesday was a bit more demo & dust. Yesterday was a busy day with the roofer showing up to remove the clay roof tiles in order to cut the hole for the range hood. In addition to the confusion of the hole being cut in the roof, the electrician showed up to continue running more electrical wires for the glass upper cabinets we are installing now that we have removed the soffit. Throughout all of this, I am feverishly trying to work on a fundraising event scheduled for this November. I think it was a bit too much.

Cooktop, soffits and three upper cabinets removed

OOPS! The Vent hole is in a roof valley - DO OVER!

Last night, I must have needed some bead therapy! I decided to pull off the plastic that is shrouding my jewelry supplies and dig around for inspiration. You would be amazed to see just how many gemstones are condensed into such a small area. Eureka! I finally found the luscious Pink Amethyst faceted beads I was looking for and the rest of the evening was all mine for “creative therapy.”

I was trying out some new ear wires I had commissioned. I must say that between the new design of the ear wires and the fact that they are Argentium (anti-tarnish) – I am a very happy gal. I have had these beautiful Pink Amethyst beads for several months and finally felt like the time was right to make up a new design. I love the look of the gently saucer shaped petal pearls with the sweet little violet-pink colored centers. They remind me of delicate flowers perched on top of a yummy candy.

Hopefully, by my next posting, the kitchen will be a bit further along and looking like it is making some progress toward being an actual functioning kitchen!