Saturday, October 24, 2009

Designing In Chaos – Okay, I Admit It – I Cheated!

If Mohammed cannot go to the mountain then the mountain must go to Mohammed!
Interior rebuild for exhaust fan completed.
Oven stack is finally installed after the electrical box is moved up 3".
In the continuing saga of the kitchen re-do – about a week ago, after a false start – the appliances were finally installed. Our previous attempt failed because the electrical box for the oven had to be moved up 3”. Understand. . .the spec sheet had absolutely zero information on where it should be. Additionally, the exhaust fan for the hood was too far off the cooktop to work properly and lowering the hood was not an option. A quick SOS to John, who has been doing all the rough carpentry, provided him with hours of problem solving. In order to make the exhaust fan lower, he would have to rebuild the side inserts of the French hood and locate a fabricator to cut and bend stainless steel panels. Man of action that he is – it all got done the same day. When the appliance installers returned – everything was as it should be and the install was a success.

Seedy glass is a directional glass - how did the installers not see the hinges!
You can still see the remnants of the previous ruby red paint in the AC vent!

Meanwhile, Tim our painter and his son, John (really, too many John’s on this project!) were continuing to obliterate the ruby red walls from our starting point and cover them with a lovely soft dove gray color. Additionally, they were hanging the upper glass doors (seedy glass inserts), adjusting some of the doors and drawers and adding the drawer pulls. Of course as luck would have it, two of the glass doors had the glass installed in the wrong direction so back to the glass company with those for a redo!

There it is - the induction cooktop that keeps calling my name!

At the end of the week, the first coat of paint was on the walls, the new induction cooktop and oven stack were installed and Tim & son even cleaned up some of the supplies and clutter from the worksite so we could see our vision! Hubby came home that night and gave me the thumbs up! Yeah! Of course, he promptly asked me, “What’s for dinner”? That is when we made the pact – even though I could now use the new cooktop and oven – we would wait until everything was finished.

Hubby has been in PA for the past week so it has been pretty easy for me to find something to eat. I wish I could say I am a food snob, but the truth is, I am happy with a bag of popcorn for dinner! The night hubby was due to come home (on a very late flight), I decided I did not want to go out foraging for food and located a tiny bundle of angel hair pasta and a jar of marinara sauce – good enough. Of course, boiling the water for the tiny bundle of pasta on my hotplate took about 25 minutes and 5 minutes to cook!

Why the food industry has yet to understand that not every consumer is feeding a family of six has always struck me as odd. You get the picture. . .I had a HUGE jar of marinara sauce left over. After a trip to the store for more pasta, tonight’s dinner was decided – left over marinara sauce and pasta!

The thought of waiting 45 minutes for the water to boil on the little hotplate was really just too much for me to bear! I really wanted to see if spending twice as much for the induction cooktop was worth it. I was as if that cooktop was calling my name and I was completely helpless to resist!

At 7:47PM I placed the water on the stove to boil. By 7:52 the water was at full throttle! Halleluiah! 5 minutes vs. 45 minutes – who can blame me! I am totally smitten with this new toy – it’s almost as good as getting a new car!

Assorted Bonbon Earrings for the IFDA Tableau gift bags

Like delectable confections - Bonbon Earrings

With hubby away for the week and the IFDA Tableau-Designing, Dining & Gaming event only about 3 weeks away, it was time for me to get serious about making up my donation for the Tableau gift bags. Every evening after dinner, I was free to sit down and create my little Bonbon Earrings for the gift bags while watching the wonderfully trashy Real Housewives of Atlanta and the equally compelling Flipping Out.

This is my third year to help coordinate the Tableau event and the second year we have raised money for Ryan House. Ryan House is a pediatric respite and palliative care facility that is the first of its kind being built in Phoenix. The nexus of their mission is to provide not only the necessary medical care for children with life-limiting conditions but also support and bereavement counseling for the families of these precious family members.

Dinner at Versaille - Most Elegant
Karen Wirrig of Karen Cole Designs

Venetian Carnival - Most Hollywood Glam
Dana George of Cielo Interiors

Soir Extraordinaire - Most Entertaining
Leslie Colvin of Room for a View

Glimpse of Peace - Best Use of Materials
Christine Norris of Your Home - Your Sanctuary
Karin Crawford of God's Garden Treasures
Let Them Eat Cake! - Most Creative
Celia Schauble of In The Pursuit of WOW!

Kaleidoscope - Best Use of Color
Adrienne Hart & Maggie Anderson
of H2Originals
By day, the general public can kick off the holiday season by viewing and voting on extraordinary “fantasy” tablescapes. By night, attendees will literally become part of a dining fantasy. Guests will dine with interior designers at truly unique and breathtaking tables, then travel – at least for a few hours – to Monte Carlo for casino-style gaming and the chance to win fabulous prizes.

If you happen to be reading this blog and live in the Phoenix area or perhaps just visiting, I encourage you to attend. More information and the link for ticket sales is available on the website – Please join us for this very fun, elegant and worthwhile event – and don’t forget your gift bag with the Bonbon Earrings!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Designing Jewelry in Chaos – A Girl Can Dream

I don’t want you to think that my kitchen renovation has come to a complete standstill – it has not! I am behind in my postings because it has been such a busy month for me – preparing for a jewelry trunk show, organizing the IFDA Tableau fundraising event for Ryan House, traveling and playing the "corporate wife" seemed to take up all my time recently.

The last time I took photos of the kitchen progress was about a month ago so; I want to make certain that these photos are documented. Sadly, just like everyone that tackles this type of renovation I have been no exception to delays during the project. Trying to make some type of dinner (or foraging for takeout meals) every night for almost 3 months has taken its toll. I am really ready for this to all be over – the novelty has definitely worn off!

Before the project started – I thought it would be easier than our kitchen renovation in Boston had been because: (a.) we were not tearing down to the studs (b.) we were keeping our cabinets – just replacing the doors and re-facing (c.) we were not replacing the floors at this time – that will be phase two (because I am certain what I want will be ridiculously expensive and hubby is not in the mood for spending – who can blame him!) and last but not least (d.) we have a fairly large laundry with counter space, cabinets and a sink. Piece of cake – right!

We moved the microwave, toaster oven, a hotplate (found in storage from my office in Boston), and a few (very few) necessities for cooking into the laundry room just as the hammers began to swing during demo. Our extra garage refrigerator (just outside the laundry room door) has become much more important than I had ever anticipated. You try to make dinner with only a 3’ long section of counter space! It is a wonder hubby and I have not murdered each other – talk about too many cooks in the kitchen! Even Barbie’s dream kitchen makes our laundry room kitchen seem spacious. You would be amazed at how handy the top of the washing machine can be when you are trying to make a salad!

In the midst of all the dust and construction in the kitchen as well as the cramped reheating of take out food in our laundry roomРI found the kitchen of my dreams. Obviously this Beverly Ellsley kitchen is an East Coast kitchen, which is where my head belongs even though my body is living in the Southwest. If I still lived on the East Coast, this kitchen has some of the most delicious elements I could imagine. I adore the idea of the parquet island top with the metal banded edge and also the magnificent refrigerator doors that look like French carved panels. The limestone floors, delicate appliqu̩ details on the glass door panels and the beautiful over mantle just speak to me Рthis is the most elegant kitchen I could imagine. Some of us look best in blue jeans and a t-shirt and others look best in a ball gown! I fall into the latter category РI LOVE formal Рand that applies to my interior design preferences as well. You better believe a girl can dream!

Back to reality. . . about a month ago, this is where we were. The upper cabinet boxes have now been installed and the walls of the island are up. Let’s not forget the upper cabinet lighting and the under cabinet lights are also installed and blaring! These photos were taken just before my kitchen took on the appearance of a spray booth for the lacquer finish of the cabinets. Actually that was probably the worst part of the entire process so far (and no photos of that little mess) – the dust was unimaginable even though Tim, our painter of five years, brilliantly constructed an exhaust system for the fumes and dust. It was a wonder my housekeeper, Blanca, did not resign on the spot!

In the family room, a very large hole had to be cut into the drywall in order to check the vent after the fireplace was put back into position. Once the vent was checked and secured, the large chunk of drywall was put back into place, taped, floated & textured. At least that was quick and fairly painless (except for the expense) and we will now have a quasi-real fireplace rather than the “fairy tale” fireplace that the original owners had installed.

Somehow through all the mess, I was able to get a few new jewelry designs for the Fall ready to go and just in time for the Trunk Show at Do me a Favor. Unfortunately, several of the newest designs, sold at the Trunk Show, were completed just days before the show and I simply ran out of time for photographing. Not to worry, I have lots of new ideas for Fall/Winter that still remain to be made up – so keep checking the web site. New designs are being listed as they are completed.

We are now in the home stretch for the kitchen renovation so. . . perhaps the next posting (following shortly) will begin to look a bit more like a kitchen and less like a mess!