Other Peoples Pantries....not panties

Pantry's and other stuff......
  I love to cook and stumbled onto a great blog called The Perfect Pantry.  Each week she features " Other peoples Pantry's"  It is really fun and a little bit of voyeurism.  I have to add that some of the pantry's are sort of scary.  Many seem to be very unorganized but there have been so many that are knock your socks off amazing and full of incredible ideas.  This blog is also an unlimited resource of great recipes and cooking expertise.  

Above is a hall closet that was for coats and shoes that I converted into a pantry.  Not a big challenge, however it proved to be important to me as a cook.  I'm sort of a neat freak and keep this pantry pretty much stocked and organized most of the time.  Here is the new closet.

Left of the pantry stuff is a cookbook collection.  I have sort of quit buying cookbooks lately.  Lack of room and alot of the new books are "repurposed"  from an earlier book.  Just my opinion.  I use the canvas storage on the bottom shelves for onions and garlic, potatoes and dog chews.
Top shelves are for baking goods.  Middle for condiments and soup and miscellaneous below.  I also have my reusable shopping bags and dog leashes on the door hooks.

This little sign adds a bit of fun when the doors are opened.
Below is the "grab and go"  pantry right next to the stove.  All of these items are used almost daily and don't need to be refrigerated.  ie:  oil, vinegar, rice and pasta.

The last part of my pantry is the spice and seasoning area located on the opposite  side of the stove, for crackers, cookies and bread and dry spices.  I try to keep my spice collection to a minimum and toss unused stuff at least every 6 months.

There you go!  P.S.  I cleaned up a bit before I took these photos!!!   kelley

Vintage Chairs

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I love the Sundance Catalog and here is why you should too:If you look at my previous post on Karin Blake, you will notice a chair or two that are almost identical to these.  The vintage floral fabric is really pretty and all of them are priced around $950.
I'm not sure which is my favorite, but I'm going to buy two for our little house in Ojai.  The names are really great too.  The red floral above is called Wainwright.
These are both slip covered and are also $995.  The blue floral is Cotswold and the wing chair is Upper Orchard.

Decorators that Inspire: Karin Blake

Country Inspiration
Throughout the years, I have followed the interior design work of many talented individuals. Perhaps the most inspiring for me, has been designer Karin Blake.  She was a minimalist before there was a word for it and her restraint is her signature.
She tends to use the same fabrics and furniture styles in many of her clients homes but somehow each project seems fresh and new.  The incorporation of Americana and folk art invokes a museum like quality without seeming stuffy or too important.  Notice the white firkin and the windmill weight (chicken)  on the coffee table.  Windows are almost always left bare.
If you are looking for a collection to start, look no further.  Any of the items in Karin's rooms are worth hunting for.  Many can still be found on ebay or at auction.  ie:  firkins, rag and hand woven rugs, wooden signs, primitives like wooden ware and treen ware, etc..etc...
This chair in the photo above is timeless, as is the four poster bed.
There are volumes of empty space to set off the furnishings.   Empty space is a design element often used in print advertising and invokes  a similar effect when used in Karin's design aesthetic.  The industrial quality of the grey tones is softened by the floral rug.
A typical Karin Blake kitchen seen below.  She uses these bar stools over and over.  I also love the light floors.  Ebony floors are everywhere today and the light color of these floors seems new again.

Notice how many trikes and bikes are in her portfolio.  The use of recycled pediments and architectural house parts has been her signature for years.

LovE...LOve...loVE..... the galvanized bucket of flowers and the barn doors behind Karin.  Black and white is a country staple but not overdone here.  Another windmill weight chicken below.

Karin has been on the Architectural Digest top 100 designers since its inception.
How perfect and inviting is this bathroom.  The birds eye maple four poster bed is another timeless piece that can be found as a reproduction through many resources.  Note the simple unadorned window treatments and minimal floor coverings.
A nautical inspired room; not overdone or cliche.  The fabric is subtle but a significant detail...love it!

Her use of Firkins and sugar buckets prompted my own collection.  She uses vintage mercantile signage and graphic art work throughout.
The juxtaposition of contemporary art work and the native American rug are so complimentary and interesting.   The perfect white sofa seems to grace almost every residence she works on.
I love this entry with the painted floor and mercantile sign.
For additional inspiration go to www.architectualdigest.com.  All photos Architectural Digest.

Got Rocks?

Whats that saying?  When life gives you lemons.......
This is the former hedge that separated our lot from the street.  As we prepared to grade the site for landscaping we were surprised to find some rocks.  Not just a few, mind you.  Gobs of rocks.  Mountains of rocks.  All shapes and sizes of rocks.  What to do?
How about a nice wall.  So as it turns out, we have about 180 linear feet along the front of our little abode.  We are now three weeks into this amazing wall.  5 guys, about 12 tons (not kidding) of hand constructed wall.  It is 3 feet high and 2 feet across and solid! Almost all of the stone is from the yard with a little supplement from the local quarry, which is conveniently about a 5 mile drive from here.

This is a shot from the street.  We have two pillars at each end of the driveway to accent the entrance.

Should be done in about a week more.  More rock projects are sure to follow  ~*~kelley

California getaways#2: Big Sur and The Post Ranch Inn

What can only be described as one of the more spectacular and scenic routes along coastal California is the old Cabrillo Highway or Highway 1.
This getaway/road trip starts south of big Sur and ends at the Post Ranch Inn.  There is so much to see along this route that it is best to focus on small trips of a day or two.

The flowers this spring along the coast of California have been nothing short of breathtaking.  We had quite a bit of rain and the entire coastline is a green and floral array of the best mother nature has to offer.  
Most of the flower fields roll down to the shoreline cliffs.  There are dozens of camp grounds, picnic areas and scenic view turn outs all along the highway.
The vast and dramatic shoreline along this coastal highway are hard to match anywhere.  I am always amazed at the fact that this belongs to everyone and will be left intact for all generations to come.
The rocky shore line provides a colorful contrast to the startling blue green of the ocean.

Most of this coastal shore is a nature preserve of large kelp forests and home to the endangered California sea otter.  If you sit and watch along the shore the otters are almost always visible and provide a glimpse as to the importance of these preserves.  The Endangered Species Act  passed by Congress in 1973 is designed "to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems on which they depend."

Traveling on Highway 1 can often times be a bit frustrating.  It is just two lanes and very narrow.  Don't expect to get to your destination with out some slowing and maybe even a stop due to falling rocks and slides.  On this trip we waited 45 minutes for a road repair.

Welcome to The Post Ranch Inn  
This is by far one of my all time favorite getaways.  The Inn opened back in the early 80's and has remained much the same.  It is consistently voted one of the most beautiful 5 star resorts in the world and remains a  testament to keeping things as nature intended.

There are three pools on the property, two which are just for "basking" and are heated to 102 degrees.  The are located at each end of the property and are quiet and secluded.
This one, called the Meditation Pool is constructed of stainless steel and is perched on the hillside overlooking the Pacific ocean.  As you can tell, we had the place to ourselves.

Scattered throughout Post Ranch are special places to stop and just enjoy!
Here is a view of our Ocean House, set into the hillside with a wonderful deck.


A view of the Sierra Mar restaurant at dusk.
The roof top of the Ocean House is covered with grasses and wild flowers.
One of the many sculptures located throughout Post Ranch by artist James Hawthorn.

Sierra Mar and the reception area as you arrive.  No vehicles are allowed beyond this point and shuttles are electric.

They have just completed a wonderful organic garden and you will enjoy the result at lunch or dinner.

The mercantile is full of interesting local art and jewelry.

The pond on the property has been restored and is a habitat for the endangered California Red-legged frog and the Smith's Blue Butterfly.

A young redwood forest is also in the ranch property and is a really nice one hour hike.

Another wonderful spot to stay is the Ventanta Inn, directly across the highway from Post Ranch.  The red farm house was the original home of the Post Family. The Inn was almost lost last year to fire but survived due to the hard work of the local volunteer fire department.

The Sierra Mar restaurant serves a complimentry breakfast every morning that is over the top delicious!   Enjoy coffee on the deck and later have a dip in the Jade pool just to the right of the restaurant.

So that is the Post Ranch Inn.  I hope you enjoyed this weekend getaway as much as we did.  Check it out...it will not dissappoint.   best to all~*~kelley