Deck Details: Before and After

 Sometimes it's hard for me to remember what this place looked like when we purchased it three years ago 
because so much has changed...

but we wanted the house to remain a simple ranch house
 and not something contrived and silly;
that is also the case with the landscaping
 The latest project involving the evolution of the landscape design is the addition of this really large deck which runs the entire length of the back of the house 
 It gives us an additional 1800 square feet of outdoor living space
 which we so needed.
The weather here is really mild for much of the year and being outside is part of the experience of living in the country

The deck has a simple railing 
which mimics the ranch fencing 
which surrounds many of the planters
 and the gravel driveway and entries 
 This is the rear of the house "before" with an enclosed porch...
when we first started thinking about what we wanted for this property in terms of surfaces we never thought about decking.... but now those two large oak trees are nestled in the center of the big redwood deck!
 This area is now the English rose 
Parterre garden area

Designing and constructing landscaping on a property this large 
with this many large protected trees is difficult...and I really believe that it takes years for a yard to mature and grow into a great landscape

There is a wonderful article in this months Veranda about Molly Chappellet and her amazing garden in the Napa Valley

If you have the magazine, read it!

I embrace her philosophy about listening to the land
 and not having some grand design that needs to be followed to the letter 
 Living on a property with 20 plus, 300 year old oak trees is really really feel like the custodian of something wonderful and spiritual, but it's also a lot of work
 We have an arborist here about twice each year to inspect the trees,
 to trim and lace out the dead stuff

We take great care to water correctly too
because the oaks can die very quickly with water at the bases

 The two trees in the photo above were barely visible when we first saw this house.
It was a mess of over grown shrubs and ivy...
Now the oaks are healthy and clean
with the veggie beds, lavender garden and lawn surrounding them

another "before" with the dry patchy grass and weird patios, 
but it sure seemed like  it had potential to us....

a decking project this size is pretty time consuming 
and takes a good layout 
especially trying to include two huge trees into the plan

 it also takes a ton of lumber!

and finally
 here is how we delt with the trees coming through the decking...I was thinking of just a simple cut out of some sort buy my contractor came up with this
clean hexagon trim idea 

 the railing floats on the inside of the deck,
 so there are no visible bolts or screws

 I added a nice over sized landing on an angle for pots and flowers and it really helps to invite you to come on up and sit under the trees...

 the west corner of the lot has yet to be worked on but
 we have some ideas for this nice sunny spot and there is a gorgeous huge oak in that corner...actually one of my favorites on the property

this weekend we plan to work in the garden
and hopefully we will take some time
to listen to the land

happy gardening

The Kitchen Considered, Chapter 3: Going Grey


 The kitchen is moving right fact it is finished!!!!
but I haven't had much time to share the details
so here we go:

Once the cabinets are installed, the majority of the
construction issues and design decisions
 have been worked out
 One of the hardest decisions I needed to make on this project is what color to paint the I stick with the tried and true white
or try something different?

after all it's only paint right?!

We mocked up about 6 different color ideas 
ranging from a dusty chalky white
to a really dark grey

I looked at colors from Benjamin Moore,
Restoration Hardware, Martha Stewart,
Dunn Edwards and Farrow and Ball... etc etc

who knew there are so many beautiful greys to choose from

It was interesting how the Restoration Hardware greys
almost looked purple
 next to some of the other paint companies we looked at
 In the end I chose this really nice true medium grey
 from Farrow and Ball
 called Lamp Room Grey

My 2nd choice was another Farrow and Ball color
Pavilion Grey

The walls will be painted Benjamin Moore
White Dove

There will be two types of stone used,
 Soapstone which is almost black once it's oiled 
and Carrera marble

The slabs of Carrera used for this project
are more grey, than white, which was what I was looking for

 I think the grey cabinets will be very interesting
 with the stone choices

The color on the right is Farrow and Ball
Cornforth White
which looks amazing with Carrera marble too

I will definitely use this color for another project

 Once the cabinets were installed,
 I realized that there was an opportunity to add another
large cabinet for additional pantry storage and cook books...

so we re-worked the large cabinet to the right
 I think sometimes people are hesitant to change things as the work progresses but in the end always insist on what you really want, even if it causes a delay,
because doing
 a kitchen is a huge important  project....
and you might really regret not having that little extra "thing"
you really wanted
in the end

We have really taken time with planning electrical options as well,
because I will have lamps on the floating shelves
and in the servers for ambient light....

can you guess which lamps?

 Soapstone is quarried at 3 centimeters
which is thicker than granite and marble but it is  very soft
 and can crack along the lighter grey variations in the slabs

 Often fabricators will add mesh or metal
to the back for more stability
Soapstone typically gets a simple eased edge
but can be fabricated with different ogee edges
if you like that look

 On the opposite end of the kitchen, where the table will be,
 I designed two servers and a storage bench,
which will have cushions and pillows
 The servers are topped with Carrera and have ample storage above and below for linens, party platters, candles and all of the other spill over items
that any kitchen usually has
The marble got a fancier edge detail too

I designed a center island on wheels
which will have a Carrera top as well

 Here we are with the stone installed
and the Lamproom grey color
going on the cabinets
 The big stainless farm sink is really great and
 a contemporary statement,
 but this is a modern country kitchen

I know what your thinking right now...

"why did she do stainless and not a big
Shaw's porcelain sink?"

Because it's been done over and over and over again!

I did price out doing the sink in soap stone
but there are always
 issues with drainage and leaking
 so I picked the stainless

And I love the idea of metal with this black stone
 There will be pendants above the sink
with the rest of the ceiling lighting being
semi flush with prismatic shades

a total of 11 fixtures

 A large slab of Carrera will go
behind the stove between the shelves
and the range hood is brushed stainless like the sink
When I took these photos we were on about week 5 or 6
and let me tell you
I have about had enough of microwaved casseroles for a life time...not to mention washing my dishes in the garage was starting to become sort of "normal",
how scary is that?

Hope you liked the tour!

I will share some more kitchen details on upcoming posts

happy remodeling


Orange Blossom Special

 This is year two 
for the California Poppy
 wildflower garden planted 
along the arroyo
 This has been such a happy surprise and a fun project 
with not very much work
 The poppies re-seed and self sow every year 
becoming more prolific
 more wild flowers will go in this year to make this bed 
even more interesting

 Poppies make wonderful additions to arrangements 
and look really pretty in small vases
 Add another type of orange blossom to the mix 
and the poppies really shine
 Orange in the garden 
is a favorite of mine...I love this color

 An orange blossom special  
for any day of the week 

wishing you a great start 
to a great week

lets make it special!