Redesigned Online: This Old House Magazine Feature


A longtime blog follower and fellow lover of vintage 
requested a little help with her kitchen remodel.
Amber and I worked on some small items in the past
but the kitchen was a pretty big design challenge.  

I have been doing e-design for a while 
and this was the perfect project since we live over 100 miles apart.

 Our finished project was featured in This Old House magazine June 2015

Amber is very creative and was able to manage her subcontractors and control her budget which is critical to a great outcome using e-design as a roadmap for a remodel.
 The "before" kitchen was pretty dark 
and there was so much brown it sort of sucked the energy out of the room.  

The layout is open to the family room, which is wonderful
and the updated kitchen brought new life into the adjoining spaces as well.

 The entire bank of upper cabinets over the cooktop was removed and the island was reworked to add a cookbook and display niche.  

The pendant light locations were moved and a few of the recessed can lights
reconfigured to make more sense 

The cabinet doors were replaced with a more current shaker style front and the refrigerator was replaced with a model that would accommodate painted panels for a built in look

New tile and countertops were also a key part of the remodel

My approach to e-design starts with the client receiving a packet PRIOR to payment.  It explains the process, the fees and exactly what you will receive to create/update/redesign your space.  
I don't use questioneers and prefer one or two conference calls with clients prior to starting.
Pinterest boards for every client has been a huge help as well!

more on that later.... on to the great kitchen!

Ambers design was inspired by some bright and fresh design elements

jadeite green 
soft coral 
 reclaimed wood

The copper came into play
because Amber had purchased 
a wonderful custom copper range hood on Craig's list 

In anticipation of her kitchen remodel 
Amber also purchased the large verdigris pendants 
and the drawer pulls, all at reduced prices.  She wanted these to be part of the design, which was pretty easy.  The bigger concern I had was the hood because it was such a strong element.

And guess what else she found?  

Not one but TWO Shaws sinks on Craigs list

Can you believe it!!!!

Here is Ambers new kitchen!
So fun and bright

 The copper hood is such a great element in this kitchen and now the dark floors add the perfect contrast to the bright white cabinets
 A new faucet set in copper with the Craig's list Shaws sink
 The counter tops are marble.  
Amber really shopped for the right stone, at the right price 
because it was such a huge part of the budget
The new refrigerator

 The open shelving with reclaimed wood is beautiful and so fun to style with 
 bright dishes and vintage finds.  

I received quite a few emails about the brackets 
which were purchased here

Traditional subway tile with a nice clean beveled edge looks much cleaner and current.
 Amber found a great source for the reclaimed wood in her local area and it was cut to her specifications for the open shelving
 Below is the cook book niche at the end of the island.  

All of the small details really add up to a wonderful bright space.  
Are you inspired?  I am!

Thank you Amber
This Old House

Styling:  Sunday Hendrickson
Photos:  Ray Kachatorian

more facts about Redisign Online to follow

Fancy Deli Style Egg Salad

an egg is just an egg 
and egg salad can be pretty ho hum
this is an adaptation of egg salad that is velvety and rich 

It can be served for brunch or packed for a picnic when you want to splurge 
....wonderful with an ice cold beer too

Hard-boil 6 eggs and cook 4 (actually 5 because I always eat a slice:) 
of good quality thick bacon

 finely mince a nice shallot, about 2 tablespoons

 combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 Tsp dried tarragon
1 Tsp vinegar
pepper to taste...salt is optional because the bacon is salty

 dice up 6 lovely hard cooked eggs and add to your mayonnaise mixture 
along with the diced bacon bits
  add a few shots of tabasco if that sounds good
 your salad should be chunky and not overly dressed 
 this is great in a wrap
 but use what you have
 finely slice some crisp iceberg lettuce and top with about 1/2 cup of egg salad
 I topped the salad with fresh pea shoots too

 roll up and enjoy!!!!

iced coffee for me please
(I drink waaaayyyy to much caffeine)


The New Uniform: letting go and owning your style

Do you have a uniform?
Is there a look 
or a certain combination of items that you seem to gravitate to
 when  you get dressed?

For me, the awnser is Yes....yes and double yes

Try as I might to be as chic as a Parisian
 I am pretty much a California "basics" sort of a gal.
Sadly, in the past I often purchased things that had no business in my closet...
by that I mean they will probably never get worn, at least by me.

 It's not because many of my fashion choices are not cute or's because I wear the same really simple, comfortable things over and over again and pass on the new and trendy thinking that today is not the "right day" to wear it.  
Weird....I know  

So if today is not the right day to wear something 
that pretty much sums up the theory 
that I'm buying things that just are not working with my lifestyle

The photo above is Matilda Kahl an art director at a big New York Ad house.  
She grew incredibly frustrated with the daily chore of finding the right out fit for she decided on just one and now wears it to the office every day.....always accessorized with the little black bow
 read the whole story here.... 

she wrote in her article for Harpers Bazaar:

 "The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, "what the hell am I going to wear today?" And in fact, these black trousers and white blouses have become an important daily reminder that frankly, I'm in control.
Today, I not only feel great about what I wear, I don't think about what I wear."
Hoo Ray!!!!!
Matilda found her uniform

This is not a new concept by any stretch 

The French are famous for it
Chic women know how to do it...and they do it really well 

one of my favorites is Ines de la Fresange,
model and Chanel fashion muse
Ines is often seen in the same flats, comfortable jeans and wonderful Chanel jackets 

Style legend Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, always simple and chic
in her classic black and white

Even my favorite bloggers know how to pull it off....Janet for instance,
has written so many great posts about small wardrobes,  fashion on a tight budget
 and owning your own style

so cute and so very Janet!
Janet knows her style and she owns it

another chic blogger  
Cindy just wrote a great post 
about the classic tailored white shirt 

personally, the way I dress now 
is just one part 
of the ongoing process of letting go, 
moving on and finding freedom in living more simply

When we sold our home in Ojai and it came time to pack it all up 
(...there actually was not much to pack)
I made the decision to try to simplify my life even more. 
 I purged....I tossed, I donated and I purged some more.

I gave away the impractical super high pumps I wore just once, I tossed coats, blazers, pleated trousers and handbags. 
 I chucked pantyhose, itchy lacey boy briefs, push up bras and knee socks. 
Interesting combo right?

Gone are stupid bathing suits (never worn) silly hats and too tight tops and bottoms

Adios to the puffer coat, the mens leather back pack and 
the hawaiian print vacation clutch that got packed but never made it to the Luau.  

Siyanara girlie golf shoes(except the lucky pair I wore when I hit that long drive)
see ya stupid running cap
so long uber chic pointy will never make me blister and bleed again

all gone....

I donated at least 30 container store clear shoe boxes...full of shoes!

Was it hard?...well kind of, but when I started making trips to the Goodwill, sometimes daily,
 it got easier and easier.

And what was more amazing?  When I looked at what remained in my closet 
(which is now 1/3 as full as it was)
I finally had a glimpse of what my style really was.

I felt good too, donating things that I knew would be purchased and used by someone else. 
 There was some really good stuff in those donation bags!

After the closet
I tackled the bathroom with the same gusto

My make up drawer was just down right silly

lipstick....yucky colors...check...see ya
sticky foundation....the wrong shade....done...out a here
under eye cream samples....all 25 of them...what is up with all those eye creams? the trash 

I kept the basics...
One foundation, one mascara, one shadow box  etc
I chucked all of my old makeup brushes and purchased new useful ones
I chose a makeup brand or two that I really like
(Bobbi Brown and Clinique)
I have really enjoyed heading off to Sephora to purchase new items, 
in the right shades and in small quantities.

  Makeup that is super good for my skin and easy to use

My collection of nail polish was edited to just 4 or 5 favorite shades 
(down from about 30 half empty uninteresting nail colors and an inordinate amount of clear, base, top coat, healthy nail hardener know the stuff...)

And what started as cleaning and packing project
 has morphed into a lifestyle change

One area that I have always probably shopped and used correctly is jewelry.  
I look totally ridiculous in lots of jewelry...sort of like an overdecorated christmas tree, so all of my jewelry is simple and I don't have a lot.
 I like really good or great pieces, just not too many 
and I love big mens watches instead of a bracelet.

I have started to purchase clothes that I know I will and can wear...every day...for business, running errands, shopping or walking the dog.  

*An important side note on this uniform thing is my need for comfortable shoes.  I refuse to wear shoes that give me blisters or that I can't make a mad dash down the street in.  

Here are a few of my favorite items
from my "style me" pin board
 big chunky
denim and chambray

 anything Ines wears
white jeans, simple tops and an awesome jacket
(great handbags are a must)

 camel hair and loafers
slouchy boots, simple skirts and comfy sweaters

I put together a style board of a few things I wear all the time 

slouchy cuffed trouser: Anthropology
basic cotton long sleeved T:  Gap
denim jacket: J crew
fun scarf:  Madewell
comfy shoes: Zappos
bad hair day cap: Ralph Lauren
shopper tote: Madewell
readers: Warby Parker
sunnies:  Ray Ban

what is your uniform?
does it look like mine?

these are really fun posts to write and they really get you thinking...
especially the idea of owing your style 

I should probably try this technique in my kitchen but that's a whole other can of beans

Have a great week and don't forget to be awesome!