Thursday, September 23, 2010

kitchen bar top

The kitchen bar top is a major feature of the design of the Karina kitchen and one of the trickiest to pull off cohesively because there are many different materials coming together as well as it being a part of 3 rooms. We chose Lyptus butcher block for the counter top because of it's warmth and similar richness as the floor.
We could have continued the drywall onto the 1/2 wall from the living room side, but I wanted to continue the front paneling of the peninsula around the side.

To keep costs down and to make it more simple to build, we did not wrap the Lyptus top into a L shape, but changed materials to a painted trim top. The 1" trim top dies into the 1-1/2" thick Lyptus, while allowing the skirt trim directly below to wrap and be continuous to become like a window sill detail as it goes into the living room.

That same skirt trim turns the corner and then dies into the backsplash. The backsplash is the Chroma countertop material. We changed the outlet color to black and used stainless steel covers to better go with the counter & appliances.

Getting the right height was for perch-ability (see the last photo), but also mechanically so that outlets could be included in the backsplash. Neil built a 41" high wall + the 1-1/2" counter. This is the right height to lean against. Even though there is enough overhang to pull a bar stool up to it, we thought of it more as a lean-against counter and buffet. It also hides dishes and the counter when sitting in the dining area and living.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

please have a seat

This is one of 700 photos I took of the Karina in the last days before we closed on the sale. I have been going through my photos recently coming up with the top 40-50. I can't put my finger on why, but I really like this shot. Maybe it's because I'm sitting down so the point of view is more relaxed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

next up - the empty lot

It’s been 8 weeks since we sold the Karina. I didn’t realize that I needed the break that you all may have noticed I took from the blog. I hadn’t planned on it, but that’s the way things happen sometimes. A break not just from the blog, but just from thinking about the house and garden. As much as I loved creating it, it also felt wonderful for the perfect buyers to come along and make it their home.

I must admit though, it didn’t take me long to start sketching out the next house. I thought I would need a longer break, but it has already started to form in my head. I wake up thinking about it and I daydream about the details. We still own the lot next door to the Karina. That’s one of the reasons why we ended up selling the house, it was just too much for us to carry financially…2 ‘Seattle’ lots and a new house…well too much in this economy. This next one will be smaller and I’ll do a custom design. I have more time to invest in the design, since we do not have a construction start date in mind. There are still lots of unknowns, but I plan on keeping up with the blog. Not just talking about this next house, but sharing other projects and details that relate to home design.

Friday, August 27, 2010

nytimes living rooms column

There is a new column in the New York Times that I have been enjoying reading each week and today's "What’s Cooking in Kitchen Design?" talks about the evolution of the kitchen. Another recent one "Home for Life" talks about the trend towards smaller homes. The author also talks about what's really important in looking for a new house since it will become your HOME not just an investment.

From NYT Living Rooms: "A house is more than just a shelter from the storm. How we shape our homes, and how we behave within them, speak volumes about our history, our values and our way of life. Living Rooms explores the past, present and future of domestic life, with contributions from artists, journalists, design experts and historians."

Friday, July 9, 2010

the karina has sold!

I just watered the plants over at the house for the last time. We are no longer the owners of the Karina. It's been a stressful last couple weeks as we go through the process of accepting the offer, the inspection period, the appraisal, financing contingency, and all the signing. We were so afraid to jinx it, we just weren't talking about it or even letting ourselves think about life without the additional mortgage. We haven't met the new owners yet, but hopefully we will soon. Someday we hope to be their neighbors when we build on the lot we still own next door....but that's after a much needed break.

Karina - interior colors

This picture captures our main interior color scheme. All of the interior wall color is Benjamin Moore HC-172 revere pewter. The white trim color was the best match to the vinyl window color. The floors are Tigerwood. The cabinets are maple. And the accent door color is Benjamin Moore 1309 moroccan red. You can find the exterior colors listed here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

port townsend homes

We finally went away for a weekend last Friday. Our friends Nancy and Scott have recently moved to Port Townsend and they invited us out. What wonderful hosts they are! We ate delicious home-cooked meals with fixings from their garden and freshly caught King salmon that melted in our mouths. They live close to town, so we were able to walk most places. Port Townsend has some lovely old Victorians and many small houses to draw inspiration from.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

greenwood ave cottages - ross chapin architects

This project was completed in our office just before I started working there 7 years ago. I actually visited it under construction because I was interested in housing communities and this was a unique project. I often look back on these pictures which were taken a few years ago, because it captures the cottages and their gardens at such a perfect time. About 3 years after completion. Before that the gardens are too freshly planted and haven't filled in....going back today they are just as beautiful, but much fuller.
GAC garden walk
I just can't seem to get gardening off my brain. I have realized that it is a never ending project. Not just the maintaining, but the adding and tweaking. I've had so much fun working on ours at the new house...I'm realizing that I need to put some time in at our Genesee house as well. These photos are a constant inspiration. The owners have really put so much passion into their individual gardens. Typically in our projects, the developer puts in all the plantings outside the 2' private yard fence. You can barely see the cedar fence depicting what is commons and what is private, as the plantings have grown. It's all about the transition from the public realm to the private.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

madison valley - cafe flora

One of the main reasons we bought the property that we did, was of course it's location. Madison Valley is just minutes to downtown, it's surrounded by Capital Hill, Montlake, Madison Park and Madrona and it's home to some of my favorite shops and restaurants. In particular, Cafe Flora. Cafe Flora is the premiere vegetarian restaurant in Seattle and it was the location of our first date. Neil has been a vegetarian for 16 years. Even though he does eat wild salmon and the occasional fish & chips, he has slowly cut out dairy and he doesn't do eggs. Looking back on that first date, I was quite lost when looking over the the time I thought I was still allergic to nuts and there was a bunch of other vegetables that I "thought" I didn't like. I have since learned to embrace all kinds of veggies and new foods. Eggplant, beans, zucchini, squash, kale, asparagus, broccoli...actually the list is endless....for growing up in the "Garden State" I wasn't much of a veggie eater except the basics like potatoes, corn and peas. A few years ago I picked up their cookbook. It has helped expand my's so easy to keep doing the same recipes over and over.

"Since opening its doors, Cafe Flora has been at the forefront of utilizing local, organic and sustainable produce and herbs and building strong and direct relationships with Washington farms. It's culinary team draws inspiration from international culinary traditions along with the availability of an abundance of locally grown produce to create imaginative and dynamic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine." - text & photos from Cafe Flora

Cafe Flora has been a wonderful place to experiment and try new combinations. We have been back many times over the years with family and friends and recently discovered their happy hour weekdays 3-6. Nothing beats being able to stroll down the street for a meal or drink.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

house update

I'm still here! Sorry about the absence. It's been a busy few weeks. We decided to list the house with Windermere after trying to sell it ourselves and have been overwhelmed all over again with the details.

Friday, May 28, 2010

typical seattle day

Another rainy day in Seattle...sitting here drinking my tea I can watch the rain flow down through the rain chain cups out on the porch. I guess the one good thing is, I don't have to water our new plantings! And our grass is coming in beautifully. We had to purchase a mower it was coming in so fast. I originally wanted to get a hand push, but we decided on an electric one instead.

It definitely helps on these wet days to bring a little springtime inside. These are fresh from the garden. A mix of lavender, dusty miller, and strawflower.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I chose a variety of ground covers for different sun exposures and to provide a variety of texture around larger plants. Above is Phlox with Ogon Sedum in the background. These are located out front near the rockery. The Ogon Sedum is doing really well. It looks like it has doubled in 2 months.

The other ground cover that has doubled is the Mother of Thyme. Here it is next to the Nandina.
I'm thinking of getting more since it's doing so well in the direct sun. Here it is moving up the concrete stoop.

On the other side of the stoop I planted New Zealand Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) These are under the Nandina Firepower in front of the porch.

Along the path I wanted a strip of low planting before the grass to keep the grass out of the path. I alternated between Saxifraga “White Pixie” and Mother of Thyme (Thymus serpyllum). Both have done really well and the thyme will eventually have lavender flowers.

Under the Red Twig Dogwood, I planted Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) which also does well in full sun. I had raised the bed to give the area more of an accent. The trick with this plant will be to keep the off spurts on the mound and not out into the grass.

To cover a larger area, I chose Perwinkle (Vinca minor 'Bowles').