The Cool House: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

On wheels

That whole match the cabinet to the picture idea was a real winner - twice over. We took advantage of the carpenter's absence to do a dry run of the cabinets under the window and decided to change the configuration slightly. Then we swapped the images on the window and voila - the carpenter, when he returns, will know exactly what goes where.
By moving one cabinet from the extreme left to the right side of the run we can place the dishwasher next to the sink rather than adjacent. The footprint remains the same but the countertop won't project into the room as far. This will open up in the kitchen even more, so much so that I'm thinking of ordering roller skates and waitress outfit to get around!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pictures speak louder than...

The cabinet installation is motoring along with only one minor speed bump, a confusion over which box goes where. Yes, we do have a labelled plan and diagram but after a fifteen minute search for a missing part that wasn't missing just misplaced to a different part of the kitchen I reckoned things would go a lot faster if I printed images of the finished cabinets and sticky-taped them to the walls in the correct configuration. It worked. No more holding the plans upside down and squinting - just follow the pretty pictures...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A word from our spokespet

Maia would like you to know that due to a combination of excessive real work, international travel and sickness posting has been light but that things on the renovation front are progressing and all work has been inspected daily and cat approved

Monday, May 24, 2010


The hardwood floor is down in the kitchen and I spent much of the weekend playing with the placement of the island. In order for it go back the direction it was before we would have had to move the extractor vent to the west by 6 " - and there is a joist in the way! We could "jump" the joist but there would be a lot of holes in the ceiling, possibly some exploratory cuts in the wall behind Verity's bed where the hvac system runs to the exterior blower and it all seemed a lot of work, plus there was the possibility of a reduction in venting power if we had to insert an elbow into the vent pipe. An easier option was to just pivot the island and run it north-south rather than east-west.

Once it was all taped out something magical happened to the feel of the kitchen, it just fit better in the room - opening it up and emphasizing its trapezoid shape. This room is the same size as the great room but it never felt as large, now the kitchen will be one large area rather than two divided and disjointed spaces. We'll also end up with fewer pinch points than before - by using the full width of the extractor fan cutout the island will be relocated 5" towards the eating area, giving me a 36" pass at the tightest place, everywhere else will have 40" minimum clear. A big selling point is that I'll be able to cook while looking out at the yard - taking in the scenery (and watching the wildlife) from my island in a sea of hardwood.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kitchen Reno: Flooring Progress!

So far so wood...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hot Lava

Once the fabulously decorated great room, it's now full of furniture from the kitchen and dining room - the perfect place to challenge the peeps to a game of Hot Lava!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The leaky sink and faucet, huge range hood, beat-up cabinets... all gone. But what about the elephant in the room, I hear you shout? Don't worry, we didn't discard the refrigerator just because it had tested our patience on several occasions. We simply moved* it to a temporary locale...

*four strong guys and a dolly

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great snakes alive!

Well maybe not snakes per se, just cables that used to service the island. Actually, it reminds me of Medusa's curls* but I digress. Five electric cables plus that huge black insulated one for the halogen cooktop. If you're counting that represents one for the built-in toaster, one for the electric can opener, one for the outlet and one for the range hood... and a spare.

With the island out of the way you can really appreciate the size of the kitchen - we've lived in apartments with less square footage.

*Medusa may be female but I got a preview of the stony glance that The Guy will be using on the carpenter next time he sees him. It's also the face of a man who gets back from a business trip with a case of Montezuma's revenge and finds he has to rip out a kitchen in 24 hours because said carpenter phoned in sick. If looks could kill...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Drastic but effective*





The Guy is in Mexico, the carpenter let me down three straight days in a row, the floor guy starts Monday and the kitchen needed to be out before he can rip up the carpet/vinyl/plywood. Someone had to do it and it might as well be the woman with the sledgehammer and a raging temper.
*For full-on rage I recommend cranking the volume to 50 and playing Eamon, Green Day, The Fratellis and Macy Grey until the windows shake. And no, I'm not quite over it yet!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Save the Gulf: Olivia's Bird Illustrations

It's seems odd to me that some people blame natural disasters on other people's lifestyle - or even their dress - and point to this as God showing his displeasure (anger of the gods always struck me as an pagan concept, ironic that it's much touted by "people of faith") while man-made disasters don't seem to incite the same rhetoric from the fundamentalists.
But enough with the negativity, there's a crisis going on in the Gulf of Mexico and other people are doing what they can to mitigate the environmental impact of the oil spill including one 11 year-old Long Island schoolgirl, who with the support of her family, is raising money to save wildlife by drawing birds for donors to various environmental charities. That's my Greater Crested Tern up top. Thanks Olivia!
Support Olivia's project to make a difference here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Uniquely Modern Furniture Dilemma

A while ago I asked the Awesome Designer to design some roman shades for the so-called bamboo room (the present curtains have green bamboo stalks on a pale yellow background, hence the name) and the fabric - Celtic Knot from Robert Allen - has arrived at her workroom.

And bonus, it turns out there is enough extra fabric to cover a small chair or bench. So here is my dilemma: Do I take out the chest of drawers (there's plenty more built-in drawer space in that room) and throw a bench in there? Should I maybe recover another piece of furniture? A pouffe? An ottoman? Help me, interwebs because my mind is stuck in kitchen mode...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Perfect Pillows Update

Six weeks or so ago the big blue sectional got a major dose of pretty when these gorgeous pillows arrived. They have been much admired but the Awesome Designer thought we could go the extra step and add some more gold tones for that unique touch.

So with one medium-sized remnant and some real magic (plus exact measurements and a great eye) she produced these four fabulous cushions. Absolutely inspired!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Foxy morning

So there I was, admiring the recent hosta growth spurt while waiting for the carpenter to give me an update on the mud room door delivery, when I spied something slinking down the road.

I followed it around the property as it dodged in and out of the shadows, finally snapping this less-than-stellar iphone shot of our village fox out and about at 9:30 AM.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Renovation shocker

This can mean only one thing...

The kitchen renovation is actually going to start ahead of schedule.

Cupboards have been emptied, non-essentials packed into boxes to be stored in the basement

while stuff we will use on a daily basis is evenly distributed between the bar in the den and the laundry room

I knew all that extra space would come in handy

One other thing we've learnt... we probably keep too much coffee in the house!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Just to confirm the wondrous conundrum of coincidence, The Guy and I were speculating whether top hats would make a comeback - especially after Johnny Depp wore one in Alice in Wonderland - when from another direction completely, design not fashion, our musings found their answer. Wooster Black/Silver Pendant Lights from Heals. Also available in Jeeves - the ultimate bowler hat at your service.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Super clouds

Like a big white puffy Hulk, or a cotton candy Michelin Man, the clouds were hard to ignore... protective or menacing - it's your call.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Mid-century British Design

Design Onscreen, the architecture and design programme makers will be premiering their latest documentary on British design duo Robin and Lucienne Day at the National Geographic Museum’s Grosvenor Auditorium in Washington, DC on May 15th. Director Murray Grigor and Cinematographer Hamid Shams will take part in a Q&A session after the screening.

Lucienne, who died earlier this year, designed textiles, wall papers and ceramics that embody the optimism and vitality of the mid-century era. Calyx, the fabric that launched Lucienne Day's career, was exhibited at the Festival of Britain in 1951 where it won the International Design Award of the American Institute of Decorators.

While Lucienne designed fabrics, Robin's mass-market furniture can be found in homes and offices across Britain. Millions of examples of the Eames-influenced stackable Polyprop Chair have been sold since its inception in the early sixties. I sat on bright orange ones at school, magenta in Village Halls and grey in waiting rooms all over the UK.

The showing is scheduled to coincide with the opening of Art by the Yard: Women Design Mid-century Britain, featuring Lucienne Day’s work, at Washington DC’s Textile Museum.
Tickets to the movie premiere on May 15th must be purchased in advance from Design Onscreen.