For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last Renovation Blog Entry

A month has gone by since my last blog entry.  In that time, I have acquired my glass bar top, and I have lost my microwave for repair.  I decided to take the display model from the store instead of waiting a month for a new one, and evidently something happened to it somewhere along the way.  Miele has not been very speedy with parts and repair.  It is supposed to be back and working on Monday.

The bar top is the finishing touch of the kitchen.  It is the perfect place to have a snack or read emails.  I love the look of it with the rest of the kitchen.  The glass is lightly frosted on the back side.  The pendant lights look very pretty and bright over the glass.
In the past month I have also made some gallery wrap pictures for the walls.  The three small pictures over the bar are photos I took in Italy and Paris.  The top one is a pizza we had in Tuscany a few years ago on our family vacation.  The middle picture is a lemon tree in Vernazza,  Italy.  The bottom picture is a raspberry tart from our trip to Paris last year.   
On the wall on the other side of the bar is a picture of Vernazza, Italy also taken on our trip.

 In the bathroom, since it is red and has a copper light fixture, it reminded me of Tuscany, so I made a gallery wrap with a photo taken at our hotel there.

When I began cleaning our old chandelier in the foyer, I realized that some of the light bulbs would not screw back in.  The electrician suggested we buy a new fixture for the foyer, and I was very happy because I no longer cared much for the old chandelier and it didn't go with the new style of the downstairs. I picked out a bronze chandelier that is very large and fills the foyer in size and light.  I also bought a large mirror for over the black chest in the foyer.

So I have been living and cooking in the new kitchen for over a month now and the choices we made for the new kitchen are being put to the test.  I can already say that all of the hundreds of hours of time spent planning and designing a kitchen that would be efficient for our family's needs and habits has paid off.  It has made such a big difference in how I feel about cooking and cleaning up afterward.  In the design phase I tried to eliminate everything I hated about the old kitchen - even little things that would grate on me such as lifting a stack of dinner plates to the upper cabinet.  Storage was very important to me too.  Choosing appliances that would make cooking easier was also at the top of my list.  But one of the most important aspects was to make the space inviting as well as functional.  I wanted it to be a place that our family would want to spend a lot of time in, both now and in the future when our grandchildren come to visit us.

I LOVE how the kitchen feels.  It is bright and cheery, both during the day when I can look out to my gardens in the back yard and the kitchen is filled with natural light, and at night when the LED lights are very bright and functional.  The abundance of color makes me happy too.  The lack of clutter is calming. 

Everything has a place to call home and is easily accessible.  Keeping the dishes and glassware in drawers next to the dishwasher makes the job of unloading so much easier.  Keeping all beverages in the small beverage refrigerator is soooo much better.  You just open the drawer and lift whatever you want out.  There is no struggle to fit things on the door, or worse yet, trying to get drink bottles out from behind food on the refrigerator shelves.  The sliding shoji screens are amazing.  They glide effortlessly and give me so much storage that I still haven't come close to filling its shelves.  And I don't have to run down to the basement to retrieve larger appliances that I don't use as often.  Everything is at my fingertips.

The appliances are mostly made by Miele.  With the exception of our problems with the microwave and the ice-maker, I am greatly impressed.  The one appliance that makes cooking so much easier and is sooo useful is the steam oven.  I had read a lot about steam ovens as I was planning the kitchen and almost didn't get one because of the cost.  But last year's display model was on sale for a better price and I decided to get that one. I have used it almost every day because it is so easy to use, clean, and cooks food to perfection. I have used it to steam vegetables, defrost meats, cook chicken, par-boil spare ribs before grilling, and reheat leftover foods such as rice and veggies. The pans are a breeze to clean because food does not get baked on.   It truly is one of the most useful surprises!  The induction cooktop is very easy to clean and heats pans extremely fast.  Being able to adjust the heat instantly is so handy.  But honestly, I don't use it as much as I used the cook-top in the old kitchen because I use the steam oven so much.  The built-in Miele refrigerator is also a favorite.  The air inside the refrigerator is filtered and cleaned so that the gasses that are emitted from fruits and vegetables are taken away.  Everything lasts so much longer before going bad because of this.  The double ovens are also amazing. No more smoke when broiling - you broil with the door shut and any smoke is magically taken away.  The internal roast probe is also convenient.  I haven't tried the rotisserie spit yet.

The whole process has been fun for me.  Everyone at Nutmeg Stairs and Cabinets has been pleasant to work with.  I would not hesitate to send anyone to them.  Jonathan Brown, the designer at Nutmeg, was fun to work with.  He was very good at suggesting things that would look good and be functional.  I never felt like he was too pushy, and he never made me feel like my ideas were stupid.  Being home every day, I actually enjoyed the cameraderie with the workers, and they were pleasant to be around. 

The time we spent living without a kitchen was so worthwhile!  I have been happy to be able to share the progress with my friends and family over the past few months.  I have decided to continue blogging about other events in my life, so if you are interested, stay tuned!

Here are some final images.                                                     
                             My Grandmother's step-stool.
 My happy cutting board!

And Momo, who loves to shed fur on my new rug - but she looks so pretty under the table!




  1. gayle-- how/where did you make those gallery wraps?? they are beautiful!

  2. WOW who needs HGTV, we'ver got GT blog!
    Excellent job on logging the whole process,
    and we at Nutmeg want more like YOU!
    The blog seems professional, now go out and pursue your photographty-- the kitchen's DONE!

  3. Lyndsay, I got the gallery wraps at Adorama also, but I think you can get them at many of the online photo site. I know mpix has them also.

  4. Gayle...amazing amazing kitchen. LOVE all your finishing touches..esp the photos!!! Wow.
    The glass countertop...the foyer chandelier and everything you chose. Lots of hard work and blood sweat and tears making all those choices (Vance, dry those tears! :)
    but they really have paid off. Lucky you.

  5. i saw them on adorama just now! i am almost done my photobook and I can't wait to see how it comes out! What size are the gallery wraps that you have in these pictures?

  6. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing! I may have to check gallery wraps for some of my Oaxaxa, Mecixo pictures. And....I sure wish I had your designing talents!

  7. The bigger ones are 20 x 24 and the little ones are 8 x 11.

  8. Gayle...I love that quote. You are lucky that you discovered that at age 50. Not all of us are so blessed. But I am trying.....
    Looking forward to hearing about the special, funny, touching, and honest portrayals of life with Gayle!