Cooking: Soup · Interior · Renovation

Fourth in my HOME made series; Come into the Kitchen!

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If you happened to read my recent blog post, you would know that I broke up with my old house.

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Yes. Thank you. I am ok.

As I mentioned, I will continue to post about the renovation of our old gal.  Today, I shall share what made the kitchen so stupendous.

When I walked into my kitchen for the first time, it was love at first sight. I was smitten.

Whoever coined that “the kitchen is the heart of the home,” nailed it. And to me, the kitchen was the kitchen of all kitchens. How many times can I say kitchen in one sentence?

My Michael often remarked that he could easily live in it.  He sat on his comfortable stool at the bar, with one eye observing (all the while taste testing) whatever I happened to be stirring up.  The other eye fixated on whatever sporting event was on the big ‘ole tv.  One of three fridges was within arms reach.  The table was large enough to sleep on. And the bath and a half bath was right around the corner.

I am not sure who loved it more; Michael or me.

The former owners impeccably created the footprint of the kitchen and chose “Gucci” appliances. They were top -of-the-line, not to mention they looked sexy. The honed granite countertops, custom wood bar, and fine cabinetry pulled it all together. They did a super job.

I had no business changing the above. But I was excited about making it my own. The previous owners had a Tuscan theme; they painted the walls a muddled mustard color, a personalized mural was on the wall, and stencils of ivy and grapes laced the beams.

I lean toward mixing up the funky and modern with antiquity.  I decided to create a neutral palate with the paint (Ben Moore Edgecomb Gray- one of my favorites that I used in my Beacon Hill home as well as my Commonwealth Ave. condo.).

Tried as we might, we were not successful in stripping the beams to their natural wood finish.  We busted three sanders within the first few hours.  That was a wrap. We painted them the color of the trim, Benjamin Moore White Dove, and that worked just as well.

The previous pendant lighting over the bar was mosaic and diminutive given the scope of the room.  We installed clear globe large pendants (Rejuvenation) and what a transformation.

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They are pretty but not to scale

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This is more like it!

I mounted an antique bookshelf on the wall and filled it with my favorite cookbooks. That too was repurposed from my Beacon Hill home. (You can see a little sliver of it on the left side of the above photo.)

I found my kitchen table at Restoration Hardware Outlet.  It was prominently displayed immediately upon entering the store. I think that she was waiting for me to whip out my credit card and take her home: Another instance of love at first sight.

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This table was the life of the party and demanded attention.  The base was re-purposed wood.  And it was the first thing people noticed upon entering the room; It was magnetic.

It was as heavy as all get-out.  It took four very burly men on a bitterly cold day to bring it into the house. After they had carried it only twenty yards, every one of them was pouring sweat.

For seating, one one side, I repurposed my 111 Navy Chairs (see detail below ( made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles!) from my Boston house.  On the other, I used a bench which smoothly tucked under the table.  That was a pro-active solution to three boys who forget, at times, to push in their chairs when leaving the table.  At either end, I placed two Restoration Hardware linen wing chairs (above)  which were just, too comfortable.

Dexter can agree.

The best thing about that piece of furniture was that it was a mantel for many memories.

 

I know that the new owners will make many memories and share wonderful food and fun in this beautiful room. How could they not?

So, n the spirit of my beloved kitchen and my passion for cooking, below I share one of my favorite recipes which I came up with in this very kitchen: Italian Sausage Soup!

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Hearty Vegetable Soup

Ingredients


  • Two (11.5 ounce) cans tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
  • 
Two cups of chicken stock (vegetable if you prefer)

  • Four carrots, sliced
    Two parsnips, sliced

  • Four stalks celery diced
  • 
Two (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes undrained

  • Two cups chopped fresh green beans
  • 
Two cups fresh corn kernels
  • Two cups of peas
  • 
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 
Creole seasoning to taste

Directions


In a large stock pot, combine broth, tomato juice, stock, carrots, parsnips, celery, tomatoes, green beans, peas, and corn. Season with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 25- 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Sparkle On, Friends!

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“The 111 Navy Chair from Design With Reach is “”Made from 111 recycled plastic Coke® bottles; this chair is the result of a special collaboration between Emeco and Coca-Cola®. It took four years of research, design, and testing to create it, the production of which keeps three million plastic bottles out of landfills every year. The 111 Navy Chair (2010) not only celebrates the iconic form of the aluminum 1006 Navy® Chair designed in 1944″”

*Design Within Reach    http://www.dwr.com/dining-chairs-and-stools/111-navy-chair/3773.html?lang=en_US

Renovation · Thoughts

My Recent Breakup; Why I have been off the grid.

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You may have noticed that I have taken a bit of a respite from writing over the past several months.

I just went through and emotional time: I just endured a heartbreaking breakup. It was painful and a long slow process.

I broke up with my house.

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Perhaps you are surprised. I can understand. Many of my posts proved that I was very much in love with that brick and mortar. Having been through a 65% gut renovation, I felt as if I knew every nail in that house;  I painstakingly chose every paint color, every stitch of fabric, every appointment, every piece of furniture.

I am uncertain whether or  not houses are gender specific, as ships or cars, but I am going to assume it is the case.

She was my labor of love.

I spent hours primping her. I painted, buffed, polished. I spent hours weeding her grounds and broke every nail ripping up the invasive bittersweet vines that threatened to devour her exterior beauty.

Making all her windows sparkle took 40 hours alone. I know. I did it three times during the two years she was interview by potential suitors. One time I landed myself in the ER where I needed four stitches from making those windows gleam.  I did it for her.

As time ticked on, she proved that she was indisputably needy  Come to think of it, to say she was needy is the world’s greatest understatement. She was the epitome of high maintenance in every possible way. I was incessantly boosting her up, overhauling her, mending her and tending to her every demand.

At two hundred six years old she was elderly. She was home to many over those years. She was rich in history but frail, despite all her repairs. She required constant care.Given her antiquity, she was full of life and experience.

 But, oh! If her walls could speak! 

Leaving her was not due to a lack of love. I just could no longer give her my 100%. I was depleted, exhausted and torn. I gave her everything I had. There were too many withdrawals and not nearly enough deposits.

It was time to part ways.

My Michael was the one who suggested the breakup. He pointed out how she was draining me and that we needed to rip off the band aid and move on. I resisted and argued, kicking and screaming. I was defensive and protective. I’ll admit I shed tears.

Michael scratched his head over those tears.  He reminded me that she was a house, after all.  I could not have disagreed more.

And how could I abandon my love?

The breakup took almost two years. It was on again and off again. We put her on the market and took her off. Each time I buffed and polished and made her sparkle. It was exhausting. It was grueling, emotional and a struggle. All the while, I felt I was betraying her.

The hardest part was finding her a new love; A new steward. It was going to take the right family; One which would love and care for her as I had. There were showings upon showings. The process was reminiscent of the many MATCH.COM dates that I had to endure before I met My Michael.

It was a great run and our fondness was mutual. Except when a pipe burst or the heating system refused to do its job. Then, I was less in love. But we got through the rocky times.

Two months ago, I passed the baton. Her new suitors took over and we said goodbye. It was heartbreaking.  It was a relief.

I am newly in like with one much younger. Call it robbing the cradle, but my new relationship is with a two-year-old home. She is very vanilla but I am in the process of giving her a makeover and appointing her so that she has just as much charm and character as my former love. We are taking it slowly but in time I am confident that my new gal will be unique and special, too.

I will share the journey with you.

But, in the honor of my past love, I will regard her by continuing to share how I brought her to her happy beautiful place. I will reminisce by sharing more posts on the transformation of my antique, my former love.

Cousin Laura visited me recently after I moved. I asked her what she thought of my new home. She replied that it was very nice but it needed to be MARY-IZED.

I am excited to do just that and to share every step of the way with you.

Sparkle on, Friends

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Abode · Design · Interior · Renovation

HOME made; My LIVING-lovelier-ROOM

I don’t know about you, but our kitchen is the heart of our family living. But living rooms tend to be the second heart of the home. Our living room is a cozy haven with a set-up where we convene and watch tv, read, talk by the fire or play scrabble. It was a challenge,  a FUN challenge, to… Continue reading HOME made; My LIVING-lovelier-ROOM