Planning a kitchen renovation that doesn't quite exist

The Sink I'm Coveting

image via

image via

I got to meet with the Native Trails CEO Naomi Neilson Howard at the last Architectural Digest Home Show, where she showed me the company's latest line of sinks. These farmhouse sinks are extremely durable (at the time the weather hadn't scurried me away from my garden, so I was thinking "potting bench!". 

But no. I have a kitchen to plan--eventually. This has been the general idea since we purchased our home three years ago. The kitchen layout is great--and the materials in it have gone unchanged since one of my best friend's aunt and uncle redesigned it during the late 1980s. I'd like to install hardwood floors, but plan to hold off on all of this until various animals and little people have stopped peeing on the current floor.*

The Native Trails Farmhouse Duet Pro copper sink is major wish list item for the renovation, whenever it happens. The copper used is from salvaged electrical wire and copper tubing that is melted down and then hammered by skilled artisans. The result is long-lasting and beautiful. Perhaps for Christmas Santa will convince Beastie B that all the cool kids use the potty, and then in the spring the Easter Bunny will bring me a kitchen project. A girl can dream.

*okay, various is a stretch. one animal and one little person who is almost finished with his diapers... I hope.

A room of my own

writing about my favorite personal space


I excised the chunk of words below from a draft recently and it hurt my heart a little...

I have a “lady room” in my current house that is my special haven. It was partially a project partnership with a paint company for my blog—take our ugly, junked-up and neglected formal living room and turn it into a stylish, attractive space. I worked with one of my designer friends, slightly uncomfortable with the idea of handing so much control of the project to someone who didn’t live inside my chattery brain. I almost cried when Christy chose a deep, smudgy shade to paint the interior doors and mantel in order to contrast with the bright white walls and the ceiling that I’d insisted on having lacquered in several layers of clear gloss to create more of a glow in the room when candles are lit. It was an experiment for when I eventually have the dining room walls lacquered in a similar manner to reflect light from the fireplace flames. But the color that Christy chose for an accent—it was the color of toxic, carcinogen-laden smoke. I was a nervous wreck over it until the entire room was complete. Now I see how the color draws the finer details out of the varied objects around the room. The accent color has an especially magnetic pull upon the large canvas across from the mantel, above the sofa. People often ask if the piece, created by local artist Whitney LeJeune, is a portrait of myself—a notion that always brings me to loud, snorty laughter at the thought of requesting a humungous self-portrait of a body that doesn’t get nearly the care and attention as that of the model who lives on my wall. The dark, smokey color of the mantle brings out the sharpness of the lines that compose the standing woman’s clavicle, making it appear mighty and delicate at once, as she throws her unseen head toward the sky, elongating that well-manicured body in it’s shadowy white dress.

The room sits between our foyer and master bedroom. On many Sunday mornings Aaron and I use it as an extension of our bedroom if we can escape the kids long enough to read the New York Times. Throughout the year the room becomes a gathering place for my closest girlfriends. We shut the room’s doors and let our children play elsewhere. The husbands do whatever they’re going to do, if they join us at all. We giggle, we cry, we cackle, we criticize—sometimes all in the span of a half an hour. It’s the place where I let my guard down. My Southernisms and Midwesternisms begin to mix freely.

Do you have a space that you've carved out of your home that's just for you? 

PS- Be sure to learn more about Whitney LeJeune if you haven't already, and it was my friend Christy Edens and her colleagues at Verve Interiors who helped put it all together to make it my favorite room!

Things to Read: October 6 (oops... I mean October 7)

Blog Links and News to Consider

I've been slooowly writing this blog post since Saturday, sharing some of my favorite reads from the past week. The intention was for this to go live Sunday evening, which it didn't. Then the intention was for it to go out yesterday, but yesterday needed to prove itself to be a Mother of a Monday (I'll spare you the details, but will at least admit that I'm working/editing from my bed this morning due the resulting feelings of drain). Despite the tardiness, the links are still timely and I hope you'll enjoy some good reads!

Dear Raven Symone, About You Being “Colorless”… NOPE.

Luvvie Ajayi

Raven. ARE YOU WATER? Did Jesus walk on you?? Were you asked to turn into wine one day? Are you odorless, too? NO, RAYVEEN SEEMOAN! NAWL.
— Luvvie Ajayi, Awesomely Luvvie

I've been mad at myself for 24 hours for not getting this post up on time. But if I had gotten in there I wouldn't have been able to add Luvvie Ajayi's hilariously common-sense smackdown of Raven-Symoné's curious non-identity statements during the former Cosby star's interview with Oprah. Classification is a tough one for Americans, and we all have varying points of view based on our own experiences, but our little Olivia took it to a new level. Wow. The start of Symoné's explanation--"I don't need language..." Well, um, yes, you do, dear. You need language very much, especially if you seem unable to describe your own self. *stepping down off soapbox now* *kisses!*

via Flickr from The Entertaining House

via Flickr from The Entertaining House

In this season we will light our first fires in our fireplaces, our ovens will get turned on once again and sweet smells will permeate our homes and our hearts... We’ll spend more time inside, and we’ll drink warm mugs of tea and cider to warm our hands when the weather turns cooler. We’ll take drives in the countryside and pick apples and pumpkins with our children who will all eagerly await the day they can dress up and collect candy. As the season progresses we’ll gather together with family and loved ones for the holidays..
— Jessica Gordon Ryan, The Entertaining House

My incredible, fun, fabulous friend Jessica recently relaunched her blog, The Entertaining House. She lives in Connecticut, the state I'd live in if I I couldn't live in South Carolina (well, either there or Virginia)--a state where autumn puts on a spectacular feast for the senses each year. Last week Jessica made a nice-sized checklist to help us get every bit of enjoyment out of the season.

Most of my knowledge of African countries stems back to the ads I used to see on TV in the ’70s about sending a quarter a day (a la About Schmidt).” Those were the words of Nancy, whom I consider to be one of my most well-informed friends. I suspect that she’s not alone among Westerners, and for that, I blame the media, which has always painted an incomplete portrait of Africa...
— Jeremy Helligar, "6 Things Westerners Get Wrong About Africa"

While the author doesn't seem to have read Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", I found this to be a quick and important read. Just the other day I was preparing questions for the conference I'll be attending in Washington later this month and I was trying to find the right frame to lure the speaker into an answer that might depict a clearer vision of some of the continent's socially stable and economically active countries. As America seems to become increasingly insular, our perception of the rest of the globe--particularly Africa--seems to narrow as never before, despite the digital age's intent to bring the world closer together. Check it out for a closer understanding of recent headlines.

Even if you can’t weed, exactly, deadhead your weeds now and discard the seeds deep in the woods or somewhere they cannot resprout. Fewer seeds now, fewer weeds next year.
— Margaret Roach, A Way To Garden

Yeah. I've completely slacked off on everything garden or yard related. Does it count that--after delegating pooper-scoopering to Jr and it not getting done--I contracted a pooper scooper guy? (that poor man--my doggies have no scruples about where or how they doo)

Not a 'PTA' Mom

Jordan Rosenfeld

I used to make terrible judgments about what it meant to be a “PTA mom,” which stood for “Perfect Type A.” I envisioned a carefully coifed, cupcake-baking beast of a woman whose pastel capris never bore so much as a smudge of child-effluence, all with a polished smile.
— Jordan Rosenfeld for Motherlode

A Facebook friend wrote this piece for NYT's Motherlode column. I like to brag that I know people who get published in high places (*wink*). But honestly, Jordan is an accomplished novelist and freelance journalist whose digital and printed voice is always insightful and interesting.