The Not My Taste, Remodeled Kitchen

I know y’all know what I am talking about. You are out looking at homes, searching for the one that you want to call your own. And then right there in front of you, it appears…but wait! Everything is great…all redone, high quality craftsmanship that shows in the remodel but the kitchen is just not your taste. Who rips out a 40, 50, 75, or 100 thousand plus dollar kitchen? Well some people do and I have had many clients who do and have but I am not one of them. This is a story of my, Not My Taste Kitchen, and how I remedied the design problem with solutions that really work.

Five years ago I walked into what is now our home on Phinney Ridge. I fell in love with the bones and saw the possibility in all the historic character that was still in tact. Coved ceilings, leaded windows, original doors with their glass knobs and the beautiful Batchelder fireplace (more on that in a future article) but then I walked into the kitchen and my heart just sunk. I was met with Shaker Style cherry cabinets in a darkish red stain, black granite countertops and a pedestrian tile floor. I knew that my husband would not agree to ripping it out and adding the cost of that to all the work we planned on doing anyway and truthfully he would have been right but I am the cook and I am the one who spends hours in the kitchen and so I needed and deserved a kitchen that felt good to me. I am also a designer and my aesthetic self was not feeling this kitchen in any way.

So what did I do? Well first I went to a high-end kitchen and bathroom showroom and chose beautiful handles, knobs and pulls for all the drawers and cabinets, replacing the ones of questionable taste that the previous owner had chosen. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it made. Then I changed the awful sink faucet to a beautiful nickel one imported from England and finally, I got rid of the plain old stove and talked my husband into getting a Wolf Gas Range (Yes I love it) and stainless hood over it. I put down a lovely and rustic rug over the tile and warmed the black countertops up by putting beautiful large cutting boards that are made in Vermont by J K Adams on top of the cold black granite. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it made. I enjoy my kitchen very much but am now ready,  after 4 years for phase two; getting rid of those dark cabinets that do nothing to brighten up the kitchen on a cold and gray winters day!

An exciting new option for kitchen cabinet rejuvenation literally fell in my lap a couple of months ago. I was reading a local design and living magazine and came across an article that intrigued me. I always though my options for my cabinets were limited by my insistence on a non toxic low VOC finish and traditional cabinet refinishing was anything but. Literally you needed to clear out of your house for days because the fumes were so noxious and still then the smell would linger for months which was just not an option for this Green Mama!

We have come a long way and today restoring the beauty of your old wood cabinets has never been easier or more cost effective! It begins with hiring technicians experienced with the new water based products and methods which can produce a like new luster to your wood cabinets. All of this can be achieved without the waste, mess or harsh odors from chemicals and it can be done in days not weeks! These new methods promise to be non toxic and odorless which is so important to me and my family!

The finish possibilities are virtually endless which for me is another crucial component. As soon as I finish writing this I’m calling N Hance Wood Renewal (877) 868-WOOD for more information and to set up an appointment for them to come out and see my kitchen!

Stay tuned!!





Swansons Nursery For Christmas Memories

What do Camels, Reindeer, a large toy train Christmas village and all matter of Christmas baubles galore have in common?  Swansons Nursery of course!

Since 1924 Swansons Nursery has been a beloved Northwest favorite providing gardens big and small with many of the beautiful flora that adorn them! But come Christmas, or more accurately, around Thanksgiving, Swansons becomes a holiday wonderland enjoyed for generations by old and young alike! It wouldn’t be the holidays without our annual trip to Swansons to visit the beautiful animals and browse their wonderful holiday collections.

Swansons is located in the charming Crown Hill neighborhood of Seattle just steps from one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods Blue Ridge. Both neighborhoods are filled with charming, mostly older homes and have an established classic feel about them. The lucky folks who live in Blue Ridge can actually walk to Swansons and do!

If you are new to the area, just visiting or have lived here for decades and never been, do yourself and family a favor and visit Swansons this holiday season! It gets you in the spirit of the season and makes one feel like a child again!

Swansons address is 9701 15th Avenue NW, Seattle and their phone number is (206) 782-2543.

Psst…if you haven’t gotten your tree or wreaths yet, they have those too! Enjoy!


My Favorite Northwest Lodge; Lake Quinault

The link above to the wonderful historic lodges of The Olympic Peninsula….I am counting the days until our weekend away to Lake Quinault Lodge! If you have never been you are missing one of the great pleasures of living in our region. It is like going back in time and everything gets more still and quiet. The last time we were there I took my 7 year old on the rainforest tour where we saw Bald Eagles diving for Salmon, herds of Roosevelt Elk, an original 19th century homestead and 1000 year old trees. It was magical and my daughter could not stop swooning at the majesty of it all.

Nothing beats sitting by the huge stone fireplace with a roaring fire to stare at and sipping a cup of tea or enjoying a glass of Pinot. I can waste hours just sitting there with a good book while my daughter draws in her sketch pad. Life slows down here and in this fast paced world we live in, the rejuvenation and beauty of Lake Quinault are soul restoring!

Beautiful Homes Deserve Beautiful Things

After I left my parents home many moons again, I realized that I loved being surrounded by things that were beautiful; beautiful in their simplicity, beautiful in their uniqueness, beautiful because of an aged patina; beautiful because I thought they were!

I started collecting when I was 18 and I have never stopped! I have spent multiple hours searching through the wares of some of the best flea markets in Paris and New York and have scoured many cities here and abroad in search of hidden gems that are a bit off the beaten track. There is nothing like the moment when I spot something that I have been searching for, either for a client or myself, often not even knowing exactly what I was looking for until I see it. I can close my eyes and see exactly how it will fit and where it will go in a home. Triumph!

There is a beautiful neighborhood here in Seattle called Madison Park, home to some of the cities finest homes, best restaurants and most wonderful boutiques. In this lovely enclave is one of my favorite stores in the city.

Red Ticking isn’t like any other store in Seattle. The owner carefully selects only the most interesting French Country one of a kind linens, antiques and wares for her shop. Don’t get me wrong though, this is not a carefully edited shop with only a few things here and there. It is abundantly filled and very worth a visit. Plan on spending at least an hour, as it is an absolute feast for the eyes and senses!

Red Ticking: 2802 East Madison, Seattle (206) 322-9890


Wonderful news for the continued gains in our real estate market in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Particularly because the gains are being made with concrete market fundamentals…ie. Good job growth! Great news for our whole region!

They Say Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder; But Is It?

We have all heard the old adage that one person’s art is another one’s trash which made me curious about the perception of what one considers beautiful.

In my years of working in interior design and real estate I have had many a client swoon out of sheer excitement and delight at either a home that they think is beautiful and “the one” or a design concept that absolutely bowls them over and that they can’t wait to get started on. But then, and oh yes there is a but then, there are the clients who say very little or nothing at all and leave a home almost as soon as they arrive; a home that in my humble opinion, most people would find objectively beautiful!

What does that mean? What it means is that in real estate and design the most important perception of beauty is the one the client holds and that it is ultimately my job to figure out and internalize exactly what that is so that when we spend our multiple hours together looking for the perfect home or perfect design theme, we are not spinning our wheels looking at things that they would never consider. It is a win/win for everyone because I have demonstrated that I “get it” and they know that they are spending their time wisely narrowing down their choices so that when they find their beautiful Seattle home, we are ready to go with the knowledge that we have seen all of what is beautiful to them!

Because at the end of the day, everyone deserves to come home to something they think is beautiful! They deserve to come home to their exact idea of what makes a beautiful Seattle home!