Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love where you live: By Design

Love where you live: By Design: Design: To create, fashion,execute or construct according to plan; to conceive and plan out in the mind, to have as a purpose. To devise for...

By Design

To create, fashion,execute or construct according to plan; to conceive and plan out in the mind, to have as a purpose. To devise for a specific function; to make a drawing or sketch of; to draw. 

The Miriam Webster definition of design is stated above.
As a Designer, mine slightly differs, and is listed below:

To be given the ability to do what you love, with good intent of the outcome for all involved; to be allowed to let your soul sing; to create with the purpose of enhancing the lives of those using the space with functionality, aesthetic and inherent value; to consistently produce quality with a high level of integrity and creativity.

My thanks to all of my clients over the past year for allowing me into your homes to create a space that you dwell in everyday. It has been my pleasure to listen your ideas, give input, tweak, brainstorm with you  and create a space that not only fits your needs but adheres to the William Morris principle  - "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

 Happy New Year to friends and clients alike. Funny how many of them are now one and the same. 

All the best to you all in 2012.......With thanks and always, take good care,

Patricia L. Caulfield

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 MAX Awards of Excellence
Home Builders Association of Maryland
Gold Award, Accessible Living Bath Remodel

In recognition of excellence in design and construction of an accessible living bath remodel, top honors were awarded to Greenleaf Remodeling and Patricia L. Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS, for the Canton Cove Master Bath Project completed in 2011 presented by the Home Builders Association of Maryland.

The category, Accessible Living Award, was newly created this year by HBAM. The Gold Award recipient, a Canton Cove bath remodel, centered on the clients needs for an ADA compliant space. Living with a degenerative disease and using a walker, the client would eventually become dependant on a wheelchair for mobility. With this in mind, George Brown, President of Greenleaf, and designer Pat Caulfield, AKBD, CAPS, created a space that would accommodate both present and future needs. By incorporating a barrier free shower with a fold down teak seat, a hand held shower wand, a fixed showerhead and niche in the shower wall to house necessary items easy access was provided for the client.

The Kohler Purist collection in polished chrome was selected for contemporary appeal. Streamlined single lever fixtures allowed for ease of use mounted on an accessible wall mount sink outfitted with chrome legs for support. The commode, Kohler Persuade, completes the ensemble with the water saving capabilities of a dual flush. Grab bars on the walls installed both vertically and horizontally in coordinated chrome allow for assistance but maintain the element of high design. Accented with pale sand colored tile along with horizontal glass accents, the shower was transformed by creating a "spa feeling".

Greenleaf Remodeling is a full service residential remodeling company offering design/build solutions for both old and new homes. Their focus is to reduce the impact on the environment during the remodeling process by using sustainable building practices and materials while focusing on energy efficiency in the home. George Brown is a CAPS Certified Aging in Place Specialist and a Gilman graduate. Along with his team of talented craftsmen their strength lies in the ability to successfully assess, present and deliver viable solutions to their customers.

Greenleaf Remodeling is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, CAPS certified, HBAM Remodelers Association, Maryland Home Builders Association and is EPA Lead-Safe Certified. Please contact George Brown, President, for more information or Patricia L. Caulfield, Independent Consultant in the Kitchen and Bath Industry.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fairy Tales can come true: Embracing the Past

Fairy Tales can come true: Embracing the Past: Once upon a time there lived a lovely young couple with more than a couple of very young sons. They lived in a beautiful home built in 1929....

Embracing the Past

Once upon a time there lived a lovely young couple with more than a couple of very young sons. They lived in a beautiful home built in 1929. They embraced the value of keeping the integrity of the historic era of their home intact.

The very fortunate designer and remodeler that showed up at their door also appreciated this much maligned and neglected concept. Yet, this lovely young couple knew that as the boys grew, their privacy in their own bathroom would diminish as their sons needed a space of their own to practice their budding young manhood rituals.


And so, the designer and the remodeler set out on the odious task of reclaiming two baths to their former glory while allowing for contemporary function and effective use of the existing space.The challenge was further enhanced by the slope of the roof - another enchanting feature of this impressive home.

Armed with tape measures and tile, the re-creation began. A now stunning Master Bath was revived by incorporating a walk-in shower treated with glorious natural stone and glass mosaic inserts in a harlequin pattern. A hand held shower along with a fixed shower head allows for flexibility. Blocking was installed in the shower wall to accommodate a future grab bar - thinking ahead to an aging in place scenario, but currently fully equipped for ease of use in the present tense.

Since a delightful built in closet already existed in the room to house daily requirements, a classic Kohler Memoirs pedestal sink in a creamy Biscuit finish and commode completed the timeless appeal of this bath redo. A Roburn medicine cabinet added much needed storage with a dash of pinash and a double towel bar took up minimal residence on the wall. Soft finishes in satin nickel gave a retro glow to the room while toes were attended to as a heated floor kept the comfort level high. 

The beautiful ending to this fairy tale story set in a period home is really just the beginning for this lovely young couple with more than a couple of very young sons. They all lived happily ever after with a space to call their own - as the third floor bath remodel (to be unveiled soon) competed the needs of this traditional crew.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It looks good...: But does it feel good?

It looks good...: But does it feel good?: One of my goals in design is to make a space feel good. Not just make it pretty, but FEEL good and function well. In kitchen design there ar...

But does it feel good?

One of my goals in design is to make a space feel good. Not just make it pretty, but FEEL good and function well. In kitchen design there are guidelines that should be followed. We all know about the work triangle. This guideline exists in order to accurately place the three most common work sites at the most efficient distance  to minimize traffic through the work zone.
The three main work sites consist of the refrigerator - the cold storage site, the sink - the cleaning/prep site and the stove - the cooking site. Within the triangle, no leg should be longer than 9' or shorter than 4'. Based on the ergonomics of reach, steps taken and tasks to be performed this space not only functions well - but again - feels good. 
 In a recent kitchen remodel my clients and I went through countless scenarios of moving the primary work stations to effectively open up the room. During a visit with my client upon project completion her comment - "I can't believe how wonderful this space is to work in."

Yes, it is beautiful and yes it does function well. We flipped the refrigerator to the patio door side of the space off the initial entrance. The cooktop was relocated from the island  to the back wall to create a focal point with the decorative hood that is now vented to the exterior. The double ovens are adjacent to the island for ample landing space as my client is a wonderful baker. And she's about the size of an HB pencil.

A created hutch area with roll out internal drawers made for additional storage and the glass front cabinets above were lighted to bring a sparkle to the room. An island that was custom built was designed with the homeowners exquisite taste in mind. I repeated the shell motif she had throughout the home to pull elements from one room into the next to create a continuity within the home itself.

An added visual pop of a bay window behind the sink with granite running right into it expands the space and allows the seasoned chef a place to grow herbs even in the winter months.With light streaming in from the exterior, the space emotes a soft glow and brings the outdoors in. This provides yet another delectable element to stir the creativity in the pot of this talented cook.  

Her impeccable good taste and inviting meals are legend in her circle of family and friends and will be celebrated for years to come. Kitchen design is not only about moving boxes around a room. It's about gathering with family and friends and feeling safe - and good about where you are.   

For further information kindly contact me directly at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seeing spots: On break from Clydesdale Integration Training the ...

Seeing spots: On break from Clydesdale Integration Training the ...: "On break from Clydesdale Integration Training the pair quickly found mischief in the form of an ice chest."
On break from Clydesdale Integration Training the pair quickly found mischief in the form of an ice chest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We love dirty laundry...: Wash & Wear

We love dirty laundry...: Wash & Wear: "One of the most used and most neglected rooms of the home is the laundry room. A redo in this often tight space can be a minimal, budget co..."

Wash & Wear

One of the most used and most neglected rooms of the home is the laundry room.  A redo in this often tight space can be a minimal, budget conscious update or an extensive over haul. But make no mistake, a facelift in this area will make a routine chore feel far more agreeable.

Here are a few thoughts on the re-do in a really essential space:

Throw it out. The first and most important rule of remodel. If you don't use it, haven't used it in two years - throw it out or give it away. Lately I have been ripping through my house and just getting rid of the stuff that grows in my closets when I'm not looking. It's called clutter. A cluttered house is a cluttered mind. Get rid of it.

Determine how much you want to spend on the space. We had out-of-town company which precipitated the re-do. The often heard cry at our house was "Some one's at the front door! Oh my Heavens shut that laundry room door now!" Since time was of the essence and cost needed to be low, I employed some simple updates that renewed the room. And it feels so good - and clean. 

Floor:  For an 8' x 12' room, $86 at Lowes bought vinyl tiles that we installed ourselves. We really wanted porcelain or ceramic tile, but when considering the cost, plus wet saw rental, plus labor, plus time invested - we had to make a concession. The vinyl tile took 1/2 a day to install. It looks great, is very forgiving and one tile or an area can be replaced if the floor becomes damaged. Be sure to buy extra tiles so that the dye lot is the same should you need to replace them. Porcelain tile is optimal in a wet area and one day we may change it out. But for the next few years vinyl fits the bill....and the pocketbook.

Walls:  In one word - paint. Because it's a small room we unified the space by painting it all one color - even the ceiling. Or paint it with a pop of bright color if that makes you happy. Make it your own with paint or pattern, stay away from borders or anything that could make the space look too busy.

Storage Solutions: Wall mounted shelves, inexpensive baskets (don't forget TJ MAXX or Target for these items!) even plastic bins can help organize things that you want to retain. Designate areas to fold, hang and store. Adding a wall cabinet to hide essentials with a  paper towel dispenser hung below can do the trick. Get it off the floor! Hooks, shelves and cabinets add style, storage and function.

Decide if you need to utilize this room for multi purpose. With two dogs in the house, my laundry room has become their space as well. Keep it clean, keep it easy! A great looking bowl, floor mat, bin for dog food and wall hung sink keep it simple, streamlined and comfortable. 

A little goes a long way. Organize, pitch it out, then reorganize again! Minimal updates could only take a day of solid work....and the chore of laundry becomes a little less stressful and a lot more productive.

Love where you live, wherever you live!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Postman look and see....: Purging prose

Mr. Postman look and see....: Purging prose: " As I purged my emails from the last six months this morning I felt as if I'd just read a book. And yes, I do keep some that long due to wo..."

Purging prose

  As I purged my emails from the last six months this morning I felt as if I'd just read a book. And yes, I do keep some that long due to working with clients and making sure their needs are met even after the project has been wrapped up. Others are sentimental, friends found, friends lost and the stories I've been told along the way. The ones that made me laugh, the ones that commiserated or unloaded pangs of regret made me realize these emails did indeed constitute a book, the pages that make up our every day lives.

  I am completely amazed at some of the comments shared with clients, how we really got to know each other and became a part of each other's lives. How many I am still in touch with - the interaction of creating a new space created a bond of friendship. I came across conversations with friends old and new, places and joys we shared via email. Like the chance meeting of Chris Botti before a concert in Baltimore, or the immediate OMG's over a social faux pas, emotions and thoughts were transmitted into black and white type. Snippets of time sent into cyberspace...are these the fabric of our lives? Emails composed with the poetic turn of a phrase, the kudos and the guffaws silently testify to the minutia that create the milestones. There is that instant reaction that gives the characters on a keyboard an inflection all their own.

  The generation that has grown up with computers will never know anything but keyboards large and small. But how I long for the days of a hand-written note, eloquently penned on a fine Crane paper. Penmanship that peeks into a personality, a small glimpse into the writer itself.

  I recall a line from the movie The Last Samurai - "A person could contemplate one cherry blossom for his entire lifetime and that life would not be wasted."

   Much like the glimpses into our everyday, these seemingly insignificant emails open the window of our experience...and a morning in contemplation of those experiences is not a morning wasted.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Remodeling a classic home...: Sneak Peak

Remodeling a classic home...: Sneak Peak: "Wrapping up a project with Greenleaf Remodeling in Baltimore that is coming along so beautifully that I had to give you a sneak peak. The ba..."

Sneak Peak

Wrapping up a project with Greenleaf Remodeling in Baltimore that is coming along so beautifully that I had to give you a sneak peak. The baths are housed in a 1929 home in a lovely section just outside of the city limits. And hip hip hooray for the homeowners - they wanted to keep it period specific but updated with modern conveniences. 

A wonderful history behind the house that I will expand upon when it's all complete. The tile is outstanding and can speak for itself. 

Here's just a little preview...the Master Bath is the natural stone with mosaic accents.

The third floor bath sports a basket weave Carerra on the floor with marble wall tiles....just simply stunning in all it's beauty.

Stay tuned for the finished project along with the story behind the home...!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Well it's official...

My dog has flunked Obedience Training 101. Flunked with a very loud Ker-plunk. Eight weeks of classes, constant instruction at home and out of six final tests he failed four. Well OK he passed two. And I thought he was doing well. We went to the pet store before class and everyone commented on what a wonderful puppy he was. Maybe I overshot and used up all of that polite decorum he displayed at Pet Smart only to flounder on THE BIG TEST.

"Compliance, subordination, submission and conformity. A bending to the authority or control of another". That is the Official Webster's Dictionary definition of Obedience. When I read it I had to laugh a little ruefully at myself. These are all the things I have fought against for most of my life. Why wouldn't I be attracted to a pup who shares those same sentiments? 

In his ten months here on this earth he has managed to wiggle himself into my heart. Even the six year old Dal begrudgingly accepts that he is here to stay. He walks well on the leash, loves the car, does a hell of a sit-stay. And he smiles. With every tooth in his spotted head.

So we won't make the Eukenuba championships this year. But he is becoming proficient at catching a Frisbee. I always wanted a dog that did that. Already I've made the decision to re-enroll him in "pre-school" this fall. Along the way I found that I love to work with dogs - side by side. The folks at the 4-H Club are amazing. Conscious, strict yet kind - the trainers truly care about a quality outcome for your pet.

The ego sting may have resulted from that memory of failing algebra in the 8th grade. That aside, I did learn to do the math and became a pretty decent designer in spite of the stumble. Maybe there's hope for the boy yet. After all - who wants an Auto-tron dog when they can have one with a sense of enthusiasm and adventure? A sense of exploration and verve? A sense of ....well maybe - how about good blend of all of those qualities, including just a little bit of obedience.

And maybe the ability to stay away from my shoes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The great impostor

Lately I've fallen in love with a few things...long summer days, polka dot dogs that won't pay attention and design trends that make sense. The commonality among these things is that they possess a certain resilience, unmitigated beauty and qualities unique unto them. Each one different, each with their own allure.  

The design trend recently spotted was the use of the wood-look porcelain tile in residential application. These tiles range in cost, size and quality just like everything else. A porcelain tile is a through-body tile. The body of the tile is clay, not ceramic and is far more durable. Porcelain holds it's color and doesn't have the screened-on pixilation that is sometimes prominent in a ceramic tile. 

The wood-looks were most often seen in commercial applications such as hotels or restaurants. That they have come into home use is largely due to the functionality aspect - and their appearance has greatly improved. The tiles can be purchased in 12"x12" squares or 6"x24" planks. Colors mimic the real thing - Wenge, Maple, Cherry, Oak. While they will show a grout line, the application is important, as is the pattern.  Mixing them as a border is an option - with a porcelain tile rug in the center. Or run them like planks for a seamless effect. 

The texture helps in the slippery factor - or coefficient of friction. All tiles are rated for this factor - how slick they become when wet. Kind of  like getting your hands on a wet puppy that only wants to play. Check the back of the tile board for the rating to see where it stacks up.

Some tiles are available for LEED points and are made of recycled materials. In a residential application, these tiles are best paired with a floor warming system such as Warmly Yours or Nu-Heat. This is always a winning combination with any floor tile.

These great impostors won't let you down. They will continue to delight you on their own merits. They have the longevity of a summer day and will reside happily in your home with their steadfast performance and unabashed charm for many years to come. Like that spotted pup you are hoping will one day graduate from obedience class.

For further information please contact me directly at

Monday, June 6, 2011


In the pink, the pink slip, a pink elephant in the room, your pinky, a pinko, pretty in pink.

That four letter word can conjure up a lot of different emotions or state of being. This is the first time that I have used it relating to the color of a kitchen. And I do mean pink. Anigre veneer was stained with a pink dye to produce the panels that created  the cabinets. Anigre being the exotic wood species - somewhat of a pale yellow wood with a faint ribbon-like grain running horizontally through it, this wood takes a dye or stain well with consistancy. The cabinets are frameless, a clean contemporary style of construction with a long stainless steel pulls used for the hardware. A honed black granite countertop tied in the black appliances while accent elements were allowed to state their presence. 

And how could you miss that backsplash? A white porcelain tile with slices of natural agate in the center of the free form circles was incorporated as a modern art statement. Custom stainless lighting curves down from the celing in a space age bent and the faucets and fixures complete the circular motif. The clients' enthusiam for all things swirly showed up in the fabric of the verrrrry comfortable counter height chairs - black and white with a free-form pattern on a black frame.

A gorgeous grey marble flowed from the island, and another elevation was topped with Corian from the Illumination series in (what else?) Strawberry Ice. Underlit with WAC LED lighting tape, this surface can create a challenge in design. If underlit the seams will show, and it is preferable to use one entire slab omitting the seam entirely. The Illumination Series is certified to the highest level for food contact and the surface does not promote mold, mildew, or bacteria.

While all the elements create certainly a unique space that the clients are, well, tickeld pink with - it also functions flawlessly. A true work triangle with an added prep sink, hidden storage for spice racks and baking trays, ample full extension pantry drawers for pots and pans, dishes and utensils all add up to a kitchen that is high design - and a well planned space for ease of use all at the same time. Storage is a snap, prep has its' place and all evoke the element of fun, sometimes one element that can be missed in a design. 

A room to create in, a room to entertain in, a room with the energy and the genuine warmth of my clients - this is certainly one to put a bright spot in the day. Color it pink - and you're on the right track. 

For any additional information please contact me directly at

Thursday, June 2, 2011

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet: "The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and ..."

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet: "The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and ..."

The Icing on the Cabinet

The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and bath cabinetry. Hardware is not just functional it can add a touch of whimsy, individualism, a pop of color or texture and everything in between.

However - here's one tip to consider when selecting hardware. Try it on. That's right. Try it on. Hardware is produced from all over the world and varies in length, depth and the height of the stand offs. Stands offs are not what happens at the OK Corral at midnight - but the metal, leather, wood or stainless material that fastens the pull to the face front of the drawer or door on your cabinets. The depth is what gives the comfort in the everyday use, something you may not have ever thought about.

Keep in mind you will be using the hardware on your cabinets everyday. Be certain that it feels good in your hand. That there is ease of use as well as attractiveness. We hate to admit it but as we age, flexibility in the hands becomes affected by arthritis among other conditions. Even a paper cut can hinder the simple act of opening a drawer.

 Order a sample - try it on. Try it on your cabinets, try it on for function first. And then if you fall in love with the style, the feel and the bling that adds that certain something to your space - you know you've made a choice you can live with. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fooled again

He wasn't the first one to fool me with his boyish charm and youthful good looks. When he smiles he lights up the room....the only difference between him and the others is that wagging tail that follows behind his  wiggling  body.  

Pawlie - Mr. Pawlie Paws, Paws or "that damn dog" entered our lives about 9 months ago. Just like giving birth - the good, the bad and the ugly - the integration of a second dog into our home has been a tad painful. Like the couple of hundred dollars that went to the emergency vet for a very sick pup last weekend.  Diagnosed with bacterial poisoning from supposedly devoured wild mushrooms in the back yard proved to be false when the real culprit passed through at 1 AM - a large piece of solid rubber that came from heavens knows where.  

Pillows are no longer safe and Marlon, our six year old Dal, heaves a sigh of relief when Pawlie goes off to obedience training. He gets to have the house back to himself, the way it used to be...if only for a little while.

One thing I know for sure this little boy takes a lot of time - training, walking, cleaning, cursing, cleaning, walking, cleaning, oh wait I said that already - all paid back by a single kiss or an enthusiastic greeting. This exuberant little fellow could have gone to another home and I never would have met him. But I believe puppies pick us, to grow to be our companions, our confidants, our support, our unconditional love.  

We have alot to learn from the humble canine.  Alot to learn indeed. 

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
Pudd'nhead Wilson

Friday, May 13, 2011

I want my MAYPO!

In 1956 the most successful ad campaign was based on a cartoon kid named Marky. Bald, floppy eared and cowboy hat, his claim to fame was demanding his maple flavored oatmeal by vocalizing "I WANT MY MAYPO!"  Soon the likes of Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas and Wilt Chamberlain were clamoring for their Maypo too.

Advertising has become a bit more tedious. Magazines grow thinner and newspaper are disappearing. New media marketing has become all confusing.  Do I ping it or blog it?  How do you know where your advertising is best served?

The short answer - you don't.  Websites can validate your business, Facebook can enhance your popularity. email blitzes go to junk mail, as direct mail often gets pitched.  Slogans are few and far between, and the advent of advertising is in flux.

How can we be heard? Like Horton Hears a WHO - "We are here! We are here!" but WHO is listening?  I have seen companies that were rocking and rolling fall by the wayside because they can't find their message.  The smartest piece of advice I ever got was from a friend in the industry.  Her 2 cents worth?

Decide who you are and stick with it.  Simple huh?
Decide who you are and stick with it.

Are we still talking about advertising?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In complete compliance: Minimalist to the Maximum

In complete compliance: Minimalist to the Maximum: "BEFORE AFTER Another great project with Greenleaf Remodeling. A true ADA compliant space was created with the constraints of worki..."

Minimalist to the Maximum

Another great project with Greenleaf Remodeling.  A true ADA compliant space was created with the constraints of working in a condo - and without moving any of the exisitng plumbing hookups.  A true gentleman, our client is forward thinking concerning not only his space - but his own health.

Living with MS creates enough challenges every day, and a space in which to retreat and "just be" was clearly in order.  What a joy to work on, and our client to work with. By updating the look and feel of the space using minimalist design and "spa appeal", functionality became front and center. The existing shower and tub was removed, as well as one partial wall in the entry area. A storage closet was opened up with colorful baskets used for everyday needs. New lighting, tile and serious hard work and the bath was reborn. 


A barrier free shower with teak fold down seat, niche for essentials and glass tile accents opened up the small space. The original shower stall was gutted and replaced with a maple wood drawer base with teak top and framed mirror above. A wall mount sink with clean lines, comfort height commode and open shelf cabinet above with closed storage for personal items was deigned with the same quarter cut maple.  Kohler Purist faucets and grab bars keep the remodel clean and contemporary. Using bright polished chrome for fixtures added just the right touch of gleam in this streamlimed space.

Clean, comfortable and WOW what a look - the new remodel adds a whole new elegance to the term "ease of use".

Friday, April 1, 2011

Design Dilema: High Style Kosher Kitchen

Design Dilema: High Style Kosher Kitchen: "Just recently I completed work on a gorgeous Kosher kitchen. I love it when I learn from my clients. What? A design expert admitti..."

High Style Kosher Kitchen

Recently I completed work on a gorgeous Kosher kitchen. I love it when I learn from my clients. What? A design expert admitting they learned from their client? Yes sir, I did. My client has traveled the world - to Belgium, on Safari in Africa, Russia - just to name a few. Add to that being exceptionally well read and I was enthralled. 
The kitchen is simply knock out. Using all Sub Zero/Wolf appliances, two Franke undermount sinks and KWC faucets, the challenge was to provide enough storage for all dishes, pots and pans used during everyday food prep as well as Jewish holidays. 

While storing her cookware in her now organized space, my client began to kasher for the holiday. Any new metal, aluminum container or cookware, glass vessels and utensils require t'vilat kelim (ritual immersion) in a kosher mikvah (ritual bath) prior to use. Passover commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and marks the beginning of the harvest season.

Compact yet concise, this contemporary Kosher kitchen is a chefs' dream to create in. Grey Silestone countertops and a full height backsplash with flecks of reflective mirror sparkle softly in the light. The elegant color and pattern of curly maple wood veneer adds understated drama to the space. Long contemporary bar pulls grace the doors and drawer fronts with just the right touch of metal.

What more can I say about this stunning space? I think a toast to my client is in order....
L'Chayim - to life. And to many happy days and hearty meals with family and friends gathered 'round.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IN with the IN Crowd: The New High School Clique

IN with the IN Crowd: The New High School Clique: "Well I have decided that the iPhone is the ultimate Cool Kids Clique. If you don't have one, you are forced to wait your turn to be picked f..."

The New High School Clique

Well I have decided that the iPhone is the ultimate Cool Kids Clique. If you don't have one, you are forced to wait your turn to be picked for the Dodge Ball team. You're the kid that can't climb the rope, the one that doesn't want to undress in the locker room.

Devices don't make you cool. Did James Dean have an iPhone? Hepburn? Steve McQueen? The Fonz? Their persona made them cool. They didn't have to have an external gadget to be the ultimate. I don't have an iPhone. And since I backed over my Blackberry I'm just not that connected. And you know what? I sleep better. I don't get up at 3AM anymore to return a clients email about a cabinet concern or a counter top. I can do that when I get up. The answer will be the same at 3AM as it is at 6AM. I still care  about my customer, but can care more with a clear head.

I've decided that the real reason to have an iPhone and pay all those data charges is to be the Cool Kid. The one in the IN crowd.  I have an iPad.  With Kindle, and email. So maybe I'm not the Cool Kid with all the apps on my cell. But at least I can see Angry Birds better on a big screen. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Visit to the Amish Country

Every now and then I get the opportunity to visit a museum with an exhibit that not only expands my design sensibilities but rivals my level of understanding. Who could have thought the Amish quilts from the 1920's could pack such a punch? I mean WOW.

Saturated color in combinations that make you just  want to roll in them, these quilts are breaking the barrier of our cultural understanding. Amish farm wives and daughters and "women-folk" in the Depression Era hand stitched these incredible works of art using fabrics passed down from generations that were worn as clothing first. The fabrics were then given an artistic rebirth in the form of a quilt. 

Not just color - AMAZING color. Color that makes me giddy.

The quilts are part of the ESPRIT collection and were housed in the corporate offices in San Francisco in the 1970's. ESPRIT clothing, as well as their branding and marketing designs were based on a simple grid system. Mondrian in effect, the clothing was vibrant and color infused. These quilts hung in the ESPRIT offices as design inspiration and an ode to the dynamic  power of simple graphics. And to think they were made in little old Lancaster County on Amish farms in PA. 

And here is where the paradigm shift comes in.  We think of the Amish as a backward, quiet community that doesn't use electricity or drive cars.  They farm the land with horse drawn equipment, make their own clothes and don't have phones. An oddity in the iPad, iPhone gotten get in done world that we live in. 

We think of "Witness" and the Amish in a preconceived notion. We don't see the depth of color present in the human spirit. We don't cognitively give in to that fact that the people that made this art - these quilts - felt intense emotions, the strength of their convictions and beliefs as we do.

 If color is any indication of the human condition, it is worn like a banner in the confines of this museum.

If you have the opportunity to go to this wonderful exhibit in the center of the city of Lancaster, PA, take some time and take it in.  The quality in each piece is uncompromising. The stitch work - all by hand - precise, exacting and tedious. The color squares visually vibrate...imagine the hours of work that went into a single quilt.

Amazing what we mere mortals can do, can create - right smack in the heart of a Depression. 
Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 397-2970