Friday, May 27, 2011

Symphony Designers' Showhouse

For 42 years now the Kansas City Symphony Alliance has been redecorating homes, well technically local interior designers and artists do the redecorating, and using the proceeds from the tours to benefit the Symphony and its programs for kids.  This year the 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom home, built in 1910, is located in the Sunset Hill neighborhood of Kansas City (yeah, I don't know what that means either, but it is a very nice neighborhood).  Laura took us to see the house a couple of weeks ago and I loved touring it! Not all of the rooms were decorated to my taste, but some rooms were too amazing not to share.

The front of the house

My favorite living room on the first floor. I can't figure out who this is by! If you know, please tell me so I can give proper credit!

Monochromatic dining room room by Ethan Allen.  I loved the his and hers chairs and the photos ---they're an old map of paris blown up and divided into 9 pieces. 

The funky and sophisticated nanny's room on the third floor by Katy Sullivan

Wine storage and leather countertops in the bar section of the kitchen by Kitchens by Kleweno

Another view of the kitchen...I l-o-v-e-d the back splash! It is a dogwood tree, which is Missouri's state tree and every little branch had to be hand pieced back there! So beautiful.  Also by Kitchens by Kleweno.

The coolest screened-in porch ever and probably my favorite room in the house. There is an identical hanging bench that matches this one.  By Jennifer Bertrand (winner of the 3rd Season of HGTV's Design Star) and Julie Ransopher of Bertie and Jules Design.

Oh and of course, if you're interested in living in this house, you can! For a mere 1.695M...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

more pictures of sally's house

Sally sent me a few more pictures of the remodel I did!  They're all from her phone, so they're not the best quality, but hopefully they'll give you a better feel for what I did.  Here are some BEFORE pictures, to give you a sense of the space before the renovation:

Now for some after pictures.  In the first one, you can see I chose new, darker hardwood floors and a new stair runner.  Before I think the stairs were carpeted?  I never actually saw the house before I started working on it and helped design it from a distance while I was moving from Maine back to Colorado.  So anyway, we needed a stair runner, so Sally's dog Motley could make it up and down the steep stairs without falling.

I had the kitchen cabinets painted white and selected new hardware for them.  Also, the size of the island countertop was decreased to allow for more room in the adjacent dining area and marble counters and back splash were put in.  At first, we were going to do a white subway tile back splash, but contractors were being unreliable and we figured we'd just do this the easiest and most time-efficient way.  Plus, in such a small kitchen, having the same material on the counters and back splash isn't as overwhelming as it is in a larger space.  Sally plans on replacing her refrigerator to be stainless steel sometime soon, but it wasn't in the budget for the original renovation.  

Probably my least favorite view of the space.  It looks so empty!  Sally plans to build a mantle at some point and I think we need to find a very thin side table or bookshelf to go under the painting on the wall.  The problem is there is not much room between the couch and the wall and we don't want the table to get in the way of the couch.  You can't really tell from the picture, but the chairs pick up on the colors in the painting.

A gorgeous mirror that Sally already owned.  I am pretty much in love with this mirror.  The wood is from somewhere in South or Central America (I can't remember where) and intricately engraved.  Sally brought it back to the states and had it retrofitted as a mirror long before I ever met her.  I made sure it was prominently displayed!  Also, you can see in this picture that the wall that separated the stairs from the living area was removed to give a more spacious feel.  Underneath the stairs we created a storage compartment, where all of Sally's electronics can be tucked away.

A view of the dining area, the Jonathan Adler (!) bar cart and the scene over the bar cart.  Sally really wanted to include the antlers she already had and those gorgeous prints from the Smithsonian.  I also love that Sally's first and last initials are the same, so she only had to get one "S" on her table runner.  So cool.

Two new chairs provide more seating and some color!  The table in between them is one of my favorite things in the space.

A view from the couch looking into the dining area and kitchen.  Throw pillows add more color to the space.  You can also see how badly a smaller countertop was needed to provide more space! 

This is the picture I showed in a previous post...I figured I'd just include it again, since it makes more sense to see it with all of the other pictures too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


print sold by Gayana, found via pinterest
Glacé is ice cream redefined.  Christopher Elbow, who is also famous for his chocolates, took his creativity to the artisanal ice cream world to much accolade.  Flavors like strawberry balsamic and fleur de sel caramel are sure to entice even the most discerning of ice cream lovers.  I tried the salted pretzel and the roasted beet and goat cheese ice creams when I went with Dan's parents.  Both quite unique flavors, both insanely delicious.  In fact, I liked chocolate ice cream for the very first time ever (yes, I'm weird) when I tried their Venezuelan spiced chocolate.

The store's modern branding created by Nathaniel Cooper and Brent Anderson elevates the experience.  It is so much more sleek and stylized than what you would expect from a traditional ice cream parlor.  Of course, this is no traditional ice cream parlor at all...

All photos by Gabe Hopkins.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Come visit me in Kansas City.  And when you do, I'll take you to Manifesto.  If we can get in that is.  On Saturday night, Dan and I were lucky enough to get invited to join his sister, brother-in-law and their friends to celebrate Cara's birthday.  Modeled after speakeasies of the Prohibition period, Manifesto exudes a very intimate, yet exciting vibe.  In fact, to enter, you must text your reservation (if you can even get one) and come in through a back alleyway.

Once you've made your way down what appears to be a normal back staircase, everything is transformed into a mysterious old-fashioned world.  Although alcohol is no longer prohibited (phew!), I did still feel a bit furtive in this basement bar.  Even the servers wear vests and nice shirts to complete the picture. 

The dimly lit room is filled with booths and tables.  You must have a table reserved to get in, lending Manifesto a much more sophisticated atmosphere than most bars.  Perhaps my favorite speakeasy detail is on the back of the drink menu, where the expected etiquette is written out.  Specifically, "No yelling, screaming, hollering, shouting, fighting, or other unnecessarily loud vocalizations unless it is an attempt to warn fellow patrons or employees of impending danger or police raid."

The drink menu is unbelievable.  Filled with completely original takes on classics and brand new drinks, it almost overwhelms you.  Luckily the servers are very nice and helpful with their explanations and recommendations.  And while the menu looks unbelievable, the drinks taste even better.

I ordered the Winter in Buenos Aires and the Tempest and loved both of them.  (Please note that the image above only shows the rum section of the drink menu and that there are many more drinks offered in different categories, like gin and tequila.) The Winter in Buenos Aires was so unexpected and new. And, of course, I had to get the drink that featured butternut squash!  And the Tempest was a wonderful take on a Dark and Stormy.  We also all tried each other's drinks, which was maybe my favorite part.  Each drink was so unique...even the ice cubes are hand chipped!  

In case you couldn't already tell by my rave review, my experience at Manifesto was thoroughly enjoyable.  I can't wait to go back to try more of their drinks! Quietly, of course.

All images are from Manifesto's Facebook page.  I highly recommend that you "like" them! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

fifteenth of may: green goal

In all of the excitement of the big move, I completely neglected May's Green Goal.  Whoops!  So May's Green Goal is to buy myself a reusable water bottle.  Ah! Stop! Don't hate me yet!  I had one.  I swear. It was a beautiful turquoise SIGG.  And I loved it.  (Well, except that the water always tasted a little bit like grass (???) no matter how much I cleaned it...)  And I broke it.  You'd think you couldn't break one of those things...except it turns out you can.  I left it, filled with water, in my car in freezing temperatures and it cracked.  Sigh.  SO, while I don't usually drink water from plastic bottles, I do think that in the hot Kansas City summer, I'm going to want to bring some water around with me.  Especially if I'm exercising.  Let's investigate some options, shall we?

I did love my SIGG, so maybe I should get another one?  I like this Scanning the Globe design ($21.99) and had no idea they did custom designs (starts at $17- $22 depending on size and gets more expensive as you customize) too!  It's so smart of them to capitalize on the personalization trend.

I am also tempted by sleek, clean designs of the Klean Kanteen brand.  I love that they offer insulated bottles ($25.95 with cap shown, or $29.95 with an additional coffee cup cap) not only for things like tea and coffee, but also to keep water cooler for longer in super hot temps.  Plus, forget plastic caps: their new Reflect bottle ($32.95) offers the ultimate in green reusable bottles with a cap made of sustainably harvested bamboo.  

I think I am most tempted by the CamelBak designs.  I love the ease of the drinking straws and how they tuck away so you won't spill.  For the utmost luxury in reusable water bottles, the Groove ($25, new filters are $20 each) filters your water for you on the go.  I, however, am not adverse to drinking water straight from the tap and was pleasantly surprised to find that CamelBak offers a stainless steel bottle ($30).

I guess the purchase of a FuelBelt ($39.95) would have to be in addition to another bottle, but if I start running a lot here, I think it might be a nice thing to have.  (Can you tell I'm nervous about the summer heat yet?) 

Perhaps the most ascetically pleasing, trend-forward bottle I've found is the bkr ($28), pronounced "beaker."  It's made of glass and comes with a colorful silicone sleeve to protect it.  The only problem with it is that it's, well, made of glass.  And that means you have to be careful with it.  However, the company does say that they will replace your broken bkr if you return it to them with all of the pieces and a note saying why you loved it and why you want another one.  That seems pretty fair to me.  I'm going to call this the Apple-esque product of the reusable bottle world.

What's your vote? Which one should I get?

kansas city

Wow.  We're here.  These past two weeks have gone by so quickly that it hardly seems real.  We left Vail in 26 degree snowy weather and were sweltering in 90+ degree heat in KC a week later!  Now the weather here has fallen back to 55 degrees.  People keep joking and saying, "Welcome to Kansas City."  As if somehow this weather is terrible.  I guess people just like to complain about the weather no matter where you live.

Living here has been great so far.  We're currently staying with Dan's parents as we try to get our lives in order.  It is so nice, especially because Dan's mom is a really good cook and she has already shown me around to lots of cool places.  More on that to come.  After having lived in a destination town for so long, it feels like such a luxury to have so many things and stores at our fingertips.  Like, getting an oil change doesn't have to be done exclusively at Walmart anymore.  All of the options are almost overwhelming!  I secretly (or not so secretly anymore) want to go to all of the grocery stores and just wander the aisles looking at all of the different products.  I love grocery stores.  OH and my phone battery lasts twice as long now that it's not constantly searching for service! Love that!

Of course, I am also working on applying to jobs.  If anyone has any leads, please let me know!  The only thing I don't want to do again is sales.  Other than that, I'm open to anything and everything.  Well, within reason obviously.  I know that this economy isn't necessarily favorable to the job hunter, but I am hoping to find something that aligns with my values and interests.  I don't think that's asking too much, since my interests are quite varied.  I forgot how tedious and intimidating the job search process can be. I have just started scratching the surface of online postings and am trying to figure out which jobs would be a good fit.  It seems like everything is either executive level or only requires a high school diploma.  And I, unfortunately (fortunately?), fall in between those two categories.  It doesn't help that I have no idea what I want to do...human resources? Business-y business? What does that even mean? Marketing? Interior design? Healthcare industry? Go back to school?  Yikes.  The amount of options almost paralyzes me.  I guess it's better than being pigeonholed into one career? I just need to find something so I don't go crazy! Oh, and that whole getting paid thing would be pretty cool too.

sally's house

Sigh.  Something went wrong with blogger and it deleted my post.  Quite frustrating.  BUT--here's the jist of it--as some of you know, last fall my friend Sally asked me to help her decorate her new condo in Vail.  I am an idiot and never took ANY pictures.  And now I don't live there anymore.  So mad at myself.  Anyway, the experience was interesting.  I was nervous and spent inordinate amounts of time working on her house, but I loved every second of it.  I learned how hard it can be to design for somebody other than myself.  I wanted to be sure Sally would love everything!  However, I am quite happy with the finished product.  

Anyway, I'm going to post the before picture and the only (shaking head) after picture I have.

Here's the BEFORE:

And here's the AFTER:

This picture makes the space look a lot smaller than it really is. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Sally took this picture on her phone and the chandelier dominates most of it....but it gives you a general idea of how the new space feels.  The only things that remain from before are the dining room table and chairs and the gorgeous mirror that was moved to the wall.  Everything else is new! Even those gorgeous marble countertops!

Monday, May 9, 2011

a late spring/early summer list

So, it's a bit late for a spring list, but now that I'm in Kansas City with wonderful weather (okay, right now it's a bit hot for me, but I'm trying not to be a wimp...), I am inspired to do all sorts of things.  Of course, it's easy to imagine finding the time to do all of this stuff while unemployed...but in addition to finding a job, these are (some of) the things I want to do this summer:

1.  take pictures of Kansas City with my new camera
2.  run outside.  a. lot.
3.  plant and grow vegetables and/or flowers

photo by judy white

4.  swim in the lake
5.  catch fireflies in a jar
6.  bake things when I'm no longer at high-altitude

photo by Michelle at une-deux senses

7.  become crafty
8.  have a picnic
9.  keep knitting

braided scarf
10.  make my own cheese
11.  make my own jam
12.  celebrate holidays in an over-the-top cheesy manner

martha stewart
13.  put my toes in the ocean (it might be too cold to swim when I'm first in Maine)
14.  eat a lot of caprese salads with delicious, fresh tomatoes
15.  drive my car in Kansas City and be able to see out the back window for the first time ever (normally it's overflowing with stuff for a cross country move)

Kansas City Public Library found on Pinterest via
16.  make it to Fenway Park for a Red Sox game?  maybe this is wishful thinking...
17.  try to make macarons (and hopefully not fail too miserably)
18.  refurbish some old piece of furniture

chair after

19.  find the perfect shoes to wear to Sara's wedding
20.  make a cool way to hang/organize my jewelry
21.  actually wear my jewelry

jewelry on hooks

Thursday, May 5, 2011

moab take 2, part 3

Our second night in Moab brought warm temperatures and crazy 30 mph winds.  I suffered through delirious, half-asleep dreams of our tent flying away and floating down the river.  Luckily, that was not the case.  However, the winds did blow plenty of sand through the vents...mouthfuls of sand are a really pleasant way to wake up.

The winds continued the next day during our adventure at Canyonlands National Park.  They definitely caused me to be even more afraid of heights than I already am, since I feared a gust would blow me over the edge of a cliff.  Luckily, that didn't happen.  In spite of the winds (or possibly because of?), I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Canyonlands.  The geography completely took my breath away.  It's funny how you can get so used to a landscape that you don't appreciate it anymore.  I know I sound like a huge brat when I say this, but even the gorgeous Rockies would sometimes lose their awesomeness.  When you live in a place everyday, it becomes regular.  So, my point in this whole huge tangent, is that, at Canyonlands, I was in awe of nature again.  I felt so small.  I felt like I could see forever and felt how unbelievable nature is anew.  Really, words can't do the emotions I was feeling justice.  It was just incredible.  We only went to the Island in the Sky part of the park, because it is the closest to the campsites.  But apparently the other parts are even more amazing...something I find hard to believe, but am excited to check out for myself some day.

The little duckling who was hiding in the last post...just a little high of center.

Our friend, Mikey, the daredevil...

A picture that gives you an idea of the scale of these canyons.  The pictures honestly don't do it any justice.

A bit of color in the desert in the form of a cactus rose.

More cactus roses with a hint of canyons in the background.  I love this picture.

Canyons that look like fingers reaching into the landscape.  You can see miles in this picture.  Those canyons probably go down thousands of feet---so says Dan, my authority on all estimated numbers/statistics.

A rim was frightening, but the views were unbelievable.

Mikey giving us all heart attacks again.  What you can't see is that there is a ledge just below him.

Katie taking pictures.

The whole group (except for Dan who is too scared of heights to get that close to the edge) posing for a picture

Mikey and Chris 

A framed view

Our campsite for the last two nights, which we shared with Aly and Andy.

The view of the glowing rock formations at sunset against a dark and stormy sky.