Tea Time

It absolutely poured rain in Boston today and the wind was whipping my umbrella around like a wayward balloon, resulting in a very bad hair day. I was soaked through by the time I got home from work so I opted to make some tea, catch up on blog reading (plus a little posting) and experiment with mixing my own paint color. However, based on the results of my experiment, paint color formulation may be best left to Benjamin Moore and the like after all.

P.S. I ate the other cookies before I took the photo (and I'm not saying how many).......

European Style Kitchens (and a Blogger's Give Away!)

Photo by Claude Smekens/Chilli Media

With the closing of so many interior design magazines, I've started to turn to British Homes & Gardens magazine for beautiful photos and inspiration. The January 2010 issue did not disappoint with the feature about Belgian interior designer Valerie Daene and her husband Peter Vandebergh. This kitchen in their home is pure Belgian style. I would find it hard to leave the house for work every morning to spend the day in a cold, sterile office after sipping my coffee and cooking up a bit of oatmeal for breakfast. It is something, isn't it, with not one, but two elegant chandeliers and an enormous black AGA cook stove. I feel warmer just looking at it!

Here's another European kitchen (please excuse the smallish photo) from the same magazine by Neptune, a British kitchen company. It's a streamlined kitchen that also includes a smaller AGA cook stove plus lots of white marble on a huge island. Oh, to have that much storage space in a kitchen! The light fixtures over the island really caught my attention as did the two small sconces flanking the stove. I've not seen anything like these fixtures in most American kitchens.

Photo by Tria Giovan
This kitchen takes standard white cabinets to a new level. It has a European look, but it's actually in the Houston, Texas home of antiques dealer Kay O'Toole featured in the March 2010 issue of Veranda magazine. Expanses of cool white marble (from an old post office) top cabinets made from reclaimed pine, which appear to be stained white or gray. The hood over the stove is made from a French architectural remnant. A pretty French table (the apron detail reminds me of a crimped pie shell) topped with more white marble stands in for an island.

And lastly, here's the beautiful kitchen of my blog friend Debra Phillips of 5th and State. It looks like it's straight from the Cotswolds with the black AGA cook stove (one can't call a GE oven a "cook stove" can she?). Debra had an artist hand paint the charming rural scene with sheep on the wall behind the stove and her husband fashioned the wood surround from a fireplace mantel. These are creative folks!
Debra is featuring a wonderful make over give away on her blog until February 24th, so be sure to stop by and have a look. It's not a give away for a new kitchen (maybe next time, Debra?), but a give away to have this talented interior designer, landscaper and exterior stylist design a new facade for your home including drawings and suggestions for plantings and colors. Here is a special example of Debra's lovely work:

1970s Ranch, Before......

1970s Ranch, After
It's a beautiful transformation! I wish my home could be submitted for consideration, but instead Debra has asked me and two other bloggers to help her choose a home from all entries submitted for the give away of her services. Thank you, Debra. I'm honored to be included as a panelist!
So, be sure to visit Debra's blog to learn more about her wonderful give away.