In the Garden – July 2018

In the Garden – July 2018

I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July holiday if you are reading this in the U.S. On the coast the town of Mendocino hosts an old time parade which is quite a community event. Labor Day is the time Fort Bragg has its own parade. An example of the cooperation between the two cities, only a few miles apart.

 

We appreciate our volunteer firefighters and Cal Fire personnel in Mendocino County and they lead the parade. The summer fire season has been devastating to so many communities and is a constant worry. I must admit to tearing a little as these brave men and women from communities up and down the Northern California coast drove very noisily by sirens blasting.

But, now on to events in the garden.

Summer is here and I find It is at that “in between” stage. In between the lush new growth of spring (which is now sprawling, overgrown and starting to go to seed) and the not-quite-yet growth of summer flowers.

New this month are the tomatoes and zucchini planted in half wine barrels. Although the tomatoes are still green and I don’t expect ripe ones until the end of August, the zucchini are already productive.

Green tomatoes

Zucchini

First harvest of zucchini

With the warm weather we have been able to set up a couple of outside seating and eating areas, plus chairs around an outdoor fire-pit for star watching and the making of s’mores. Are you familiar with them? They are a traditional summer camping dessert. to make them you melt and brown a marshmallow on a stick over an open fire and sandwich it with a chocolate square between two graham crackers. The hot marshmallow melts the chocolate and makes a very messy but delicious treat.

It’s lovely to set and watch the birds, especially the darting hummingbirds. I find myself resenting any time that I need to stay inside.

Here are a few shots of the flower gardens.

I’ve started to cut back the California poppies; they will put out a second bloom later this summer although not as profusely or as tall. They were starting to sprawl everywhere and cut off the sun of other plantings in addition to setting seed.

The sweet peas are blooming in the half wine barrel, one of my favorite flowers. I wasn’t sure they would do well in a container but it has worked very well.

Sweet peas

 

I’ve saved some of the seeds of the poppies and am hoping they will reseed themselves for next year. It’s been exciting to find out what will succeed in this coastal climate with sandy soil compared to the had clay I had in Oakland.

There are new plants going in…more snapdragons, coral colored yarrow, pink nicotina, blue penstemons, sunflowers, hummingbird mint, and a burgundy leaved tea tree. Look for more about these next month.

New plants

Next week we depart on an Alaska cruise with friends so I am not sure how much gardening I will be able to do in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed that my house sitter will keep things alive while we are gone. The dogs are already disturbed by the open suitcases as we pack for the trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August – Fort Bragg Remodel Finished!

August – Fort Bragg Remodel Finished!

I love the results of the remodel of our vacation cabin in Fort Bragg, CA! It turned out even better than we had hoped. The entire house looks brighter and larger with the new flooring, but the biggest changes are in the kitchen and bathroom.

Yes, my blog is about cooking and gardening; but also it’s a record of change. Changes in your home ripple and have an effect on your life and mental state. A change in your immediate environment changes you as well. A revamped (even cleaning out your cupboards, pantry and fridge) kitchen will make a difference in your life. That difference may include what is prepared in your kitchen, who comes to dinner, and the general mood of the cook. But it could be bigger. Experts have found that a messy and unorganized kitchen promotes overeating. Think about it, it’s stressful and feels out of control. And if you’re stressed you are much more likely to reach for the chips or the cookies. Ok, enough with the lecture.

Bear with me while I first talk about the new bathroom, but feel free to jump directly to the kitchen.

The “old” bathroom had a sunken tub and a clear glass window immediately to the right of the front door, necessitating a privacy screen. This picture of the front of the house is a little dark and it’s hard to see. I took this one the first week we had the house. It’s amazing how much bigger the bushes have grown over the past four years.

Fort Bragg "old" Front

Fort Bragg “old” front as it looked when purchased

The new window is frosted, it lets in tons of light but gives privacy to the person taking a shower. We wanted a large walk-in shower with a flat entry and frameless shower doors, you can see how much light that new window lets into the room. Increasing the size of the shower meant that we needed to move the toilet and reduce the size of the vanity. We purchased a dark blue molded glass sink from our friend John Lewis at his yearly seconds sale and found a small piece of marble at a close-out sale.

First, here is the “old” bathroom:

Fort Bragg "old" Bathroom with Sunken Tub

Fort Bragg “old” Bathroom with Sunken Tub and Privacy Screen

Fort Bragg "old" Bathroom Vanity and Sink

Fort Bragg “old” Bathroom Vanity and Sink

New Vanity and Sink

New Vanity and Sink

New Shower Window From the Inside

New Shower Window From the Inside

And we have a new front door as well as the new bathroom window.

New Front Door and Bathroom Window

New Front Door and Bathroom Window

Ok, it’s time to show the finished kitchen. Some of you may have already seen some pictures. The sliding glass door off the kitchen has now been replaced with a French door.

IMG_4728

Kitchen

Kitchen

Center Island

Center Island

Center Island

Center Island

Remember that raw redwood board?

Old Growth Redwood

Old Growth Redwood

Here it is on the finished cabinet.

Redwood Top to Cabinet

Redwood Top to Cabinet

 

Wood is so amazing!

If anyone in Fort Bragg, CA is considering a remodel, I am happy to share the names and give recommendations for the appliance store, custom window/shower glass store; not to mention our painter, cabinet maker, and contractor. We are extremely happy with the quality of their work and found them very professional to work with.

But you can’t have our contractor until we complete phase II, an addition on the back of the house.

The Architectural and Engineering Plans - Phase II

The Architectural and Engineering Plans – Phase II

Thank you everyone for your encouragement and comments along the journey!

May – Fort Bragg Remodel Update III

May – Fort Bragg Remodel Update III

Our remodel of the cabin in Fort Bragg continues although it seems to be slowing somewhat. I had hoped the workers would have started on the tile, not yet it seems. But, the new wood floor is installed with the exception of the spare bedroom.

New floor

New floor

That is the new range in the middle of the room, it should be installed this week.

The kitchen sink and faucet are in but not hooked up yet, ditto for the dishwasher.

Kitchen sink, faucet and dishwasher

Kitchen sink, faucet and dishwasher

We are very pleased with how the sweatshirt grey paint we chose for the back cabinets combines with the stainless steel refrigerator. Since living, dining and kitchen are essentially one room we didn’t want the fridge to dominate the room. The grey paint softens the stainless industrial look.

Sweatshirt grey cabinets and stainless steel fridge

Sweatshirt grey cabinets and stainless steel fridge

And the new lighting was a successful choice. Here are the pendants over the kitchen island.IMG_4415

The new window for the bathroom arrived.

Bathroom window

Bathroom window

It will go in this spot, in the back of the shower.

Area for new bathroom window

Area for new bathroom window

Can you believe it was clear glass before, necessitating a privacy screen? The window is placed just to the right of the front door.

Bathroom window

Bathroom window

The dry rot means we will have to replace some of the boards on the deck.

I’m not sure I will be able to get up to the coast again until the end of this month. Hopefully we will almost be finished by then. Look for more progress reports.

April – Fort Bragg Remodel Update

April – Fort Bragg Remodel Update

Demolition is almost complete at the Fort Bragg cabin, now things are being put back together again. This is just a quick post to update the remodel diary.

The kitchen cabinets are in and we LOVE the blue Hale Navy we chose for the island! We agonized over the choice so it is a great relief. It is the most amazing color and looks entirely different depending on the light…sometimes so dark it is almost black, and sometimes more grey than blue. The color is not going to come through in the pictures but it will give you an idea.

Hale Navy cabinet as seen from the front door.

Hale Navy cabinet as seen from the front door.

Hale Navy Island from backside

Hale Navy Island from backside (this is where stools can pulled up for a breakfast bar)

Hale Navy island from the sink side

Hale Navy island from the sink side

The grey for the cabinets on the wall also came out well, this is Sweatshirt Grey.

Sweatshirt Grey

Sweatshirt Grey

IMG_4380

You can see the hood for the range is “mostly” installed. The appliances will come in after the flooring. There is still a lot to do but we hope to be finished by Memorial Day.

The new flooring has been laid in one of the bedrooms. Next step is the rest of the house. It was a challenge around the fireplace as there wasn’t an even edge. Our contractor had to smooth the line of the rocks at floor level.

New hardwood flooring

New hardwood flooring

And we chose the hardware for the cabinets.

Kitchen cabinet hardware

Kitchen cabinet hardware

My husband, Steve, really wanted a redwood top for the Hale Navy cabinet you see when you first enter the house. We found the perfect piece over the weekend at Anderson’s Alternatives in Mendocino, an eco lumber supplier.

Old Growth Redwood

Old Growth Redwood

Since the property has many redwood trees, it seems appropriate. It will be beautiful when finished.

March – Fort Bragg Remodel – Paint

March – Fort Bragg Remodel – Paint

Who knew choosing paint colors would be so difficult? For the remodel we knew we wanted blue for the kitchen island and grey for the wall cabinets. That should be the end, right? Well, not! There are a million choices for blue and grey. To add to the complexity each color has similar hues, more shades, and complementary colors. And, in this case, there are two people with different eyes and tastes who need to reach agreement. I now know what must keep designers up at night. There was much debate, indecision, and waffling. Thankfully my husband has excellent taste and a good eye for color so it was a collaborative effort.

All our colors are by Benjamin Moore since they are available up on the coast at Norvell’s. Eve at the store was endlessly patient with us and a fountain of knowledge. We must have been back and forth to the store a half dozen times buying samples. In fact we could probably paint the entire kitchen with those pint sized samples (although it would look like a patchwork quilt).

We looked at Blue Danube, Dark Royal Blue, Champion Cobalt (too bright), Gentleman’s Grey (a grey with some blue which was a favorite for awhile), Van Deusen Blue (too blue), and Hale Navy (our final choice). According to the Benjamin Moore website – Hale Navy is a timeless classic, this deeply saturated shade of navy blue evokes rich maritime traditions and storied exploits at sea. Since the house is near the beach, we thought it appropriate. You can see the color and read more here. It’s been a favorite for a few years. Hale Navy looks different in different lights, we will also use it on the bathroom vanity. The color goes well with grey but also with taupe and wood tones, we didn’t really want to repaint the living room and all the trim in the house is redwood. This is quite a small house with an open floor plan, you can see everything from the kitchen (and the kitchen from everywhere as well).

On to choosing the grey for the wall cabinets and open shelving. There is an large sliding glass door on one side of the kitchen which lets in a lot of light (but faces North), the other side tends to be dark especially on an overcast day. I had ruled out white or something too light as I though it would draw your eye to that side of the room too much. You see that kitchen wall from the dining/living room. We wanted a grey with a distinct color but not too dark. Candidates were Wolf Grey, Inglewood Cliffs, Grey Shower, Evening Dove, Pike’s Peak Grey, and finally Sweatshirt Grey (the winner). On their website they describe it thus – This color is part of Color Preview. A collection of bold, saturated colors that brings spaces to life for those looking to illuminate their world with pure, extraordinary color. A great complement to Classic Colors, Color Preview offers a collection of 1,232 hues that excite and inspire with pure, deep, clear colors that create striking combinations. You can read more here.

I have some antique blue willow platters I inherited from my grandmother. I have been meaning to put them on the walls for several years. I wanted the colors to harmonize with the plates.

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey and edge of Antique Blue Willow Platter

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey and edge of Antique Blue Willow Platter

You can see that in certain light conditions (such as brighter light in the picture above) the grey is very pale. The picture below was taken on an overcast day and it appears darker. Hale Navy can look almost black depending on the light. Colors are so interesting! You will see the grey in Sweatshirt Grey is more pronounced in contrast to the wall color we chose.

Next came wall color. Currently the walls in the kitchen are a pale yellow, I knew it was a mistake as soon as I saw the final painted room, but it was too late. We needed something to brighten up the space but coordinate with the navy, grey and taupe that is on the neighboring bookcase and in the living/dining area. And again, I didn’t want something too white that would force your eye to that area.

Candidates were Calm (too white), Creamy White (a little too yellow), Sea Pearl (nice but not quite right), and finally Ballet White which we chose. It’s a white with a touch of cream.

Left to right - Creamy White, Ballet White, Seal Pearl. Above on the right - Calm

Left to right – Creamy White, Ballet White, Seal Pearl. Above on the right – Calm

Here are the colors with a sample of the backsplash subway tile.

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey, Ballet White

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey, Ballet White

What do you think?