Driveway Widening

Wishing this road widening had a sign reading…your tax dollars at work. It is a much needed improvement for the oft occasion when we have guests on our one way drive. Four feet or so will make it possible for two cars to just squeeze through and avoid the car version of musical chairs.

We began here, once also shrouded by bamboo on either side. We added grass to the once hidden, weedy field, leaving a dirt boarder for the future drive.

Our plan was to match the work done on the opposite side around the rose garden.

We originally replaced the rotting railroad ties with a Santa Barbara sandstone cut from large boulders. Though beautiful the stone is, it is costly, so the remainder will be made from boulders trucked in from Ojai. A little bit of home in SB.

The boulders are broken into blocks and finally going in this week.

I decided to include a surprise house warming gift from my dearest teacher friends in Ojai.

He will be just inside the gate to welcome guests and bring a smile to my face every time I come and go. Everything is in the messy stage, but soon enough things will be tidier than ever.

Kitchen Details

By the shear number of posts, you might be guessing that I love my kitchen. I also loved my old kitchen in Ojai, but the size of this one allows me to have all of my things close at hand rather than in the guest house or laundry room.

We updated the kitchen that had only been remodeled once in the eighties, keeping the same layout, replacing all of the doors and making a few changes to make it more functional for the way we live.

The old kitchen had a book shelf for my cookbooks. This one was built into space formerly used as a breakfast bar. I decided to eliminate it since we have a dining table that seats ten in the same room, once used as both eating area and family room.

The maximum overhang without using supports was added to the adjoining side of the L-shaped island if we should ever decide to use bar stools. So far we haven’t felt the need for any. Silestone counter tops replaced navy tile with black grout.

One single wall oven in black was replaced by double ovens in stainless.

The four burner cooktop with downdraft was replaced with an eight burner and industrial hood. Huge drawers now house all of my pots in one location rather than stashed under furniture and in other rooms.

A trash compactor was squeezed into the island.

Two standard refrigerators on two walls were replaced by one big enough for everything.

A second window seat was replaced by a desk. No, it never looks this clean. Yes, I want to take a hammer and scissors to the boxes which make cable, phone, cell reception and wifi possible at The Shack.

The adjoining small eating/ family room area was converted all to dining space. This could be my favorite change as we finally have the space for the entire family to gather at a moments notice. Notice the television, soon to be hung, which I have tuned to HGTV or The Food network most of the time. Of course sports are on when the males descend upon my space.

Wood floors in hickory replaced linoleum and shag carpet. Jute rug and eight foot runner from World Market help to keep the wood floors cleaner.

Home Goods bulletin boards were hung next to the fridge for school photos and sports schedules.

A single light door replaced an old aluminum slider and made way for the fridge.

The ceiling went from grey to a bright white. The wood panel was lightened. Finally, more beachy accessories, some old and some new have been added as a finishing touch.

I had intended to include a full kitchen after shot, but there never seems to be a clean, clutter-free shot. Since I was away and then back to work for the past five weeks my posts have been non-existent. So I had better post this and add an after shot later. Besides, very soon I will be hosting an amazing photographer at the Shack. Hint. Hint.

Knobs and Pulls

We now can easily open up the kitchen cabinets! Let’s see where we began, after everything was painted.

The suspended, upper cabinets with white paint and clear glass to show the tea pots and green Depression glass collection.


More upper cabinets, all in white.

Green lower cabinets on the island.

Lots of pot drawers under the stove and

and storage under the sink.
And now….


All of the upper cabinets got glass knobs with a bronze base.



The lower cabinets have large bronze knobs and three sizes of pulls on the drawers. All very simple and I love them!

Now I need to select a backsplash, just can’t seem to make a final decision….

Kitchen Inching Along

I tell Kirk each morning that I will be spending the day chipping away at the kitchen clutter. Tiny chips though they may be, we are getting closer.

Tomorrow the knobs and pulls go on!

Twenty five of these bronze knobs for the lower, green doors.

Thirty three pulls in three lengths for the drawers.

Twenty two of these glass beauties for the upper, white cabinets – my favorite. Add that all up and we should have enough doors and drawers to store plenty, right? One would think.

The hallway pile is down to this. A few destined for Marlin’s first college apartment, one for donation and two to go in the hall library storage.

And these, destined for the shop, mostly contain Pyrex Fruit pieces without a home. Not quite ready to part with the collection that was gathered over years. ..yet anyway.

The truck is completely loaded with those things I am willing to part with. Progress!

Very soon these drawers and doors will be much easier to open!

Where was all of this?

Apparently screens cost more to replace than buying another computer. Not sure what the fate of my laptop is after closing the screen on a pen. I guess another post from my iPhone is in order. Here goes…

The kitchen painting finally wrapped up last Monday. I have been steadily chipping away at the piles of boxes. Some have been stored for two years, since we listed our Ojai house. Others were boxed when we sold our house a year ago summer and sent to Podville. Others made the cut for the rental, only to be boxed up and moved to Santa Barbara three months later. No matter when they originally were taped and labeled, they have been stacked all around the house waiting for the kitchen to be complete. One year and three months later that day arrived. Not that I am counting.

Boxes were piled in the hall, in the game room and still more in the shop. Some for so long I couldn’t even recall what the contents could possibly be. Slowly, I am making my way through them. Alas, the cupboards in my much larger kitchen have filled up far too quickly.

I unpacked, filled the island with the spoils, rearranged the cabinets to wedge in more and attempted to purge.

This pile is destined for someone else’s home. I am toying with the idea of having a very belated housewarming where guests take my things home rather than bring something. Obviously, nothing needs to be added to this house. Friends from Ojai visited yesterday and they commented that the new kitchen is less Tuscany, more beachy. That was my intent, but it leaves a lot of homeless chickens.

My grandmother’s china is finally out and on display in the hutch that has been empty for far too long. You may notice the addition of some ivy pieces, but that’s another post.

The Depression Glass and teapot collection are now in the cabinets suspended above the island. This cabinet has caused much discussion over the past year, about 50/50, for and against, keeping it. There are no corners in our kitchen so grandma’s corner cabinet is in the game room – not the best place for glassware.

Not empty though. So I am still wondering where all of this came from. With a few boxes still to be opened, thinking a dumpster is in order and too much on the island that remains without a storage spot. My niece said, ” At least it is nice stuff.” Even I am beginning to wonder.

Technical Difficulties

I closed a pen in the laptop and ruined the screen. Waiting patiently for it to be repaired.

Also waiting less patiently for kitchen to be finished. Unpacking as I am able and quickly filling the cupboards.

Thinking about the list of items left to do:

Paint trim and doors.
Install quarter round at cabinet base.
Install door and drawer knobs and pulls.
Hang light over island.
Buy more LED strips for cabinet tops.
Install glass in upper cabinets.
Find chandelier for dining area.
Unpack remainder of boxes.

Now that sounds like a lot, but as we are in the fifth week of painting, the rest sounds less daunting.

I would include a few pictures, but can’t really figure out how on this tiny phone. Bad, bad blogger!



Kitchen Finishing Touches

Slowly the kitchen is progressing.  It looked like this on Friday:

kitchen 5Not far enough along for Kirk, but getting closer.  Most of the paper and plastic were removed so that we could use the oven, sink and trash compactor over the weekend.  Because it was raining Friday, the painters attempted spraying the doors inside.  They didn’t turn out very well and are being redone outside today.

Next up is finalizing stain colors for the wood tongue and groove walls.  They are a grey color and make the entire room seem dark.  I am hoping to apply a brighter white/beige, thinned-paint stain to lighten them up while allowing the wood texture to show through.  Previous attempts with custom tinted glazes were too green and dark.  My inspiration came from a pillow bought last year at Pottery Barn with the green of the lower cabinets and bright white of the upper cabinets and trim.  Frazee wouldn’t color match fabric so I attempted to find the color in their fan deck of color samples to match the background color of the pillow.

kitchen 6I narrowed it down to two from the myriad of choices and bought quarts in a flat finish.  Each sample was painted full strength onto a scrap of wood to check color.  The one on the left is slightly more yellow, so now we will try thinning the color on the right and putting it over a scrap of the grey panel.  Hope it works!

We also purchased the door and drawer hardware from Restoration Hardware.  I tried looking at Capitol Hardware in Santa Barbara and found some really nice options.  Unfortunately, they were WAY out of my budget.  I loved this:

kitchen 7but found something similar and then ordered clear glass knobs for all the upper cabinets.  Restoration Hardware doesn’t stock any to take home so I am waiting patiently for UPS to arrive with the goods.

I am also on the hunt for backsplashes.  I do love subway tile, but it seems like that is everywhere now.  I did love the harlequin, green and gold, Walker Zanger tile in my old kitchen, but want something lighter this time.   Most tile in Santa Barbara is too Spanish-looking for our 60′s ranch house.  The front-runner today is this:

kitchen 8Hopefully, after the cabinets are done I can bring the sample home to be sure.

This weekend there was an estate sale around the corner at a gorgeous house that was Tuscan in style.  The powder room had the most amazing tile which I am sure wouldn’t be approved by the family, but it was so gorgeous.

kitchen 9Even further off topic, there was a latticed water closet in the same house.  Not something I could use, but really beautiful.

kitchen 10The home is called Mirabella and you can google it to see the rest of the property.  I only bought two books about Tuscany, but it was fun to look at the house and all the people grabbing sheets and paintings.

Getting closer on our kitchen !  Can’t wait to unpack all of those boxes piled up around here and hopefully get rid of whatever doesn’t find a home.  Yeah right.


Guest Cottage

The Shack came with a barn which houses two-horse stalls (currently  filled with holiday decorations and gardening tools), the shop (previously shown, as my yet to be tackled, New Year’s resolution) and a guest cottage (formerly known as the tack room).  Any horse lovers are surely cringing at our abject disregard for the true nature of the structure.  The boys once each had a pony at our Ojai house and let’s just say that horse rode off into the sunset.   They were fun while we had them , but our children always preferred sports to horses and all the requisite care they entail.  Enough about horses, let’s look at that guest cottage.

gc 11

Three hundred square foot apartments in New York City have been making the news lately and our cottage is probably even a bit smaller than that.  Somehow when we moved in I neglected to photograph our tiny space.  The Shack was owned and built by the same family we purchased it from.  The youngest son was living in the cottage and acted as the caretaker of the property when we took possession.  He was a bachelor and surfer dude, so the space was ready for a much needed overhaul.  We all did sleep out there in the beginning for at least a few weeks until the house was semi-habitable, all lined up in sleeping bags on the dank carpet.

The cottage has a small bathroom, miniscule kitchen and closet.  It had cute tongue and groove paneling which needed to be painted.  We also added simple trim to match the inside of the house.  All the walls were painted in a Linen satin finish.  Trim went semi-gloss in a true white.

gh 1

There once was a big metal slider that we changed out to a door with a glass panel to make more wall space.  This was a reStore purchase that was taken to Capitol Hardware and pre-hung before being installed.  Inexpensive waffle blinds, cut to our measurements from Home Depot were put on all the windows for privacy.

gc 2

We painted the louvered closet doors a crisp white and added new pulls. We also took out the smelly old shag carpeting and put down a wood grain laminate, lighter than the kitchen cabinets for contrast.  In the corner is a beautiful sink Spencer found at the reStore for the boys bathroom.  Just one more project to get to.

gc 5

We decided to rip out the kitchen and start from scratch as it had all seen better days and wasn’t really functional.   Stock cabinets, laminate counter tops, natural stone back splash, stainless sink and appliances helped to freshen it up.

gc 4

The bathroom got a minimal facelift with new toilet and fixtures.

gc 3

The outside had a concrete cut block patio which we chose to leave.  We did however take down the rotted, six-foot fence surrounding it. In its place we had a more open, redwood, lattice-type fence built with a small arbor at the entrance.

gc 6

Another arbor will be added over the door.  We ran out of the lumber and then I bought and stained some that was too small.  Oh well.  Honestly, it will get done, just as soon as that carpenter shows up again.

gc 7

Simple, low maintenance plantings were added to the courtyard.  A palm tree will grow to add nice character.  Just outside of the fence are two plum trees for a bit of screening from the area to become the orchard.

gc 8

We added  a flagstone path through the grass out front.  That process eliminated much of the grass so seed will be sown shortly.  See Bam photo-bombing?

gc 9

The last thing to go in was a set of concrete steps in the slope from the driveway.  The steps had been leading from the backyard to the shop, but we are going to have something a little nicer done with flagstone and rock on that side as they are viewed from the house and were off-balance with the shop door.

gc 10

There you have it, one mostly complete guest cottage.  Now all we need is a guest.


Where are we?

For those of you keeping track of the earlier posts with projects which were unfinished, here is an update.




My favorite rock guy in the entire world came to quickly put in some concrete paver steps in a slope leading to the guest cottage.  While he was here we roughly measured out the orchard, which is approximately 100 x 150 feet.  I showed him my loose schematic of what I want and the inspiration pictures from the blog orchard post.

update 1There are lots of dreams and visions included which may or may not come to fruition.  After the measurements were taken, we decided to switch the bocce court perpendicular to where I had drawn it in and move it behind the vegetable beds and fountain to the top of the yard.  With a general layout established I can begin putting in fruit trees.  It’s a start, if however small.

I also found a few more pictures to use as inspiration from Houzz.

update 2I love that bocce court with the stone edging like the one we had put in on our driveway.    Definitely not so many boulders though.  Maybe a pergola, although in another decade probably.

I also found this on my computer but can’t recall where it was found.  Love the stone pillars and gate.  Just a dream…

update 3




The carpenter had a few hours and came last Friday, minutes before I ran off to yet another basketball game with Spencer.  When we got home the cabinets were mostly in, the counter tops aren’t matched up yet and none of the trim is up.  Not sure why they weren’t finished, but at least the hall isn’t so clogged.  Getting closer…

update 10




Instead of getting better, it has actually gotten worse as I picked up a rattan, glass-topped table and four chairs on coasters from the reStore when I got the shelves.  Nothing else has been tackled.  Heavy sigh of disappointment.

update 8




Next up were the plantings to fill the cleared beds.  Kirk has a client that sells big trees and we are supposed to go select something that won’t get too big but will be a little unusual.   I am waiting to choose the filler plants until I see the elusive trees installed.  I also keep going back and forth between boxwood edging and something looser with less maintenance required.   Here is a neighbors really fancy version with boxwood.  Thinking….

update 4




Tried some samples of deck paint we had lying around.  Haven’t gotten the thumbs up from Spenc so his headboard remains raw pine.

headboard 10




is being painted!!!!  That makes up for all of the above.

update 11


Kitchen Update

The really exciting news is that the painters are tackling the kitchen!  I am beyond ecstatic as you might guess.  The kitchen had last been remodeled in the 80′s when we bought our house.  Pickled pine, blue tile with dark grout, a very popular blue linoleum and even space for two refrigerators.

update 5

The doors were switched to a Shaker style, the counter tops went Silestone, the bar stool area became shelves for cookbooks, the appliances are stainless, one refrigerator was eliminated, the floor is now wood, the ceiling is a bright white, paint will make the cabinets and tongue and groove paneling seem more modern, the massive television unit is gone and that area houses a dining table for ten.  It was meant to be a moderate facelift, but still has taken over a year to finish.

kitchen 4

I thought that most of my kitchen hadn’t yet been unpacked, just using the essentials.  Until I began to empty the cabinets and filled up the dining room table, Marlin’s room and then started putting things into the living room.  What is in those boxes still piled in the hall and game room?  How did this happen?

kitchen 3

Right now it looks like this:

update 6

Color selections have been made:

update 9

I took inspiration from a kitchen found on Houzz (probably).  Simple, clean and naturally green, but not ALL green.

update 7

The driveway is being used as a paint booth.

kitchen 1The lower doors and cabinets were primed dark grey in preparation for the green paint.

kitchen 2

In a week or so it should be close to finished.  Need to work on the stain for the paneling, choose door hardware, have the range hood vented through the attic and pick a backsplash.  Our last kitchen wasn’t done for two and a half years.  We are way ahead of schedule this time.  I am looking forward to finally unpacking all the boxes stacked around the house and really using the kitchen.  Makes all the dust a pleasure to endure.