Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I'm excited about my project featured in this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour April 27-28! I hope you'll stop in and see it - it's #12 on the tour and is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday.
We dubbed it the Not So Fancy Kitchen because the owner - a wonderful woman named Michelle - didn't want shiny granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances or high gloss ceramic tile. Instead, she asked me to make it "not so pretty" and asked me to avoid using shiny surfaces. Her dream was to transform her 1940's kitchen into a colorful and functional space, using colors inspired by vibrant antique Uruguayan tiles from her travels to South America.
Wanting to make the kitchen "a happy, fun place to cook in," Michelle wanted to retain much of the character of the home. Also on the wish list was additional storage and more natural light to transform the kitchen into a warm and welcoming gathering space.
Repurposing the Space:
Michelle wanted to recycle or repurpose as much as possible in the home during this remodel, so we retained the fantastic 1940's original linoleum flooring. A fun repurposing project was reusing the original ironing board cabinet into a spice cabinet.
We mixed Michelle's new modern conveniences with her collection of antique toys and colorful vintage dishware - she is a modern gal who loves old stuff - like the cracks in her plaster walls! I encouraged her to fix them, but she wanted them to stay. She likes them and says they add character to her kitchen.
This client was fun to work with because she was willing to take risks! At Michelle's request, we didn't install any new upper cabinets, which results in an open, spacious feeling. It brings attention to beautiful details like the colorful handmade tile border from Northern Prairie and SoMi tile, chosen to blend with the existing floor. (Visit http://www.handmadetile.com and www.somitileworks.com to learn more about these wonderful artisans and their work!)
When designing the cabinets, I worked with a "blind corner" - that awkward space in the corner where cabinets meet and there is typically a Lazy Susan. We didn't have enough space for a Lazy Susan, so we built sliding drawers instead - I call them 'magic drawers'. The front drawer pulls out and moves to the right, giving room to pull the second drawer out from behind it. It takes what would be wasted space and transforms it into valuable extra storage.
When installing new countertops, the existing countertops became a potential problem. The homeowner didn't want to remove or replace them, but the current countertop height is higher than it was in the 1940's and would block the window. To solve this, we retained the original counter heights in front of each of the two windows, enabling the owner to keep her windows and create a baking center. The countertops are Carerra marble - inspired by her travel to Italy, where she toured marble pits. She loves to bake and the lower countertop level is perfect for kneading dough - she loves it!
A small, high window was installed to bring in more light and floating shelves were mounted to display the homeowner's collections. We added specially designed spaces, such as a cabinet drawer to store their liquor bottles - we measured the bottles to be sure they'd fit - and cabinets to hold all of their pots, pans and utensils.
The task of working with "no shiny surfaces" provided an interesting challenge for me and after working on it, I'm realizing a changing trend. I think more people are moving away from shiny and embracing more of an "earthy" feeling.
"No surprise, but I STILL love the kitchen! Had friends over last night - the ones who hadn't seen the kitchen - they loved it sooooo much! They said it was perfectly me! I said I had the best team working on, so of course it was perfect. Just thought you'd want to know the kitchen is almost perfect. It would be perfect if there was some kind of pullout bed so I could nap in there too. Like an under cabinet trundle bed. . . ." -- Michele
This home is #12 on the Minneapolis St. Paul Home Tour, running April 27- 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. - 5 pm on Sunday.
Posted by Christine Nelson at 2:17 PM
Friday, March 15, 2013
I have been delighted and honored to be included in the Thermador design council for the past 3 years. I have made some great new designer friends and the team at Thermador is fantastic.
The team asked us great questions, challenges our creative juices and listens to our comments, I mean REALLY LISTENS! So much so that we have had input on some of the new and exciting appliances that they have introduced since starting to meet with them.
Recently, Thermador moved their main showroom from Scottsdale to their corporate offices in Irvine, California. So at this year's conference, we got to marvel at beautiful vignettes, fun functional kitchens and new appliances (we even got to test them for one of our meals!).
As usual, they are charming and gracious hosts. This year is Thermador's "Year of the designer," so check out their website at www.thermador.com and meet my design council designers!
It should be a fun year to check in on their news often and notice the continuing press they receive in the publications around Design and Home Decor.
Friday, November 30, 2012
In the spirit of the holiday season, I've collected items and events in this Holiday Gift Gallery! It's a great way to find creative gifts for everyone on your list and an opportunity to support the talented artists in our community.
Many of you know that I have been affiliated with the Handmade Tile association for years. As a designer and lover of handmade tile, I have promoted many tile artists who are also members and included in the Handmade Tile Directory. Last year Josh Blanc, owner of Clay Squared to Infinity, opened a fun shop downtown in Gaviidae Commons for the Holidays. He is doing it again this year! Stop down for some very unique and local artisans gift - plus, 5% of all sales are donated to the Northeast Minneapolis Art District! Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Visit www.claysquared.com for more information.
I love the tile from Mercury Mosaics! Check out my Before/After section on my website, photos 23-28 for a fantastic transformation on a "Spiff-up" using Mercury Mosaics as the centerpiece of the project! Their custom studio at the Casket Arts Building (681 17th Avenue NE, Mpls.) is open for the holidays on Thursday, December 6, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
I have used Northern Prairie Tileworks beautiful tiles in two installations and I am always amazed at the variety of designs, colors, glazes, patterns and everything they can accomplish in their local shop and factory. I have a new project I just completed that is a combination of Roger's 2" x 2" and 4" x 4" tiles - it's called the Not So Fancy Kitchen, and you can see photos of it on my Facebook page.
Fire On The Greenway Gallery & Studios, next door to North Prairie Tileworks, will be having their annual Holiday Sale this weekend, December 1 from 1 p.m. - 10 p.m. and December 2 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is a collective of 17 potters and sculptures who utilize North Prairie's gas kiln for some of their work and includes two members of the North Prairie Tileworks staff. Check it out this weekend at 2845 Harriet Avenue, Minneapolis.
Check out this new Water Colorist!
In November, I met a new tenant and artist at the Cache event at the Casket Arts Building who is working in the Interior Design field and she is a fantastic water colorist. Check out her studio in the Casket Arts building, #109, on Thursday, December 6 and Saturday December 8. Her name is Bonnie Folkerts and her website is: You can also purchase art and notecards on her website at http://bjfolkerts.com/
Give the gift of health and exercise to your friends!
I have recently joined a great workout studio near my house in the Kingfield neighborhood. It's called Four Gates, and they will be offering Gift Certificates from their website.Consider giving your friends an unlimited pass for 30 days for $60! It was a great way for me to try all the classes and pick the ones I love that best fit my schedule http://fourgatesmpls.com/
Posted by Christine Nelson at 10:14 PM