Laurel Street Blog

Archive for April 2009

First of all, I want to thank everybody who talked me down from painting the kitchen floors black (or any other color)! Your feedback was thoughtful and really helped me get some much needed objectivity. I’m looking at them differently now – and learning to love them for what they are. And TartanScot really said the magic words – clean up! I actually do keep livestock in the kitchen (see below) and the last thing I need is having my floors betray my secret.

Here's the livestock!

The aforementioned livestock: Ella, Louis & Sister.

So thank you TartanScot, Melissa, Camila, Toad, Jennifer and Linderhof – good advice from great folks.

I feel like I should apologize for the paucity of posts lately. I’ve been in decision making mode on two final details of the ‘how cheap can I update the kitchen?’ series (rather than actually doing stuff). These things are a tile backsplash and new countertops. Today I’ve got tile on my mind. As a refresher – the blacksplash would go here:

I adore you...

Formica backsplash would be removed and tiles would stretch to the upper cabinets and behind the stove.

Ok. Much better. Keep an eye on that would ya?

We'd do the same on between these cabinets as well.

Want to look at some tile options with me? Here we go!

When I first started thinking about glass tile, I began with dark grey. I wanted the kitchen look to be more modern and I thought this would add some drama underneath the pale gray cabinets. But I've been second guessing this the more and more I look around.

When I first started thinking about glass tile, I began with dark grey. I wanted the kitchen look to be even more modern and I thought this would add some drama underneath the pale gray cabinets. Maybe help them look like they were, I don't know, something to actually look at. But I've been second-guessing this the more and more I look around.

This is not my shower. However it's a pretty good picture of this shimmery opalescent glass tile called Peal Moonlight. Like it?

This is not my shower. Nor my multi-function scrubbing device. However it's a pretty good picture of this shimmery opalescent glass tile called Pearl Moonlight. Like it for a backsplash?

Pale, surf colored grass subway tile... that's pretty 'now' isn't it?

Pale, surf colored grass subway tile... that's pretty 'now' isn't it?

Here's a wild card. The blues and the grays are nice and the 'bricks and sticks' tile pattern is interesting.

Here's a wild card. The blues and the grays in these glass tiles are nice and the 'bricks and sticks' tile pattern is interesting. This may be too old fashioned? Or would it be a surprise? I can't tell yet.

Another wildcard. I'm liking this because it has gray and some earth colors in case I go with butcher block on the counters. Too weird?

Another wild card in glass 'brick and sticks.' I'm liking this because it has my first instinct of dark gray but is broken up with earthy colors )in case I go with butcher block on the counters). Too weird?

Help a fellow out. What do you think? For Julia at the fab HookedOnHouses.net Friday blog party, I’m hooked on a new backsplash.

P.S. I’d be remiss without another note of thanks to Toad who nominated me for a fab blog award. That’s pretty good coming from a blog like his. Read it every day. Look for my nominations soon!

blogaward

Advertisements
Cuisine at Home - A Serial Cookbook

Cuisine at Home - A Serial Cookbook. Don't let the too cute by half look of this pub deceive you. It's top drawer.

So I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen now that we have the new stove. However I’m lately  hamstrung by having my car in the shop for the past five weeks – without it to zip to the store for the occasional item, I’ve had to make comprehensive menu plans and do the week’s shopping in one complete pass. This is not easy for me. However, something arrived in my mailbox Saturday morning that made this week’s menu plan a breeze – a free sample edition of a cooking magazine I had never heard of – Cuisine at Home.

At first I almost threw this magazine away – the graphic design is completely unfortunate. It looks so similar to that awful Almost Homemade magazine by Sandra Lee that I just assumed it was filled with muffin recipes that begin with: “First, buy some muffins…”

But Richard flipped through and started enthusiastically calling out dishes (there are no ads in this magazine by the way – only recipes) which all sounded solid enough… But I didn’t realize how good these recipes were untill I started making them.

Sunday afternoon was quickly draining away from me and I needed an entire week’s menu ASAP.  I picked out six dinners all from the magazine and have made two so far. Both were delicious – and more importantly taught me new things about cooking!

Ahh. A NY Strip...

Ahh. A New York Strip... Leftover Dauphinois Potatoes from Anthony Bourdin on the side... This dinner was, ahem, rich (to say the least). This shot was taken before it was doused with Béarnaise sauce.

Monday night: New York Strips with Béarnaise and a side of creamy, parmesan spinach. This is a meal we’ve made a hundred times, but Cuisine at Home offered it with a new technique – borrowed straight ‘from the world’s best steakhouses’. Sear one side of the steaks (enlivened with crushed peppercorns), flip them and send them in your oven-proof skillet to finish off in the oven. Now your hands are free to focus on a side dish (or in my case a glass of nice wine). The steaks were perfect – and lived up to the ‘just like an expensive steakhouse’ claim. We will do this again and again.

Tuesday night’s meal sounded humbler in comparison – Salisbury steaks in a French Onion Sauce. I have to agree with the magazine’s assessment: this dish has gotten a terrible rap from the frozen food industry over the years (and I might add college cafeterias, as well!) But you must trust me on this – the editors have remade this dinner to be fresh and full of new flavors. A fast French Onion soup creates a wonderful simmering sauce that deepens the flavors of this dish. I followed the editors excellent suggestion to serve these wonderful pan steaks over (get this) cheese toast.

Starting the Soup Base

Starting the Soup Base

But what a cheese toast! Fresh french baguette, sliced diagonally, slathered in melted butter (with a good pinch of paprika and a minced garlic clove stirred in) and then topped with grated gruyere and a bit of parmesan. I thought I had dinner bread down pat – but this treatment pretty much smoked by best efforts from the past.

So, this little magazine whose cover looked a little too cutsie-pie almost got away from me. [Insert well worn aphorism here.] It’s cusine for sure – and I’m a happy new sucker… I mean subscriber!

Cute, no?

Stained kitchen floors - but not in a good way.

Our current hardwood floors are original to the house – you gotta love that.  150+ years old. However, in the kitchen they have been badly stained over the years. I’m considering painting them black – is this crazy? Take a look at this concept in a kitchen I saw in Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine:

Painted black floors? Yes? No? Maybe?

Painted black floors? Yes? No? Maybe?

The reason I ask if you might think I was crazy is that Richard actually recoiled in horror when I mentioned that I was thinking of painting them (even though he knows that they cannot be rescued by sanding & refinishing at this point)! The floors look wonderful  in the rest of the house, though. We were lucky there.

Okay – a few more painted floor treatments. I favor the black in our temporarily ‘modern’ kitchen but I thought these were just a treat to consider…

Soft Green Checkerboard (via Country Living)

Soft Green Checkerboard (via Country Living)

Another green checkerboard - with a border. Hmmm.

Another green checkerboard - with a border. Hmmm. (via Country Living)

Or plain white?

Or plain white? (via Country Living)

Okay – so when we do the actual big renovation, I’m thinking tile. The room gets a lot of biped and quadruped traffic and I do need something durable. I won’t tile the whole thing – it would look out of place with every other room in the house. BUT! Could I somehow blend tile in? Here’s what I’m thinking (of stealing, wholesale, from this house in Traditional Home):

Not crazy about the rest of the room, but I love these floors.

Fun room, not my style, but I LOVE these floors. A blend of tile and hardwood would connect the future floors to the rest of the hardwood in the house.

More floors, please!

More floors, please! The secretary is adorable, too, I think. Floors.... one day.

But in the meantime, I’m thinking… paint ’em. I just need to soften the blow somehow for Richard.

A toast!

A toast! Here's to us...

I adore you...

I adore you...

I love everything you do for me...

I love everything you do for me...

You look mahvelous.

You look mahvelous.

In Memoriam: O’Keefe & Merrit enjoyed a rich and long, long, long life. I know that he will find a welcome home in the bottom of the Mississippi River. Salut!

Farewell, my changeable friend.

Farewell, my changeable friend. It will forever be 2:08, wherever you may be.

Color inspiration often comes from surprising places. When I picked up my office copy of April 2009 Southern Living, I spotted a wonderful renovation by young homeowner Haskell Harris in the article ‘Do-It-Herself Cottage Style‘. The house is a charmer – but more charming was how she was inspired to pick it’s colors:

“She discovered the perfect palette in a package of gourmet marshmallows.”

“They were the softest, most sophisticated colors I’d ever seen. Pale pink, pale blue, cocoa, cream, and pale gray―I based all the paints on those marshmallows,” Haskell says. “The chalky finishes remind me of studying in Italy and visiting old villas and churches. The paint looks like it’s been there a long time.”

So take a look at these beautiful colors – and Haskell’s great style:

Bedroom wall paint: Secret (C2-048) by C2 Paint

Bedroom wall paint: Secret (C2-048) by C2 Paint

Bedroom wall paint: Secret (C2-048) by C2 Paint

Bedroom wall paint: Secret (C2-048) by C2 Paint

Living room wall paint: Riff (C2-358) by C2 Paint

Living room wall paint: Riff (C2-358) by C2 Paint

Creamy White

Creamy White

Pale Blue

Pale Blue - Haskell and her house are adorable! I'm envious of her swing and clematis vine. What a sweet front porch.

This will come to my dining room (I have a tacit approval from Richard :-) when it goes on sale. haha!

The Grandiose Mirror - Yes, that's what they call it!

The Grandiose Mirror - Yes, that's what they call it!

I think the Zinc finish will match my black cast iron mantles & fireplaces pretty darn well and make a grandiose statement at that.

I thought I could risk 30 bucks for something that sloppy dogs and gardeners could tromp all over. It was a good bet – I like it!

Cute, no?

Houndstooth. Cute, no?


Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime LaurelStreetNola@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

April 2009
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930