P1080127

It has been slightly over a year since I last posted a blog. A lot of changes both professionally and personally have occurred since June 2012. I thought I would make this initial blog posting for 2013 one of reflection and catching up. I suppose the best way is to jump right in sharing images and updates.

lmk interiors, ltd.

• Launched refreshed website on 1 June 2013 www.lmkinteriorsltd.com – so happy to have had family and friends contribute their talents and time to make this refreshing change to my site. More images to be uploaded in the coming weeks of completed projects.

• I will be participating in Art Grows Here with a pouring paint installation July 12- 21, 2013 at 77 Main Street Wenham

• volunteered with Habitat for Humanity – NorthShore’s Women Build event building a duplex home in Danvers, MA.

• working on many projects with Cummings Architects and Open Meadow Construction designing kitchens throughout the NorthShore.

• took on a seasonal part time position at the newly opened The Container Store in Peabody late November (decided to stay on since it is such a fun place to work).

•lmk interiors, ltd. took over entire space at 77 Main Street in October when Matt Ulrich and Rebecca Bachand moved their offices to Beverly. I have installed a beautiful kitchen vignette to showcase the cabinetry line I am representing. Please stop in to see the changes to the space – I love pop in visits!

P1080118    P1080115

P1080128   P1080122

• completed several kitchen and master bathroom renovations, living room furniture installations along with many window treatment installations. (check out the website for more images)

Andover kitchen     P1070958

• attending many networking groups – meeting great contacts for passing and receiving referrals.

• participated in the Wenham Museum’s Annual Heart of the Home Kitchen tour event with one of my client’s beautiful kitchens that I had the privilege of designing.

P1070246     P1070248

Lisa Kawski

• my son graduated from RIT May 2012 and is currently working at Spine Frontier in Beverly, MA as an industrial designer.

• traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with my family (highlights included zip lining and snorkeling with sea turtles)

• to celebrate turning 50, I traveled to: NYC to celebrate with grade school girlfriends, to the Berkshires with my sisters and recently to Amherst with husband and college friends. (the year is not up yet, still some traveling to do)

P1060954  P1060386P1070863

• attended several car shows – featuring beautiful antique classics.

P1060541P1060544

• discovered the joy in the music of Sugarman (Jesus Rodriguez) and the movie Searching for Sugarman.

• been doing standing Pilates, Nia dance and several yoga classes and continuing to eat the Paleo way as best as possible – no gluten, lean proteins, lots of veggies & fruit (have not cut out the dark chocolate)

• got my motorcycle license (no, I do not have a bike – yet!)

                                               cool bike   (a girl can dream)

Here’s to a great summer filled with wonderful projects and new adventures! Please check out the website and stop in for a visit if you see my car out front!

P1080071

 

I have retained a new client. She came into my office a few weeks ago with a signed contract and retainer and said, “I can not wait to get started working with you on designing my dream kitchen!” How exciting, so far this New Year has brought three kitchen renovations into the office. I would like to explain how I met this woman and also how she has come to be a client.

    Wicked Local Photo by David Sokol 04/03/10 A child reaches to touch the foot of a new born chick during a "Meet the New Baby Animals" event held at Green Meadows Farm.    sheep   chickens              

                          green meadows farm                             

Eight years ago, I became acquainted with Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, MA. It had just become a certified organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and they were seeking members. I noticed that they offered a work-for-share membership in addition to a paid membership. It excited me to know that I could work four hours per week in exchange for organic produce that could sustain my family for that week. From April through October, I worked in the fields for our weekly produce pick up. I arranged my business schedule to accommodate this addition to my work day. It really wasn’t a problem, except for the days when I had a client meeting scheduled on an afternoon after working the fields and couldn’t clean the dirt out from under my finger nails! After three years of field work, I was promoted to working on the retail side. I worked and continue to work in the farm stand on Saturday mornings to better fit with my design business schedule. It has been a great experience. I have learned a lot, met some interesting people and made some lasting friendships.

One of the friends I met was the organic baker, Kim Gregory. She had previously owned a cafe that provided organic foods and baked goods to her customers. She had scaled back her business and was now providing local establishments with her wonderful baked goods. Whoopie pies, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, scones, brownies, etc. All made with 100% organic ingredients. She provided baked goods to Green Meadows Farm for the first several years I worked there. She then took her business in another direction and we would occasionally run into one another around town.This past spring while Juli, Matt and I were manning our Connect-The-Dots booth at the Hamilton Wenham Green Living Fair we reconnected and had time to talk about the changes she had made within her life. She had known about my business, but hadn’t really thought about how I might be able to help her until she saw several images of kitchens I had designed posted at the Fair.

She shared with me that she had recently obtained approval from the town of Beverly to build a commercial kitchen at her residence. She had pages of ideas, but needed assistance to make it all happen. Between myself and a trusted contractor, we agreed that we could construct her kitchen. She had one major requirement for going forward – to use as many reclaimed, recycled, repurposed and eco-friendly materials as possible in this design. The space she planned to use was her existing four car garage that had been originally built to accommodate her ex-husband’s custom bike shop. The structure was sound and the space was large enough to allow for a functional and creative environment.

We have had our initial meeting with the contractor and I have taken measurements of the space. I will begin design development in the coming weeks along with researching equipment, cabinetry, flooring, counter surfaces, lighting, and various other requirements. Currently from her rear windows, there are views of her backyard where there is a micro apple orchard, honey bee hives, egg laying chickens and a sustainable garden filled with vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. She would like to continue to grow her business by providing her delectable creations to restaurants and local businesses as well as provide a unique environment for offering cooking/baking classes sharing her skills with the local community.

My goal over the coming months is to share through my blog the progress of this project, including the trials and tribulations of creating an eco-friendly kitchen with Kim. It is interesting for me to reflect back eight years ago when I began my residential design business. I don’t think I ever would have envisioned designing an eco-friendly commercial kitchen for a friend! How fortunate to have this opportunity and experience.

With thoughts of kitchens, cooking and baking, what better way to end this blog than by sharing a family favorite recipe. My mother-in-law would make this wonderful strawberry pie as soon as the first strawberries of the season were ready for picking. It’s great to have at home or to bring to a pot luck. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipping cream!

    pie with cream           strawberry pie

FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

EASY AND GOOD PIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tblsp. milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix in an ungreased 9” glass pie pan. Flute edges. Prick shell with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool while making the filling.

STRAWBERRY PIE FILLING

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and cleaned, keep whole or slice
  • 5 tblsp. strawberry jello
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 handful of cinnamon heart candies

Boil until thick: cornstarch, water and sugar. When thick add candy hearts and jello. Stir well until all are incorporated. Cool glaze, on counter or place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Arrange strawberries in cooled pie shell and pour cooled glaze over entire pie. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour or more, serve with vanilla ice cream and/or fresh whipping cream. 

Here’s to a wonderful summer season! If you have any questions about eco-friendly kitchen inspiration, please feel free to contact me at (978)335-1140 or email at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com

Julie and JuliaThis past weekend I saw the movie Julie & Julia with my two sisters. We all met in Boston to celebrate our combined birthdays. Dinner and a movie in the city. Perhaps a little late night dancing if we were up to it afterwards. We have traditionally gone out to the Burlington area, since that is a midpoint for all of us to meet, and eat dinner first and then rush to get to the movie. This time, not only would we change locations, but we would also change the order of our evening. We decided to see the movie prior to eating dinner so that we would have even more to talk about as we dined!

Leslie, Elizabeth & Lisa

Leslie, Elizabeth & Lisa

So, there we are, in the second to last row of a packed theater watching our childhood icon on the big screen; Julia Child portrayed by an actress we have also grown to admire, Meryl Streep. To be honest, I had not heard of Julie Powell, the Julie of the movie. Nor, did I know that a book based on their combined lives had been published and that was what the movie had evolved from. I just knew that the moment I had seen the previews for the movie, it was something the three of us had to go see together. You see, we had grown up watching Julia Child on PBS for years. My mother owned several of her cookbooks. She had even taken them all to have THE Julia Child autograph them at some book signing so that each of her daughters had a signed copy. I possess The French Chef Cookbook, Leslie owns Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume 2 and Elizabeth has Julia Child & Company. Not only had we watched Julia cook and entertain our family, we also were the guinea pigs to my mother’s efforts to re-create Julia’s recipes. Which, if I recall somewhat accurately, turned out to be quite delicious.

How, you might be wondering does this blog entry relate to the previous topics I have blogged about regarding interior design or even green interior design? I am not sure, but I am hoping that if I keep writing, something karmic will occur that will connect two of the creative outlets in my life. Interior design and food!

Julia Child's kitchen

Julia Child's kitchen

As I watched this movie, I did experience an insight that I will share. Towards the end of the movie, (I won’t give the ending away!) they show Julia in her Cambridge kitchen. I elbow my sister Leslie and whisper to her to take a look at Julia’s kitchen cabinets. They are not natural cherry, walnut nor maple, they are a painted finish. In addition, they are painted two different colors. The upper cabinets are a soft blue and the base cabinets are a green. Her counter tops are butcher block, with the kitchen table in the center of the room. And who could forget the pegboard with the outlines of the pans drawn by her husband! It was the cabinets that made me elbow my sister. The reason being: my kitchen cabinets are painted exactly the same colors! Maybe not exactly the same, but I had used C2 Jamestown Blue for my upper cabinets and C2 Terrapin Green for my base cabinets.

before image of kitchen

before image of my kitchen

Do you think that twenty years after watching week after week of this program and admiring Julia’s kitchen and cooking skills I had subconsciously put those cabinet colors into my mind waiting for the opportunity to cover my doors with them? When we had moved into our home in Hamilton, the kitchen cabinet doors were painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. I immediately slapped paint onto them. However, it wasn’t the colors that I have shared with you. I had first painted them Benjamin Moore’s Iced Mauve, a soft grayish purple. That lasted a few months before I changed it. What was I thinking? Purple was great in the bathroom, bedroom or even a hallway, but it just wasn’t working in the kitchen. Then I painted on two tones of warm taupe. The lighter color going on the walls as well as the upper cabinets and a deeper tone in the same family of color going on the base cabinets. This was better, but not good enough. It was an uninspiring atmosphere to be attempting to create wonderful recipes.

This was going to require some more thought and effort. I had to treat my home the same way I do for my clients. I needed to look at the whole picture and not just a quick fix to add some color to a plain cabinet front. My inspiration, at least this is what I had believed was where the color scheme had come from at the time: was my love for living near the ocean. Actually, any body of water. There was the color of the shore with the plants of the dunes, the wooden boardwalk, the sand, that point where the waves crash along the shore and create white frothy foam, the color of the ocean, the color of the seaweed in the ocean and the color of the changing sky. Blue, beige, white, and green would be the main colors, with small accents of orange, yellow and red (as seen in a setting sun) coming into play with fresh flowers and accessories. That was my palette. And, as I realized this weekend, it was for Julia as well.

after image of kitchen

after image of my kitchen

I kept the warm light taupe that I had already painted on the walls (that could represent the sand). It was a comforting background without being as boring as white walls. My husband then added some creative molding to the cabinet doors to give them a bit more definition and detail. We also added new brushed nickel hardware for the knobs, pulls and hinges. Then, some sanding, priming and the final paint color on the cabinet doors and frames. I was now almost able to enjoy being in this space to cook and entertain for family and friends.

I must confess, the worst problem in this kitchen wasn’t the cabinet or wall colors, it was the flooring. We had inherited a kitchen with that aged vinyl flooring in the large brick pattern. There were some bare areas where old cabinetry had been removed and we had exposed sub floors, along with the peeling up of edges near the doorways. I hated this floor. I pretended it didn’t exist. It didn’t look clean even after scrubbing it. It was so old and gross that I didn’t allow my gaze to go below the height of the chair seat. I tried not to notice that horrid brick color.

ceramic tile flooring

new kitchen flooring

As an interior designer, I have access to many showrooms and dealers for flooring. Since the first day we moved into our home, I had been searching for a kitchen floor that not only would be visually interesting but would also be within the budget we were working with. I loved Marmoleum and looked into using that. We just couldn’t afford it at the time. The rest of the house had beautiful original 100 year old hardwood floors. I didn’t want to duplicate that, I wanted something different. The inspiration came when we were having dinner at our good friends’ home and I went to check out their kids’ new bathroom flooring. They had purchased it at Lowe’s. It was stunning! It was a ceramic tile that measured 3” x 3” and was a funky blue pattern that reminded me of oil spots on pavement when the mist creates unique colors and patterns. I had found the ocean for my kitchen! The unusual small scale of the tile was an added bonus since we had some level changes that would not have worked if we had used a larger floor tile.

This same friend had also used a wall paper product called anaglypta on her wainscot in her dining room. It is a highly embossed paintable paper product that reminds me of old fashioned tin ceilings. This became my backsplash for most of my kitchen area. I chose to use small glass mosaic tiles for the area under my kitchen window and above the sink.Corelle Rola pattern It offered a waterproof solution to an area that would require just a swipe of cloth to clean it. I painted the anaglypta a high gloss bright white and used a light iridescent green color for the glass tiles. I even found a dinner plate pattern by Corelle that worked beautifully with the redesign of the kitchen.

Did I find a way to connect interior design and food? Or, should I be asking myself if seeing this movie provided me with time for personal reflection? I have found that throughout my life I need a creative means to express myself. Fortunately, on account of my profession, I am able to do this on a daily basis. However, there are times when I need more than interior design to fulfill my creativeness. When this occurs, I turn to cooking. I can be just as happy working in the kitchen with herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables making a bountiful feast as I am at my drafting table designing a kitchen for a client. It takes the same thought process for me to put a palette of finishes together to create a beautiful living room design as it does to read a recipe and know how delicious the blending of all of the ingredients will be in the final meal. (Of course, I have not studied at Le Cordon Bleu, but I think my cooking skills are fairly capable.) From Julia Child I gained the knowledge to forge ahead with my dreams and desires. Pursue what is true for me and not to limit myself. From Julie Powell I learned how to stand strong. There are bumps in the road; but I can choose to walk around them! I also learned that blogging has its’ rewards. I get to share my thoughts with friends, colleagues and total strangers!

Bon appétit!

www.pbs.org/juliachild/, www.c2paint.com, www.corelle.com

For any thoughts or questions, please feel free to contact me, Lisa Kawski at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com

css.php