Friday, October 30, 2009

When is a Home Finished?

When is a home finished? Well, that's impossible to say, huh? At our house, apparently it is never "finished", and that's probably the case with many of you. (Why did we just have to have that tree removed from our front lawn? Don't get me started!) But honestly, this one has to be close.

I have "closet issues", and not the ones you might expect. I am a very tidy person by nature, but as far as I'm concerned, whatever is behind closed doors can be piled and pushed, so long as it doesn't spill out when you open the door. But now I realize that I've just never had the right closets! Well, these folks do. This closet started as a room as large as my bedroom--window included--and was carefully designed and planned. Why can't I have this?!

I can also dream of my ideal bedroom, and yes, that comes with a fireplace.

Am I just asking too much? Don't answer that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Promises, Promises

You know, we haven't done one of my "theatre references" for a while. Frankly though, on this show, that's about all I've got.
Back to the matters at hand. You saw images of these same views in past postings, and I promised to show you finished products.
Here is one of the urns that Missy and I just planted. The owner's lawn furniture cushions have blues, yellows and reds, so we wanted to pick up a little of that in the plantings.

Here's another picture of the garden from the upstairs bedroom balcony--now looking through screen. Again, as promised, the sod has been replaced and the garden looks fresh and ready for move-in.

Isn't this one of the things we love about Florida? You plant a vine, and in about a month or two it will be at the top of a trellis! Nice.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spruce Ups

Homeowners are in their car approaching Florida and our endless sunshine. (Well, they may not yet be in the car...a little author's license...) Last minute details are being put together at their home.

These choices for door hardware and porch light are really great. I especially like the nod to New England in the light. (Yes, I know I keep saying that about the home details. But I find it inspring.)

Landscaping has been spruced up, and some plantings that were damaged from tenting are being replaced.

Imagine what it would be like to move into a picture-perfect home, almost fully renovated. Truly what they call "move-in-ready" on HGTV. And a far, far cry from the way the house looked when purchased!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Run to Home!

Well, construction at this job is in the final phase. More trims are in, more cabinet doors installed, painting almost completed...the home stretch!

A couple more doors and a few more trim pieces will finish off the range wall.

This pushed out window box is another "Vogel kitchen trademark touch". It really does bring a lot of light, and and adds the feeling of more space in a kitchen! Hey, remember this hand-crafted birdhouse from a previous posting? Well, apparently it is still in the possession of the homeowners, and not me....sigh.

I know that last week you were wondering if this cabinet was going to fit. Well, it did, perfectly, and has been beautifully trimmed out.

And, as I promised, the "Vogel Clock" has been all trimmed out as well. I love the painted panels behind it. It does seem to bring a touch of New England to this beautiful South Tampa home.

All this in preparation for a move-in in a couple of days. This should make the homeowners move--never easy!--a little more pleasant.

By the way, you can see all these details--and more--in person. This home is just one of six that will be on our Autumn Home Tour on November 8th. You can get more information at

Monday, October 19, 2009

Details Please!

Details are what can make the difference between a "designed space" and a space. In addition to terrific space usage planning, Chip is a master of details. And believe me, having lived through several projects of our own, he's not going to rest until they're done the way he wants!

This clock treatment has become a signature detail of a Chip Vogel kitchen. It's waiting for the crown molding to wrap it to the ceiling, but trust me it will be a beauty when the cabinet man finishes.

You've seen the pictures of these transoms before, but again, it's the kind of detail that will really elevate the "elegance meter" for this beautiful home. The fixed panes will let so much more light through to the entry hall, and give the entire floor a more open feel.

This archway was opened up for a more accessible path to the kitchen. It creates a small but very useful Butler's Pantry, complete with this state-of-the-art wine refrigerator.

I'm hoping to wrangle an invitation or two for dinner here...I think this will work just fine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coffee Cup in Hand...Now What?

So, you remember this great breakfast bar in the master bathroom?

Well, here's part of why it's there.

Here's the scenario as I see it. Wake up. Notice the wonderful light coming in through your French Doors. Walk the 8 or 10 steps to your breakfast bar for a cup of coffee. Walk back through the bedroom and onto your screened balcony. Relax with the morning paper or a favorite new book...oh yeah, this could definitely be my life!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Master Bath Update

We saw new photos of the kitchen last week, and today let's take a look at the Master Bathroom progress. Boy, who do you have to know to get this kind of storage in your bathroom...?? A designer?

This folding door had to be in place to get the CO from the inspector. Now it will come down and the walls trimmed out. This will open directly into a very sizable closet. Also, notice the breakfast bar in the master bath. No need to traipse downstairs for morning coffee!

The day I took these photos it was a "no-shoes" work site. This week carpeting goes in, and the paper can be removed from the tile floors. Can't wait to see that!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Down the "Home Stretch"

This week we're heading back to one of our projects underway to check progress. The part-time Cape Cod residents are packing up to head to Tampa, and work pace on the kitchen has picked up. Most of the cabinet boxes are now in place.

Now you can see drawer fronts and cabinet doors. Notice these wonderfully deep cabinet "towers" on each side of the range...and yes, as you can see, the range now fits like a perfect puzzle piece.

I watched these guys put this upper cabinet in. You would have thought they were handling the most fragile piece of China....I guess that kid-glove treatment happens when you're installing your own hand-crafted cabinetry. Nice!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Save the Date

You should walk, run, bicycle, fly...whatever it takes to be in Tampa on November 8th for our Autumn Home Tour.

Six beautiful and diverse homes will be open from 2:00-5:00 P.M. for tour. And even better, it's a benefit for The Humane Society of Tampa Bay! Well worth the $10.00 donation.

You can get more information by going to, or call us at (813) 251-8862. Put it on your calenders!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rx for a Contractor

As you know, we recently completed a home project and had a new design studio constructed where our unused garage had been. For those who had not kept up with the postings (and you know who you are!), the project had it's ups and downs...and downs.

You would think that as designers-and we've supervised lots of building projects-we would have been prepared for the ride. AND, you would think that we would know what to look for in a contractor, and how to avoid the missteps that so often befall a project. Well, think again. We ended up with a job that took about twice as long as we expected, an air conditioning unit that caused huge headaches (possibly due to faulty initial installation) and lots of "add-on" costs at the end of the project that were never discussed. And we even used a contractor that we were familiar with and had worked with on several previous projects.

In reviewing everything that happened, I've recalled articles I have read through the years in home improvement magazines about choosing the right contractor. I'm not sure how to do that. But I can suggest that you talk....and talk...and talk. Talk to the contractor at length, talk to his previous clients, talk to your friends...heck, even talk to your mom! If it feels right to hire him or her, you'll know it. And then, keep talking to him all through the project. If ANYTHING seems like a change, ask if it's going to cost more. Review your contract periodically and make sure they are doing what is in the contract, and no more or less unless you know what it is, and what it will cost.

It seems like everyone we know has a nightmare story about their contractor. Why is that? I do have an idea... We want our contractors to care about our projects as much as we do...and some of them do, more or less. But at the end of the day they all get to go home, and we have to live with the project...our own home.

When it was all said and done, we're really happy with our new space, and overall happy with the job that was done. But here's a suggestion for the people who license contractors. In my opinion, every contractor should have to take a course (or two) in prescribing medications. I mean, how hard could that be?? And at the beginning of every job, the contractor should come to the project with prescriptions for Xanax, Valium or some other tranquilizing medication. I know it would have done me a world of good!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Studio Completion, Part Deux

I think I've finally made you wait long enough. Here are photos of the completed studio interior. You may recall that we brought furniture from our old office to the new space. Luckily, Chip was able to design it so that all the necessary pieces could work, with the addition of just a couple of new cabinets for storage. And guess what? We actually have extra cabinet space! (I know, it won't last long.)

With the addition of a couple of large-scale pieces of art from the Voscher collection, 2 small paintings of our "kids" as a studio-warming gift from our friend Pat, some dark wood Venetian blinds at the windows, and one nice plant for some life-energy, we're ready for work! Jay Lenny from Speaker Tech re-installed our speakers for the XM short, I may never leave the office now!

By the way....did I happen to mention my view of the garden from my desk?

Hey, don't blame me....I'm not the one who did the furniture layout!