Posted in Happenings in Ventura County, Outdoor Kitchens

Holiday Home Tours in Southern California are…

so “So Cal”. I have to admit, we are a different sort out here in Southern California. We live in a time of strange dichotomies. We import our fun, not content to love what we have, and what the rest of the US wishes they had, oh no, we go to great lengths to import faux weather. Go to the snow? Not us, we bring the snow to us. We are not exactly living in a “Winter Wonderland” but we try. Snow in LA is a rarity so I had to do a double take while driving on the 101 Fwy. this Sunday afternoon when I saw the small hilly front lawn the size of a football stadium at Oaks Christian School covered in snow and kids frolicking with their sleds. It was in the 60’s today. No rain, no snow. We are in middle of a drought and Oaks Christian can afford to import truckloads of snow. Hopefully it was a fund raiser for a good cause.  Thousand Oaks City Hall also has a hand in creating faux weather. The concrete lake is frozen over to create an outdoor skating rink.

Meanwhile I am heading towards another charity event for a good cause and anticipating having a fun time with friends. It’s the annual jaunt to the Holiday Home Tour put together by the Wellness Community-Valley/Ventura Chapter. We go for many reasons. Not only is it a warm fuzzy knowing our money is going to support a worthy cause. The Wellness Community provides a wonderful network of free programs to those individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as provide support for their family members.

Moreover it is fun day out for girl friends to get together, throw a little money back into the local economy while we  “ooh and ah” at the spectacular 10,000 sq ft. Mega Mansions in all their holiday faux-snowy glory. Tuscan, “Zen-tarian” (Mediterranean meet Asian), French Country and Tudor style estates, one more spectacular than the next.Oh My! I would have loved to have shown you pictures but no cameras were allowed.

As we are at one home on the tour, we notice the Carolers. My feeling is there is something really out of sync watching Christmas Carolers adorned in Dickens Era Caroling Costumes replete with Heavy Coats, Tops Hats, Bonnets and Petticoats gathered deck side near the infinity pool on a pleasant Southern California Sunday.

We saw enchanting displays of Christmas Trees in front halls, libraries, dens and dining rooms but I have to admit the real show was the backyards! As I walked through beautiful mega-manse estates, I wondered why some homeowners overlooked the kitchens. There were some kitchens that were downright dull with builder grade cabinets that looked so out of place when the rest of the house was so exquisite. It then hit me as I entered the back yards, (indoor-outdoor living space as we call it in California). The backyard is the other living room. It was no surprise to see where the money was invested. Outdoor kitchens! And what kitchens they were! We are talking beautiful resort worthy backyards. Infinity pools, jacuzzi’s, one had a zip line traversing over a stream in the Santa Monica Mountains, another had a water slide formed out of the mountain side, Separate Structures for the Cabana Houses with wide screen TV’s, fireplaces,  “His and Her” bathrooms were some of the amenities I saw. Then my heart skipped a beat when I saw the outdoor cooking cabanas. I mean these backyard designs and construction must have cost the price of a small house. Complete Viking Outdoor Kitchens: fully equipped with bar-b-cue grills, refrigerators, dishwashers, sinks, beer taps, plenty of granite topped counters, teak style cabinets,  fireplaces and flat screen TV’s around cozy seating arrangements.  Who would ever want to leave home?  With outdoor living spaces like this, no wonder why the indoor kitchens were ho-hum. Who needs to use the indoor kitchen when outside is so beautiful?

In a time of such great disparity, it is a pleasure to see many people come together to donate their time, their labor, and their homes for a worthy cause. We stopped at the Holiday Boutique and bought some gifts. I found a beautiful knit scarf and found out the ladies who knitted the scarves donated their time and yarn just for the event. I was told all their proceeds go back into the charity. That meant something to me. It was a good show and a lot of fun.

Photo credit: http://www.dailystoke.com/…/2008/12/surfing_santa.jpg

Posted in Happenings In LA, Happenings in Ventura County, Kitchen Tours, NKBA, Working with a Kitchen Designer

Save the Date: Professional Designers Host 4th Annual Tour of Kitchens


Ventura County, CA (October 18, 2009)- While the weather is “hot, hot, hot” in September, mark your calendars in October when balmy temperatures return that make living here in Southern California so desirable. A perfect time to attend the 4th Annual Tour of Kitchens to be held on Sunday, October 18, 2009 – 10 am to 5 pm, organized by the local chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. The Tour of Kitchens will be twice as fun in 2009 because we’re going to double our territory. This year will be TWO tours- One in Santa Clarita Valley and the other in Ventura County.

So how does one experience a home tour? Ronni Fryman, Chairperson of this year’s tour advises, “I always like to gather my favorite pals into a carpool to make a day of it. We start at one house and work our way through each and every one – stopping for a nice lunch in the middle. We always have a vote at the end of the day for which home was our favorite, which one we could move right into and which had the most innovative features.” Other people may enjoy meeting the designers, artists and contractors who planned and built the projects. “I guarantee everyone will walk away with several new ideas that they will want to incorporate into their own homes.” Unlike reading a magazine for ideas, the best part about attending our tour is you will see architectural styles that are likely to be similar to your home.

The Tour of Kitchens’ projects may be reviewed on the NKBA-ccv website and tickets for
the event may also be ordered online. Tickets are $20 for advance sales and $25 on the day of
the tour. For more information, please go to www.NKBAccv.org.

The Tour of Kitchens is a charitable event benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County and Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer. The 2009 tour will be held on Sunday, October 18 from 10 am to 5 pm.

About the National Kitchen & Bath Association
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade association that has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry for more than 45 years. With over 40,000 members and growing, the NKBA owns the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference (K/BIS®). The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry. For more information, visit www.NKBA.org

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Posted in Happenings in Ventura County, Who Knew

Happy Mother’s Day

Another beautiful sunny Southern California day. Here are a few of my favorite photos of our day trip to Gardens of the World, Thousand Oaks, CA.

My Mom and I share a love of horticulture, growing beautiful flowers and gardening, so what a better way than to spend Mother’s Day by taking a leisurely walk through the most beautiful gardens located right here in our own backyard of Thousand Oaks, CA.

Gardens of the World, founded by Ed & Lynn Hogan, founders of Pleasant Holidays, decided to build a striking monument to commemorate the various cultures of the world.

Photo at left of the waterfall, the centerpiece of the French Garden.

The French Garden, with the Thousand Oaks Civic Center and the Santa Monica Mountain Ridge in the back ground. The sky is gray from the residual smoke from the Santa Barbara wildfires.

The English Perennial and Rose Garden.
An explosion of color greets the visitor in these gardens with their vivid floral displays.

A little girl in a red dress runs through the rose garden.

My Mom looks so pretty in her hat.
We loved the rose garden.


The California Poppy




Next…
The Italian Garden
A tranquil space for solitude and repose. A place to relax under the grape arbors, view the Italian statues, Cyprus trees, and listen to the relaxing sounds of the chain fountain inspired by historic Italian architecture.

On the way up to the Mission Courtyard.

New friends we met along the garden path. The little boy called out to me, “Hello!” and called his sister over to have their picture taken. So sweet!

The early history of the state of California and its famous Mission Trail can be experienced in the authentic Mission Courtyard. Colorful hand painted murals and a Spanish fountain grace the courtyard, surrounded by olive and citrus trees creating a cool and soothing place to reflect on days gone by.


An unexpected life size chess set greeted us in the rear courtyard.

The California Poppy grows wild all throughout California.

The Japanese Garden
One of my favorite trees.
Purple Leaf Plum.

Giant Bamboo

European Copper Beach.

Red Laceleaf Maple

Set in the midst of a Koi pond, the Japanese Garden, encircled by bamboo and bridges, the Japanese Pagoda is a wonderful place to pause and savor a tranquil moment.

The architectural detail shown here in the interior of the Pagoda is amazing.

The vibrant color is something to behold.
Japanese Maple “Bloodgood”.


Who knew all of this is available free to the public?
I thank the Hogan Family for creating these magnificent gardens for the public to enjoy.
For more information and vistitor information, please visit gardensoftheworld.info

Posted in Green Design, Happenings in Ventura County, Kitchen Tours

Fresh perspectives.

What’s in a kitchen tour?

This weekend, the Central Coast and Valleys Chapter of the NKBA held it’s third annual Kitchen Tour. What is better than an interactive tour? See the kitchens, talk to the designers, open the drawers, get a chance to see the latest innovations in cabinets, appliances and advancements in eco-friendly products. It is a once a year opportunity that beats any visit to a showroom or looking at a magazine. Walking through a newly remodeled kitchen is a sensory experience.

A live demonstration from the EasyCleanHome team was on hand at Home # 6 on the Tour, my client’s own kitchen. The science behind the nanotechnology demonstration is the coolest thing to watch. It is not really a “new” product, it has been tested and used in aerospace, defense and motor sports. A non toxic, non staining coating that bonds with the surface, providing a anti-microbial, super-hydrophobic surface. A product that repels water, contaminates have nowhere to absorb into, what can be better than that for easy maintenance? What a better idea than to use this technology on residential surfaces such as granite, stone, stainless steel and glass.

The NKBA Tour of Kitchens was held in nine homes throughout Ventura County varying in style from 1950’s California Ranch to 1980’s tract homes. The following photos are the entries from myself and my associate Liz Tiffin from Westside Remodeling.
Enjoy viewing the transformation!

BEFORE

AFTER

Kitchen shown above was treated with Easy Clean/ Green Life Coatings.
The stainless steel sparkles. Finger Prints wipe right off the stainless.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

What’s really great is to watch the expression of surprise in the neighbor’s faces, standing in the kitchen looking at the transformation, maybe thinking what “could be” for their kitchen. This is a Morrison Ranch Tract Home. From Tract to Terrific!

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER
Posted in Green Design, Happenings in Ventura County, Kitchen Tours

Fresh perspectives.

What’s in a kitchen tour?

This weekend, the Central Coast and Valleys Chapter of the NKBA held it’s third annual Kitchen Tour. What is better than an interactive tour? See the kitchens, talk to the designers, open the drawers, get a chance to see the latest innovations in cabinets, appliances and advancements in eco-friendly products. It is a once a year opportunity that beats any visit to a showroom or looking at a magazine. Walking through a newly remodeled kitchen is a sensory experience.

A live demonstration from the EasyCleanHome team was on hand at Home # 6 on the Tour, my client’s own kitchen. The science behind the nanotechnology demonstration is the coolest thing to watch. It is not really a “new” product, it has been tested and used in aerospace, defense and motor sports. A non toxic, non staining coating that bonds with the surface, providing a anti-microbial, super-hydrophobic surface. A product that repels water, contaminates have nowhere to absorb into, what can be better than that for easy maintenance? What a better idea than to use this technology on residential surfaces such as granite, stone, stainless steel and glass.

The NKBA Tour of Kitchens was held in nine homes throughout Ventura County varying in style from 1950’s California Ranch to 1980’s tract homes. The following photos are the entries from myself and my associate Liz Tiffin from Westside Remodeling.
Enjoy viewing the transformation!

BEFORE

AFTER

Kitchen shown above was treated with Easy Clean/ Green Life Coatings.
The stainless steel sparkles. Finger Prints wipe right off the stainless.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

What’s really great is to watch the expression of surprise in the neighbor’s faces, standing in the kitchen looking at the transformation, maybe thinking what “could be” for their kitchen. This is a Morrison Ranch Tract Home. From Tract to Terrific!

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER
Posted in Happenings in Ventura County, Kitchen Tours, Kitchen Trends

Kitchen Inspiration



Ever wonder what’s new in Kitchen Design? Wouldn’t you like to know where the future of kitchen design is headed? Take a detour to view a video log documentary web series for a glimpse into the future of kitchen design.

www.kitcheninspiration.com.

Designers interviewed include:

  • James Drake – Client list, including Madonna and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is literal the designer to the “who’s who” of entertainment and politics.
  • Michael McDonough – The original trailblazer behind the green movement was recently part of the PBS Green Building “e2” series narrated by Brad Pitt.
  • Plus many other experts in design and construction who lend their views on kitchen design.
  • And what say you? Do you agree or disagree? What is your opinion?
For local inspiration visit an NKBA Kitchen Tour.
  • A Kitchen Tour sponsored by the National Kitchen and Bath Association is your up close and personal opportunity to see the latest trends and innovations.
  • The Central Coast and Valleys chapter will be hosting their third annual Tour of Kitchens on Sunday, October 19th in honor of National Kitchen and Bath month. The self-guided journey takes visitors through 9 recently-remodeled homes in Ventura County that epitomize the state of the art of kitchen design. This fundraising event benefits HomeAid of Los Angeles and Ventura, a charity that builds homes for the temporarily homeless. To buy tickets on line go to www.nkbaccv.org/hometour/tickets.html
Posted in Happenings in Ventura County, Kitchen Tours, Kitchen Trends

Kitchen Inspiration



Ever wonder what’s new in Kitchen Design? Wouldn’t you like to know where the future of kitchen design is headed? Take a detour to view a video log documentary web series for a glimpse into the future of kitchen design.

www.kitcheninspiration.com.

Designers interviewed include:

  • James Drake – Client list, including Madonna and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is literal the designer to the “who’s who” of entertainment and politics.
  • Michael McDonough – The original trailblazer behind the green movement was recently part of the PBS Green Building “e2” series narrated by Brad Pitt.
  • Plus many other experts in design and construction who lend their views on kitchen design.
  • And what say you? Do you agree or disagree? What is your opinion?
For local inspiration visit an NKBA Kitchen Tour.
  • A Kitchen Tour sponsored by the National Kitchen and Bath Association is your up close and personal opportunity to see the latest trends and innovations.
  • The Central Coast and Valleys chapter will be hosting their third annual Tour of Kitchens on Sunday, October 19th in honor of National Kitchen and Bath month. The self-guided journey takes visitors through 9 recently-remodeled homes in Ventura County that epitomize the state of the art of kitchen design. This fundraising event benefits HomeAid of Los Angeles and Ventura, a charity that builds homes for the temporarily homeless. To buy tickets on line go to www.nkbaccv.org/hometour/tickets.html