Inquiries

10 Lessons Learned From Building a Kitchen

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Melanie from Washington recently wrote this to me:

“Hey Kate, I read that when you remodeled your house a few years ago, that you designed and built your kitchen.  We’re in the beginning stages of gutting our very dated kitchen and we’re starting over from scratch!  We’re so excited!!  My question for you is, were there any pitfalls you ran into?  Anything you learned along the way you’d be willing to share?  What should we know about building a kitchen starting from four bare walls?  Help!”

Great question Melanie!  Me and my Mister built our kitchen over five years ago, so to answer Melanie’s question, I had to dig through the archives and pull out all my files to refresh my recollection of the process of building our kitchen from scratch.  It resulted in a mild rash and minor heart palpitations, but I’ve since recovered.

No, I’m kidding.  I absolutely love kitchen design, and loved the entire process of choosing all the details of the one in our own home.  I’m one of those people that if I overheard at the grocery store you were building a new kitchen, I’d butt my ponytail right into the conversation and want to chat all about appliances, countertops and the exact style of door front you’re choosing for your cabinets.  “Really?  Oh, fabulous!”

Building a kitchen from scratch is an enormous task.  Unlike throwing the latest most popular shade of paint on your walls, a kitchen must be a space that can stand the test of time.  My kitchen suits the style of my home, and also my own personal tastes as well.  While there are a few things I wish I’d done differently, for the most part, I really love the floor plan and finishes we continue to live with every day.

Ten Lessons Learned from Building Our Kitchen

cg kates kitchen

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Better Brighter Blog Photos

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Greetings!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  We had a great party despite the huge storm that is pounding California, and a splendid time was had by all.  Today I thought I’d address a question I keep getting via email and in comments:  “How do I take better, brighter photos for my blog?”  I do not consider myself an expert in photography by any means so I wonder sometimes why that question is even directed at me.  However, I have taught myself a few tricks for achieving higher quality images in the past year, and every now and then I take a pretty good shot.

The most important thing I have learned to make for a better brighter photo has everything to do with light.  And a good camera.  When taking photographs, either for your personal use or for your blog, good natural light and a kick booty camera are your two very best friends. 

Most photographs taken outside on a sunny day with a point-and-shoot turn out pretty well, all because of the natural light present.  Yet with interior shots, it’s tough to be as blessed with natural light unless you’re shooting a room with walls of windows on a sunny day.   When shooting pictures indoors in less than ideal conditions, here are a five tips I shoot by.   

My Five Tips for Better Brighter Blog Photos

1) Use a Good Camera

I think it’s essential to invest in a good SLR digital camera with variable settings (F-stop, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, white balance, etc.) if you want to have high quality interior photos.  I know there are a lot of comparatively inexpensive point and shoot digital cameras out there, and they are perfectly fine for so many everyday uses, but for high quality blog photography, invest in a good camera.  I use my Nikon D60 that allows for changeable lenses, and I use two kinds of lenses that I mention in my FAQ page

2)  Know Your Manual 

When my hub bought me my Nikon D60 three years ago, I always used the auto setting just because it was so darn easy and I was, at first, intimidated by the manual settings.  80% of the time, the ‘Auto’ setting worked fine and produced adequate images. 

However, the ability to manipulate your camera’s light settings makes all the difference in the world in less than perfect light conditions, and when shooting interiors or detail shots.  Here is just one half of one page in my Nikon’s manual but look how much information can be gathered from this quick camera tour.   

nikon image settings

 

Read the rest of this entry »