Posts in Remodel Project
San Diego Magazine Feature

Shelley Metcalf's Photo of our Home and Vineyard Last fall at harvest time, our gifted architect, Bill Bocken  brought his partner, Paul Adams, a talented San Diego landscape designer, and his amazing photographer, Shelley Metcalf to photograph our home for the first time since the completion of our home remodel.

San Diego Magazine took notice and features Metcalf's photos, article written by Kimberly Cunningham in their January 2014 San Diego Magazine feature "Design: Living" article Accidental Winemakers.

This article features many indoor and outdoor photos depicting our home, property, and lifestyle. Cunningham cleverly added the feature "Get The Look" for resources and details that brought our design and style together.

Shelley Metcalf in Action

I wrote extensively on our remodel progress as it was literally unfolding in a quick ten months. For more reading on our remodel, please go to Remodel Project.

What a great way to start 2014!

Welcome Home!

Morning Sun On Front Of Our Home It was about this time last fall, give or take a month or two when my husband, John, and I embarked on our remodel project. Fast forward one year, a zillion decisions, a few surprises, ample changes, some upgrades, and our home remodel project is finished. I should say the construction is finished. There is still window treatments, landscaping, and more fun projects.

If you  recall, we remodeled our 1930's Spanish style 1,600 square foot home pushing out in two directions gingerly hugging around our mammoth Italian Stone Pine tree. We added approximately 1,000 square feet to our original home, with "night and day" improvement in livability, function, beauty, and views to our garden and horizon. Additionally, we built a new construction 20' x 40' two story barn. A simple gravel courtyard connects our home and barn. As seen in the above photo, we have a guest auto court and pedestrian gate to enter our courtyard.

John and I kept our basic Spanish-style home, upgrading materials and transitioning from a brown tile roof and beige stucco home,  to a traditional red tile roof, white stucco beauty. I was looking for a warm brown for an accent color for barn doors, barn shutters, and front gate and ironically stumbled across the color, "Wild Raisin" with a bit of wine color and life to it. Wild Raisin could easily become a name for one of our future wines out of our Domaine de Manion syrah vineyard.

Inside our home, the color theme is white "Cielo Blanco" walls with warm gray trim, accented by flat black lighting, railings, and door handles. Our floors are either hard wood or concrete terra cotta tile.

New Kitchen Location and Look

John and I appreciate immensely, all of the people and their talents who worked on our home remodel project. It was a real team effort, and a coming together of many, many people. We especially want to thank our architect Bill Bocken, William Bocken, Architecture Interior Design, (tel) (619) 260-1162 for his vision, and ability to be "right on" all the time when it comes to design, style, function, and color. We would be remiss if we didn't mention our savvy and energetic contractor, Robert McCarron, Robert McCarron Construction, (tel) (619) 726-6517, who orchestrated this entire project.

Our Grand Room From The Kitchen

Other Key Components: Jim Gibson, Gibson and Gibson Antique Lighting. Custom Lighting. Vintage Timberworks, Vintage Timberworks. Recycled Wood & Flooring. Gary Henschel, Fixtures For Living. Appliances & Plumbing. Vintage Tub & Bath, Vintage Tub & Bath. Sinks. Ay's Designs in Iron, Ay's Designs In Iron. Custom Railing.

Please share if you have recently been through a home remodel. Please comment on your home remodel experience.

Bird's Nest Omen

Bird's Nest Omen Quite by chance, on a general "clean up mission" in my front yard, one of the last strongholds of our remodel process, I happened upon an abandoned, cleverly engineered bird's nest. I intuitively knew this nest had served its purpose well. I sensed right away the symbolism it represented. It was an immediate "deja vu" and an incredibly great omen, as we finish up our home remodel and make plans to move in.

Ten years ago, just weeks away from moving into our present home (we are currently remodeling), I was jogging in our quaint village, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and found this rather large intricate bird's nest near the road. Strong winds must have sent it sailing from its anchored spot in near by eucalyptus trees. My husband John, and I were soon moving into our new home, but 1930's vintage.

This property had been neglected and needed a lot of tender loving care. We knew this property was special, but could we really transform it. I took that new-found bird nest home and placed it in a nurturing spot above our fireplace hearth. I still have it, and cherish it to this day.

Fast forward ten years, and I'm no longer jogging,  but enjoying swimming, walking, and sweep rowing instead.  My husband and I created  soothing gardens, a potager, an orchard, and backyard vineyard. It was time to turn our attention to our home, hence, our ensuing remodel this past year. In actuality, it has been many years in the planning and decision-making to make this dream come true. Now, we are closing in on the last week of our ten-month remodel. Once again, I find an incredible bird's nest, "out of the blue." It is a great omen, for our remodel, and our lives moving forward.

This beautiful bird's nest is an engineering feat. It has twigs, leaves, cotton-like puffs, and even snail shells, woven meticulously together with tender loving maternal care. It is strong, yet delicate. It speaks to me as a symbol of many things. The birds and wildlife are so much a part of our life here. This beautiful bird's nest  is a "welcome home" message, a new chapter in our lives, and symbolic meaning of "home is where the heart is."  I couldn't have asked for a better gift at this time, than this beautiful bird's nest omen.

Please share if you have had an experience like an omen that is so grand, it thumps you on the head. Please comment on the bird's nests you have found.

Turning The Corner...

Displaying  Stucco Color Samples If you have ever been through a home remodel, you may well know the pace picks up in a "fast and furious" way as the remodel end is in sight. Important decisions come faster. The layers of remodel continue to build on top of one another in a logical and methodical way. In the above photo, my husband John, and I, are "turning the corner" on our remodel, selecting our stucco color for our home, barn, and courtyard. We know we are on the home stretch towards completion and move-in day.

We eventually choose the bottom sample stucco color (after much "hemming and hawing") and are very happy with it. Now the tile roof can be laid. Our long ipe outside deck can begin. Our courtyard and sides can be graded. The list goes on.

Like an orchestra, whose pieces or ensemble sections make a whole. The conductor is our contractor, Robert McCarron. He keeps the time and rhythm of his different subcontractors in sync, and in seemingly effortlessly direction towards the grand finale. We have onsite paint contractors, stone contractors, concrete contractors, garage door contractors, tile contractors, plumbing contractor, and more. On a recent morning I counted fifteen cars and trucks parked on our easement and with permission, spilling over to my neighbor's drive way.

Our hands-on architect, Bill Bocken, William Bocken Architecture Interior Design, is never too far away from this gregarious ensemble, too. He has made sure we are in perfect pitch throughout this whole process. As homeowners we are there everyday involved with decisions, information, and our added two cents.

After eight months of this incredible transformation process, we are turning the corner, and coming down the home stretch of our remodel. Please comment on your own remodel experience.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

My good friend, Julie Mautner, from "The Provence Post" has written recently about Provence at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, Provence Prevails at Chelsea. It's fabulous.

Sun Sets On "Le Vin de Garage"

Sun Sets On "Le Vin de Garage" Sometimes the hardest part of a home remodel, is letting go of the old. Soon, it will be out with the old, and in with the new. It really is not that cut and dry. We have carefully thought this through, and tipped the scale in favor of our new barn.

In the above photo, is our revered garage named  "Le Vin de Garage," where until recently we made and stored our Domaine de Manion vintages. My husband, John, cleverly tweaked a photo of our "Le Vin de Garage" for our first label. It placed "Fourth Place" in "wine label category" at the San Diego County Fair a few years ago.

John got the "garage idea," one night, when we were watching the movie, A Good Year (Full-Screen Edition), based in Provence, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Russell Crowe in one of his only comedy roles. Based on the book, A Good Year, one of the many books written by Peter Mayle, the endearing plot revolves around a tasty mysterious boutique cult wine. These tasty cult wines called "garage wines" as mentioned in the movie, were from small vineyards, small productions, and often commanding super premium prices.

Our home was originally built in 1930, and we believe this stand alone garage was built a little later in the 1960's. It has to be close to 50 years old. A previous unknown owner took the time to enhance its character, with whales, waves, and crossed oars. If only our "Le Vin de Garage" could tell us some of its colorful stories of the past.

Alas, our garage has served us well over the last ten years, and it is sad to see it go. It does have termite damage from past neglect. When we have a heavy rain it does leak a bit. Now with our remodel plans, it is not in the best location.

Actually our "Le Vin de Garage," is not totally going away. We've decided to re-purpose its best materials in the form of a shed, close to our vineyard. In a way, it will live on, and continue to help us with our vineyard maintenance and vintages.

Our new barn is nearly finished. It has our new wine-making room on its ground floor, with a work counter for testing the wines, storage area for our equipment, and a harvest table. We really have come a long way, from the day we got the idea to plant a vineyard.

Please share if you make home-made wine? Please share how you got started making wine. Please comment on what kind of area or space you devote to making wine.

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Our Great Room Takes Shape

A Great Room Takes Shape It might look like a cathedral but in reality, it is our new dining room and living room, seen from our new elevated kitchen vantage point. One of our goals in our remodel, was to integrate more of our home with our garden. Essentially we pushed out our old living room to the south, doubling the size. This great room is close to ground level, yet surprisingly has enough elevation to easily see into our  garden, vineyard, and the ocean horizon.

The single wood door on the left hand side, in the above photo is our front door. There are massive French doors on either side of this room for light and views. A stucco fireplace at the very end of the room serves as a focal point, and an exclamation point. The area near the fireplace will be our new living room.

On the west side of this great room will be a long low outside deck running the entire length of the room. Our house was designed to hug our massive and beautiful Italian Stone Pine tree, embracing its beauty. From our intended dining room spot in the foreground, we will be able to dine looking westward to the vineyard, and enjoy the gnarly impressive trunk of this great tree that oversees our property.

Our ceiling is custom tongue and groove crafted lumber, with massive support beams. It is stained a warm gray color, called Drift Gray by Behr. The floor will be  an 8' x 8' Spanish tile, made out of durable concrete by Arto Brick, Artillo style, in Spanish Coto. It is a lovely blend of warm honey terra cotta and slightly darker hues.

We are about half-way through our remodel now, five months into it. Our home and barn is in place, and the last five months will be the finish work. Our decisions we need to make now come fast and furious.

Our syrah vineyard is pruned, weeded, and chartreuse buds are bursting with new shoots. I feel like it is a race to harvest. Will our home be done in time. I think so.

Please share your remodel experience.  Did it happen within your anticipated time frame? As it emerged in reality, was it your same vision as on paper?

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Heart of the Home

Emerging New Kitchen What once was basically unusable space in our home is emerging as "the heart of our home" and our new kitchen, thanks to our remodel. Custom-made shaker style cabinets in a warm, livable gray color echo the simple and rustic kitchen. A 30" white farmhouse sink, made by Whitehaus, waits to be installed. We are planning on white counters, and white top for the kitchen island, material to be determined.

I found our farmhouse sink and faucet at Vintage Tub and Bath. Vintage Tub and Bath is a mail order company back east, with a wonderful selection of new, but vintage-looking pieces for your kitchen and bath. Prices are reasonable, and there are no sales tax or shipping charges.

Our kitchen has two wall sides and two open sides. The north side, you can see in the above photo, is cabinets and kitchen sink.The east and adjoining side will be the appliance wall where our refrigerator, ovens, microwave, and pantry will be located. A large kitchen island 5' x 8', will be strategically situated across from our farmhouse sink, and where our cook top will be situated.

Our two opens sides of our kitchen face south and west. Our kitchen is on an elevated level above, by a height of 5 steps, and overlooks a huge great room facing south. This is where our dining and living room will be situated. Looking west from the kitchen, will be an adjoining cozy breakfast nook, and views of our garden and vineyard beyond.

For those that are in the throes of remodeling now, too, a great website to have at your fingertips is Remodelista. It is full of inspiring ideas, incredible resources, and overall "over the top" tips to get your through your remodel.

Please share if you are remodeling your home or kitchen now. Please share what prompted you to remodel.

Modern Day Barn Raising

Our Barn Emerging My husband, John, wanted two things out of our remodel, a garage and a wine-making room. Just kidding. Part of our remodel involves a stand alone barn which will house a two-car garage, wine-making room, and a guest apartment upstairs. Our architect, Bill Bocken, was very clever to cloak all of this into a barn. Our trees and landscaping soften the barn, and immediately give the barn a presence as if it has been on our property for a long time.

The two large openings you see in the above photo will be actual sliding barn doors, which will look west to our garden, vineyard, and the ocean horizon. Our barn will be multi-use and functional for a variety of activities. It will be a working barn.

On a recent trip back to the Chicago area, traveling south and west into the farm heartland, I was captured by the beauty of the many working family farms and open land of rich earth. Trees were carefully planted around the family home and center of the farm for protection. You could often see the original barn of the farm homestead abandoned for safety reasons, but sometimes still standing and making an aesthetic impression on the landscape.

There is a great green movement to recycle precious floors, beams, and materials from these abandoned barns and buildings, rather than have them lost to landfill and further decay. Theses materials can live on, be re-purposed and enjoyed for anther 100 years.

Some barns, like this white barn in the photo below, still function and thrive today. This former dairy barn is part of an 1830's farmstead in Woodstock, Illinois, majestically morphed into an ideal setting for a garden antique business, Kimball & Bean.

Old Dairy Barn Reincarnated Into A Garden Antique Business

It is nearly impossible to photograph with true justice this incredible barn. I wasn't able to capture and show you the massive length of this barn, or that it is two stories high. Hopefully, I was able to show you its charm and enduring presence.

If you are ever near the community of Woodstock, Illinois, take the time to visit their picturesque town square and Kimball & Bean Garden Antiques, a few miles outside of town. My husband and I hope to recreate some of the charm and enduring presence with our own barn, that we saw in the barns in the Midwest farm heartland.

Did you visit or have a barn growing up? Please share, if you know of a barn now that has been saved and reinvented for something wonderful? Please comment on why you think barns are so wonderful.