Friday, January 29, 2016

Kitchen Reno 2016: New Island Taking Shape

No man is an island... but the coming new kitchen layout will re-think what was previously an awkwardly angled sink & counter, along with sparkling new white quartz countertops (with some mighty festive) turquoise accents (so long grouted tile!).

Three pendant lights replace the whacko giant cabinet that previously hung over the counter (which I have saved, BTW, with the intention of repurposing into some sort of mid-century modern bureau).
Best of all, the crazy fab 1962 commercial-grade sink will be lovingly built back into the new island.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kitchen Renovation 2016: The Game Changer!

The Game Changer! The lake view can now be seen from the kitchen, thanks to a 92x39" window sliced into the dining room wall. The view & light pervading the kitchen are all the more gratifying (stand by). This is the most dramatic evolution within the grand plan. WHEEEE!

A quartz countertop will allow seating on the dining room side of the window, with stools...
And the view from the kitchen looking out in the living room... This just makes me grin...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Kitchen Renovation 2016: Demo Day 2!

And then the ceiling was on the floor!
As I've learned about this house, nothing changes without a fight. Underneath the layers of plaster was industrial grade steel mesh with about 500 nails along the rafters. My contractor did not appear overly amused!
So long, popcorn. I'm afraid you will not be missed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kitchen Renovation 2016: Day 1 Demo! Part Deux

Let the mighty axe fall! Whoo hoo!

 And the end result... day to day, cool cats...

Kitchen Renovation: Day 1 DEMO!

As they say, what a difference a day makes. huh?

Kitchen Renovation 2016: Pink Dumpster... Seriously

Yeah I've got a giant PINK DUMPSTER in my front yard. You got something to say about it? : )

Kitchen Renovation 2016: Let the Good Clean Fun Begin!

Ah, yes, home rennnnnnnovations... an activity I have endured with endearment how many times now? I bought my diamond in the rough Brooklyn Heights apartment in 2000, knowing it would ultimately require a complete renovation... It took 13 years, room by room (by room), during which I remained in my 950sf quarters each time.

Kitchen, then second bedroom and railroad hallway, then Dear Genevieve master bedroom, bathroom and finally, living room. That wrapped NYC... Since arriving in Norfolk, VA, I've gutted a full bath and the master bath. And now... the sizable kitchen, which has grown a little shabby over the past 50+ years.

Yeah, renovations. Been there, done that, love it! And here we are again, in Norfolk VA, adding a little love to my 1962 mid-century modern home Wiseacre. Blogging lost its luster (for all of us) a couple years ago, but I'll be using the trusty Nun to post pics as this fun process continues for the next six weeks.

Let the mad fun begin!! Here we are Sunday night, stripped and ready to GO DOWN!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Norfolk VA: Happy Second Anniversary

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, COOL CATS! Two years ago on January 15, I departed the great & powerful New York City to launch a new life chapter in Norfolk, VA. The crazy cool Frank Lloyd
Wright-inspired home that beckoned me here offers joy every morning as the sun bursts into my bedroom, while I raise a glass daily to sunsets on the patio.

I’ve planted a hundred bulbs and sunflower seeds. I’ve hung a thousand lights on trees. I relish visits to Home Depot and paying less than $5 for eggs at a huge supermarket. No more quarters to do laundry! I even get to drive a car again. Yeah, being a suburban dwelller is mad fun!! Two years (and counting) of inspiration and bliss.

Adding to the aesthetic at home, I have replaced the HVAC and 18 windows & sliding doors, filled in a decrepit pool, gutted 2 full baths… and this month begin renovating my kitchen with respect for its midcentury modern imprint. I spent 13 years renovating my Brooklyn apartment: Can you tell I love a project?

And there’s more. In November 2014, I began hosting guests here via airbnb. Who knew what a joy (and a boon) that would be, with 200+ folks & families sharing in this space since, providing companionship from all over the world: British, Austrian, South African and Parisian families; brilliant Asian and Indian college students; a black bachelorette party (oh, the stories!); gorgeous weddings; southern evangelicals (true accepting Christians, the way we were raised); and so many individuals from whom I've learned so much. Here, I have perhaps absorbed more diversity—more intimately—than during 18 years in the big city.

My greatest trepidation in leaving NYC was that, as a freelance journalist, the work would cease. As if location matters in today's connected universe. I’m still writing like a madman, continuing to earn a living… but now with a lake view instead of a Brooklyn brick wall. So all’s well that end$ well.

Two years. Life has profoundly changed, for sure. The question I am most often asked: Do you miss New York? Of course I do. But by the time I departed January 15 2014, the NYC that treated me like a king had already deflated. Thankfully, I recognized when it was time to turn the page, instead of trying to hold onto or recreate an era whose time had passed.

This is where I’m supposed to say the best is yet to come, right? Oh, please. I’m 50+ and I’m hardly that naive. How’s about: Today is real good. With another sunset on the patio tomorrow, we’re looking just fine.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The 2015 Taylor Top 50... Who Is Where and Why?

Wowsah, what a year in melodic music! Not so fast… that’s actually not praise. With singsong nursery rhyme one-line choruses and gimmick-filled hip-hop pervading the airwaves, 2015 proffered tough love. Last year, I discovered a hopeful muse—Ariana Grande—whose momentous melodies accompany effortless vocals that can be recreated live. This young lady delivered my No.1 single of 2014, “Love Me Harder,” f/The Weeknd. In 2015, I rewound and discovered her previous hits, which sustained me through the current pop tundra.

In 2015, Ariana Grande again leads the Taylor Top 50 countdown with her infectious dance hit “Break Free,” f/Zedd. She joins four other acts who have scored consecutive year-end No. 1’s on the TT50 since 1981: Sheena Easton, Celine Dion, Adele and Jon Secada.

There’s more to the story: Ariana owns an unprecedented SEVEN among the top 10 slots this year. While I respect her talent, she’s not yet a member of the historic pantheon commandeered by Sheena and Celine. Rather, her standing is a testament to how few competitors Ari had in 2015… Not to whine like the ole man I am, but I found many of 2015’s radio hits reminiscent of another era’s MC Hammer or Puff Daddy. In my book, “All About That Bass” is the millennial “Macarena.”

Back to Ariana, because with 12 titles in my top 50, she is certainly more than a “default.” Listen to her walloping soprano in the joyous “One Last Time,” alongside delicate accompaniment with Andrea Bocelli in “E Più Ti Penso” and commanding heartache in ballad “Just A Little Bit of Your Heart.” There ain’t nothing this 23yo can’t do.

My 2015 Best New Artist is Tori Kelly—Grammy-nominated for the same title—whose “Nobody Love” is No. 2, because I spun it nearly every damn day all year. She also places “Should’ve Been Us” at No. 24 and “Hollow” at No. 31. Tori’s stellar lead in a “Joy of Pepsi” commercial was so fun that it lands at No. 58.

Among other female vocalists, Adele roars in at No. 3 with the ubiquitous “Hello”—after back-to-back year-end No. 1’s: “Skyfall” in 2012 and “Set Fire to the Rain” in 2011. Jessie J returns with two hits: “Flashlight” and “Masterpiece,” after sharing No. 5 in 2014 with Ariana Grande via “Bang Bang.”

Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” would have been my No. 2 for the year, given the millions of times I played it… however, it already placed at No. 7 in 2014. Swiftie grazes this year’s countdown with “Style” at No. 44, “Wildest Dreams” at No. 53 and “New Romantics” at No. 59. And how about Mariah Carey making a return at No. 10 with a cut from 1997’s “Butterfly” that I heard on SiriusXM? ”Whenever You Call” is everything we used to love about the siren when she created beautiful melodies.

Nick Jonas is the highest-charting male solo act, with “Chains” at No. 11, which succeeds his 2014 No. 10 “Jealous.” And U.K. indie act Junior Turner returns for the third consecutive year with No. 12 “Guardian Angel.” Last year, this beloved and consistent singer/songwriter prevailed with a chart-trumping five top 50 hits, including No. 2 “Save Me.”

And hey, hey, Celine Dion is back after a two-year absence with her tear-inducing live AMA’s tribute to the Paris terrorist attacks. Her reading of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne a l'Amour” embodies all that makes Celine the most successful artist in TTT history. But you already knew that.

The worst of the year? Yeah you, Fetty Wap. Remember wildly popular novelties cum implosions Iggy Azalea and Kesha? Enjoy it, dude… quickly. And I still can't understand the appeal of Nicki Minaj or Meghan Trainor. On that note, 2015 is a wrap, cool cats. Thanks for reading!