What is the Point?

October 28, 2012

From Janelle:

When I get home from work and I’m tired, the last thing I want to do is go over every detail that Lewis discussed with the contractor, electricians, plumber and A/V guys.  Not that I have a problem doing this but when we landscaped our front and back patio last year, we spent hours going over every detail, drawing out specs and measurements and spacing, he would meet with the contractor and various subs and then when I got home, I’d look around in exasperation and say, “That’s not what we talked about!” 

From Lewis:

 HAHAHAHA. Get over that project. Really!!! It looks pretty good. There were no real specs just a picture of the inspiration. When you ask how was my day, that was my day.  I’ve been hanging around during the day so that when a question comes up we can figure it out, come up with a solution and move on. And I know you want every detail and to make sure you have your input also but as with any well written plan there will always be something unexpected.  For anyone that knows Janelle she is very busy and does not have much down time.  But she is definitely not a morning person. And anyone who has seen that morning monster can provide you with advice as to not discuss anything before 10am.

From Janelle:

He is again missing the point.  It is true that I am not a morning person but Lewis has a knack of casually bringing up a topic in the morning that should involve an in-depth conversation about a major event that is happening that day but never said a word about the night before as I’m rushing to get out the door to work.  The point of this post is not that but the fact that we can discuss how we each think that a component will look, be completely convinced that we are on the same page and yet the results are often not even from the same book!

Ever look at your spouse/partner and wonder, “What language are you speaking?”


Let There Be Light

October 21, 2012

From Janelle:

It has come time to choose lighting.  I’ve been looking and looking and looking and looking for years.  There are so many fabulous pieces available, how can I possibly select only a few?   I’ve always wanted to go to the Blue Whale.  For the last five years I’ve been dying to visit the Kenro Lighting showroom at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood, revel in the high density heat from the gleaming modern fixtures and be dazzled but I could never justify taking an afternoon off work to do so.   I managed to squeeze a few hours away from the office, excited to hit the show room only to discover that it had CLOSED “due to the economy”.   What a disappointment!

Copper lamps

I bought a vintage 60’s light at retro store Swank in Palm Springs last year and Lewis almost had a coronary when I made the purchase but I had to have it.  Ok, the boutique owner had it in her house for years in the mid-west and she probably picked it up for a pittance at a garage sale and I paid retail price but what did it matter, I loved it!  She found it, she had it and she even gave me a discount so that Lewis didn’t pass out cold onto the shop floor.

Topan Pendant Light

From Lewis:

SOME DISCOUNT!! There is a retail price and then there is a retail price on stuff that has been picked up at estate auctions, garage sales, etc.  They are obviously “one of kind pieces” because “they just don’t make them anymore” so that the store owner with a shop catering to a shopping cliental of decorators and funky art collectors can mark them up 500%. This light brand new in the mid-to-late 60’s was around $20, probably sold at a garage sale in the 80’s for $25, thrown in the trash and picked up by some lady that put it up for sale for $300. WTF.  No more shopping trips to Palm Springs.  I can still find that stuff as well as shag carpet, velvet Jesus, Elvis and MLK pictures at work in South Central.

My Fabulous Retro Light

My Fabulous Retro Light

Chèvre Salad!

October 15, 2012

From Janelle:

I never thought I’d say it but I’m officially tired of eating out.  And God forbid, I’m even tired of pizza but I’m sure I’ll get over that in a week.  It’s been three months without a kitchen with no end in sight.

We’re getting fat from all the high carb dinners so the plan was to pick up a take-out salad tonight and

Salade de Chèvre Chaud

Salade de Chèvre Chaud

share it.  Approaching the front door a familiar aroma stopped me in my tracks.  It couldn’t be so.  Chèvre Salad????  When in France a few years ago we fell in love with Salade de Chèvre Chaud or Goat Cheese Salad.  Ordered at every opportunity each bite was heavenly.

Lewis’ take on it has morphed over the years to a simple but fabulous dish.  Sautéed shallots draped over homemade Dijon mustard dressed salad and beautifully browned goat cheese floating atop thick slices of French baguette.  Oh my!



The shallots tonight were “toaster ovened” rather than sautéed so they were a little bitter rather than sweetly caramelized but the salad was pure delight.  Accompanied by a bottle of Mannina Cellars 2011 Maddily Rosé (from Walla Walla, WA) dining on our outside deck viewing the last twinges of a late summer sunset, life is pretty damn good.

Salade de Chèvre Chaud (Goat Cheese Salad):

6 shallots

6 oz chèvre (goat cheese) in “log” form

French baguette

Olive oil for dipping and shallot saute

Lettuce (we prefer a spring mix with arugula)

Thinly slice and caramelize shallots in olive oil.  While shallots are caramelizing, prepare the dressing and the “crostini” (Italian for “little toasts”).

Broiling Crostini

Broiling Crostini


2 T Dijon mustard

2 T white vinegar (3 for more acid)

2 T honey

1 cup good quality olive oil

Mix mustard, vinegar and honey with a small whisk or fork.  While continuing to whisk mixture slowly add in olive oil.  Whisk vigorously until oil is fully combined with other ingredients.

Slice French baguette ½ inch thick and drizzle olive oil on both sides. Cut chèvre into ¼” thick slices.  Place chèvre wedges on baguette pieces and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is just starting to brown.

Toss lettuce with dressing.  Mound salad in the center of each plate and place crostini around the parameter of the plates.  Caramelized shallots can be either mixed in with the salad (as Lewis likes) or piled on top of crostini (as I prefer).

Enjoy!  Oh, and don’t breathe on anyone too closely the next day.

From Lewis:I’m tired of eating a lot of crap also and I kind of miss cooking.  Janelle has been stressed at work and I figured she needed a house favorite.  At least I get to eat “home cooked” well balanced food at work.

From Janelle:

I’m not sure I’d call what firemen eat “well balanced” but it is home cooked!

Dramatic Entry

October 7, 2012

From Janelle:

It sounded so simple.  Look at doors.  Order a door.  Install the door.  Who knew this would involve a trek to Las Vegas, a three month wait and flames? 

I’d been thinking about a stainless steel entry but designer Cynthia Pastor found a door online and Lewis and I traveled to Vegas for a personal viewing. We loved it, modern and metal but not stark and cold.  It finally arrived via man with a trailer and we anxiously unwrapped the crate to reveal an expanse of burnished bronzed metal accented with contemporary rectangular cut outs.

Adding door tabs

Adding door tabs

The frame was made with metal tabs on one side but not the other which would have required bolts to be screwed into the edges that would show when the door was open.  Our meticulous contractor summoned a metalworker and welding torches blazed to meld tabs to the casing where they were needed.

Either the door or the doorway wasn’t perfectly square and for three days grown men pushed, pulled, and stretched until the 9’ tall by 4’ wide door was installed.  The contractor had warned us about custom doors but who knew (ok, he did) that it would be such a production?

Visitors are confused when they arrive at an entry sans glass or a handle.  The panes will most likely be in this week but the handle will take another six weeks to arrive and the magician metal worker will return to work his magic to install it.  So much for simple! 

From Lewis:

Special applications required. In a perfect world measure twice, cut once but in our case we measured fourteen times and tweaked at least twice.  The door fit perfectly except that it did not close.  The manufacturer instructions said to drill and screw into the framing from the inside jam.  Don said that’s stupid!! Why would you want screws to show on a nice door so we altered it to make it right for us which meant we had to set jack screws to widen the frame ¼ inch and screw it in so that it tensioned the frame.  A call to the manufacturer confirmed that was a common fix and it WORKED!!  Next the roller catches did not fit the pre drilled and machined holes, WTF!!!! and they did not adjust far enough to fit.  Again a call to the manufacturer revealed that “Sometimes installers have to drill deeper to make the rollers fit”.  So of course we did after double checking the CAD drawings.  Next the lock comes with screws that fit a STANDARD DOOR. The search is on to find the right ones. For now a temporary fit with screws that aren’t perfect.   We will see what the handles bring us and of course they will be one of a kind.  Janelle, stop watching those design shows!!!

Are We Radiant?

October 5, 2012

From Janelle:

Does anyone know anything about radiant heated floors?  Warm toes on a cool winter morning sound amazingly enticing but does the comfort value outweigh the expense?  We have also heard horror stories about busted pipes ruining hard wood floors.  Is it worth it?  If you have a story to tell, please shout it out!

From Lewis:

I am a radiant heater so no need to spend extra money on something that will not really save anything in energy bills in the long run, especially since we are over budget anyway.


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