The Glade a la Carte: Conservatory

I met with our architect who showed me two different sets of plans for the renovation to The Glade. I liked both of them.  The best part is I don’t have to choose one or the other, I can mix and match, one from column A two from column B, an a la carte menu.

Currently the first floor at The Glade looks like this.

Living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room on the first floor

To the right of the dining room we’re adding a large room that the architect and I call the conservatory.  It looks out over the back and side yards of The Glade.

East Side Yard in Spring

This room may some day become a bedroom as we age and are unable to climb the stairs easily.  The new construction on the first floor will all be at the same level. With that in mind we’ve also decided that a full bathroom and built-in closet will be useful.

Plan A – 1st Floor – Compact Version

In this case we’ve decided Plan “A” is a bit too restrictive so w’re going with Plan “B”.

Plan B – 1st Floor – The Generous Version

But even in this larger version the bathroom seems small for regular usage if the conservatory is used as a bedroom. So we’ve decided it could encroach into the conservatory.

Larger bathroom will allow for a different layout perhaps.

Now that I’ve drawn a larger bathroom, we’ll discuss a better layout with the architect.  Perhaps now the toilet can exchange places with a more generous shower and be tucked into the corner.

Dream Conservatory
Dream Conservatory

The conservatory in the photo above (with an uncovered porch over it) is very much the visual concept that we have.  Ours will be much smaller with windows all around but doors on only one side.  The conservatory at the Glade will also have large windows and French doors but those details I’ll wait to reveal.

With this new wing of the house we’re planning for the future.  We’re acknowledging that we’re growing older.

What are your plans?  Have you found the place that will content you the rest of your life?


The Mystery of the Hinges of Notre Dame

The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris has many unique and exquisite attributes.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

 Even before entering the great stone edifice the doors grab attention.  Not the doors so much as the hinges.

The large wooden doors of Notre Dame swing on fabulous hinges.

  They are made from wrought iron by Biscornette who was a very mysterious worker. Legend has it no one ever saw him constructing the hinges. Reports went round that he had sold his soul to the devil to get him to help. The design is supposed to represent the Earthly Paradise.

Beautiful arabesque branches are the hinges of Notre Dame

  An iron master named Gaegart broke off fragments of the iron to try and figure out how Notre Dame’s hinges were created. Some experts think that they are cast, and then treated with a file; others say they must have been created solely by casting, with no soldering. In any case, the secret will never be divulged, it died with Biscornette.

Do you have a secret method for doing something?

Soup Catastrophe

As you know my soup for our Soup Swap at the end of the month has been frozen for a week.

Six 1-quart containers filled with frozen soup.

Upon arrival at home one night this past week I was greeted with the unfortunate knowledge that 2 of the containers had slid out of the freezer and cracked.

The lid broke and the container cracked when it fell from the freezer to the floor.

 I was horrified but soon recovered enough to place the broken containers in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. 

I flipped the container and gingerly slid the still frozen soup into a bowl.

 The contents thawed slightly around the edges so the soup could be removed from the broken container.

Frozen block of soup ready to be inserted into new container.

I put the container over the soup in the bowl.

Place the new container on the block of soup.

 Then I flipped the container upright, snugged in the soup and tightened the lid.

Manually (with impeccably clean hands) help the soup settle in its new container.

 All’s well with 6 quarts back in the freezer and an admonition to every freezer opener to “BE CAREFUL!”

Protect the soup for one more week, Troops!

 I may have to change the name of my soup from ” Healthy Winter Warm-up” to “Salvaged Soup”. How totally unappealing does that sound?

Have you made any quick saves lately?

Soup Swap Menu

I’m sitting here scratching my head what to serve for the Soup Swap.  OK, NO I’m not! Soup, of course. (I already made and froze my soup for swapping.) 

Six 1-quart containers filled with frozen soup.

 It’s January. We need something warm and cozy to eat.  I’m making my go-to cold-weather soups: 

  1. beef stew
  2. chicken noodle
  3. corn chowder. 

Served with homemade croutons:

  • Cut baguettes into large (1 inch square) dice. (The bread should NOT be fresh.)
  • Saute in butter and olive oil with garlic and rosemary.
  • Could this be any easier?

Both the corn chowder and the chicken noodle soup use chicken stock as the base so in the next week I’ll be roasting more chicken and making more stock.

For the beef stew I use V-8 Juice as the liquid to give the meat and vegetables a rich but smooth broth.

Our compact kitchen

 I’m laying out a plan of atack for making the soups in the next 2 weeks because 1.) I have a tiny kitchen, 2.) soup tastes better if it has a day or two to meld its flavors and 3.) I don’t want to have much cooking to do on the day of the event.

 It’s funny how some seemingly simple things consume us.  What’s consuming you these days? Or what are you consuming?

The Glade a la Carte: Living Room

I met with our architect who showed me two different sets of plans for the renovation to The Glade. I liked both of them.  The best part is I don’t have to choose one or the other, I can mix and match, one from column A two from column B, an a la carte menu.

Currently the first floor at The Glade looks like this. With the remodel not much is happening to the living room sizewise.

Living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room on the first floor

 But, if you’ll notice in the plan above, the front door opens into the living room space and thoroughly botches the furniture placement.  Even from the outside the entry is not well-positioned.

Street view of The Glade

 In Renovation Plan “A” below the front door remains as it is now with upgraded columns.

Plan A - 1st Floor - Compact Version

 However, Plan “B” shows the front door moved to the center of the house and exchanged with the window that’s there now.

Plan B - 1st Floor - The Generous Version

 With the doorway moved  and the window at the back of the living room infilled (no more window–just wall) we would be able to place furniture on three sides without allowing for the door to swing open.  I’m not sure the new door will swing as it shows on the plan because it wouldn’t be able to open all the way.  That detail we can decide later.

Looking into the living room from the dining room notice the current front door placement.

You may also have noticed that Plan “A” has a covered porch off the side entrance of the house (which we like) and Plan “B” has a wrap-around covered porch which goes around three sides of the house without the additions.  We’ve decided NOT to have the wrap-around porch because: 1.) we never sit out front since the backyard is fabulous,  2.) it’s too close to the street and 3.) a wrap-around porch makes the interior rooms dark.

So Concept “A” with the front door remaining where it is currently.

We like the side porch on the left in Concept "A".

 While I’m not really ready to expose the outside look of The Glade remodeled, I’m giving a little teaser here of what the front might look like with the door moved.

In Concept "B" the porch remains on the left and the front door is centered.

Just look at the difference in the two entrance options.  Is there really any choice?!!? 

Bottom line in the living room: 

  • Close in the window at the back of the house.
  • Move the door to the center of the front facade.
  • Move center window to replace door.
  • No wrap-around porch!

We’re making decisions around here.  How are we doing so far?

Would you choose a front porch or a back terrace? Or both?

Mistress of the Master Bath

Now that we have an actual idea of how the master bathroom will be arranged in relation to the bedroom I can begin to think about how it will look. Although the plan below says 11 ft by 7.5 ft, we have added about 3 feet which makes it approximately 14 ft by 7.5 ft.
General size of the new bathroom but not necessarily the layout.

 In this bathroom I would like:

    • a place to sit to do my hair and make-up
    • a glass-enclosed shower (no tub)
    • a permanent seat or bench in the shower
    • a single sink in a cabinet (not a pedestal)
    • tall gooseneck spigots
    • lots of storage including linens.
In the photo above I love the seated vanity area and the tall, stylish storage on the right-hand side that provides both cabinets and shelves.
 Maybe more practical is the seated make-up area placed seamlessly right next to the sink: lots of mirror, lots of counter, near water.
Marble and glass shower, marble floor and wainscoat - love it!
Did I mention I’d love a marble basketweave floor.

Source: via Jo on Pinterest

I hope it’s going to be nice and bright.
Tammys Pics traditional bathroom
The shower need not be totally glass but I’m tired of the shower curtain and I’ve never been in love with sliding doors on a shower so the more glass the better.  Some might be frosted and some clear.  I’m leaning toward clear at this moment.

I like the built-in bench in the shower above and the hinged glass door.

There’s a nice bench in the shower above and plenty of glass even though the bottom of the shower is framed and solid. This may be more practical.

I’ll talk about fixtures in a future post but we  did discover in France that tall, gooseneck spigots are very convenient.

What’s on your bathroom wish list?

The Contractor Questionnaire

We’re hiring a contractor to build multiple additions onto The Glade.  This is the most money we’ve ever spent on an unseen entity. We’re entirely out of our league in this part of the endeavour so we’re relying on the following questionnaire from our architect to guide us through the process.

We’ve made a copy of the questionnaire for each person we’re interviewing.

 The Contractor Questionnaire

Name/Company:                                         Date:


1. How long have they been in business and/or doing similar projects?


2. Are they licensed and insured?


3. How many projects have you completed in the last five years that are similar in size and cost?


4. Who are their references?






5. How many workers will typically be on the jobsite every day and who will be the contact person/job foreman?


6. Who will they use as subcontractors on the project and how long/often have they worked with them?


a. Electrical:

b. Mechanical:

c. Plumbing:


7. Are these subcontractors licensed?


8. What contract forms and payment schedule do they use?


9. How many crews do they have and how many projects will they be working on at the same time?


10. What warrantee do they provide and what does that cover?

 We’re excited to get started but also trepid. (I was going to use the word “trepidacious” but discovered it’s not actually a word!).  We’d hate to make a really wrong step.

We’re novices at this.  Have you got any suggestions that will help us?  Can you suggest what some of the answers should be?