Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Potpourri


Thanksgiving was wonderful.  The best Thanksgiving I've had in...maybe ever.
No planning, no cooking, but plenty of eating and sharing time with friends.
The restaurant buffet was filled with a potpourri of diners. Some
dressed up, some dressed down; white, black; young, old.  I didn't see any pattern.
I sat wondering why so many people were eating out on Thanksgiving.  Do they
not cook?  Maybe they're all renovating their kitchens?  I wanted to do a survey
 but I feasted on seafood instead.  Lots and lots of bay scallops, shrimp,
oysters, calamari salad, crab legs and salt cod brandade.  It was all wonderful.
It ended with pumpkin pie so it still felt like Thanksgiving.


Although I avoided any Thanksgiving or Black Friday shopping, it was
fun to go out over the weekend and see all the wreaths and garlands,
holidays plants and flowers, glittered twigs and pinecones offered up for
sale at our local garden shops.  I'm starting to love pale gold poinsettias.
They're just a little bit richer looking than the white ones.

Not having to drag the Christmas decorations up from the basement
this year does feel a little funny but it's also another opportunity to do
things a little more simply.  Perhaps I'll have a beautiful wreath in the 
house instead of a tree.  It's good to try something new.


I got an e-mail from a follower in France encouraging me to give
Farrow & Ball paint a chance.  It was quite a compelling testimonial
and it convinced me to head out and buy a potpourri of sample pots to try.
I'm painting each color on a piece of mat board so I can hang them on the wall,
juxtapose this one against that one and move them around the kitchen
to see how they look in different places at different times of the day.



This year has been filled with kitty issues.  Angus needed eye
surgery over the summer, Zazu was diagnosed with diabetes just
a few weeks ago and Warum (pronounced Varoom) had major
dental issues that required removing all of his teeth yesterday.
Zazu will require insulin injections twice a day for the rest of her
life but I work the injections into a little brushing/love/injection
session and she doesn't even know what's going on.  I'm hoping
things will settle down on the pet health issue front for awhile.

  

After considering a billion different light fixtures, I decided
on the above trio.  It's the Milton Road pendant, the Boston
Single Flush Mount and the Marine flush mount, all from Circa. 
 
I've loved the Milton Road pendant for a long time but it wasn't
until I noticed the fluting on the shade was a similar pattern to the
columns in the store counter that it seemed perfect.  The Boston
lights (top right) are exactly the same (only nicer) as the old fixtures
that were in my closets and hallways when I bought the house.
Those just feel like they belong in the house. 
 
 
 
And finally, after all of the testing I did with pickling, white
washing and grain filling on samples for the kitchen floor,
I decided on....  
 
 

 
...English Chestnut stain for the floors.
 
These will match the floors in the rest of the house and provide
continuity throughout the entire downstairs which I think is really
needed for such a small living area.  Yes, it took a lot of work
to get to that decision but my samples just weren't that exciting
or unique enough to trump the benefits of consistency.
 
I just found out that my new range is backordered three weeks
so there will be no Christmas goose, no plum pudding coming from
this kitchen.  (Maybe just a little Wassail on a hot plate in red Solo cups.)
I was only mildly optimistic it would be done in time anyway.  Even
if the cabinets are done, the countertops still need to be templated
and fabricated so I'm not hugely disappointed.
 
Maybe Easter ham?   

70 comments:

  1. I've never commented on your blog before......a long time stalker!!! But I love to see the renovations and the carefully considered choices of everything you decide to use. It's fascinating for me to see what is available in the U.S. The reason I'm here is that I'm from the UK and would like to endorse Farrow and Ball Paint, it has a depth of colour and a chalky mattness that I'm sure you will love. Slipper Satin is my all time favourite neutral. Looking forward to seeing the progress on your kitchen.
    Georgie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting, Georie. I appreciate another testimonial about Farrow & Ball. The colors seem very fitting for old houses. Slipper Satin is a color I've looked at several times; it's a great color.

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    2. Ahaah I'm another "stalker"! I found your blog a year ago-or so-when looking for home-renovating sites,and was fascinated by your good taste.Your house is lovely,your pics and comments about your town interesting,and cats wonderful.All the best,Emanuela,Milan Italy

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  2. Your kitchen will definitely be ready for Easter ham!
    I'm sorry to hear about your kitties' health problems. That's no fun for them or for you. We had a neighbor who had to give their dog insulin injections daily. A commitment for sure, but when you love your pets, you'll do anything for them.
    I love your lighting selections, particularly the pendant and the Boston flush mount. What type of counter top material did you choose?
    Claudia

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    Replies
    1. I've seen how much the insulin has helped her so it's really quite a positive experience. I was just thankful it was something manageable.

      The counter will be stone of some kind but I haven't been to pick anything out yet.

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  3. Hi Steve, I love to see your updates however was so sorry to hear about your kitties ( I have a Himalayan, Miss Belle) Sending thoughts and prayers to you!
    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Karena. Hialayans are beautiful.

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  4. oh my favorite dog of all time had diabetes and we had to give him insulin shots twice a day. god i miss that dog.

    my floors are stained in english chestnut too.

    maybe christmas dinner in a restaurant? that is catching on around these parts.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't know your floors were English Chestnut. Not only is it a good color for an old house, it's just straight out a good name. It's romantic somehow.
      We're talking about going out for Christmas or I can cook at a friend's house. It's hard to cook at someone else's house for some reason but if I simplify the meal, it should be doable.

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  5. That sounds like a delicious, albeit unusual Thanksgiving. I love your lighting choices.
    I am really wishing for flooring consistency in my first floor. I think that was a smart decision.

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    1. I'm really happy with the decision to keep the floors consistent. It should really add to the feeling of space.

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  6. My idea of a great dinner! And wasn't the first Thanksgiving all about sea food? Kinda keeping with tradition.
    The things we do for our cats.I have two rescues,and they totally own me!
    Kitchen reno's take forever.I know!
    And anything out of a red solo cup is good....sometimes....

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    Replies
    1. Chris,
      You're right that the cats own us. They know exactly how to get what they want. It was interesting the night before surgery when I had to put away all the food how they tried to communicate that to me.

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  7. Much to ponder here! I do think it's good to change up holiday routines occasionally--I love the idea of trying a restaurant Thanksgiving sometime. And since your indoor holiday decorating is compromised, you can try something new outside.

    I love your lighting choices--think they will look great with the old counter, and the floor is stunning.

    I'm so sorry about your kitties, and glad they have you to care for them.

    I've never used Farrow and Ball, but I LOVE C2 paints. I have some room painted in C2 and some in Ben Moore, and the C2's are so much richer. Drive iN Paint Mart in Boston sells it and so does a store in Concord. Take a look!

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    Replies
    1. You're not the only C2 fan. I know someone else that swears by them. I didn't know that Drive-In Paint Mart was still around. I haven't been there in years.

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    2. Band together, C2 fans! I get mine from Adlers in Providence and swear by it, especially their low V gorgeous colors and you can't smell a thing. I swear by their Kind of Blue and Pink Slip for neutrals and love their Pale Granite in my office.

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  8. Poor kitties! I feel bad for Warum....not having his teeth, poor baby. Do you have pet insurance? We are thinking of getting it as Panda has cushings and Mochas has pancreatitis. No Christmas tree this year, Steve? You should get a little table top one. You're famous for your fabulous trees. BTW, come up and visit us in Maine??

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    Replies
    1. I don't have pet insurance but I'll probably look in to it now. Would that be called Bo-bama Care?

      Would love to come up and visit you in Maine sometime. That's quite a hike up there!

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  9. I'm so glad that you had a nice Thanksgiving!
    Sorry about all the kitty problems. I had a cat who was diabetic and he actually seemed to look forward to his injections! (or maybe it was the canned food I always gave him prior to it!).
    and my Rosie (the Papillon) is down to just 2 teeth but she manages very well.
    I swear that us humans stress more about them than they do themselves.
    Still, very sorry that you have to deal with their health issues but obviously you are a very good Cat-Papa!

    I really like your lighting picks!
    But I think you are a bit crazy with all those samples!
    How will you ever decide with so many to choose from! LOL!

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    Replies
    1. I also think that Zazu likes to get her injections. She comes running downstairs in the morning and jumps up on the couch and plops down to get her brushing and injection.

      I know, I hear you about the number of paint samples. But the colors I think are perfect are ones that never work out and the ones that I least expect will work that turn out to be the winners.

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  10. 1. I am so sorry to hear that your sweet furbabies are having health issues. Poor lovies.

    2. LOVE the light fixtures you selected.

    3. I tried to talk my husband into the T-day buffet at a fab nearby restaurant, especially since my picky mother-in-law would be joining us. He nearly had a stroke at the idea. I'll start my lobbying earlier next year. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Raina. The restaurant deal never would have happened if I didn't have a kitchen but it turned out to be a good experience. It's so low stress and leaves a lot more time for different and new activites/experiences.

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  11. I loved reading the comment above on the Farrow and Ball -- when I was trying to describe it I lacked the right work and Georgie said it perfectly -- chalky mattness. That's so on target, I think, having seen it but never used it. It will be in my future, however! The floors are such a great color, and I for one adore the warmth of them, especially is you are choosing grays or something on that idea. How stunning it will all be! I hope your kitty dramas are at an end, the emotional toll can be tough, I know.

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    1. Brown and gray is my favorite color combination.

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  12. Your kitchen is going to be perfection. I can't wait to see it. I hope your pet issues improve. It can be so hard.

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  13. Floors look great - good decision. So sorry to hear about your latest kitty issue. Poor thing. You're a good dad. Christmas will be here and gone before we know it so enjoy the fact you don't need to do it all up this year. Looking forward to hear about the Farrow & Ball experiments. Happy Holidays!

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    Replies
    1. Anne,
      That's exactly my plan, to enjoy Christmas...perhaps looking for new meaning in the holiday since I don't have the obligations.

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  14. So sorry to hear the cats are having health issues. I hope all are doing better now. My neighbor had a cat that had to have daily shots. They did this for a very long time. He didn't mind it. He would come find them when time. He died of old age a couple of years ago. I love the lights you picked. And it's probably best to go with a floor that matches the rest of the house. What kind of stove did you pick?

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    Replies
    1. It seems that animals can do quite well on insulin. I've seen a big change in her behavior since she went on it. Chances are it will shorten her life but we're taking it one day at a time. Right now she's happy.

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  15. So sorry about all your kitty woes. We had a diabetic cat (Malibu) that we gave insulin to twice a day for five years. He did so well on it and it became so easy once we got used to it, he didn't even know he was getting the shot half the time, plus the dose was so tiny, went super fast. Watching out for his kidneys now will be crucial...they don't like diabetes. We ended up giving fluids too the last year.
    Love your light fixture choices...so perfect.
    Happy sample painting...and all the best with your fur babies.
    xo J~

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, 24 Corners. You're right, just like us, the probably of having some other health issues as a result of the diabetes is greatly increased. It requires regular monitoring to make sure everything stays on track.

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  16. Hi Steve,
    I´m an silent reader from Germany and your cats names are gorgous...
    ...WARUM is german and it means WHY... but you don´t call it... waROOM... it´s just a short "u" like in the alcohol RUM...
    ;o)))

    Have a nice Adventszeit and enjoy your christmas.

    Nadine from Berlin/ Germany

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    Replies
    1. Nadine,
      Genau! I have a friend that speaks German and I've definitely taken some liberties with the pronunciation. It's sounds similar to VAROOM which is often attached to the sound of a speeding car in comic books. People generally don't know the word warum but but they find Varoom funny. Kids especially love it. I think my next cat will be called Unglaublich.

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    2. Steve,
      I´m not a comic reader, so I don´t know the meaning from VAROOM, but the next name for your cat "UNGLAUBLICH" is definitely the best choice...
      How about Haarig, Grenzenlos or Gewaltig?

      Nadine

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    3. Gewaltig is a great option! Walt for short.

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    4. The short version is great...
      ...hmm, maybe I´ll take this for my next cat???

      ;o)))

      My sweet, little, 12kg Maine Coon Cat´s name is just Caspar...

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  17. Hi, Steve - I think you made a wise choice about the floor — continuity of color helps any size house. Your choice of lighting induced me to visit Circa Lighting to look for a dining room fixture of my own — very nice choices!

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  18. Hi Steve...We also went out for Thanksgiving this year....to Boston actually, Omni Parker Hotel had a great buffet. Food was good, ambiance couldn't be better in that historic hotel, and there was no guilt at all about eating out for this holiday. Will do again in a heartbeat. Love your blog, your writing, and your home. Anxiously await all the results.

    Bev

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    1. Bev,
      I didn't even think of the Parker House. It's a Boston classic. That might just be what we do next year. Thank you for the suggestion!

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  19. I feel bad for you and your kitties...I am known as the "crazy cat lady" by my family. I have two indoor outdoor (semi feral) cats and three ferals that I feed outside (one of whom is on thyroid medication!) I think you made a wise choice with your floors I always like continuity rather than a million different options. Remember the days when you would look down a hall and see ten carpet colors...thank goodness those days are gone!! Your Thanksgiving dinner sounded positively heavenly!

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    1. Cindy,
      I think we need to change the moniker of "crazy cat lady" to something more positive.

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  20. Glad to see all the good wishes for your unbelievably handsome cat boys. They were my first thought when I read your post. Sound good that you're giving them a routine. I always brush my boys teeth before they get their dinner, so I hope it doesn't seem like too much torture. Here's to a very furry Christmas!

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    1. I never got in the habit of brushing the cats teeth. It just didn't seem like it would be something I could do. And I didn't want to chase around the house with the toothbrush while they hid under the bed. I guess that's why I'm paying toe dental surgery now.

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  21. When I renovated my kitchen I cooked on our grill, used a crock pot, an electric skillet, & a Nesco oven. And had pizza deliveries. The only thing I didn't do was deep fry a turkey. You'd be surprised how much you can cook without a range.
    Sorry to hear about your kitties.

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    Replies
    1. Mary,
      I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood with a lot place to buy healthy prepared foods; roasted vegetables, sesame noodles, lots of salads, etc. I also eat a lot of wraps. I have a hot plate but I have yet to take it out of the box four months later. I didn't realize how easy it would be actually.

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  22. Oh the babies. Such trouble for the beauties, but no trouble to care for the beauties, i hear you.

    i love your floor decision, rich and classic.

    I had a run with Farrow and Ball paints, each color was just right. Now, like Jen, I'm a C2 girl, the colors are always better than what i expect them to be. And you can get a HUGE paint chip, then return it for $$$ off your purchase. Those crazy Canadians, always thinking.

    Thanksgiving, not being a slave to the kitchen? good times.

    xo J

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    Replies
    1. Farrow & Ball and C2? You're full of surprises!

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  23. So sorry to hear about your cats health issues. I have heard that diabetes is quite common in felines. Are your cats older? We just lost a 15.5 year old orange tabby to cancer, and our 16 year old Himalayan needs special food for his kidneys. Our 9 year old Yorkshire Terrier needs special food and lots of medication every day for kidney issues. But those are easy fixes!
    Let us know what you decide about the Farrow and Ball paint. I've read so much online about the depth of color that paint has, but haven't seen the product locally.
    Glad your Thanksgiving turned out so well. I think it would be hard to cook at someone else's house too! Love the lighting choices!

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer,
      All three cats are 10 years old. Not that old but still considered senior. I'm hoping these problems will settle down for a little bit.
      You can order Farrow & Ball paint on the internet and have it delivered to your house! I got some sample pots delivered in just a few days before I found a local store that sells it.

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  24. Hi Steve, your Thanksgiving sea-fest sounds utterly perfect. I feel so bad for the poor kitties. I thought Angus had it bad but poor Warum!! How will he eat? Gumming I suppose. Poor little baby. Does he look funny when he smiles? You are a good kitty Dad.

    I love your light fixtures, and I think harmony of flooring makes a ton of sense and doesn't seem to be trying too hard to be trendy (don't get me wrong - I'd love a house full of limed floors, so you'll get no criticism here). I think the chestnut is timeless.

    Sorry you can't cook your goose this year. What will you do for Christmas? I think you have a lot of lovely friends, so maybe they can have us over?

    xo Terri

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    1. Angus has no teeth either and he's done very well without them. Cats rarely chew their food anyway if you've ever noticed when they throw it up. Warum isn't doing any smiling yet but hopefully soon we'll get to see that toothless smile.
      We're going to a restaurant for Christmas. It seems weird but it will certainly be interesting.

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  25. While I loved your pickling idea, I think you made a good choice. When we pulled up the wall-to-wall and put in hardwood floors, we went right into the kitchen, continuing the line of the planks and I have been so glad. It made the house look lots larger.

    Have to admit, tho, that there is a part of me that longs for pickled floors.

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    1. I know, Webb. I'm happy with the flooring choice even though I love pickled floors too. I'll certainly have them in my imaginary summer house.

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  26. I like the color that you picked out for your floor. I think we're going with a color called Special Chestnut on ours. Just the right color tone. Nice choice on the lights. It's unbelievable how many choices there are.

    Sorry to read about your cat's health. That's always difficult when you have pets that mean so much. With respect to cats, we saw this author at an art show yesterday that has a cat book that will make you laugh: www.samscats.com



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    1. Looking forward to seeing your chestnut floors, Larry.

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  27. Sorry to hear about the kitties, it's so hard to see them sick and sad, poor babies don't understand. They do understand lots of love and they're definitely getting lots of that.

    I love your pendant light, the others too but that one is especially eye catching. I think it's the color and the fluting. Can't wait to see them in their element. Also can't wait to see what you come up with for holiday decorations, you always do such a lovely job of it so this should be fun for you...and us.

    The floor is perfect.

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    1. The fact that they don't understand is the most frustrating thing. We would know not to rub our muzzles on the corner of the coffee table when we have dental surgery. I'm just trying to spend as much as I can with him as I can until he's feeling better.

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  28. A seafood feast at Thanksgiving sounds so awesome. Sorry about your sweet kitties. I pray they are on the mend and issues under control. Youre a great kitty dad..you have a big heart- I think we knew this from our exchanges! Happy Holidays sweetie and love love your floors.
    xo Nancy

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    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. You're the best!

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  29. I have a large Breville oven that is fabulous. I cook chickens, roasts, etc. anything but not a large turkey. You can do fabulous stuffing in a slow cooker. Veggies in the microwave. Stove is just more compact and multifunctional. You could put a sheet of plywood down over the counters if you really wanted to cook. Personally I'd go for cooking with friends at their home.
    Isn't the range a Swiss or German one? I know you'll really love having all this remodeling in your rear view mirror. It's been a long time coming but you ended up with fabulousness. So worth it!

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    1. I've seen those Breville overns. They really look great. I'll probably end up cooking a simpler meal at a friends house although going out on Christmas would also be a totally new experience. Yes, the range is German and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  30. poor kitties!!!! i haven't visited the blogs in such a long time. your new kitchen is going to look amazing with those gorgeous floors. sorry about the stove. : (

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  31. Love the floor color. I considered that one! Sorry to hear about the aging pets. They give so much to us and really, ask for little. Which is why, of course, we have to do as much as we can to make them comfortable.

    Did I miss the appliance reveal?

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  32. Recovering kitty cats, pale gold poinsettias, Farrow & Ball paint.........why, the blessings list goes on and on!!!!! You are an AMAZING man and deserve every blessing coming your way this holiday season and in 2014 and beyond.

    Thank you SO much for blessing us, your readers!!!!!

    All the best!!!!

    Rob

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  33. So sorry about your kitties. Just LOVE the floors - such a beautiful color!!

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  34. Oh gosh Steve…I am so sorry to hear of all the health issues with you cute kitties. My sister has to do the same injections on her cat also. What we do for our fur babies:)
    In other news…loving your light fixture choice and the floor stain. All in keeping with your traditional home!

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  35. Hi Steve,
    Long-admired your beautiful home, items chosen with the utmost care to preserve the historical essence.
    Today, I'm trying to keep my mind occupied in between worrying, and caring for a 17 year old kitty who is slowly slipping away from chronic kidney disease, complicated by Hyperthyroidism. He was 20 lbs. 2 years ago, now a mere 5. Shocking, and reading about things that I don't want to face when it comes to letting go. Sigh. Just when I was feeling that I was all alone, oh my, there's a photo of your beautiful kitty, with your stories of how you are taking good care of them. And, of course I was 2 seconds prior thinking, "Oh, how could Steve possibly understand sitting up with a sick kitty in this beautiful home?"
    None of us are immune, but we do fight this privately, because we had such an intimate relationship with our pets, albeit ours is way more emotional than theirs, I am thinking.
    After my 20 year old kitty passed many years ago, I drempt that she was in Heaven, looking exactly like the first day my dad brought her home, and that dream has sustained me all these years, and knowing that they do have a place back in God's Hands.
    Keep up the good work; house-wise, kitty dad-wise and blog-wise.
    XO

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    1. My heart aches for you. I know all too well the worry and heartache these problem cause. Before this round of cats, I adopted two brothers from a shelter in NYC. They were the sweetest things. At age 11, one of the developed a rare blood disease. I nursed him through chemotherapy. I thought throwing a lot of money at the problem would fix him but it just wasn't to be. He let me know it was time and I had to let him go. I took at a huge personal failure. His brother missed him terribly and was never the same. His health failed very quickly and he passed away after having a seizure just six months later. I still miss those kids and tear up every time I think about them.

      Their leaving is inevitable but it's always a terrible decision knowing when the time is right. I know. My heart goes out to you.

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