Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me

Upon receiving the Stylish Blogger Award, it was my turn select ten bloggers to bestow the award on, which I did in my last post (see "Older Post" at the bottom of this one if you missed it and are curious!). Now I am responsible for sharing seven things with you that you might not already know about me. I suspect that some of you will know some of the things, but not all of you will know all of the things! Anyway, here goes… you might be surprised to know that…

My husband Dave is not only the love of my life and soul mate… he is also my unofficial collaborator in the interior design business! He has amazing style and an innate sense of what works in any space and which areas need improvement. When I first met him, I was initially taken with how handsome, well-dressed, smart, funny and nice he was. Then when he had me over to his place for dinner, I couldn’t believe this great guy also set a fabulous table! It turns out that after receiving a marketing degree and working in a retail buying office, he became manager of a high end china, silver and glass department. He’s great with color, pattern and lighting, and has the uncanny ability to analyze the flow of a space (be it a store, restaurant or home) and to suggest immediate ways to enhance the functionality. It’s no surprise that he thrives in his Quality Assurance role at work! Needless to say, whenever I am in a conundrum about elements of a design project and need a keen and critical eye, I simply walk down the hall from my office to his!

I am originally from Michigan, in the northwest suburbs of Detroit. I absolutely loved growing up in Michigan. It is a beautiful state with gorgeous lakes, forests, and towns in the Lower Peninsula, Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island in between. The four seasons are wonderful, which is where I developed my love of celebrating and decorating the changes. My family had a cottage “Up North” that we ‘weekended’ at all year and spent even more time during school vacation… boating in the summer, leaf peeping in the autumn, snowmobiling in the winter, watching fawns drinking in the pond in the spring. Unfortunately, in recent years the economy has been very cruel to the Michigan, and to the auto industry that used to thrive there. But I believe that the state, its industries, and consequently residents, are more victims of the narcissistic direction of business and government leaders in the U.S. than they are villains. I suspect that anyone who has anything bad to say about Michigan has probably never been there. Most of the people that I talk with who have visited or lived there say that they were surprised at how lovely it is and how nice the people are. I am a proud “Michigander.”

My avocations in historic preservation and interior design combined beautifully with the chance to relocate from Michigan to Northern Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C. It was in Old Town Alexandria that I met Dave; we had our rehearsal dinner at Mount Vernon & our wedding at the historic Oxon Hill Manor, in Maryland along the banks of the Potomac River. Could it get any better? After the big shindig, we were off on our honeymoon to Arizona. We wanted to go someplace beautiful, warm & sunny, but where we could also drink the water & eat the food! We spent time in Phoenix & Scottsdale, as well as drove up through the red rocks of Sedona and toured the amazing Grand Canyon. We were captivated by the never-ending, beautiful, blue skies, constant sunshine, gorgeous vistas and great people in Arizona. Right then & there, before we even got on the plane to go home, we decided that we had to move to this paradise! With true pioneering spirit, we sold our home, quit our jobs, and headed out west, and my parents followed shortly afterward. We all thrived there & absolutely loved it… it was truly the best of times for us all!

Taliesin West; Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation image

One of the most fulfilling things that I had the opportunity to do while living in Arizona (& ever, for that matter!) career-wise was to teach interior design courses at Scottsdale Community College. I had taken courses in the program, to keep myself fresh & up-to-date with the design industry. When I received one of my final projects back at the end of the semester, my professor Gera King, who was also the program director, had written in it: “Katherine, you know this material so well, you could teach the course!” I took this seriously and was thrilled by the prospect, because as much as I love interior design, I love sharing it with others even more. And having been involved with training staff at Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village (now known as "The Henry Ford") earlier in my career I remembered how much I enjoyed the educational process. With my additional background in historic preservation, I stepped right into teaching “20th Century Architecture & Furniture” (especially fun in the shadows of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West) and “History of Decorative Arts.” I felt such joy at the end of the semester, when students would come up to express how much they got out of my classes. I couldn’t wait for the next semester to start!

I have written in a journal practically every day since freshman year of high school. I have always been very organized and methodical… part of being a Capricorn I guess. Anyway, when I started high school, my dad gave me a very professional looking bound journal like he and his colleagues used at work to keep track of their projects. I felt very sophisticated to have such a grown up tool to stay on top of my schedule, assignments and budding social life. I just loved keeping track of everything that was happening in my world. I didn’t generally use this book as a diary to jot my feelings in as some teens might have; it was more to plan future responsibilities and document events that were complete. It’s funny that I was drawn to Historic Preservation for graduate work and to a position in Interpretive Training at Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, where documentation was definitely the name of the game! Anyway, to this day, no matter what happens, writing it down (& sometimes attaching a keepsake ticket stub, etc.) always brings me some degree of closure, and I am not finished with any day until it has been archived in my ‘book.’ If a friend ever asks me for the name of the restaurant that I dined at on vacation, or which teams played in a hockey game that I attended in college (why I would need to know that, I have no idea:), I know just where to look to find out!

By now you know that I am very organized and that I love decorating for and celebrating the seasons. So it probably won’t come as much of a surprise that I really enjoy making seasonal and holiday meals. I have put all of this together in the form of my very own cookbook that I call “Recipes For All Seasons.” I have spent years developing and recording the traditions, rituals, and menus involved in celebrating the holidays and special occasions that come up as the calendar pages turn and the seasons change. I love the planning part… flipping though cookbooks, magazines & even watching Food Network, to gather inspiration for all of the elements that will lead to a festive holiday or special occasion meal. I enjoy ‘cooking up’ the menu including beverages and desserts, finalizing the recipes, & creating the tablescapes. The longer I do this, the more I discover that something special can be reveled in every day… some days just call for more pomp and circumstance!

I love blue. I love green. I call the blue and green color palette in our home “Sea Glass.” I’ve seen some shelter magazines also refer to a “Sea Glass” color scheme or paint color… it’s pretty popular these days… but I can’t help but wonder how many of the editors or designers affiliated with those articles have actually collected the real thing. Beachcombing for sea glass and pottery shards is a hobby that Dave & I share with excitement and near obsession. As a matter of fact, the tides were so exceptional this past weekend that we hit the beaches for five days in a row… and yes, here in New England the temperatures were only in the 30’s! The joy of sea glass collecting is multifaceted. It is so relaxing to wander up and down the beach, clearing your head, soaking up the fresh air, taking in the beauty of the sand, sea, and views. Then there is the thrill of anticipating what you might find… and once you find something, pondering its provenance. Each little glass treasure has its own autobiography… its color may give a clue to what object it was originally a part of (such as a cobalt blue from a Noxema jar.) The thickness or pattern of a pottery shard may give a suggestion of its age (Canton ware from the early 1800’s.) Because the harbors in our area were so active very early in our country’s history, we have actually found glass, a clay pipe and china shards that date back to the 1700’s. Dave said something the other day that really brought the awe-inspiring element of this activity to life… “each one tells a story... weird to think that some pieces, especially the china and pipe, were once used, held by people that have long since passed on, many years previous most likely... a connection with the past...”

As I have been writing these details about my life so that you will get to know me better, I am all of a sudden amazed at how much sense everything makes… I guess that doing this has allowed me to get to know myself a little better too! I can’t help but marvel at how we human beings are truly mosaics of our upbringing, experiences, interpersonal relationships, education, and so much more. Does any part of these seven things about me surprise you? If you want to see yourself with greater clarity, you might want to give this little exercise a try too!


  1. Hi Kat,

    Outstanding and wonderfully written! I bet there are somethings that I might not of known too!


  2. Wow, just wow! I love the glimpse into your life and as usual, your command of the written word is incredible! You should be getting paid to write!

  3. Hawkeye & Rosanne... thank you so much for your glowing compliments... they truly mean a great deal to me! I am glad that you enjoyed the way that I expressed some of the varied aspects of my life! I hope that you visit me here often!

  4. Loved learning more about you Katherine!


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