I love to hike!
There is just something about being outside all day and working hard physically that feels so very rewarding! My favorite place to hike is the White Mountains and taking on a 4000’ mountain. Typically, with these vertical climbs, I need to sit and catch my breath. It is in these restful moments that I study the light, leaves, bark, rocks, branches and how they all dance together in nature.
Inside this space is where I design.
When I stand up again to continue on my hike, I put the pattern together in my brain. How the lines will intertwine and react to each other as they replicate nature are important to me. With each footstep up the mountain I create a pulse of my heartbeat to create a pattern or repeat in the design.
The summit is always the epiphany. The completion of the design. It somehow comes together by the time I get to the top of a mountain. I rest for a bit and have water but honestly, I can’t get down fast enough… I need to draw with my hands, not my brain. The biggest challenge is remembering that ah-ha moment on the summit of a mountain. Yes, I could hike with a sketchbook, but I doubt my husband would be patient enough as I work through the process. There is something very refreshing about taking the time to complete the design on paper for a few hours.
The color story of these fabrics tends toward grey, brown and greens. The designs translate best with these neutral tones and tell the story that they need to tell.
Have you been to Kittery lately?
I mean the REAL Kittery, not the outlet malls. This is the downtown section that is just over the Memorial Bridge from Portsmouth toward the Shipyard and runs primarily between Route 1 on Government and Walker Streets. This… this is the heart of Kittery called “Kittery Foreside”. And within Kittery Foreside sits a gem called “Wallingford Square”.
Wallingford Square is technically one block that connects Government Street and Walker Street and ends at the Shipyard entrance. On this one little block sits the restored 7 Wallingford Square.
Since this is the largest building in the Kittery Foreside, 7 Wallingford Square was significant to all local businesses (mine included) when it renovated. I wanted to highlight the owners and the building by sharing a brief interview with Michael Landgarten who is one of three investors in the property and owner of Lil’s Cafe & Bob’s Clam Hut.
Q & A with
Question: When did you purchase/ renovate / start renting space in the building?
Answer: 2013 – seems like 10 years ago now!
Question: Why did you make the decision to invest in Kittery Foreside?
Answer: I had started the Block Party with Janice Grady. At the end of the second one Gavin Barbour – Foreside resident and co-planner told me the building was for sale. I had committed not to do more developing after Robert’s but this one felt too exciting to resist. I love the Black Birch and felt like with the right types of businesses and uses this building could provide the tipping point for the neighborhood becoming a daytime destination. Luckily, Jackie and Tim liked the idea and were fast to jump on board to support.
Question: Is the vision that you had for the building as expected or did it change during the process of renovating/ renting the spaces?
Answer: It came out precisely as I had hoped. The tenants we got are ideal. I feel very lucky they showed up and I give the Black Birch a lot of credit for these creative types being interested in this neighborhood.
Question: Can you tell me a bit about your tenants?
Answer: We are completely rented. Last piece of the puzzle was Thinkyard the co-office space that now inhabits the beautiful old Masonic Temple. There are 9 offices with open ceilings and lots of light up there.
Question: What is something of particular interest that you want people to know?
Answer: There’s a wonderful 2-bedroom apartment on the third floor with beautiful views and light that is spacious and inviting.
The building is home to some of the best stores and restaurants in the area as well as great office space for many entrepreneurs. I encourage you to enjoy a cruller (or any baked good for that matter) at Lil’s Café, a delicious smoothie (yes, in the old bank drive-thru) at the Maine Squeeze, buy organic meat & locally sourced produce at Meat, shop at Folk boutique and lastly, enjoy delicious noodles & more at Anju and artisanal and delicious cocktails at the Wallingford Dram.
After a visit to 7 Wallingford Square, stop by and say “hi” to me just up the street at 9 Walker Street!
Do you need help in finding the right countertop for your project? The countertop process can be fun but also daunting. It is best to do a bit of research prior to your adventure into the project and certainly before investing funds. Let me share just the beginning of a few ideas:
Quartzite: This is a man-made stone that is typically created to replicate a natural stone. It is more expensive, predictable and extremely durable – the most durable solid surface product on the market. It comes in different finishes from honed to polished and the edges can be finished the same way that granite is treated. One of the best features is that it can come in longer lengths allowing for fewer seams, especially on the island (see photo).
Granite: This natural stone has movement, beauty and grace to it. In order to buy granite, you really need to go to the fabricator’s yard or to a larger stone yard that will send it to your fabricator. At the supplier, you will be able to select the exact piece that will go into your home and even determine where exactly the pattern will land.
Wood: This is a softer, quieter and more temperamental countertop product but extremely beautiful. With the newer finishes, we are now able to put a bar sink into the wood countertop, just be aware that it does need to be cared for. It typically prices out to be about the same as granite.
countertops_amy dutton home
Concrete: This is a natural & man-made product that battles natural stone in pricing. The upside of concrete is that it is admittedly very cool and can be customized but patience is a virtue. Perfection is difficult to achieve.
Formica: This is still by far the least expensive option but appropriate in rental or investment property. Keep in mind, when upgrading to a special order formica, it is often the same price as a low end solid surface countertop.
I’m excited to bring to the area samples of all of these products in the new showroom. I will work with you to determine which product is best for your home and budget then you can purchase your countertop directly through me. Easy!
Are you in the market for new cabinetry either in your bedroom, bathroom or closet?
If so, it probably means two things are happening:
- You have a much larger job ahead of you than just selecting a new cabinet.
- You are in the midst of making a lot of complex decisions in a short amount of time.
Perhaps I can help you out a bit and provide you with some valuable information so that you are prepared as you step into the world of cabinetry and deciding how to invest properly. In order to understand the industry a bit, allow me to introduce you to the three categories that I typically work with when it comes to cabinetry – depending on budget:
- The Inexpensive “Box Shop”
- The Expensive “Box Shop”
- Custom Shop
Note: When I use the term “Box Shop” by this I mean that they are literally ordering pre-manufactured boxes from suppliers. These boxes come in increments of 3”. This means that if you go with a box shop – regardless of inexpensive or expensive, you will end up with a filler in order to make the math work right in your kitchen.
THE INEXPENSIVE BOX SHOP:
These stores specialize in bringing you cabinetry that is medium – low quality with the same closure hardware as the higher end shops. The difference is in the finish quality of the doors and drawers as well as the variety of finishes that they offer.
THE EXPENSIVE BOX SHOP:
These stores will put themselves in the “custom” category but what they are able to customize is the finish on the doors and drawers. The drawer closures and hardware is the same as the Inexpensive Box Shop and they still have to stay within the 3” manufactured dimensions. Once you start “editing” the boxes to become custom, the price is right up there with a custom shop.
These shops are able to create any finish (with a talented finisher) and will provide you with specific samples to approve. There will not be 1” of wasted space because each box is made specifically for your kitchen. In order to consider custom, you should have a unique/ difficult layout that takes advantage of the customize options that the Custom Shop will Provide.
Note: If you are simply looking for a white kitchen, I suggest going with the Inexpensive Box Shop unless your dimensions and design layout deems that you need to go custom.
When working with my clients to design a kitchen, my job is to get the plans to a point where it can be bid out. And when submitting bids, I ask the kitchen designers to bid only on what it drawn – changes can come later, after they have the project if need be. When designing, I determine the location of the walls and openings, specify and locate the windows and doors, locate the three major appliances and complete an electrical plan. The kitchen designer cannot make changes to these specifications but are encouraged to design the kitchen cabinetry according to their expertise. This collaboration results in providing the best price and professional services for my clients.
If you are interested in working on a kitchen renovation with me, let me know. It is a complex project with every subcontractor involved. From selecting materials to designing the intricate details that make your kitchen unique and custom to you is both inspiring and fun!
I am often asked why I started a fabric line.
Well, it was actually a reaction to a few things happening. Mostly… it morphed from one thing into another.
In 2013, I had a series of very difficult projects and really needed a way to express some fun creativity. At the same time, I had a project that I was spending hours and hours looking for just the right fabric but everything on the market was boring and basically the same. Then, I traveled to Paris. And it was here that the idea was born.
I started sketching while in Paris simple shapes that I found on the bridges in ironwork or details on the buildings. I found a supplier in South Carolina that would print short runs of fabric and this allowed me to play with color, scale and repeat as well as the texture of the fabrics.
The designs are inspired by both nature and architecture and most are hand drawn. The result is a genuine expression of creativity for your home. You won’t be able to find these designs anywhere but the shop or on our e-commerce. We are staying true to our brand. Trust me, your neighbor will not have the exact same fabric as you.
Because we are primarily running an architectural and interior design services firm as well as running a shop at our Kittery location, the fabric design often takes the back seat to deadlines.
As I’m traveling a great deal this year, I’m looking forward to the exploration of expanding the line and bringing you a fresh new look.