Celebrating New York in the South
Hi, it’s me again – the transplated Yankee. I truly believe there is a cosmic, magnetic pull that brings Yankees living in the South together. Somehow we find each other (yeah!)—even in Metro Atlanta, a city with a population of over 5 million. There are A LOT of us who have found the climate, hospitality and cost of living very agreeable!
So one day the stars aligned and karma reigned and we met our client, Jeanne.
Don’t let the photo of this petite 84-year woman mislead you. She is a firecracker—a smart, vivacious, self made woman who readily admits that she might live in the South but it’s the Union that won the Civil War. She doesn’t care to have many friends but somehow we made the short list (it must be our Northern wit that won her over!)
Despite Jeanne’s neighbors and her few close friends telling her she was crazy, she was emphatic about wanting a contemporary black and white kitchen (quite hilarious since she doesn’t even cook). Here’s what she started with:
Let me preface the rest of this story by saying that at Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs, we put a lot of energy and heart into creating designs that will move our clients spiritually when they walk into their homes. This means really digging deep into what is important to them—childhood memories, valued collections, memorable travels, textures and fabrics compatible with their lifestyle and colors that calm or excite.
We happened to agree with Jeanne that a black and white kitchen was very do-able inside the existing eclectic design scheme of Jeanne’s tasteful Buckhead condo. We were thrilled to go against the grain and tackle this project—the three of us were like three giggling kids breaking curfew.
We spent a lot of time getting to know Jeanne and discovered that some of her fondest memories were of her life in New York City—particularly Greenwich Village and the Bronx. We really wanted to find a way to infuse these visions into the kitchen design plan.
I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night and ended up calling my high school buddy John Andrulis who is a talented photographer and owner of Jag Fine Art in Philadelphia. He sent me some of his photography of the exact NYC areas I needed and I selected ones that I knew would mean a lot to Jeanne. He then hand-colored the images in red and stretched them on canvas. Here’s the net result:
Jeanne is brimming with joie de vivre. She walks around her house barefoot, wears concert t-shirts and goes into the office 3 days a week. I really want to be just like her when I grow up. Have a Big Chill cherry red stove even though she doesn’t cook? HECK YEAH!
Jeanne loves poppies. Hmmm…. how do we bring that into the design too? We called another one of our posse—Kass Willson with WallsTreat Studio and asked her to custom paint a design which we would then have inlaid into the beveled, white subway tile (yet another throwback to memories of NYC).
In the end, Jeanne was thrilled with the final result. Shortly after we finished the project, one of Jeanne’s childhood pals passed away. She flew all the way to California to attend her funeral and mourned her passing for weeks. She told us, “There are times when I am just overcome with sadness and I miss her so much. I go into the kitchen and I just sit there because it’s the one place in my home that makes me truly happy.”
Now that’s the best compliment we’ve ever received from a Yankee or a Southerner!