Grant K. Gibson

SPRING

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According to the calendar, spring has officially arrived.  When looking at the weather reports across the country, it doesn’t quite appear that way with snow still falling.  Fresh flowers always seem to brighten up even the gloomy days.   I picked up this bouquet of anemones the other day for my kitchen.  When looking them up online, I found out they represent anticipation.  This just seemed appropriate for those out there still dreaming of spring.

BUNK BED

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I had a bunk bed in my bedroom growing up.  I always loved climbing the ladder and reading a book with my stuffed animal buddies.  I had the luxury of choosing to sleep in either the top or the bottom bunk since I am an only child.

We are currently working on a boy’s bedroom and he is also an only child.  One problem was storage because of the size of the room.   So we worked on designing this custom bunk bed that has plenty of storage for toys, games and clothes below.  I am not sure who is more excited to have this move in more – him or me!

MACROSTIE WINERY

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For the last few months, I have been working on an exciting project in Healdsburg (about 1.5 hours north of San Francisco).  This is the new tasting room for MacRostie Winery.  Here is a peek at one of the tables and stools for the space.   Excited to share more photos very soon.  We are excited for this launch and opening in the upcoming weeks!

PROJECTS

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When people ask me about my favorite room to design, I typically say a living room or a bedroom.  But you wouldn’t know it lately.  We have been working on numerous bathroom remodels.  Here are some shots of some of our current bathroom projects.

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All for different clients and completely different feels for each.

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I love playing with shapes and patterns in a bathroom to make the space to feel unique and yet timeless.

BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS

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Sometimes furniture just will not fit in doorways or down hallways – so you have to come up with alternative options to make things work.  For this project, we worked on the design of the client’s roof deck (of a three story house).  There was just no way that it would be possible to move the furniture in by going through the house.  So we called in a professional crane company to lift the furniture up to the roof!  As you can see from the photo, it is quite a dramatic process.  Everything worked out well and happy to share the final results.  I am pretty sure that this furniture isn’t going anywhere any day soon.

OLIVE KITTERIDGE

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Sorry for the absence from the blog lately. This time of year has kept me extra busy. Happy New Year!
I promise to get back to things very soon.  I really want to share my trip to Cape Town, South Africa.  So stay tuned!

We have had some rainy days here in San Francisco, which we need desperately.  Something about the cooler weather just makes me want to stay inside and curl up with a good book, movie or TV series.
I recently watched Olive Kitteridge on HBO and I can’t suggest it enough.  If you are looking for something good to watch, check this out.  Frances McDormand plays the title role in this miniseries set in Maine.

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI

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I have been back in the kitchen again lately.  The chill in the air makes me want to stay in and just be cozy.

For a while I have been making ricotta gnocchi.  But I wanted to change it up a bit.  I noticed sweet potatoes the other day at the farmers market, and thought about marrying the sweet potato with the ricotta to make a sweet potato gnocchi.   As for what you put on top of it: I always like to leave those decisions to you.  I took two bunches of kale and sautéed with shallots and garlic.  I then added some Italian sausage and red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.  You could do a version with a brown butter and sage or mushrooms.  I love to have a base recipe and then be able to play with it depending on my mood and the available fresh produce.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

For the gnocchi:
3 red- skinned sweet potatoes
1 container of fresh ricotta (whole milk)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 cups of all-purpose flour

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes (keeping the skin on), prick them with a fork and bake for around 45 minutes.  (I hear you can microwave them faster, but I have never had a microwave so I am not sure how long I would suggest if you are using this method.)  Cut the baked potatoes in half (length wise) and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.  Discard the skin.  These are going to be some hot potatoes – so let them cool down a tad before burning your fingers.   Using a fork, mash the sweet potatoes until then are not lumpy.   Then add in the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Stir thoroughly.   Then add in the flour – 1/2 a cup at a time.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough on your surface or between your hands into long snakes.   Then cut into equal pieces.  Repeat until you have completed the large ball of dough.
I had a baking sheet (with some flour) on the side to place the cut gnocchi.  You can use the back of a fork to create a tine mark if you like.  I personally skip that step.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add gnocchi slowly (don’t just dump the whole tray in at one time!).  The gnocchi floats to the top and cooks in about 1-2 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and you are ready to serve.

Let me know what you think.  This is going to be my new go to fall dinner party recipe for sure!

Sir John Soane’s Museum

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Arranging travel plans and purchasing plane tickets is always a bit of a challenge.  While booking my latest adventure to Cape Town, South Africa (come back for more on this one!), I found myself with an afternoon to kill in London.  Numerous ideas of how to fill the afternoon layover danced in my head. Lunch at Harvey Nichols and some retail therapy (hello, AbFab)? Faced with a really short amount of time, I wanted to take advantage of every second.  The idea of sitting for hours on end at Heathrow – while suffering from jet lag – depressed me.

IMG_4242Have you every heard of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London?  If not, you are not alone.  To me it is one of the most magical places on earth.  One of London’s most unexpected interiors – every aspect of which reflects its creator’s architectural ingenuity and extraordinary imagination.  My first visit to the Sir John Soane’s Museum was when I was 12 years old.   My family and I spent the winter holiday in London (then on to Stockholm to see family and friends).  At a very young age, I was fascinated by all of the “stuff” and the “cool collections”. A kid in a candy store kind of moment.  When I spent a year living in England, I would walk around the streets of London and frequently pop into the Soane on a Saturday afternoons. Admission was free, so I could spend hours exploring and studying the collections.   I truly believe that the museum played a role in my becoming a designer.

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I digress, I know.

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Sadly, the museum is closed on Mondays, so my heart sank a bit.  I sort of gave up on the idea.  Sort of. Wouldn’t it be a dream to explore on my own and be able to take photos? (I didn’t have any as part of my extensive photo collection).  I played this fantasy over and over in my head for years.  Due to a group of fabulous friends, with a lot of connections and a bit of luck thrown in, my dream came true.IMG_4276

This past Monday, I had the most marvelous adventure, complete with a personal guided tour by the new director.  Drawings and models of Soane’s projects mixed with collections of painting and antiquities.  Pinch me now.

IMG_4266Soane was a visionary who used his home as a laboratory for his ideas, the repository for his vast collections of 30,000 drawings; paintings including Canalettos, Hogarths and Turners; architectural models; Greek and Roman sculpture and Egyptian Antiquities; 10,000 rare books, including first editions of Milton and Shakespeare, as well as his very personal dwelling space.

 

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No discussion of Soane’s work would be complete without mentioning his use of light. The Museum is filled with mirrors, domes, fantastic ceilings and skylights with colored glass, used not only to light the rooms but also to create dramatic effects and to highlight the numerous plaster casts and marble fragments that are artistically arranged in every available space throughout the house.

 

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Due to his foresight in leaving his home to the public by Act of Parliament in 1833, Soane’s house and its contents survive today, exactly as they were in his time, giving the visitor a rare glimpse into a middle class home of the period.

I highly suggest the next time you are in London that you pop into view the collections.   It’s a one-of-a-kind boutique museum, filled with charm, character and stories around every corner.  I think that you will see why I have been enamored with the space for so many years.   You can also learn more about the Soane Foundation by clicking HERE.

BACK FROM MAINE

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Getting back from a trip is always hard. Too many things to catch up on.  But at least there are the memories! How about these food memories.

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Lobster rolls, fresh blueberries and strawberries and soft serve ice cream. It’s fun to indulge while away. Now time to get back to the normal routine!

OUT OF THE OFFICE

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I have been in Maine for the last week.  This makes the forth year in a row that I’ve made the trip to visit with friends.  (Does four years a tradition make?)  You may recall my mentioning this before.  I love this time of year.  The end of summer and the start to fall.  You can see the leaves just starting to change.  Pops of vivid oranges and deep reds.

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Wesley is proving to be such a great traveler.  Here he met his first lobster.  I not sure if he really understood this odd-looking creature.  I am sure glad that the lobster had his claws banded.  Otherwise, I think a certain Westie would have had his nose in an unwanted grip!