When Ginnie and Janie invited me over for an afternoon visit, I knew I would be in for a treat. These two women are artists turned sustainable-house paint creators, so their color palette and remodel vision was sure to dazzle. And dazzled I was, by their laughter and warm kitchen!
Ginne and Janie, partners in life and in their eco-friendly paint business, Yolo Colorhouse, moved to Portland many years ago after sharing cramped apartments in New York. They came west seeking a more relaxed way of life and a tad bigger living quarters. When they found a creaky home built in 1888, renovated in the 1930s, in the NE neighborhood of Portland, Oregon — they re-imagined many of the rooms, the kitchen included. The results are stunning.
This kitchen has warmth, hospitality and personality to spare. The color palette of bright orange and green is unexpected, but absolutely lovely. Of course they used their own YOLO paint colors, Clay .02 and Leaf .05, and indeed it is just a lovely combination! So bright and colorful, I love a remodel where not everything is painted white!
The open bar counter is situated in the middle of the kitchen/den, facing a wood-burning stove, sofas and a library. This mixed-use of living space creates the most wonderful spot in their lovely home. It's the dynamic qualities of how the living room, outdoor porch, kitchen and natural light interact that make this space so appealing.
Ginnie and Janie are wonderful cooks, known for hosting an annual pickling party. After all is said and done, including over 100 jars of pickled vegetables, they cozy up with their sweet pup and enjoy their hard work. This is a great kitchen and sitting room, dreamed up and built by two inspiring individuals.
10 Questions for Ginnie and Janie (and their Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Ginnie: We like to make cooking about the process and of course the eating - cooking together, listening to music, drinking wine, talking - a full evening of entertainment. We have been known to serve dinner at 11:00 PM because we are "enjoying the process."
Janie: Being color people, we are of course inspired and driven by the color of the meal.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
G: I love the microplaner, it is the tool I would take to the desert island kitchen.
J: We have a 1940's THRIVE .04 (YOLO Colorhouse color) Hamilton Beach juice squeezer from Ginnie's grandparents that is unbeatable for squeezing fresh juice for cocktails.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
G: Our first Thanksgiving after re-doing the kitchen - this was our deadline for getting everything done. Our contractor was over at our house at midnight on Thanksgiving eve hooking up our water, we had no doors on our cabinets and no furniture in our house — it was all about the people and the food. We christened our giant long countertop with the feast and had a long, long table in our living room with extra room for dancing!
J: The close second to the first Thanksgiving is the annual pickling party - 10 women, 100+ jars of pickled cucumbers, carrots, beets and garlic. All the counter space is filled with an explosion of color - lots of Bloody Marys with pickled vegetables from the previous year's project.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Maybe we made our drawers a little too big - things can get lost in a large drawer.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Sometimes we wish we had an "eat in" kitchen with a kitchen table - we love the bar and tried to make this feel like an old farm table (we used reclaimed fir), but there is nothing that replaces the warmth and comfort that a true kitchen table offers.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
The extra big farm sink - it is as big as we could find. In the old kitchen we had a big, old double farm sink that we grew to love. We tried to restore it, but unfortunately the damage from years of wear made it hard to bring back, so we splurged and got the 39" sink (just a little smaller than our previous sink).
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
When we remodeled we used our old dishwasher because it worked and there was no reason to replace it. When it breaks down we will replace it with a quieter more efficient model.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Seasonal and spontaneous - we are not planners, so there are daily trips to the market. We are huge grillers - we grill year round, rain or shine.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
"Grill the turkey on the Weber!" - Ginnie's dad.
"Drying (dishes) is the only job that can do itself." - Janie's mom.
10. What are you cooking this week?
G: A friend is coming in town and we are grilling ahi tuna, making Swiss chard-sesame balls with red onion jam, coconut rice, and avocado and cucumber salad.
J: Pork Tinga tacos - we can eat this for days as leftovers!
• Visit Ginne and Janie's Zero VOC Interior Paints: Yolo Colorhouse
• Stove/Oven: Dynasty, four burner gas oven
• Dishwasher: Frigidaire
• Paint Colors: Yolo Color House
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
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Related: Daria and Ben's Glossy White Kitchen