Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rock and Roll (and Redesign)

Each January in Melbourne, Florida the Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic takes place to raise money for a wonderful cause. The kids at the Space Coast Early Intervention Center benefit from the generous people in the area who participate, as well as the celebrities who come in to play golf and offer auction items. 
Kelly Edge and Marie Kinnaman
My sister-in-law, Kelly Edge, not only golfs in the event, but she also auctions her design skills. A few years ago, she created a hot auction item along with professional Chef Lee Hillson and Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Cidny Bullens. They call it the "Celebrity Party in Your Home" package. 
Cidny Bullens, Chef Lee, Kelly, Marie, Billy Austin, Chef Dale: The 2012 Grand Slam Invasion Team

That's where I come in . . . 

Because the bidding in 2012 went through the roof, the original three decided to double the package they were offering. Each brought in a professional back-up. Kelly invited me to join her, Chef Lee brought Chef Dale, and Cidny invited Billy Austin. We were ready to rock and roll for charity.

I never thought I could have such a good time during four straight days (and nights) of working very hard - in so much heat and humidity. But it was for a really good cause and the constant hot flashes, and tired feet never really mattered.

It went something like this - three homes to design over four days, two sit-down dinners for ten with an intimate concert afterwards, and two cocktail parties for 40-50 with a full rockin' band (including Pat Bautz from Three Dog Night on drums.) 

We started early and went late each day and I ran on the fun of it all for four days. Not only did we do our part - the decorating and consulting with the homeowners - we also helped the chefs by setting the tables and serving the meals, and cleaning-up - along with some amazing volunteers, like Trish Smith Clow, who is an organizer for the golf classic and a sous-chef for the time we spent with the winners!!

Kelly using her napkin folding skills

Carol and John were up first. We enjoyed the drive from Melbourne to their place on Merritt Island, which is on the Banana River. I had never been to this part of Florida before. It is affectionately called "The Space Coast" due to its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center. 
View of the docks on the Banana River from the yard

They were hosting a sit-down dinner and concert that night. Kelly and I surveyed the situation and decided to work on the patio where they would be eating. We arranged the furniture, washed thirty wine glasses (for three wines served with the meal) and set the tables for the four-course dinner.

That's me working on the table-scape

The table set-up for dinner for ten.
One more little job before we left to clean ourselves up for the night. The chefs came out
of the kitchen long enough to help Kelly hang a large art work we moved from another wall.

So, I might as well come clean with a mishap or two. On our way back to our rooms to freshen up for the night, we stopped at Carol's beach house to do a consult on her get-away place. As I was trying to back up and park, I hit a pick-up truck (and the guy was sitting inside his truck.) No damage to his truck and just a scratch of paint on the car I was driving. Whew, good going Marie! I was driving a car loaned to us by a major sponsor of the event. Kelly decided she should take over the driving.

We managed to make it back in time to help start the dinner service,  but before I show you the yummy food photos . . . 

As for Kelly taking over the driving . . . along the coast road the speed limit changes from 50 to 45 to 35 and being from out-of-town we didn't always catch that. A motorcycle cop stopped Kelly doing 50 in the 35 zone on our way back to the house. Here we were in a loaned car with no registration, and no proof of insurance. He was nice and did give her a break on how much the ticket was. So here is where we stood: one minor fender bender and one ticket on the first day. We decided next year a driver might be in order. 

At dinner we kept the wine flowing, and helped clean-up. Chef made enough food for all of us, so the crew sampled the same food as the guests and it was amazing.
The Salad Course of Caprese with House Made Mozzarella 

Chef Lee's Pasta Carbonara

Skuna Bay Salmon with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart and Asparagus Salsa 
English Summer Pudding ready for the dinner guests
So yummy!
The intimate concert in the family room with Billy and Cidny was a fabulous way to end the evening.

We had breakfast each morning somewhere along the Space Coast and I snapped this pic of the warning to keep off the dune - just out back of one of the restaurants.
Love those Sea Oats on the east coast beaches.

After breakfast we headed back to teach a decorating class and enjoy a luncheon (prepared by Chef Lee) for six ladies. We shared our tricks-of-the-trade as we redesigned Carol and John's family room. The main problem we encountered in the home was the couple's very different design styles.  Carol was all about clean lines, white paint, and contemporary furnishings. John liked an "island" style, color, and a more casual feeling. We wanted to bring both styles together in order to find harmony for the two of them and their kids.

Kelly talking to the class before we began the redesign.
John taking down a heavy sculpture from the top of the fireplace wall.

before:  the angle in the flooring, the bar, and the kitchen nook (not visible)
calls for an angle in the furniture arrangement.

After:  we followed that floor angle to place the sofa and loveseat first. The art was hanging
high above the sliding door but it brings some color down low and fills the space nicely.

After: leaning a picture on the tall fireplace wall was the preferred method since the John
did not want to drill a hole into the stone. We used putty to secure it from falling over.
Compare this shot with the before to see the small scaled items originally sitting on the mantle.
Bringing in a chest and rattan chair from a bedroom adds that island feel we were going for.
Extra seating was a plus. The glass and wood console fit perfectly in the window and looks
great with the blue glass pieces. We also found a sisal rug outside and brought it in to
show how much warmth and interest it added to the space.

Just a note about the tall black vases. We took out the way too small
sticks you can see in the before pic and left them empty.
That night forty guests enjoyed awesome hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and yummy desserts - as they boogied to the band's music. 
Appetizer Platter

Steak Tartare on Baguette and Polenta with Mushroom Ragout

Pics of the band and homeowner, Carol, joining in on a couple of songs.

Kelly performed her (now famous) rendition of Proud Mary with Carol and some of the willing female guests. It was a highlight of the night for me to see my sister-in-law get her Tina Turner on. She did it again the next night at the 2nd cocktail party and band night. Photos further along in the blog . . . 

Working in big beautiful homes with gorgeous furniture and accessories is always nice - but no matter the size of the home or the price of the furnishings, these homeowners still can have trouble with balance and scale and where to put things. All we needed to do in Christine's two rooms was to balance things out and push and shove furniture around a bit. We re-accessorized the areas and shopped her home for what we needed.
Kelly going to great heights to get what we need. She was after those animals on the top shelf -
they ended up on the living room mantle in the after shot.

before formal living room
You can see in the before below how the sofa was half in the room visually and half in the door opening. It just didn't work there.

after formal living room

In the family room, below, we worked on scale and balance. The large TV unit over powered the Asian pieces on each side.
before family room

after family room

By moving the small armoire to a dining space and adding a chair and art, it works better for the space. We left the Tansu chest, but changed its direction and redesigned what was on it and added a tree behind for interest.
tansu chest in family room
A highlight of the afternoon was hearing a brand new song, just written, by Cidny Bullens and Billy Austin. As Kelly and I worked our design magic, these two incredible songwriters were hanging out and creating music magic. We got to hear it first.
Billy, above, singing the new song for us (Christine and Teresa are sitting on the step)

Cidny, right, playing the grand piano while Billy sang their new song.

By the way, Teresa (above) and her husband Rick, put Kelly and I up in a suite of rooms in their home, just down the street. Fabulous accommodations for our stay. And, they both helped us with the redesign - Rick even brought in some tools to hang art. Thanks so much!

Beautiful outdoor setting for the night's cocktail party and concert.

Fabulous sunset for the cocktail party

The nighttime cocktail party started in the home next door - at the neighbors (Millie and Steve) who shared the package with Christine. We carried plates of hors d'oeuvres prepared by the chefs through the yards, as guests enjoyed drinks and watched a beautiful sunset. 
Millie and Steve started the party with cocktails
and hors d'oeuvres in their beautiful home

Kelly and girls getting their groove on to Proud Mary

On our last day we had two design tasks to complete for our part of the package. For Carol and John we wanted to select paint colors for the inside of their home based on the color of the tiles on the outdoor bar (that their daughter had selected.) We also had a design consult with Millie for several rooms in her home. 

That night was the last formal dinner and intimate concert and the last of our official duties for this trip. When we got to Christine's home for dinner, we noticed the table really needed an arrangement of some king. I found a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter that were never placed in water from the night before, and to my amazement they still looked good. I cut the stems short (and on an angle) and used them in the arrangement too. Not bad for last minute.

The dinner menu was almost the same as the first formal dinner at Carol and John's, but this group dined on filet instead of salmon.

The guests dined on filet mignon

Billy and Cidny perform their set on the last night. 

One more fabulous dinner prepared by the chefs and a last acoustic concert sent everyone home very satisfied. We dubbed the last concert "a six tissue night" because all of the ladies seemed to cry with every song Cidny and Billy sang. The night ended on several high notes including Tim Wakefield stopping by after getting in from a trip.

From left to right: Chef Lee, Christine (homeowner), Kelly, Teresa (neighbor) Marie, Chef Dale, Billy Austin
Sitting: Trish, Tim Wakefield, Cidny Bullens, Chris (Christine's son)

All in all it could not have been a better four days. The chefs, the musicians, the volunteers, the generous sponsors, the homeowners who purchased the packages, and all the new friends - I have memories to last a long time . . . or until later this year when we do it again. 

Break a leg Kelly . . . here's to you all getting a record amount for "The Grand Slam Invasion Team" at the 2013 auction in a few weeks!!  

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was so well put together Marie. Thanks for bringing back all the great memories and even the not so great ( my speeding ticket :). We are hoping for another great fight over our auction package and a return to Melbourne for another spectacular weekend. Get your running shoes ready Marie !!