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Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

A Country Kitchen

Or, an egg-ceptional recipe.

Friends of mine recently renovated their kitchen.

Tatami backsplash shown in Blue Macauba, Crema marfil, Joanna, Sylvia Gold honed and polished mixed (New Ravenna Mosaics)

photography by Paul Rider

Richard and Dr. Frances Williams are an eccentric couple, and I think they would be delighted to be so described. He was trained as an interior architect/designer and worked for Gensler for years before devoting himself (mainly) to training horses and teaching classical dressage. An accomplished rider herself, his gorgeous wife of Greek descent is a family physician. She decided to pursue medicine after spending a year studying acting at NYU which she attended after doing a full-on NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) program in Colorado. To say that they are entertaining dinner guests would be an extraordinary understatement!

Oh, and I’ve left out Richard’s obsession with opera, which he also sings/performs in the local musical theater. And Frances’ writing pursuits which include a new book–The Seven Lives of Persephone: An Autobiography of the Angel of Death. And the fact that they live in a virtual menagerie which includes several varieties of chickens which lay multi-colored Easter eggs. Which brings me back to the subject at hand: their kitchen.

My acquaintance with their kitchen began pre-renovation. It was a long-distance relationship; even though Dave and I were regular dinner guests, I was not allowed to view it. When bringing dish after dish of delectable appetizers from the kitchen Frances would quickly shut the door behind her as if she were hiding a crazy relative.

Richard washing the home-grown eggs--How many of your clients can boast growing their own photo props?!

After demolition (and actually seeing the space) I traded them a slab or two of unusual Quartzite Aurora for some horse boarding (I still own a few of these slabs–let me know if you’re interested). We debated the design and color palette of the back splash, finally settling upon New Ravenna Tatami (which goes with everything) in a custom colorway of Silvia Gold, Joanna, Blue Macaubas, and Crema Marfil–half honed, half polished. Monet would be flattered.

As you can see, the result is a sunny, happy space full of texture and light. Richard designed the kitchen, Frances requested bumble bees. Cut with our water-jet machine from aluminum, they add a personal touch of whimsy.

Perhaps they remind Frances of the honey bees that fertilize the olive trees that make her family’s organic olive oil which they import and distribute from Greece. When do they sleep?!?

People like this are why I LOVE the Eastern Shore of Virginia…and perhaps why I feel at home here. I hope I’m as crazy and interesting as everyone else but I worry that really I am very boring. The Eastern Shore has pretty high standards.

Here are Richard and Frances’ websites:

www.BeingWellatHillcrest.com Wellness and Weight Loss
www.FrancesWilliamsMD.com Bariatric Medicine
www.WilliamsDressage.com Dressage Training


3 Responses to “A Country Kitchen”

  1. Having also been a dinner guest of Franny and Richard, I must report the following:
    One of the most happy, funny and entertaining evenings ever.
    They are the consummate hosts and had me in stitches, laughing between bites of delicious food until my jaw ached.
    Dinner was fabulous and I also was not allowed in the kitchen.At all.
    However, I peaked, curious soul that I am, and had a glimpse of a kitchen begging for renovation.
    I am thrilled to see these pics-unbelievably beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing and I miss my friends…
    Isabella Jones

  2. Sara Baldwin says:

    Yes, Isabella, I failed to emphasize how unfailingly hilarious they are! Aren't we lucky? And they did an awesome job on the kitchen too!

  3. I came across your post this morning while browsing interior design blogs and the topic of window treatment selection was very interesting to me. Would there be a good window treatment to match with this eccentric kitchen? It is true that you must dress your windows appropriately to bring out their true beauty. Thank you for writing and as a special thanks to you and your readers, I would like to offer a 20% off coupon using this code upon checkout: BLG20.

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About Me

Sara BaldwinSara Baldwin

Exmore, Virginia, United States

New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.


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