Inspirations And The Family Home

Updated: Jun 17

The Palo Alto Kitchen is affectionately named after my (Jen) Grandfather's home on Palo Alto St. in 1970's, Fresno, California. This home was rooted in a sense of relaxed glamour. As an adult, I find that same sense in Palm Springs, but before I had Palm Springs, I had 1970's Fresno.




The home was warm, welcoming with deep tones and the shine of mixed metals. Browns, yellows, golds, silvers, and crystal. Bold wallpaper paired with the understated and earth tones.



SNAPSHOT OF THE PALO ALTO ST. HOUSE, CUSTOM BUILT BY MY GRANDPARENTS. THE FRAMING OF THE PHOTO MAKES ME WONDER WHAT THEY WERE HOPING TO CAPTURE IN THE PICTURE. MAYBE THE NEWLY PLANTED LANDSCAPING. FOR ME, IT CAPTURES THE ESSENCE, MOTION, COMFORT, AND SIMPLICITY IN AN ORDINARY DAY.

One of my favorite details was in the Kitchen -- the cabinet door knobs. The knobs? Really? Yes, the knobs. Each one was filled with a different grain -- rice, popcorn kernels, beans -- they all existed under what I assume was some kind of resin coating. The beautiful, natural colors of these foods were at my eye level and as I walked through that Kitchen, over and over again, the cabinets were both a gallery wall and a rooted connection to something I wouldn't fully understand for decades.




My Grandparents moved to Fresno from San Francisco in the 1970's so they could enjoy life with grandchildren. My Grandmother's parents lived on a farm near Fresno, so it was already home in a sense. However, my Grandparents enjoyed life in San Francisco for decades, raising my Mother and her sister there. My Grandfather was a valued cable splicer for the Cable Cars, and even invented something which changed the way the cable cars operated. When he retired, the city of San Francisco held a day in his honor!


My Grandparents moved all around the San Francisco, -- my Grandmother clearly had a love for decorating her home or supporting local businesses via her decor purchases. Most likely both. Many decorative items and fixtures are still used by our family today -- six decades later! They are beautiful, carry a story, and there's a sense of craft and quality that resonates to the touch. Such was life, I believe, before a culture of disposability spread into our mindsets and Main Streets.



MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY LATER, THIS LIGHT FIXTURE, ONCE IN MY GRANDPARENT'S HOME STILL SHINES LIGHT IN MY PARENT'S HOME. OBJECTS WITH MEANING CAN BECOME A PART OF A FAMILY STORY.

So, the Palo Alto home. I can see now that it was filled with San Francisco style in the sense of appreciation for design character, and essence. It was bold yet humble, playful yet peaceful, rooted in earth elements with sprinkles of stardust. Or so it seemed through my childhood eyes.


They say you can't go home again but now that I'm in my forties, I'm not sure that's entirely true. I've learned over and over in my life that human beings are extraordinary and we are capable of so much love, compassion, kindness, and beauty. If we get to the heart of what home means to us, an ability to create that sense of home as we dream for it, or long for it, is available to us daily. For me, I've discovered that home means elements of peace and connection -- connection to people, stories, laughter, conversation, books / reading / learning, lovingly prepared meals, and lovingly gathered objects of art and interest.

We may not be able to return home to the physical presence of loved ones who've passed, but with intentionality we can return home to that spirit of home. We can meaningfully, lovingly create our homes.


In my own life, I needed to slow down to see it. And now, I am home again. And, I believe, if you're not already, you can be too.



ARTFUL DETAILS CIRCA 1970S MADE AN IMPRESSION ON ME. COLOR, WARMTH, AND PLAY CELEBRATE BEAUTY ON MANY LEVELS.

I realize I'm fortunate to have experienced a childhood which I can look back on fondly. I won the lottery. Not because we were financially wealthy and I got everything I wanted but because my life was filled with loving, kind, and wonderful people. My Grandfather (on my Mother's side) was a sage, a gentle guide and teacher. My Grandmother (on my Father's side) was a painter with an easel in her living room and a Kitchen fragranced by lovingly prepared meals. They had each struggled in their lives, yet each carried with them a lightness in spirit, radiant smiles, and a love for laughter. Yep, I won the lottery. And maybe you did too. And if you didn't, you can be that person for yourself, and for someone you love.


I've come to realize how having such people in my life has shed light on the concepts of resiliency, persistence, and creativity, and how these concepts ultimately relate to the creation of a home -- a life -- filled with peace in spirit, joy, love, value, community, and meaning.


All of this informs the spirit behind ArtHouse and Company...


WE AFFECTIONATELY CALL THE KITCHEN IN OUR OWN HOME, THE PALO ALTO KITCHEN, INSPIRED BY JEN'S GRANDPARENT'S HOME ON PALO ALTO ST. IN 1970'S FRESNO.

In Kindness and Company,

Jen Ganzhorn

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