30 December 2009

2009's greatest hits, a retrospective in two parts

I posted more than 500 times in 2009. My goal is to post once a day and I'm happy to report that there was not one day in 2009 that went post-less. I think I've earned the title prolific blogger. While it's true that a lot of work goes into this blog, not all of it's worth remembering. There are a couple of stand outs though, some posts of which I'm particularly proud. Coming up with a list like the one I'm about to launch into let's me toot my own horn and it makes for good SEO at the same time. Here goes:

In response to a reader's question about faucet finishes, I embarked on a multi-part series of posts that explained how plumbing manufacturers come up with and apply fixture finishes. The marketing team at Kohler was instrumental in pulling this one together. So thank yous go out to Kohler and to my reader Ming who got this particular ball rolling back in February.

So What The Devil's a Living Finish Anyway?

I'm not at all prone to being star struck, but in March I came pretty close when I landed an interview with Sarah Susanka. She was doing publicity for her new book and of all the high profile architects out there, she sits at the head table in my pantheon. I am not kidding when I say that Sarah Susanka's ideas are what motivated me to choose my profession. Having the chance to visit with her was a real highlight of my year.

A Conversation with Sarah Susanka

I love it when I get reader questions. I get them all the time and I answer each of them personally and usually the same day they come in. However, some of those questions end up as fodder for a post. What ends up being posted is a more fleshed out version of my original answer, but those posts always preserve the flavor of my answer. Got a question? Ask away but you just may find your question shot across the internet. Such was the case with the following. This was a blast to write and it continues to be a traffic magnet nine months after it appeared for the first time.

Reader Question: How Do I Explain a Bidet to a Four-Year-Old?

I am a generalist, a dilettante. I'll be the first to admit that. I know a little bit about a lot of things and I love to write about my varied interests. Sometimes, I get to combine some of my passions and such is the case in this series I wrote about High Renaissance Mannerism and the history of western art.

Speaking of the Renaissance

I followed it up the next day with Unbelievable, Really... a rant about the small minds who can't handle looking at a classical nude statue.

I try to keep my work life separate from what I write about on this blog. I try to. I am a publicity whore but I know that most people aren't, so I take great pains to avoid identifying my clients and potential clients in this space. A lot of times though, my work life and the things I discuss here collapse on top of each other. Sometimes a real-life situation will help me to make a point, sometimes I want to show off and sometimes I want to shock and provoke. Such was the case with this post.

Don't Call Me If Your House Looks Like This

Man, I can still smell that condominium and it sends shivers down my spine. What's funny is that post prompted some well-meaning soul to send me an e-mail where she accused me of being bitter and lonely and then offered me her contact information so that she and I could talk about how Jesus could free me from my anger. OK.

Finally, in early June a reader sent me an image of a Christopher Peacock kitchen and she asked me about the source of the light fixture hanging in the center of it. I love challenges like this, so I turned to Gina Milne and her blog Willow Decor. Gina was one of the many great blogosphere contacts I made in early 2009. Gina's a terrific researcher and she's pretty plugged into the world of shelter blogs. Gina then turned to Brooke Gianetti and her blog Velvet and Linen. Brooke posted the question within an hour and then a short time later Tammy Connor, one of Brooke's readers and a Birmingham-based interior designer, identified the light fixture. Here's the post I wrote about it.

Behold the Power of the Blogosphere

In a matter of hours, a reader from New York asked me, in Florida, a question. I then asked a blogger in Boston who in turn asked another blogger in LA. The LA blogger had a reader in Alabama who answered it. The answer followed the chain back to me and I answered my original reader. That question circled the US in a matter of hours and none of that kind of networked communication was a thought let alone a possibility a few short years ago. Pretty cool stuff.

So they are the highlights of the first half of 2009. On Friday I'll go through the second half and then I'll be ready to attack 2010 with a renewed sense of my mission here and a passion  reborn. Writing this blog has been the most rewarding endeavor I've ever embarked on and I owe each and every one of you a profound thank you.


  1. I can't speak for others Paul, but I have certainly enjoyed your Blog this past year.
    Always so informative and very entertaining.
    Thank you!

    In the event I don't have the opportunity to log on again before the 1st, I wish to extend my best wishes to you for A VERY HEALTHY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR WITH CONTINUING SUCCESS IN YOUR CAREER.


  2. Thank you so much Brenda. I appreciate your reading these posts immensely and I appreciate your willingness to leave comments even more. You were one of my first regular commenters, and your willingness to weigh in encouraged other people to do the same. There's a community that's springing up around K&RD that I get a real thrill from and you were instrumental in its formation.

    Thanks too for your sensible perspective and your Canadian point of view. Folks like you are a tremendous help to keep me from getting to parochial in the subjects I cover.

    So happy new year to you and yours too, I hope that 2010 brings you everything you're seeking.

  3. Congrats on a post a day n 2009! Very inspiring. Thanks for pulling out this year's favorites, for those of us who found you midstream. That bidget blog is HILARIOUS. Did you ever hear back from the woman?

  4. Julie: I never heard back from her. I can't say I'm surprised though. Out of all my reader questions though, the bidet story was a real career high. I don't think anything from 2009 got me so worked up.

    I'm glad the Twitter gods introduced us; you were another great find from 2009.

  5. Just wanted to thank you for a fun year of blog posts & your personal kitchen advice. You helped me focus & make some decisions on that front and also gave me some good laughs & stuff to think about.

    Happy New Year!

  6. And thank you Erika, I'm glad I could be of service. I'm glad too that I gave you a laugh along the way. Happy new year to you and yours as well!

  7. I'm glad that you picked the bidet article as one of the most memorable for this year. The bidet post is what brought me to your blog in the first place as I was researching bidet information for an article I was writing at the time. I've been here everyday since, reading whatever it is you have to say. Sometimes I get an idea for an article out of it and sometimes not, but it's always interesting. My "learn something new every day" moments often come from you.

  8. Oh man, you just made my day. Thank you. I'm going to get all chocked up here. What a kind thing to say. Corresponding with you has been a real pleasure, I am thrilled that you found that bidet piece and decided to stick around.

  9. My favorite one was the Renaissance nudity - that gave me my grins for the day back then.

    I don't know how you do it - I simply haven't got enough hours (or creativity!) to do a post a day. I'm happy if I can get 3/week; go you on such an achievement!

    It's been such a pleasure sharing ideas and thoughts with you. Here's to a lovely, happy, successful and prosperous New Year!

  10. Kelly: That Renaissance nudity piece let me run a photo of the Barberini Faun and anything that involves an image of the Barberini Faun has to be good. Thanks for all of your kind words and good wishes Kelly. Your blog was one of the first kitchen blogs I stumbled upon back in the day and you've had a very important impact on what I do here. Thank you.

  11. 'Tis a joy readin' and knowin' ya, Paul. Keep those posts coming. Please.

  12. Thanks Nancie, stick around for part two on Friday. The second half of the year is when I get to heap praise on you!

  13. That is marvelous, Paul! A retrospective that is very now-trospective.


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