Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship Applications

Graduating seniors attending high school in Talbot County and expecting to major in horticulture, landscape architecture or design, botany, environmental science, agriculture or a related field may be eligible for a scholarship of up to $4,500.00 from the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES). Scholarship applications are available from guidance counselors in all Talbot County high schools. They may also be obtained by calling Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-770-9035. Applications are due back to the guidance counselors’ offices by the close of school on April 3, 2017.

The GCES Scholarship is merit based. Outstanding academic achievement along with volunteer or work experience, which shows a strong work ethic and a commitment to excellence, will be considered when evaluating applications.

GCES President Samantha McCall says: “The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore has awarded 14 scholarships to Talbot County students since 1999. We are commitment to helping talented young people achieve their educational goals and are proud of previous recipients who have gone on to become teachers, researchers, landscape architects and designers, and environmental educators. They are all making important contributions both here on the Shore and in other parts of the country.”

The GCES is focused on promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and providing educational programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. In addition to awarding its scholarship for the past 15 years, GCES spearheaded the restoration of Easton’s Thompson Park, which along with the garden at the Academy Art Museum, it also maintains.

For information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-770-9035.

Design For You: A Boston Kitchen by Pamela Heyne

I was recently in Boston on a book launch. My book shows how Julia Child’s ideas can be relevant today in modern kitchens, with an emphasis on cooking and sit down dining and a de-emphasis on lounging, snacking and TV watching.

I was lucky to be hosted by a couple who had a beautiful kitchen that could easily have been in the book. The lady of the house, who did most of the cooking, said she hated barstools, so none encircled the space. She favored sit down dining, so a dining room was reached from one door, a breakfast room from another. The TV was in the cozy library, remote from the kitchen.

unnamed-3Her appliances were cunningly concealed. The microwave oven was under the counter. The refrigerator is a new “refrigerator column” or “integrated refrigerator”. It basically looks like a cupboard. She also had two “drawer freezers.” They are convenient 2’ deep drawers, and avoid a lot of that rummaging we hate. Her designer was Paul Reidt from Kochman, Reidt and Haig in Stoughton, Mass.unnamed-2

Designers have always had a problem with the bulky refrigerator. The refrigerator in Julia’s French Chef TV show was recessed in an arched niche, making it much more presentable. We architects and designers were happy when “counter depth” refrigerators arrived on the scene a generation ago. Actually 27” deep, the door sticks out past the counter. Now, the “new kids on the block” are the integrated refrigerators. They are designed to sit flush in a 24” cabinet. They also have varying widths, from 18” to 36”. Thermador and Subzero are the leading manufacturers. Some of these models qualify as “energy star”. This means that they exceed federal energy standards.

Interestingly, Julia Child and Paul Child had tried to make the old fashioned refrigerator in their Cambridge kitchen less visible. Designer Paul painted it black and nestled it in bookcases. During my original interview with Julia she had asked me, “It’s more chic, don’t you think?” She also had small freezers under the counter. All these elements are now preserved at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. That Cambridge kitchen has been enshrined behind glass walls, viewed by millions every year.

In Julia’s day, climate change was not as critical an issue as it is now. Beyond looks, we want kitchen appliances and equipment that help us reduce our carbon footprint. If one decides to purchase a new refrigerator, the government recommends against putting the old one in the garage. It becomes an “energy hog”, can cost the homeowner hundreds of dollars a year to use, and certainly does not help the environment.

Pamela Heyne, AIA has a design studio in Saint Michaels, Md. She will give a slide presentation on the relevance of Julia Child’s design and lifestyle ideas at the Saint Michaels Library Dec. 1 at 5:30 pm. The book, In Julia’s Kitchen, practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child will be available for purchase.

Design for You: Really Comfortable Dining by Pamela Heyne

I advocate sit down dining in my book, In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child. Recently in my own family room I made two changes to enhance that activity.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-9-14-05-amThe first change was the chairs. I took away the dining chairs and added traditionally styled easy chairs to the glass topped table in the family room. These chairs are comfortable; blissfully soft, they say, “stay”. So….you lean back in them rather than sitting ramrod straight. Your head is supported. You relax. Maybe you scrunch your legs up. The effect is remarkable…my husband and I linger at the table far longer than we did in the past.

The second change was the TV. Oh we still have one, in an armoire. But, as the phrase goes, we “cut the cable.” Now we are not paying a fortune a month for shows we don’t watch and a few of those news shows we watched too much. We get all the news, commentary and specialized shows we really need, all delivered through the internet. But now, much of the time the armoire doors are closed.

In my book I mention that Julia Child enjoyed watching Tom Brokaw’s news show every evening, but never while dining. As I often say, the meals we enjoy and remember are the ones we share with others rather than with the TV. It takes twenty minutes for our brains to get the message that we have eaten enough. Distracted dining in front of the television often results in our eating more food than we need, and enjoying it less.

So maybe one solution to our national obesity epidemic is to make sit-down dining really, really comfortable. And, take a cue from Julia, no seconds! But, conversation has no calories…it is just food for thought.


Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design. 410-714-9040 her book is available through her, at local stores and online.

A Home Observatory of Your Own by Pamela Heyne

If you have an interest in a home observatory, you are not alone. Hobbyists and retirees are looking at the sky in increasingly sophisticated ways. And the home observatory can take many different forms. But first, from a practical standpoint, is this a reasonable hobby to pursue on the Eastern Shore? While we have relatively dark skies, we are not as pristine as say a mountain site in Colorado.


I posed that question to John Jardine Goss, president of the Astronomical League. He said that it really depends on what type of experience you want. “If the person is primarily interested in visually observing and imaging the planets using expensive equipment, an observatory makes sense. Planetary work doesn’t necessarily require dark skies, though it helps. However, visually observing galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters really requires a dark site to get the most out of the experience.” He made several other important points. “While the MD eastern shore does not have pristine, dark skies, many people would be surprised at the number of stars that can be seen. One test is whether or not the Milky Way can be discerned in the sky glow.”(Answer, yes. ) He also mentioned that skies tend to be darker when businesses close and residents go to bed…so 2 am is a better viewing time. John also said that the best telescope is “the one you will use.” Same with an observatory…it will not be worthwhile if you won’t use it.

OK, you are still interested in that observatory. Let’s say you want to build it on your existing house. First off, you will need to make sure the telescope is stable. The usual way of insuring that is to construct a dedicated pier for the telescope itself….the slightest movement from people walking on the floor will compromise the settings. Additionally, the floor cannot touch the pier. Of course, how the pier extends down through the house requires careful planning.

The form of the observatory can range from slide off or fold down roof hatch, to metal or fiberglas cylindrical dome. The dome, with an open slit or “clamshell” opening, rotates to allow for the earth’s rotation. The telescope, on a mount bolted to the pier is motorized so that it also rotates.

Domes are typically 6’ to 30’ in diameter. The smaller domes might be accessed from a terrace. Larger domes might have room for a stair, possibly with a hatch. Many stargazers want to share the experience with one or two guests. Importantly the observatory cannot be heated or cooled….It must the same temperature as the outside air. One reason you see so many white domes is they reflect heat better, though some manufacturers fabricate them in earth tones to blend in more with surrounding residences.

Computers are usually placed near the telescope but in a more comfortable setting, like a small office which might be just downstairs from the telescope.

Though this might be considered a hobby, you will need to check your local codes and get appropriate building permits. The highest you can build for a private residence in Talbot County is 40’. Insurance is also a consideration.

The price for home observatory can vary tremendously. People who are handy can construct a shed (once again…check with codes for this will be an “ancillary structure”) and have a simple slide or fold away roof. For more elaborate designs, well, you know…”the sky’s the limit.”

Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design, in Saint Michaels, Md.

Money to Help Many Maryland Homeowners Stay in Their Homes

The state of Maryland wants you to stay in your home. They have funds available for many state homeowners to make repairs such as installing ramps and widening doors. It is called the Accessible Homes for Senior Homeowners Grant Program.

Grants, not loans, are provided to qualifying homeowners on a first come first serve basis. You must be over 50. The state also wants proof your income is 80% of AMI, which stands for area median income. You will also need a list of three bids from contractors with Maryland Home Improvement licenses.

Previously a loan program, this became a grant program in 2013. The thinking behind it is this: by keeping seniors in their homes , neighborhood stability is maintained. This also provides work for local builders, and helps other local suppliers. During fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016) the program provided $998,000 in 47 grants.

Contractor training and information is upcoming on two separate days from 11:30am – 1pm.

7/27/16 – Richard Henson Center, #2122, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, University Blvd. S., Princess Anne, MD 21853 (Somerset County)
8/4/16 – Chester River Yacht & Country Club, 7738 Quaker Neck Road, Chestertown, Md. 21620 (Kent County)
Pamela Heyne is an architect with an office in Saint Michaels.

Storm Season is Coming; Time to Prepare your House by Pamela Heyne

2012 Hurricane Sandy gave us two valuable lessons: If people are told to evacuate, they should. And, people need to make their homes as secure as possible, because these storms are more powerful than before. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory website, Atlantic hurricanes are now 60% more powerful than they were in the 1970’s and their top wind speeds have increased by 25%. Sandy’s diameter was the biggest Atlantic hurricane on record, 1,100 miles.

Here are some key suggestions to make your home more hurricane resistant. Some suggestions entail new materials and techniques.

Windows: these must be secured because during a storm it is very important to keep high-velocity air out of the home. Depending on variables, the house could explode like a balloon if hurricane-force air suddenly whooshes in.(hurricane force wind can be between 74 and 157 mph.) Hurricane proof windows have proven effective here and in other areas. They are double glazed with a laminated layer on the room side. Roll down shutters can be operated at the touch of a button. High tech fabric panels or lightweight polycarbonate panels admit light to the home when installed, and are an improvement in impact tests over plywood.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 9.33.34 AMRoof: You may want to check our your roof structure to make sure it has appropriate hurricane ties that attach the beams or trusses to the walls of the house. These may need to be upgraded. According to Craig Willis of Chesapeake Builders in Saint Michaels, the straps should be rated for 1000 pounds of uplift or more. He notes there are numerous configurations of straps available. These are more common in new homes. Retrofitting an older home might be done at a time when new insulation is considered, for instance.

Flooding: With hurricanes another worry is possible flooding. If you have a mortgage on your home the lender undoubtedly requires you to have flood insurance, a good thing. Car experts recommend a lift for your automobile in your garage if you have enough headroom, and reinforced slab. Some years ago a neighbor’s new Jaguar was ruined by rising waters in the garage. The mere thought of it made this Jaguar lover wince!

Debris: It is important to keep branches picked up, and to make sure trees are properly trimmed. Even on the interior of the home, individual rugs are easier to move than wall to wall carpet. And speaking from experience, newspapers are easier to recycle when dry than when wet!

Folks in New Jersey and New York had a false sense of security when Sandy hit, because prior to that they had “over-prepared’ for Hurricane Irene. But Sandy, the “Frankenstorm”, killed 233 people total and left an enormous path of devastation. Lucky for us in our area, the storm veered north rather than roaring up the Chesapeake Bay.

Pamela Heyne, AIA is a Saint Michaels architect.

Lure of LED Lighting by Pamela Heyne

A few years ago I gave a friend a beautifully wrapped Christmas present. In the box was an LED light bulb. The friend was a strong environmentalist, yet kept her old incandescent bulbs throughout her house because she liked the amber color, even though her bulbs were actually little heaters that only produced 10% light. I was showing my friend that she had a different option.

For a while there it looked like those cold looking compact fluorescents were the main way to light our homes responsibly. But, coming on sScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.36 PMrong has been a whole array of exciting LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Want exposed filament? I have decorative LED’s that look like they came out of Edison’s workroom. I also have LED spotlights, “candles”, soffit lights that can shift color, and table lamps.

For clients I have specified glamorous closet rod LED’s, and LED’s that change color and flicker in time to music.

Admittedly, buying LEDs can get complicated. Want a warmer hued light? Go for 2,700 to 3,000 kelvin. If you want the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb, chose an LED A19 bulb that is only 9 watts (yes, nine watts!). Most are dimmable now, but you should check because some are not. Some will work with standard incandescent dimmers, but LED dimmers are the best fit to make sure there is no annoying flicker. As for recessed lights, while you can just screw in a bulb, it is recommended that simple screw in retrofits (bulb and rim combined) be used instead for better heat management.

Prices keep coming down…While $3.00 and more per bulb is more than the old incandescents, the LED saves money in the long run. The standard incandescent costs $4.80 per year to use while the LED costs about $1.00. The LED also can last for twenty five years, does not burn fingers, has no toxic components, can be dropped with little harm done, and reduces A.C. loads.

By simply installing LED’s in your home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by 6 tons of carbon a year….plus you can have fun doing it!

Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer. She was lighting consultant for Hearthstone Health and Fitness in Easton.

Smiles in Saint Michaels by Pamela Heyne

On a Sunday walk on the Saint Michaels Nature trail I passed a favorite house, with a brilliant chartreuse fence.  Growing out of the fence was a dollhouse sized structure sporting a paper that said “I Brio am pleased to announce the dedication and grand opening of Brio’s little Free Library. 3pm…”  Wine and bread were offered in exchange for a book. As a further inducement I noticed a sign on the outside of the library that said “There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 6.01.17 PMHappily I cut my walk short, obtained said book,  and opened the purple gate which was flanked with purple Dutch clogs.  I did not know who Brio was, but was met by the owners,  an old friend, Peter  Hartjens and his stylish wife Constance Morris Hope (a leadership coach). We sat at a sunny outdoor table, painted purple and sporting a dragon centerpiece. We sipped wine and chatted with  Interesting neighbors who soon dropped by. Brio the dog slept under the table.  

Peter previously owned a unique home emporium on Saint Michaels road, Tidedancers. His fans, I included, asked him if he would ever consider reopening.  No, he said.  He is now a “certifiable smilemaker.”  He recently published a book A Million Smiles: 101 True (well, mostly true) smilemaking stories.  The house, with its exuberant doses of whimsy, also makes one smile.

Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer,

Home Tips: Protect Your House and Birds this Summer by Pamela Heyne

It’s that time of year again….birds are returning, nesting, and flying into our windows with a heart wrenching “thud.” Every year close to a billion birds are killed in North America simply flying into glass windows. In the daytime the windows reflect surrounding foliage, and birds don’t realize they are smashing into an illusion. Some birds attack their reflection in a window, thinking it is another bird competing for their mate. At night birds are confused by bright lights and assume they can fly through that interior.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 8.47.49 AM

These are bird friendly windows made with Ornilux glass. Courtesy

There are various nets and lines that can dangle in front of the windows. I have used decals with success. has a series of inexpensive ultraviolet decals (hawks, other birds, snowflakes), films and sprays that the birds see, but are transparent for us. The window must be a moderate temperature and clean when the decals are applied. The decals last about six months.

For new construction or replacement windows, consider a UV reflective glass such as Ornilux. It has a chaotic pattern of UV lines painted on a middle layer of the insulated unit. It is completely transparent to us, yet highly visible to birds. Many architects are specifying fritted glass windows; closely spaced dots or other patterns of ceramic fused on the outer surface are visible to birds, but we can see through them. Fritted glass is typically used in office buildings. Chicago has been a leader in making their tall buildings more bird friendly.

Do not forget awnings. They block unwanted sunlight and help block those pesky reflections of foliage as well. Whatever you do, it’s for the birds.

Pamela Heyne,, is a Saint Michaels architect. Her forthcoming book, In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical & Convivial Kitchen design influenced by Julia Child, will be out this fall.

Home Design: Glamour for Valentine’s Day by Pamela Heyne

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romance, so this is a fun time to make our home a bit more romantic, and maybe spruce up our own appearance as well. Mirrors and proper lighting can help in both instances. I think Saint Valentine would be pleased at all the fuss.

Wall Mirror

Wall Mirror

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.38.26 AMMirrors are a quick way to add sparkle and glamour to the home. A favorite technique of mine is using mirrored placemats, with beveled edges. They reflect candles and beautiful flowers. I also like combining them with other reflective accessories such as silver and cut crystal. The placemats are easy to clean, with a wipe of Windex. They also are small and easily stored. I have had mine for years. An additon to candles is LED (light emitting diode) lighting. LED candles and LED votive candles emit no heat so can be installed in paper holders. LED tape, in varying lengths, can simply be mounted atop a ledge or bookshelf and plugged in. Then as a director you click the hand held control and chose whatever flattering rose or gold hues you want to set the stage. For inspiration look at some of those over the top events shown on line, such as at Kennedy Center or the National Building Museum.

When it comes to sprucing up ourselves in the mirror it is helpful having more than just the mirror over the sink. I like being able to get up close to the mirror for that last minute grooming, and I hate magnifying mirrors. As for lighting, please, no spotlights on the ceiling: they create shadows.

The Three Way Mirror

The Three Way Mirror

For a dressing area for a client, I designed a closet with a three way mirror. It was simply three hinged mirrored doors. When the center door was closed, and the two outer doors were opened, she had in essence the kind of view you get in a department store dressing room. Don’t want a three way mirror? I recently saw a wall mirror in a DC hotel ladies’ room that had an ultra wide bevel; much more stylish than those wall mirrors mounted with little plastic clips!

So, you look great, the house looks great, the champagne is chilling. Perhaps one of your toasts could be to Saint Valentine. He was a Christian priest who performed secret wedding ceremonies for early Christians, particularly soldiers, against Roman law. Romans felt soldiers were better fighters if they were single.Valentine was executed by Imperial Rome because of his activities. Just before his death he wrote a note to a woman whom he had helped heal from an illness. The note was signed “from your Valentine”.

Pamela Heyne,AIA, is a Saint Michaels architect and designer. She is author of Mirror By Design and a forthcoming book on Kitchen design, based on her interview with Julia Child.