Hand it to Mom


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

Most moms take pains to keep their home stain and fingerprint free. But housewife Lisa Hunsaker made certain her kids' handprints could never be wiped off her new kitchen counter, and she's quite proud of it.






Get the look


Other ways kids can make a mark on their living space:


Handprint Canvas Kit, from redenvelope.com, $39.95. Set of four 10-inch stretched canvases for handprints. Or the Heart Stepping Stone, $29.95.


From Thinker Toys in Kahala, Keepsake Clay picture frame comes in pink, blue or white clay. About $24.95.


Or get crafty with the kids. Write this poem on poster board and use fingerpaint from the craft supply store for the little ones to make handprints with for a nice memento to frame and hang.




(By anonymous)


Sometimes you get discouraged
        Because I am so small
        And always leave my fingerprints
        On furniture and walls.


But every day I'm growing—I'll be grown some day
        And all those tiny handprints
        Will surely fade away.


So here's a little handprint
        Just so you can recall
        Exactly how my fingers looked
        When I was very small.


In fact, it was high on a wish list she and husband Mark Hunsaker presented to Archipelago Hawaii, the interior design firm they hired for their kitchen remodel.

Lisa and Mark, a partner with the CPA firm Bowen, Hunsaker, Hirai and Co., had an eat-out lifestyle which fit their tiny kitchen perfectly when they first married. The home at the foot of Diamond Head was purchased about 12 years ago before having daughters Taylor, now 9, and Hannah, 3. Now that the kids are older, it's become important to dine at home for quality time.

“;I don't cook, but our two daughters hate eating out. If I was going to cook at home I needed a bigger kitchen,”; Lisa said.

With interior designers Tiare Cowan and Rick Cowan, they devised a blueprint that would use space from an adjacent guest bedroom to make the kitchen more family friendly.

In the planning stages, “;I told Tiare, 'I'm a little bit tacky, and I like bling,'”; said Lisa, “;So she just relayed that into (elements of) the kitchen, but she did it in such a classy way.”;

When it came to the kitchen counter, “;I wanted one that was unique, something that would customize it to 'us' “; she added. “;Everyone uses granite. Tiare and Rick suggested concrete because you can put various things inside, like rocks and gem stones, and I said, 'How about handprints?' and they said, 'Sure.' “;

Her children's handprints are now the focal point of a concrete kitchen counter top, created by Morgan Conger, who was brought in by TM Builders for the assignment.

“;The contractor, Ian Eichelberger from Sunworks Construction was great, he did everything on schedule and was so easy to work with, but Morgan was the only one who worked with the kids, and he was really sweet and good with them and patient,”; Lisa said.

One might think the task is as simple as plopping hands down into a freshly poured sidewalk.

But to make the prints, Conger cast the girls' hands in plaster to create molds.

“;Otherwise, they'd have to stand with their hands in the concrete for hours as I troweled the surface around them and there is no way I could see that happening,”; he said, “;Plus, the mixture would end up drying out their skin”;

“;My older daughter was fine with it,”; Lisa said. “;But it's funny, they had to do the hand cast several times because my little daughter would put her hands flat in the plaster, then start curling her fingers so it looked like claws instead of a hand ... we called them dragon prints,”;

The temperamental weather didn't help. “;We started in the morning, so it was cool and the plaster took long to dry,”; said Lisa. “;Then, an hour later, it got hot and the plaster dried too quickly so the mold cracked; they'd have to do the cast all over.”;

Conger was just as collected when they attempted a cast of the family's two pet dogs' paws.

“;The original plan was to have the paw prints along with the girls',”; said Lisa.

But it seems the dogs were just not cooperative.

“;You have to push their paws down into the plaster and hold them still. The dogs did not like it at all, so that kinda killed that idea,”; Lisa said.

Which worked out in the end.

“;We have just one set of handprints—at first I wanted several of them with the dogs', but one set with just the girls' turned out better. It marks their seat at the counter, like their place card.”;

Conger agrees. “;Having a lot of handprints dilutes the specialness of them,”; he said. “;With just one set, it makes each girl's prints stand out.”;

As far as the kitchen, Lisa said, “;We're so pleased with it; my husband and I never imagined it could turn out this well.”;

The bigger kitchen will allow the girls to be in the room and study or play while she cooks. She sees the counter as a permanent fixture.

“;It's something that, when the kids grow up, they can say, 'This is our handprint. When we did this in this house, this was the size of our hands.' “;