Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The New House; Dining & Living Room Reveal

Cause I know you love a good before and after...



Refinished hardwood floors and crown molding
This used to be the original dining room space - we plan to build floor to ceiling book shelves around the small window with a bench underneath. 
From the edge of the couch to the other wall to the right was a long wall separating these spaces!

This was the original spot for the den (a small wall separated it from the kitchen - and also a long wall to the left separated it from the original living and dining spaces)

The sunroom is behind those curtains
That big cabinet is our pantry and the pocket door leads to the expanded laundry room.
View from the dining into the kitchen
That black blob is my dog Bella. 

And now for my favorite details:

Gallery wall feature Naptime Diaries and Skoope Home prints, plus some family photos. 

Edison bulb light fixture (Matt made it!)

My blue door with the big "M" plus the comfiest chair ever - it was the previous owners and they let me buy it for $1. 

So it's still a work in progress: we have built in bookcases to install, pictures to hang in the living room; I need to find a narrow buffet table for the dining room and also find a two arm chairs for the table. But so far, I love this space. It's so open, airy and light and feels so cozy too. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beach Week

I'm on vacation this week! No posts scheduled, but hopefully this adorable photo of Brighton from last summer will tide you over (she grew up so fast!!! Sob!!!)

Have a great week!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Real life

So I posted all those "after" kitchen photos this week, but I have a confession:

My kitchen does not normally look that clean and staged. 
I moved all the things I didn't want you to see to the dining room table, or shoved them in drawers.
I furiously cleaned the floors and counters and loaded the dishwasher.

This is what my kitchen normally looks like (and this is a really good day):

Paperwork, my laptop, keys, and typically a sippy cup or a wrapper of some sorts are normally on the island. Brighton's latest artwork is always on the fridge, we have a huge bulletin board where we keep important papers, our receipts and meal ideas and the sink always has a few dirty dishes. 

As much as I'd like my house to look like the cover of a magazine, that's not real life. Also, I don't normally have fresh flowers in the house - these were for my mom's birthday dinner and she forgot to take them with her!

Keep it real peeps. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The New House: Kitchen Research & Planning


So yesterday you got to see my lovely new kitchen. Just in case you want to know more, here is a little post about the process we went through to plan, research, design and build our kitchen:

When we bought the house, we knew the current kitchen cabinets and layout wouldn't work for us. The original cabinets had bulkheads, were starting to wear in a few places and there weren't enough of them. The layout was a small "L" shape with the entryway to the laundry room right next to the fridge, and there was basically zero counter space.

We decided to tear down some walls, but also reconfigure an outdoor shed and the laundry room to create a pantry area and a new space, which gave us the opportunity to close off the entryway to the laundry and turn our kitchen into a u-shape with an island that would help anchor the room with the rest of the dining and living spaces. We mapped out the space, measured every corner and estimated a budget for new cabinets, tile floors, countertops, appliances and light fixtures.

I did a ton of research on cabinets and spent hours on Pinterest gathering photos of other kitchens that featured the same layout as ours. I also read a lot of cabinet reviews - which brands were best, which were overpriced, or not able to stand the test of time. After a lot of research, we decided to go with Ikea for our cabinets, farmhouse sink and stove hood, but purchased everything else from either Lowe's, a tile shop, or other appliance stores. 

I know a lot of people are adverse to Ikea (who hasn't had one of their particle board cabinets fall apart on you?) but we heard a lot of good things about their cabinets. I bookmarked a lot of blogs and devoured posts like this and this  and this that gave advice and tips and how-to's.  I also read the forums on Ikea Fans - this is a great website if you want details on any Ikea item. 

After reading literally every thing I could, we came to the conclusion that: 
  • The quality of Ikea cabinets was the same as big cabinet manufactures that you can purchase at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Unless you choose custom made, most cabinets are made of MDF not real wood. Ikea’s cabinets are made of MDF, as are the affordable options from Lowe’s and Home Depot.
  • Price – Based on the fact that had a lot of other remodel expenses, we had a set budget for our kitchen including floor tile, backsplash, appliances, countertops and cabinets. Ikea was going to cost about half of what we would have ordered from a home improvement store.
  • Lastly, we were pleased with the options for both cabinet size and door/drawer style. We wanted cabinets that would look high end and modern, but also fit the space. We fell in love with the Adel style door (a modern shaker style) in white. 

So once we decided to buy Ikea, we did a lot of prep work. Ikea can come out and measure for you (for a cost), but they won't plan your kitchen - it's self help all the way. We took exact measurements of our kitchen - wall length and height, doorways, windows and the size of our appliances (which we had already purchased), then put it all in the Ikea kitchen planner tool which is an amazing and frustrating piece of software that lets you plan your kitchen in both 2 and 3-D views. 


Also, semi annually, IKEA has a kitchen sale (20% off total price) and we were lucky enough to purchase our kitchen right in the middle of it. We blocked off a Saturday morning, got a babysitter and spent about 2 hours with an Ikea kitchen expert. She checked all of our measurements, asked us a bunch of clarifying questions, we made some small adjustments and then she ordered each and every piece for us. 

The ordering part takes a while, but it was well worth it! We had the cabinets delivered to our new home the weekend after we closed. It was hundreds of boxes, plus the hanging rails for the upper cabinets, the farmhouse sink and the stove hood. 

I took a week off of work and assembled each and every cabinet, save our huge 88 inch tall pantry. It was a pain in the booty (I had so many bruises and scratches), but it well worth all the money we saved!

Once we were done with building the cabinets, Matt laid the new tile floor, installed the cabinets, and then the appliances. Our appliances were a Craigslist score and we were lucky to have had some reclaimed wood from a 100 year old barn given to us for the countertops. Matt built the countertops himself - he shaved off the worn side of the wood so the counters around the sink and appliances had a more smooth top, but left the island rough. I love the contrast!

We moved in before we had the backsplash or stove hood installed, but after a month we finally got those done, installed the crown molding, and shelves and voila!


I feel so incredibly lucky to have this space to cook and gather in. It really is my dream kitchen!

(If you have any specific questions about products or process, leave me a comment! Thanks!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The New House: The Kitchen Reveal

So we are finally done with the kitchen and it turned out exactly how we wanted. I won't belabor you with a bunch of words - I know you just want to see the before and after!

Demo progress - there was a bank of cabinets on that yellow wall but I forgot to take a before photo. They were ugly - that's all you need to know ;)
Demo progress
It makes me want to dance it's so pretty!
Look at that subway tile! Swoon!

An island of all deep drawers and a "hidden" microwave!

And now some of the details that make this place so special to me:
Ever since I saw this concept in a magazine I have wanted a few open shelves. I love this feature!
My favorite sink - the farmhouse from Ikea (same as our last house but this one I didn't find in the "As Is" section!)
I mean, come on!!!! Look at that gorgeous old wood. I love how rough it is, especially down the legs of the island. 
And the grain of this wood?!?! It's so beautiful.

And cause this is my blog and I'll post too many pictures if I want to (wink, wink) here are some more:
Took these with my fisheye lens. My house doesn't bend like that! 

Maybe I’m biased but I think I have one of the prettiest kitchens I’ve ever seen. I'm in love!

And for those interested in all the details, I have a post just for you tomorrow!