Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Christmas

I am deeming this Christmas the year of the DIY for a couple reasons. First, we kinda just bought a house, laid all new wood floors, and did a complete kitchen gut and reno so money is kinda tight these days. Don't get me wrong, all of those things were worth every penny but our bank accounts are feeling a little thirsty, if ya know what I mean. Also, my life has changed so much since falling in love with Pinterest that I have a tremendous desire to make and do so many crafty things! Therefore, we are going to reign-in the shopping a little this year and instead I will try my hand at making a few things to give as gifts as well as deck our halls.

Here are a few ideas I have swirling around:

Marshmallow garland

Pottery Barn Santa knock-off

Spice trees (cloves, peppercorns, coffee beans)

Snow jars

I guess putting it out there for all the blogging world to see is my challenge to myself to see how many I will actually do. Wish me luck! Any of you planning on DIY-ing gifts or decor this year?

All of these images can be found on my Pinterest Christmas Board

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Set Back

Our kitchen has been "almost done" for over a week now and although we love our new layout, floors, and cabinets, living without a countertop has made things tricky. Cutting over the sink and on cookie sheets is only fun for so long. So when our counters were scheduled to come in Black Friday we could not wait! Not only were we getting our new granite counter tops, we were getting our new under mount stainless sink to replace our old white double sink.

The installers were scheduled to come between one and three but sure enough around 12:50 the doorbell rang-- they were here! I giddily (a word?) showed them to the kitchen, they removed our old sink, and then I snuck off to the office to give them their space to do their thing. As I heard them banging around in the kitchen I just worked a little on the blog and smiled to myself knowing what beauty was coming. Then after about fifteen minutes I decided to go in and just have a little sneak peek. That's when I saw.

THEY WERE INSTALLING THE WRONG COUNTER TOPS! The second I walked in I knew what went wrong. There must have been some miscommunication and they were installing our first choice in counters and not the one we switched to. If you don't remember, our first choice was Giallo Fantasia but then we switched to Santa Cecilia Light after not realizing it was another choice we hadn't seen the first time.

From Giallo Fantasia to Santa Cecilia Light

After calling the boss and realizing their mistake they kindly offered to give us a free bathroom vanity top IF we kept the counters because honestly the installers were in big trouble because they now had all this cut granite that they could not use again. But after seeing it in place I was very glad that I made the switch and kindly denied their offer. The heart knows what it wants, no? Now we have to wait until Wednesday afternoon to have the new counters and sink installed-- and once again we are sinkless. Sigh...

Friday, November 25, 2011

She's Done It Again

I decided over the weekend to spruce things up on the ol' blog, kinda like what's been going on inside the house lately. Simplifying and making things "ours" is the name of the game and we're inching closer every day. Along with the diy'ed ticking-stripe background and classic fonts, I updated our sidebar with the addition of my "Top 5 Faves" that I will hopefully be able to update frequently (as opposed to the old photos that had been there almost a year- wowza) as well as our Tour page. Thoughts? Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On The Bandwagon

Yup it's true, I've finally hopped on the Pinterest bandwagon after months and months of admiration. My friend joined and asked if I wanted an invite so I said sure, why not. What could I lose aside from countless hours of jaw-dropping "why didn't I think of that" moments? So now if you have some free time on this festive day in between stuffing your face and taking a nap, feel free to check out my humble boards. I actually think this will help me in my design ADD since I will be able to see at a glance what styles I am drawn to and can make better decor choices from here on out.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Identity Crisis (and a lot of lists)

After finally clearing out every last box and tool from the living room we are left with a practically blank slate in which to most effectively evaluate the situation. And it's not pretty. Unfortunately after years of apartment-dwelling and hand-me-downs we're left with quite the "eclectic" mix of furniture.

Not only that, but my apparent love of brown is blatantly clear. The rug is actually a recent purchase and I found it during one of my many trips to Home Depot of all places. I wasn't looking for a rug at the time but once I saw it and then felt it I was sold- it's super soft. These pictures aren't doing it much justice either because it has such pretty blues and greens in it that are being overshaddowed by all the BROWN. 

Here's a picture I took over the weekend before I finished cleaning where the color is much truer. Our walls are definitely a gray tan and the rug has no yellow-undertones (I think I need to change our light bulbs).

Now let's take a closer look at the top picture for a sec and evaluate just exactly what's going on here:

There are clearly four different styles going on at once.
1. Modern neutral Dolce slipper chair
2. Timeless tailored leather sofa
3. 1970's bold patterned wing back chair
4. 1950's mid-century dresser turned TV console

Yowza. The craziest part is actually what you don't see right on the other side, in the dining room. In there is our black parsons desk (modern) and our chunky hand-me-down dining table (colonial). Good golly that's a crazy mix of furniture. The funny thing is I never really noticed it until it all wound up in one room staring back at me. 

Here's what we're thinking we can do to remedy the situation for little to no money:

1. Bring out (and assemble!) our second slipper chair.
2. Put the wing back chair in the basement (which will eventually be a family room).
3. Construct white built-ins around the bare window with a bench in between beneath the window. The TV will then be relocated to one of the built-ins (probably the one on the left) and the white will counteract all the brown.
4. Move the dresser to the dining room where it will serve as a buffet (and possibly get painted).
5. Hang window treatments.

Then in the more long-term realm, we'd like to buy another sofa and have them facing each other, perpendicular to the built-in wall. This way the TV isn't necessarily the focal point of the room and you can sit and talk to people without being right in front of the TV. Now here's where my awesome Photoshop skills could come in handy but seeing as I have none of those, you'll have to just use your imaginations! Basically picture built-ins around the window and the TV console as a sofa. There, you see? I know we'll get there one day so we're just taking things step by step and we're excited to see how this room will transform over time into what we imagined all along, kinda like these rooms:

Obviously minus the fireplace...

You tell me, how long did it take you to hit your style stride and make your living room into the room that greets you when you walk in the door? I'm looking forward to that day.

I won't be posting tomorrow (and maybe not even Friday) so a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all! Enjoy your weekends. I'll see you on Monday when full Christmas-mode strikes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kitchen, Almost There

Here's how the kitchen has shaped up since we finished installing the floors, cabinets, and all appliances (minus the fridge we hope to upgrade soon):

Two or three floating shelves will hang above the dishwasher.
Our contractor re-installed our old sink and faucet so we could use it temporarily until our new one arrives (it will be mounted underneath the counters).

This is the wall that is stumping me in terms of artwork/display items/etc...?
I intentionally left it blank but I'm having a hard time picking just one thing to go there.

I can't even believe how far we've come in such a short amount of time. Granted the demo period lasted a couple of months but from drywall and paint until now it only took a week! And in case you're wondering, yes the walls are painted and they will stay white, or rather Swiss Coffee by Behr. The ceiling is painted the beautiful Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore (same as our bedroom color) and I love the softness it adds to the room. Once everything is completed I will do a full round-up of all of our sources but if you wanna know something, just ask.

What's left to be done:

  • Pick out, buy, and install hardware (BTW, we're going with black!)
  • Buy and install faucet (we think we want this one)
  • Finish all the moldings and trim, including the window frame and sill
  • Buy/build and hang floating shelves above dishwasher
  • Finish caulking a few seams
  • Frame out the pass-through
  • Replace ceiling fixture
  • Window treatments
  • Countertops (to be installed Friday!)
  • Accessorize (rug/towels/art)
  • Probably a bunch of other little details I'm forgetting but will frantically finish before taking final After's

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Lovin' It

The kitchen reno is blissfully 75% done right now, we're busy finishing up all the little details (moldings, switch plates, pendant), and I've turned my attention to the detailed details (art, floating shelves, accessories). Things should be thoroughly completed by the end of next week and hopefully after Thanksgiving weekend I can post a full reveal. I know you can't wait for that :)

To kick off the series today, here's what I was lovin' last night:

Homemade biscuits in our new oven. Yay!

Now let's get into a little more loveliness from the past week shall we:

  • This barn half bath makeover, seriously stunning yet very relaxed and inviting:

Happy Friday guys!  I know this post was shorter than usual but let's just say we're eager to get started on our weekend. We're hoping to relax and enjoy this one since we haven't been able to in a while and now we have no major projects to complete! Don't get me wrong, there's still PLENTY to do but we're happy to take it easy and enjoy a nice fall weekend. I do hope to squeeze in a little temporary-tool-closet turned proper-coat-closet makeover so we'll see how far I get on that. What are your plans?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kitchen Pendant and a Sneak Peek

Cabinet installation is officially under way and I can report that all the base cabinets are safely in place- woot! Our contractor worked really hard to finish up all the base cabinets first because at ten this morning our granite people are coming/came (depending on when you read this) to make the template for the countertops and backsplash, which are due to be installed on Black Friday. In the meantime, all the upper cabinets should be in place by the end of today and then we can finally use our kitchen once again!

In other exciting news, I bought a pendant light to hang above our sink and provide some much-needed task lighting. Long story short: I bought the pendant last night at Home Depot for $18.98.

The long version of the story goes like this: I found the pendant online, loved it, and saw it was on sale for $15.99. Sweet. I checked to see if I could pick it up in store to save on the shipping but no dice. So I happily paid the $6 in shipping, bringing my grand total to only $24 for a pendant I loved that was still cheaper than other versions I'd previously had my eye on (like this one and this one). Then today when I got home from work my contractor showed me that it had come in the mail so I happily opened it up to check it out. That's when we realized the protective glass that sits in front of the bulb was cracked in multiple places. So last night I drove it out to our nearest Home Depot in hopes that they could order me some new glass or maybe give me some glass they had on hand. Unfortunately the return lady said I could only return it for a full cash exchange and then I'd have to buy it online again! I was annoyed to say the least and asked, "So what if the next one I order has broken glass? Do I have to keep ordering until I get it in one piece?" Now if you know me, I'm usually a very passive person when it comes to purchases and I pretty much never exchange things because it is too much of a hassle. I'm gonna go ahead and blame the slight attitude on the fact that I want our kitchen done as soon as possible and I didn't wanna wait another week to get a new pendant that might be in proper condition. That's when she went ahead and checked her computer and said, "Oh, we have 12 in stock here." Of course you do... That's when I found our pendant on the sale rack for $18.98 and with tax it came out to about $20 bucks even. So I went home four dollars richer and one mini pendant light happier. Phew.

Here it is, the Hampton Bay Nautical Mini-Pendant Light Fixture:

See that-- on sale from $39.97!

I love that it's not super brassy but is a nice warm antiqued brass that is gonna look great against all the white.

And now, a sneak peek of the cabinets:

That is a wall cabinet sitting on top, waiting to be hung tomorrow.
Our pass-through now sits perfectly on top of the base cabinet to the right and will be practically even with the counters after they are installed.

We're planning to upgrade the fridge to stainless once we find a good deal. For now, I don't mind the white fridge so much when it is surrounded by such beauty :) We still need to decide on hardware and I'm having a tough time making a decision. I'm still between black and brushed nickel but I think once the counters are in place and we decide on a faucet I'll be able to make a more informed choice. My gut is telling me black, but we'll see how things go.

P.S. I updated the Tour page to reflect our most recent changes and all of our paint colors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living/Dining Room: Then and Now

In just a few short months (it'll be exactly four on Thanksgiving) we've made quite a bit of progress in the living and dining room- it's really just one long room open to one another. In that time we've:

  • Removed carpet
  • Removed tile
  • Painted
  • Removed, sanded, and re-painted trim
  • Laid new wood floors
  • Reattached (some of) the moldings

So here's a little recap of our house on closing day, moving day, about a month ago, and today:

Closing Day

Moving Day

Beginning of carpet/tile removal

Sans carpet, about a month ago

And now

As you can probably tell there are still quite a few things in these rooms that are not permanent (the sink/trim/nail gun/seat cushions/boxes) and some that will stay but are just not in there permanent places yet (the TV/two wingback chairs/area rug/ottomans). So while we've made a lot of progress there's still plenty more to come- namely adding a little color because it's feeling pretty Browntown in there, am I right? All the fun accessories can come out once all the major pieces are in place so we'll get there, slowly but surely.

Monday, November 14, 2011


This Monday couldn't possibly give me the blues because our cabinets are being installed TODAY and our floors were finished YESTERDAY. Sorry for the caps but I am overly excited to know that we don't need to lay another floor board for as long as we live in this house, and that my friends is exciting. We still need to tweak a few here and there, fill in a few dings, and put the moldings back on but they are d-o-n-e and it feels as good as they look. Here's how the kitchen looked during and after:

Cabinets should be done by Wednesday and that is when our countertop people are coming to measure the template for the granite. We're also hoping to bring over our appliances that we bought back in June sometime this week and then we will have a fully functioning kitchen (our contractor is going to set us up with a temporary countertop until we get the real thing so we can use our sink). We are still on the hunt for an over the range microwave (we've been scouring Craigslist to no avail) but if we don't find any good deals we may wind up just picking one up at Home Depot or Lowe's out of desperation. But we're hopeful that we'll find a good deal somewhere.

We're officially in the home stretch now guys!
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