Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kitchen Details

When you're renovating a kitchen there are tons of little decisions that need to be made.  Now that we're pretty much finished with all the messy work-- demolition, replacing windows, electrical, and drywall repairs-- the next step is for Doug to start building the rest of the cabinetry.  That means, I've got to make some decisions since sink and lighting choices will impact the size and style of cabinets he needs to build.

At this point, this is the direction I'm heading with my kitchen.

I want a classic all white kitchen, but want to inject a little personality by changing up some of the details.  All white can be tricky-- keeping things more minimal can make the kitchen feel sterile and boring, but if you go a little crazy and add too many "charming" elements you could end up with a country-ish kitchen.  So when I started to think about the look I want, this kitchen kept coming to mind.

I love that it's white and timeless, but doesn't feel stark and boring.  The open shelves, subway tile with grey grout, and the organic touches make this kitchen charming.  That's what I want-- a classic kitchen that still feels casual, inviting, and interesting.

It's a little hard to believe that my kitchen could look a little bit like that-- considering the current state it's in.  But, when I think back to what it looked like when we first moved in and how far we've come in this house...

... I know it's going to be amazing when it's all done!

I could go on and on about ALL the details in this post-- but I don't want to bore you with everything all at once!  So instead, I'll post more about the different choices we'll be making for our kitchen over the next week or two.  Stay tuned for more ramblings about my kitchen!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The only thing cuter than ONE little person on a swing...

Is TWO little people on a swing...

Monday, May 28, 2012

No Turning Back

My kitchen looks like this-- right now.
Too late to turn back?  I think so.

We (meaning Doug) have been hard at work over the past few days.  I thought the demo stage was almost done-- I was wrong.

Remember this floor to ceiling window in my kitchen?  I think it actually used to be a door that led to the deck from the kitchen-- the previous owners converted it into a huge window.  It let in a lot of light (which is nice) but it also took up a lot of precious wall space-- wall space we intend to convert into more cabinetry and counter space.  It was also constantly covered in little sticky handprints. :)

Today we said goodbye to the window.  Goodbye window-- hello more counter space!
Doug also installed a new window above my kitchen sink-- it's the same width, but comes down a couple extra inches-- now I can see my whole backyard from my kitchen window...

Losing a window will mean that I've lost a lot of natural light-- a little sad.  But-- Doug and his brother installed 6 new pot lights in the kitchen on Saturday so it's still going to feel nice and bright.  And really-- all that afternoon sun streaming into my kitchen made the room HOT HOT HOT in the summer.  Hopefully it will stay a little bit cooler in there over the next few months.

Well-- that's where we're at in the kitchen today!
I think it's safe to say that I probably won't be cooking dinner in there tonight... 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Living Dangerously

I have a strict "food must be eaten at the dining room table" rule in this house.  Doug and I break this rule every night while the kids are sleeping-- the other day Caleb woke up to discover that there was a small stain on one of the couches where Doug accidently dropped a piece of chocolate.  Caleb was HORRIFIED.  "Doesn't Daddy know that eating in the living room is not allowed?" he asked.  "It makes such a mess-- when Daddy gets home I'm going to have to remind him that he can't eat in the living room."  And when Doug arrived home from work that night Caleb did what he set out to do-- he tore a strip off him... told him he needed to learn to listen and made him promise that he'd never do it again.  And I was just a little bit proud-- wonder where he learns those lines?

But sometimes rules are meant to be broken.  I let Caleb live dangerously yesterday afternoon-- at least he thought so.

A well placed blanket, a makeshift bib-- and this momma didn't have to worry about the juicy oranges being eaten on her white couches.

living dangerously... it may be a little lame-- but this 4 year old was really "eating it up".


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm Down with the DIY...

I L-O-V-E a great DIY project.  I can be a little picky when it comes to DIY-- it's gotta be good-- like seriously amazingly good-- not cheesy.  Here are some of my recent fav's...  prepare yourself-- they're awesome.

DIY rope mirror-- why pay $650 bucks for the RH Iron & Rope mirror when you could make this beauty yourself for $50!  Unreal.

These burlap covered letters are so stinkin' cute.  Pick up some cardboard letters for $1-2 bucks from a craft store/dollar store, cover them with burlap-- instant charming nursery decor.

It seems that you're not an expert DIY-er until you've hacked yourself a rast.
These are some of my favorites...

Campaign Style 

Two Tone 

I've loved the wood/painted white ones in the past but the grey and white combo is pretty great...


I don't know about you but all of a sudden I have the urge to go spray paint something.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Over the weekend the rest of the kitchen demolition took place.

All the upper cabinets came down, except for the one above the microwave-- it's helping to secure the microwave to the wall so it's not going anywhere until the new one is ready to go up.  Doug tore down the bulkhead that was above the cabinets and also ripped out the backsplash.

Next up... replacing the windows, some electrical work needs to happen, dry wall repairs will take place, and then the rest of the cabinets can be built and installed.

In the meantime, the contents of most of my kitchen is being stored in the new cabinetry Doug started building.  I must say-- it's amazing how big the room feels when there are no upper cabinets in place.  I always thought I had a pretty tiny kitchen, but when it's all open it actually is a decent sized room.

I'm starting to finalize the all the "pretty" stuff-- countertops, backsplash, hardware, lighting choices, faucet/sink choices, and also trying to establish how much open vs. closed cabinetry.  I'll share some of those details soon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random Friday

In no particular order, let me share some not so meaningful things with you...

I went shopping this week.  I had an off day.  When I go shopping I'm usually worried about my kids being trouble-- I should start worrying about myself a little more often.  I broke a candle holder at Chapters.  I lost my phone-- not once-- but TWICE.  The first time I realized I'd lost it before I left the store.  The second time around I didn't notice until I was in a totally different store-- thankfully someone found it and had turned it to the store employees.  Meanwhile Eme was a perfect little angel.  On a positive note-- I took the candle holder that I broke to the front to pay for it-- the lady told me not to worry about it, said it happened all the time, and gave me an unbroken one instead.  Made me feel a teeny bit better.

And then I went to Old Navy and bought a new pair of shorts-- they cost me... get this... NINETY SEVEN CENTS.  Honestly.  I was so excited about my great deal.  But then I got home and started to worry.  Should I be concerned that that nobody else wanted to buy them?  Were the shorts so uncool that they had to drop the price to ninety seven cents to finally get someone to buy them?  Should I be concerned that they are pleated in the front?  Bah.  Who cares.  I'm totally going to wear them.

They kind of look like these shorts-- but in a light denim.  If they look good on her, they've got to look good on me... right?

Moving on.

My kitchen renovation is happening in slow motion.  Seriously SLOW.  At the rate we're moving I calculate that it will be complete in approximately 2 years.

Meanwhile, my Lark & Lily business partner has renovated her kitchen-- top to bottom-- in approximately 2 weeks.  That girl... she runs a tight ship... I seriously can't believe she's pulled it off... and it's going to look spectacular...

However, I did order some of my hardware for my new kitchen and it arrived the other day!  So exciting.  I decided to bite the bullet and order my ultimate favorite bin pulls from Restoration Hardware in polished nickel.  They were on final sale.  They are gorgeous.  I love em.

And, I am happy to report that the roman shades that I made for my two kitchen windows have been removed.  That's a little progress for you.  They are not included in the new kitchen design... so... that means that there are 2 green fixed roman shades that are available for the taking.  If you have a windows that is 31 1/2" wide or 33 1/2" wide (there are two) and you desire a green lattice print shade-- it's yours.  Seriously... if anyone wants them... come get them before I take them to MCC.

Another random thing... has anyone out there tried Turkish bath towels?  I've heard they're wonderful.  And just look at them... so gorgeous.  And, they are huge-- if they're as soft as they say, you could use it as a pretty throw blanket or take it to the park for a picnic (although I probably wouldn't let me kids eat on it).  I am kind of tempted to buy one... have you ever used one?  Are they awesome?

Another random thing-- I REALLY want to eat this.  No, actually... I REALLY wish I was back in Italy dining al fresco eating this.  Seriously.  About 10 times this week either Doug or I have talked about how much we wish we could go back.  It doesn't help that I keep getting these emails in Italian from Trenitalia-- it's like they taunting me-- come back... come back...

Maybe making this Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream would be sufficient.  Nope.  Probably not... but it's worth a try... right?  Maybe if I eat it al fresco on my deck I can pretend I'm sitting along a canal in Venice...

More random...  how about something pretty?

I am so loving this bathroom... can't believe I'm already thinking about a bathroom reno when our kitchen one is about 5% completed.  But, I love those sinks, the vanity, the lights... the striped carpet!  Although, I would hate to have to try and clean up all those dust bunnies underneath the vanity... annoying.

Hmmm... how about this gorgeous bedroom?  It's it perfect?  I could go for a nap right about now...

Ummm... is this not the cutest little bed ever?  I'm thinking that I could see this in Eme's big girl room one day soon.  Except, I wouldn't pay $500+ dollars for it.  I've gotta find me one of these on craigslist and buy me some spray paint!

Another random tidbit-- I'm growing out my bangs in the anticipation of summer (exciting stuff-- I know).  Heat and humidity makes my wavy hair look a little scary-- so I'm planning to embrace the curls.  Kinda like Kate...

Truth be told-- I've actually changed my mind about the "growing out the bangs" thing about 6 times already in the past few weeks.  Like I said before-- exciting stuff.  Aren't you so glad you're still reading?

Okay, one last random thing for today.  I finally booked myself some plane tickets.  In three weeks I'll be flying SOLO with my TWO kids to see my family a few provinces over.  Usually-- flying with the kids is not a big deal-- but Eme is SO squirmy these days... I'm dreading it.  But, I figure-- all I've gotta do is get them there.. then Nana and Papa can take over...

If you've continued to read to the end... congratulations.  Have a great weekend... you deserve it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The best kind of lighting is free...

I love love love looking at fantastic lighting.  I've written about it a few times on this blog.  A long time ago I wrote a little rant about the not so great lighting I inherited in my home.  I also celebrated when I found my ideal dining room light at a RH outlet.  

Now, I have two problems when it comes to sourcing attractive lighting in my current home.  The first issue is my budget-- obviously.  I tend to have an easy time finding gorgeous lighting that would be perfect in my home-- finding gorgeous lighting that fits into my budget?  Not so easy.  Secondly, there are only a few places in my home where I have room for low hanging pendants.  The ceilings in my house are standard height-- and I have a husband that is NOT a standard height (6'7"-- yup, he tends to hit his head on a lot of things).  So, the only lights that are work in my house are flush mounts or semi flush mounts.

Unfortunately most flush mount light fixtures in my price range tend to look like this...

And if you know me-- those lights are not allowed to be brought into this house.  I have two in the hall right now-- I'm just ITCHING to change them into something fantastic.

Obviously-- pot lights would work with the ceiling height restrictions in my home.  I like pot lights-- but they can be expensive and a lot of work to install-- and a house full of pot lights can be a little boring.  Really great lighting can totally finish a room and give it some personality.  I like personality.

Some of my favorite flush mounts (and semi-flush mounts) have a little vintage charm... I think we can all agree that these ones are pretty fantastic.

Love the stripes-- the brass finish would probably be my favorite...

Maybe I'm going to have to make a little trip back to the RH outlet to look for these!!

Now these are my absolute favorites... but they are SIGNIFICANTLY outside of my lighting budget...

I think a pair of these would be so fantastic in my hallway...

Kind of like this hall way....  love it!

So the hunt for affordable lighting continues... I have found a few along the way that could work.

I thought that two of these in the hallway would work-- and they could also be a good option for the kid's rooms.  At $50 each-- they are much more affordable.

This one is pretty charming... only a quick trip across the border...

So there are a few attractive lights out there for reasonable prices.  But-- like the title of this post suggests-- the best kind of lighting is FREE.  So when my brother and sister in law were renovating a room in their home and were getting rid of a charming retro inspired brass light fixture-- I snapped it up!

I think Doug's family thought I was a little bit crazy when I said I wanted it... and truth be told... I wasn't so sure it would work.  Maybe I was crazy to want it.  But then I saw this bathroom makeover in June's issue of House and Home:

They used a vintage pendant light that is almost identical to the free one I scored.  Needless to say, I had Doug install it immediately in Caleb's room.  And.... I LOVE it!

(as you'll see in the picture-- some touch up painting of the ceiling still needs to happen)

And I had about 1.5 seconds to snap a picture before this happened...

Guess you could say that Caleb's pretty excited about his new light too.

I know that not everyone would want to bring a light fixture like this BACK into their home.  Style is subjective.  But, if you're a fan of charming, one of a kind, vintage inspired light fixtures-- you are in luck.  Thrift stores are full of them if you're willing to look around-- and who knows... you might score a free one like me :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Keeping Cool

I finally found a summer hat that Eme will wear...

Turns out she didn't like all the dorky brimmed kids hats.
And really, I didn't either.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Perfect Day

It was the perfect Mother's Day...

It started when I heard some commotion coming from the hallway-- I heard something about "making mom breakfast" so I took that as a sign to stay in bed until I was summoned.  At 9 am (yes-- you read that correctly 9 AM) I was "woken" by sweet little faces, gifts, handmade cards, coffee, and breakfast.  I opted to take my breakfast at the table with the kiddos-- bacon & eggs, orange juice (Caleb was apparently in charge of making it), chocolate croissants, and fresh strawberries.  The best part of breakfast?  The fact that Doug fried to bacon outside on the barbeque so that the house wouldn't smell like bacon grease.  Yup, he knows me :)

But the best part of the day was when we went to the beach!  It was such a gorgeous day that we spontaneously decided to head out to White Rock-- first trip of the season.

I think it was Eme's first time "experiencing" the beach.  She LOVED it.  She ran as fast as she could into the water-- and then ran as fast as she could out of the water-- over and over.

Is there anything cuter than a little girl in a bathing suit?  I don't think so...

Caleb-- of course-- enjoyed himself too...

Me and my little lady... today I took a break from cooking, cleaning, and apparently doing my hair.  My apologies.

One day this kid will be the one bending down to give his mama a kiss-- one day...

And getting two kids to stand still for a picture is a whole lot harder than it looks.

The rest of the day was spent chuckling over how cute our kids look sleeping in the backseat of the car, lounging on the deck, splashing in our kiddy pool, eating watermelon, and soaking every towel in my house.  

It was perfect.