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When it comes to decorating a dining table I’ve always stuck to a simple formula. One thing in the center of the table. Sometimes it’s a large platter. Sometimes it’s a simple candle. Sometimes it’s a huge clam shell (which by now you’ve probably noticed is our new kitchen’s fruit bowl). I guess I never really thought about my table decorating technique until I started seeing cute little dining table vignettes in every publication from Domino to Pottery Barn. You know what I’m talking about, those perfectly asymmetrical arrangements with some plates and a cup full or spoons- or a casual stack of napkins and a collection of glasses. Well, I never thought I could

How Much Did Our Kitchen Renovation Cost? (& How We Saved)


After our big kitchen reveal yesterday, it seems like the million dollar question still lingers: how much did it cost? (Hint: It wasn’t millions… and it was WAY below the national average spent on a major kitchen remodel, which is $44,000 according to After crunching some numbers last night we figured out exactly how much our wallets really bled during this project and (thankfully) how much we managed to save in the process. And we’re talking start to finish- wider doors, new floors, electrical, lighting, appliances, etc, etc. This wasn’t just your average cabinet and countertop update. Here’s the breakdown: Demo & Construction: $1,400 (negotiated down from $2,400) A local contractor and mason removed

113 Days Later: Our Kitchen Renovation Is DONE!!


Who would have ever thought we’d be without a kitchen for almost four months? Not us. But it’s baaaaaack. And it’s better than ever. First a shot of the kitchen that came with the house when we purchased it almost two years ago: And now for the dramatic transformation we promised. The granite was totally the icing on the cake. Here’s a shot of the whole shebang as seen from the living/dining room: And here’s a shot of the left side with that sexy hood that we just used while MAKING DINNER. Sorry for the caps, we just haven’t made dinner at home in ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN DAYS!!! Oops, there I go again. Here’s

Kitchen Confidential


The counters are in and boy are they better than sliced bread. After months of waiting for a surface to dice upon, any old counter would do. But our sparkling new granite is just the bees knees. And instead of revealing the new counters, we’ve decided to make you wait until tomorrow (when the faucet, sink, and dishwasher will be fully installed) and then post the FINAL BEFORE AND AFTERS! Can you tell we’re excited? But the start of the day wasn’t nearly as thrilling as the end. It was full of the usual trials and tribulations of home improvement. First, when the truck pulled up I thought it was some sort of joke. Check

Home Sweet Self-Assembled Home

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Between the numerous pieces of Swedish named furniture I’ve owned (or still own) and my collection of complimentary allen wrenches, there have been plenty of times in my life when I felt like I practically lived in IKEA. I’m sure plenty of you can relate. Especially if your name is Mark Malkoff. On January 7th, Mark took this notion to the extreme and literally moved into everyone’s favorite meatball-servin’ furniture store. As the comedian documents on his website, he was granted permission to live in an IKEA in Paramus, NJ for six days while his New York City apartment was fumigated for roaches. And this is apparently not his first PR stunt, he’s also known

On The Road Again: Just Beachy


We’re currently blogging from the beach. Now before you get jealous let me just say that it’s about 20 degrees outside and we even got some light snow last night. But we’re loving the chance to relax and recharge at John’s parents’ lovely beach house just outside of Rehoboth, Delaware. They recently purchased the house and it’s amazing how comfortable and homey they’ve been able to make it in mere months. And while we’ve spent our time playing board games, reading, watching movies, and snuggling Burger- we thought we’d take a quick break to share some fun decor ideas with you. First, meet the beautiful beach house (love those starfish in the window above the

Checking Out Our Pashmina Granite At The Stoneyard


Our new and improved granite slabs moseyed into town this week and, unlike our last visit to the stoneyard, it was definitely love at first sight. Here’s Sherry gettin’ friendly with our two hunks of Pashmina before they go in for cutting. The best news of the day was that our beautiful new counters are coming home on Tuesday. Score! That means our Home Depot installer can come back on Wednesday to hook up the plumbing and – dare I say it? – our new kitchen will be COMPLETE. ‘Til then, you’ll find us drooling over this photo we snapped of our soon-to-be countertop.

Great Balls Of Fire


I probably enter a Pier 1 about 2-3 times a year. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their aesthetic, it’s more like I forget they exist. But a few weeks ago when I swung through with a friend of mine, I laid eyes on the cutest little touch of texture: white ceramic honeycomb candle holders. In fact, I liked them so much that I actually went back and made three of them mine last night. At $4 a pop you can’t get much more bang for you buck. And the chic peekaboo detail- which I didn’t even know was possible in something ceramic- makes them special and maybe even a little sexy.

You And Me, Baby


Our adorable You + Me poster arrived on Monday and I finally got around to framing it yesterday afternoon. It’s the perfect color (a steely, silvery, plum that looks great against our pale tan living room wall) and the perfect sentiment for us newlyweds. We love it. And as predicted, Burger looks just as cute as the two dogs perched underneath it on the website. Proving once more that our pooch is always the perfect accessory.

Q: You Know What Sucks? A: Painting A Ceiling


The sheer equation of gravity + paint = nightmare. But add abnormally absorbent ceiling tiles that are bumpy and uneven to the mix. Sounds like something you’d like to do on a Friday night, right? Well for some deluded reason, it’s exactly how we spent our Friday evening. We’d been meaning to attack the dingy, half-painted ceiling tiles in our den for a while, and we finally got around to it this weekend. We even knew to use white primer instead of white paint for extra coverage (a tip passed along by one of our old contractors) so we thought it wouldn’t be that bad. It was. The whole process involved two gallons of primer,

Stairway To Heaven


We’d love to claim these before and afters as our own, but most of you know that our house is a one story ranch by now. Bummer. Anyway, this is what the stairway at my best friend’s Washington DC townhouse looked like this morning: And this afternoon: Let’s give the girl a hand! Amazing transformation. I’m never one to endorse covering up gorgeous wood flooring- and this gleaming staircase is no exception. Doesn’t it look much better naked? Of course she has some painting to do on those toe-kicks, but that’ll be quick and painless. The good news is that no sanding and restaining of the once-covered floorboards is necessary. Gotta love it when carpet

Lesson: Pick Granite Counters From A Slab, Not A Sample


The excitement began yesterday when we visited the stone yard to check out our granite slabs. And ended when we laid eyes on the giant hunk of Blanc Noir. The small, white sample with gray & black flecks that we fell in love with months ago looked nothing like the huge, gray, polka-dotted abomination in front of us. We weren’t about to put that busy 101 Dalmations-esque pattern anywhere near our tiny kitchen. We had to hunt down another option. And fast. Thankfully, several trips to Home Depot and a few local stone yards led us to our one true love: Pashmina. It’s everything that Blanc Noir isn’t: much lighter and less spotty with much

Warming Up A Living Room That’s Feeling Stark


While the majority of America seems to love hoarding and clutter, John and I are lone mice. Or whatever the opposite of a pack rat would be. But there’s a fine line between clean, uncluttered spaces and cold, stark rooms. It’s not an easy assessment to make on your own. But I was able to make an honest evaluation by photographing each of our rooms and then comparing each room in our house to rooms in decorating magazines and favorite furniture catalogs like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Ballard Designs. I quickly realized that while our rooms were clean and simple, they were severely lacking in the design department. So of course I was

Purty Prezzies


We said we’d fill you in on all the fabulous booty that we scored, so here ya go… From my newly engaged best-buddy-in-the-whole-wide-world (who’s marrying John’s cousin by the way!) we got this fantastic personalized planter. It’s perfect considering John and I were married in July of 07, and it’ll be something we’ll adore forever and a day. Now all we need is a plant with at least nine lives. We also got a gift card to West Elm which we promptly spent about 20 hours after we unwrapped it. These shiny gold boxes were the first things that caught our eye (perfect for storing all the stuff we’d rather not see). Storage must have

2008: The Year of the Kitchen


Happy ’08 everybody! We hope the new year brings you everything the old year hasn’t. As for us, we’re hoping it includes a finished kitchen. To help celebrate our new year in our new kitchen, I snagged a perfect little gift off Etsy to be part of Sherry’s Christmas present. It’s a calendar called “A Year in the Kitchen” and it features 12 really cool illustrations of kitchen gear, each designed against a bold color that corresponds to the season. At 5.5″ x 17″ it looks good in several spots, but we’re waiting for the countertops to go in before we commit to a final location. You can get your own from the Smack of