Archive for November, 2011
I have been meaning to update you guys on four thrifty purchases (well, technically there are nine of them, because I got six of one thing) so let’s get into it. First we have this gilded pineapple vase that I found for $4 at Goodwill. Can you guess what I love most about it? Yup, the hex pattern all over the body of the vase. Even though it’s clearly pineapple influenced, it felt so “bees” to me (more on why we love bees here). And the antique gold finish is really pretty in person. Not too Donald Trump shiny, so it feels timeworn and authentic.
And see those three jars around them? They were sent over by a friend (ohmygoshIlovethem Amy – thankyouthankyouthankyou!) and they look perfect with my new vase. The color of the pretty lids are exactly the same antique-gold color and… wait for it… there are little bees on the lid of each one. I also love the criss-cross glass effect.
They’re sitting on our desk to the right of my computer so I can glance over and smile at them every sentence or two.
Not kidding. That happens.
Second of all, this guy is ours. And he’s also something that now lives on our desk and gets lovingly gazed at:
The minute he popped up on West Elm we put in our order (we knew he’d be the perfect way to enjoy music in the office and much cheaper than a Bose stereo or some of the other docks on the market). He was actually back-ordered for a little while, but he finally showed up and we love him (update: we hear he’s now back-ordered until mid March of next year! Crazy!).
The sound quality is great – and of course the white ceramic animal feature is our favorite. He definitely adds some sense of humor and some festivity (thanks to the fun music that we can now play while we type away). Oh and his name? Humphrey. He’s a total Humphrey.
PS: Here’s a link to the music video for for the She & Him song that we were listening to. Zooey Deschanel is in all of her awkwardly weird glory, which we love. PPS: You should totally be watching New Girl.
Thirdly, I couldn’t resist bringing home six of these babies for $2.99 a pop from Marshall’s (originally $8 each).
I’ve never had matching mugs. We have one of those mish-mash collections that I never really minded (no more than two of the same kind) but I love that the next time I have John’s parents or my parents over we can all sip tea/coffee from the same mugs (and I still have my random mismatched mugs to use whenever the nostalgia hits).
It might be an embarrassing thing to admit, but they’re the first item of “china” that we own with a stamp on the bottom. All we registered for when we got married were basic white plates from Linens N Things without anything written under them.
Is it weird that this is one of those purchases that makes me feel like a grown up? And it’s kind of unnatural how excited I am to toss these up on the future-open-shelves in the kitchen with all of our everyday dishes and cups. If gazing up at them while eating breakfast at the peninsula is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Has anyone else out there made any “I feel so grown up” purchases lately? Like a fancy sheet set (still don’t have one of those) or plush new bathroom towels?
But wait, it’s time for thing number four. It was a small (maybe about a foot long) thrift store rocking horse (also from Goodwill) that I grabbed for $1 because I knew that I could modernize the country-ish “outfit” that he was wearing for zero bucks. I stupidly forgot to take a before picture of the guy, but he was sort of faux finished with lots of paint and decorative details on him like the pony below (found here).
The scribbly blue stuff that I photoshopped in around his neck is supposed to represent the blue raffia around the neck that was glued with lots of globby mounds dripping down my guy’s legs. Hotness.
First I named him Bosley. Then I got to work. I ripped off the raffia wreath around his neck and used an exacto knife to peel/scrape as much of the glue blobs off as I could. Eventually I had a nice smooth finish going on. Then it was time to spray prime the guy (since he was made of raw wood, I thought I might have bleed-through issues if I skipped right to painting).
After a few thin coats of spray primer and gray spray paint that I already had on hand from a past project, he was quite the looker. A bright color might have been fun too – but I opted to just use what I had for now. I’m loving the deep charcoal finish so far, but if I get antsy and Bos ends up hot pink I’ll be sure to tell ya.
He’s currently hanging out on the desk in the living room but I picture him traveling all over the house for a while (perhaps landing on a shelf in Clara’s room or the top of a desk or dresser in the playroom someday?). So far Clara has shown zero interest in him, but I have to admit that I got him because I hoped that someday she’d put a Barbie on him and gallop her all over the house. Yup, Bosley is perfectly Barbie-sized. We’ll have to wait and see if Clara is as crazy about this idea as I am…
Happy weekend everyone! Do you have any thrift store finds to share? Or new mugs with words on the bottom that make you feel oh-so-civilized? Or Barbie-sized anything? Lay it on me.
This email from Laurel-Dawn sounded like a common situation. You find yourself in a cookie cutter home, dying to put your own personal spin on the house so it doesn’t look exactly the same way that the builder left it. Well Laurel-Dawn and her husband definitely turned a common kitchen into something spectacular. Here’s her letter:
“I live in a super simple home. It’s what my mom calls a “tract home” which I personally hate, but I guess it’s true. I live in one of those neighborhoods where all of the houses look the same and it’s hard to put a personal stamp on things. I dream of someday updating a home with a lot of style from the get-go. Until then, I’m changing every surface of my abode, room by room, until it feels like me (and my husband too, I guess!?) Anyway, my dad helped me redo the kitchen and it’s my favorite space in our house. Here’s the before…
… and the during…
… and the after…
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be featured!” – Laurel-Dawn
Isn’t that amazing and borderline mind-blowing? Our favorite parts are the decorative corbels on the island and the rich wall color with the crisp white cabinets (and of course we love that she worked with what she had and just painted the original cabinets). You can peruse more pics and details over on her blog too. And if you’re in the mood for more of their home’s transformation, you should check out their dining room makeover. We’re obviously on a kitchen kick lately (go figure) but it’s a really cool update too!
Pssst- Katie B just posted a bunch of pics from our visit, and all the Clara + Will ones are killing us. Also, Sherry’s making a pretty awesome crazy face in one of them. Check things out here.
Some aspects of this kitchen remodel are certainly less exciting than others – especially when compared to having just opened the wall up. But alas, these things must be done. Including a few that we wanted to accomplish before the countertop guy came to template for our new counters (that’s something we want done accurately, after all).
First on our list of little things was filling the gaps next to our stove.
The base cabinet that we removed was 36″ wide, but the stove is only about 30″ leaving a little under 3″ of nothingness on either side. Since you can’t squeeze much function into two and 3/4ths inches (almost every pull-out drawer was 3″ or more), we decided just to put in filler pieces of wood. Oh and for anyone wondering why we didn’t scoot the stove to one side and add a wider pull out drawer, if we didn’t leave the stove centered the hood would be off-center, which would mean widening the ceiling hole (= drama). Plus none of the thin slide out drawers had doors that looked like our existing ones anyway, so it was just not worth the money/trouble. And although we thought about some sort of ornate leg or braided detail, we ultimately decided that we wanted other things like the wall of penny tile backsplash to be the star (along with items on our floating shelves), so two thin and basic filler pieces of wood were our final pick.
I grabbed a few pine “project boards” at Lowe’s, cut them to size, and drilled some pilot holes with my Kreg jig before screwing them carefully into place.
Obviously we needed the fillers at the front to visually fill the gap, but we also decided to put one at the back in case the counter guy needed it for support:
In total, each side had three separate filler pieces. We probably could’ve gotten away with two, but it’s not like the boards were breaking the bank (I spent about $11 total on this entire project – which is at least $100 cheaper than some sort of pull out dealie).
Here are both sides done (ready for the stove to slide back into place):
Not bad, eh? Once the counters are on and the cabinets are primed and painted no one will even notice them. Especially since many of the other base cabinets in our kitchen already have fillers in the 2.5″ range.
Then we stepped a little closer and put on our Picky Pants and we saw that there was still a noticeable gap. Guess we’ve gotta go buy a bigger stove…
Kidding. Obviously I just needed to add one more sliver of filler wood. The gap was just over 1/4 of an inch, and I knew we could do better. So I headed back out to Lowe’s a grabbed a couple of these.
It’s a 3/8″ thick project board that fit perfectly into my slightly-too-big gap, thank goodness (though they added $4 to my total budget, now breaking the bank at $15). So I nailed those two suckers in place, being super sensitive to keeping them flush with my other filler piece along the front.
Here’s what they looked like on both sides. I didn’t bother putting them any further than the first two panels since they were strictly aesthetic.
Then we just slid the stove back in. MUCH better. I know it’s hard to tell in the pic below, but trust us that it’s just about as snug as we’d ever want it (any closer it would be hard to get the stove in and out). Oh and once we demo the tile from behind the stove it’ll be able to push back against the wall a bit more for a more flush look. And once we add the toe kick across the front of all the cabinets the bottom will be seamless too.
So with that done…
… our next little task was over on the peninsula.
Since we don’t want the guy templating the counters to think we want an angled corner or anything, we wanted to attach a flat panel on the back of the entire peninsula. It’s something we’d have to do eventually, so why not tackle it while we wait for counters? You can see in the photo above that I had already attached a little corner piece to anchor the panel against the half wall. Here it is a little closer:
It’s basically just two scrap pieces of wood that I screwed together at a 90-degree angle using my jig. Then I screwed it into the wall so that the flat edge would be flush with the back of the cabinets. Then I was ready to attach my plywood panel.
I actually bought this piece of wood back when I got the plywood for our refrigerator built-in so I could transport it in my rented Lowe’s truck (how’s that for thinking ahead!). It’s just a thin piece of “utility plywood” that the Lowe’s guy recommended. It was a whopping $9. They had cut it to size for me in the wood cutting area, but because we had later switched from a 21″ end cabinet to an 18″ end cabinet I had 3″ of overhang that I had to cut off with my jigsaw.
So here it is all cut and nailed into place:
Not very exciting looking, we know. Eventually we’ll be adding trim – baseboards, corner pieces and maybe even a three paneled board and batten look. Not sure yet. Oh, and it will of course get painted to match the cabinets. But for now it accomplishes the goal of squaring off that corner for the countertop measuring festivities (it’ll have a 12″ overhang of Corian on two sides to accommodate four stools).
Can you sort of start to see how it’s coming together? Of course the chairs are placeholder and we hope to get some lighter looking stools (maybe made of acrylic for a nice airy feeling).
Oh, and do you notice the other thing that we did in the picture above? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a “p” and ends with “aint touch ups.”
Obviously paint was not a critical step for the counter templating process, but it was more for our sanity (and we had it all on hand so it was free). There’s still lots to be painted (um, hello cabinets – but those have to wait until we get our counters in to avoid dings). So we got busy painting the raw trim, drywall, and paneling leftover from the pantry/fridge shuffle and wall opening. It really does make our exceedingly unfinished kitchen look a smidge less unfinished.
You’ll notice that we opted to paint the inside edge of the half wall light grey like the dining room. We figured it’d be weird to carry the grellow that’s on the kitchen paneling over since the side of the half-wall is drywall (like the light gray dining room). The soft grey is much more subtle and almost looks white like the rest of the door jamb, so it works nicely.
Oh and don’t mind the drip on the “temporary threshold.” That’s actually just a piece of paneling that we had leftover from the wall opening project that we cut down, flipped painted-side-down, and nailed in to bridge the gap that was created by removing the wall. It’ll eventually get covered with cork and we’ll add a very small threshold to join the cork to the original hardwood (just like we did in our first house where the original hardwoods met the new ones that we added to half of the house).
Now here are a bunch of “after painting” pictures of the kitchen and dining room (since it’s the closest thing we’ll have to a polished after for at least a few months). But ignore the two oddly placed floor lamps in the dining room (we can’t wait to get a big chandelier for over the dining table) along with the new microwave box sitting near the built ins (the new dishwasher box is hanging out in the office until install time).
Oh, and although it’s not the most glamorous angle, a few folks requested a view from the living room, so here it is. We love that we can see the giant picture window from the back of the house. Widening this doorway would definitely be a nice change, but having widened a former-exterior brick wall in our first house we know it’s a messy and not necessarily easy job (this used to be the back of our house before they added an addition, which means it’s hugely load bearing and could be a big ol’ can of worms). So for now it’s on our “maybe someday list.” Although sometimes we think we’ll appreciate the privacy in the living room since it’s not a big wide-open straight shot from the front window to the back of the house.
Wow, that was a lot of pictures for a post about little things like filling gaps around the stove, nailing a panel to the peninsula, and doing some paint touch ups. I counted an even 30 photos. Guess we’ve been a bit trigger happy with the camera lately. Must have something to do with that glorious new doorway of ours. And yes, we still walk into the kitchen and grin at it like fools.
What little updates or small progress have you made on projects around your house? Any last minute tasks that you’re trying to bang out before this weekend or Thanksgiving?
Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.