The Heart of The (Show) Home

Happy May and, well, Happy Opening Day of Homearama! Yep, our showhouse is officially open to the public as of today, along with the six others in the show. Deepbreathsdeepbreaths.

Since we last showed you the office, butler’s pantry, and master suite (along with the master bathroom & closet) and then took a pause to have a baby, let’s pick back up in the main living spaces of the house: the living room & the kitchen – which you can see from the floor plan below are both pretty big zones on the first floor.

The walls in both the living room and the kitchen are Simply White, and then we layered in some colorful paint/textiles/art/accessories (like a navy fireplace column, a kitchen island in the same color, a breakfast nook full of colorful accessories, some bold art in both spaces, and a colorful rug and pillows, etc).

We had always wanted the fireplace to be the focal point of the living room, so we went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore to anchor that wall. And our awesome friend Lesli Devito painted a big portrait of Burger to bring a little cheekiness to the space (the TV will most likely hang there when the real family moves in, we just couldn’t resist an ode to Burger for fun during the show).

The coffee table and 9 x 12′ rug are both from West Elm, and that colorful basket is a HomeGoods find. The gray sofa, chair, and ottoman are from Green Front Furniture – it’s this model in the “smoke” color.

We selected the white wood mantle and marble surround/hearth through a local company and yes, the fact that the gas fireplace turns on with the flick of a switch on the side of the fireplace makes us crazy jealous. Updating our own fireplace may have climbed up our priority list after seeing how nice that is…

Here’s the view looking from the french doors that lead out to the back porch. In retrospect, we wish we placed the fixture box for that glass pendant light so it would be centered over the coffee table, but we chose electrical placements three months before furniture so it ended up a bit closer to the fireplace than we’d like (thankfully that’s a pretty simple thing to remedy after the show). This entire exercise has been one giant learning experience for us, and it’s amazing how many minute decisions (it feels like there were at least 1,000 of them) add up to one finished home.

Back in the corner you can see this console, which was a HomeGoods score – as were the lamps – and the baskets on the bottom are from Target. The large scale art is on loan from Lindsay Cowles (it’s for sale, btw!), and the bench under the window is also from Green Front. The blue pouf is ours (bought on Joss & Main a while back and stolen from our own house in the name of filling up this one for the show). We took these photos before all of the white plantation shutters got installed throughout the house, which really finish off each room.

The side table was a last minute buy from World Market and the gold-based lamp was a project from our book (once again stolen from our house in those final make-it-work hours). That red planter for the fiddle leaf fig is from Lowes.

The living room light fixture was one of the last pieces we selected, since we were having trouble finding something that didn’t compete with the gold accordion lights in the adjoined kitchen (filling up this house in a matter of weeks made it nerve-wracking whenever we couldn’t find something and the clock was ticking down). It wasn’t until we saw the Clear Glass Chandelier hung up in the master bathroom that we realized another one would look great down here, but instead of using silver hardware like the one in the bathroom, our friends a the Decorating Outlet were able to modify one to include gold hardware so it tied into the kitchen pendants.

Let’s move into the kitchen, some of which you’ve seen before (in this post) but I’ll call things out again, just so the sources are all in one place. The cabinets are from a local shop called Affinity. Most are in a stock gray color they offer (which is similar to Benjamin Moore’s Gray Timber Wolf) and the island is painted Hale Navy like the fireplace column on the other side of the room.

Two questions that came up a few times when we last shared the kitchen were:

1. Why is the quarter round around the island wood toned instead of painted? That’s just a standard thing the builder does with oak floors since it tends to hide dust and scuffs more (we think it’s regional since all of our houses in Richmond have also had wood quarter round) but he’s happy to paint it if a buyer prefers that look.

2. Why don’t the cabinets go to the ceiling? Some other homes in the show with 9′ kitchens have ceiling-height cabinets, but our first floor has 10′ ceilings, and cabinets that go all the way up to that height are pretty unusual (the builder said most of his buyers don’t want to pay the upcharge to gain such tall cabinetry – although his carpentry team is happy to build some sweet upper storage to bridge the gap if a certain buyer is interested in that upgrade).

One other funny thing we heard a few times when we met people at a little pre-show party at the house to honor the builder was “oh my gosh on your blog this kitchen looked about half the size – it’s huge!” – so while I had our tripod set up I threw my body atop the counter as a reference point (you know, as any normal person would). The island is over 11ft long, so my six foot frame has plenty of room to sprawl out. Just in case you and a few friends want to take a nap up there.

The stools are from West Elm, the gold accordion lights are from Shades of Light, the Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances are through a local company called Cline, and the cabinet pulls are from Liberty Hardware.

The counters are a White Moura marble that’s leathered (so it’s not a glossy, smooth finish) that we got through a local place called Eternal Stoneworks. To keep the glass cabinets from looking too busy, we just filled them with some white dishware from Target and HomeGoods.

One thing we never really got into with you guys was how we worked with Affinity to design the cabinet layout. We knew deep drawer-bases seem to be more coveted than cabinets with deep shelves since they pull out for easier access, and the experts at Affinity also suggested ways to take advantage of narrow spaces – like a roll-out spice rack and a vertical cookie-sheet organizer.

But perhaps my favorite storage areas in this whole kitchen are the big 30″ x 18″ cabinets on either end of the island. We used them a lot for stashing things out of the cleaning crew’s way and they were awesome. The island also houses the dishwasher, a roll-out double trash can cabinet, and tons of other storage spaces.

For the sink and faucet, we wanted something clean and functional. We went with this classic looking faucet and the deepest single sink the stone company offered. It’s 30″ wide and 10″ deep, which means it’s deep enough to hide a few canisters of donuts… you know, like if that’s the only thing handy you have on hand to show the scale.

The backsplash brings some nice polish to the space, it’s called white blend waterfall glass tile from a local company called Mosaic. The aqua pan was from World Market and the oil cans and cake stand were from HomeGoods.

Looking to the left of the kitchen is the breakfast nook, which we turned into a built-in banquette. You can also see the frosted double-doors that house the walk-in pantry, which we’ll get to in a minute.

We wanted to do something a bit bolder than your average table-and-chairs for the breakfast nook, so we worked with the builder’s carpenter (also named John) to construct floor-to-ceiling bookcases on either side and include a wraparound bench. The nice thing about the shelves is that when you stand on the banquette you can easily access everything (even that top shelf) so unlike ceiling-height kitchen cabinets (which would necessitate some sort of ladder), these are pretty easy to clean/reach by comparison.

 In addition to being a cozy space for family to gather, we pictured it almost being a casual spin on a china cabinet in a way. Instead of housing all of your fine china behind glass, you could display your everyday kitchenware, cookbooks, and framed art/photos in a less fussy setting.

The backs are painted Timber Wolf Gray to mimic the gray on the nearby cabinets. A big thanks to my sister (who works at Random House) and our publisher at Artisan who were able to provide some pretty cookbooks for us to use. Oh, and after we took these photos we had the show’s resident seamstress make some cushions for the bench. They’re deep gray like the backs of the stools at the island, so they tie in nicely.

The light fixture is the Large Simple Dome from Shades of Light, and we thought it referenced all the stainless steel and silver finishes in the kitchen (like the appliances, cabinet hardware, faucet, sink, etc) without going too crazy with gold everywhere. Our take on mixing metals is that as long as each finish occurs a few times throughout the space, it looks intentional and layered – so one fixture or finish isn’t the odd man out.

We considered setting the table more formally to emphasize how many people can fit around it, but opted instead for a more casual spread. The beverage container is from HomeGoods, the ceramic basket is from Target, and the napkins are from World Market along with the lemon squeezer.

The table itself was a custom build by John the Carpenter. It’s 5′ deep by 6′ wide, so it’s definitely not a size you can find in stock in most places – but we needed it to fit the nook exactly. We were initially going to get one built by a local timber company, but after two trips out there and a flurry of emails it turned out to be out of our budget. But we love how this one turned out, especially the stain color (we used the same tone as the hardwood floors – Jacobean) and the glossy bar coat on the top.

And here’s the pantry. The shelving was built by John the Builder’s carpentry team and they made sure the frosted french doors we selected didn’t interfere with any of the storage or block the hallway flow (by choosing short double doors instead of one large door, and having them open into a recessed area before the pantry shelving begins, they don’t block anything that could be stored in the pantry or block the hallway flow from the mudroom). The glass prism flushmount light is from Shades of Light, and it’s also in the nearby hallway and mudroom.

We realized that it was hard to tell scale from the photo above, so we snapped another picture with me for reference. It’s definitely on the generously sized side of things.

We chose not to “style” the pantry and took your suggestions to turn the room into a collection space for donated canned goods. So if you’re coming to Homearama, feel free to bring a canned good or two to benefit FeedMore (it’s our region’s hunger-relief charity organization). And if you don’t want to lug cans in your purse through the homes, you can also drop your donations off at the show’s front entrance / ticket counter.

We’re trying not to overload you guys with too much showhouse stuff all in a row, so we think we’ll just do one weekly update among other home/family stuff that’s going on in our house for the next few weeks. We also got to tour all six of the other showhouses yesterday, so we’re excited to share those with you guys in the form of a House Crashing post. Hopefully next week if we can get it together.

Psst- Homearama is now open! All seven showhomes are available to tour every Thursday – Sunday for the next three weekends. Tickets & more info is available here. And for more background on our involvement and how it benefits Habitat for Humanity, click here and here.

 

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