Friday, September 28, 2012

Check Us Out!

We're in print!
Last spring we were contacted by Better Homes & Gardens' Real Life Kitchens and Baths magazine to be included in a feature about bloggers and their renovation before & afters. The issue is now hot off the presses.
We're in good company too. The full article includes a kitchen reno from the blog, Retro Ranch Reno and a bath renovation by Jenna Sue Design.

This is one of the coolest things to ever happen to us.

My proud parents went straight to Kroger's the night I told them that the magazine was available. My dad took pictures of my mom holding the magazine in the middle of the supermarket aisle. She asked me not to use the pictures on the blog.
I understand. If I was the mother of a famous daughter and son-in-law I'd want to keep a low profile too :)

A special thanks to Maria Charbonneaux for writing the article, now available on Zinio and newstands.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Real Life Kitchen Makeover

No, this isn't my own kitchen, unfortunately. This beautiful new kitchen belongs to Chris's Aunt Neesie.  Neesie lives in a gorgeous oversized cape in a picturesque neighborhood in Washington. Chris and I have been eagerly following her kitchen makeover via email over the last few months. 

Her new kitchen is bright, clean, and uncluttered. This isn't a large space, but it certainly packs a lot of design punch. 

A remarkable change over what it looked like previously!
Neesie agreed to humor me by answering a few questions
Q: The countertops are beautiful. What is the name of the granite you used?  
A: The granite is called Bellisimo Lumineaux (or White Galaxy).

Q: How long did the renovation take?  
A: The kitchen portion of the project took about a month; however, because I remodeled the family room fireplace wall, the powder room, and put in new hardwood floors throughout, the total project took about two months.
Q: What do you love the most about your new kitchen?  
A: It is hard to pick one thing.  I have been dreaming of a new kitchen for 20 years and spent hours pouring over kitchen magazines.  The overall design of the kitchen came out exactly as I envisioned.  I love how open it feels without the upper cabinet over the peninsula.
Q: Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?  
A: The opening for the fridge is a bit too tight which makes it hard to open the left door.  The cabinet maker warned me about it, but I didn't want to sacrifice any more cabinet space.  I had my heart set on a counter depth French door refrigerator with custom panels which was wider than the standard refrigerator.
Q: Where did you splurge and where were you able to save some money?  
A: I splurged on the French door refrigerator with custom panels and on the induction stove.  The induction stove is amazing.  You can boil water in a minute and it is really sleek looking.  My biggest savings was hiring a very reasonable contractor who did an outstanding job.  He 
is my new best friend.

Q: What advice do you have for someone about to undergo a major kitchen remodel?  
A: Do your homework, don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions, be flexible, and be prepared for the unexpected.  You never know what is behind the walls, so have a contingency built into your budget.  Also, make sure you have a great contractor who can handle things in your absence.  Talk to people who have worked with the contractor and cabinet maker.

Thanks for sharing, Neesie! Chris and I can't wait to visit and enjoy your new kitchen for ourselves.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paint Prep

We're finally in the last stage of our exterior house transformation.
The painters showed up bright and early last Friday morning and began scraping away the loose paint and caulking gaps.
There are EPA rules contractors must follow when dealing with houses older than 1978 in order to keep properties, their inhabitants, and neighbors safe from the dangers of lead paint. The painter we hired will safely scrape the paint, capture it on sheets of plastic, then properly dispose of it. He can't sand because sanding will produce dust that would require a more serious level of abatement. We did get a quote from a painter who was willing to strip the paint down to the original wood following EPA guidelines, but it was going to cost us over $15,000. Maybe next time.
Chris and I don't have high expectations that scraping will remove all the bumps from previous layers of paint, but it will do the job. The way I see it, she's an old house and has earned the right to show a few wrinkles.

Barring any weather related delays, this should be a quick project. Good thing, because the anticipation of seeing our freshly painted house is driving me insane.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Upstairs, Downstairs

With the exterior painting scheduled to begin this week (and hopefully finishing shortly after), Chris and I are beginning to concentrate on our next project: The foyer, staircase, & hallways.
The hallways & stairs are centrally located in the house, so cleaning them up will surely make a big impact.
Here are pictures I took just shortly after moving in.
Downstairs hallway just inside the front doors.

Upstairs landing (That's our master bedroom straight ahead. The guest bath is to the left)
Close up of the sconces upstairs
Upstairs hallway (facing the front of the house)
There's a lot of potential here- I especially love how open and bright the upstairs hallway is-but there's also a lot that needs to be done. Right now it looks so old.
We're going to remove the wallpaper (it is vinyl and gross), refinish the stair treads and railing, hang picture molding and chair rail in the downstairs hallway, and paint all the dingy trim and doors bright white.

I got a head start two years ago when I painted the inside of the front doors black. According to those early blog posts, I was going to leave the wallpaper. Ugh! What was I thinking?

Monday, September 17, 2012

House Bling

As part of our home's exterior makeover, Chris and I are taking the opportunity to change out all the lighting. It is all about the details.
I didn't think that choosing exterior lighting would be so difficult until I started looking around. The selection out there is HUGE and it felt like everything was either too craftsman, too ornate, too expensive, or too blah. I wanted something simple, but not boring.

Look at the dinky lantern that's hanging over the front door now. This thing shines bright enough to attract bugs and that's about all it is good for.
We're replacing it with this one. (in powder coated black). Simple, elegant, perfect.

The light over the side door also needs to be replaced. It will go from this
To this

Finally (and this might be my favorite), we are replacing the utilitarian flood light over our garage
With a barn light that will be a little more decorative.
The icing on the cake is that our new lighting will be set up on a series of timers and motion detectors. One less thing for us to think about, I'm all for that.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Sword Story

One day a boy named Jim (Chris's dad) became friendly with a little old lady on his paper route. Occasionally she'd invite him inside while he collected payment for his route (the world was a safer place then). Jim had always admired an antique sword that hung in her home which she told him was from the War of 1812.
Years went by and eventually the little old lady passed away. Jim happened upon her estate sale and discovered the sword he'd long been fascinated by in a pile of treasures.

So of course he bought it.
It was $20.

Chris describes it as "one of those cool things that dads have". It was displayed in their family den in the home he grew up in.

And now (after almost a year of wondering where to put it), it is displayed in ours.

Don't you love when the decorative objects in your home come with a story?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Window Dressing

How fantastic is this window? 

I'd love to know what's on the other side. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Odds and Ends

My sister and I had big plans to go to Brimfield together over the weekend, but at the last minute we decided to go to Ikea because Ikea had stuff we both wanted to check out. Big mistake. They didn't have either of the items in stock I wanted (KLUBBO and SONGE), so I ended up leaving with a bunch of things not on my list that I didn't need. I fell right into the Ikea trap! Plus it was unbelievably crowded with college students buying up cheap furniture for their apartments. My sister, however, struck gold and bought enough to practically redecorate her entire house. Among her purchases was a pair of MALMs that she intends to hack with O'verlays. I can't wait to see how they come out.

The new roof on our house is officially finished and we are patiently waiting for the painting to begin. We are currently on the painter's schedule to start next Monday. Fingers crossed.

We walked by this house the other night while out to grab dinner. It looks close to the paint color scheme we're planning for our own house. I snapped the photo because I like how they used a a subtle accent color under the windows.

We've decided to do the same using Benjamin Moore's sail cloth.

In other randomness...Chris and I have decided to BRING IT with P90x. (You know, so we'll be beach ready in the dead of winter.) So if you don't see me around these parts as often over the next 90 days it is because my arms are too sore to lift to the keyboard.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Can't Get It Out of My Head

I spotted this chinoiserie fixture at the Cambridge Antique Market. $145. We don't have a place for it so reluctantly I walked away...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Someone Else's Trash...

Is my treasure.
We happened upon a yard sale over the weekend where I found this pair of chairs.
For $25.
They'll look rather handsome once they are shed of their dowdy fabric and upholstered in something awesome. I'm currently thinking they need to be covered in a black and white horizontal stripe.

At least that's what I'm thinking this week.

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