Kitchen Sources

Hey guys! As promised, I’ve got a list of sources from our kitchen makeover. The big purchases get a paragraph all to themselves, while the little items & accessories are noted in the picture captions!

DSC_0111Artwork –  Joy print by Katie Daisy; Tea Towels – Pottery Barn; Tea Kettle – Copco Steel Tea Kettle from Amazon

AppliancesFrigidaire Gallery Collection (stove, dishwasher, over-the-range microwave & refrigerator). I absolutely LOVE the smudge-proof stainless steel finish. It looks great and has been really easy to keep clean. I particularly love the gas range we purchased, which has an interchangeable center griddle plate that has been really useful for Saturday morning pancakes, grilled cheese sandwich making, etc.

Granite – Our granite is called Ivory Fantasy. We did a lot of comparing of different counter top materials & prices, and in the end were really happy with the price & the overall look of this granite. The goal was to find a light colored design that would go with our tile floor (new flooring was not in the budget!), yet work with the new stainless steel appliances & chrome details. It has browns and greys running through it, and in person makes a nice but subtle contrast with the white cabinets/tile/walls.

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Soap Dispenser – Sea Salt & Lychee from Anthropologie; Ring Dish – Nordstrom; Weck Jar Candle -The Farmhouse Store; Yellow Striped Dish Towel  – Pottery Barn.

DSC_0050Faucet – Moen Brantford Pull Down Faucet in Chrome (Amazon); Knobs & Pulls – Liberty Chrome Finish Cup Pull & Polished Chrome Knobs

 

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Pendant Light – I’m in love with the pendant light above our sink. It looks a lot like this expensive (beautiful) pendant light that I loved when I made my kitchen mood board – except it is $100 dollars less from the Home Depot Home Decorators Collection. It’s super beautiful in person – even though I had a hard time capturing it in these photos. But I love love love it!

DSC_0094Jade Cake Stand Shop Sweet Lulu; White Cake Stand & White Pitcher – Pottery Barn; Mugs & Bowls – Threshold Beaded Collection (Target); Artwork Eat. Say. Love.; Brie Dish – Target; Berry ColanderHow to Live Too, Beach Haven LBI; Fruit Bowl – Target.

DSC_0061Pub Table – Nantucket White Bistro Table from Home Depot (except we shortened it by about 8 inches); Stools – Pier 1 Imports.

Some of our other additions included the 2″ x 6″ white subway tile (Home Depot), the white shelves & corbels, and the crown molding (Home Depot via contractor prices).

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I’m so happy with our new kitchen – it is fresh & cheerful, and meets all of our practical needs. I especially love all the endless possibilities for playing with color & decor against the white/neutral room!

So, what do you think guys? And do you have any kitchen projects going on right now, too? I’d love to hear about them!

Kitchen Reveal

Shortly before my recent hiatus, I was sharing updates on our kitchen renovation project. At long last, I think it’s time to share some photos of the finished product!

Our little kitchen started out with old & yellowing appliances, short amounts of cabinets & counter space, and a glaring lack of a dishwasher.

With thanks to our contractor-neighbor, we designed (but did not DIY) our way into a new kitchen!

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My favorite part of the new kitchen is the shelves. I’ve been playing with the arrangement over the past couple of months – right now the items on the shelves are part decorative, part practical. Using my pistachio stand mixer as inspiration, I collected a few pieces in the same color scheme to use as accents against all the white.

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The berry colander was a lucky find at a boutique store in LBI this past summer, and the jade cake stand is from Shop Sweet Lulu.

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And that adorable print is from the Etsy shop Eat.Say.Love. The quirky song lyrics make me smile every morning!

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And for those of you considering open shelving but worried about dust, so far I’ve found that we use the white mugs & bowls (from Target) almost daily, so they never really have time to collect dust. When I need the colander or a cake stand, I just give them a quick rinse & all is well!

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Also on my list of top three favorite things about the new kitchen are: the dishwasher (seriously, life changing), and the seating space we were able to add.

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Before, we had such a lack of cabinet space (with only lower cabinets), that we had two kitchen carts on the empty wall to stash our dishes & things. Now with everything neatly tucked away in its place, we have the room for a small table & two stools. It’s an extra eight square feet or so of prep space, plus a great spot to grab a bowl of cereal. The giant bulletin board was a steal at TJMaxx last week – $20!

I’m obsessed with our new sink & faucet. The deep undermount stainless steel sink plus the high arc of the faucet are a perfect combination, and the pull down sprayer feature of the faucet is a practical feature that comes in handy when washing big pots or, of course, when it’s bath time for Emma.

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And on the other side of the kitchen, we gained about a foot of counter space to the left of our oven, which is a perfect place for our Keurig. I moved my favorite Katie Daisy print to this spot, just to give me a daily reminder each morning.

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And yes, I do believe my cooking HAS improved with all these fancy schmancy new appliances & the extra cooking space. (And my husband’s dish-washing duty has certainly gotten a lot more enjoyable with the help of the new dishwasher!)

Here’s a good old before & after shot for you!

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I’ll come back tomorrow and give you a full run-down of where we got everything, just in case you happen to be in the kitchen-updating mood yourself!

Kitchen Update

Our kitchen renovation is moving right along! While I flirted with the idea of doing some parts of this project on my own, I think my limited construction skills would have been a huge hindrance to the fast pace our contractor-neighbor is keeping for us. And with the start of school & crazy schedules just around the corner, I know I’ll be glad to have a finished kitchen in just about a week now – rather than by… well… Christmas 2015? 🙂

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So the cabinets are in, the appliances replaced – and now we’re just waiting for our new granite counter top! They made a template last week, and expect it to be ready by Wednesday or Thursday … yay!!

In the meantime, hubs & I have been using our new stove & microwave – and LOVING them, but eating with paper & plastic as the dishwasher is not yet operational, and we have no sink.

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My husband is most excited to have a dishwasher – as he is usually the washer (and I the cooker) around here. But I am most excited about having a beautiful, fresh, WHITE space to fill with color & accessories. It will be like a blank canvas – and I can tweak & change & update my decor to my little heart’s desire!

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Oh, and Emma is happy about all the new nooks & crannies she gets to explore this week before we fill up those new cabinets! 🙂

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What exciting things are going on in your life these days? Renovations or big summer projects? Share!!

Kitchen Possible – Getting Started!

I am SO excited to share that we are getting ready to move forward with our little kitchen renovation project. I’ve been dreaming about updating our small kitchen for years now. I even made this little mood board up back in February, when the hubs & I started discussing our wish list and counting our pennies:

KitchenMoodBoardThese days, our kitchen looks like this:

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The big problems with our kitchen are:

1. Extremely limited counter space (we’ve added some Ikea island/kitchen carts to add both surface & shelf space) – everything is very cluttered! (Also, snapped these photos during a particularly hectic time…)

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2. Extremely limited storage. The original upper cabinets were removed years ago (why?????) – so I keep many appliances, large platters and cookware, etc. in storage areas outside the kitchen due to the lack of space.

3. No dishwasher. (More so than even the work of washing dishes, I’m getting tired of chipping & breaking dishes during the washing/dish rack process!)

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4. Old fashioned, stained Formica countertop

5. Outdated and “yellowed” white appliances (and an unreliable oven).

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6. Old cabinets (that have several layers of paint & no practical features like a lazy susan, sliding drawers, etc.

Most of these problems are easily dealt with. Our kitchen renovation will be completed with the help of our neighbor, a contractor, and will be rather budget-friendly. We did splurge a bit on new appliances (our new refrigerator is already here and in place, while the rest of our Frigidare Gallery set sits in the garage).

So here’s the to-do list for the project, with most jobs falling in the neighbor/contractor category, while others we will tackle ourselves:

1. Installation of new white base & upper cabinets in a full L-shape. (The refrigerator used to live in that cabinet-less corner on the right, but we’ve moved it to the other wall to allow space for the dishwasher and extended counter surface).

2. Open shelving to the right of the window.

3. Installation of new gas stove and over-the-range microwave to replace the current wall oven/cooktop combo –> we will gain cabinet & counter space with this change!

4. Installation of dishwasher.

5. New counter top and under-mount SS sink.

6. White subway tile back splash.

7. Fresh paint job (grey?)

8. Caulk cleaning/coloring? for ceramic floor tiles.

9. Designing & building a pub-style table for next to the refrigerator.

10. New lighting fixtures –> pendant above sink (like this one), and either curved track lighting or a new, non-boob-light flush mount fixture in the center.

11. New molding around window, new pantry door & new door molding.

12. Eating area – perhaps a custom built bar, or a fun retro pub table?

These three kitchens are my major sources of inspiration:

1. This GORGEOUS white kitchen remodel over at Our House.

2. This beautiful and cheery bright, white kitchen from House Beautiful.

3. This small kitchen featuring open shelving from Southern Living.

I just cannot wait for this project to start – I can only imagine how much better all of my food & baked goods will taste when they come out of our new kitchen! 🙂

Temporary Solutions {Part 2}

As detailed in Monday’s post, FH & I embarked on a quest this past Saturday to purchase a new piece for our kitchen- to replace our old, small kitchen cart & help create some more counter/storage space in our small kitchen while we save & dream for a future kitchen renovation.

After a long search, we finally found two pieces of furniture at IKEA- which I then proceeded to spend the remaining afternoon building. FH is good at a great many things, but assembling furniture is not one of them. I single handily built the desk and wall to ceiling shelves in our second-bedroom-turned-office, and I assembled our TV stand/entertainment center as well. Most of our furniture is ‘temporary’ much like our kitchen- as eventually we hope to acquire some nicer pieces. Second-floor apartment living is not ideal for large, single-unit furniture, either.

I am a visual learner- so instructions portrayed by cartoon-like pictures are pretty easy for me to interpret. I would much rather see a diagram than read written instructions.

My tips for successful assembly of IKEA furniture:

1. Carefully separate all pieces, including screws/dowels/etc. & make sure you can tell the difference between each size item.

I use the top of the cardboard box to separate all of the small assembly pieces.

2. Accept help. While FH lacks the patience to carefully follow each step of the assembly, when it comes to lifting/flipping furniture pieces or screwing in the 100th screw when my hand is getting tired… occasionally I need to *ask for* help. When assembly IKEA furniture I assume a very independent, GIRL POWER mentality that often makes it difficult to remember this tip.

3. Your dog probably cannot help you very much, so enlist your partner/buddy to entertain said dog.

Or, your construction zone may look something like this:

3. Take your time & resist the urge to throw things. Sometimes, the pictures just don’t make sense. Or you built the entire thing & then realized one tiny piece was backwards. It happens to the best of us IKEA furniture builders. Take a break, eat a snack (Doritos for me), and before you know it, you’ll be done & proud.

My two pieces took about 3 hours total to assemble. It was a bit tedious, but we are very happy with the results:

Done!

Both carts have wheels, and the smaller one on the left has an extension. Putting the microwave (yes, it is a different, smaller microwave) on the shelf leaves lots of counter space, and our important every day dishes still fit on the one bottom shelf. (We purged a few extra items & relocated some bigger pieces to a cabinet in our back hallway). I will probably not store anything too heavy or breakable on the small cart, as I plan to move it towards the sink/stove/kitchen counter when in need of extra cooking space.

The best part about our new furniture is we that have created a separate working space in the kitchen. I can juice/blend/etc. over by the sink in the morning, and FH can make a bowl of cereal or pack a lunch on the cart next to the fridge. We hope to have significantly less elbow-bumping, frustrating mornings from now on.

I updated the chalkboard calendar...finally.

I love the nice bright white w/ the wood counter top.

I put the new rolling cart to use while preparing dinner last night. It served as a great place to lay out my ingredients.

Ingredients for a new Stuffed Peppers recipe

 

I often cook from recipes I find online (more now, thanks to Pinterest!), so I use my iPad propped up on a plate stand.

Works like a charm!

Dinner was absolutely delicious Turkey Stuffed Peppers from Skinny Taste.

This delicious, healthy, take on traditional stuffed peppers uses lean chopped turkey & fat free chicken broth for an amazingly flavorful stuffed pepper at 184 calories for one half-pepper.

Mine turned out SO great- FH loved them & I was super proud!

Delicious! I put a salad of mixed greens, feta cheese & craisins w/ balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. YUM!

Find the recipe at Skinnytaste.com & make them for yourself!

Temporary Solutions

Kitchen renovations are expensive. Especially considering FH (future hubby) and I have very little combined ability when it comes to serious DIY home improvement. FH is semi-handy; meaning he can change out a light fixture & use a drill gun. I am not completely helpless- one summer my college roommates & I made some major changes to our kitchen (we rented a house and had a landlord who totally loved having a group of college kids who kept their house CLEAN- no thanks to me, really- and made home improvements that left the house better then it was when we moved in). We painted, laid down new flooring, & relocated some appliances. When I say we, I really mean that Eric (my bestie) did most of the work. I vividly remember releasing a great deal of pent-up emotion and anger while tearing up the old floor, thanks to the bitter ending of a rather intensely dysfunctional relationship. Turns out, minor demolition is more effective, and cheaper, than therapy.

So fast forward to my current state of non-dysfunctional, pre-marital bliss. Between FH & I, I am probably more ambitious when it comes to home improvement projects. I think back to how seemingly easy it was to make those kitchen improvements in my college house, and dream of grand ideas of DIY penny tile/floor/cabinet installations. Not to mention you do not have to look far for inspiration- the great home improvement blogs I follow make it seem that people all over the world are actively DIYing their own home projects…and then sharing it online complete with lovely pictures & witty commentary.

Maybe that could be me some day. It seems more likely that my blog would quickly become designated to DIY home improvement failures… but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

For the time being, however, FH and I find great enjoyment in dreaming and scheming of our beautiful kitchen renovation- with one of the nicest aspects of the dream being that nice chuck of moolah we save so that other people can do the hard work. The actual dream is that we leave our home for a weekend, and return to a glorious stainless steel & penny tile kitchen heaven. Either that or my plan of skulking around home improvement stores on the weekends looking for the DIY Network camera crews will finally pay off. CRASH MY HOME, PLEASE!

So. As the title of this post implies- this weekend FH & I decided it was time to look for a ‘temporary solution’ to our kitchen woes. (Major problems include: no counter space, no dishwasher, no storage).

The dishwasher will have to wait until we can do our complete renovation. Until then, I will keep cooking delicious dinners every night- as FH in turn does all of the dishes. Isn’t that an awesome plan? So far, I’m pretty sure he is not on to me. Heaven help me if he gets wise & starts offering to cook more often. I simply hate dry-dish-washing-hand syndrome.

The most pressing issue is COUNTER SPACE. We have a little L-shaped section in between the stovetop & the sink in the corner of our small kitchen. This precious space is home to a spice rack (I’m working on a simple solution there) and small appliances. Thanks to my new healthy eating habits, where there used to be a Keurig (we didn’t give up coffee, it just broke) and a toaster (which now lives in a cabinet as we use it infrequently) there is now a Juicer (oh yeah baby) & a blender. I am using both several times a week, if not every day, so I need them to be easily accessible.

So much clutter...so little cooking space.

As our kitchen cabinets/appliances only take up 2 of the 3.5 walls, we’ve been using a small rolling cart as extra storage and a microwave stand (in dream kitchen: microwave is installed above stove top!), and a little dish rack shelving unit to store our plates. FH had both of these items before I moved into the apartment. I love the plate rack for it’s part practicality & part decor advantages. The cart, however, is not one of my favorite things. It has wheels but is nearly impossible to actually wheel, the microwave takes up the entire surface so it provides no additional working space, and inside the doors you will find a tight little storage with a center rack of questionable stability. Due to our severe lack of cabinet storage, our everyday dishes live here, as well as my mixing bowls & casserole dishes.

Equally cluttered...and yes, that chalkboard calendar does say January. Oops- where did the winter go?

FH and I decided a nice, quick temporary solution to our problem would be a new piece of kitchen furniture that could accommodate more storage & hopefully free up an alternate space for the microwave- therefore leaving us with more, usable, counter space.

At 9AM on Sunday morning we embarked on our mission. First we stopped at our favorite diner & fueled up on our Sunday-Splurge breakfast: waffles w/ strawberries for FH & multi-grain french toast for me. And crispy bacon, obviously. Our journey included a trip to Target, where we quickly realized we were becoming distracted, and made a quick escape. The Target gods must surely have been startled watching me leave their fortress of temptation without spending a dime.

We made several more stops. In Home Decorators, I nearly purchased a baker’s rack for the kitchen. I got cold feet at the register- it was a bit pricey and may not have really answered our kitchen prayers. The salesman probably thought I was having a nervous breakdown as I debated the pros & cons in a rapid-fire, mainly one-sided conversation with FH, then turned and with a “nevermind, thanks anyway” whipped my credit card off of the counter & left the store. Sometimes I randomly become socially awkward.

Frustrated & cranky (I am impatient. This is a fact.), FH and I decided to call it quits and head for home. As we passed IKEA- I suddenly remembered my incredible knack for reading picture based instructions (manuals full of words bore me. I don’t read them). We stopped- we walked the showroom, we wrote down aisle & bin numbers, we almost stole a big yellow bag. And then, we walked out of IKEA with two new additions for our kitchen, and two projects to fill the rest of my day.

Dying to see the results of our temporarily-improve-the-kitchen-mission? Come back tomorrow for pictures and my secret IKEA furniture-building methods, which include having a helpful dog, rewarding yourself with food, and throwing things.