Jul 30, 2015

Before & After: Kitchen

You'd think that now that we're moved in, I'd have all sorts of time to unpack boxes and get things organized around here. Maybe show you some pictures featuring furniture. And accessories.

We still have our old house, and I've been spending every night over there putting and sanding nail holes, then painting rooms, for a week.

It is not what you would call fulfilling work. Still -- it needs to be done, so let's just look past the fact that last night I was there for six hours and managed to touch up the foyer and Amelia's room with the wrong grey paint, shall we?


On to the kitchen! Many of you thought I should have left the kitchen alone. We could have done that, but I really didn't like the layout of the appliances and sink, and after having lived with Absolute Black granite countertops for more than 10 years, I was ready to go for something a lot lighter.



(Sorry that picture is so blown out. I shoot fully automatic and it was a really sunny day.)

My main objective with the new layout was to get the sink out of the peninsula. I'm sure there are many moms who work full-time who manage to clear all the dishes out of their sinks every night. I'M NOT ONE OF THEM. Our sink routinely fills up to the top before I get the dishes rinsed moved into the dishwasher. Because six people? We use a lot of dishes on a daily basis.

And the thought of all those dishes being front and center in the kitchen all the time with nowhere to hide ... the mere THOUGHT of that drove me to distraction. So the sink needed to move a wall. Bonus with that, as my friend Lisa pointed out, was that it would leave the entire peninsula open for serving.

My other main goal was to get the microwave down below eye level. In these pictures, the trim kit isn't installed (because the wrong size was ordered), but eventually it will look built-in to that little nook there. I just don't like an appliance that stares me in the face all the time, and you don't NEED a microwave at eye level for any functional reason. Plus, this makes it easier for the kids to use on their own.

We really had no need for the built-in desk and hutch that were so popular in the '90s, so I took that out. Instead, I wanted a feature wall that we could enjoy when we looked over from the breakfast area.





I don't know if you're familiar with "witch's hats," but that's a term used to describe the type of vaulted ceiling we have in our breakfast area. Ours had water damage and every seam was cracked. You could see where repairs had been attempted (likely several times) in the past, but our contractor said that it's almost impossible to keep drywall from cracking in this type of area. I also didn't care for the way the crown molding broke up the area ... it made your eye just stop right in the middle. So, my solution to these issues was to take down the crown and install beams.



No more visible cracks, and although the change in paint color still gives you a visible sense of where the wall ends and ceiling begins, I don't think it's quite as jarring as the crown was.

I don't have a great Before picture of the new sink/refrigerator wall, but it used to house the drop-in stove, microwave and double wall ovens. Also, the cabinets stopped well above the ceiling.

With the new design, the sink, dishwasher and fridge were moved to that wall, and you'll notice that the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. That gives us an additional shelf in each cabinet all the way around the room.



I asked the cabinetmaker to give me a very simple crown, which is the simplest I've ever seen. I didn't want it to compete with anything else in the room, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out. I wish I had it throughout the entire house!

My contractor is a talented carpenter, and I asked him to make shaker-style newel posts for me to coordinate with the kitchen cabinets. They're a far cry from the original oak ones!



Last, just some shots of a few of the details. Brushed-nickel hardware on the cabinets.

An oil-rubbed bronze faucet. I don't mind mixing finishes in a room if it makes sense. No more than two finishes, probably. But our doorknobs are all oil-rubbed bronze, and I love the old-world look of a bronze faucet. However, I thought that the contrast of the bronze against the grey and white paint on the cabinets would be too much. I wanted the nickel there, just to make the hardware blend in a little more. Forty-something or whatever bronze handles just seemed like a lot for the eye to take in. (That's a lot of explanation. WELCOME TO MY EXHAUSTING BRAIN.)

GE Cafe double oven

Allen + Roth herringbone carrara tile with pewter grout

Crate & Barrel Large White Finley Light


Coming soon, I promise.

Jul 28, 2015

Before & After: Dining Room

I'd love to go ahead and share all of the rooms FURNISHED with you. But that's not gonna happen yet.

We're still buried in boxes over here, but I know you're probably anxious to see SOMETHING, so I thought I'd share some pictures of the mostly finished house, photos I took the day before we moved in compared to photos from the week we closed on it last December.

The dining room will start us off! It's the first room to the left when you walk in the front door.









 Wall color: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue

Trim color: Benjamin Moore White Dove

Light fixtures: Ashley Bronze 4-Light Foyer Hanging Lanterns, from Overstock.com

Jul 24, 2015


A few months ago, my co-worker who mirrors my responsibilities resigned, which means that I've been doing double the work since she left.


The good news is, we've finally hired her replacement, and she starts on Monday. ​Our tech support guy, who I'll call "Ben," spent yesterday afternoon in our work area getting us ready for M's arrival. That included reimaging her laptop and moving my entire workstation over six feet to make room for her.

While he was working, he chatted with me; since all of my equipment was in transit, I couldn't do much work at the time, anyway. I received a text at some point, and he remarked, "I hate texting. I'm more old-fashioned, I guess."

Me: "It took me a while to get used to it, but I guess now it's kind of my default."

Him: "My dad's really into it, so he texts me all the time."  [That surprised me a little, just because he looks like he's in his mid-60s, so his dad must be in his 80s.]  "But he doesn't really get all the lingo, so for a long time, he texted me things like, 'Time to mow the lawn LOL' and 'Need a ride to the store LOL'. And I wasn't sure if he was being sarcastic or what."

Me: "What did he mean?"

Him: "Lots of love."

Older co-worker listening to our conversation: "What DOES it mean?"

Him: "Lots of laughs."

Me:  [blink]

Jul 22, 2015

The Move

I don't know if you know this, but after you pack up all your stuff and move it all half a mile to a different house, it then has to be unpacked.

As it turns out, if you don't physically untape the boxes and remove the contents using your very own hands, the stuff just stays in the boxes.


It's gonna be a minute before I can blog again.

I just wanted to let you know we're alive. Just barely, but we're alive. And I'll be back as soon as I can.

Jul 16, 2015

T-minus 23 hours

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., the movers will be at our house.

It's hard to believe.

The new house isn't completely ready, but ready or not, HERE WE COME.

I was there until 4:00 this morning working on the wood wall in the den. I'd said I didn't have time to stain it before we moved in, but I guess I made the time. I know myself, and I know once the TV is hung on that wall and that heavy media console is sitting in front of it, I'll never touch it again. It was now or never.

(Please note the complete disarray of the rest of the room. And this is a relatively organized portion of the house. That hasn't been cleaned yet. That we're  moving into tomorrow.)

I wasn't able to start until 8:00 last night, and it was slow going ... but all the stain is on. Tonight, the poly.

The builder-grade mirrors have been trimmed out with leftover cedar (from the wood-clad walls) in the boys', Amelia's and the basement bathrooms. Faucets are in.

All the baths got oil-rubbed bronze fixtures except Amelia's. She got chrome, because SHINY THINGS! (Accordingly, her bath is the only one in which the light fixtures have chrome accents.)

No hardware has been installed yet, but hopefully that will happen today. Would love to have places to hang toilet paper and towels.

The master bath has vanities but no mirrors or hardware yet. 

Same in the guest bath. And see those brushed-nickel knobs? I have oil-rubbed bronze hardware to replace them with, but it turns out that these knobs are installed with two holes -- not one -- so mine won't work. Have to find some that will.

The steps were the last thing to be carpeted.

Most of the doorknobs and hinges have been replaced (from brass to oil-rubbed bronze). The painters are going to touch up the spots that need it. 

So the final countdown is on. I won't share my punchlist with you, because if I did, you might start hyperventilating. No reason for you to get all upset.


Jul 15, 2015

At least we'll have floors

Well, Internet.

We move to the new house this Friday and Saturday.

The good news is, the floors are basically done! I chose a "coffee" stain, which is pretty dark. Some would say too dark.

(I'm not Some.)

I'm totally infatuated with them, which is a good thing, because Lord knows they're permanent at this point.



Master Bedroom 

Grayson's Office (Basement)


What we DON'T have are working toilets, showers or bathtubs. Or running water in the kitchen. Or a stove or microwave.

The laundry room, mudroom and garages haven't been painted.

Some of the light fixtures still aren't in. Oh, and we have no door handles, either. But who needs those? DOOR HANDLES ARE FOR WUSSES.

There are also about 35 items on my punchlist. But we're moving anyway. Because if we don't, I have a feeling that we might never.

And hey, they still have ALL DAY TODAY AND TOMORROW to finish everything.

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