Whelp, we did it! Last week we signed the contract for our kitchen remodel! It’s a little scary since it’s quite a big investment, but I think it’s going to be awesome and MUCH more functional once everything is done. Right now we’re waiting on the contractors to get the necessary permits from the city before anything else goes forward, so in the meantime I’ll be sharing more of the planning process.
Phase 1: Pre-Planning
Before we even started getting quotes from contractors we had figure out a general idea of what we were planning. Even if you plan on DIYing, this is still a good starting point. I started out by putting together a mood board of my general design plan.
Then, based on the design ideas, we put together lists of Need to Have and Nice to Have and established our ideal budget and max budget. You can also start with your lists and come up with a design second, I just happen to be more visual (and we also had a general idea of our goals).
Need To Have:
Replace all existing cabinets
Add base cabinets along window wall
Add cabinets to the left of the sink
Update ceiling light
Some solution to the too-low window
Move/cleanup existing outlets
Nice to Have
Extend existing wall of cabinets to the ceiling
Glass doors on upper cabinets
Replace window with shorter window to clear countertops
Replace mudroom tile and add insulation under the floor
Add a proper (exterior venting) range hood
Add exterior light above the back door
I had a fairly detailed design plan from the get go, but even if you don’t, it’s good to have a general idea of what you’re looking for before you start getting quotes. Are there any appliances you want moved? Anything you want to add or remove (versus just replace)? Any existing fixtures you plan on keeping? Do you have any material preferences?
Happy Halloween everyone! Costumes? Candy? This is seriously one of my favorite holidays! Being 6 months pregnant, sore, and exhausted has made me tone things down quite a bit this year so we skipped hosting our usual Halloween party and didn’t do a family theme costume.*
I did put together a costume for Wesley though! He’s still a little young to fully understand Halloween so I wasn’t really able to get an answer to a general “what do you want to dress up as” question. He has been more interested in dinosaurs and dragons lately so I asked him if he wanted to be a dinosaur or dragon and he happily replied “Dinosaur dragon!” Yeah, ok kid we’re just gonna pick one since a dragon is more or less a dinosaur with wings. Later he changed it to dragonfly (which I still came up with a plan for) then changed back to dragon before I got started on anything.
Yup, kiddo has a hoodie on under a hoodie. That’s a Minnesota Halloween for you…actually given that he didn’t need a snow suit it was pretty warm Halloween. I put on a jacket as soon as we had snapped this picture.
They did some Trick-or-Treating at daycare and then we took him down the block later in the evening. I wasn’t sure what he would think of it, but he LOVED it! He even got pretty good at saying “Trick or Treat!” and “Thank you!”… with a bit of prompting.
His costume was pretty simple to put together since it was just a hoodie with a bunch of stuff sewn onto it.
Step 1: Plan your design
For a dragon costume, I wanted spikes running down the back, a tail with spikes, wings, and a contrasting belly patch. I figured I could easily put it together with a few sheets of felt and some jersey that matched the hoodie.
Step 2: Get Distracted by all the awesome costume fabrics
I went to Joann’s to pick up some jersey and felt…. but then I saw all the amazing, shiny, costume fabrics they had out for Halloween. I found a scaley pattern that didn’t seem to fray and a coordinating iridescent fabric that I figured I could just glue onto felt for the spikes. I wasn’t deviating that much from the plan, just a little extra gluing. Easy-peasy, right?
Step 3: Immediately regret your life choices
Wrong. The damn iridescent fabric proved impossible to glue. It was also an acetate sort of fabric, so iron-on adhesive or stabilizer was out because there was a good chance of melting. I briefly considering sewing triangles for the spikes out of a few layers of the shiny fabric, but that would have been a PITA as well.
Step 4: Cut your losses, return to your original Plan
Back to Joann’s I went… for the felt I originally planned on. I got 2 sheets of a stiffer green felt for the spikes and wings, 2 sheets of a contrasting standard felt for the belly and underside of the tail, and 1 sheet of black adhesive felt for some contrasting details (wing bones and belly scales). I lucked out and found a pack of super-awesome stick-on dragon eyes, but you could use large googly eyes, or even some black and white felt.
From there I cut out some pretty basic shapes and hand sewed everything to the hoodie. If you want to make it even easier you could glue everything (although I’m not sure how well that would work for the spikes) or use an iron-on adhesive (ditto). The tail consists of 3 triangles (2 gray, 1 green to match the belly color). Spikes got sandwiched between the gray pieces and all 3 triangles were sewn together to make a cone shape.
My “costume” was even easier. My original plan was bust out my brand spankin new Cricut and cut the dragon embryo design out of glow in the dark vinyl (nothing iron-on since I wanted to be able to peel it off the shirt later). Well, time got away from me so I ended up printing the pattern on full-sheet label paper I already had on hand and sticking it to my shirt. It’s not super solid, but it got me around the block.
(Also, the start of my third trimester–home stretch baby!)
I realize I haven’t actually shared the gender of our soon-to-be addition here on the blog. We’ve actually known for a while… whoops! Anyway, yes, we’re expecting a little girl in January! Probably anyway… the ultrasound tech wasn’t 100% confident, but she was at least confident enough to give a “most likely.” If she was actually unsure I doubt she would have given us anything.
We’re also planning on the kiddos sharing a room (once the baby moves out of our room). But just for kicks, I’ve put together a mood board of my would-be baby girl nursery.
This isn’t the most practical second baby nursery since I’m not bothering to re-use anything we already have (because the room isn’t actually going to be created by us). If we had an extra room* I’d be making this, or very similar, happen.
My ideal baby girl room is something feminine, but not overly preshush if you get my drift. Here I tried to balance the blush and florals, with navy and leather.
I also finally had an excuse to use some pieces I’ve been seriously in love with, but haven’t had a place for. See the ceiling light and bird foot side table. And yes, I highly reccomend having an end table by your nursery chair! If you’re breastfeeding it’s a great place water/snacks or your pump. As the baby gets older you can stash some books there so you can have reading/snuggle time without having to constantly get up and down.
Other items I think are important in a nursery: Two light sources, one with a very low-watt bulb so you can see enough for nighttime feedings/changes without blinding everyone. High-contrast mobile. Besides the fact the the fluffy, pastel-y mobiles that perfectly match a bedding set are just much too cutesy for me, an infant can focus on something bold and high-contrast much better. If you can’t stomach primary colors in your pastel haven, black and white is always classic.
I have been shockingly productive this weekend. I have no clue where it came from, but I’ve done dishes, I’ve made pancakes, I’ve done laundry, I’ve spot-cleaned the couch, I’ve listed and sold almost all our random furniture on FB, and today I haven’t even taken a nap.* We also have our third kitchen estimate happening tomorrow and after that we should we able to pick one to go with and get started on that whole fiasco, because who doesn’t want to rip out their entire kitchen while pregnant, amiright?
Well, now I’m giving up and binge-watching Forensic Files while finding random shit online. ‘Cuz that’s how I role.
A friend of mine posted a compilation from this lady and I am dying. I don’t do much in the way of makeup, but if I did, and if I made videos of it then I’d probably sound a lot like her…only Midwestern dontcha know.
My sister shared this video and I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. I can’t find a link to the specific clip from Facebook, but it starts at 25:00.
Also thanks to my sister, but unfortunately shared just a bit too late to be useful to me:
*Wesley nearly didn’t either. I think he finally passed out around 3:30…compared to his average 12:30 nap time.
Matt and I are fairly convinced that we are raising our son slightly differently than a lot of parents. He doesn’t like Cheerios, but will demand Kashi.* If he sees someone drinking sparkling water he’ll get pissed if he only has regular water. One time at the grocery store he ran up to me with a strange spikey fruit yelling “kiwano!”. I think the other people around us thought he was making up words (he wasn’t). Just now Matt asked him what he wanted for a snack, his answer? “Strawberry kefir!”**
I frackin love this kid.
Other amusing things Wesley has said:
Wesley has blueberry mochi!
Orange mango sparkly water empty.
*I’m not entirely sure where this came from since neither Matt nor I particularly like Kashi. I think we were just trying other low-sugar cereals when he refused cheerios.
**Ok people, how do you pronounce kefir. Is it keh-feer or kee-fer? I always said “keh-feer” until every youtube video (including one from the Mayo Clinic) called it “kee-fer.” But then Lexico says it’s “keh-feer.”
Who’s excited? I’m excited! I feel like I’ve been agonizing over the living room design forever!
One of my big struggles with this room was the chairs. I scored some pretty comfy (and dirt cheap) slipper chairs off of Craigslist a while back and had planned to reupholster them. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a fabric that was really speaking to me. I did, however, find some really awesome looking chairs at World Market!
Chairs that were no longer actually available anywhere. Whomp whomp.
After a bunch of searching I was able to find very similar in black leather (instead of the white I had originally found). Whoohoo! I set up an email alert in case the World Market chairs ever come back in stock, but the black is starting to grow on me.
I’m hoping to find a properly vintage cabinet for storage since we have a great store down the street. If not, I have plenty of other options that would work.
The bookcases were another sticking point. We have several IKEA BILLY bookcases right now, but they’re not super attractive and not holding up to my book collection. I’d also like to make use of our tall ceilings in this room. Turns out it’s hard to find affordable bookcases over 6′ tall… In the end I decided to cobble together a ladder bookcase with an IKEA cabinet base. Wish me luck? This should end up going almost to the ceiling, while still being visually light. I’ll still probably be forced to pare down my book collection a little bit..but I’m a book hoarder so it should be good for me.
The living room opens directly into our TV room, so I had to tweak my plan for that room a bit.
The chevron rug I initially picked out was a little overly casual against the living room design. The pin-stripes seem like a nice combo of classic but not overly prissy, but I’m still working on final decision. I’d like to keep the leaf rug to designate the play area since it’s fun without being overly childish (and it’s a practically perfect size for that space). A predominately blue rug will also balance the blue sofa in the living.
I’m also considering switching out our current TV stand. I really like it, but IF we end up painting the paneling the white stand will probably get lost against the white paint. We’re still on the fence about painting the trim/paneling in this room, but leaning towards doing it since the room is very dark. It doesn’t help that our house is only about 5′ from our neighbor’s house so the windows in the room aren’t terribly helpful.
We met with a kitchen remodeling company last week! I think we could have managed a decent kitchen remodel on our own, but the presence of a toddler and the fact that I’m steadily growing in size and decreasing in mobility make it much harder. Plus, pulling in professionals will allow us to fix some more technical issues like the window and effed up electrical.
My big goals for the space are:
Replace all the cabinets
Replace the sink
Replace the overhead lighting
Shorten the window and fit cabinets under it
Redo all the cabinetry in the butler pantry
Add recessed lighting in the butler pantry (space permitting)
Replace the tile in the mudroom
As far as design is concerned, here are my thoughts:
I’d love for the new cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, with glass doors on the uppermost cabinets. To add a little bit of interest, I’m thinking of backing the top cabinets with wallpaper (which will also get used in the mudroom). I’m a little concerned that two-toned cabinetry may be trendy and go out of style…but I LOVE the current color of our cabinets, but want to brighten them a little bit. My dream sink is a simple, apron-front sink. As must as I like the functionality of double-bowl sinks, we have so little counter space on that side of the kitchen that I think it makes more sense to shrink the sink a bit (plus, double-bowl apron front sinks are pricey AF, especially since I do NOT want an acrylic sink).
My plan for the counters to get a marble-look quartz composite. Real marble stains very easily and while I love the look of marble, I don’t want to deal with the upkeep. I’m having some fun with texture for the backsplash–visual texture that is, since a textured backsplash in a kitchen would be a beast to clean. Since there’s not much area to cover, I think it will be a fun accent and not overwhelming. In the butler pantry I plan on using a simple white subway tile since that space is more of a hallway.
For the awkward space above the radiator, I’m think of adding some floating shelves and coffee cup storage. I like the faux roman shades I have right now, but I’m thinking of replacing them with a navy linen for a little more texture. The wood shelves and jute rug will also add some natural elements which I think help warm up any space.
It’s funny… the overall look of the mood board is much more farmhouse than I usually go. I do think it will look really nice in our house in the end though. Plus I purposely chose permanent fixtures that are a little more vintage/neutral so they’ll look good with the bones of the house vs our specific decorating style.
Moving to the mudroom…
The only thing we’re planning on having the contractors do is replace the existing pinky-beige floor tile with (my favorite!) white hex tile. After that’s in place, I want to build some custom storage for shoes/jackets/etc and paint the door. The same wallpaper accent from the kitchen will get used here on a larger scale to tie the rooms together.
As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t have a nursery to work out my nesting energy on. I’m hoping to make some progress on the living room, but Matt is more focused on trying to get someone in for our kitchen remodel and is trying to reel me in. He may not succeed…
Lucky for me, my good friend E is in the process of buying house! I happen to LOVE putting together mood boards, and it’s even better when I have a target. So, like it or not, I’ve taken our furniture discussions and mocked up some spaces for her. And E, don’t worry, there is zero pressure to follow any of my ideas.
E’s already selected a number of furniture pieces and some of the walls they’re not planning on re-painting. I still had a little bit of fun though.
I think the current plan for this room is to reuse some existing furniture… but I had neither pictures nor a clear memory so I took some creative liberties, knowing the goal wall color was a bold teal. Plus, if they choose too, E & J can rework the space over the years. Nothing says your house needs to be picture perfect as soon as you move it (lord knows our house still isn’t even after 4 years…).
The room has a brick fireplace that I think would look awesome against the teal if it were white-washed. E and I have been discussing bookcase options, but for this layout I went with a fairly basic style raised on a base. Not only does the base add a bit of visual interest, it also raises the shelf off the floor to work around floor vents. This bookcase was pretty cool looking, but my only concern would be that the design of the shelf would get lost if you filled it up with a lot of books.The cute little cabinet gives a surface to add in some extra lighting and could be used to store games or booze.
It’s nearly impossible to choose paint colors based on online images (monitor differences, lighting, etc), so ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look at swatches in the space you’ll be painting. I also suggest picking up some sample pots once you’ve narrowed down your selection since the scale can drastically change the look of the color. Here are some other possible teal wall colors (ranging from a little brighter to a little moodier):
Most of the furniture here was already picked out (which goes to show you that E doesn’t actually need my help 🙂 ) and the wall color is what’s currently existing so I just threw in a couple finishing touches for visualization. While I’m personally a fan of airy white curtains, these panel curtains from IKEA seemed like just the thing for this space. They’ll provide privacy while still letting in light and the geometric pattern pairs beautifully with the MCM style.
Dining Room / Kitchen
So… there’s probably no plan to re-do the kitchen since the existing one is perfectly nice…but how cute is that backsplash tile??? The cabinet/countertop approximate what’s already there (at least what I could tell from the realtor photos), but the house currently has a much more contemporary tile as the backsplash. The clean, white tile would both brighten the kitchen and help it blend more with the MCM furnishing dominating the space. I’m also all for replacing light fixtures, even though I realize a lot of people don’t want to bother with electrical (it’s pretty easy to do yourself though, and requires minimal tools).
I’m probably a glutton for punishment by liking area rugs under dining tables, but they can add a lot of softness is a room typically filled with hard furnishing. They can also add a nice pop of color. I recommend a busier pattern since it will hide a variety a sins. I have had very bad luck getting stains out of flat-woven rugs so I’d recommend scotch-guarding the shit out of them in any setting.
My only starting point for this room was rough idea for a paint color. Sure, I could have asked if E had any bedding/furniture plans, but where’s the fun in that? This room had another ceiling that would be fun to replace (seriously, the right light fixtures can add soooo much). This bedframe is something else I’m kind of in love with (ok, and the floor mirror… I may be starting to project a bit). There are tons of great wood MCM options too, but because MCM is so dominated by wood finishes I thought it was nice to bring in a little softness, especially in a bedroom. Plus, upholstered headboards are great for anyone who likes reading (or just dinking around on their phone/tablet) in bed.
Yup, that’s right, we’re excited to announce that baby #2 is due in January! So I haven’t just been lazy with the house projects. I got pregnant with Wesley right as I started recovering from some crazy hyperthyroid thing which had sapped ALL my energy. This meant that for for the early part of that pregnancy I felt amazing (comparatively). This time around I got the full prego exhaustion–Matt was a little suspicious when I started going to bed around 7:00 but I was still blissfully ignorant/completely in denial. Not to say this kid was a total surprise, I just figured it would take longer than it did, especially since I’m steadily creeping up on “advanced maternal age.”
Wesley, of course, reacted with all the enthusiasm you’d except from a toddler who’s used to being the center of attention.
Me: Wesley, you’re going to be a big brother!
He’s gotten to the point now where if you ask him “what’s in mommy’s belly?” he’ll respond excitedly with “Baby mommy’s belly!” I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually grasp what’s happening yet though. January will be a nasty shock to his currently cushy status.
So now I’m about 18 weeks and most of the exhaustion has abated. Just like pregnancy #1 I didn’t get much in the way of morning sickness, but I would get bouts of nausea most evenings. The Nesting desire is starting to settle in and since we plan on both kids sharing a room for a least a couple years, I don’t have a new nursery to put together. I do however plan on putting this new energy towards the living room/TV room which I’ve been slacking on a bit. We’re also in the process of trying to hire someone to redo our kitchen because why not just add some more chaos to our lives?
And just in case you’re curious, no, we don’t know if the squish is a boy or girl yet but should be finding out at my ultrasound in the next few weeks. I have the feeling it’s a girl, but I thought the same thing with Wesley so I clearly don’t actually have any intuition for this sort of thing.
Last year we decided to bite the bullet and get a patio poured in our backyard, plus redo the walkway from the house to the garage, PLUS remove and re-pour the garage floor. By the time we figured out what we wanted it was near the end of the season so our mason wasn’t able to fit us in before winter. This spring was also not so great weather-wise, but a few week ago the demo started.
I didn’t have a chance to get before pictures of…well much of anything really. Shortly after the garage demo started, the backyard demo started as well.*
Because our back landing and steps have seen better days, Matt decided to demo the steps at the same time so the patio slab would get poured underneath them and the new steps would have a more solid foundation. So now there’s a good two-foot drop from the landing to the ground.
Watch your step…
And yes, this pile of wood came from a single step. #overkill
Matt did some additional demo around the base of the landing and (as seems to be usual in this house) found a bunch of random garbage in the process. Including this:
Yes, there was a GIANT CREEPY CLOWN HEAD hiding under our house. This is officially the worst thing we’ve found to date (keep in mind, we also have what looks like a sunken grave in our basement, so that tells you how I feel about clowns).
The new concrete was poured shortly after the demo…and later that day it started pouring. The workers came back to do a little triage where some spill-over from our gutters was causing a harder line of water to hit the concrete, but it general it had set long enough so the rain wasn’t going to be a serious problem.
Let’s just ooh and ahh over our patio that’s no longer a junk heap, shall we?
Due to the grading they had to do for the patio/walkway and the existing level of our yard, the finished product ended up being a couple inches above ground level. Dirt was brought in to even it a bit, but we plan on doing some additional grading of our own. I also plan to demo the raised bed and move it to the side of the patio. It’s currently an awkward space, plus it would get a little more sun and I could bring in a rain barrel and soaker hose for some #lazyGirl garden watering.
The garden bed on the other side of the patio may have to be completely redone and I don’t really have a plan yet. Word of warning if you plan on having concrete work done: your nearby plants may not survive. I get it, they need to be able to access what they’re working on, but I’m still bummed my giant sedum got trampled. Hopefully it will bounce back next year though.
You can see that Matt already built a new step for the back “deck.” We’re also going to replace all the floorboards, rip out the completely useless planter box** and replace it with an actual railing.
*The backyard was very much a surprise since the company had another job they were doing at the same time but it got held up by permits so they had more people to send to our house. Unfortunately a co-worker of mine brought me some plants–for our backyard–the same day our backyard became essentially inaccessible. Luckily I had a spot of them in the front yard.
**It gets zero sun…fake plants *might* survive if I’m lucky,