Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's here!

The new rug arrived today just as I'm off to visit a friend and her darling baby.

I'll be leaving it in the wrapper until Michael gets home to stretch out the suspense. It's also kind of a joint valentines day gift so I don't feel right opening it without him.

There was a little rip in the packaging though...which I may have made a little bit bigger. So, here is a little sneak peak. I'm liking the feel and color of it so far but we'll have to wait for the full reveal for an actual review.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's the little things

...that make all the difference. Am I right?

I showed you this picture a few weeks ago to highlight the beautiful work Michael had done carving down and installing the crown molding over our cabinets.

What this photo also highlights is how horribly unfinished the kitchen looks without window molding or a windowsill. (And believe me, it also feels unfinished without a windowsill to sit stuff on!)

I've been trucking along (...well, crawling at a snails pace), stripping the layers and layers of most likely lead laden paint from the original molding and it is finally all stripped, sanded, the seemingly millions of old nails hold have been filled and now it's (almost) all primed.*

 And up on the wall it goes!

How are we doing? Kidding...

I thought this would be as far as this update went; lots and lots of beautiful molding going up all around our kitchen. I was wrong though...

This apparently happened while I was at work** this morning. Granted, the window sill is just sitting there, unattached, and the lower molding is being held up with tape, but it's a start. It needs some further leveling and calking before being permanently fixed in place.

And this is happening now! Working with all the weird/slightly off angles in our house has been no picnic for the resident woodworker, but it's getting there.

Hopefully this week will be filled with lots of sanding, priming, securing, and painting!

*On a related DIY note: while I love, love, love my soy gel paint stripper (it works better and is much less smelly than other products I've used), this job would have gone much quicker had we tried our heat gun first (totally forgot we had that when we started out...oops!). About half were stripped with soy gel and half with the heat gun.

**Yes, I am indeed working again, 2 days per week in a sweet little bakery. I'm loving it but don't want to say much more for now. I am still there on a "trial" period...for 3 more months. Apparently the tight kitchen quarters (and I mean TIGHT) have caused many people to leave abruptly so they do a very extended trial to make sure everything is working out and everyone is happy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I'm not sure if you all are aware of this, but we adopted this adorable puppy last year. 

Kidding...as if I weren't the one blowing up your facebook and instagram with photo after photo! 

Welp, over the past few weeks we started weening her off of her kennel while we were gone for quick trips out. 

2 Sundays ago we headed to the store on a supposed hour long grocery store trip that ended up lasting more like 3 or 4 hours. 

We were good and scoured the countertops for tempting treats before heading out, but I suppose that since having a pound or two of butter on my counter at any given time is not strange, that last 1/2 pound camouflaged itself into the woodwork. 

So, after arriving back at home and putting away the goods, I started searching for my butter. It was nowhere to be found, not even the bright red wrapper. 

Next thing I know, I hear Michael scolding Frieda in the living room. I don't remember the exchange exactly but this is pretty much how it went:

Me: Did you find the butter?
Michael: No, but I think I found where it was.

This, my friends, is what he found. Rather, he found it with 2 less holes, the other two apparently came through the week as the lingering butter tempted her more and more as I showered or generally left her unattended. (The rug has since been doused in bitter apple spray in this locale.)

 The proof that this was indeed the place of death for the butter was found on the slimy, greasy computer cord that lay nearby. Thank goodness she didn't decide to eat that as well! 

Ah well, we weren't planning to have the perfect puppy-hood anyway. And while we love and appreciate this (hand-me-down) rug, it has never been our living room style, really. We had been planning to replace it for the 2 years we've been here in St Louis. 

And this is what it will (hopefully, as long as we like it upon arrival) be replaced with:

Rugs USA Homespun Chevron Charcoal Rug
It's not the greatest quality photo but my fingers are crossed that it'll be great in real life. And in reality, it won't match our current furniture that well either but those are also to be replaced in the near future with something in a brown leather. 

We found it on sale on a Pinterest popular discount rug website for $350 for a 100% wool 8'6"x11'6" rug. I'll be sure to give a review of the quality and company when it arrives.

And the old rug will go to live in a bedroom where it will fit in more and where it's poor holes will be covered by a bed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Color coordination

No, this is not a style post. 

Coming from a colorful household, I never understood just how overwhelming it would be to choose a color pallet for an entirely white house.

I went through our choice of the chartreuse walls in the kitchen a few posts ago but essentially, we wanted a light and bright kitchen. There is a lot of stainless steel going on in that room so we didn't want it to look too "industrial".

The dining room was next and because of our very bright and eclectic dining room furniture (orange and french blue) we wanted to go with a neutral-ish color. We ended up going with Sherwin-Williams brand in the "Pewter Tempest" color. I love the medium tone grey because it is just dark enough to not feel bland but not so dark that you feel closed in and it has a slight warmness to it that goes with the wood molding nicely. 

In the living room we went for this, admittedly, dark indigo blue color. Michael has a thing for old, dark Victorian houses and since the mantle offers so much dark woodwork we decided to make it the theme of the room. The color is another Sherwin-Williams color (we will soon become their best clients...thankfully they are less than a block away) Indigo Batik.

The living room is also a good size so we weren't too concerned with the dark color making it feel cramped. 

We had to try hard to coordinate the colors since there really aren't hallways or "neutral" spaces between the room to act as a color buffer but I like the coordination of the three cooler colors. 

The next project will be painting molding in for the kitchen then we start our painting move upstairs with the entryway/stairway/upstairs hallway (this will probably be a lighter neutral, perhaps a lighter shade of the Pewter Tempest) then on to our bedroom where we are aiming for a plum or eggplant purple.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The kitchen in its current state

Yup, yup. It's been forever, I know.

I have no excuse. Ok, maybe I do and it mostly pertains to my own laziness in dealing with the fact that our photo library is on an external hard drive up in the spare bedroom that I never want to step foot in since it appears that a craft store blew up in there. 

Enter: new phone with easy blogging capabilities.

Anyway, we've been trucking away on the kitchen and making lots of progress. 
We both got iPhone 5s this past week and I'm still learning how to use it. The panoramic photo function is a great way for us to show everything that is going on in our tight little kitchen. Of course, I forgot to crop out the weird black parts on the top and bottom before posting. 

And please ignore the construction material that is currently taking up 1/3 of my large swath of counter space. It's the only way to stay motivated. 

Feel free to admire my new giant rolling pin purchased for $9 at the restaurant supply store. I love that place!

Not much has happened on this side of the kitchen. We need to put up some 1/4 round molding around the other molding and build out some new, wide windowsills both so I can fill them with plants and so Pepin has a nice place to sit while we cook. 

He's been complaining to us for months about his lack of lounge-space. Kidding, kind of. 

We're loving our new Overstock.com stools and even purchased an extra set so more people can squeeze in if wanted. And at a price of $80 for two, it wasn't too much of a stretch. Have you priced stools lately? Apparently spending over $100 on a single stool is not crazy! 

And they come in lots of fun colors. We opted for the fun, tangerine hue because at this point, why avoid color? 

The sink area has been one of my planning triumphs of this project. I was pretty insistent on an undermount sink so water wouldn't pool around the overhang and damage the wood. I also wanted to have access to all of the butchers block for oiling purposes. And while a little pricy, we manages to save a good bit by purchasing a "used" one from Amazon Warehouse (meaning that someone had it shipped to them then returned it, it had never actually been installed). The extra cost was totally worth it for two reasons: 1) The thick gague stainless is sturdy, soundproof, and doesn't vibrate the whole counter when using the garbage disposal. 2) The sink is extra deep (10" as opposed to the 7"-8" norm) which is so helpful to those of us with gigantic pots and pans but without the space to install a wider sink. 

And I am totally in love with the faucet. It is sturdy, the finish doesn't show fingerprints (a true triumph in our house!), and can be operated with a wrist when hands are messy. And the actual pull-out sprayer has an awesome momentary shut off button so we can pull it over to the stove to fill a pot rather than lugging it out of our extra deep sink after full (so maybe the extra depth is a mixed bag). 

Crown molding over the cabinets has been a slow, slow process.  The ceiling is nowhere near level and the area around the leftmost cabinet is totally out of whack. The stretch of ceiling where we pulled out the old soffit had some bulging plaster that had to be butted up against my drywall patchwork leaving a distinct high spot (or low spot?) that the crown molding had to fit around. So Michael was left with the task of planing down those two pieces of molding on the left cabinet for at least 10 hrs until it was a perfect fit. The middle cabinet's molding went up relatively quickly (only a few hours, maybe) but the last cabinet is going to be another pill, requiring a good bit of carving to fit.

 And as I knew would be the case, we are now faced with forcing ourselves to install the finishing touches (lots of tile and molding) while keeping ourselves from just cooking all day in our functionally complete, brand shiny new, kitchen.