All Wood or Just a Little?


What does everyone think about wood floors in a kitchen? They aren’t my favorite, but I must admit that in a kitchen with painted cabinetry, they look pretty darn good. Sometimes you just need that extra warmth and comfort that you get from natural wood tones (pictures all think to their source).

However, in a kitchen with natural wood cabinets, I think wood floors are overkill.

A good mix of different materials is the best way to go, in my opinion. Take this kitchen for example…a little bit of wood, a little bit of white tile and white wood and a little bit of color. Very nice!

How about you? What’s your opinion on this subject?



Around the House

Way back when, just after we purchased our house, Darin and I installed a tile backsplash in our kitchen.  I kept a blog back then to keep our families updated on our house hunt and subsequent progress updating it.  My point in this walk down memory lane is that this weekend we (and by we, I mean my husband) decided to FINALLY finish it!  You’ll see what I mean…the following is long, but mostly pictures.  🙂

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day weekend warriors

The three day weekend gave us the opportunity to get a lot of stuff done! And by done I mean started. 🙂

The plan was to lay the tile backsplash. When I started planning it out after we spent half a day going to a tile class and buying materials, I decided that the countertop really bugged me. See, there was an inch gap between the counter and the wall, and you could see the plywood counter base. The base was cut too long on the other side. It was ugly, and would look uglier with a be-yoo-ti-ful backsplash. So, mission move the counter over….

This was actually a much bigger operation than the pictures show, with much cursing. However there was no one to document because I was holding up the counter and Darin was playing with power tools.

But look Mom, no more gap!!
So here is the tile. It was a pretty good bargain, and I think it’s pretty.
Here is the scary wetsaw we were lucky enough to borrow. Darin did all the cutting. I was getting nowhere near this thing.

Not bad for my first time!

See, Darin’s helping. Apparently I am a weak mixer.

But I did ok putting up the tile.
Yes, I know it’s weird the tile goes past the cabinets. But it would have been weirder to not go as far as the counter. And there will be a fridge here.
Half done!
This wall has waves in it like the ocean.
At this point I had abandoned tools and there was thin set ALL over my hands!
Bad blogger as I was back then, I never did a FULL before and after, so here are some more snippets of how it turned out in phase 1:
Darin’s gas line. Moving this line involved FOUR separate trips to Home Depot. But it works!
Cabinet surgery. The doors have yet to be reattached, lol.

Conveniently, only I can fit inside many of our closets. So I got to do all the painting. Woo hoo?
The test spot for the wall color. Kind of scary!
happen to love how the color came out! Orange isn’t so scary! PS, like the use of the “stove”?
Yay fridge!
Back when we bought the house, there were only cabinets on one side of the kitchen.  The stove was also in a very dumb spot, basically rendering one of the few cabinets useless.  We had the bright idea to relocate the stove to the wall opposite the sink, making for a much more efficient work triangle.  (That’s basically the relationship between your stove, sink, and refrigerator, and some arrangements just work better than others!)  Since we didn’t have a ton of money for our modest kitchen update, this being an example of “work with what you have” rather than “torch it all and start over,” we opted not to install a full wall of cabinets.  We picked up a cute kitchen cart from Crate and Barrel that coordinated with our original built-ins to live alongside the stove.
We thought the best way to tie the room together would be to continue the backsplash from the sink side of the room over to our stove’s new home.  So, as you saw above, we tiled from a completely non-technical height above the floor that would be hidden by the cart, and the top is at the same height as the bottom of the original cabinets.  This worked well for a few years, and then we found a great local cabinet maker to build a set of upper cabinets that match our originals perfectly.

The only problem was…..the gaps.
Luckily, we had some leftover tiles.  All we were missing until this weekend, was the ambition to just finish the darn thing!  (I’m pretty good at living with half finished projects if they 1. function, and 2. don’t get in my way.  An unfinished backsplash fits both!)  So today we have this:
I have to admit, it looks much better.  Now all we have to do is grout and seal, and I think we’re done in the kitchen for awhile!
Oh, and none of this could be possible without our job supervisors.  They keep us on track.  🙂
So, do any of you have any long overdue projects that you’ve been working on?  Or just putting off?!

My Naked Corner


I have a naked corner in my living room.  It is begging for a cozy armchair, an ottoman, and an overhead light.  I checked out West Elm’s new furniture selections…and I found one possibility….

Now, I’ve had slipcovered furniture in the past…and hated it.  A possible difference though is that this cover is MADE for this chair.  So….perhaps it would be less infuriating?  Perhaps it would stay in it’s proper place and not get all eaten up between the seat and the back, exposing the bottom?  I think a white piece in an otherwise tan and brown furniture-d room would be interesting, and I could have a lot of fun with pillows and accessories.  Plus a slipcover is probably a really smart idea if going with white!  The price is friendly as well at $500, though the ottoman is an additional $350.  Not that I would NEED to have the matching ottoman – I can see this as an opportunity to refurbish something thrifted.  One other caveat is that my husband is about 6′-4″ and not a huge fan of a low back, and the specs on this say only 24″ high?  That seems AWFULLY low.  On the pro side – West Elm is a shop where I can apply our designer discount.  Oh decisions….

Has anyone seen this piece in real life?  Is it really as low as they say?  How well does the cover stay in place?

A New (Old) Paint


I’ve been doing a little bit of research into how to make a new home look authentically old. One surefire way is to use salvaged materials and I am definitely on board with this. I love the look (not to mention the history) of salvaged wood floors, doors, trim, furniture, lighting…pretty much anything salvaged!

In my research, I came across something I had never heard of before. Milk paint. While an old technique, it’s regaining popularity since it is organic, biodegradable and  completely VOC free and therefore quite the green product. I love the environmentally friendly properties of milk paint, but more so, I love the look of it. It is used most frequently on antiqued furniture, but can also be used to paint walls. The end visual is, well, it’s somewhat milky! Take a look:

It was used on all of the cabinetry in the images above, but you really get an idea of what milk paint looks like in the island. It’s kind of a white washed effect.

It comes in a powder form and all you have to do is add water. And of course, milk protein is one of the ingredients in the powder. It comes in a limited number of colors, but it’s a good range, and given that you can change the intensity of the color by how much water you add, there are really very many more colors than shown below!

If you’re interested in milk paint, these are two good websites to check out:

Milk Paint

Real Milk Paint


Happy First Day of Summer!


With the 4th of July looming, I know it might seem like summer is half over, but really it’s just beginning!  Yay!

Image via Pottery Barn, and incidentally where I would LOVE to be today!  🙂

– Kim

Outdoor Lighting


Hmmm, it seems I have a bit of a lighting trend happening.  However, this foray into selecting a light fixture is at the request of my husband regarding the epic, monumental siding project that is now almost definitely on the books for Spring 2011.  (We had so hoped it could happen this year, so that we wouldn’t freeze this winter, but DANG siding is pricey!  And I’m a stickler for saving up the whole amount before starting a project, so here we are.)  Sure, that’s a long way away, but we’re both planners and budgeters, and so it only makes sense that we would start looking at fixtures a year in advance.

So, look I did…and this is going to be a really difficult choice.  Typically, I find outdoor lighting…ugly.  We had one of those post lights along our front sidewalk until it rusted right out of the ground, and it was one of those black lanterns with a flying eagle figurine on top….really typical, really hideous.  So while I initially dragged my feet at the thought of looking for lighting as I knew I’d have to sift through a whole lot of horrible, the prospect of getting something NOT horrible is pretty appealing.  I started off at Home Depot’s site, because it’s easy, usually pretty affordable, and there’s one a mile from my house.  🙂

To my surprise, I was actually drawn to several fixtures that have a definite traditional vibe!

Price: $153

Price: $107

Price: $40 – this leads me to believe this is either teeny tiny, or a piece of junk.

As I thought I might, I for sure liked some fixtures that were a bit more modern.  Not toooo much – we DO live in a cape cod after all.  I definitely believe in respecting the style you’ve got and working with it.

Price: $97

Price: $295

This is good….but perhaps too commercial for our little home.

Price: $295

This one is a bit more out there, but I think it would work better on a craftsman style house – something with a lot of stained glass.

Price: $143

$45 – this is cute, but the price tag is a clue that it’s pretty tiny…only 8″ diameter.  I DO like the idea of not seeing the bulb and rather having a cone of light pointing down rather than a glowing orb…

I also checked out Lamps Plus, but I quickly got selection fatigue.  There is just sooooo much to choose from, so I limited myself to the energy efficient fixtures, and promised myself that I will look at some additional sources another day.

Again, I had some surprise traditional favorites!

Price: $120

Price: $140 – eerily similar to the Home Depot fixture…plus about $50.

Price: $160

Price: $280

Price: $120

This last one might be my front runner.  Similarly to the tiny Home Depot light, I like the idea of not seeing a bright hot spot.  The brushed nickel finish offers an industrial vibe that I really like, and at a 10 1/2″ diameter, it’s less diminutive. I’m going to avoid committing to anything at the moment though, and wait to see what the leader of this project thinks – hi hon!  Our tastes typically mesh pretty well, but we’re diverging a bit on this one.  It will be interesting to see where we land!


Creative Use of Space


I don’t generally like to recycle other blog’s material, but once in a while I find something that I really need to share. I saw this on HGTV’s blog, Design Happens. I just love the creative use of space here!

What a great way to get a little more storage out of your house. This would be such a cute setup for an entrance to a home!