Home Improvement, Paint, Uncategorized

Did I mention we redid our kitchen?

My kitchen is never clean enough to photograph. It’s not that we’re gross people, or so I tell myself. But something is always on the counter that shouldn’t be, or there’s a tumbleweed of dog hair on the floor, or we went to bed without loading all of the dishes into the sink. Basically, we’re normal human beings. So it’s taken me FOREVER to make my kitchen photo worthy, even though it’s been complete for at least two months. It was only after I took these photos that I noticed the side and top of the fridge look like the normal hot mess they always are, but screw it. My house never looks perfect, and I think that is just fine for you all to see.

So, here is our finished kitchen!

ASOAT_Kitchen_Complete4

If you’re interested in the whole story, I’ll start from the beginning. Here is the grand before shot (although the wall’s been opened at this point). See, we love us a cluttered fridge!

ASOAT_Kitchen_Before

We did three main things: walls, floors and cabinets.

You already saw in this post that we widened the doorway in our kitchen, removing the door completely and bumping the walls to the edge of the cabinets and to the ceiling. It made our first floor feel a lot more open concept without removing all that much drywall. And the kitchen feels giant now! We are also really enjoying having our table where it was designed to be, in the middle of the dining room rather than up against the wall. It is easier to get around both sides of the table, which is really convenient if we have guests.

Before:

Wall_Before_K

After:

Wall_After_k

We also lightened the wall color, using the same Sea Salt green paint we chose for our bedroom.

The second thing we did was the floors, and all of the kuddos go to Brian. While I was working from home, he removed all of the tile floor, which had been cracking, chipping and losing grout at an alarming pace for years.

ASOAT_Kitchen_Tile-Removal

I HATED the kitchen floors before. They were cheap, ugly and poorly installed. Even the subfloor was a welcome change to the tile.

ASOAT_Kitchen_Tile-Reoved

So when we started talking about redoing the hardwoods throughout the rest of the house, we decided to get a quote for laying hardwoods in the kitchen and feathering them into the existing floors.

ASOAT_Kithcen_Floors-Laid

I am so so happy we did this. It gives the first floor a cohesive look since there isn’t a glaring transition between the kitchen and dining room. And since there isn’t a threshold between the spaces, it makes cleaning the floors a breeze.

ASOAT_Kitchen_Stained-Floors

The last thing we did, which I get to take all of the credit for, was painting the cabinets. I did a lot of research on the best paint to use for kitchen cabinets and settled on Benjamin Moore Advance paint. I’ve used Benjamin Moore Impervo paint on a dresser before, and it’s held up remarkably well. The only blemish is when Brian ran into it on a hoverboard. Womp womp.

The Benjamin Moore store was great. And no, I was not given free paint to say that.  I went in to talk to the people and they recommended I come back and bring in a door and a sample of the backsplash tile we want to eventually install. After seeing the door, they recommended a specific primer based on the type of existing finish. And after much debate and opinions from most of the staff, we ended up choosing Decorator’s White, which I would describe as a pretty pure white. It definitely doesn’t skew warm, which is good because I didn’t want that at all. Once I bought the paint, we got to work taking down and labeling all of the doors.

ASOAT_Kitchen_No-Doors

Then came the “fun” part. I sanded, dusted, deglossed and primed all of the doors and the base cabinets. I also caulked gaps between the base cabinets and walls and filled holes from shoddy installation (thanks, Fannie Mae!).

ASOAT_Kitchen_Doors

Then, I applied three coats to all of the cabinets. This took longer on the doors because of the front and back factor. I wanted to do this right, so I forced myself to take my time and not rush through the painting. It took me about the standard length of a movie to do a coat on the cabinets, so once I figured that out I started enjoying the monotony of painting a bit more.

ASOAT_Kitchen_Doors-painted

And then we waited. We waited for the doors to dry. We waited for the floors to cure. We waited and waited. And once we were satisfied that we wouldn’t muck up all of the hard work we’d done to prepare, we reassembled the cabinets.

ASOAT_Kitchen_PuttingonDoors

The difference was astounding.

ASOAT_Kitchen_complete5

The whole space seems so much larger and brighter!

ASOAT_Kitchen_Complete3

And did I mention I got a fancy glass-top stove! Swoon. Buh-bye coils!

ASOAT_Kitchen_Complete2

The cabinets have held up pretty well so far. I touched up a few spots that got dinged from us putting them back up, and the Benjamin Moore paint is really great for that. Touch-ups don’t stand out as fresh paint. I suspect I’ll have to touch up every now and then, but these cabinets are really and experiment to see how white cabinets hold up in general to kitchen grime. If we ever redo a kitchen in another house down the road, I think I’d definitely choose white cabinets again.

So there you have it, folks. It was a helluva lot of work, but man it was worth it! Our first floor is a brand new space and we love it.

ASOAT_Kitchen_jlovesb

One last time:

Before:

ASOAT_Kitchen_Before

After:

ASOAT_Kitchen_Complete4

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Home Improvement

Renovation Station

So we randomly started a major renovation of our house. It is sort of how we work. I dream and plot and dream some more about what I want to do in our house, then we start one small project and BAM, it explodes into an entire renovation. It’s how we started our basement reno and our bathroom reno. And it’s how we started our current reno.

I just wanted to open a wall a teensy bit. Eventually we’d redo our hardwood floors, paint our cabinets, get a new stove and do a tiled backsplash. But right now, I just wanted to open the wall. You see, my step dad is SUPER handy and is moving soon. So I wanted to cash in on his handy man skills while he wasn’t crazy busy pimping out his new house. So a few weekends ago we took this:

Wall_Before_K

And this:

Wall_Before

… and destroyed it!

Wall_During

Knocking down walls = SO MUCH FUN and so cathartic. Have a bad day at work? Punch a hammer through a wall and tell me it doesn’t make you feel better.

For this project we needed to remove drywall, cut out studs, relocate cable, redo trim, repair drywall and patch giant holes in the wall. We also smoothed out part of our ceiling that had gotten a little wonky.

Here’s a semi-finished shot of the space:

Wall_After_k

It’s really nice to be able to see into our dining room. It took us quite a while to get used to it. I think we were both silently worried we might have made a mistake, but it is wonderful!

We have so much more space to walk around our table, which means instead of squishing in four people at a dinner, we can comfortably have six people in that space.

Here’s another almost-finished shot from the other side.

Wall_After.jpg

You can see the whole kitchen from here now! It makes the space feel GIANT.

I don’t want to spoil some of the other progress we’ve made in the house in the past month with the more complete version of the wall project, but trust me…. it’s looking sharp.

I will share one sneak peak of what else this mini reno inspired:

Wood-Steps.jpg

Check out those hardwoods, baby! You can pretty much guess what that means we are doing with the rest of the house… but I’ll save more photos until next time.

Huge shout out to my step dad John — we couldn’t have done all of the drywalling and mudding without you. Thanks for all of the help!

DIY GIFT GUIDE, Gift Idea

Bridal Shower Gift: Kitchen Towel Cake

Kitchen-Towel-Cake_Final2

While pinning the heck out of some awesome fall bridal shower ideas I stumbled across a cute idea to do a version of a Diaper Cake with kitchen towels and other utensil. If you want to see the original, here was my inspiration.

I went to Home Goods, Target and Amazon for my supplies:

  • Normal dish towels
  • Microfiber dish towels
  • Scrubby dish towels
  • An apron
  • Cloth napkins
  • A pie plate
  • An oven mitt
  • Wooden spoons
  • Measuring spoons

I bought what I thought I needed, returned the extra sets I didn’t use, and gifted Dana a bag for the odds and ends that didn’t work. Depending on the size you’d like your cake to be or the size of your pie plate (which the cake sits in), you’ll need varying amounts of each.

I started on the bottom layer and wrapped up the largest, “normal” towels. Then, I tied them together with some twine. When that was secure, I folded the apron, which had beautiful fall colors throughout, and wrapped that around the towels to beef up the bottom layer. I knew I wanted the oven mitts on the bottom layer, so I took twine and tied it around the apron and the oven mitts to keep the entire bottom layer together. Then, I broke a plastic hanger and stuck it in the middle so the remaining two layers would have support when I needed to move the cake around.

Kitchen-Towel-Cake_step-1

I probably should have added more towels to the bottom layer since there was such a gap between the edge of the pie plate and the bottom, but the cake was already so full of towels. I ran back out to Home Goods and picked up a set of burnt orange cloth napkins, rolled them up and stuck then around the base of the cake.

Kitchen-Towel-Cake_step-2

For the second and third layers, I went through the same process. Choose towels, roll towels, secure with twine. I stuck each layer onto the hanger to make sure the sizing was appropriate. Then, I took the top layer off and added the wooden spoons into the second tier of the cake. I simply stuck them into the folds of towels, then angled and shoved until they were secure and looked right. I did the same thing for the measuring spoons, too.

kitchen-towel-cake_step-3

Once I was satisfied with layer 2, I added the top layer. I did redo the layers three or four times until I thought they looked right, so don’t get discouraged if your towels don’t look amazing on the first go around.

Kitchen-towel-cake_step-4

Pretty cute, huh? All I needed was ribbon to cover the twine and the cake toppers 🙂

For cake toppers, I ordered this adorable set of pumpkin salt and pepper shakers from Amazon. They barely fit on the top of the cake, so I was glad I went with this set instead of other sets that had two of the stumpier pumpkins. To make sure they didn’t fall off, I removed the stoppers (put them in a baggie or you’ll lose them!) and stuck each shaker on a skewer I’d shoved into a fold of the top tier.

Kitchen-Towel-Cake_top

I love love love this as a gift for a shower — especially for a bride who is a baker-chocolatier-chef extraordinaire like Dana is. It was a lot of fun to make.

Kitchen-Towel-Cake_final

It certainly is charming, isn’t it?

What clever gifts have you made for a bride-to-be? There are so many cute ideas out there!