Kitchen Features {that you may or may not love}

If you were able to design your DREAM kitchen, what special features would it include? An island? Pots and pans hanging from the ceiling? Everyone has their preferences, and when we remodeled our kitchen, there were a few characteristics I knew I HAD to have. You may have some of these and not love them as much as I do… so¬†I’m going to show you how I use them in hopes that you may love your kitchen a little more…

1. The Glass Cabinet

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Don’t be afraid of the glass cabinet door! Now I admit, I would not want all of my cabinets to have glass. But having just one can be such a perfect centerpiece to your kitchen. The trick to keeping it beautiful and clean? Fill the top half with items you don’t use often, but have an interesting look to them, whether it’s their color, shape, or something else. Then the bottom half, stick to clean, simple dishes. Mine have all sorts of Fiestaware in them – plain colors, but staggered in different heights. I use these plates every day, but it’s pretty hard to make a pile of plates look messy!

2. The Corner Lazy Susan

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So many people use these for their canned goods or other pantry items. Don’t do it! Those little items can get completely buried in there. Without even turning it, I have all of my saute pans and saucepans on the bottom, ready to use every day right next to my oven. On the top, I have my batter bowl (which I seriously use for EVERYTHING), a can of cooking spray, and a few baking pans. Then in the back, I have some of the pots I use less often – steamer pot, double boiler, etc – and my stack of mixing bowls, etc.

3. The Non-Pantry

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When we were figuring out our new kitchen layout, there was just no room for a full-blown pantry. But let’s be honest…if you have a big pantry, you tend to fill it with random items you rarely use! We just have two shelves dedicated to pantry items, and it helps me be more intentional about the groceries I buy each week. I know it’s not super pretty, but hey, like I said in #1, I don’t keep all my cabinets totally organized!

4. That Tiny Cabinet Above Your Microwave

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This one is always obnoxious, but the best I’ve found is to put items like extra cookbooks up here, since I don’t use them too often. I also put my cutting boards up here vertically so I can easily see them all and grab which one I need.

I hope this helps you love some of your great kitchen features! What other features do you love / hate?

Mudroom {Before & After}

It’s been a while since I’ve given a house update, but don’t worry – we’ve been working! And let’s be honest – it’s the hubby who does the brunt of the work around here. Our latest project (which was supposed to be a “weekend project” but was more like a “month project”) is just about complete. We have this little mudroom that the previous owners added off the kitchen. It’s our main way in and out of the house, and also houses our laundry. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, then I’ll share more details of everything we did…

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The mudroom when we purchased the house (L) …and now (R).

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The mudroom after a little bit of reorganization (L) …and now (R).

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My hand hubby even replaced the screen door and security door, staining them by hand. Nice, huh?

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While I don’t have a great before photo of the old sink, here’s the pretty new utility sink and cabinet the hubster installed.

So in total, here are all the updates we did:

  • Leveled the floor (because it wasn’t before)
  • Tiled the floor to match the kitchen
  • Tore out the old sink, mirror, and shelving unit
  • Patched some major holes in the walls
  • Painted the walls and trim
  • Stained and installed screen door and interior door (and also painted our side porch grey)
  • Installed a new shelf, sink, and cabinet
  • Installed blinds on the window

Phew! Not a weekend project. But I love it now, and plan to add a few more finishing touches as far as decor, like a table under the window and some other little touches. What do you think? Fun, right?

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Kitchen & Dining {Before & After}

I have waited a long time to share photos of our newly remodeled kitchen and dining room! Like with all of our projects so far, I have to give MAJOR kudos to my husband. He gutted our kitchen to the studs pretty much by himself. It’s taken six months, but I finally feel confident saying our kitchen is finished!

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The before kitchen had your classic orange and yellow wallpaper, and dark brown cabinets. There was no dishwasher, so we added one in where the refrigerator used to be. We built a new space for the refrigerator, and built our cabinets all the way to the ceiling. We also added canned lights to the ceiling to brighten things up!

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There was a wall between the kitchen and dining room that we removed, which has really opened up the flow between the two spaces.

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In the dining room, we ripped out carpet, painted the walls, and I took the old yellow cabinet you can see in the above “before” photo and turned it into a china cabinet.

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So tell me what you think of our bright little kitchen!

Here are a few more goodies from the process…Happy homeowning!

The Guest Room {Before & After}

I’m sorry to say I only took ONE before picture of the guest room. But as you can imagine from the picture below, it was a small, wood-paneled room that once housed a teenage boy.

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We painted the walls a light grey, and accented the room in as much black and white as possible. Here is a shot walking into the room – it’s hard to tell, but there is a funky black and white wallpaper on the ceiling! We are keeping it for now ūüôā

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And for our guests, who I hope are many, we have a few little touches…guest nashGuest wifi

Come visit soon and stay in our cozy guest room!

The Den and Loft {Before & After}

It’s finally here! The FIRST before & after post on our house. LET ME REMIND YOU. Back in September we closed on a sweet little fixer upper. The first time we saw it, it was full to the brim of the previous owners’ belongings. They were the original owners when this home was built in 1949, and after they passed away, the house sent without occupants for nearly two years. Finally, it was sold…to us!

We have done A LOT of work. Some Many pieces are still in progress. The first section I want to share with you is our den and loft. This space was originally a garage, and sometime in the late 1970s or so, it was converted into a den and loft, complete with dark wood paneling. Let me show you, and then I’ll tell you…

THE DEN:

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THE LOFT:

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THE BIG PICTURE:

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What we did:

  • My husband did ALL the demo while I stilled lived in Ohio, which included tearing out wood paneling, plaster walls, Berber carpet, and itchy insulation.

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  • Leveled the den floor. Because it had been a garage, the floor was at about a 30-degree angle…and they hadn’t fixed it when they converted it.
  • Wired surround sound. New electric work. New insulation. New drywall. New paint.
  • We laid the wood floor ourselves, the day after Thanksgiving.

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  • Removed the railing (don’t worry, we will get a new one someday), popped off the steps, and made new steps. They are dark grey to contrast the light grey on the walls.

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  • Painted the loft floor, which had previously been covered in carpet. AND completely on his own, Jonathan painted all the dark brown beams in the den WHITE, which meant about three coats…but they are beautiful and I am so grateful!

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We are loving both of these cozy nooks in our new home…it’s really starting to feel pretty homey! What do you think?

 

The Great Book Purge

Somewhere along the way, I developed a love of books. It probably started in the days of Goosebumps and Choose Your Own Adventure and The Baby Sitters Club… And then it was only multiplied in high school when Doc Cass introduced me to¬†Our Town and¬†Solace of Open Spaces¬†and¬†The Grapes of Wrath.¬†Yes, I loved them all, and then some.

But THEN I went and minored in English in college. “WHY OH WHY did I do this?” I asked myself on the regular. But by the end, I was glad I had. All of this, though, has produced quite an eclectic collection of books…and this week, I decided, it was time to purge.

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This is a portion of the outgoing pile.

Why purge? First, because my books have become more of a clutter than a nice library or refuge. Second, because I promised myself when we moved into our new house I would get rid of things I did not need or use or love. Many of these books fall into those categories.

A few rules. I didn’t get rid of any of my husband’s books – those are for him to look through. I didn’t get rid of any children’s books. I didn’t get rid of anything I LOVED or that I’ve read more than once.

A sum up of what I found on my shelf:

  • Monster Books.¬†I took a class in college on “Monsters in Literature.” Think: Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, etc… I admit, I kept a few of these that I may indeed read again.
  • Bibles.¬†Between my hubby and I, we had FIVE BIBLES. I decided to get rid of one – why? Because a) it was mine, b) it’s a version neither of us read, and c) someone else could use it more than I do. I did keep each of our study bibles, our huge family bible I bought for our wedding, and one other that we use. Also kept my favorite devotional and faith-based books, like Screwtape Letters, My Upmost for His Highest, and Power of a Praying Wife.
  • Caribbean Lit.¬†I also took a Caribbean Literature class in college. I loved it. I remember these books well. But I’ve never read them since, and probably won’t read them again.¬†Let it gooooo…
  • The Reformation.¬†Yes, I took a class about literature during the Reformation. It was miserable in SO MANY WAYS. But the books are so pretty and fat and make me feel smart. And I DID learn an awful lot about the Reformation. But seriously, I will never read¬†all of the 1248 pages¬†of¬†The Faerie Queene.¬†I didn’t even read them in college.
  • Art.¬†I fundraised for the visual arts at one point, and managed to collect a few great art books. The problem is, I don’t have much of an appreciation for them. A few that I loved have now landed in my office.
  • Poetry.¬†I pretended to write poetry a lot in high school, so then I took a few poetry classes during my English Minor. I was TERRIBLE. But I loved the books. These are still on the fence for me… I always tell myself I’ll read them, but I honestly haven’t. I may end up keeping them. I CAN’T DECIDE.
  • Neuroscience.¬†Majored in Psychology and Neuroscience. Resulted in books like,¬†Guns, Germs, & Steel¬†and¬†Music, The¬†Brain, and Ecstasy and¬†Emotional Intelligence.¬†Loved them. Will never read them.
  • My childhood.¬†THESE ARE THE KEEPERS! The whole¬†Chronicles of Narnia¬†series.¬†Anne of Green Gables. BFG.¬†Things I will read and my children will read, and then we will all read them again.

Okay, if you read all that, kudos. Is your bookshelf like this? Did you finally part with some of them at some point? HOW DID YOU DO IT AND NOT CRY? All advice welcome.

We Bought A House!

It’s true! We bought a house and I’m still freaking out about it a little.

IMG_8500For those who are interested, it is in the Inglewood neighborhood of East Nashville – the location is¬†exactly¬†what we wanted. And for those of you REALLY paying attention, yes, this means we are moving from Columbus back to Nashville very soon. More on that in another post (sorry, I like to string your emotions along…) It was built in 1949, and the original owners lived in it, raising their family, until they passed away about 1 1/2 years ago. It sat empty (well, full of stuff, but without residents) that whole time.

There are many 1950s and 1970s updates in the house…from wallpaper to wood paneling to carpet covering beautiful wood floors. We are working on doing some of the bigger updates immediately, and my sweet hubby has already been knee-deep in demo (or should I say elbow-deep in insulation?). As one might expect, there have already been a few hiccups, but I know we will love our cozy little home once we get settled in. Of course we would have loved to buy a home that was already updated and finished, but the housing market in Nashville is RIDICULOUS, and there were bidding wars, resulting in homes being purchased well over asking price. We were really fortunate to find out about this one before it was on the market, and to buy it for what we think was a fair price.

Immediate projects include:

  • Gutting and redoing the kitchen
  • Tearing out wood paneling and insulation
  • Leveling out a very unlevel floor in one room (I KNOW, RIGHT?)
  • Rewiring the electrical in most of the house
  • Tearing down one small wall
  • Tearing out carpet
  • Painting every room

Future projects will include:

  • Painting the outside brick of the house
  • Updating the bathrooms
  • Building a deck
  • And I’m sure a ton of other things I have yet to think of…

Tips for staying sane? Anyone? I’ll share before and after pictures once we get to a point where there are “after pictures.” In the meantime, I am accepting prayers.