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?

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 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?

 

A Note On Christmas Trees

This Christmas marks me and Jonathan’s third married Christmas. THIRD. That’s crazy. As you probably know, we spent our first two years of married life living in Ohio, where we knew no one (at first) and had no family. It was extremely important to me that our house there felt like home for both of us. And for me, that meant some serious and intentional Christmas decorating.

Our first year, we decided to cut down our own Christmas tree, so the day after Thanksgiving, with my visiting in-laws in tow, we drove 45 minutes away to do just that. We even named it Tenny, a nod to the state we planned to end up in.

The next year, my mom visited as well, and again we made the trip to cut down our tree. Tenny 2.

These trees were special to us because they were OURS. Jonathan sawed them down himself, and then I decorated them. These trees made that house feel like home at Christmas, especially with all of the ornaments that represent so many memories from both of our lives.

This year, we have been so busy with remodeling parts of our new house in Nashville that Christmas decorations became an after thought. But last weekend, we knew we HAD to go get Tenny 3. So we went to a tree farm, and no offense to Tennessee, but it DID NOT live up to the Ohio farm we had visited the two years before. So after stopping a few places, we ended up buying a pre-cut tree (hey, we still went to a farm. we TRIED), and put it in our practically empty living room and decorated it.

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Tenny 3 is pretty much just for us. We aren’t having any parties this season, like we usually do. We haven’t invited friends over yet, because our house is still in pieces (but getting very close!). So it’s pretty much just us, enjoying it in the evenings, and watering it every day. It’s not technically as nice of a tree as Tenny and Tenny 2 were, but it’s just right for where we are in life: it’s just what we need.

So cheers to all the Christmas trees that have sat in this window since 1949, and cheers to the many trees our little family will bring in. Merry Christmas!

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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.

Bedroom Decor

FINALLY after living in our house for over a year, I feel like our bedroom is decorated. As I’ve mentioned before, we have left the walls in our rental white, partly because I’m scared of committing to color, but mostly because we don’t want to put in the effort to paint. That said, I’ve decorated our home with colors and fun items hanging on the walls here and there. And our bedroom was last on our list. It was SO WHITE and was really bugging me, so I finally cracked and went for it.

A few things that helped spruce it up.

1. Painted Canvases. Couldn’t have been simpler. I bought white canvases, and used blue, green, grey, and white paints to literally throw color all over them. Good enough for me! (I am NOT a perfectionist…)

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2. Curtains. WHAT A DIFFERENCE these have made. We have this big window, on a white wall, with white blinds, and it just always looked so naked to me. Now, I’m on a budget, so while I could have bought fancier curtain rod and such, I’m SUPER happy with this pop of color.DSC_0006

3. Random decor. These are things I already had, but didn’t have a place for. A few chalkboards from the wedding. An “R” that wasn’t being fully utilized. An embroidery hoop with random fabric in it. A sweet little paper Wisconsin from my mom on our first anniversary.

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4. My upgraded piano bench. Still one of my favorite projects, besides the house divided wreath, of course. I love this bench, and have used it as the color inspiration for the rest of the room. (It’s not in the photos above – sorry – but it’s in the room!)

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Piano Bench Upgrade

My Sunny Rose Garden Room

As you know, a little over a month ago, we left our beautiful Kenner home and moved about ten minutes away.  And we all know what moving means: buying stuff!  It’s an especially great excuse for some new bedding and a new color scheme.  After buying the best color scheme book in the world, I chose the theme that jumped out at me most, titled “Sunny Rose Garden.”

The light yellows, pinks, and greens made me so happy, and I just couldn’t resist it.  I decided, with my mom’s help, to return to my younger days by painting my room pink.  Call it a quarter-life crisis, but the idea of going ultra-girly with my new bedroom just sounded wonderful.  There is some lucky guy out there who won’t have to have any pink rooms when he marries me, because I’m getting it alllll out of my system now.

So after FINALLY getting it all set, just how I want it, I’m here to share some pictures with you!  I have a few ideas of things I would still like to get for the walls here and there, but for the most part it is set and settled.  It’s proven to be one of the most calming and happy retreats that I have.  I hope you like it as much as I do!

And, for fun, a few of the rest of our new house!