Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guess what??

This last weekend, the hubby and I took a little trip to Chicago.  We ended up picking up our counter tops and sink for the kitchen remodel at Ikea!

I'm so excited.  After measuring and deciding we wouldn't be able to fit it, we went with the Ikea double bowl Domsjo sink anyway.  

(Nervous laugh)

Hubby liked the look much better than the single bowl that I had decided we were going to get.  Okay, I like it way better too, but I was trying to ensure fit and save money.  We found out that the 36" space required for the double bowl is only for the front apron that extends out of the cabinet, and that the actual bowl space in the counter is 34 and some odd inches.  It should fit.  I'm nervous.  Hubby says he doesn't care what the cabinets measured, we'll make it work.

Lilyfield Life

We also decided on the oak butcher block counter tops.  This was hub's choice as well.  I couldn't decide which type of wood would be best for us, and he liked oak, so oak it is.  (And he says it's always whatever I want that goes.  Pshhh.)


I also have to tell you about a place we found.  Okay, really, a lot of you probably already know about it- but since we live in a small town area that doesn't have a ton of options for buying big items, this was like a lightbulb, revalation, "ahhhhhhh" moment when I found out.

Oh my gosh- this place is the scratch and dent mecca of appliances.  Seriously.  I took this picture of the hubbs when we finally made it to the end of all the refrigerators.

I'm just going to guess, but I'd say there were at least 200 refrigerators on the floor, plus ranges, microwaves, dishwashers, washers and dryers, mattresses-- Sears, outlet form.  And everything came with their original warranties. A-mazing.

No lie.  I love the scratch and dent section in Lowe's.  I'm a perfectionist- no doubt about that- but I'm also frugal as frugal can be.  I don't care about a dent on the side of a range that's not ever going to be seen because it's recessed next to my cabinets and walls.

Sure, this place has a lot of appliances with very obvious dents and scratches, but it also has a lot that have minor dents.  It also has some brand new, still in the box appliances that are super deeply discounted.  Example- Stainless Maytag 25 cu ft. 4-door fridge w/easy access refrigerator drawer- currently selling for $2500 at Sears.  Sears Outlet price was $1500, plus they had a sale for an extra 10% off the day we happened to stop it.  Awesome right?!

We didn't buy that one.  It was a little small for the space that we have, and again- Hub's motto is go big or go home, and he wanted bigger...but it's always what I want, and he just does what I say, riiiiiggght? *wink*

So, we found this refrigerator.  It's a 31 cu ft Kenmore Elite.  And I sort of love it.

This refrigerator retails at $3800.  That's INSANE.  I would love, love, love to have a professional kitchen someday full of high end appliances like Viking, Wolf, Jenn-Air, but the el cheapo in me cannot justify spending that amount on an appliance, or even the amount of a kitchen full of brand new consumer grade appliances at this point in our lives, which is why I have been saying that we couldn't do stainless steel in our kitchen right now.

Guess what though?  We bought this fridge!!  We found one that had a couple dents on the side (which will be totally concealed), and has a couple light scuffs on the upper right door that I'm really crossing my fingers I'll be able to buff out with some Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend.  We bought it for 65% off the retail price.  Woot woot!

(I'm a little excited.  Can you tell?)

So- here's my lesson.  Check out Sears Outlet.  You can get an idea of stock online, but I'd highly recommend going to a store in person to purchase.  It's hard to see the little imperfections in a small picture, and you want to guarantee that you get the best one for you, at the best price.  At the store we went to, there were probably 20 of the same model refrigerator we purchased.  They are all priced differently because they all have different imperfections.

(I am not being reimbursed by Sears or Sears Outlet for this post- this is an honest review of my experience.)

All that said- work on the kitchen is on hold for a week.  Hubs is finishing up his last few days of having been on night float for two months (barf- we hate night float around here), and we have some electrical work he has to tackle before I can really knock out more of my projects.  I'm working on a custom job on a credenza for the shop (yes, local friends- this was the piece I was going to keep.  It sold before I could get it home for myself!), and it needs to be finished so I can get my focus back!

I'll be back with the finished credenza soon.

Until then,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kitchen update

Kitchen work has begun!  I wanted to update you with progress, ideas, and decisions.

First of all, let me remind you of what we're starting with...


The first thing to go was the heavily ornate crown molding on the tops of the cabinets, and the valence.  It's gone.  Totally.  And you know what?  My window that's been hiding behind that thing for Lord knows how many years is SUPER cute.  I'm so glad it can be seen now.

After doing that, I noticed there were notches out of the cabinets where the valence had been.  You can see it in the picture above.  After a little more exploring, I realized that the wood color on my cabinets was not what they originally had been.  Somewhere along the life of the cabinets, someone had chosen to reface them with a plywood veneer.  It was loose, and cheap looking, and I could see the cabinets underneath were solid wood, so what did I do?  I ripped the veneer off all the upper cabinets, of course.  

Beautiful, right?

At some point, they'd been painted white.  Peeling off the veneer took a lot of the paint (ok, and maybe a small bit of the wood here and there too) off.  I'm planning to go around and strip them all now so I'm starting with a smooth finish.  This has led me to the decision that I will not be using chalk paint on the cabinets.  Nope- no quick fix for these guys.  I'm going the route of stripping, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding, painting, sanding, and sealing.  It's a lot more work, but I know it's going to be worth it, and I'm planning on working on them bit by bit.

I spent a lot of time agonizing (and making friends and family agonize with me) over paint colors.  I decided a couple times, changed my mind a couple times, bought the paint once, and went back to have it retinted, but I think I finally have the colors chosen.

The trim is Valspar Ultra white in gloss (I can't show you a sample of this, because it doesn't show up online!  It's essentially the same as the white on your screen.  Really bright and crisp).

Walls will be Olympic paint's Garlic Clove in Satin finish.

It's very light.  Without having the ultra white next to it, it would work as a white itself, but it has a nice, subtle contrast to it.

I'm still agonizing over the cabinets.  I really, REALLY want stainless appliances and crisp white cabinets, but new appliances are not a justifiable expense right at the moment.  Not to buy only to possibly turn around and sell our house in a year and a half.  It may help the house sell faster, but it won't help our house sell for more.  That said, I bought gray paint for the cabinets.

It's a Valspar color- Gull- in semi-gloss.

However, before I get to painting cabinets, I needed to get rid of the orange-red walls.  I gave everything a quick coat of primer, and took the ceiling fan out to prep it for paint (and just to get rid of it...it really dwarfed the space).  The pantry area in back will be worked on as well soon, but I can only handle so much junk out of place at once, and I have to completely empty the food out from the shelves to prep and paint, so kitchen first, then pantry!

I'm amazed by how much larger it looks already.  No ceiling fan.  No heavy molding.  No valence.

This weekend my mom came up and helped with the boys so I could get the molding cut.  So it's finished (mostly), and assembled.  I'm not attaching it until the cabinets are stripped and ready for paint, so I still have a small piece of trim to cut and attach to hide the seams, and caulk around any gaps.

It's coming along nicely, and I'm planning to provide you with instructions on cutting and assembling the molding.  It took me a lot of searching around the web to figure it out.

Here's a final progression of pictures to show you the changes over the last week without scrolling.

I'm so excited about this project!  I'll be back with more updates soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My kitchen

You know how you can do one thing, and that leads to another, and another?  Well, making my curtains has really started something.

Since we moved in, I've always thought of this home as a temporary place.  Since residency is only five years long, and we have no guarantees on where we might end up for fellowship or employment after fellowship, I haven't spent any time making my house a "home."  We have furnishings, and it's cute and comfy, but I never took the time to make it something I really enjoyed.

Until I made the curtains.  Then last weekend my husband moved our washer and dryer upstairs so I don't have to pack clothes up and down two flights of stairs to get it done.  It has really been a life-altering change.

Now I'm on a kick.  Partially because I've realized that this is my home, and even if I only have another year and a half here, I want to really enjoy it, but also because if we have to sell in a year and a half, I want someone else to want to buy it. 

So, my kitchen.  I know that a kitchen sells (or doesn't sell) a home.  When we were house shopping, there were plenty of homes that we turned down because the kitchens were so awful, even though every other aspect of the house may have been okay.  Considering that, I've decided to focus my efforts there.  I have a very limited budget, so I'm working mostly with what I have, with some minor new expenses.

Here's what we're working with.


Left side

 Pantry area

Right side

As you can see- it's not the worst kitchen out there, but it's certainly nothing spectacular by any stretch of the imagination.  These pictures are already somewhat upgraded as well, as the microwave and 30 year old refrigerator (which we were graciously loaned by my in laws when we moved in) have since been replaced by the side by side refrigerator and over the range microwave (that still needs to be wired into the cabinet-- hence the drop cord.  Beautiful, eh?).  The cabinets are covered in a plywood veneer, and the trim was an obviously DIY job by someone who didn't know who to install it properly.  The floor is sticky tile (unstuck in a few areas) that has been stuck to another laminate floor, that I *think* is covering hardwood, but I'm not sure.

This was the microwave, and it sat on this icky wood stand that hung behind the stove:

 (Yay, Diet Coke!  Don't judge.  Mama needs some kind of juice to keep her going!)

It "works" in the functional aspect...but it doesn't work in the aesthetic one- for me anyway.

I have a lot of plans that involve a lot of paint.  Unfortunately, I don't foresee us buying new stainless appliances in the next year and a half, and so my decisions need to work with the white ones we already have, but also with stainless because the option is there for us to buy, and possibly come back to live here longer after fellowship, it's just not immediately practical (but really, what doesn't go with stainless?).

These are some of the kitchens I've been looking at for inspiration:

(Found through: Idulgy)

source unknown

The general themes that I'm noticing in all my inspiration pictures: apron front farm sink, open/glass cabinet fronts, tall cabinets, neutral walls, butcher block counter tops.

I love white cabinets, but like I said- white appliances.  I don't really think the two go together very well.  I just envision getting it all painted, and having it drive me nuts that the whites are not all the EXACT same.  So, I think I'm leaning towards gray (big surprise, from me, eh?).  And since my cabinets are not perfect, I don't really have the time to take them totally apart to sand, prime, prime, prime, sand, and paint, paint, paint, and seal- I think I'm leaning towards light distressing, and using Annie Sloan in French Linen for the color.

HOWEVER, before I buy the paint and am stuck with it, I want to know what you think.  White or gray, distressed or not?  PLEASE comment and let me know!

See you all soon!

Linking up at:

Overdue Update

I can't believe it's been six months since I last posted. That's crazy.  Did you all think I'd fallen off the face of the earth?

I haven't, of course.  First I was baking a baby (in my belly y'all, not literally...weirdos), then I birthed that baby, and now I'm raising that baby.

Knox Emerson at four days old. <3

All while keeping up with finding, painting/refinishing, and selling furniture at the shop; keeping up with my house (you know...kind of); It's actually been going pretty well.  The adjustment to two kids has been surprisingly smooth, and the last ~four months has flown by.

I've done a lot, and instead of making individual posts about everything, I'm just going to blog vomit a few (poor quality) pictures of pieces and events that I've done in the last year that and I haven't shared with you.

We went to the keys at ~16 weeks preggers.

My "baby" went to his first MLB game.
I made some cakes.

(My brother got married- yay!!)

 We picked pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.
I made new curtains for the living room.
My sweet, hunky hubby moved the washer and dryer upstairs for me
(plumbing and electrical all done by himself!)

And of course, there was furniture.  Lots of furniture.  Here are a few pieces...

(This was my moms-- I made her curtains you can see in the mirror too!)

And one before/after for you. 

A buffet I redid and chopped the legs off to make an entertainment stand for my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.

That's it for now.  I have a big project I'm getting ready to tackle, and I need your opinions before I start-- so I'll be back soon!