Category Archives: home decor

Wandering into the Land of Home Improvement

When we bought this house we knew we wanted, wait scratch that, needed to do the kitchen. While the house had the space and a layout that worked for us, and seemed to be in reasonable shape, we knew the kitchen was inadequate.

Both my husband and I cook. The kids need to learn how to cook. We need space that will let all of us work together without stepping on each other. This wasn’t going to cut it for us:

One side of the kitchen
The other side of the kitchen

So we planned and thought and made lots of drawings, and then went looking for a contractor. We decided we weren’t even going to try to do the work ourselves since we wanted to take out the load bearing wall between the kitchen and the dining room.
After a few quotes and interviews and poking around on Angie’s List we decided on a contractor, and ordered cabinets through him, since they had the style I really wanted. I could have gone with slightly cheaper cabinets by ordering them from Lowes or Home Depot, but then I would have had to have some shaker style kitchen and I really wanted something like this:

Corsica cabinets by Bellmont

To save money, and because I really wanted to have a hand in creating the kitchen, I’m going to be installing these resilient self stick tiles:

Roman Travertine tiles by Trafficmaster/ceramica

Get this, they’re groutable vinyl tiles! I can’t wait to play. And yes, I am going to be installing 12 x 24 tiles. Probably in a brick pattern. I don’t know why I’ve conceived a love of 12x 24 tiles, but I have.

We’re going with a quartz countertop, in a basic black, and simple stainless handles with just a bit of a curve. 
Two huge sinks, because that has always been part of a dream kitchen for my husband. And I’m getting a range with a baking drawer, to make hosting big parties easier. Not that I do big parties all that often. But now my Mom will be able to have some piping hot acorn squash ready when she wants it on Thanksgiving. 
It’s all supposed to be done well in time for Thanksgiving. I’m so excited. I can’t wait!

A little video show and tell.

I’ve been thinking about making a video showing you around my tiny craft room, and finally made one today. Simon helped a little bit by holding the camera for me in the beginning. Every time I see my craft room on film, I am struck by how dark it is. There’s actually more light in the room than is evident, but it is really my little crafty cave.
Please forgive all the ums and pauses. I am not good at speaking off the cuff. (However I can type a mean sentence!)

The cat was away! The mice played!

I must be in an odd mood. I’m rearranging things all over the house. It may be I’ve still got the misplaced hope that if I’m organized enough everything will be magically clean.

My kitchen has been driving me crazy for months now. The floor was impossible to keep clean. Getting down on my hands and knees to scrub it was only good for a couple of days, and I’m not the kind of person to do that for such little reward. More and more tiles were breaking up and cracking and coming free from the floor altogether. And in the door way of the little half bath, it was positively scary. One day the tile in the doorway came loose, and I picked it up. The wood underneath was sawdust. My thought process went something like, “Oh shit! Termites? Carpenter ants? Rotting floor boards from leaky pipes? What could it be? And is it just here, or does it affect more of my kitchen? Aghhhhh!”

My husband, however, never seemed willing to discuss doing anything about it, other than an occasional meander through the vinyl tile section at Home Depot.

My opportunity for action came this past weekend, when a friend of my husband’s offered to meet him at Las Vegas. Mentally rubbing my hands together gleefully, I formulated a plan, with help from my wonderful co-conspirator, Mom. We decided to do the floor, and paint the cabinets and walls while we were at it. I had decided on a color for the walls much earlier, but had not painted because the rest of the kitchen was in such bad shape.

Here’s a before picture, so you get an idea of the ugly blandness of my kitchen. While it’s not completely hideous, it comes pretty close.

So the first two days my husband was gone, I worked on scrubbing my kitchen and emptying out all the stuff. We have a lot of stuff. I only had the mornings to work, because I had to work in the evenings. I also finished getting as many supplies as I thought we’d need. Sunday was spent pulling up the old vinyl tile and scrubbing the floor as much as we could, as well as taking down the wall paper border. Monday we put the first coat of paint on, repaired the insect damaged floor, and lay down tile in the middle of the floor, leaving one corner, and the edges. Tuesday we put the second coat of paint on, and shuffled appliances so we could finish the last corner. We started putting things away after dinner, and were still not completely done when my husband got home at 11:30. We had enough done so that it looked finished, however.

And his reaction? A very tired “Wow.”

I was hoping for at least an exclamation point.

Making Space

I entered a contest at Creating Keepsakes for the Scrapbooker of the Year. (They announced finalists today, and no, I did not get a call.) One of the things they wanted was an essay about my ideal day, real or imagined. It was an interesting prompt, and got me thinking about how I could make my life more ideal.
Two things have been bothering me a little, and the essay got me thinking about how I could change them. The first is the inability to share space with my husband while I do crafty stuff or while he’s on the computer. I wanted to be able to say “hey check this out” without dropping everything and running through 2/3 of the house, and I wanted to be able to chat about interesting articles or lurk over his shoulder without having to sit in the most uncomfortable chair in the house, in the smallest room of the house.
I also was sick and tired of every single toy in the house making it’s way to the living room and staying there.
After much thought, and the fortuitous arrival of a second computer, I came up with a plan. I moved my craft supplies into the sunroom/sitting room part of my bedroom. I drew up floor plans and elevations, and debated it for days with anyone who would listen. Then I started moving things. (With some help from my husband and the kids.) This past Sunday I finally moved the last things out of the front bedroom, and into the sunroom. I’m not completely organized yet, but I have lots of work space, and the second computer has a home.
Additionally, the kids now have a play room! The train table and the various toys that were taking over my house have been, for the most part, relegated to the newly christened playroom, and I have a more serene living space downstairs. Once a few more items are attended to I’ll post pictures so you can see the effort we put into making the house more ideal for all of us.