"Where are those kitchen 'before' photos you promised?"
I know, I know. Sadly though our son got sick yesterday and has been coughing and sneezing all over, not to mention is exhausted yet can't sleep. I'm terrified of the baby getting sick so I'm trying to help Israel while running to wash my hands and pick up crying Elin. Today, two of me would be nice.
So in the meantime I'm posting a quick shop update. I had some time earlier this week to add this new Platinum Curve necklace, a simple and small asymmetric shape. I hope you like it.
Hoping my son gets to feeling better soon and that no one else gets sick along the way!
I think you've been waiting for these photos long enough, don't you? For those of you who don't know, we began renovating our kitchen early December. We rented the house for years until October, so we've been anxious for years to do this very thing.
It's taken weeks longer than we expected but it's safe to say we're done. I have several 'before' photos that I'm still gathering so I'll post those tomorrow but in the meantime this is the 'after'. It's so great to finally have a kitchen that represents us & how we live, and not some generic ugly contractor kitchen!
The last two weeks have been very dark and cloudy, every single day, so I waited for a day with some sun but it never came. These photos aren't my favorite but for now they'll do.
A little about our new layout. I've had this in mind for at least the last two years. A wall on the left for appliances and a big pantry cabinet. The middle wall with only the cooktop and a row of upper cabinets. The right side would end where the wall bends, giving just enough room for the sink.
Almost everything in the kitchen had to be moved-plumbing for the sink and dishwasher needed to be relocated. Electricity for the microwave and oven needed to be moved. A new outlet for the cooktop needed to be installed. But it was worth it to have our new appliances in the places we'd use them best.
My husband and I talked back and forth about the cabinet finishes and colors for a long while.
We considered light and dark stained wood cabinets with circular holes cut out of them instead of handles, all white everything, dark grey cabinets with wood herringbone counter tops, concrete or tiled floor OR features like an island in the kitchen with no upper cabinets or just a few open stainless steel shelves. Brass or chrome accents, slim handles or no handles at all.
In the end we decided that since the kitchen is in the middle of our house, sharing a space with our dining table and living room and a wall with the office, it was best to make it look like an extension of what we already had. We continued the same flooring and chose white cabinet doors, a white sink & faucet (because we wanted them to blend in) and matte white counters. To add a little bit of masculinity we chose flat black for the upper cabinet doors which also helps balance out the black cook appliances. We decided on push buttons so that none of the doors would have handles and asked that the upper doors be made a little longer so they could pull open underneath.
We chose some Ikea appliances because of their simple look but mostly because of their competitive warranties. Ikea offers a 5 yr warranty on kitchen appliances, which is more than most other retailers. The cabinets were custom made by a local carpenter. My husband installed the flooring but we hired professionals for all the plumbing and electrical work.
For those of you thinking of starting a similar reno. project-make sure to do some homework before you start. Compare and ask lots of questions and be incredibly thorough with those you work with. I found that many times if I did not specify the tiniest detail, people would simply default to whatever was 'standard' even if it may not be what we had wanted. I drew pictures, sent emails with photos, made phone calls and still mistakes were made. Also, if we could have moved out for a few weeks until this was done, we would have. Simply because living in a house without an oven or sink or place to prepare food is very challenging and I would not want to relive that part!
Daniella Witte's store is looking beautiful right now & she has a new site, doesn't it look nice? She's a wonderfully talented stylist & photographer, in case you haven't already noticed.
Also, designer Anna Wedin has created these genius draping magnets called DISC. Handmade in Stockholm, you can buy your own right here!
This past week of being mostly sedentary with the baby has been nice. I mean, it's necessary to recuperate and to get used to another little person in the house but it also has me appreciating really simple pleasures. One of those things is candlelight, especially now in the darker Winter days. It's so soothing and peaceful to have candles burning and I've had at least one lit in every room of the house all week. The lotus candleholder above was sent to me by Finnish BEdesign as a gift and I love the shadows it creates when lit. The others are from H&M, Lotta's store and Hay.
I sit a lot in my favorite chair by Muuto while nursing Elin. It's made even more comfortable by my oversized sheepskin. I've also had a chance to catch up on some magazine reading, the latest issue of Kinfolk is beautiful.
Having some fresh flowers and greens around the house does so much to lift my mood and keep the house feeling fresh.
I have wanted fresh fruit non stop since Elin was born. Among my favorites are strawberries and pineapple!
It's hard to put Elin down, I could hold her all day (I am right now btw, and typing one handed!) or carry her in a sling, but sometimes you just need a shower or need both hands free to get stuff done. 4moms sent this great Mamaroo for the baby months ago and now we get to use it. Elin is a big fan and we like that you can connect your iphone to it and play music, also it sits up or reclines so easily. It's really an excellent baby product that we'll use more and more as she gets older.
Being at home all week I haven't needed or wanted to wear make up. I spend so much time next to baby that I just want my skin to be hydrated and soft. This Camelia Nut cream is my favorite moisturizer. It smells wonderful but it also works! This coming from someone with really dry skin. I put it on in the mornings after a shower and it makes me feel so good. Simple right?
A week ago yesterday our sweet baby was born. My due date was Saturday so I wasn't expecting to go into labor just yet. But that morning soon after my husband came home from work, I noticed mild contractions roughly 5 mins apart. I asked him to start timing them, just out of curiosity, and they were almost exactly 3 minutes apart from each other. Being still very manageable we all headed to the grocery store near our house to grab some snacks and for labor-in case this was the real thing. we bought my favorite superfood smoothies, fresh pineapple (my favorite) and white tulips. As we shopped each contraction slowly became more intense but it felt so good to be up and walking around that we finished up before heading home.
Maybe I should explain, before I go any further, that we have been planning a home birth with this baby. I had my son naturally and without drugs but in a birthing facility. I did a lot of research and found that home birth is incredibly safe and has many wonderful benefits. So you can see I wasn't in a rush to leave the store, I was happy to have my early labor among the product aisle.
We kept in contact with our midwife and doula about my progress and decided we'd meet at our house soon to have her check in on me. Soon we were back home and even though my contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart still and growing in intensity, I was happy to carry on a conversation, unload bags from the car and trim flowers I had bought to put in a vase. I'd pause as another contraction would come on, leaning over the table or on my husband. It was so relaxing to be in my own space, among my own things and moving at my own pace. It felt great to move around and keep walking, albeit slowly. It felt great to light some candles and put on comfortable clothes, to put on some of my favorite lotion to just relax.
Within an hour my contractions were taking up all my energy and attention, they were powerful. I'd hang on my husband during them and relax my knees, remembering to stay soft and let each one do its job to dilate. Sometimes I'd tense up with surprise at how intense each new one was, but I quickly reminded myself that they were doing a great job in me and not to be afraid.
Jeremiah and I went for a short walk behind our house. The cold air felt amazing and I loved just walking, talking with him. He was so encouraging and supportive, as were our midwife and doula too. I had 3 big contractions on our walk and soon felt like we needed to go back inside. By this time I asked for the midwife to check my dilation. I had been hesitant to be checked earlier in case I had not dilated much, I didn't want to feel discouraged but I knew I was close to transition and was too curious not to know.
Well it was a good thing I did have her check me because I was 9 cm dilated at this point, almost there!
I was still feeling pretty good and pretty encouraged by this news but really wanted to get into the birth pool our midwife had set up for me. The warm water was relaxing and supportive. I had a few more strong contractions, these were serious. They moved over my whole body like a wave and I kept imagining them to be like waves in the ocean, passing over me and opening my cervix, getting closer to bringing my baby out. On my knees in the water, with my husband sitting behind me, I savored those little breaks in between each contraction. After 3 or 4 of those I suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to push. In my mind I yelled a little "yay!" as I could feel baby's head suddenly passing through. I've heard some moms say they didn't like pushing, but this is a stage I always liked. It's so very intense but also feels incredibly productive.
Two pushes and the baby's head came out. I remember our midwife whispering "feel your baby's head" and I reached into the water and felt her soft, fuzzy head. It was so encouraging, she was almost here! Two more big pushes and she was completely out! I opened my eyes which had been closed for the last half hour and saw this our perfect baby girl in my arms. She was here, and so quickly! I kissed her soft wet skin and rubbed her back. My husband and I talked to her, telling her how happy we were to have her here, how beautiful and perfect she was and how thankful we were for her.
It was pure euphoria, an incredible high and rush of emotions. This is what it's all about, this very moment. I savored it and tried my best to memorize her new smell and little sounds. There, still in the water I nursed my baby for the first time. She latched right away and everything was right in the world! We had a wonderful, supported birth and now a perfectly healthy, responsive and beautiful baby. These first moments of birth that I've experienced with both my babies are the highest and most blissful moments I've experienced in my life. I wish every mom could have an experience like this, it was a gift!
I hope you all don't mind my being so personal. I feel a bit exposed but at the same time I think it is so important for people to hear positive birth stories from moms who enjoyed their births. It wasn't panicked, it wasn't rushed, it wasn't interfered with, it was a perfectly normal, healthy act and it was all mine. I loved building a relationship with our caring, knowledgeable midwife these past few months.
I feel so blessed and hope that for some mom out there my story will encourage them also.
Needless to say to those of you who have kids, this first week has been a slow one. Lots of nursing, lots of trying to sleep, a whole lot of laundry and even more little kisses from mom, dad and new brother. We all love little Elin so much and are happy to share a bit of her with you.
Thank you all dearly for listening. And I hope to be posting regularly again soon (fingers crossed).
*a couple resources about home birth you may find interesting
BMJ article on outcomes of home births
Home birth safety article
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (highly recommended!)
The Business of Being Born
A little sneak peek of our closet. We spent an entire weekend (plus some) ripping out carpet and old built in shelves to open up this space. It's not the biggest closet but we've made room for all our clothes and bedding in here and the tiny room is much happier.
I'll post more photos soon including some photos of my jewelry storage. It's really quite basic but a dear reader wrote in asking if I'd share where I keep my jewelry and I'm glad to do so! Look for part II of this post early next week.
Until then, happy (almost) Thursday.
I received a press release from &Tradition this morning announcing the release of their new products at upcoming fairs in Paris & Stockholm and as much as I'd love to be attending, I'm sadly too far away and too far pregnant. But I thought I'd share with you the photo attached in the release with beautiful shades of wood in the ladder, table and floor. They all look warm and soft together, especially against that pink & black Catch Chair! Yum.
This morning has been a quiet one. A few loads of laundry and lots of work on wholesale orders for my jewelry. I'm trying hard to get everything done before my due date in a week 1/2. Lots of earrings and beads are covering my desk but it feels like progress.
For any of you interested in wholesale please contact me here or here as this is the last week I will be accepting orders. Also, for shop customers, I will be closing for maternity leave on the 16th (given I haven't delivered by then) but as a last hurrah I'm offering 15% off everything with code NEWYEAR15 until then!
Better get back to work all, hope you're having a fantastic Tuesday evening!
I've been talking about this for weeks but haven't shown you anything, so here's a peek at the progress we've made so far. I have had this exact layout in my head for the past two years so it feels surreal to see it come to fruition, albeit slower than we thought it would be.
We began December 9th with the demolition of our old kitchen, I promise I'll show you 'before' pictures for the big reveal. They're hideous. :)
From there we had initial plumbing & electrical work done as we moved our sink and oven over to different walls. Then we removed a small wall and the old flooring, replacing it with the white washed flooring we have in the rest of the house. I didn't want a different flooring as we were opening up the space to the house, I wanted one continuous floor material.
From there we had to have the walls re-sheet rocked and textured to match the rest of the house. Ideally I would have no texture but we have to match what the rest of the house already has.
At this point we were about a week into the process, dishes were packed away and we were living off of sandwiches and toast-all made on the dining room table. Fun huh?
The first weekend our boxes for the cabinets were installed and the following Monday the counters were templated. We purchased the counters in November but found out they can't be made/ordered until the cabinets they will sit atop of are templated, just in case there is a bowed wall or cabinet base.
And then silence...for almost a week we had no work. No appliances still, no shelves, just a refrigerator and empty boxes where cabinets would soon be. Everyone said it was crazy to do this so late into my pregnancy and they were probably right, but I didn't want to be doing this with a newborn so I had my mind made up!
After that week of waiting for progress our cabinet shelves, drawers and doors were installed! It was finally looking like a kitchen again. Then came our new microwave & oven (pictured above) so at least we could start baking food again!
Until our countertops arrived we used plywood, which wasn't too bad but it definitely looked incomplete. And just this last Thursday those counters were put in, along with our cook top and sink. Yippee!
Thursday of this week will be one month exactly since we began the process. While the exhaust hood, dishwasher and sink still need to be connected I'm feeling more relieved that this whole process is coming to an end.
Still to do?
| install wall light above sink
| get trash bin
| have those remaining appliances connected
| touch up paint behind cooktop
| buy organizers for some drawers & cabinets
I've found renovations are not for the impatient (that is me!) and you need to expect the unexpected, or at least more time and certainly more money...
Happy New Year! I have been down and out lately with the flu for the past to weeks. Some days I'm completely out and other days I can still manage to get some work done. The hard part is that at 9 mos pregnant there isn't much I can take to get rid of it so I'm waiting for this sickness to run its course and get then heck out of here.
I noticed a lot of people have been sentimental about 2013 but I am just not one of them. 2013 will always represent a year of loss, and for those who haven't followed, by that I mean by dad. Each day has been a struggle and even now, almost 8 mos after his passing I find myself having a hard time accepting he's truly gone.
While I'm not sad to see 2013 leave I am overwhelming glad to see a new year! 2014 is the year we get to meet our little baby girl, the year we're finishing this kitchen renovation (and probably beginning more renovations) and hopefully 2014 has even more new, exciting things on store for all of us!
New Year's resolutions have never been my thing but I am constantly writing to-do lists or thinking of short term and long term goals. Whether those all come to fruition is another topic all together but I am continually thinking of ways to get better, more organized and happier.
I thought it would be a good idea, at least for accountability purposes, to write down a few of those goals here:
|As far as blogging goals, I really hope to post more regularly. I'm already trying to figure out how I'll do that with a newborn!
|I also want to post more of my own photos, more photos from our home and projects and personal life. Sometimes that's hard because the house can be in disarray most of the time-but this is a goal after all.
|Slowly I've been working on a little blog facelift for the past couple months. I really need to get this done before baby comes-BIG goal!
|This should help with the last thought, I want to be more organized this year! Get rid of as many things we don't need/use as possible and have
a thoughtful spot for everything.
|Renovate both bathrooms in our house. When the kitchen is finished I'll show you before/after photos. The bathrooms have the same ugly cabinets &
tile that the kitchen had and badly needs changing. One thing I won't miss about renting-tolerating these bad interiors!
|Lose baby weight! This is certainly easier said than done but I just generally want to get better at eating clean foods and cooking every meal at
home. I'm one to want to do things in moderation so I'll be sure to still enjoy the occasional treat!
|My husband and I have been wanting to open some little online shop selling some of our favorite interior objects (specifically from Scandinavian brands) & have had this idea for the
past few years. We got so close but this year had one thing after another and we could never quite get it going. I'd love to get some sort of pop-up shop going by Summer to share with all of you!
Do you have a running list of goals or to-do lists? What things are you currently itching to conquer?