office grey


If you follow me on Instagram then you already saw we painted a wall in our office. I spend a lot of my day using this room for orders & editing and posting here. I was needing a change and a moody grey wall was exactly that.
I took one of our desks out and downsized to a single desk and chair. Our bookshelf also got a move from the corner to this painted wall. Our Artek light was also moved to this corner and I like it against the darker wall. The printer is rather unsightly but hey, it's right next to me now and convenience is important in a working environment.


kitchen 'befores'


I'll be honest, it's been a tough few weeks. I am so happy to have Elin here! She's beautiful and sweet but she's also a lot of work. I know newborns are a lot of work but this time around I have two kids, and it's an adjustment. Not to mention I have laundry and cooking and my shop to keep up with. I'm not doing a great job just yet but every day is getting a little better.

Here's a few before and in-the-process photos. I realized while looking for photos that I really forgot to take a proper 'before' shot of the ugly rental kitchen, oops! But I did find this iphone photo for you to feast your eyes on.
Clearly it wasn't my style, not even close, but style aside there were so many issues with the original kitchen. The tile grout was never sealed so it absorbed all liquids and stains like a sponge. The tile was textured so it trapped a lot of crumbs and dirt and the sharp edges stuck out in places, we accidentally hurt ourselves on them multiple times. The beveled cabinets doors made cleaning so much more work, stuff would get stuck in the little corners of the fronts. Gross.
Also, the half wall/bar that stuck out made the entryway small enough that only one person at a time could walk in and out of the kitchen. It just felt suffocating.
And then there's the colors they chose. Honey colored cabinets with the same wood floor and then beige tile everywhere. There's no contrast, just a dark honey/beige hole. I also didn't like the appliances, they were bulky and outdated.

The new kitchen solves our old kitchen problems with flat doors, smooth counters, bright white, steamlined appliances. It's so much easier to clean this new version and much happier as well. I wanted an open space so that the kitchen felt like a part of the rest of the house, and a room people could easily walk in and out of. Plus I have a much better view of the rest of the house now.


kitchen renovation complete


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!




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.


a little kitchen preview


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...


the day after


Did you have a nice Christmas? I hope so!
Ours was interesting but we made the best of it. Feels like nothing is quote normal this year with my dad passing in May all these holidays and birthdays are just not the same. I want to avoid them all together as it brings up so many emotions but at the same time I know I need to put on a happy face for my son who still has so many memories to make.
I didn't get too festive here on the blog, but I'm sure next year will be better! The mix of sadness with third trimester tiredness has made it harder and harder to get my ideas together and live here on the blog. Thank you for your patience though. I'm looking forward to 2014 and hoping it is much, much better than this last year.

A little of our home with a quiet, subdued Christmas. We still have kitchen stuff packed up in boxes as we wait for the last things to be finished. We have doors on the cabinets but now for the counter, sink and cooktop.
Soon, very soon I'll have some before and after photos for you. And yay for a fully functional kitchen again, I'll be breathing a deep sigh of relief then!


a place to be cozy


We've officially begun the kitchen renovations and half the house is complete chaos. The dining table is a makeshift kitchen for toast, cereal and there are old & new appliances scattered throughout. Tomorrow comes some the boring stuff like plumbing and electrical wiring but this weekend our first cabinets should be installed so it won't look like a total war zone for much longer.
Thankfully our bedroom has been untouched and when it all becomes overwhelming for me I come in here for a bit to relax. Home renovations at 36 weeks pregnant are not for the faint hearted, or so I'm learning.


subtle Christmas


My favorite Christmas decorating is sparse and subtle. Changing too much just feels chaotic and I don't want the work involved with taking out lots of things and putting them away again a month later.

This is especially true this year because we just recently bought the house we've been renting!
Yes, it's true. Which means all the gross rental things I've complained about over the years can finally be changed. We've already made some changes to our closet, just waiting to pour concrete floors. Once it's finished I'll show you. Top of the list now though is the kitchen! We convinced our landlord to let us change floors, light fixtures and paint color but outside of that we couldn't/wouldn't do much more.
With kitchen renovations beginning in about a week, our house will be torn to pieces for a bit-refrigerator in the dining room, microwave on the table, I'm hoping it goes by fast.

So you can see why my feelings about a simple Christmas are so strong. Above are some images from Norm for Menu (I know, I blog about them a lot because they are my current favorite) and the styling feels warm and festive but not overdone, juuuuust right.

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