Cabinet Details

If the entire premise of this blog is “Small But Valuable,” I think there’s an important milestone to note.  Namely, Scott put pulls onto our cabinets, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Our main cabinets (along the wall, were there forever and repainted)  have had hardware for a while, which is helpful with little tasks like opening drawers.  Our island, however, has been hardware-less since installation.

At first, I was so thrilled to have drawers that I didn’t care how carefully they needed to be opened.  The charm wore off sometime last week, however, and Scott kindly remedied the problem.  Pull-less before (just started drilling holes):

photo-1Pull-ful after:


Sometimes the small wins are pretty heartening.

Living Area Before and After (Finally!!!)

Okay, it’s been a while since we did any actual work on our living area (aside from the stairs, which are kind of a part of the project, kind of not).  But it took a while for me to get motivated to clean and get tools off the floor and all of those fun details that make pictures worth seeing.  Yes, I was too lazy to take tools downstairs.  It happens.

The point is that I finally found the motivation to clean up the living area.  It’s called having guests that we don’t know.  Funny how that makes cleaning seem so much more important.  Yay for guests!  Yay for a clean house.

Lest you think we just have a boring white house, let me show you the before pictures.  This is what you used to see of our dining room from the living room:

dining room beforeAnd this is what the kitchen used to look like:

kitchen beforeAnd this was the beginning of the real projects and our never-ending adventures with dust:

whole area before So before all of the blood, sweat and tears, we had a peach kitchen, a red dining room, and a pink-ish taupe living room.  My main goal was to turn it into one bright, inviting space.  So then (drumroll, please), there was this:

kitchen afterAnd this:

living room

And this might be my favorite area of all:

dining roomIt doesn’t hurt that there is fresh rosemary on the table.  Bonus points to the table:

flowersIt’s hard to pick a favorite spot though.  See that little green bin on the top shelf?  That holds all of the papers that used to swarm onto our couch and counter and everywhere.  Not to mention the fact that the cookbooks are actually in the kitchen area now.

island bookshelfI love my fruit/potato/onion bins, too.  This spot used to house a plastic trash can.  Now it’s all cute and practical and orderly.  Those are definitely the tickets to this girl’s heart.

binsLast but not least, it wouldn’t be a real house without a little bit of TV-watching and a dog curled up on a pile of clean laundry.

real lifeHome sweet home!

Spare Drawer Solution

No, not the under-drawers type of drawer.  The furniture type of drawer.  We found ourselves with a brand new kitchen cabinet drawer and no place to put said drawer (there’s a microwave on a nifty shelf where the drawer was designed to go), so we tried to find an alternative drawer use.  This was the inspiration:

photo from (via Pinterest)

photo from (via Pinterest)

And this is the real deal at our house:

entryUnfortunately for you, the real deal is best photographed in the afternoon, when the light is bright and wonderful.  When I’m never home to take pictures.  You’ll just have to assume that it’s generally better looking in real life than in this picture.  This is how I see the table, even in dark, fuzzy pictures:

sparkly Fancier, right?  And an extra place to store books, which is always a good thing.  This is the color inside the drawer, because it’s impossible to see in the pictures:

Benjamin Moore Azores (from

Benjamin Moore Azores (from

I thought about painting the top of the table (or the drawer front, if you’re still thinking of this as a drawer and not a table), but I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the smooth finish with my messy brush marks.  So that’s it–a house project that took about 10 minutes of painting time and was free to us (if you don’t count the cost of the kitchen cabinet it came with or the paint sample I bought at least 3 years ago).  I really like free tables that double as small bookshelves and Hokie stone holders!

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Welcome to the quiz version of the blog.  Let’s get started!

Q1.  Does all matter tend towards disorder?
A1.  In our house, definitely.  True, we’re in the middle of some relatively major kitchen projects at the moment. It still seems like this picture is too representative:

All of the glorious details.

All of the glorious details.

Q2.  Want to see more?
A2.  (You don’t have a choice unless you want to stop reading.  Mwah ha ha.)

The big picture.

There are perks to the mess.  For example, tonight is the night I have to/get to take everything out of the cabinet bases for sanding.  The perk certainly isn’t the mess on the counter and through guest bedrooms.  The bonus is that you get to put everything back in better order than when you started.

Q3.  Last but not least, do you know what smells worse than burned Korean food fresh off of the stove?
A3.  Reheated burned Korean food fresh from the microwave.  It’s way worse.  It’s also proof that not all dinners are a success and that my husband is too nice to badmouth a failed dinner.  Only one more serving until the leftovers are gone.  Whew.

Future DIY Queen?

Scott and I are  about to close on our new home (less than two weeks!), and we’re getting ready for all of our projects.  Well, we’re getting ready for bits and pieces of our projects.

Our plan is to start by knocking out a wall between our kitchen and living/dining areas.  Apparently it isn’t a load-bearing wall, but it will require an added beam in the ceiling.  While I’m perfectly happy to play a supporting role in the supporting beam project, that one is really more on Scott’s plate.  Then after that, things will be more in my neck of the DIY woods.

We have big plans for the kitchen, the bathrooms, and a few minor tweaks to other rooms in the house.  Don’t get me wrong, we love this house.  It’s in great shape, it could just use some updates.

So to give you some reading variety (instead of just recipes), I thought I would show you some of my favorite pictures of things we’re considering.  First up, we have our current countertop choice (subject to change): soapstone.

soapstone countertop

photo by Justine Hand

Although some people don’t like that soapstone is a softer stone than granite, I like the idea that it will have more and more patina over time.  It can vary from medium grey to black, depending on whether you oil the counter or not.  Also fun.  It’s really heat and stain resistant, which is fantastic.  And to top it all off, it’s substantially cheaper than most stone options, and it’s soft enough that we can cut it ourselves.

Second, we’re considering some striped tile in the master bath shower.

photo from

photo from

I love the idea of using budget-friendly white tile with a dash of color to add more personality.  There’s a chance that we’ll just go with white tile all over though.  It kind of depends on how confident I am with tile installation by the time we get to that project.  The kitchen backsplash will be the test zone.

We’re playing around with a lot of ideas.  Beadboard as a replacement for wall tile in the bathroom…

photo by Joan at

photo by Joan at

…painting bathroom vanity bases and changing out the tops/sinks, and plenty of other things.  Scott is definitely going to be my DIY teammate, and I know he’s great at making things work the way they should.  But I’ll be at home all day, taking care of projects while he’s at work.  Here’s to hoping I’m good at it.  If I’m not, there might be nothing but recipe posts for the next two years, as I drown my DIY sorrows in tasty food.  Silver lining for you.