Projects and More Projects

Do you know what projects in progress mean?  Well, they mean an opportunity for another layer of projects in the near future.  Because Scott is making excellent progress with the floors right now, it leaves some painting opportunities open to me.  First on that list will be finishing the living room and hallway painting I’m kind of halfway through.  That’s top priority.

But after that, I’m thinking through a few more fun projects:

1) The fireplace.  Right now, it’s a nice, simple white.  Nothing terrible at all.  The only glitch is that the bricks inside the mantle are a slightly different shade of white than the wood mantle.  Not really a problem, but if I get around to it, I’m considering something like these:


photo from


photo from


photo from

The last option is the most likely because it’s the same color (more or less) as the olive green tile in our kitchen, which is now in the same room as the fireplace.  The blue matches our dining room chairs.  The yellow would be an odd-ball choice, but I still like it.

2) If I get really really motivated, I might just rip up the carpet on the stairs and do something like one of these on the stairs:


photo from

photo from Elle Decor

photo from Elle Decor

Although I will admit that the minty green in that last one might not be manly enough for the other half of the household.  We could go with some other dark-ish color with white treads. 

This is definitely a case of my eyes being bigger than my project time available.  I do have good intentions.  And those floors are looking mighty nice.

Squash Season, Floors, and Other Very Exciting Things

To celebrate the start of the summer squash season (and the first fruits from our veggie garden this summer!), I went big with Giada’s Verdure al Forno.  This time, I even found fontina cheese at the grocery store, and let me tell you… yum.  I mean really.  If you don’t think parmesan, fontina, and mozzarella mixed with squash, breadcrumbs, and heavy cream are good, you’re crazy.  I know, “Who am I to say you’re crazy?!”  Try it and then tell me what you think.  This is certainly not the healthiest way to eat your veggies this summer, but I’m willing to be it’s one of the tastiest.

Peanut agrees with me, although he might be eyeing the leftover pulled pork, not the squash.

IMG_20140629_202814_987That was family brewing time at its best, thus the burner and such in the background and dinner in the driveway.  Nobody minded eating in the driveway a bit.

If that’s not enough excitement for one day, check this out:

IMG_20140630_115748_190Yes, Scott did rip out a huge chunk of our floor this morning while I was selecting books at the library and making event calendars and whatnot.  Color me impressed!

In case you’re wondering why we’re replacing perfectly nice laminate flooring, let me remind you:

photo-5See, it looks like a messy food trough for dogs, complete with blurry dog.  That’s not what most people look for in a floor, so we’re changing it to this:

photo from

photo from

We checked into lots of options for flooring–reclaimed wood, antique but not reclaimed wood, smaller and/or more local mills, bamboo floors, and last but not least, Lumber Liquidators.  As much as we wanted to go with a cool, environmentally responsible option, it just made more sense this time at the good ol’ LL.  The pre-finished option meant at least a week less manual labor and a total lack of fumes in the house.  The slightly cheaper cost meant that shipping at the next best option made it for reals more expensive.  So Lumber Liquidators won in the end.

This was their best competition in our book: Elmwood Reclaimed Timber.  Their prices are reasonable, their products are gorgeous (samples were even better in person than catalog pictures or website), and we really really like them.  But we also like living without fumes and being able to buy Peanut all the kibbles his heart desires.

I really like our pick though.  It looks a little bit rustic without that seriously distressed look (gently rustic).  It’s dark (as Scott prefers) without being super dark (which I don’ prefer).  It’s just right.

Fifteen Days of Remodeling Turns Into Thirty Plus

I did my fair share of blog reading before we started our kitchen cabinet project.  I wanted to see what paints and techniques had worked for other people, and I needed some photo inspiration to get the courage for our own project.

It worked.  I heard about other people’s problems and pitfalls and how they solved them.  And I finally got ready to take things apart.

My favorite step by step instructions are from Young House Love.  They’re pretty good at the whole kitchen remodel thing, and they’ve done it more than once with great results.  


photo from Young House Love


See?  Pretty.  But if you look at the timeline for one of their kitchen redo projects, it says they took things apart, painted, and put things back in place in 15 days.  What?!  On top of having jobs and a baby.  At this point, I think we’re going on 36 days (sans baby).  Granted, we haven’t been entirely time-efficient with our project.  There have been days that included too many other things to add painting and sanding and such on top of normal life.  But still.  Doing the entire project in 15 days (including a few days for the paint to cure before remounting the cabinet doors) seems like super hero project time to me.

It turns out that some people work on projects at warp speed, and Scott and Peanut and I do not work at warp speed.  The good news is that I think we only have one more coat of paint for the cabinet door fronts.  The number went up because of some late in the game sanding and color bleeding that’s happened.  So maybe only 3 more days?  We’ll see.  I hear that remodeling projects usually take longer than expected with contractors, too, so at least we’re working within normal parameters.  

Simple Pork for Project Day

This week is somewhat busy, all things considered. We have family coming to help us with projects on the weekend, which means that the bedroom that’s currently serving as our cabinet space (lots of fragile things all over the floor surrounding the bed) needs to become a bedroom again by Friday night. Which means that cabinets will be totally painted by Friday.

It’s nice to have a deadline though, and it isn’t an “everything must be finished” deadline, which is helpful.  Just cabinet bases.  So with that in mind, this is what the cabinet bases looked like yesterday morning:


brown and avocado glory

And this is what the cabinet bases looked like by the afternoon:

ta da!

ta da!

Putting the doors back on will eventually make the white cabinet picture complete.  I decided not to paint the interior of the cabinets, because sometimes painted cabinets have wood-tone interiors.  It’s not totally unheard of.  And why paint perfectly good shelves if they’re only seen when the door is open?

Even though we’re in splotchy primer stage right now, I like the white paint so much!  It instantly made me feel better about the backsplash and the countertop.  The white appliances even look fresh now.  We already decided the green tile and appliances would stay, since they’re in good shape.  No point in getting rid of things that are relatively inoffensive visually and otherwise do their jobs.  And honestly, I would gladly keep the countertop, too.  Paint is an incredible thing.

What do you eat when your kitchen is being painted and the fridge is in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room?  We went with simple spice-rubbed pork chops, sweet potato fries (baked), and edamame that was basically just warmed up and lightly salted.  It certainly wasn’t a complicated meal, but it was tasty and relatively healthy.  The pork chops had a delicious spice crust on one side, and I loved the fact that I got to just sprinkle on the spices instead of messily smearing it on both sides.  Everybody was happy, happy, happy.

The sweet potato fries were as basic as it comes.  I cleaned the sweet potatoes up a bit, since they came straight from my father-in-law’s veggie garden.  Then I dried them so they would crisp up well in the oven.  I preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  I threw some olive oil and salt and pepper in with the fries on a cookie sheet, mixed with my hands, and put them in the oven for 10-ish minutes per side (more if thicker fries, less if thin-cut fries).  Scott added some cajun spice to his fries, I think.  Or cinnamon and cayenne.  Not sure, really.  Extra spice, anyway.  I liked them with nothing but salt, pepper and brown, crispy edges.

While all of that cooking was going down, Scott was also taking down the studs of our wall.  I know it doesn’t look super cleaned up or polished at this point, but I still like how it’s going.  A lot.

the only time that the loss of studs is a bonus

the only time that the loss of studs is a bonus

I also primed the front of the cabinet doors yesterday.  I feel pretty lucky, because we have this giant room downstairs that has very little furniture in it at the moment.  We also have a ton of packing paper that makes a brilliant (and free) drop cloth.  The only imperfect thing about the set-up is that sometimes your adorable dog might chase a fly through the room.  He might even chase it over the freshly painted cabinet doors that are laying on the floor.  (NO!)  Fortunately, Peanut and Fly only stepped on cabinet doors that were dry.  Whew.

Front Door: Ta Da!


Lowe’s Valspar Courtyard Green

Would I pick exactly the same color on our front door if I could pick again today?  Not sure.  I might go for something slightly bluer or darker or something.

Do I like the color a lot?  Yes!  I like it about 1,000 times more than the deep red color that was on the door before.  And I had to just make a decision without knowing ahead of time if it would be perfect.  So I’m going to call it a success.

Also, I feel strongly that storm doors should be painted the same color as the main door behind them.  If that’s white, so be it.  But when a storm door is white and the door behind it is another color, I feel like it throws off the proportion of the door in relation to the trim around the door and the rest of the house.  It makes the door look miniature, and not in a cute way.


Before, with a white storm door.

I know this sounds stupid, but every time I see a storm door that’s white in front of a colored main door, I want to paint it to match.  That means I’m pretty thrilled that we finally have a storm door that I can paint to match the main door.  I got to take action on my freakishly strong feelings on the matter.  Yay!  I even think the yellowish green makes the brass hardware on the door look more modern.  Happiness all around.

So that’s all on the front door for now.  It’s green, inside and out, and as soon as the living room walls are repainted, too, there will be more interior show and tell.  It might be a while.

Mathematical Redecoration



Today’s decorating projects all revolve around the idea of subtraction.  That mostly involves taking our cabinet doors off of the cabinets and popping the ugly trim off of them.  Someday soon, they’ll transform from 70’s chic to flat-front white cabinets.


The other project has involved getting rid of remnants of ugly around the house.  I struggled with taking down the previous owner’s curtains and blinds and such.  Why?  Well, most of them were homemade.  I’ve made a curtain or two in my day, and I know there’s way more emotion wrapped up in homemade curtains (or homemade anything, really) than the store-bought versions.

Then I had to remind myself that the former owner left these curtains behind, so they obviously weren’t that important to her.  Enter the screwdriver and the curtain extraction project.  Take a look at some of the former gems:




curtainsCan you see the print on the bottom left cafe curtains?  It says, “Raggedy Ann & Andy,” followed by a heart.  Oh, man.  And take a closer look at those red curtains:


furYou might not be able to see it, but there’s white cat hair all over that curtain.  Mmm.  I’ll be the first to admit that there’s hair from our dog all over our house.  Our couch was purchased with dog fur in mind, and vacuuming is not my favorite occupation.  It’s different when it’s someone else’s pet hair though.  I have no personal attachment to the creator of that fur fest.  Thus the fur is bordering on gross, not cute.


While I bash the former owner’s curtains, I’ll put in a mini plug for her.  They’re really well sewn curtains.  All straight seams, some of them are even lined and made fancy and such.  They’re just not my taste, that’s all.  I’m saving them to use as drop cloths.  I’ll have the prettiest drop cloths in town.

So I’m grateful for the beauty of less today.  I’m not putting up our curtains until we’ve painted, and there are other steps that have to come before that.  But I can take out the stuff that isn’t ours.  And I am thoroughly enjoying that.



Progression of Prices

Okay, I know that kitchen cabinet hardware isn’t the most thrilling topic in the world.  As a general topic, it isn’t even that close to my “Top 100” list.  It is, however, awesome if you’re looking for cabinet hardware yourself.  With that in mind, I’m sorry for what you’re about to read.  Feel free to come back when there’s something more fun on here.  I might make another cake soon.  We’re only halfway finished with the last one, but you never know.

About that hardware… The kitchen remodeling adventure continues.  Plans are changing, leaning more towards refinishing what we have, and I kind of like the new plan.  It means less “new and shiny,” but it also means I can start the project sooner and with far less money-spending guilt.  Less money-spending guilt is appreciated.

Fortunately, any remodeling plan involves new cabinet hardware.  Today has involved thousands of pictures of cabinet hardware, and now I have it narrowed down to a few finalists.  I started the search with the handles I know I love:


photo from

I happen to think they’re almost perfect (in a non-brass color).  I love the simple vibe.  They look like they came straight out of a small-town hardware store in 1920.  At $9 per piece, they look slightly less fun, however.  I’ll admit that I haven’t totally ruled them out.

But after a pretty legit search, I found these:


photo from

At $5.79 each, I’m excited about these, too.  They’re still simple, and their finish fits the design plan (matching the light fixtures in rooms you can see from the kitchen, definitely not matching the bright brass doorknobs).  Good and good.

Then came these:


photo from

They’re a little more decorative than I planned to go, but they’re $3.76 each, and they still have the shape I like.  I thought about going with bar pulls that aren’t curved like these, but I’ve ripped two pairs of perfectly good shorts on our current bar pulls.  Nothing but smooth edges for me now.  (See, totally practical.)

There are still a ton of choices to make before the project actually begins, but at least I’ve got a handle on it.  (Ha ha ha.)  Couldn’t resist.  Now I have to go live real life for a while.  No more hypothetical kitchen life.

You know what’s the best thing about a kitchen that hasn’t been remodeled since 1975?  You can still make delicious food there.