Category Archives: Kitchen

Wanna help me pick some kitchen jewelry?

So, I warned you that I would be a) writing one more post about our redone kitchen and b) asking for your help.

And I’m delivering on both threats promises today.

So, I’ve already made it clear that my kitchen brings me a lot of, well, this:


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But did you notice something missing?

hardware

How about now?

Yup, that’s right. My cabinets are completely devoid of hardware. Gasp!

They’ve been that way since the beginning, but the paint color was so dark before that it hid it pretty well.

Now, with their being all white and bright, I feel like they look a bit, well, naked without some kind of something to dress them up a bit.

Plus, the white definitely shows the smudges from dirty little fingers pulling on them more, and I’d love to minimize that as much as possible.

Shaun sort of thinks we should just leave well enough alone, but as my friend, Jolinda, pointed out, cabinet hardware is kind of like the jewelry that finishes off your outfit. And since I’m a girl and all, I’m all about that.

Problem is, I’m not sure which kind of jewelry, er, hardware I want to go with.

Confession: a lot of times when I do polls on the blog, I already have a direction I’m leaning. Sometimes, you guys sway me. Sometimes, even if the majority likes something different, I stick with my gut.

But this time? I genuinely do not know what kind of hardware I want on my cabinets. (Although I do know some kinds that I don’t want, so at least there’s that).

Which is where you guys come in.

Below are a few categories of hardware that I like and think would work, and I’d love it if you’d weigh in with your thoughts. But I’m also totally open to suggestions if you have something you think would work even better than my current options.

1) Whimsical

antique turquoise pull

I really like these pulls from Hobby Lobby. I actually fully intended to use them on my cabinets and bought out my local HL’s supply of them (they only had a few). They’re sturdy and fun, and with a 50% off sale (the only time I buy them), a great price for a metal pull.

BUT. After they didn’t restock, I tried to special order them multiple times, and after hauling my kids to Hobby Lobby to pick them up 3 times in a row and being told, “Golly gee. We don’t know what happened, but we can’t find them,” I got pretty fed up and decided to put the whole hardware business on the back burner.

I feel like I could still manage to track enough of them down, but maybe the whole being-hard-to-find thing is an indication that I shouldn’t even pursue this route. Especially since they don’t have exact matching knobs. (My, but they do look dreamy against the white).

2) Classic

silver cup pull2silver cup pull

I like both of these silver cup pulls (left and right). I mean, they’re pretty much the exact opposite of the funky turquoise ones, but I have a lot of stainless steel/silver finishes in my kitchen, so they would be a nice complement without being too flashy.

And since they’re so common, it wouldn’t be hard to find simple, coordinating silver knobs. They’d look crisp and clean against the white while adding still adding a bit o’ bling.

3) Classic with a Twist

scroll pull

Of course, I could also go with something that falls in between whimsy and tradition. These pulls are still simple while adding a bit of interest with the notched edges.

hammered knobs

And they’d look great with some hammered knobs like these.

4) DIY

And no, I don’t mean that I would literally make all of my own hardware (shudder). But it wouldn’t really be one of my posts if I didn’t have the option to DIY something. So, here’s the skinny. I bought some knobs/pulls, oh, years ago, fully intending to use them on our teal cabinets. I just never got around to it (although, I think my subconscious was holding me back by whisper-screaming, “Noooooo! Don’t put ORB hardware on dark cabinets!!!”).

diy knobs

I’m just really not into the whole oil rubbed bronze scene when everything else is so light and bright. But I am tempted to spray paint these the same color as I did my pantry door knob and then wax them to give them a bit of depth/durability. I realize that some of the paint would chip off, and I’m okay with that (although, I will say that the wax, which I used on the pantry knob, definitely helps to protect the paint).

It would give them a bit of the same vibe as option one (which has dark metal peeking through the turquoise) but without the hassle of having to track down matching knobs (or the rest of the pulls).

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

As far as what I don’t want…

I’m not interested in anything ultra-sleek or modern. And I guess you figured out that oil rubbed bronze it out. And, as much as I love vintage, I really don’t feel like that’s the direction I’ve gone with my kitchen, so that’s out too.

So, now that I’ve written entirely too many words about cabinet knobs, it’s time for you to tell me what you think.

Which option should I choose?

hardware collage

…with the last obvious option being, “none of the above; choose this one instead.”

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Kitchen Paint Colors

I’m sure y’all are pretty tired of hearing about this kitchen redo of ours, and I promise that I will move on very soon. But first, I wanted to answer a question I keep getting that I fully intended to on Friday but completely forgot to include in the kitchen details and sources post. (And then I’ll have a question for you to help with tomorrow. And then I’m DONE! Probably).

So, the question was about our kitchen colors. As in, what are they?

First up, we have the cabinets, which we painted Sherwin Williams Dover White.

dover white

I think this swatch looks crazy yellow compared to the real deal because it’s truly just the creamiest, mellowest (NOT Y-ellowest) warm white, and that swatch looks just plain dingy…at least on my computer screen.

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We chose it for the cabinets because we already have it on quite a few walls (it was actually the wall color in the kitchen before we repainted) and, as you can see, it’s a great neutral white without being too antiseptic/blue or gray.

Next up, we have Sea Salt (also by Sherwin Williams…actually all of these are) for the walls.

sea salt

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As you can see in the background of this shot, we have this color in our living room too, and I love how it can morph from gray to blue to green depending on the time of day and lighting. The best part, though, is that it’s a beautiful, soothing color even in fluorescent lighting (which kind of sounds impossible, no?)

And finally, we have SW’s Aloe for the island. Although, this isn’t strictly the truth.

ALOE

The strict truth is that I chose this color initially, and Shaun balked, thinking it would be too drastic against all the other soothing colors. He has great instincts, and we usually agree on stuff like this, so I kind of chickened out and had the painters go with the same color at a 50% dilution.

Bad choice.

The color ended up being so pale that I had to point out to Shaun that the cabinets and the island weren’t the same color before he realized it. I didn’t exactly want to go nuts with the island color, but I did want it to pop at least a little!

I had been so convinced that I wanted to go with a soothing sea foam shade, but after the initial flub, I started second-guessing myself like crazy. One Sunday, we went to Lowe’s, and I ended up with a rainbow of colors, using my Chiang Mai Dragon fabric as a guide.

color swatches from lowes

We spent an afternoon rolling all of those crazy colors on the island and got this super-attractive result.

island rainbow colors

Nothing was quite right, which brought me right back around to the sea foam I’d wanted in the first place (should’ve trusted my gut).

Still, I wasn’t convinced that Aloe color was exactly right (it was skewing a teensy bit more aqua in our kitchen light than I wanted), so we had a custom match made of something rather random…

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See that little sea foam tin full of disgusting canned meat? (Embarrassingly enough, this was my home decor souvenir from Pairs–essentially cans of French Spam. They will never get opened, but I just loved all the colors together!).

I took the wrapper off and had Sherwin Williams color match it.

And THAT is what color our island actually is.

Which doesn’t help you tons if you’re hoping to duplicate it exactly. But I will say that, if you like the look, and want a place to start, then try  a sample of Aloe. It’s a gorgeous color (with its only fault being that it was a bit more blue than I wanted), and is very, very close to the color that we ended up with.

So, there you have it! Our kitchen colors and a hopefully-not-too-boring back story for why one of them isn’t actually the color on our island (believe me, I left out plenty of details about hours spent sanding and hand-rolling and then finally taping and tenting and having a friend come in and spray it anyway. Argh. That island drove me a bit nuts).

Do you always manage to nail your paint colors the first time? For me, it’s almost always a big process to get it right. Which is why certain rooms in my house (ahem, the downstairs bathroom) still need a different color than the first four I chose (I wish I were joking).

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The Kitchen Redo–Details and Sources

I don’t know about you guys, but pretty much any time I see a room reveal I really like, I end up wondering where someone found such-and-such. Of course, it doesn’t always (in fact, rarely) means that I rush off and buy the same thing, but in some cases, seeing something (like the Target stools I ended up getting for the island) in someone else’s actual house is the little push I need to go for a purchase.

So, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up as many sources as I thought might be relevant, just in case you guys were wondering (in some cases, because I tend to buy things on maaaaajor sale or thrifted, they won’t help much because they’re sold out, etc., but at least you’ll know not to look for them). Oh, and if it’s not labeled, feel free to ask because I have preggo brain and may have just forgotten, but most likely it’s because it was such a random purchase that it could never be duplicated.

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I might have had to paint them three times to finally get them just how I liked them, but these super-cheapy (maybe $2ish each) wooden letters from Hobby Lobby definitely work great for a large scale impact on the wall, not your wall-et (see how I did that?). (I scored the gold O there too on major clearance forever ago for $2, but it has since fallen off the wall and smashed to smithereens, more’s the pity. They do regularly stock both the gold and wooden letters, though).

In case you’re wondering, I painted the wooden letters with chalkboard paint (I could have sprayed them, but they were already stuck to the wall with Command strips since they started out a different color, so I used a brush) and then free-handed some chalk pen flowers onto them (I used the Bistro brand of chalk pen but only because it’s what I had; not particularly loyal to one brand of these).

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I bought 3 of those industrial bar stools from Target online after searching high and low for the best price + reviews (and, yes, after seeing them in another blogger’s kitchen reveal post), and I really like them. They are very sturdy, and the seats are super wide, which makes me feel safe to put even the twins on them. They come in several finishes, and I wanted mine to mix and match with my other industrial stools (that I scored at Sam’s for a steal of $20 each), so I chose pewter.

I couldn’t find the green houndstooth kitchen rug at Target online, but I bought it on sale not too long ago, so you might be able to still find it in stores.

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All the links you need for these lights are in this post that I wrote when we first got them. In it, I mentioned that one of the lights had a chip and that I was trying to decide whether to send it back. Well, then we noticed another (even smaller) chip in second light, so I called Grandin Road customer service, which basically resulted in a, “Send them back to us using the prepaid label, and we’ll refund you,” reply. I sat on it for a little longer, and then called back another day, which turned out a little better. That CS agent sent me replacement lights with free expedited shipping (she charged me again for the lights, with the understanding that when they received the ones I was returning, I would be refunded). I was pretty okay with the outcome until I realized that the “prepaid label” was actually on my dime and would subtract $9 from my refund for each light I returned. And this after I very specifically asked the CS agent if I would be receiving complimentary return shipping (her reponse: “there’s a prepaid label included,” which, while technically true, was definitely meant to give me the impression that it was prepaid by them, not me).

Anyhoo, when I realized the way it worked, I included a note with my return asking for a full refund of all charges, including shipping, because the flaw in the lights had been their bad.

But it just now occurs to me that, while I received email confirmations of my return/refunds, they didn’t itemize the amount returned. So, I’m not sure if they charged me for shipping or not.

ANYhoo, I didn’t really intend to get into all of that except that I felt like just saying that these lights are awesome doesn’t tell the whole story.

So, the whole story is this: these light are awesome. They’re beautiful, huge, and a really great deal compared to anything else I could find with their look.

BUT, the glass is not super-high quality. Even the replacements they sent had a few small bubble/flaws, which, since they weren’t all-out cracks or chips, I decided I could live with.

Just be warned that, if you do order these and receive a blemished one, their policy is to charge you for return shipping, and you will have to specifically request not to be charged it (with unknown results at this point) to get around that.

OH! And as far as hanging them in a cluster like we did…weeeeeeellll, that could stand to have a blog post all its own. But the short version is that we bought that wooden medallion from Lowe’s to hide the hole my husband had to cut in the middle of our ceiling to pull enough wires from the right spots to hang them all together. It might not be the most elegant solution ever, and it was definitely not a super-easy process (he is nodding emphatically right now), but I am really happy with how everything turned out in the end. If you have more specific questions about hanging them, email me at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com, and I’ll do my best to help forward it to my husband. ;)

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About the only things that you’re likely to be able to duplicate from all of the randomness I have on these shelves would the bottom left cup from Anthro, the pretty aqua bottles from Walmart, and the top middle “Love” sign + zinc letter (both from Hobby Lobby, both 50% off).

(I could also hook you up with the person who made my “M is for Mama” clipboard sign if you have any interest in a custom version for yourself or a gift. Again, just email me).

All of the bowls, I have collected over time from Marshall’s, Ross, or Hobby Lobby.

I will say, though, that quite a few people ask about those chalkboard canisters on the bottom left, which I got at Target several years back but which are available in various sizes and colors at both Michael’s and Hobby Lobby right now.

shelf collage

I will also say that I’m planning on showing you guys how we made the pipe shelving. Buuuuuutttt, I just don’t know how soon I’ll get around to that.

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Meet Fiona, my deer friend (ha, ha. I scored her on sale from Anthro online for only $15, which I thought was a smokin’ hot deal, considering that I would have easily paid that much at Marshall’s (she’s pretty big). She has since sold out. I’m sorry.

fiona

(I posted this shot to instagram with a call for name suggestions and got a much bigger response than I expected, so apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought she was pretty sweet!).

Oh, and since I didn’t actually show you a closeup of this behind-the-sink collage in my first post…

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As far as sources, if you look at the pic above, my teal plates are from Pier 1, and the rest are listed below.

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The bird hook + letter from Hobby Lobby, the scalloped chalkboard from Urban Outfitters (I got mine when it was on sale), and the frame from Walmart are all still available. The measuring spoons are from Michael’s (no longer available, although I think I spotted a set of them on Amazon a few weeks ago for waaaaaay more than I paid) and Anthro (not available online).

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That Anthro plate is available from ebay if you want to spend a fortune (I think I paid $7, but people be scalping, y’all). And the mason jars are still available from Amazon.

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The Just Do Today print is available from Lemonade Makin’ Mama. I love mine! All of the initial mugs are from Anthro (mine were a Christmas gift and spell out my name), and the soup mugs may or may not still be available at Walmart (I bought mine back in the spring when we had our dinner party).

Aaaaaand…I think that about covers it. Obviously, I have a thing for deeply discounted Anthro knick-knacks, random Marshall’s/Ross purchases, and–above all–HOBBY LOBBY. If you don’t have an HL near you, I’m sorry. That place is pure magic, and they almost always have something I’m looking for for 50% off (which brings it down to either a good or reasonable price) or, if all else fails, I can use their omnipresent 40% off one full-priced item.

Did I miss something you were wondering about? Feel free to ask away!

 

 

 

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Meet Audrey, the Aqua Kitchenaid Mixer

First of all, can I just say a big, “Awwww, thanks!” for all of your sweet comments on my “new” light and bright kitchen?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll just keep right on saying it: Y’all are NICE!

I am completely honest when I say that I love how it turned out, and it makes me really happy, not only to have such a cheerful space to do life in (I really do spend about 75% of my at-home time in the kitchen between cooking/cleaning/projecting/homeschooling/making snacks/eating meals, etc.), but just to have every last detail of the vision that I had in my head out of my noggin and on my walls/shelves.

(Or, at least that was true until the “O” from my ENJOY sign came crashing down to the floor during family Bible reading yesterday morning and shattered into a gazillion tiny fragments; you know you’re a mama-blogger when your knee-jerk thoughts are a) Praise Jesus there wasn’t a baby underneath it and b) Praise Jesus I had already taken pictures of that because it probably won’t get replaced for a good long while and c) somebody needs to go sweep that up!

But even as genuine as that happiness is, I have to admit that, as  I was editing my pictures, another person’s beautiful kitchen popped up in my IG feed, and my knee-jerk reaction to that was to think something mopey like, “Mine’s not nearly as polished and awesome as hers.”

I know we’ve all heard this quote a ton, but…Comparison really IS the thief of joy.

I get a lot of joy from pouring my heart and soul into the heart and soul of my home. And still, a moment of viewing someone else’s version of kitchen happiness is able to (at least momentarily) tarnish that??? Ridiculous.

I would love to just blame it on preggo hormones, but I think it’s more of a human nature thing–a finding-your-worth-in-your-works instead of the-One-who-works-all-things-together-for-good kind of thing.

ANYhoo, I say all of that to assure you that your feedback–and above all the repeated, “It looks like you!” sentiment–was such a helpful reaffirmation of what I already know to be true: God created us all with unique talents and tastes, and while we can certainly appreciate someone else’s talents and tastes, the second we cross the line into coveting them, we’re not going to be content with our own anymore. And that’s just wrong.

So, yeah. Thanks for helping to restore some much-needed perspective.

And now on to the actual purpose of this post.

And that would be introducing you to this pretty, who had already caught several of your eyes from Monday’s post.

audrey mixer

Meet Audrey (yes, as in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…Tiffany blue…and all that).

She’s my new kitchen BFF.

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{See her hiding back there all being all demure?}

Of course, since I love her so much, I am definitely hoping that she never has a run-in with my former kitchen BFF, Penelope, her scarlet predecessor, who got unceremoniously carted off by a total stranger following a parking lot rendezvous in which cold, hard cash changed hands. (I promise this is not how I treat my real-life pals).

That might get ugly.

But, here’s the thing: as much as I loved ol’ Penny, her sheer redness just didn’t jive any longer with the lighter/brighter vibe I was going for.

So, my options were to a) paint her myself (which would not have gone well), b) have her repainted by an autobody shop (apparently, they’ve been known to do such things and, while not cheap, it’s usually less than buying new), or c) sell her and buy a new one in my preferred color choice.

Since I got her for such a great deal brand new 5 years ago, I was pretty sure I could get at least all of my money back, which made the swap a bit of no-brainer.

Turns out, I was right. I actually made money selling her used (and without asking an exorbitant price, either) and then put that fundage toward the purchase of pretty lil’ Audrey, who just so happened to be on major sale (I did a lot of research and couldn’t find a better deal than this site offered), with a coupon code AND a $50 factory rebate.

Suh-weet!

As it turns out (and don’t tell Penelope), Audrey is more than just another pretty face. She’s actually quieter and runs more smoothly than Penny (who definitely got the job done and had no actual “problems” but was just a little bit on the noisier/rougher side, in general…which I would have never known before I got Audrey).  I don’t know if I just lucked out or if Kitchenaid actually upgraded their design.

But I do know this: Audrey and I are very happy together.

Do you have a Kitchenaid mixer? If so, how long have you had it, what color is it, and–most importantly of all–what is its name? I guess you already know all of my answers.  I don’t see myself getting another one any time soon (probably never), but I definitely wouldn’t complain if I won one of those fancy, painted flowery ones that the Pioneer Woman gives away!

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The Kitchen Redo Reveal!

Just as a heads-up, I have 40 edited pictures of every angle of my kitchen to show you…which seemed like a bit much. So today, I’m basically going to show you an overview of the updates we made without too much commentary on the specifics, and then I’ll be back later on this week with detail pictures as well as sources.

Sound okay?

O-kay. (Imagine my doing an awkward fist pump/clap that would make every legit cheerleader everywhere hang her head in shame).

Just as a refresher, here’s what the kitchen looked like last spring.

old kitchen1{If you want to see more pictures of the old kitchen set up from my first reveal, complete with terrible yellow light from 3 years ago, you can here}

I had a Project Elephant list of things I wanted to update, including new stools, new lights, decluttering the fridge/freezer, setting up a family command center, making word art for over the fridge, repainting the island, and sewing a new awning for the window.

Well, I am happy to announce that–although it might have taken me a good 6 months–I finally managed to check every last one of those items off my list.

But wait. That’s not all. Intrigued much? Okay, I won’t hold you in suspense. Without further ado, I invite you to grab a cookie if you like…

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…and take a gander at our “new” and (in my mind) greatly improved kitchen.

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Say whaaaaaat? This color-loving girl painted her cabinets white???

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Yessiree, Bob!

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And I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it (even though the teal was pretty sweet too) for the sheer fact of how. much. BIGGER and lighter my kitchen feels now.

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{Remember my chalkboard menu door? I finally found my spray paint and went for the aqua knob; I fully expect some of the paint to chip off, and I’m fully okay with it because I think it will add “character” ;) ).

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We toyed with the idea of painting the cabinets ourselves (Shaun did it the first time), but with 5 kids + a preggo lady in the house, we weren’t too keen on having to share space with the oil paint fumes for days on end. So, we paid to have it down while we were in Europe. house32

And let me just say that, after DIYing your entire flipping house, it’s kind of beyond awesome to come home to something already done for you. Yes, it was more expensive, but it was also worth it. Times about a million, I think.    house11

Besides the new color scheme, my favorite part of the entire kitchen is something we did DIY…

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…and that would be those funky pipe shelves that turned out even better in reality than they had been in my head.

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A few more faves include my Chiang Mai dragon window awning…

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And my “ENJOY” chalkboard letters + my sparkly new lights.

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Honestly, as much as I loved the saturated colors in the old version of my kitchen, everything about the updated version just screams HAPPY to me.    house2

And, when you’re talking about a room that you spend the majority of your time in and sweep 3 times a day, HAPPY is a very good way for it to make you feel, indeed.

Oh, and just for fun, let’s do a little side-by-side before and after, m’kay?

kitchen update collage1

So, what do you think? Do you like lighter and brighter? I sure hope so because I am not touching anything in the kitchen for a good long while!

 

 

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New Kitchen Lights (and a quandary)

I mentioned last week in my lighting roundup post that you guys might be surprised by the pendants that I chose for our kitchen island.

I said that because, after all of my openly professed love of color, it only seemed natural that I would go for one of the loud options. But the thing is, even though I do prefer vibrant looks to neutrals (at least for my own home; get me in a neutral-lover’s house done well, and I always adore the layers of texture and calming colors), and I have been known to layer color upon color,  I don’t like to take it too far.

And I knew that, for our kitchen, as much as we’ve already got going on, I wanted something that would provide a bit of sparkle and contrast over something too attention-drawing.

Which is why, after a ridiculous amount of deliberation and many consultations with Shaun that went something like: Me – “What do you think of this one.” Shaun – (cocks head and squints) “It’s ooookay, I guess”…I finally showed him this picture…

pendannts

…and his answer was an immediate, “THAT. I like that.”

Which is awesome, since I’d already been leaning toward one of these designs.

We liked the look of the three grouped together so much that we bought one of each.

kitchen lights 3

I’m super excited about the wow factor they’re going to bring to the kitchen. We’re going to try them with old-fashioned Edison bulbs for a bit of added funk (hopefully, since there are three, and we also have recessed lighting, it won’t be too dim).

The best part is that three of these cost what just two (or, in some far out just dreaming scenario, one) of some of the others I liked cost. They are $69, $79, and $89 respectively (from left to right) from Grandin Road, and they are BIG. So you get some serious bang for your buck.

Other than the fun, curvy shapes, the thing that sold me was the unique white-washed wood caps.

kitchen lights1

Other than color, my other decorating love is mixing textures. Like wood and glass. Or shiny gold against rough burlap. It just adds so much interest, no?

There’s just one teensy, tinsy little problem. Can you see it?

kitchen lights2

 

Yeah, I couldn’t at first either. But Shaun immediately spotted that little dark spot at the bottom of the plain dome.

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Grrrrrr!

Y’all. I can look and look (for weeks–heck–MONTHS), patiently biding my time until I find just the perfect something for my house at the perfect price. But once it’s here, that’s it. I’m done. I have zero interest in sending it back and then waiting for them to process the return, make the exchange, and send me a new one. I want that baby HUNG!

So, tell me. What would you do? Yes, it’s a very small imperfection (I would say that in person it is both less and more noticeable depending on the angle). But it’s a light I paid for that’s not perfect, and I am perfectly capable of getting a good replacement (assuming it doesn’t arrive damaged again, I guess). On the other hand, it’s so very small that maybe no one would ever notice.

Hm. It’s hardly one of life’s most important or pressing questions, but I’d still love to get your feedback on what you think I should do.

 

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Kitchen Awning Tutorial

The fact of the matter is that I’m a little obsessed with window treatments.  I see pictures of other houses and never think twice about it if there’s a fabulous room with “nude” windows. But my house’s windows always feel the bad kind of naked and unfinished without some sort of shade, drape, or—in the case of what I’m going to show you today—awning.

kitchen-shade for over window

(found the image on houzz.com 5 years ago…don’t remember the credit…sorry!)

The image above was the inspiration for my deciding to go with an awning over my kitchen window.  I love the jewel tones and crisp lines against all that white.  And, while my kitchen could hardly be more different in terms of color scheme and layout, I am very happy with how my rendition of this little beauty turned out.

First off, I hadn’t a clue where to find those fancy pointed stake-thingies (pretty sure that’s the technical term) that were anchoring the awning to the wall, so I had to get a little creative, which is how I like to roll anyway, and I figured that I could anchor the top section of the awning with a tension rod and then do it again for the lower portion. Turns out I was right. I promise this will make more sense when you see the photos.

Here’s what you’ll need to make an awning of your very own:

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  1. At least 1 yard of the awning fabric of your choice—can be pretty much anything as long as it’s heavy enough to hold its shape.  Medium or upholstery weight fabrics…or even an outdoor fabric (since, you know, awnings have been known to appear outside…check, check) would work great.
  2. *1 yard of lining fabric
  3. Coordinating fabric for a pleated ruffle (if you’re not using the same fabric as in the body of the awning)
  4. Coordinating thread
  5. Pins
  6. Scissors
  7. Pencil
  8. Tape measure
  9. Two tensions rods that measure at least the width of whatever two surfaces you’ll be bracing them against (in my case, my kitchen cabinets)—they didn’t make it in the photo, but they weren’t that pretty anyway.

Also not included in the pic: an iron, ironing board, and sewing machine (unless, of course, you kick it old school and want to hand-stitch all this…in which case…knock yourself out! You may want to after about an hour).

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to measure the width of your cabinets (or whatever you’ll be using to support your tension rods) and decide how far you want your awning to hang down, factoring in the slanted upper portion of the awning as well as the bit that hangs down in the front (hmmm…I really should learn the official terms for these things…if they, indeed, exist).  In my case, I ended up with a fabric rectangle – approximately 40”X25”. 

*Depending on your preference, you may want to line your fabric to keep it from being too sheer.  I did, so I cut another 40”X25” rectangle of ivory cotton to layer behind my pattern.

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I pinned the two fabrics together…

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…and folded down the layered edges, creating about 1/2” hem.  I then ironed the hem down, eyeballing as I went to keep it as even as possible and continuing all the way around the rectangle until all my edges were folded down.

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Then, I ran a quick stitch through the 1/2” hem to make sure it stayed down.

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Next, I folded and pinned down the entire top edge of my rectangle 1 1/2” to create a pocket for my top tension rod, just like you would for a simple curtain-rod sleeve…if you’ve ever made curtains. If not, forget I just said that. And then…

 

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…I stitched the top-edge fold down to keep it from going anywhere (pardon the blurry-edged photo; I’m still figuring out all this photography stuff).

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Next, I needed a pocket for my second tension rod, so I cut a 3”X24” strip of my lining fabric.

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Where you put this second pocket determines how much of the hanging down bit I mentioned earlier that you’ll have at the end of your project.  For my purpose, I measured 15 inches down from the top of my rectangle/awning, made little pencil marks across the lining (the underside) of the width of the fabric, and then…

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…pinned my sleeve along my pencil marks to ensure that it stayed.

 

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I sewed both edges of the sleeve across the width of the underside of the awning rectangle and ended up with this.

At this point, you should have a functioning awning (yay!).  But I wanted mine to be both functional and pretty (demanding, I know), so I decided to add a pleated ruffle to the hanging down bit (okay, I think I’ve officially given it a name; where do I sign up for the patent?), so I chose a coordinating solid fabric, and…

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…measured out a 4” strip down the length of the fabric, making a mark every 6 inches or so with my pencil to ensure that my strip stayed the same width. 

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I then folded it in half, and pinned it to keep it in place, thus giving myself a very long two-inch strip of fabric to fold into pleats (I also ironed mine to give my pleats a really crisp line, but if you like a more shabby-chic look, you could get away without ironing).

It was time to make the actual pleats out of my two inch strip, and I loosely followed this simple tutorial in lieu of using a fancy-schmancy sewing foot designed for ruffles or doing anything even as sophisticated as measuring/pinning the folds of my pleats.  And you know what? The result isn’t perfection, but I’m fine with it. 

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I folded and sewed and folded and sewed until…

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…I had something a little like this to pin to the bottom edge of my awning, which is exactly what I’d just finished doing here.

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I stitched my cute little row of pleats onto my the bottom hem of my awning, and…

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…slid my tension rods into my pockets. 

Okay.

Deep breath.

Ready for the big reveal?

Of course you are!

After all, half of you saw this was a tutorial and immediately scrolled to the bottom to see the finished result.

So, here we go:

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Boring, bare, and blech.

And now…

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Soooooo much better (I’m pretty sure those little birdies are staring up in awe and wonder at their fabulous shade awning).

 

So, how about you? Do you prefer your windows in their birthday suits or all gussied up?

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Feature Friday: The Kitchen Reveal

Oh my. The title of this post sounds so dramatic (the. kitchen. reveal) that I really feel like I should start off with something stupendous right out of the gates. Like smoke…yeah, and strobe lights.

Sorry, folks.

All I’ve got is pictures. But I’ve got boatloads of those. So, hopefully they’ll suffice.

Because we built our house from the ground up—we even drew up our own blueprints—I got the fantastically amazing privilege of designing my kitchen. It was hands-down the room I was most excited about in the entire house. And while I am sure there are things that I could change to optimize its user-friendliness or aesthetic appeal (I already have some thoughts about this), I am pretty darn happy with the results.

I had five things I knew I wanted for my kitchen from the beginning. I even had examples of them all saved in my “ideabooks” on Houzz (this was well before Pinterest).

1) Space

2) Lots of cabinetry (custom, if possible)

3) An island

4) A checkerboard tile floor

5) Lots of color

As you’ll see, I got every single one of them. For a price-tag of approximately…wait for it…$6,000.

Do you know how much just the custom cabinetry for an approximately 15’X20’ kitchen usually costs?

About $6,000 (on the low end).

So how did we do it?

(I actually pretty much just answered my question by asking it. The answer: we did it!)

Why don’t we just start with the cabinets, which is one of the few things we didn’t do ourselves, since we’re talking about them?

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My husband could have made our cabinets and talked about that possibility, but since were kind of in the middle of building an entire house from scratch, we thought it was best to at least scope out our options.

After some shopping around with disappointing results, we met with a local cabinetmaker who was: a) very talented, b) nice and honest, and c) websiteless.

Yay for me…I have a brilliant programmer husband, who just so happens to be a whiz at website design/creation. So we bartered a deal. Shaun supplied the website, for which nice, honest cabinet-guy paid us, and NHCG supplied the woodworking, for which we paid him.

And I ended up with my dream cabinets for 1/2 off an already incredibly reasonable price to start with (we “happened”—I believe it was the Lord being gracious to us—to catch him during a slow spell, which made him extra-willing to negotiate on the price).

The color on the cabinets is Benjamin Moore (I haven’t found the can with the color name yet, and I’m drawing a complete blank; I’ll update when I find it) which, in case you can’t properly tell, is a deep, rich teal. Kind of a funky cabinet choice, I realize. But I love it.

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That high-chair’s there on purpose, by the way. I’m hiding my in-progress breakfast nook. ; )

The island was included in the price of the cabinets, and Mr. Nice Cabinet Guy also made our walnut butcher-block top. I big fat love it. So much so, that I have one drawer in the island designated for cutting boards because I can almost never bring myself to cut on the actual butcher-block. I do all of my meal-prep here, and we almost always eat here, unless we have company, in which case we all pile into the breakfast nook/dining room (which I will show you soon). The best part of the butcher-block is that if it ever gets too banged up, we can just flip it over and start again.

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I bought my stools from JcPenney on some sort of ridiculously good sale like $75 for all three. The seats were a particularly unappealing shade of blah, so I recovered them in Avery by Premier Prints (my go-to brand for cute, inexpensive decorator fabric) and then finished that off with a layer of thick plastic (from the fabric section at Walmart) to make the inevitable daily (hourly) spills no big thang.

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I got my pot-rack from a garage sale for $5 and bought the matching (and I do mean matching; the color is identical) S-hooks on Ebay. The copper-bottom pot/pan set was a Christmas present from my father-in-law (yes! my father-in-law; he’s a sweetheart!), and they are so bee-ootiful that I still haven’t had the heart to cook anything in them yet (15 months later). Clarification: I cook all the time. Just not with these pans.

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The floral dishes are stoneware from Target. I bought them three years ago before my kitchen was even painted because I loved the pattern and because they had the exact shade of dark teal I wanted for the cabinets. It was meant to be. They carried this style for quite a while, but I just did a search and didn’t come up with anything, so they must have finally retired them. Boo. Let’s hope I don’t break one (yeah, right).

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The artwork above the sink (Kohler) is from Ross, as is this beauty:

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I do love me some Ross when I can actually make myself go there, step over all the rubble in the aisles, sift through the piles of junk, and then wait in the forever-long line once I’ve found my treasures.

Update: instead of the random aqua stools, here’s what the “large artwork corner” looks like now:

I got the rectangular storage table (it was probably meant to be an entryway table, but I’m not always the best at using things for what they were “meant” for), which is the perfect size for the space, for 30% off at Hobby Lobby, and I’m a huge fan of the way it grounds all of the color with its neutral tones.

Love those vintage canisters that I scored for $10 for all three. Don’t they look like they were made to go with the painting?

Funny little side-note? If you had asked me what my opinion of the color orange was on a scale of 1-10 before I started decorating my house, I might have said, “Eh, a 4?” But now, it’s all over the place (remember THE RUG? Yeah, I still get about 2 emails a week about that rug. No lie). And I really like it (the orange and the rug…check, check).

Okay, let’s talk appliances. See that full-fridge/full-freezer combo? Fancy, huh?

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Well, check this out.

Did you ever use Bing cash-back? We looooooooved Bing cash-back. We are saaaaaad that they stopped doing Bing cash-back. Because, I tell ya, we used Bing cash-back to its fullest potential.

We got all of our matching Frigidaire appliances (that’s the fridge, freezer, dishwasher, stove, and microwave) for $1,300 (this includes an additional discount from the forklift dent we discovered in the back of our fridge when they delivered it—a dent that in no way affects its function nor can it be seen once installed, I might add).

The fridge/freezer combo usually costs over $2,000 all by its little (okay, big) ol’ self, and it does not go on sale…unless, of course, you buy it in combo with a kitchen suite on Ebay Buy It Now, and you get 30% (holla!) Bing cash-back.

No, I did not get my slick, ginormous Wolf super-range with the drool-worthy red knobs that I pined for, but I didn’t actually have room for that monster anyway, and—let’s get real—there was no way I was going to pay that much money for one appliance in the first place (it costs at least 3X as much as my entire kitchen suite).

What else?

I bought the red Pottery Barn stools for $40 from a local lady who always finds great deals for resale.

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We bought the tile for the floor at Home Depot for less than a $1/sq. ft., and my incredible husband painstakingly laid out the diagonal pattern for me just because I wanted it.

Had he ever tiled on the diagonal before?

No.

Did he do it perfectly anyway?

Yes.

Because he’s awesome like that.

We also chose to tile our countertops, which, I realize, is not the trendiest choice in the world. But it did save us beaucoups of money. Plus, I’m not a super-huge fan of granite, and all of the other stone options I looked at were a bit too shiny/fancy or, on the flipside, too rustic for my tastes. We sealed the grout with a product that went straight into the grout mix, and so far, there’s been minimal staining.

Pictured here is the other love of my life (God first, husband and children second, Kitchenaid mixer third). Meet Penelope (and yes, I did just make that up). She’s yet another Bing cash-back purchase from Ebay, and I won’t even tell you what I (or rather my super-sweet/savvy husband who bought her for me for a few Christmases back) paid for her brand-spankin’ new gorgeous red self because it would only make you weep with jealousy. : )

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I made the window awning (you can click for a tutorial), and I found the votive holder on major sale at JcPenney. A sweet friend made me that little plaque with our family’s initial and a Bible verse.

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And I think that about covers it.

Feel free to ask about anything that I didn’t/forgot to address.

Oh, yeah. And have yourself a fantastic weekend, okay?

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