February 29, 2012

in case you missed it: thinking about the kitchen part 3

Time for the next installment of dreaming about the kitchen! And on to what may be the biggest issue. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I am obsessed with open shelving in the kitchen. I just love it for its simplicity, its relaxed feel, for how it can expand a room, for how it allows for pretty display.


My man is not so convinced. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that he works with kitchen cabinets every day—so the more cabinets, the better. On a very basic level, because of his business, he just doesn't understand why anyone would forgo upper cabinetry. And it's admittedly not too fair of me to ask him to ditch so much cabinetry, the material representation of his hard work and skill, when I'm asking him to build this kitchen. He'd be really happy with this traditional look. Beautiful details! How can I argue with that?

traditional home

But maybe we can find something in the middle? We're definitely going to want to compromise so we're both happy with and proud of the end result, but it's a small kitchen, so finding the balance between open and closed cabinetry could be tricky. Here's one idea I've noticed recently, with a pair of cabinets flanking an open shelf over a sink or range. That gets me a little openness and display area and him a few closed uppers.

house and home


sarah richardson

gregory mellor

Of course, I would love a chance to do a whole wall of storage and a whole wall of openness. This kitchen is awesome...and huge. But I could almost see how we could replicate this in our tiny space.

baden baden

Like me, Michael loves wine, and coffee. Maybe I can subconsciously (or ok, overtly!) convince him we need open storage with these pics ;-)


desire to inspire

There is also the shelf-under-cabinets look, but it's just not enough for me.


Of course, there are always glass cabinets. He would not be opposed to that. At least there are cabinet boxes and crown details. I have always adored this kitchen; I'm just not sure it completely meets my desire for openness.

house beautiful

When what I really want is this.

brooklyn home company

Is this enough of a compromise? Because this kitchen is an all-time favorite, and I think I'm going to be blatantly copying it when it's time to design ours.

style at home

Love. Everything about it. Wish me luck in the negotiations!

February 28, 2012

in case you missed it: thinking about the kitchen part 2


It's time for part 2 of my ongoing kitchen daydream! I still need to do some floor plans, but first, what I really want to imagine, and the main reason behind this kitchen redo is to get a dishwasher in this space. When I moved to this house four years ago, I came from a sweet little apartment that felt very luxe, with limestone tiles and frameless shower door in the bathroom, and great appliances, including dishwasher, in the kitchen.

Of course I traded all that to get a space of my own. But I miss my dishwasher. I really do. Especially now that I have a roommate and a boyfriend living here. There are always dishes in the sink, no matter how often we wash them, and there's always a fragile looking stack of them, on a sopping wet towel, on the counter, taking up precious counter space besides.

Anyway, this post is all about my favorite dishwasher styles. And making them work for a small kitchen.


My kitchen's so small, it may have to look like this—with the farmhouse sink right up against the dishwasher.



Separating the drawers looks great, but I'm not sure this really gains you anything as far as cabinet space/function.

{tracery interiors}

My favorite option by far. I love how sleek a narrow, apartment-size dishwasher looks here. And set next to cabinet drawers, I like the contrast. As far as function, despite the small size, I think it could more than handle, if run every night, the amount of dishes we dirty. Now, the tough part is that these smaller-width dishwashers are not as easy to find, and despite being smaller, they come with a larger price tag. Must investigate. Starting here and here. And another look...

{the kitchn}

The only other thing to consider: Do you like hiding the dishwasher with a cabinet panel?

{southern living}

{cottage living}

Or seeing it? Even in a small, appliance-filled kitchen?

{the kitchn}

February 27, 2012

in case you missed it: thinking about the kitchen part 1

I can't believe it either, but Michael and I are on another vacation. This time a Caribbean cruise with his family. Hello, sunshine and warmth! But I won't leave you stranded while I'm away. This week, I'm going to rerun the "Thinking about the Kitchen" series, just in case you missed it last fall and since it's still so relevant with us stuck in the planning stages. Hope you enjoy this week. I know I will, for other reasons!

I've got projects on my mind lately, and the big one that's floating around in there is my kitchen. Ever since I hooked up with man who's job is kitchen cabinets, and then he promised me some for free, not to mention snagging a countertop and some appliances at a serious discount from some well-placed connections, I have been dreaming and planning. We're talking about changing everything, and I could not be more excited. It's all in a day's work for him, but as anyone who has a not-so-functional kitchen knows, it'll be life-changing for me!

One of my all-time favorite ktichens. Tons of counter space. And an island. And love the dramatic black balanced with white. Jealous.

Here's what's on the agenda, for sometime this fall or winter:
1. Rearranging the layout to gain more counter space.
2. Dishwasher, dishwasher, dishwasher.
3. A mix of closed cabinets and open upper shelving.
4. Farmhouse sink and new faucet.
5. New countertop.
6. Possible banquette seating.
7. Moving the washer and dryer upstairs to the pantry off the kitchen.

Stay tuned as I share my thoughts and dreams for this space over the coming weeks. You can see my current kitchen here. Suggestions/ideas/comments welcome! What would you do?

February 24, 2012

exposed brick in the kitchen

We had a special visitor to the kitchen this week. Our stone mason friend was here to check out our old brick chimney and give us an idea how much work would go into sealing and cleaning and making it look good enough to leave exposed in the new kitchen design. And the answer is yes, it can be done—and it's not going to cost an arm and a leg. I am celebrating! For a look at why I love exposed brick in a kitchen, here are my inspirations.


southern living

urban grace interiors





for the love of a house




Whether it's just an accent or a whole wall (or ceiling), brick adds such a warm textural, old-world charm, and I especially love how it plays off more modern elements. So excited to bring this material into our new room!

February 22, 2012

diy jute-wrapped headboard

In this tiny attic bedroom, a storebought headboard would never have fit up the stairs, so something custom was in order. I was inspired by this...

Overlapping Woven Headboard modern headboards

And thought, how hard could it be? Well, it was a breeze, in a sense. It took nothing but time and patience. The patience of a saint. Oh, and hands of steel. See, it involves hot glue. Lots of hot glue. The results were so worth it, but the burns sting and the tedium could make you delirious. Here's how I did it.

I started with lengths of 1x2 cut to the size I wanted and screwed them together to make a frame.

If you're handy, or have a handy helper, gluing and stapling some corner blocks are a very good idea too, for added stability.

Gather your hot glue gun, sisal or jute rope (mine was actually manila fiber, which is a bit darker; any natural fiber rope will do) and start gluing at the top corner.

I glued the back and side and wrapped the rope around the front of the frame. I could have gone all the way around to create a truly wrapped frame but realized this would waste half my materials since you'd only ever see the front. I decided to cut and glue the other side and back and conserve my rope.

Keep gluing the rows, pulling as tight as possible, since the rope will stretch and you don't want it to sag. Mine drooped a bit, but it's not too visible, and I don't mind that too much in a handmade piece. And that's the project! Keep gluing and gluing til your hands burn and you're out of your mind with boredom. Then hang the frames and glory in your dedication! Here's a last look.

February 21, 2012

great little guest room, finished!

I've been teasing this tiny attic guest room redo for too long. Well, after I finally buckled down and finished the woven jute headboard project, I am happy to report it is finally done! {See the original concept for the room here and for the headboard here.}

I like the way the headboard fills this tall narrow space. It was one tough diy, though. Think long and hard before you undertake this project. You will burn your fingers with hot glue more times than you can count and you'll absolutely go out of your mind from the tedium! But if you insist, I will show you how I did it in a post tomorrow.

Happy bedding. Love the pattern mix. The lights are cool; we still need some Edison bulbs for them. Bonus: they're on dimmers for soft lighting when you want it.

Confession: my client says guests will actually rarely stay all the way up here on the third floor. Instead she'll mostly use this as her getaway room, for reading and just quiet moments away from the kids. I think this cozy spot is just perfect for that.

Moving around the room, I had no idea what to do with this little niche. I like some display here with the recycled glass vases. It would have been a good idea to paint out the nook a bit darker. And the vases do need some greenery! I'm not going to win any styling awards, I know.

I was lucky to find this petite turquoise lamp that's short enough to fit under the eaves. We were also lucky to keep the client's antique dresser. Due to the tricky small layout of  the room, I chose a runner instead of a regular rug. It works perfectly for the awkward layout.  

Every room needs a bit of storage and bit of seating. We borrowed this chair from the girls' room, where it was honestly just getting in the way of play. It's much prettier up here. And we had other ideas for this mirror, but it works so well here, we could not resist.

February 17, 2012

our ceilings & floors

Did you notice in my kitchen project list yesterday that I completely ignored installing the new ceiling and floor? Yeah, that's probably because I know they're going to be pretty tough jobs. And our biggest expenses. Potentially.

beautiful dark wood floors in the kitchen: this is the look we're after

I had decided on the Knob Hill Birch from Lumber Liquidators, but then I saw what Dana at House*Tweaking is doing in her home-in-progress. Have you seen the work they're doing? It's going to be incredible. But back to floors. The floors they found are very similar to what I chose, and they're almost half the price. Hello Jasper Texas Brown. You will be mine, for about $2.50/sq ft!

Now I'm hoping this savings means I can do what I dream of on the ceilings: Elmwood Reclaimed Timber's antique barnboard paneling. Oh dear. It's lovely and it is expensive. So maybe not after all.

So it may in the end be something like this, which is actually just fine.

I have to keep reminding myself, it's just a house, and it's just our house for a few more years, not our forever house. So this is good. A new kitchen in any form is good. Stay tuned for what we decide; it's really time to start ordering stuff soon! And to update the project list ;-)
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