Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Road Trip Scores

What's a road trip without a little shopping? I love checking out random thrift stores and antique stores in the middle of no-where and on this trip it payed out in spades.

Probably my favorite score of the trip is this little diddy birdy.

She was picked up in a random (and free) prairie town in North Dakota. The shops were full of cute old books and treasures. We also got to see the world's largest Buffalo.

Is it strange that I was disappointed he wasn't real?

I also managed to finally visit a Home Goods on this trip. WA doesn't have one (yet) and their adds have been torturing me for years. Update: We do have HomeGoods! They are new! Yay!

I picked up this super cute handwoven basket.

And this great garden stool

Which is the perfect foil to my other stool I recovered last year.
They are both in the library which needs a reveal post when I get a little further along. More details to follow as usual (you'd think one day I would have learned to only work on one project at a time).

On the way home Daniel and I stopped at a random antiques place in South Dakota and found this great bar set.

I love the texture and the caddy. Too cute.

Where in South Dakota you ask? Right about here

We had been driving so long and it mostly looked like this, but, if you are ever driving along the I-90 and happen to pass an huge antique mall in the middle of nowhere it is worth the stop, I promise.

Anyone else like to check out thrift stores/ antique malls on road trips? I wouldn't have thought Daniel would go for it but I think he was as tired of driving as I was.


Monday, August 27, 2012


It was a long trip but I am finally back! We got home Wednesday night after traveling through seven states and four national parks, thrifting a bit and enjoying some quality family time at my cousin Ariana's wedding. We even camped! (You can tell I haven't done this since I was a kid)

Still, it is nice to be home and sleeping in a real bed again.

The kitchen is still plugging along but I did check one big thing off of my list. Grouting!

Don't ask. I woke up the day after we got home and decided it was the day to do it. HUGE improvement over the ungrouted state if you ask me. I can't wait to get the trim up and the counters finished (you'll see soon) and have the kitchen done.

More details to come.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What's Left?

When I showed you the big kitchen reveal I mentioned a few things still had to be finished. I'm hoping by putting them out there they might get done sooner rather than later.  To be specific, I still need to:

1. Install the molding on the cabinets.

2. Paint the base boards and shoe molding

3. Hang the hood.

4. Pain the trim.

5. Stain the butcher block and shelves.

6. Put up the rest of the crown molding (and paint it)

7. Grout.

8. Organize. I'm still working out how the flow of the kitchen will work.

So there you have it. Just a few little things that need to be done. I think I need unfinished projects anonymous. Hi, my name is Emily and I still haven't finished my kitchen.

Am I planning on working on any of this this weekend? Nope. I'm off to participate in the most time honored of summer traditions- the road trip.   My cousin Ari is getting married and we are headed to Minnesota to participate. So on that note, I bid you adieu. I'll be back in a few weeks with more updates and what's next on the agenda for house projects.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

I wanted to take a break from our kitchen-palooza and share a little piece of art I recently acquired.

This pretty little flamingo watercolor was done by a wonderfully talented Etsy artist. You can see more of her work here. I'm particularly fond of this octopus but if they aren't your thing, I'm sure she has something you'd like (she also does custom work if you are in need of a special gift).

My little flamingo has earned a place on my growing wall of art in the Library.

I need to fill some of those frames with new art but I'm digging how the arrangement is coming together. On a totally random side note I was super jazzed when I got the package my art came in.

Not only is it from Italy (which was the first place Daniel and I vacationed as a couple).

It also was covered in Gorgonzola stamps (a nod to our wine and cheese).

Pair that with the fact that Flamingos were one of the only bits of wild life we saw on our honeymoon and you have the perfect random romantic moment trifecta.

I also wanted to share this little purchase from my most recent Ikea trip.

Gotta love the "as is" section. It is the side table piece of this set. I'm thinking I like it a a side table for the library, but for $15 I am sure it will find a happy home.

Anyone else finding good things? I love when something just speaks to you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Sort Of Reveal

So we didn't check everything off of our list, but we got pretty close. This project has had so many phases that it has been hard keeping everything straight, so for now, here is what we have.

The BEFORE (What it looked like when we toured the house before we bought it. Can you believe they Photoshoped in a new paint color for the walls?)


You can see how much more space the new layout gives us (here is the original post with the floor plans). Nothing bumps in to anything else and both Daniel and I can work in the kitchen at the same time. Bonus! (you can read all my gripes about the kitchen here)

Norman likes the new seating (which needs a cushion).

You can see I'm still working on styling the shelves but it is great to just have everything there where we need it. No fuss. Everything on those shelves is used regularly so even with construction there was very little dust.

I added a few pieces of art to jazz things up. A pretty wood block of flamingos (my favorite bird), and some pictures of Daniel and me on various vacations.

I filled my little cloche with urchins and an epiphyte for another nod to our vacations of yore.

There is still much to finish, but you can see the big list has been whittled down to just a few things. Molding to paint, gout to do, but for the most part I'm happy with our progress.

I owe you a detailed post on hardware and paint but that will have to wait for another day. I'm busy patting myself on the back for being this close to done.


Monday, August 6, 2012


I have to say, I'm pretty amazed by us. When we put our minds to it we really get things done! (it helps when you can take a day off to work on them though). Between pounding out our herringbone tile back splash last week (still needs to be grouted) and this, I think we have officially graduated to DIY home owners. With the back splash and floor out of the way there are just a few little things to finish before our appraisal Wednesday.

So, without further ado-




Fabulous! For the most expensive part of the project (they came in at $4.39 a sq/ft and we needed around 140 sq/ft) this was the easiest thing to do so far. Seriously. The worst was the moisture barrier (the black trash bag looking stuff in the above pictures). It would not lay flat for the life of me. Still, I would definitely recommend cork for anyone looking to update their floors. There are some great color options out there. We chose this one- Kentwood's Libson Burl Cork in "peat" -because it complimented the floors we already have. I thought about going a different route but had to face the fact that I would probably never get around to refinishing the floors.

 I love how warm it makes the room, which was getting a bit cool from all of the white. As for the processes? We just followed the manufacturer's directions (Young House Love has a good tutorial too) which was basically to slide the boards together and they lock. No adhesive, no nails. Awesome. After pulling up the last flooring I appreciate something that I can easily remove.

Tomorrow is the last day to get things up and painted so I will be back Wednesday with the big reveal. You probably noticed a few other upgrades we did (hardware "cough-cough", back door "ahem"). So happy to be finishing up!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not a Red Herring

Tiling is done! I for one, could not be happier. First, some pictures. Then, I'll break it all down for you.

I decided to go ahead and tile all the way around the cabinets. I think it flows better that way (the edges would have been crazy otherwise).

Is that just not the prettiest thing that you ever did see?

3x6 carrara marble tiles + a whole lot of cutting=a beautiful herringbone back-splash (ignore the door handles, I'll tell you all about them another time).

Did I want to quit? Often. Here's what you need to know before you attempt this pattern.

1. It will take you FOREVER (you know that movie). Seriously. We put in at least 8 hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday working on this thing. Plus 2-3 hours a night since. It isn't even very big- only 42 square feet of space. The reason it took so long? edges. Every place you meet something that wont fit a whole tile you have to measure and cut it. That's a whole heck of a lot of edges. It would have been much easier if we had a blank wall.

2. You will use double the amount of tile you think you will need. Anywhere you meet an edge- that will basically consume a whole tile. We tried to reuse as much as possible but the cuts didn't always fit somewhere else. (Also, and this may be a characteristic of marble, but we broke a lot trying to cut them).

3. Don't do the easy stuff first! We thought we'd get the whole tiles over with and then come back to the cuts. Big mistake. Things shift, tiles are uneven (natural stone has that problem) and suddenly you are ripping out tile to make things fit.

4. Use the right tools. I thought we could do the whole thing with just a tile snapper- boy was I wrong! By day two we were making a trip to Home Depot to get something else (and more tile since I had underestimated). We ended up picking up a Dremel with a tile cutting attachment. It worked great. However, I, like a crazy person, thought the cordless version would be a great idea. WRONG. That thing did not hold up to prolonged use, which made everything take even longer. On the plus side we set up a game so that whoever saw that it was charged first got a kiss, which made things go faster. Moral? Don't go cordless.

5. Know when to take a break. Unless you are a professional tiler or have the patience of a rock you will probably hit a wall. Just take a break and come back. Don't worry, it will still be there in the morning. I also suggest ordering out for dinner. We would push through until we just couldn't do it anymore and then order sushi for delivery. Best reward.

 I have to say, I would have broken down and paid someone to do it if Daniel hadn't been there. He was awesome (and we still love each other after all of those long days).

We've been making lots of progress on many things so there will be more to see (can you say "we blindly picked a color for the bedroom"?) But let me ask- how do you push through the rough projects? Do you stage make-out sessions with your loved ones or are you more of a curse-er? I might have done both.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Honey Bunch!

According to Miss Kitty's adoption papers she is 1 year old today. Can you believe that this

turned in to this?

Huge right? Look at those cute little mitten paws. She's been the best. Now that she is big enough she gets supervised outside time (which she loves) and she is very vocal about asking for it.

So in Honey's honor I thought I'd share the new art installation we put in the library.

I was playing with the camera a few months ago and snapped a few pictures of our kids to hang on the wall. I had them printed at Costco in 12x12 and popped them in to a pair of Ikea frames. Done and done. The wall looks a little bare with just the two but the plan is to fill the library with pictures salon style.

Like this

Maybe when the kitchen is done I'll get on that. Or maybe I'll take a nap. I've started getting trim on doors and the molding was delivered yesterday so we are still plodding along. I'd love to get the flooring started but until the tile is done I don't want to deal with it. The amount of dust tile cutting produces is insane and I have a feeling I'm going to be picky about my floors being clean for a while. We'll see how long that lasts though.

Anyone else mired in a project at the moment or are you enjoying summer?