Sunday, December 30, 2012

i'm dreaming of a white... kitchen

We have kitchen stools!  After calling at least five World Market stores, we finally found a location that had more than a lone stool or two in stock.  Apparently these little guys are popular - we've had a hard time finding them in store anywhere.  The sales gal Hubby talked to was nice enough to verify actual stock on the floor and then put the only four they had on hold for us.  E was napping at the time and we were worried that by the time he woke up and we made the hour drive, one or more would be gone.  Luckily, they were all there when we arrived and were just as gorgeous as we remembered.  I barely withheld from doing a happy dance in the aisle.

By the time we got home last night, we weren't motivated to unload the car but Hubby got on it right away this morning.  We were curious how many pieces the stools would be in when the boxes were opened and were super excited to discover very minimal assembly was required.  Even the two year old was of assistance!

Swooning over the stools all day today got me thinking more and more about the overall look of our kitchen.  My Pinterest and Houzz boards are full of beautiful white kitchens, but none are exactly what I'm imagining.  We still need to pick out our counters, so maybe once we do that, everything will finally come together.  Who am I kidding?  I won't be sure of my choices until everything is in place and I've stood in the middle of the kitchen staring at everything at least twenty times.  Oh well.  Until I can do that, the inspiration board below will have to do.

stools: Twist Swivel Stool from World Market
cabinets: Tolani in Chiffon by Merillat
drawer pulls: Liberty Hardware Cup Pull from Home Depot
knobs: Liberty Hardware Contempo Knobs from Home Depot
flooring: Ponderosa – Alamosa Hickory from Real Wood Floors
faucet: Moen Wetherly from Lowes
pendant light: Murray Feiss Urban Renewal Mini Pendant from Build

And, it might help, if I shared our kitchen layout.  We originally had an island included, but we're going to leave it out for now.  I don't want the kitchen to be so crowded that we can't easily move around.  Our old kitchen was galley style and it was difficult for more than one person to be in there.  The only thing I'm unsure about are the lower cabinets on the oven/cooktop side.  Does the asymmetry look weird?  I asked our cabinet guy to quote me to change the lower left cabinets to drawers/doors and the lower center cabinets under the cooktop to drawers.  If it's not drastically more expensive, I might do that instead.

The remaining kitchen decisions are: finalize cabinet layout, select granite for counters, finalize faucet, choose paint color and select backsplash.  Our builder/plumber prefers Kohler fixtures but I haven't found a Kohler kitchen faucet that I like in our price range.  For now, we've chosen a Moen one and are hoping the plumber agrees to install it.  We're also undecided on a backsplash and paint color.  We'll probably do a simple subway tile for the backsplash, but I'm not completely sure if we'll do white, like shown above.  We have a bit of time, though, because we're going to wait to do the backsplash later, on our own.  We're going to pick out the granite for our counters this coming Saturday, so I'll probably start thinking about paint colors after that.  There won't be a whole lot of paint in the kitchen, but we will have one wall of open shelves and then the dining area will also be painted the same color.  Maybe a dusty yellow?  Or a blueish-grey?

Spill your beans.  Things I haven't thought about?  Colors you like?  What you love/hate in your own kitchen?  Personally, I'm pretty excited about the pantry, dishwasher and ability to store all of my dishes/pans/small appliances in the kitchen itself.  The pretty cabinets, shiny appliances, and fun fixtures won't be so bad either.  Okay, I'm giddy about it all.  There's no hiding it.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

lighting, take 2

I think we finally have all of our lighting fixtures picked out.  And I also think we managed to make the selections without raised voices.  The phrase, "just make a decision and get what you want", might have been thrown out a time or two, though.  Maybe. It's all about compromise, people.  Example?  There are FOUR ceiling fans in our house.  FOUR.  That was obviously a Hubby decision.  There are also four drum shades in our house.  But that's a good four.  Obviously my decision.

We had previously made selections for the foyer and kitchen sink lights, living room fan, dining area light, exterior lights and kitchen and bath pendants (recapped here).  We did end up returning both the kitchen and bath pendants, however.  The kitchen ones didn't have the best reviews online and the ones we'd selected for the bathroom weren't made for damp areas.  Additionally, our electrician advised against pendant lights in the bathroom, as they just don't provide proper lighting.  Bummer.

When we returned the kitchen pendants to Lowes, we were able to find lights for the hallways (two for the back hallway and one for the bedroom hallway) that weren't boob lights - hooray!  I've been eyeing different versions of the 'schoolhouse light' online and really like the style.  When I spotted one at Lowes for only $44.97, I pounced.  And, by pounced, I mean coerced my son into crawling under the bottom shelf to retrieve boxes that had been pushed too far back for me to reach.  Don't worry, he was rewarded with a very annoying, singing Rudolph toy.  We both won.
[allen + roth Semi-Flush Mount Light from Lowes]
I found replacement kitchen pendants when I was browsing through lighting catalogs and was pleased to see they were in the affordable category when I looked them up online.  For now, I've ordered two of these to hang above the peninsula that separates the kitchen and dining area.  I'm considering ordering a third, but I don't want it to be too busy.
[Murray Feiss Urban Renewal pendant from Build]
To keep things simple, and because I liked the fixture, I decided to use the same semi-flush drum light in our master bedroom closet, the flex room and the laundry room.  Isn't she pretty?  I was worried about the amount of light she'd put out (not sure why she's a she?), but the fixture calls for two 26w CFL bulbs, so it should be plenty.
[Progress Lighting Semi Flush Light (Inspire) from Build]
In the powder room and second bathroom, at our electrician's recommendation, we decided to use three-light vanity fixtures.  The second bathroom will have two fixtures, so I can hang a mirror below each one.  The powder room will just have the one.  Many thanks to everyone on Facebook who provided input on which fixture we should choose.  Ultimately, most everyone agreed with our favorite, which also happened to be the more expensive one.  Isn't that always the case?  I'm thinking I might end up using the other option we'd selected when we get around to finishing the basement.
[Murray Feiss Harvard Bathroom Fixture from Build]
For the master bathroom, we're going to use four wall sconces (in addition to can lights).  Each mirror will have sconces that flank both sides.  I'm pretty sure I'll have the lights hung downward, but I'm not 100% sure.  Any recommendations?
[Progress Lighting Transitional Sconce from Build]
Finally, Hubby talked me into picking up inexpensive ceiling fans for E's room and the spare bedroom.  I fought it as long as I could, but finally gave in.  They were quite affordable and will definitely be functional.  If only they were just a tad prettier...
[Harbor Breeze 44-in Bellevue Ceiling Fan from Lowes]
I'm still holding out for a sale at Crate and Barrel so I can order my dining area light, but we are otherwise D-O-N-E.  Thanks to everyone who offered website suggestions, gave feedback and suggested ways to get discounts!  You guys are the best.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

day 53

Merry Christmas, everyone!  The lack of posting lately is due to (1) the littlest dude in our family being sick and out of daycare for a full week (!!), (2) traveling for the holidays and (3) not a whole lot of new progress to report.  I'm glad to have survived and am already in need of a few more days off.  Ha!  Thankfully, we have no plans for New Years and I'm looking forward to some quiet time at home before work gets crazy with year-end.

[sick boy]
After battling a fever Monday through Friday, we were thankful E woke up on Saturday morning feeling mostly better.  Since we were traveling Sunday through Wednesday, Santa came to our house on Friday night and we were able to spend Saturday unwrapping gifts, playing with new toys and getting ready for our trip.  I just love seeing the excitement and magic of Christmas through the eyes of a little one!
[Santa came to visit!]
[unwrapping gifts]
[breakfast break for Christmas Tree waffles]
[play time]
[trains with Daddy]
We were also able to run by the lot on Saturday afternoon and I grabbed a few shots of the completed roof and interior progress.  When we arrived, we were surprised to discover that the house was officially locked up.  Luckily, our Construction Manager quickly responded to our "Umm - what's the code?" text and we were able to head inside for a little exploring.  Not much had changed other than some duct work being run and some bathroom insulation hung.  The plumbing work had also progressed a bit.  Warning - I hadn't been out in the daylight recently, so I took a few too many pictures.

[snow-covered house!]
[sunny morning]
[who needs a trampoline when there is spare plywood to jump on?!]
[insulated fireplace and finished archways]
[bedroom - bathroom - bedroom]
[duct work started!]
[Where's E?!]
[master bedroom and walk-in-closet]
[master suite - basement stairs - powder room - laundry room]
[kitchen and flex room]
[flex room - front foyer]
[bathroom insulation]
[E's self-proclaimed bedroom]
The biggest surprise, however, was seeing our port-o-potty chilling in the road.  Apparently the little snow/ice/wind we got was enough to push it off the curb.  I'm just glad it didn't tip over in the process!  Not exactly the way we want to make our first impression in the neighborhood.  "Hi, we're your new neighbors!  Yes, the ones with the poo and blue ice all over the front yard."  Um, ewwww.
[runaway potty]
We headed out of town first thing Sunday morning and made stops at four different family Christmas gatherings over the next three days.  Our family was beyond generous this Christmas, but our favorite part of the trip was spending time with family that we don't get to see every day.  I didn't do a great job documenting the trip on my camera, but I'll definitely cherish the memories.  Please tell me that I'm not the only one completely overwhelmed by balancing picture-taking and being present in the moment.  It's a constant conflict for me - I enjoy putting the camera down and just enjoying the company but then I always regret that I don't have enough pictures.  Ugh.

[E and his Cousins on Christmas Eve]
[Auntie and E on Christmas morning]
We got back to Cheese Country last night and hurriedly had to unpack and put stuff away, since our house cleaner came this morning.  I didn't exactly leave our Condo in the best condition (read: it was a disaster), so it was a pretty late night trying to find a home for all of our new Christmas treasures.  I am happy to report, however, that I think almost everything found a spot.  Just don't remind me that I need to pack it all up again in about two months.

We did run by the lot on our way into town last night, but the only noticeable difference was that our siding and trim had been delivered.  Hubby quickly explored the inside using the ever-handy iPhone flashlight, but said he didn't see that anything had been done.  Today was a different story, however.  We now have a basement floor!  The front and back porches, as well as the garage, have been sealed off with insulated material, but Hubby said he wasn't sure if they'd actually gotten the floors poured.  Either way, it's exciting to see progress again.

I have to work tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to heading out on Saturday morning to check everything out myself!  Exciting stuff!!

 On a completely unrelated note, I used a bit of down time over Christmas to finally finish editing some photos I took back in May.  Ridiculous, I know.  But, isn't this little guy just precious?!  I can't help but share. I have one more little guy to finish up and then maybe I'll start going through our vacation photos...also from May.  Eeek.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

day 42

It rained all day yesterday.  And we were out Christmas shopping in it.  I've been completely spoiled since moving to our area of Cheese Country and have been able to avoid shopping malls for the most part for almost ten years.  We have an amazing outdoor outlet mall in town and I try to shop there or at stores that are part of the 5,287 'strip mall'/'shopping centers' that keep going up (I might have exaggerated that, but it seems like they're on every corner now!).  Normally, I love this.  I can be in and out of the stores I need without messing with chaotic crowds and without being tempted to browse through other shops.  Yesterday, it was not so fun.  I'm not sure why I took the time to straighten my hair and better yet, why I didn't choose to wear something with a hood.  Oh well.  I'm almost done shopping and was even able to wrap during E's nap today.

The worst part of the rain was that the roofers were not successful in getting the shingles on last week.  The framing crew was back working all day, though, so the house is now a muddy mess -- both inside and out.  We ran by this afternoon after E's nap (and my wrapping marathon) to grab some photos and check out the latest progress.  Ethan managed to make a mess of himself playing in the mud and Keith was even able to hang some solar-powered Christmas lights (thanks Walgreens clearance aisle!).

[hanging Christmas lights!]
The big events this past week include:

All windows and doors have been installed!  I think the wrong back patio door was installed, though.  The current door is full glass, but we had selected grids in the glass.  At least it's an easy fix.
[bedroom windows]
[garage window]
We met with the Electrician for the electrical walk-through on Tuesday afternoon (day 37).  We added 13 can lights (gulp) -- 4 in the kitchen, 4 in the great room, 3 on the back porch and 2 in the master bath.  We also added additional outlets (including one on the mantel and two more on the exterior), had Cat-5 cable run to various rooms, split the bathroom vanity lights from single to multiple fixtures (two 3-light fixtures in the kiddo bathroom and four single sconces in the master bath), added a couple more switches and added a motion-sensor light to the back corner of the house.  The Electrician was super easy to work with and they've since finished adding all the boxes and running wiring throughout the first floor.
[electrical wiring - and muddy floors]

The roofers started installing tar paper and shingles.  The materials were delivered on Wednesday morning (day 38) when I was meeting with the Electrician again to confirm placement of can lights and the bathroom fixtures.  They started roofing on Friday, but were only able to complete the northeast corner.

We met with the Designer again on Friday morning (day 40) to make our tile selection for the fireplace and to touch base on a few other items we needed to finalize.  We're still undecided on a kitchen faucet.  I find it remarkable that I can't find a faucet from Kohler that I like and is affordable.  I did nail down our pedestal sink for the powder room, as well as the faucets for the powder room and kiddo bathroom.  We're still waiting to hear pricing on upgrading a couple of doors and on switching out our tile tub surround for full-bathroom wainscoting in the master.  I know we chatted about more, but I'm drawing a blank.
[fireplace tile (I think!) - Torreon Travertine by Daltile]

On Saturday (day 41), we returned the light fixtures we were unsure of (the kitchen pendants and the bathroom pendants) and picked up three hallway lights and two ceiling fans instead.  That evening, we also spent several hours scouring a crazy number of websites (Shades of Light, Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Schoolhouse Electric, BBC Lighting,, Lowes, Home Depot, Overstock, Lighting name a few) and lighting catalogs (Feiss, Progress, Kichler, Hinkley, name a few) for replacement kitchen and bathroom fixtures.  I think we finally have them nailed down, but I haven't hit the "Submit" button on my order just yet.  I really didn't think this would be so difficult.  I'll have to do another full post on lighting, but here is a preview of my non-boob hallway lights.
[Oil Rubbed Bronze Frosted Glass Semi-Flush Mount Light from Lowes]
So, as of day 42, the house currently looks like this from the outside:

The inside isn't quite as pretty, but I suppose that's the hard part of going out so frequently to see what is going on.  Here's to hoping they get the roof on soon and that the snow forecasted for this week holds out as long as possible....

* It'd be remiss of me not to mention the deep sorrow we're feeling for the families, friends and community impacted by the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I'm hugging my baby a little tighter and saying an extra prayer of thanks that my current worries are about light fixtures.  I simply can't imagine what they're going through and will continue to send prayers their way, as they learn to live in their new state of reality.