2018 Fall One Room Challenge - Week 3

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Some progress has finally been made! Woot.Woot!

  • Paint selections complete

  • Dark wall is gone!

  • First section of paint is up

Not earth-shattering progress but it’s still progress and I’ll take it!

If you read my Week 2 blog post, you caught a glimpse of what drives me (or doesn’t drive me). I’m so excited to finally have some momentum behind me on this project.

 One of the three paint colors of the color blocking.

One of the three paint colors of the color blocking.

 First section is painted. The edges will be straightened out when the next color goes up.

First section is painted. The edges will be straightened out when the next color goes up.

 Not finished but just a glimpse of how much brighter the space looks now.

Not finished but just a glimpse of how much brighter the space looks now.

Click here to read all about the design plan. You can read all about the amazing challengers here.

Until next week!

Cheers,

Tamara

Comfort Works Dining Chair Slipcover Review

We’ve been using our Comfort Works slipcovers long enough to share an accurate review with you all …

I have two Restoration Hardware dining chairs that we use at the head of the table … they’re comfy and well-made. The only real problem I have is the COLOR! Grey is a fabulous neutral, but the color on the chairs blended in a little too well with my neutral floor resulting in a washed out look that I wasn’t loving.

 See how the shade of grey blends in a little to much with the floor?

See how the shade of grey blends in a little to much with the floor?

The Comfort Works process was so simple.

They send you samples to choose from. I was debating between something in the blue family or a leather option.

 The Comfort Works samples are AMAZING. The samples are large enough to give you a real idea of the color and feel of the fabric.

The Comfort Works samples are AMAZING. The samples are large enough to give you a real idea of the color and feel of the fabric.

I selected Madison Teal in a long skirt option. I requested that my skirt be tailored instead of loose at the bottom.

(Never in a million years did I think that I would be ordering custom-made slipcovers for my furniture!)

Once you’ve selected your fabric, you’re ready to fill in the measurements on the easy-to-use template. The communication was great … they emailed me with a clarification on my measurements. I really appreciated this because it meant they were concerned with producing a quality product that would fit.

 It was so easy, I measured with my own measuring tape, took a picture of the template and emailed it back to them.

It was so easy, I measured with my own measuring tape, took a picture of the template and emailed it back to them.

I received my slipcovers much faster than I anticipated. They came with a handwritten note from the seamstress which I really appreciated.

The stitching is magnificent.

 A close up of the quality stitching.

A close up of the quality stitching.

 I love the end result! They look great and add a level of casual sophistication to my dining room!

I love the end result! They look great and add a level of casual sophistication to my dining room!

I highly recommend Comfort Works for slip covers. Not only do they provide dining chair solutions but what they can do for your Ikea or Pottery Barn sofa is truly amazing!

You can watch the process I went through on my Instagram Story Highlight. Check back for more changes to my dining space! The dark wall is GONE and I’m updating the space with a new look … my slipcover dining chairs are going to look better than ever in my updated dining room!

2018 Fall One Room Challenge - Week 2

I’m a very deadline driven person. At work, I usually have no problem doing things I’m obligated to do. I do my work tasks with vigor. My work reviews are usually excellent, and my bosses always know they can trust and count on me.

Cool; right?

The catch??? I fall short when it comes to ME. I’m pretty horrible at sticking to things that affect me personally. If it’s for other people, sure no problem, I got it .. but me . errrrr .. that’s another story altogether.

So it’s no surprise that I’m lagging on getting started on the 2018 Fall One Room Challenge. This little project of mine, is for me .. sure everyone who eats dinner in the dining room will get to experience the space .. but let’s face it, not too many people really care about it like I do.

Putting it out there in the inter-web gives me a little more skin in the game … I’m creating a faux-deadline for myself. Really, no one will be affected if I don’t follow through (except me).

So this post is just a little psychology behind why I haven’t started yet. Haha.

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To recap, my project is a California Casual Dining Update with a Scandi-Flair.

DESIGN PLAN

  • Color Block Wall: This is the main part of my project! I’m getting rid of the dark wall and replacing it with what is (I hope) a sophisticated, yet casual neutral-toned scandi-inspired geo patterned wall. The pattern will make its way in some form or fashion around the entire room. My hope is that the geometric pattern will tie together with the 1970s angled walls in the other parts of the house.

  • Modern White Chairs: I’m keeping the head-of-the table-chairs with my Comfort Works teal slipcovers and adding two modern white chairs. I love wood + white together, and combining it with a little teal/blue is my sweet spot.

  • Brass Chandelier: I’m working with MP Design Shop (see my kitchen pendants!) on a fixture for the space. I love their work and I’m so excited about getting a new fixture!

  • Window treatments: When I said this used to be a sunroom, that’s no joke. This room gets hotter than-you-know-what.

  • Rug under the existing table

  • California-inspired art

  • Wish Item: THRIFTED BUFFET. I’m hoping, but not promising, that I can find a good thrifted buffet to DIY. Paint will be involved so it doesn’t matter what color it is. I just need to find one!

I’m in awe of the color blocking results and I can’t wait to get started. First steps??? Primer’g the heck out of the dark wall. Something tells me it’s going to need a few coats …

I’ll be back to report on my progress next week! In the meantime, check out the featured ORC challengers. They’re an amazing group! And if you want more, Better Homes and Gardens is this year’s sponsor. Read about their involement here. Last but not least, the Home Love Network is featuring challengers throughout the event.

More to come next week! (I HOPE!)

Cheers,

Tamara

2018 Fall One Room Challenge - Week 1

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I’m so excited to be kicking off Week One of the 2018 Fall One Room Challenge! This is my second challenge, and this go-round I’m “challenging” myself to give our dining room some much-needed style!

Earlier this year, we converted our ugly sunroom to a brand spanking new dining space, which was a fantastic thing to do.

SO LADY WHAT’S THE PROBLEM??? Why do you need to make changes to this space???

BECAUSE THE ROOM IS A BLAH RECTANGLE . . .

I hopped on the dark-wall-trend WAY too fast!. My house has a lot of 1970s features, lots of woods, whites and blue tones … this room doesn’t match. It’s stagnant.

See what I mean??????

Here’s my design plan. (Full disclosure, you all know I do this JUST FOR FUN; RIGHT?) I have fears it won’t turn out how I’m envisioning but this is why I love this challenge. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone AND getting that much closer to creating a dining room that I love.

Design Plan

  • Color Block Wall: This is the main part of my project! I’m getting rid of the dark wall and replacing it with what is (I hope) a sophisticated, yet casual neutral-toned scandi-inspired geo patterned wall. The pattern will make its way in some form or fashion around the entire room. My hope is that the geometric pattern will tie together with the 1970s angled walls in the other parts of the house.

  • Modern White Chairs: I’m keeping the head-of-the table-chairs with my Comfort Works teal slipcovers and adding two modern white chairs. I love wood + white together, and combining it with a little teal/blue is my sweet spot.

  • Brass Chandelier: I’m working with MP Design Shop (see my kitchen pendants!) on a fixture for the space. I love their work and I’m so excited about getting a new fixture!

  • Window treatments: When I said this used to be a sunroom, that’s no joke. This room gets hotter than-you-know-what.

  • Rug under the existing table

  • California-inspired art

  • Wish Item: THRIFTED BUFFET. I’m hoping, but not promising, that I can find a good thrifted buffet to DIY. Paint will be involved so it doesn’t matter what color it is. I just need to find one!

I’m in awe of the color blocking results and I can’t wait to get started. First steps??? Primer’g the heck out of the dark wall. Something tells me it’s going to need a few coats …

I’ll be back to report on my progress next week! In the meantime, check out the featured ORC challengers. They’re an amazing group! And if you want more, Better Homes and Gardens is this year’s sponsor. Read about their involement here. Last but not least, the Home Love Network is featuring challengers throughout the event.

COLORAY PEEL & STICK WALLPAPER Mural

Peel & Stick Wallpaper

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Have you been seeing gorgeous larger-than-life wallpaper patterns all over the internet?  I sure had and I was dying to liven up my living room.  I'm so excited to share my COLORAYdecor Peel and Stick wallpaper experience with you! 

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My experience with wallpaper goes like this:   Rent or buy fixer with a sh*tload of wallpaper; attempt to remove wallpaper that just doesn't want to come off; try all the tricks .. steaming .... fabric softener and warm water (this one kind of works) ... scrape it off in fits of rage.  

Ok, maybe a little overkill but you get my drift!

My experience with hanging up wallpaper is even more fun ...  I cannot get the stupid patterns to line up and have ended up tearing my share of wallpaper.  (I am not a perfectionist)  

My DIY high point is typically glue guns, spray paint, and lately the occasional stencil ... count me out of anything that requires a lot of precision.

Because I have zero patience. 

BUT I really wanted a fun focal wall in my formal living room. I wanted it enough to try to install a mural.  I weighed my options, which were the traditional wallpaper or peel and stick.  

I kept going back to peel and stick because I love the idea of doing something different with the product if I tire of it (which I've been known to do).  I fell in love with the Pastel Art Removable Wallpaper from COLORAYdecor and was so thrilled that they wanted to collaborate with me on my project!

The Peel & Stick Process 

 I cleaned and dried the wall prior to the install.

I cleaned and dried the wall prior to the install.

The overall ordering process was easy.  I measured the wall three (3) times just to be sure. Before printing, they sent me a proof to approve. It was very cool to see the mural scaled to how it would appear on my wall.  COLORAY is in Sweden so imagine my surprise when the mural showed up within a few days.    

 First panel installed ...

First panel installed ...

You need TWO (2) people for the install.  I recruited my son mid-way during the first panel ... after I tried to do it by myself.  I used a pencil to to draw on the wall where the mural was going for each panel.  VERY IMPORTANT:  DO NOT UNROLL THE PANEL ALL THE WAY OR IT WILL STICK TOGETHER. Unroll it in small increments as you are applying it to the wall.  The squeegee is your best friend for keeping air bubbles away during the install.  

 Panel 2 is up. You definitely want to do everything in your power to not let the back of the panel get stuck to itself. But no fear if you do ... you can unstick it because this product is magic .. it's actually called MagicStick and I can attest to that!

Panel 2 is up. You definitely want to do everything in your power to not let the back of the panel get stuck to itself. But no fear if you do ... you can unstick it because this product is magic .. it's actually called MagicStick and I can attest to that!

 All five panels went up in a few hours.

All five panels went up in a few hours.

After all of the panels were up, I used a utility knife to cut the edges off for a clean finish. I can't reiterate how much the squeegee helps for keeping air bubbles away and for smoothing the wallpaper as you're adhering it. The most amazing thing about this wallpaper is it's PEEL and STICK. Since I'm not a perfectionist, I had to reposition more than my fair share of times.  If it gets stuck together, you can pull it apart with at little bit of work. If this was regular wallpaper, you can bet I would have ripped it at some point.  

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I'm so very pleased with the end result! It's such a statement and it makes me happy every time I walk by this room (which is A LOT).  

Curious if you have had good or bad experiences with wallpaper?  I had sworn away wallpaper so I'm still a little shocked with myself that I did this mural, and I am so glad that I did!  

 

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE - REVEAL DAY

 Open Office with Library Shelves - Lots of space to add tons of books!

Open Office with Library Shelves - Lots of space to add tons of books!

 Focal wall with the stencil wall and custom shelving; view from the second floor.  The library shelves have so much space for more books! This is only the start.  

Focal wall with the stencil wall and custom shelving; view from the second floor.  The library shelves have so much space for more books! This is only the start.  

 Mood Board - I threw this together in about 10 minutes! It set the tone for the project. 

Mood Board - I threw this together in about 10 minutes! It set the tone for the project. 

 Before - View from the Front Door 

Before - View from the Front Door 

 After - View from the Front Door 

After - View from the Front Door 

Part of my challenge was styling the library shelves.  I found some cuties at my favorite thrift store and mixed it up with what I already had on hand to create an eclectic vibe.  

 Mid century green glass vase $5; mother with child painting $12

Mid century green glass vase $5; mother with child painting $12

 Greek deco vase $3 thrifting find

Greek deco vase $3 thrifting find

 Mid century planter thrift find $5

Mid century planter thrift find $5

We are finally at the finish line! Not all of the elements of my project are finished but I am A-OKAY with it!  The main element is done and I'm thankful that I participated in the 2018 Spring One Room Challenge.  

My project: Open Office with Library Shelves at Entry.  

I added this stencil wall treatment to our entry focal wall.  My husband Rick built the custom shelving unit.  I had already purchased the desk earlier via Offer Up.  I picked up a few thrifted elements, plants and shopped my home.  I even did a quick DIY to this basic rug by adding fringe for an easy $12 upgrade.  

Even though I didn't get to all of the tasks on my list  .. like painting the front doors ... I am pleased that we finished "the wall."  It adds a new element to our home and gives the area a new vibe.  The room isn't completely done; I have a desk chair on order to arrive from Amazon and I want to order a new rug just as soon as I have some extra cash.  

All in all, I'm pleased I committed to the One Room Challenge. The pressure was bearable ... and I didn't feel pressure to be perfect .. it's a challenge, not a contest!

 

 

 

 

 

I am especially thankful to my husband for building this library shelving unit.  It has plenty of space to add tons of books.  

 I can only laugh at my A .. Z bookends.  The Z is turned around  Nice.  

I can only laugh at my A .. Z bookends.  The Z is turned around  Nice.  

Be sure to check out all of the 20 Featured One Room Challenge Designers.  You will be amazed at the complexity of the projects and the stellar results! 

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE - WEEK #5 PROGRESS

So I've decided to just own the fact that I'm posting all of my ORC posts late! 

Being as I got pretty much zero accomplished this week, our weekend is jam-packed with priming, sanding, priming and then more sanding and painting and finally installing the shelving on the stencil wall.  I hope! 

Check out the other challengers who will definitely have progress to share here.  

 

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE - WEEK #4 PROGRESS

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Geez-Louise, posting my ORC blog late is a reoccurring theme for me  :/   But it's not called "Challenge" for nothin'; right?!? 

Here's the deal, it's been crunch time at work and I'm working some major OT.  My ORC goal has been to create an open-air office/library and I'm still on track to complete it. 

I feel great about the progress; bummed about not meeting the blog post schedule but I can't have it all ... so they say! 

This week, I finished my Gypsy Mint Dotty Parton wall stencil which was kind of a major deal for me. 

I had to climb up on a beast of a ladder to reach the very top of our two-story wall; and I did see my life flash before my eyes a few times! But I'm still here intact, no broken bones!

Using Krylon Easy Tack reposition-able adhesive spray to adhere the stencil to the wall was a life saver. The stencil had this funky repeat lineup/repeat pattern which was the hardest part about the entire process. The actual coloring in of the stencil easy-peasy. I used a mini roller and built each coat up gradually. 

All-in-all, the entire stencil project was pretty much cathartic ... you know how it feels to clean the house?  It's not fun but that's when I do my best thinking. That's how I felt about this stencil project. 

Completed Tasks: 

  • Design Shelving Unit DONE
  • Build Shelving Unit DONE 
  • Stencil Wall Treatment DONE 

UPCOMING TASKS:

  • Paint Shelves 
  • Install Shelving Unit
  • Paint Interior Double-Decker Front Doors
  • Rug DIY
  • Style Office/Library 

My challenge is largely cosmetic, with the exception of the library shelving. I'm blown away by complexity of some of the projects of the 20 Featured One Room Challenge Designers.  and the 20 Featured One Room Challenge Designers.  I'm already getting ideas for what I want to do next!!!

 

 

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE - WEEK #3 PROGRESS - IT'S COMPLICATED

Week 3 has been like one of those It's Complicated relationships: Started out strong and then fizzled OUT!   

Rick totally outdid himself with the library shelving progress.  He was such a happy camper using his Festool power tools/guide. The shelving unit is built but needs to be painted, installed and trimmed out. I'm saving the full view until we do our reveal. I'll just say this, I was so happy with the shelving design that I might have cried a little.  

The low part of the week leads me to where I am now .. it's Thursday night, 11:45pm and I'm frantically trying to post my update by midnight PST.   The #ORC challenge has had to compete with my job, my mom stuff and just life in general.  However, on the bright side, I have a three-day weekend starting tomorrow and plan to make the very most of it. I can't waste any more time. 

Next Week

Next up is the wall treatment on the feature wall.  I did get the prep work done for the wall treatment by covering 1000's of nail holes and spackling, priming and painting.  Me and the Challenge are getting back together tomorrow just as soon as I drop off my kid at high school! 

Did I mention the wall treatment is applied on a wall that is at least 15 feet tall? I'm still working out  that detail. 

A huge thanks for checking in with me! It's so much fun to watch firsthand the progress of the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants as well as the 20 Featured One Room Challenge Designers.   Even though my time issues are killing me, I would wholeheartedly recommend this challenge as a way to get outside of the box and challenge yourself to something new!

Follow along with my progress this week with my Insta-Stories! 

Until next week!

-Tamara 

 

 

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 We are using plywood to make the shelves.  It's inexpensive, easy to work with and sturdy.   

We are using plywood to make the shelves.  It's inexpensive, easy to work with and sturdy.   

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One Room Challenge - Week #2 Progress

We made it through Week 2 of the Spring One Room Challenge but in all actuality it's not like I busted tail on my project, it was primarily planning and ordering materials. And to be honest, I was going to "Make It Through Week 1" because time just kept on tickin' ticking' . . . not because I did anything epic.  I did, however, get a commitment from my husband to help me build the library shelves and that my friends is a MAJOR WIN. I'll take that as my Week #1 Accomplishment. And a relief because I hadn't had that one figured out. 

In all seriousness, I ordered my wall treatment and it is en route for a Monday delivery. I wanted to do wallpaper but my budget did not agree with me. I happily decided on a wall stencil from the Gypsy Mint Stencil Co.  The stencil I choose is the Dotty Parton which bears a slight geometrical resemblance to what you might be thinking about when thinking of Dolly Parton (Side note, she is one of my all time favorites .. Jolene is one of my favorite songs ever!)  I chose the Dotty Parton because of its strong bold pattern which will add color and flair without overpowering the room.   

My goal next week is to actually get my post in on Thursday (imagine that: the due date?!?).  Bonus, I already have more to share because I made some progress over the weekend, but in all fairness the weekend is Week #2 so I'll save the details for next week! 

I'm having so much fun getting to know some of the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants and also drooling over the main 20 Featured One Room Challenge Designers.   This is such an encouraging platform and I'm so happy I'm participating. 

Up Next Week

The plan for Week #3 is to get a start on both the wall treatment and library shelving. There is no way that I want to NOT be finished with the wall treatment by the time the custom library shelving is ready to be installed. Time to start hustling!  

 

 
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2018 Spring One Room Challenge

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Welcome to the start of the start of the 2018 Spring One Room Challenge! I'm feeling a little neurotic that I signed up to be a guest participant in my first ever One Room Challenge  ... there's nothing quite like adding more pressure to one's life; right?!?  It's not like I really have the time with my full-time planner/analyst job.  And let's be real, sometimes a "full-time" job is a full-time+++" if you routinely work more than 40 hours a week. But I know I'm in the same boat as so many of you; the life/work balance is HARD. And if it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm really not ... I love my life, my family and my career.  And I love this little creative outlet that I have of working on my home. And what a treat to be a guest participant.

About my project .... 

The entryway of our home opens up directly to a decent-sized open space. The space is clearly visible from several rooms like the kitchen and the formal dining room.  You even get a great bird's eye view of it from the top of the stairs. The room has been through Phase #1 of our renovation, it has new wood flooring and the walls are white.  

Now this is the weird part ... I want to make the room an office. I know! Offices are usually separate from the rest of the house and you can sometimes even close a door to hide the mess. My office is completely visible and THE focal point as you walk through the front doors: I want it to pop. My challenge is to turn this vanilla space into spumoni gelato with layers and layers of goodness. I am purposely picking a room that doesn't need a lot (or really any) demo. I'm on my own on this project and me-n-demo wouldn't make it past week 3. I do have an embarrassingly amount of nail holes to fix, but that doesn't really count as demo! 

Project Details:  (1) Add Wall Treatment (2) Install Built-in Shelving (3) Update Lighting  (4) Update Front Doors (fresh paint)

BUDGET:  $300

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Office/Entry Before

Blank Canvas!!!

A little bit about our home .... 

We were super lucky to find our 1970s fixer 3 years ago. It had sat on the market for nearly a year. We're in California and real estate rarely sits for that long unless it's a real loser or overpriced ... check and check.  We negotiated like crazy to get it for dirt cheap. Check out our before photos here.  Three years later, we have made a ton of improvements with more to come.    

KITCHEN FINISHES

"Did you really want to paint the kitchen island Dallas Cowboy blue?" is not a question you want to be asked by your husband after your kitchen island has been painted -- as you walk through the door -- when you are excited to get home to see the just-painted result.

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Absolutely not. 

I had researched the perfect blue and sampled several on mock up doors and settled on what I thought was the right navy blue hue. Funny thing is, though, once we pulled up the kraft paper on the floor, exposing the wood tone of the floor against the island -- whew! -- the navy looked like it was supposed to! (Though I often stare at it accusingly-like and think maybe it does really look like electric blue?)

Speaking of blue islands -- certainly a trend, right? Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but the beauty of paint is that you can always re-paint if needed.  In the meantime, I will thoroughly enjoy my too-trendy blue island until I'm ready for a new color! 

Read on for details on how we stretched our money and made our kitchen selections. 

KITCHEN CABINETRY

Before this house, I had just gotten through with the dark wood cabinets, deep red and olive green wall trend (anyone remember this?!?) and was ready for light and airy. White cabinets, bold islands and subway tiles had me swooning. My husband, Rick, wanted to try his hand at some woodworking so we blended all of our wishes together to create our kitchen. 

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KITCHEN COUNTERS & BACKSPLASH

Because cash was low, we used a discount-shop for our kitchen counter quartz. Instead of a creamy white with pretty veining, we ended up with a dull-grey-white. I don't like it, but the subway tiled wall behind the range makes up for it. So cheap were these subway tiles, they were almost free! 

Half of the island top is a tabletop wood top crafted by Rick. Making the wood features for the kitchen was something new for him, it took a while, but I think it was satisfying to him. I know I love that he made them. 

Kitchen finishes

I wanted Rejuvenation everything when picking out our kitchen lighting and hardware finishes.  I know quality details can really make a difference, but, unfortunately, I don't have a money tree in my backyard. We have an entire house to remodel, furnish and style.

It is painful to pay $25 for one cabinet pull when I can buy a pack of 6 for the same price at a big box store. I did, however, really want brass in my kitchen so I paid the $25 per cabinet pull; the knobs were a little less expensive.  (note: this has been my one and only Rejuvenation purchase to-date and I can testify that getting a Rejuvenation package is more satisfying than picking out fixtures and accessories at a big box store!)  

Kitchen Sink & Faucets

I love the idea of brass plumbing fixtures, which are hundreds to thousands of dollars, and when I win the lottery I'll  splurge for them. In the meantime, chrome fixtures are fine with me. I don't have a matchy-matchy personality so mixing metals works for me, and chrome saved us $$ for something else.  

I wanted an apron sink with only one compartment (easier for washing large pans and platters).  I searched high and low and finally settled on a high-quality sink and pull-down faucet combo from Kraus. The quality and appearance are great and I get an A+ for the price ... got both the sink and faucet for a little under $600 with taxes and delivery.  

Rick aded a cold water supply line behind the cooktop when renovating the kitchen. It wasn't really on my wish list but was on his. The plumbing cost was minimal since he was already re-routing the plumbing lines, so it was more or less just his time. I was shocked at the cost of the actual finish -- pot fillers can be expensive, starting around $350 (*%&!).  I found our $70 plain fixture through Amazon.  And I must say, for the record,  this is a point for my husband --  a pot filler is by no means a necessity but is convenient because we cook a lot. 

PENdant Lighting

We purchased simple brass fittings & glass globe through Amazon's site. The maker seems pretty cool and quirky.  You can check out his website and even buy fixtures directly from him here: mpdesignshop  My pendants are simple and gave me the look I wanted without costing a fortune. 

Appliances 

Our luckiest kitchen buy was floor model Kitchenmaid appliances purchased from Pacific Kitchen and Home located inside of our local Best Buy.  Pacific Kitchen and Home is an arm of Best Buy dealing with contractors, but open to the public. We were in a rush situation, had to make a decision fast, and I found it very cool that we were able to pick out our appliances, pay a small down payment and pay them off at delivery. The floor models came with a full warranty.

If you're looking for a great deal, shop the floor models and talk to the sales people. Our appliances weren't marked down in the store but through conversation we found out they were getting ready to be significantly marked down. There were some nerves involved with buying floor models but they came with a full warranty. 

    Kitchen Finish Summary

    • Unlaquered Brass Cabinet Pulls & Knobs: Rejuvenation
    • Kitchen Sink and Faucet: Amazon
    • Pot Filler Faucet: Amazon  (note: mine is in chrome, what is available now is stainless steel but the price is still great -- around $70)
    • Pendants: Ordered through Amazon:  brass fittings & glass globe

    iPhone Photography for Instagram 

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    Edited with A Color Story App

    This pic is my first Instagram pic that received real engagement. It was taken with my iPhone using Camera+ and edited with A Color Story App

    Want to learn how to take and edit Instagram-quality photos with your iPhone? Read on as I share my journey of trying to master DSLR and then deciding, quite happily, on a better choice for me: my iPhone as my sole source for Instagram photos (I know it's a big no-no but it was holding me back! Maybe my lead-in question should be " . . . edit Instagram-ish-quality photos?)

    Important Note: If you want to have the best possible photos for posting to the web then you owe it to yourself to explore the DSLR option, which is used by professional photographers and many professional bloggers. If you have explored this option and find the learning curve too steep for now then rejoice, there are other options out there! 

    I took an unsatisfying journey into the land of DSLR photography: purchased a nearly new quality DSLR camera, bought a professional tripod, subscribed to professional editing software, took a photography course and went to a blogging convention where the message was post quality pictures if you want engagement on your social media posts. I was serious about learning how to take great photos. I'm also a mother, a wife, a full-time employee, daughter, aunt, friend ... you get the picture.  I realized that there was no way I was going to live my blogging dream if I was trying to spend my precious "spare" time adjusting f-stops and editing pictures with professional software that has a true learning curve (for me, at least). 

    Enter my solution to producing quality photos with my iPhone:  Use Cameras+ app to take my photo and the A Color Story app to edit the photos -- all from my iPhone. 

    I started posting to Instagram three months ago found myself getting a lot of questions regarding photo quality. I am the last person anyone would turn to for photography advice but thought my trial & error experience could be helpful for anyone out there in the same situation as me: someone who wants to take the absolute best photos with an iPhone.  

    iPhone Photography Tips: 

    • Read everything you can get your hands on about photography (even DSLR) watch you-tube videos -- educate yourself! There is a major learning curve to photography -- some people will be more talented with it than others. Give yourself an edge by educating yourself as much as possible. 
    • Practice taking lots of photos on your iPhone! Take them at different times of the day, play with the built-in features on your iPhone. You can delete your practice photos when you're doing something mundane like waiting in line at the DMV. 
    • I like my photos best when I use the Camera+ app to take the actual photos. The most recent iPhone camera features are very advanced, but I still like Camera+.
    • Editing is a MUST. I can rarely take a photo that won't benefit from editing. My favorite editing app is A Color Story. Fun fact: this app was named the best new app by Apple in 2017!  And rightfully so! 
    • Use the iPhone portrait mode to take pics of things, not just people.  The portrait mode will produce an advanced photography technique for home interiors, plants, any object really.  It rocks! 
    • The cost for A Color Story app is initially free and gets you some starter filters and features. From there, you can add the filter packages like Flashes of Delight and Candy Minimal. I've spent about $20 for filters and have found it well worth the investment. 
    • The cost for Camera+ is also minimal, just $2.99 for iPhone. As mentioned above, I really like to use Camera+ especially for adjusting natural light exposure, the stabilizer and the shooting modes. I feel it takes the iPhone camera features up to another level with one exception: the iPhone portrait mode as also mentioned above. 
    • With the A Color Story app, you can drop in a photo and quickly try various filter options within seconds/minutes. You can even save filter techniques to maintain a uniform look on your Instagram account.  
    • Lastly, don't over-edit your photo.  I may be guilty of this from time to time. Strive to have it look natural. Use the filters to bring out the best in your photo ... or go ahead and use that disco ball effect for a fun photo effect! 

    Check out the Instagram account page for A Color Story app, it's truly amazing what this powerful app can do! 

    Kitchen Progress - Almost Done!

    There are so many things I love about this kitchen, but my favorites items were handcrafted by my husband: the vent hood, open shelving and island wood top. Of course, I also LOVE the unpolished brass handles (complete splurge), the pot filler, the stainless steel apron sink with pull down faucet, glass dome pendants with brass fittings from mpdesignshop.com .. and many more! I'm working on a product link post to share next. 

    kitchen remodel

    After two years of starting and stopping, mostly related to time constraints and budget, we are almost done with the kitchen! Remaining in the kitchen is a final wall of cabinets at the north wall and a little detail work. Link to our before pictures. 

    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel

     

     

     

    Kitchen Vent Hood

    I just had one of my best birthdays ever! Progress had been at a standstill and all I wanted was to get moving again.  I got my wish ... I was Rick's "helper" for the 3-day weekend which coincided with my b-day. It took us the better part of the entire weekend but am so pleased with the outcome. 

    Wood Vent Hood

    I'm truly blessed that my husband is a general contractor. These days he mostly manages projects yet he still enjoys building things with his hands. I love that he can add custom touches here and there like this vent hood. 

    Kitchen Progress

    We've nicknamed the laundry room the "break room" since it resembles an office break room and has been our stand-in kitchen. Initially adventurous but now frustrating. How many times can you make one-pot spaghetti on a hot plate? We're ready to have a semblance of a kitchen, even if it doesn't check all the wish-list boxes. We're six months in, short on budget ... yet determined to have a working kitchen by Thanksgiving. 

    Renovation Update

    The popcorn ceiling is gone and boy what a difference it makes. Primer is now being applied to all surfaces in preparation for paint. I'm in love with the bright and airy look of white walls and wood trim ... I also love color but have decided to paint the walls white and add color with furnishings and accessories.  It's a gamble if we will really like white walls; we can always re-paint it. 

     This house has wonderful, large picture windows. I love the view from the dining room.  The two large picture windows not only let in light but also provide a nice backdrop of mature trees. 

    This house has wonderful, large picture windows. I love the view from the dining room.  The two large picture windows not only let in light but also provide a nice backdrop of mature trees. 

     The real-wood paneling in the family room is being painted but we are keeping the wood beams covered in order to maintain the wood look on the beams. We can paint the wood beams to match later on if we don't like it. 

    The real-wood paneling in the family room is being painted but we are keeping the wood beams covered in order to maintain the wood look on the beams. We can paint the wood beams to match later on if we don't like it. 

     Eeeks! The 1970's stone fireplace is getting primer before it is painted SW Alabaster white. I can't wait to see if the fireplace looks good with a fresh coat of paint. If it doesn't look good, we'll need to replace the stone which is costly. We need to save wherever we are able. 

    Eeeks! The 1970's stone fireplace is getting primer before it is painted SW Alabaster white. I can't wait to see if the fireplace looks good with a fresh coat of paint. If it doesn't look good, we'll need to replace the stone which is costly. We need to save wherever we are able. 

     

    Staircase: Traditional vs. Modern

    Our 1970's fixer has a very traditional staircase. As-is, the staircase is beautiful and would look even better painted a traditional two-tone white with black trim or something along those lines. We had this look in a previous home and loved it.

    I’m cringing when I write that the traditional staircase just doesn’t feel right in this house. It clashes with the angled ceilings and modern feeling we want to emphasize, but the staircase is pretty and it almost feels wrong to replace it.

    I brought up the idea of a modern staircase to my husband Rick and he ran with it ... there was no coercion, no pleading, NOTHING.  Next thing I knew, he was a man of action and the staircase was OUT. DEMOLISHED. RECYCLED.  GONE.  I just love when we are on the same page!

     Staircase BEFORE

    Staircase BEFORE

     The new staircase in progress. 

    The new staircase in progress. 


     

    Kitchen Goals

    The kitchen is the most drastic and expensive part of our home remodel. Here is a high-level list of what we want to accomplish with the remodel:

    • Remove walls between kitchen and living room
    • Raise ceiling; add new lighting
    • Completely reconfigure the layout with new cabinets, sink and appliance layout
    • Add an island with pendant lighting

    Starting point: 

     View facing outward from the kitchen to the dining room/den. What you can't really see from this pic is the condition of the cabinetry and appliances.  Appliances are old and the cabinets are in rough shape having been improperly painted several times.  Everything will be demo'd ... we will recycle as much as possible. 

    View facing outward from the kitchen to the dining room/den. What you can't really see from this pic is the condition of the cabinetry and appliances.  Appliances are old and the cabinets are in rough shape having been improperly painted several times.  Everything will be demo'd ... we will recycle as much as possible. 

     View looking into the kitchen from the dining room/den area. We want an open-flow between the kitchen and the other living areas, so the groovy wetbar and breakfast bar will have to go.  

    View looking into the kitchen from the dining room/den area. We want an open-flow between the kitchen and the other living areas, so the groovy wetbar and breakfast bar will have to go.  

     Up close view of the wetbar,  I've always wanted a wetbar but just not quite this style!

    Up close view of the wetbar,  I've always wanted a wetbar but just not quite this style!