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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    Ben called me out to look at his OCD display. Took 8 years (to show a shred of OCD) but look at this drawer side display! It's gutter day! Fun to watch the process of seamless gutters being made. Went kitchen countertop shopping and came home with 6 remnants of soap stone. 3 of which are perfectly usable for the kitchen areas. Agreed to take it all for $100. Twist my arm why dontcha.

Kitchen Planning

It seems fitting this is our 1,000th post.  We’re talking kitchens, which was the only full, real-time remodel we shared from our last house.  Living in this kitchen for the past 2 1/2 years has made us realize what we like and dislike about the layout.  Using our last kitchen as a guide, we have a better idea of what we’re getting into.  We also know more about materials we’d prefer.  Here’s a reminder of our current layout and design.


Here’s a scaled layout of the space:


It’s a long room, 29 feet from the family room to the pool house door and 13 feet wide.  Big and totally workable, with three different work zones inside.  The main kitchen, a breakfast nook, and my office.



From the office, you can go to the pool house.  If you do a 180 spin, you’ll see a large bay of cabinets we use as a pantry and large item storage.  Small appliances, large dishes, and such.


While the kitchen looks (and is) large, the layout of cabinets aren’t the most functional or well planned.  Several cabinets are essentially filler.  Like this large corner cabinet that doesn’t do much beside hold Ben’s cheap wine collection:


Or our giant cabinet housing only a trash can.


I like the idea of this vertically divided cabinet, but we could get away with only half like this:


We’re also not in love with the fridge next to the oven combo.  Especially with the built-in microwave space above.  Our tiny microwave doesn’t help the look either.


The 3 foot space between the island and perimeter is frustrating, too.  When the oven and/or dishwasher are open, it’s a maze. Add someone at the sink and it’s really cramped.


Given those dislikes, we’ve come up with a new plan.  It includes all drawer lowers, which we greatly miss from our last kitchen.  Here’s what we’ve got in mind:


Most appliances are staying in the same location; refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and cooktop.  We’ll swing a double wall oven around the corner, turning the wasted space into a shallow walk-in type pantry.  A pocket door means one less door swing to accommodate.


To get more working room, we’re moving the island another foot away from the perimeter cabinets.  Across from the island, we’re going to widen the doorway, matching the width of the adjacent dining room.  Because we’re losing the big pantry bay, we’ll add in a smaller cabinet to house the microwave and other small appliances.  My office will also get a different layout, nixing the L shape to the corner.  In place, we’ll widen the pool house door to match the other sliding doors we’ve installed.  Our plan is to use the same tile throughout the two spaces, for a seamless flow.  I’ll talk more about the design elements when we get more nailed down.  We’ve already started building cabinets, so hopefully we can demo before the new year.

Cyber Monday Sale!

Holy moly, we’re already in December!  We were busy with visiting family, but there’s a Cyber Monday sale going on in our shop.

Use the code HAPPYHOLIDAYS40  to get 40% off everything currently in stock.  Custom art makes a thoughtful gift for family and friends.  Hurry, because the sale ends tomorrow at noon.

Green with Envy

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday.  We ate a lot and I think we laughed even more, so you know it was a good night.  And thank you all for your supportive, nice comments about the finished siding, too.  I plan to share more pictures and info as the siding rusts.  We’re interested to see how long it takes.  Come spring (and warmer weather) we may want to speed up or even out the finish.  Oh, Beth, you’re the winner of the luxurious Frette robe!  Congrats!

Now, to some indoor progress.  Before we could hang our new curtains, I had to fill, caulk, prime, and paint the trim around the windows.  Following Murphy’s Law, my touch up paint didn’t match the wall color.  Mental note: never buy paint at Wal-Mart again.  That lead to buying another custom matched gallon (thanks to the talented paint folks at Home Depot) and painting the window walls all over again.  Eesh.  So much for a quick job.


Anyway, I got it done and then it was curtain time.  I measured the length and hemmed all eight panels about three inches.


For the large front window, I use four panels to get enough width to close completely.


The remaining two windows are narrow enough for one panel on each side.


These World Market curtains have a rod pocket as well as back tabs.  We like the look of tabs better because it allows the panels to bunch nicely when open.


It’s such a welcome addition of color to an otherwise mostly neutral space.


Living without curtains feels a lot like being in a fishbowl.  We’re thankful for privacy and a new look.  And you know, finished windows.  Baby steps.

Ding Dong, Siding’s Done

After months of spending weekends replacing windows and installing new siding, we’re finished.  Just before the cold weather hit, allowing us to now focus on indoor remodels.  Update:  Here’s the exterior when we purchased the house.  


It was a mis matched mess of ugly blue stain, natural cedar, missing siding, and old windows.  We’ve since replaced every window and door, as well as new siding.


Currently, the steel has a semi glossy sheen to it.  Nothing that’ll blind the neighbors, but still.


Eventually the steel will rust, creating a contrast.   Because right now the steel is very similar in tone to the lap siding.


As you can see, we decided to cover the bathroom bump out in steel.  Something to add interest and break up the upper section.


It worked out well because we plan to cover the other peaked areas the same way.


Also, the lower section wraps into the bump out near the door.  The back of the pool house is all steel, thanks to the funky angles.  The rest of the pool house, now that’s a different project for spring/summer.


Finally, the section around the garage doors.  It follows the same line, wrapping around from the front.


We’re thankful to have the loose ends tied up.  You know what else we’re thankful for?  Our lovely readers.  To show our appreciation, we’ve partnered up with luxury linen retailer, Frette, to offer one reader a Terry Shawl Collar Robe.

Simply leave a comment on this post to enter!  I’ll announce the winner on Friday.  If you’re also in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving!

Put it on My Tab

Moving on with our master bedroom makeover.  With the new window and door in and trimmed, our old curtains were too short.  This set will work perfectly in the basement, but we needed something else.


I’m no stranger to making curtains, but I wanted to add a little detail: leather tab tops.  While in Minnesota this summer, I found a few scraps of gorgeous cognac toned leather.  Just enough to make my tabs.  Using other supplies Ben had, I was able to finish the job.  I used 1 1/8 inch wide by 7 inch long leather strips, a leather punch, and screw post rivets.


First, I used the punch to make a hole 1/2 inch from the bottom of each end of my leather strips.  Surprisingly, the punch made a clean hole through three layers of my linen panel, too.


Then I put the smooth side of my screw through the leather, then my curtain top, and through the other end of the leather piece.


Rather than basic white linen panels, there’s just a touch of rich leather.


And the way these hang?  Perfect draping.  So much more sleek than the bulky blackout curtains of yore.


Honestly though, the suede backing doesn’t slide super easily.  We’ll live with these a few more days to see how it goes.  I’m thinking I could cut another set of leather strips to add inside.  That way, the smooth side could face the rod, but we’d still have the pretty side to look at.  Any other suggestions to solve this problem?


Yet another simple change, but something I’m crazy about.  Here are my two current favorite elements together.


Baby steps, but we’re nearing the end.


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