Thursday, July 23, 2015

What a girl wants

A friend of mine has a daughter who starts high school next month.  In preparation for that she wants to change her bedroom into a sleeker, more modern space.  They recently moved her into the bonus room so some walls are low with sloped ceilings but that helps add some character to the room.

The style of her furniture was more traditional and little girl than she wanted and they are upgrading her to a full size bed.  The room has good bones with new wood floors and built-ins along the side walls.

She needed her new room to continue to provide the current level of storage and she needed a new desk area to keep her focused and on track with her studies as she enters high school.  She had found some bedding that she liked and she is very into the clean, modern lines of Ikea (her mom is into the price point!) so we put together this design board.
Image sources:
       Nightstands: Ikea malm via
       Bedding: Kala bedding via
       Butterfly chair:
       Chest with tv components: Ikea malm via
       Desk chairs:
       Desk/dressing table: Ikea malm dressing table via
       Floating shelves: Ikea lack shelves via

Even if they don't go with this design I can't wait to see what her room looks like when they are done!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The most expensive dishwasher EVER! Part 2

It is really hard to renovate a kitchen while pregnant!  Cravings for cheesy casseroles are impossible to satisfy when you are cooking only on a grill.  We found our we were pregnant with our first child right before we started this project.  The news was another major catalyst for the project.  We figured a dishwasher and indoors laundry were somewhat non-negotiable for us with a newborn.

Going into the renovation we knew we wanted slate tile floors, butcher block counters, a beaded board backsplash, and white cabinets.  When all was said and done we ended up with wood floors, granite counters, a tile backsplash, and white cabinets.

Once the contractor had ripped everything out we discovered the original wood floors under the old vinyl and opted to refinish those.  We opted for granite because it seemed like that was what everyone was using and might add the most value should we choose to move one day.  The backsplash tile ended up being something we replicated on the fireplace in the living room.

We had a door from the living room to the kitchen which we closed up during renovation to create some symmetry in the living room and so we could add built-ins on either side of the fireplace.  That change left us with a long wall perfect for a desk and file storage purposes.

We also added a huge walk in pantry that was perfect for storing everything from the vacuum to extra food to tons of serving pieces that we owned.  We also used it to house the microwave that we used infrequently.

And we brought our washer and dryer in from the detached garage and stuck them under a granite folding counter.  That was a huge change, I cannot even imagine walking through the rain to wash burp clothes and dirty onesies.

And then we had a baby and our dinner parties, one of the driving forces behind this renovation, dried up like California.  But we had our dishwasher, albeit an extremely costly one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The most expensive dishwasher EVER - Part 1

When we moved into our first home there was no dishwasher.  I had grown up in a home without a dishwasher and so did not see this as a problem.  We would add one when we could afford to.  As time went by we began cooking far more often as well as having people over for meals on a regular basis.  This became kind of problematic but mainly the morning after when all the dishes were staring at us from the sink.  For our kitchen "redo" I anticipated painting the cabinets, tiling the floor, and installing some butcher block countertops.  And installing the dishwasher. 

I thought we would be able to cut out a section of the cabinets for this, but a coworker of mine was of the opinion that that wasn't going to work.  Then we had a contractor come look at it and we found out that we were at maximum capacity on our electrical power.  The system was not going to be able to sustain the additional power a dishwasher would require.  At this point we began to realize our dishwasher was going to be very expensive.

Since we were learning it was going to be expensive we decided to go ahead and go all out.  A dropped ceiling had been installed at one point so we decided to remove that.  I hated the soffits that were above the cabinets so we decided to remove those.  This was pre-Pinterest of course so all my ideas were in magazines.  I had some blogs that I read and got some ideas from those but really just wanted a kitchen that fit with the age and style of our home.  The original kitchen had been remodeled in the early 1960's which we discovered when we removed the water heater from its space in the corner of the cabinetry above.  It was a 1964 water heater that we were just beginning to have problems with in spring of 2010.

I loved coming home the first day after the old paneling had been torn out.  We could see where old windows had been before the house had been added onto.  And the backside of our chimney had been covered where the original stove had tied in to vent.  The dust drove my husband crazy though!  He swept and mopped a path from the back door to the hall to our bedroom and over to the hall to the living room.  But staying on the path was no fun, I couldn't see all the details from there.  He was constantly fussing that I wouldn't "stay on the path".  

I drew out a sketch of what I hoped the kitchen would ultimately look like.  It was my first time doing anything like that and wasn't done to scale nor did I know how to fully convey dimensions.  But it gave me and the hubby a general idea of the look I was going for.  I wanted a beaded board backsplash and butcher block counters.  We were going to do slate tiles on the floor.  I really just wanted it to look old fashioned and not put us in bankruptcy.  When we bought the house I planned to use a home equity loan to do the improvements but of course, not long after we bought, the market tanked.  We were underwater by the time we were ready to do improvements and so there was no equity to tap.  It was going to have to be cash all the way.  And the cost of the mechanics was adding up.  

Since we had gutted the space we also figured out a way to bring our washer and dryer indoors from the detached garage.  We added a walk in pantry as extra storage.  And when we couldn't figure out where to put a water heater we decided to invest in a tankless gas water heater.  That was the best decision we ever made!  There was no running out of hot water with that.  It is probably what I miss most about that house.

Planning the kitchen was so much fun even though the details changed many times before we were done.  But, renovations are like Lays potato chips, you can't do just one.  I'll be back to show the after photos.