Monday, September 30, 2013

Greige reveal!

You'll remember my quest for the perfect greige aka beige meets grey. Not too beige, but not too grey with a cool tone underneath.

Take it in. Take it allllll in.


And you KNOW that little brown nook is going to get painted soon. I'm busy people.

Here it is next to our old door:

Sometimes it looks slightly purple, sometimes it looks more white. Sometimes blue. Its like a mood ring. I love it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Feline Fridays!

Today's Feline Fridays, I bring leave you this hilarious little note:  Texts from Mittens.

Enjoy and happy weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kitchen Reveal: Before & After

Before: 1930's Victoria Bunglow charm:

After: Chez modern maison of luv

Totally normal

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Just when you thought we were going to move on from kitchen cabinets (catch up here, here and here), I have to tell you more about the layout!

Sidenote: Check out that greige peeking up to the left of that cabinet. Stonington grey baby!

Last time, we revealed that our fridge didn't fit and the scramble to redesign the kitchen in one day.  This is the newly created refrigerator cabinet.  We basically hacked the frames to create a built-in kitchen fridge look without the price, of course.



We also discovered that we could do this little wine rack which is funsies
That's potentially 14 bottles of white wine

Here's what it looks like after the counter top is installed:

Don't be alarmed - the appliances come wrapped in plastic - they're not messed up.

This day was the happiest day of the entire renovation hands down. I floated around the kitchen singing this little tune because I was sooooooooo happy

On the very same day, the garbage disposal I've waited so long for broke and the dishwasher didn't work.  You win some, you lose some.
Merry Christmas to Me

Monday, September 23, 2013

Building IKEA Kitchen Cabinets

As I've documented here and here, the IKEA kitchen cabinets ended up being a huge process.

In order to save some dough, we decided that we (and by we, everyone should already know that this doesn't include me, obviously), would assemble the boxes and cabinet fronts only.

Then we would have the contractor and crew do the following:
  • Add cabinet door fronts
  • Install backsplash
  • Install internal kitchen shelves
  • Add cabinet pulls aka cabinet jewelry
From what I hear, the cabinet boxes themselves were not that hard to install.  The cabinet fronts were actually fun if you like that sort of thing. The hardware that attaches to the cabinet itself isn't really bad to figure out and its definitely a two person job.

Not too shabs if I do say so myself
The kitchen counter is a whole other animal.  IKEA comes to your house to measure it once the cabinets are installed.

Boxes are hung on the wall. Why do we own so much tape?
Cabinet pull ready to be installed

This is what they look like when they're initially installed. As you can tell, we have high ceilings I KNOW WHAT A PROBLEM TO HAVE, so we had to maximize the distance between the top and bottom cabinets, which basically means at 5'5" I'm officially a shrimp in my kitchen - I'll just get a step stool and STFU.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feline Fridays

You saw all the issues we had this week with the kitchen in Kitchen Confidential and Kitchen Confidential Continued but I'm here to let you know that all turned out well due to:

Nothing gets by Inspector Marlo when she's on the job!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kitchen Confidential Continued

Last time, we discussed the grey countertops and the design of the kitchen cabinets from IKEA.  When we ordered everything, we had it delivered (sans countertops) from IKEA because there was no way we could handle all the pieces ourselves and many were not available for same-day pickup anyway.  When it arrives, it looks like this:

Welcome to my nightmare
Everything is poorly labeled and very heavy.  Because we weren't ready for the kitchen to be installed, these boxes took up half the garage and kinda just hung out for a month. We had to buy them at the time we did to take advantage of the 20% off IKEA sale, which made these an event bigger deal than they already were.

I'm a gal who loves a good sale
When we finally went to remove each piece to take them into the house in preparation for installation, we found many panels were straight up incorrect (both color and style).  I really think that the employees went with an eenie meenie miney mo method of sorting for our order. 

Also we lost the original receipt.

I know!  How stupid can you be?!  But in the age of digital copies and credit cards, we really didn't think we were going to be as doomed as we were in returning a lot of the pieces.  I will summarize this section to avoid getting stabby, but it took over 3 hours to return the wrong items with two angry, cranky IKEA employees refusing to acknowledge your existence. We left with a few credits, and a few gift cards. I've decided IKEA is only slightly worse than Communist Russia.

Did I mention our appliances AND flooring were also in the garage? At the same time? This picture fills me with so much anxiety.

Upon installation, we discovered a pretty big boo-boo:

The refrigerator didn't fit.

Dream a little dreammmm of me
Internets, I know that this doesn't seem like a big deal to any old reasonable person and I agree. But when you have a little dream, and you've paid for this little dream with everything you've got, and you think everything will work out in the end because your little dream will come true, the disappointment when it doesn't is palpable. 
And we had exactly 1 day to make a decision about where to put the fridge and as you can see, its not like there are a lot of options. After taking a poll from friends who actually know what they're doing in the kitchen, we decided to move it over to the left side, which effectively blocks off the dining table space unfortunately.

Here's a little preview for next time as we continue our kitchen talk:

Who can it be now??

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Butcher Block Counter Top Update

A while back, I told you about the butcher block counter tops we had installed in the downstairs kitchen. I found that they were really, really hard to keep clean and acted like a sponge, soaking up every little stain:

So I decided something had to be done. I bought the IKEA wood oil treatment Behandla (side note: on one of my 12 IKEA trips, I found myself in line behind Gilbert Gottfried. Voice was unmistakable and I'll never forget the sound of him ordering an IKEA vanilla ice cream cone. Yeah, I eat the ice cream there, get over it).  

Here's a useful tip: I always lose paint keys but you can use a quarter to open a can of paint.  Anyway, I taped off the edges with my favorite frog tape, and then used my new BFF, my sanding block (seriously, I want 30 of these for Christmas) to sand down some of the stains. Then I wiped the excess dust off the surface so it adheres better. Its kind of like when you get your nails done and they buff the surfaces lightly so the nail polish adheres better. You like how I just combined worlds like that?!

The treatment is meant to be applied thinly and then wipe the excess off once the layer has dried. At the same time, I decided I would also treat the wood top of this kitchen freestanding cart that we bought at the same time as the kitchen cabinets (it was on sale):
Obviously, Marlo is involved
Well, the oil treatment wasn't really that smelly, and that's coming from someone who inhaled paint fumes for a good three days painting her own house. So I didn't really think to take any precautions in terms of taking the cart outside, ventilating the kitchen space, opening windows, etc. like I normally would do for paint.

Big mistake.

I woke up at 3am and seriously considered if I should go hang out outside for an our until I felt less nauseous and headache-y. I felt sick the whole next day and my sense of smell was off. Like everything at IKEA, its probably going to give me cancer now.

It went on really thick and weird but the excess was really easy to wipe off.

It gave it a really warm glow (which is probably the cancer)

And here's the cart:

In all, not a terrible DIY project, and the results came out really nice!  The surface doesn't hold stains anymore and are much easier to wipe down.  I can't believe this DIWhy project came out so well!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Feline Fridays

This is Marlo's little head watching out the windows as the birds go by.

Happy weekend everyone! May your home projects be sane.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kitchen Confidential

Last time, we started talking about the kitchen with my last post I'm finally at a good place

When we left off, the kitchen more or less looked like this:

We decided we liked grey countertops, so that actually was a pretty easy decision.  We discovered this Home Depot looking at silestone countertops. There's one in particular that I still kinda miss that we ended up not doing. It had SPARKLES, people!!!

I love you, I honestly love you
 It was time to go appliance shopping.  Ironically, although I thought this would be my very most favorite errand of all time, surprisingly, I found I have a pretty low tolerance for things that aren't practical (I'm lookin' at you, Bertazzoni):
I'm telling you: Everything Italian is always sexier
We ended up choosing the a line from GE.  More than the microwave, dishwasher and fridge, I found I really got into ovens. I wanted something that had a restaurant-industrial look but a home cook, user friendly feel.  Other considerations:
1. I don't know why, I just wanted all my appliances to come from the same line. I have heard appliances don't have to match, and that is fine, just not for me.
2. The refrigerator had a french door.
3. There was a sale.
4. The oven has a griddle top, and that excites me. It also has a built-in oven meat probe (god that is so much fun to say) and a baking drawer.
5. The fridge looks badass and it has a cool commercial and I'm a sucker for advertising:
Dig if you will a picture
of you and I engaged in a kiss
I'll post in the future when I actually get to make something how they ended up working out!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm finally at a good place to talk about the kitchen

How's that for a semi-overly dramatic title?

But seriously. Let's do this.

We first thought that we would replace the kitchen cabinets with ones from Home Depot. We met with a kitchen planner to narrow down our choices. I knew I wanted a simple, white shaker style cabinet, which Home Depot had.  The cabinets had a lot of bells and whistles in terms of what you can put inside them to organize all your kitchen crap.

At the same time, we (with the help of a family member who actually knows what they're doing) bid out the cabinet job to several local companies just to see the range of costs because we were both really wary of IKEA.

Then I started to do a bit of Internet research particularly this: Little House Blog from which the following drool-worthy pic is from:

I learned that the cabinets are particle board (MDF) cheap crap with real wood fronts.  I also found that you can buy the IKEA cabinet boxes, but order from a secondary company wood fronts that are cut exactly to fit the IKEA cabinets. Going this route would save us thousands of dollars (spoiler alert: we ended up just using the IKEA cabinet fronts - they look good).  Also, we would use our own team to hang them, bypassing the per-box hanging fee that Home Depot charge (IKEA does too - I think it was something like $120/box to hang. This does not include box assembly).

We took our Home Depot design down to IKEA and replicated it by ourselves (you can see where this is going).

The planner is pretty annoying to use, and as you can see, there is not a lot of customization (for example, the cabinet that appears brown (that's how glass-front cabinets appear in the planner), I want to create a cook book nook, similar to this one I found:

Then from there, I basically just looked at stuff on Pinterest that I liked to get ideas for the backsplash and other details. I had originally wanted to do a big wall of stainless steel open shelving, but decided against it because that really only looks amazing if all your kitchen stuff matches. As you will see from future posts, this small decision ends up working really in my favor.

Next time, I'll tell you about why you should always measure everything yourself...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Insert obligatory Fifty Shades of Grey joke here

A friend suggested a grey and yellow colorscheme (omg I just accidentally typed "colorSCREAM" - that's got to be some type of Freudian slip) and I love that idea. Join me on a magical journey to find the perfect grey aka greige (grey + beige. Love combo words, see above).

Come to me, my pretties

I was also able to pretty quickly determine that Benjamin Moore has the best grey neutrals. I love Benjamin Moore so much, I started calling it Ben Moore or Bennie Moore as if we were BFFs who called each other on the phone and had slumber parties. When I told the contractor "That Ben. He does good work" he looked at me like I have 3 heads. And he was correct.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was able to narrow it down pretty quickly. Thanks to fellow home bloggers who post pics of their own paint!

And this little beauty color chart from Name 5 Things

I found I was more drawn to greys with a pretty blue undertone that were light.  I also discovered I'm a total sucker for a good paint color name.  Allllmoooost went with these 3 just because of the names:
Jane Austen references just waiting to happen

are you even serious?! I need this color in my life*
*Didja know ol' Mark lived in the West Village in Manhattan?  The brownstone he stayed at has a historic plaque and some people say they see his ghost at his writing desk. Thanks, Ghost Tour of 2012 for that.

Anyways, after much debate and decision fatigue, I decided on:

Stonington Grey. Here it is in houses that are not mine:

I'll reveal it in the next week's living room reveal!