Last weekend I was stuck in a blizzard in Chicago, this weekend we had Spring like temperatures in Charlotte. If that's not enough to get your mind spinning, I don't know what is. Sure it's a little early to transition seasons, but a little Spring fluffing never hurt anyone.

Our breakfast room, the sunniest spot in the house, the perfect area to receive the first shot of Spring. 

The pine hutch, a Craigslist purchase in Chicago, normally holds a variety of white and green kitchenware. For the seasonal transition, I'm incorporating a shot of bright Spring blue. 

And it all started with the blue, white and red Bibelot Anthropologie pie plate I received for Christmas, perfectly tying in my existing blue and white Cornishware collection. Love when that happens.

Speaking of happy coincidences, I ran across these little blue, white and red dishes in the check out line at Marshall's - don't they look like they could be from the same series as the pie plate?  Adding these to the mix really brought the whole collection together. 

Next thing you know, I'm ransacking the kitchen looking for every piece of blue and white we own. 

But, it's all worth it because now it feel like Spring has sprung in our kitchen. And it makes me so, so happy.
Go on, give yourself a little shot of Spring.

until next time, 

A Spot to Linger

Our living room isn't the only space that I've been interjecting a little fresh traditional style into, our kitchen is getting in on the action, too.

You may recall that I opted to list our old kitchen counterstools on Craigstlist back in the Fall. Mistake, let me just tell you. They sold that day. I spent the next 2 months looking everywhere online for an affordable counterstool to take their place. 
(Turns out counters height is decidedly more difficult to find than bar height.) 
It was not easy.
My wants: an upholstered or slipcovered counter height stool in a fresh fabric to add a little pattern, contrast and interest to the kitchen. Oh, and I didn't want to spend a fortune. 
That's the clincher.
Just when I thought all was lost, I stumbled upon these guys at HomeGoods. Geometric fabric in a coordinating gray to the countertops, nailhead trim, counter height - need I go on? They are perfection. Adding that touch of freshness to my mostly traditional kitchen. Score. HomeGoods happy.

And then there's this. 
There's not much more traditional than hanging a botanical in a kitchen. Am I right? But the oversized scale, black background and scientific style help keep it modern and not too stuffy. 
Plus, I'm digging how the black in the poster plays with the ebony legs of the counterstools and the iron lanterns. 

It's so important to repeat themes throughout your home to establish continuity and flow.

I can't even remember where I first saw an image of this poster, but I do remember that my jaw dropped when I discovered it was from Ikea. Ikea is the budgeteers best friend!
Note: Ikea is not currently carrying this poster, I found mine on ebay, by searching SIBBARED.

Seems as though my little plan to add a touch of black throughout the house is working. 
(you can read more about that here.) 
The stools have been a great addition that everyone, especially the girls, are loving. I'm so happy we went with an upholstered chair with a back - they really are comfortable and make lingering over that morning cup of coffee so much more enjoyable. 
Ha, yeah right - linger over coffee! Now that's funny. Not happening in this house anytime soon.

Hope you had a great weekend and got a chance to linger over your coffee.

until next time,

Reader Request: Kitchen Appliances

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, a lot of us are spending more time in the kitchen than usual.  So, I thought it would be an ideal time to cover a reader request, I received shortly after our Kitchen reveal (here), all about our new appliances. 

When it came to the kitchen refresh, we made the decision early on to work with the existing cabinets, meaning our appliance choices had to be curtailed to the existing spaces, give or take a slight modification here or there - obviously.

The previous owners had one unit in this space that was a combination upper microwave/lower oven. The cabinet itself is 30" and there were two drawers below the oven and one cabinet above the microwave.

We opted for two separate appliances because we didn't want to lose the whole unit if one of the two appliances needed repairs. Originally we wanted two ovens, but just couldn't find a suitable location for a microwave. We ended up with a 27" oven and a micro/convection oven. We removed one of the lower drawers and added a shelf to accommodate the two ovens. 
Thank goodness for handy handymen.

The previous owner had an electric cooktop with a built-in downdraft. 

In my ideal world, I would have loved to have a free standing 60" gas range, but that's just not happening in this kitchen, with these cabinets. Second best option: a gas cooktop. But, how do we exhaust a high-powered gas range? And we don't have gas running to the kitchen. 
A built-in downdraft in the actual cooktop doesn't have enough pull to actually grab steam and/or it pulls the flame on a gas cooktop. 
Another option, the overhead hood. Something I just can't seem to get behind - it cuts off the view, you are constantly ducking and most hoods are fairly modern looking. What can I say, they just aren't for me.

Our final decision: an induction cooktop with a telescoping downdraft. It's the best of both worlds. Induction cooktops offer high speed and precision cooking like a gas cooktop without creating as much steam. 
The biggest obstacle we have encountered with the induction cooktop is finding the right nonstick skillets.
And, if that's my biggest issue, life is pretty good - right?

We were very fortunate to purchase our appliances during a great sale: buy three Thermador appliances and receive a free Thermador dishwasher. This promotion actually allowed us to purchase a "higher end" appliance package for less than 4 appliances of a perceived "lower" brand. 
Score for good timing! 
oven, microwave, induction cooktop, dishwasher - Thermador
fridge - Kitchenaid
downdraft - GE

Hope that answers any remaining questions you may have. As always, contact me directly or leave a comment with any others.

until next time, 

Sayonara Forest Green Tile {Kitchen Refresh Reveal}

I had a friend recently tell me she thought I was crazy to undergo two kitchen renovations in two years. She may be right. 
In truth, I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle another big project like a kitchen update, after having just moved our whole family across country. But, John pushed for it, and I am so glad he did because we really couldn't be happier with the results. 

We tossed around a lot of ideas (like this and this), but ultimately chose to have the existing cabinets lacquered by a local finishing company. (You can check them out here, we found them to be very reasonable and flexible with our ever changing plans.) Once we realized that the cabinets were solid wood and more than likely custom at the time of their installation, lacquering became the best option to give them a new lease on life. We chose lacquer over paint because it's much more durable and gives a more professional look (less brush strokes, etc). Lacquer requires several thin sprayed layers that dry extremely quickly, allowing for a smoother finish than standard paint. 
Perimeter cabinets: BM Acadia White
Island cabinets: BM Brewster Gray

Sometimes I can't believe they are the same cabinets. Never doubt the transformative powers of paint, as they say. The finishing company did an amazing job. 
To further highlight the island from the perimeter cabinets we opted for two work surfaces. An accent granite on the island and a more subtle soapstone for the perimeter surfaces. Soapstone is its own entity, neither a granite or a marble. It is extremely resilient to heat, cold and staining, but it is soft and can scratch and chip easily. It also required seasoning (mineral oil) often after installation, which helps to minimize the appearance of scratching. But, it's all worth it because it looks so beautiful!
The backsplash is a simple small scale, mosaic white subway tile that we accented with two dotted pencil tiles. I think it offsets the soapstone beautifully.
We also looked at a lot of options for lighting, like these, but ultimately went with a French influenced iron lantern from here. I think the oversize scale fills the space well while the iron tones help to ground the area.

The kitchen desk nook: an unsung hero. 
Honestly, I didn't think I'd use this space as much as I have been, but I love it and find it so convenient - my new blogging home!
 In this area, I chose to remove the cabinet doors for a lighter look, easier access to cookbooks, and also to contrast all the closed cabinet storage throughout the rest of the kitchen. You know how I feel about everything being all matchy, matchy! I love open shelving, and this was the only place to make it happen. No one agreed with this change, including the finishers, John, the contractor and my Mom, but I went for it and am loving it! Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts...

A little peak into the breakfast room which is coming together nicely (more on that later). And the den, where the walls are painted in BM Brewster Gray, like the island. 
As you can see, the zigzag island still exists (you can read more about that here), but we rounded out the angle on the sink side of the island and did away with the angle all together on the other side. Less lightening bolt and more counter space - double win!
I mean, can you ever have too much counter space? I think not.

Of course, I couldn't write this post without including a good ol' fashioned before photo. I still walk in sometimes, stop in my tracks, and just stare. How far we've come!
Sayonara forest green tile! You are not missed.

linking in with:

until next time, 

Falling Hard for Hardware

We're making more progress in the kitchen: the cabinets have been  painted and rehung, the appliances have been ordered and are awaiting delivery, and the countertops are scheduled to be installed in just over a week. It feels like it's been going on for-ever, but it's only been about three weeks. That's a lot of progress, yo!
I can't believe it's time to start concentrating on the fine details of the kitchen refurbishment. And by fine, I mean hardware, people. Searching for hardware can be super overwhelming, unless of course you just head over to a big box store and pick up a big 'ol bag of matching pulls and knobs. That's so not my style, as I am sure you guessed. I think hardware is like the jewelry of the kitchen. I'm not looking to break the bank here, but a little effort must be in order.

You know I love brass: always have, always will. I did it in our last kitchen, and loved it. But this time, I wanted something a little more eclectic, vintage and modern - if that grouping can really go together!?!? Sure it can.
Taking inspiration from this image, I started searching for glass knobs. It didn't take long before I found these on Amazon. Love them. They are scheduled to arrive later this week and I can not wait to see them on the white upper cabinets. I think they will add that little bit of something special to the plain fronts. 

Once I had the tone set for the hardware, it was easier to narrow down my search. I concentrated mostly on the site, they have a great selection, reasonable prices, online coupons and fast delivery. I also had my heart set on drop bail pulls, which are most similar to furniture drawer pulls, for the drawer fronts. Between choosing brass and bail pulls, I managed to narrow down the selection to just a couple of pages, and eventually these three. It was hard to decide, but again I went for that classic style slightly updated to a more modern look and went with option 1. 
I choose the rest of the lower cabinet knobs from the same collection to ensure the finish would match. Sadly, that even proved to be tricky as there were just so many that I truly loved. 

Here are just a few. Although, I was truly smitten with the knob in the upper right corner, I ultimately decided that the bottom left was the more practical purchase from a budget standpoint. 
It's all a give and take, and if I am going to cut back somewhere lower cabinet hardware seemed like a safe bet.
You can check out their whole collection here

More pictures to come after installation!

until next time,