Kitchen

How Dry Wall Can Change Your Life

October 15, 2015

You guys, we are THIS close to having a functioning kitchen again.  Dry wall went up yesterday and everything zoomed ahead a million miles an hour.   You can see all the distinct areas now; the eat in kitchen, the “mudroom”, utility spaces, and kitchen prep and cooking areas.

Dry wall: View from the utility area to the back door

View from the utility area to the back door

The kitchen sink cabinet will extend out from the main wall of cabinets and into the room.  We planned the kitchen so that guests could gather at the table, leaving the kitchen free for prep and cooking, while still allowing interaction between people in both spaces.

Distinct prep and cooking stations will (hopefully) keep mess to a minimum and provide enough space for two cooks at a time.  Small appliances will all find a home in the pantry along with the dog bowls, fridge, and microwave.

Dry Wall: View from the eat-in area into the kitchen

View from the eat-in area into the kitchen

The little area right off the new back door will be a home for coats and shoes.  So not technically a mudroom but close enough.

Dry Wall: View toward the eat-in area and "mudroom"

View toward the eat-in area and “mudroom”

Check out our last update here if you missed it!

On the to-do list:

  • Countertops
  • Drywall
  • Install hardwood floors
  • Assemble cabinets and install fronts
  • Paint and Trim
  • Ceiling patches
  • Shelves for pantry
Kitchen

Kitchen Renovation Update – October!

October 9, 2015

After a whirlwind few months we’re hoping to settle back into our blogging schedule this fall.  We truly appreciate everyone’s support after Neil’s incident and thank you all for your kind thoughts.  He is doing great (!) and we’re excited to finish up the kitchen even more so now in order to support his low sodium diet.

Check out some recent photos of the kitchen renovation:

Kitchen renovation The new subfloor will keep everything safe and level

The new subfloor will keep everything safe and level

Unfortunately, most of the heart of pine flooring could not be saved due to rot.   So that’s all been removed and parts of the subfloor replaced.  A plywood layer over the subfloor takes care of any leftover squeaking and provides a great base for the new oak hardwood.  We picked it up at the coolest salvage yard.

Kitchen Renovation I've probably switched those new lights on and off 200 times since they went it. LED! love it

I’ve probably switched those new lights on and off 200 times since they went it. LED! love it

The three new windows have been framed in.  That was kind of an ordeal because of the ordering process and we’ll have to drive up to Maryland to pick them up.  It was either that or get a different brand that was the same style.  No one would have noticed but us, but we figured we should go ahead do it right.  Replacing the one in the corner is for the best because it had already started to leak.

Kitchen Renovation Check out all those outlets and new plumbing! Not exciting for you, but totally exciting for us

Check out all those outlets and new plumbing! Not exciting for you, but totally exciting for us

The massive cast iron drain pipe has been replaced with PVC and rotated so that it doesn’t stick out into the room.  We’ll be able to squeeze in almost six extra square feet of counter space into that corner now.  werk.

Kitchen Renovation Laundry room framing

Laundry room framing

And Hooray! the laundry room is all framed in.  Neil was saying now the layout is what it should have been all along, and I couldn’t agree more.  Before it was out in the open and you couldn’t walk through a room without seeing it.  Now it shares a wall with the kitchen and has a much slimmer footprint.  Added storage in the form of wall hooks and cabinets will make laundry day a no-stress ordeal.  AND hopefully we’ll never have to go back to the laundromat, fingers crossed.

Kitchen Renovation Can't forget about those pups.

Can’t forget about those pups.

Next week the new flooring and drywall will go in so stay tuned because we’re in the home stretch! Catch up on our last update here if you missed it.

Kitchen

Our Kitchen Progress…

August 27, 2015

Hey Guys! It’s kitchen update time (and hopefully a reveal soon, fingers crossed!!!!).  Most of you know that we love to cook and try out new recipes.  So this whole not having any working appliances and eating out thing is no bueno.

So I’ve become obsessed with cooking shows on Netflix to fill the void.  I especially like the Mind of a Chef series because it’s the best parts of Unwrapped, Bizzare Foods, and Top Chef all smooshed together into 25 minutes of guilt- and commercial-free goodness.  I digress…let’s get to the kitchen renovation updates.

Cabinets are Ordered.  Boom.

It’s all starting to come together.  At least on paper anyway.  The plans have evolved since last time we talked about finishes and we’ve mocked them all up using Ikea’s Home Planner 3D Tool and a mood board.

New Kitchen Layout

We went with a modified layout that gives the most counterspace while still keeping the open flow that has taken so long to uncover.  The upper cabinets will have glossy white doors from Ikea and the base cabinets will get an upgrade with doors, panels, and trim from Semihandmade Doors.

Overhead view of new kitchen layout

We’ll work around the existing chimney from the old kitchen.  The brick is cracked in a lot of places and so we plan to fill them and paint the brick to freshen it up.  By moving the fridge into the pantry, we’re left with plenty of room for extra deep countertops.

Prep area of new kitchen layout

The Base cabinets each have two large drawers and a smaller hidden drawer for utensils and serveware.  A few 1″ filler strips will fill in the gaps on either side.  Integrated handles on the drawers and minimal brass hardware  (or these, what do you like better??) on the uppers will have a streamlined look.

Cooking station of new kitchen layout

Our updated mood board is full of soothing whites that are grounded with natural wood and metal tones.  Check out all of our inspiration here.

Kitchen Inspiration Pinboard

Big thanks to everyone following along.  If you missed anything along the way, you can check out our last update here!  Be sure to weigh in on the hardware options.  Tell us which is your favorite in the comments below!

Garden

Making Beautiful Flower Arrangements at Home

August 20, 2015
Finished Arrangement Cover Photo

Guest Post by: Anne

My weekly goal is to make flower arrangements with material cut from our yard.  They usually goes in one of two places:  either on the dining room table (short and roundish so as not to block the view at dinner) or on a table in the family room where they can be viewed at a distance and can be taller and more colorful.

Choosing and Cutting Flowers

With this in mind, I take the Rubbermaid juice container, fill it with cool tap water and head out to the front yard where the summer cutting garden resides.  This is best done first thing in the morning when the flowers are freshest and full of water.  Late in the evening is your second choice.

Selecting foliage for late summer arrangement

Choose flowers and foliage that are in season for the fullest arrangements

Dark Coral Zinnia for Late Summer Arrangement 1

Dark Coral Zinnias are the star of this bouquet, play with colors and shapes that compliment the zinnia

Henry Eiler's have tube-shaped petals

Henry Eiler’s have tube-shaped petals

Start by taking stock of what’s available.  You want a nice selection of colors and textures that will compliment the setting.  I begin cutting the feature flowers, or stars of the show.  Use nice sharp bypass pruners for a clean cut that will not mash the stems.  Cut stems above a node with leaves or buds, a bit longer than you think you;ll need.  They can be cut to length later.    Strip off all foliage that will fall below the water line as these will make it harder to arrange the stems, and accelerate decay.

Cut stems at an angle and right above the first node so that they have a chance to rebloom

Cut stems at an angle and right above the first node so that they have a chance to rebloom

Removing leaves not only declutters your arrangement but keeps the water from turning brown

Removing leaves not only declutters your arrangement but keeps the water from turning brown

Gently remove damaged petals

Gently remove damaged petals

Move on to the filler material.  You’ll want enough material to support the single flowers, but not overwhelm them.  I combined a selection of “Henry Eilers” rudbeckia, Guara, linderhiemer, garlic chive in bud stage, and the end of the Shasta daisies.

Endless Summer Hydrangea bloom

This hydrangea adds color to arrangements all season long

Lastly, cut a few large pieces to anchor the arrangement.  Here I used several “Endless Summer” hydrangea blooms that were fading from pink to green, some mid-size “Guacamole” hosta leaves as a base, and finally one clump of fruit from an enormous “Awabuki Chindo” viburnum.
Conditioning flowers before arranging

Start conditioning your flowers 24 hours or more before an event so that they look their best for guests

Here’s the hard part.  You need to condition the flowers for 24 hours or so in a cool place away from direct sunlight.  This allows the flowers time to drink up water needed to brace themselves for the ordeal ahead.  Cheating on the time lessens the durability of the material and the length of time the arrangement will last.  (OK, I have been known to break the rules but the flowers don’t last as well).

Styling Your Arrangement

Choose a vase based on your flowers and on the location of the arrangement

Choose a vase based on your flowers and on the location of the arrangement

When all is ready, select a container and fill with clean cool tap water.  The ones here are my selection of vases for upright arrangements.  Like the three little bears, some are too large, some have necks that are too narrow, and the one that is closest to being just right is on the left.

Flower Arrangements Step by Step

Step by Step

I start with the feature flowers when using a frog for support, but don’t own one that fits this vase. so I had to begin with the filler for support.  Arranging flowers is somewhat by trial and error.  Trim each stem to a suitable length, but always remove at least an inch to allow it to take up water more easily.  Remove damaged petals or leaves – good grooming allows you to use less than perfect plant material.  (Also invite any insects that have come in with the flowers to leave by the front door.  They are seldom good guests at the dinner table).

Play around with colors, textures, and height for your best arrangements

Play around with colors, textures, and height for your best arrangements

If the arrangement will be viewed from all sides, turn the container frequently so that it doesn’t wind up with a front and a back.  Top off with water, wipe the bottom, and place on something that will protect the furniture.  (Flowers like Iris will drip beads of moisture at the most inconvenient times…)

Finished Arrangement Cover Photo

Wow your guests with your effortless skills

Enjoy!  But arrangements are like pets, they need fresh water daily.

About the Author: Anne | AHmazing Mother | Native & Rare plant enthusiast | Award Winning Baker | semi-professional Weekend Treasure Hunter | Sentiment-alitarian | On-the-sly dessert taste tester
Kitchen

Kitchen Renovation: Part 3 Demo Update

August 11, 2015
Kitchen Renovation Three Views from Kitchen

Whew! We were in overdrive mode this past Sunday with the kitchen demo and renovation.  But we are finally nearing the finish line with this part of the process.  My parents came over to lend a hand and we worked the whole day removing tiles and plywood from the ceiling, saving molding, removing old plaster, and unearthing the room’s old brick chimney.  Check out our progress below!

Catch up on all our kitchen demo and renovation updates here: Part 1, Part 2

Sunday: Family Day Demolition!

Neil worked on removing a layer of plaster and concrete from the chimney.  Using a hammer and crowbar he chiseled away very carefully to avoid chipping the bricks.  We will clean and repoint the bricks then seal everything.  My dad worked on capping off the electrical and removing plywood panels from the walls and ceiling.

Kitchen Renovation: Neil is removing plaster while my dad caps off an outlet

Neil is removing plaster while my dad caps off an outlet

When the previous owner’s upgraded the original windows, all the window weights were left behind.  We found them all after removing the molding and are planning to use two on our new fence as weights for each gate.

Kitchen Renovation Window Weights Removed

“Reclaimed” window weights…because you know…

After the dust settled and everything was bagged, we dragged everything to the road for pickup.  I realize it was kind of messed up to leave 20 contractor bags, 2 thousand-pound trashcans, and a stack of plywood for the trash guys.  But, we have yet to put anything out for them that they won’t take and you don’t even have to call ahead.  Try THAT in Norfolk!

Kitchen Renovation: Almost all of the old plaster will need to be replaced because it was pulling away from the lathe

Almost all of the old plaster will need to be replaced because it was pulling away from the lathe

An earlier version of the kitchen had a sage green beadboard ceiling, green and yellow laminate, and dark gold walls (of course there were W&M references made).  Paired with an exterior that had yellow siding, forest green porch floors and baby blue ceilings this house was probably the most colorful on the block.

Kitchen Renovation Open Floor Plan

whoa.

We still need to remove the old subfloor to get to those gorgeous heart of pine boards. Then a few sheets of plywood on the ceiling need to be removed VERY carefully because they are installed over the cabinets.