Kitchen Renovation: Part 2 Demo

August 6, 2015
Kitchen Renovation Wall Removed from Kitchen

You know that commercial where the daughter has to tell her mom that the “new kitchen needs to go to sleep now”?  If Lily could talk that’s what she would tell me.  I’m on a never ending bliss loop of “I wonder what it looks like when…” …it’s 7am …it’s dusk …the lights are off …the lights are on …when I stand in the pantry …and on and on until the dogs get antsy.  Pretty sure looking at that open wall will never get old.  Even in pictures.  Even when those pictures have an embarassingly dusty half empty bottle of fireball (where’s waldo).

If you missed Part 1, check it out here.  Here’s the big reveal from this week’s demo.

Tusday: Sun Porch Wall Demo

BLEW MY MIND!  I knew it would be a lot more space but I had no idea it would look like this.  Shoutout to everyone I called that afternoon babbling about how great it was,  I wasn’t making any sense and you deserve a medal for being cool about it.

Kitchen Renovation Wall Removed Into Kitchen

Wednesday: Installing the Header Beams

Kitchen Renovation with Header from Laundry


Kitchen Renovation Sun Porch

Demo Kitchen Renovation with Header into kitchen

There is a huge difference in heat coming in between the old windows and the new

Kitchen Renovation with Header from Kitchen

Thursday: All the Puppies

Couldn’t resist taking a few shots of the renovation helpers this morning too. You can check out their new hit show on HGTV called “Demo Dogs” this coming this fall.

Demo Kitchen Renovation Doggie Helpers

Hampton and Lily, such good sports


Kitchen Renovation: Part 1

August 4, 2015
Kitchen Renovation construction site header beam

Our kitchen renovation got underway last week and we’re finally at a good point in the process to show off all of the progress (we weren’t avoiding you last week, promise).  Look how far along it is since demo day!  Lou, the one man show, has been working every day to frame out the new exterior walls, install windows, and raise the floor.

Kitchen Renovation new doors and windows

New windows and exterior door!

We have six HUGE windows that will let in even more light.  We extended the height of the windows to 18 inches above the floor for extra impact.  Screens for each will take advantage of the year round breeze.

KItchen Renovation Hewn boards

Under the old siding there were some cool old boards.  We think the grain and diagonal installation will make a perfect feature wall right when you walk in.

Kitchen renovation framing in progress

Combining the two rooms will add about 80 square feet of room to the kitchen

I can’t wait for the kitchen to be a room you want to be in rather than a room you walk through.

Kitchen Renovation wall to be removed

By tonight this wall will be gone

As the next phase of the kitchen renovation, the wall separating the kitchen from the new space will be torn down.  They are planning to do this today so I can’t wait to get home and see! But you’ll have to wait until Thursday.  Then on to all the fun stuff!


Upholstering a Thrifted Steelcase Chair

July 21, 2015
Reupholstered Steelcase Chair Detail

On our trip to Athens a few months back we stopped at Vic’s and scored this AHmazing office chair.  Made by Steelcase in the 1960’s, it is one of four designs in the 450 series.  Replacing a sample chair, the new chair’s sleek lines will look great in our office.  All it needed was some new fabric, CLR, and a little elbow grease.

Steelcase 450 Series Chair Brown Upholstery Before 1

The original fabric was a brown wool in “eau de Attic”

Steelcase promoted the chair’s durability with “Operation Skydrop”.  They strapped the chair to a skydiver and let him jump.  OSHA has come a long way since then obviously.  The skydiver detached from the chair and it smashed into the ground.  The steel base detached in one piece and the chair shell was still fully intact.

Steelcase History 450 Series Office Chair

This office is so clean and coordinated looking. Photo Credit: Steelcase

After removing all the old fabric and staples, I replaced any bad foam.  Then using a pneumatic staple gun I attached the new fabric in the opposite order it was removed.  To pull the fabric tight was a little bit of trial and error.

Fast Tack Upholstery Spray

Best stuff ever


Steelcase chair upholstery in progress

Upholstery is serious work and leads to serious mess from foam and fabric scraps

On all of the visible seams, I pulled the fabric tight and tacked it down before seaming the pieces together with a blind stitch.  Then I removed the visible staples to leave one running seam. One part of the seam is wobbly and I think I’ll try to redo it soon.

Blind Stitch Upholstery Seam

Blind stitch the seam together and then remove any visible staples

All together it only set me back 3 yards of clearance velvet, 2 yards of foam, spray tack, and a special upholstery needle and thread.  We had all of the other supplies already from past DIY projects.

Steelcase chair reupholstered

Reupholstered Steelcase Office Chair

After a quick breather, I’ll be ready to tackle our next upholstery project.  Have you ever done any upholstery projects?  Tell us in the comments!


DIY Anthropologie Inlay Mirror

July 16, 2015
Anthropologie Hack Inlay Mirror Gray Pearl

I have been obsessing over the inlaid furniture and decor at Anthropologie lately, followed quickly by the burn of the pricetag.  Also using bone as decoration is probably bad juju.  To copy the look on a budget I decided to recreate the earthy colors and pearl details with stencils and paint on a garage sale mirror.

Use a garage sale castoff and make it pretty again

Use a garage sale castoff and make it pretty again

Stenciling has come a long way from the doctor’s office dancing bear borders that I remember.  Stencils are more modern and feature repeating patterns that look best over entire walls.

Materials for DIY Anthropologie Mirror:

I used a small foam roller to put on a coat of my base paint.  Because the milk paint has a subtle texture there is no need to use a more expensive foam cabinet roller.

The instructions that came with the stencil says you can mount the stencil onto your piece with spray adhesive for cleaner lines.  My stencil is very organic so I just free handed it.  After placing the stencil, I pounced excess paint off the stencil brush and applied it in a straight downward motion.  I found that with the right amount of paint, the brush will look dry.  Scary at first, but it works.

I worked in the large flowers first and the smaller vines second to make sure the layout looked right.  Let the different elements dry in between stenciling so that you don’t smear all your hard work. Had I been stenciling a tray or side table (or anything that your hands will touch frequently), I probably would have used a poly coat last.

It's permanent home will be by our new backdoor, but for now the guest room is the perfect spot

It’s permanent home will be by our new backdoor, but for now the guest room is the perfect spot

The light hits the pearlized paint and catches your eye from every angle.  I’ll hang the mirror in a permanent, post-renovation home, but for now it looks great in our guest room.  And the whole project cost 8% of the real thing! Diy win.

Do you have a great diy anthropologie project or hack?  Tell us in the comments!


Baba Ghanoush Dip Recipe

July 14, 2015
Baba Ghanoush needs fresh roasted eggplant

After our small hiatus last week and with our kitchen renovation fast approaching, we’ve been under the gun to use up food from the fridge and pantry before the construction kicks us out.  So we’ve been saving and canning and freezing extra vegetables from our garden.  But with only a few eggplants on hand we decided to go all in and make baba ghanoush.  This flavorful dip is similar in texture to hummus and has many of the same ingredients.  The only real difference is that the dip is built on roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.

We planted both Ichiban and Black Beauty varieties this season

We planted both Ichiban and Black Beauty varieties this season

Baba Ghanoush Recipe

  • 1 cup of roasted eggplant (1 large and several small eggplants)
  • 1/3 cup tahini (Check the international aisle of your grocery store, and if all else fails Amazon)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Olive Oil, 3T for roasting and 2-3T for blending into the dip
  • Roasted garlic, 1t
  • Juice from 1 lemon (buy and extra lemon in case you like your dip more sour)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

2. Cut the tops and bottoms off of the eggplants and cut in half.  If you are using eggplants of different sizes be sure to slice the eggplants so they are pretty equal in thickness.  This will help them roast evenly.  You may need to cut heirloom varieties in half and larger eggplants into several lengthwise slices.

3.  Lay them flat on a cookie sheet and brush on olive oil to each side.  Sprinkle both sides with salt to season.

4.  Roast the eggplant for 40 minutes. They should be dark and bubbly on top and very soft on the inside.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes

5.  Using a spoon scoop the eggplant away from the skin into a blender.  You can also put it through a fine mesh strainer if you want a smoother dip.

6.  Add the other ingredients and blend thoroughly. Serve with toasted pita points or these gluten-free yums immediately or keep in the fridge tightly sealed for up to a week.  Spread it on wraps in place of mayo. Delicious!