Wednesday, April 1, 2015

the kitchen: a work in progress

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home.  Our home's heart is busting at the seams this week as we break ground on our new kitchen! Here are a couple pics of the kitchen before:

We loved the space and the "party flow," but the colors just weren't our cup of tea.  We also wanted to pay homage to the fact we live in a 100 yr old farmhouse by adding in historical touches.  White cabinets and moody blue island (painting our original cabinets), soapstone countertops, subway tile w/ darker grout, antique brass hardware, and some killer lighting fixtures were on our list.  Here are some inspiration pics that really laid the groundwork for our vision:

This picture has it all: white cabinets, cool island color, soapstone, brass hardware, subway tile/dark grout.  I also love the natural wood elements.  Our house has an exposed 100 yr old header that is prominent in our kitchen and really ties in the age of the house.  Since our kitchen island is really the gateway between the front and back of the house, I didn't want to block the openness, so instead of industrial pendant lights (above), we picked some globe pendants (inspiration below).  

Above:  love the pendants, nature wood elements, brass hardware, and white/blue-grey combination.

The picture above is really what spurred the Kitchen Movement.  The feel of this farmhouse is very similar to ours, and helped me visualize what white cabinets and soapstone would feel like in our home.  We also have a red persian rug in our kitchen, so this picture felt like home.

Above is a little too modern for me, but I love the architectural element that the dark grout brings to the subway tile.  Feels like a french kitchen.  I also looooove the blue of the island.

With these inspiration pics, we decide to paint the cabinets White Dove (BM) - the same color as our trim - and the island Brittania Blue (BM):
Here's our hardware!

Here are our light fixtures for over the island --- I am in love:

Right now we are a total work in progress: 
Sampling the island color

The soapstone!

The subway tile and grout color

We cut and returned the molding that originally ran across the cabinets 
I can't wait to show you guys more pictures!!!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

gender "neutral" nursery - take 2

I can't help it.  There are too many beautiful girl things, and cool/dudish boy things to go completely gender neutral in the nursery.  My plan (take 2) is to have a gender neutral backdrop that I can specialize once this little bean makes his/her appearance.

I'm still sold on Farrow & Ball's Borrowed Light (my favorite color) for the walls, with one wallpapered wall behind the crib.  I also dig the Serena & Lily tasseled curtains, although I'll probably DIY this from some Ikea white curtains.  We have a white glider, and I'm planning on getting a light shag to cover the hardwoods.  I also love the soft nautical look of Serena & Lily's mirror shown below.  I'm going to get a neutral shade for the ceiling as well.

I figure this little babe will be sleeping in our room in the bassinet for a while, so it's not crucial that the nursery is completely finished before he/she arrives (although the Type A part of me is cringing as I write this).

Here are two takes on the same nursery:


Monday, July 7, 2014

gender neutral nursery

Surprise! We are expecting baby #2! The first time we found out at 18 weeks, but this time (I am tempting every bone in my body) Lynn and I have decided to make it a surprise.  In anticipation, I have been looking at a lot of gender neutral nurseries.  I've never been a fan of yellow (wall colors, clothes color - really any yellow), so I've been steering away from the typical gender neutral theme.

My favorite color in the world is Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball.  It's a beautiful light blue that has a warm undertone.  We painted our last sun room in this color and it brightened my day everyday.  I think it works for a boy or girl, and I'm planning on painting a majority of the room this color.

I love the idea of a wallpapered wall (the wall behind the crib).  There is a great print by Serena and Lily that is sophisticated (he/she can grow into it) and not too bossy.

Here's the design board so far... will probably change a lot before we start purchasing, but I'm excited about a gender neutral nursery!!

hanging lion // hanging giraffe // hanging zebra // star light // "every little thing's gonna be alright" print // two birds print // wallpaper // wall color // circle mirror // white crib // stuffed monkey // crib sheets // ABC bin // mustard crochet bin // rug


Sunday, July 6, 2014

living room ideas

Right now our living room looks like this:

It was great that my parents downsized at the same time we moved, so we got to steal the 4 chairs in the living room.  We had the couch from our old place, and purchased the custom rug from Karpet King (Rockville, MD).  Finally, we threw down a cowhide from Arhaus (a gift from the madre).

We used to have a large ornate black mirror, but I'm using it now up in the upstairs bathroom which I'm in the middle of face lifting.  Once we get the new Serena and Lily curtain and rug, I'll blog it.

Anyway, back to the living room (which as you can see is open with the dining room as well)... Since we moved in, I have been dreaming about knocking down those bookshelves, and putting in long windows on either side of the fireplace with benches.  I want a focal point in the LR, and while bookshelves are a nice place to display things, they seem like too much visual noise to me.  I also want to update the fireplace with cool tile in possibly a chevron pattern and update the woodwork.  Finally, I want to update the furniture.  Yes, free furniture is awesome, but this is the first room you see when you walk in the house.  It sets the tone, and currently the pieces just aren't me at all.

Ideally, I would love the house to feel more like a Northern Californian, boho-chic beachy abode.  I get it, I'm living in Arlington, Virginia in a farmhouse.  But I have seen farmhouses done wonderfully in neutrals and ethic prints.  Here is an inspiration pic on where I want to go:

Everything on the board is either Serena and Lily or Furbish Studio.  The painting is by Michelle Armas - one of my favorite artists these days.  This to me is the perfect mix of casual chic... Something that is more me/our family than a formal LR with formal fabrics.

The pic shows subway time in the fireplace.  If/when we decide to redo the kitchen (hopefully very soon), I like the idea of using the same backsplash tile on the fireplace (subway with dark grout, if we go that route).  I also love extending the fireplace molding to the ceiling.  It creates height and drama, and really helps to focus your eyes on the fireplace (instead of spastically darting around all over the bookshelves).  Finally, the benches with the firewood tucked underneath pay homage to the age of our home, but I think would be better suited with a pull-out drawer for storage (but I love the pic).

Anyway, thought I'd share the direction I'm heading.  Hope you like it.


Monday, June 30, 2014


Yo yo - it's been a day since I last wrote.  Since we moved in last March, I have been happily sitting on my rear just living.  No remodeling, no tiling, no living on take out.  Pretty much all we did after we bought the house was paint (first floor is all Edgecomb Gray) and build a linen closet.  After redoing our last home from the studs up and having a baby, I was T-I-R-E-D.  Hence, the lack of blogging...

So, one yearish later, I'm finally getting the itch again.  This weekend I repainted our foyer a moody blue (Normandy by Benjamin Moore) and hung a mirror in our dining room.  I'll post the pics once the foyer is finished for a nice before and after.

I'm sure everyone has got their issues when it comes to decorating their own home.  Indecisiveness leading to paralysis?  Some people. Crazy fast lightening-speed decisions leading to mistakes? Guilty.  When I decide I want to do something, there is no holding me back.  I'm a crazy woman on a mission.  Decisiveness + impatience = mistakes.

I'm not boo-hooing, I'm just sick of backtracking.  When we moved in, we had to get furniture fast.  We moved from a small cape (< 2,000SQ) into a much larger, open farmhouse (2,800SQ) and needed places to sit.  Honestly, I was so sick of thinking I just threw some pieces into the house so I could get on with it.  Now, after having months of a mental/physical break, I'm ready to make some serious decisions.  The kitchen is our priority numero uno.

Here's what our kitchen looks like now:
Not too shabby ;) The people who we bought the house from redid it in 2006ish, and I absolutely love the floor plan.  The cabinets are extremely well made (some custom company from Canada?), and the lay-out is perfect.  The color is just not my cup of tea.  I don't have a picture to show you, but there are pantry cabinets that are a different color than the cabinets - a much redder color.  There is no way cut the red cabinets without painting them.

Remember our last kitchen in the remodel (that I was able to design from the studs up)?
I realize that white cabinets + Carrera looking marble (we used White Fantasy) is like "Happy" by Pharrell Williams (spectacular but wee bit over-played, let's be honest), but my heart is happiest in a white kitchen.

We can't throw money to replace a mile of granite at this point (although I know I would go a different direction this time if money fell from the sky: honed black? cement? wood?).  At this point, we're keeping the warm Italian marble.  But I still think we can get away with painting the kitchen white, redoing the back splash with a fun, Parisian-looking subway tile (timeless and easy on the budget) with a darker grout.  Here's an image I put together to show Lynn how it could look:
Yes, I know the granite is warm, but I think it blends the warm floors...??? Thought painting the window trim black would tie the black island into the design, and would add a touch of I'm too cool for schoolness.

Thoughts/comments are welcome, unless you disagree with me.  Just kidding.

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