Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Small Things

Well this last weekend was not a very productive one.  We have been recovering from the cold that has been going around and then my cold progressed in laryngitis.  Which I'm sure was just aggravated more by the fact that we went to see a few bands on Friday night and then ran the sound for a party on Saturday (by this I mean I was there while the boys did everything).  But all is good, I'm just resting by voice as much as possible and getting plenty of fluids.

We did pick up a nice counsel table for the living room.  Our plan is to build one that fits the space better, as well as a matching one for behind the sofa, but with J back in class, that won't be happening until summer.  So this little guy will do until then.  (Sorry for the night pictures, I don't see a lot of that thing people call sunlight during the winter here in WI.)

I think it's cute.  It allows us to put an extra lamp in the living room, which was needed.  And now I have a little more room to decorate.  Yay!

We also replaced the glass shades on our lights over the dining room table.  Well we did this a while back, but I just never got around to sharing a picture.

I also picked up some putty for the kitchen. This is actually the second container, we guessed wrong on the first one. Now I just need to convince myself to patch all the little nail holes in the woodwork. I need to patch all the little nails on this guy, my new bookshelf. I got the trim all stained and painted the inside dark brown (it looks just like the stain). I'm so excited about it. Now I just need to find the rest of my cook books.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finally a place to store food

When we first moved into our house a little over a year ago, we've struggled to find a place to store food.  I mean when we first moved in one full wall of our kitchen looked like this.....

As you can see we used the built in china hutch to store small appliances, cereal, and other food.  It's not like I have fine china to show off.  I mean I love my square plates, but they're nothing to display to the world.  And my bread machine ended up on that little breakfast bar.  Where else was I supposed to keep food?

Granted we did take down one upper cabinet, but even before we did that, I still had no place to put food.  Where did the previous owner keep her food?  Is there a secret place that I don't know about in the kitchen somewhere?  Then J reminds me that not everyone is into cooking like I am.  Not everyone has a billion kitchen gadgets that need homes (and they are all used and used often).  Okay, so maybe I have a few kitchen items.

So out came the built ins. Now we had no food storage. Yes we lived out of big plastic bins for a while, then plastic storage shelves from the basement. Then we "upgraded" to this.  Hey it maybe ugly, but it kept our food safe and sound.  But then we moved the fridge to this corner. So what should we do? We discussed building a pantry over where the fridge use to be. But then we came up with a better plan. And enter new lower cabinet.

This not only added storage, but also added much needed counter space.  It's so nice having a counter next to the stove.  Then after the new back splash goes up, we plan on adding open shelves above the counter and keeping the upper cabinet (not seen in this picture).

Then we have to pick up a few organizers for the lower cabinet.  This baby is pretty deep and will hold a bunch of food, but it's nearly impossible to get to anything in the back right now.  I mean I picked up baskets at Target, but they only take up half of the shelf.  There is a ton of room behind them.
So we had something like this in mind.  We found them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and really like them.  And the best part, I can use my 40% coupons on them.  The pull out and should go all the way to the back of the cabinet, if our measurements are right.  I plan on buying one or two at a time.  You know to reduce the shock of how much they will cost in total.

My mom has some of these in her new kitchen and loves them, so I'm hoping we'll enjoy them as well.  Now we just need to get that back splash up and the new doors made for the cabinet and things will be starting to look complete.

Have a great weekend everyone.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The beginning of the end....

It's the beginning of the end for our old back splash.  The "blue cheese" looking tile is getting the boot.  I mean look at it.  It's seen better days.  It's cracked, the grout is falling out, and it's very 1990s. 

We're sick of looking at it and we want it gone.  It's the only thing in our kitchen that looks out of place (except for the stove).

Here is what we're replacing it with.  A lovely glass and slate mixture.  I'm in love.  I can't wait to start working on this project.   I love that the slate is all different textures and colors.  It's so pretty. 

We have to wait for J's dad to be free because he owns the tile saw.  And J has admitted that he's nervous about putting this tile up.  So we mutually agreed that we'll blame his dad for any broken tiles, hehehehe.  Just kidding.

It is difficult to find information on cutting this kind of tile.  There doesn't seem to be any one answer.  Some say tile saw with diamond blade, some say glass nippers, some say tile nippers.  We're just going to go for it and see what works best.

We did pick up this special mosaic and glass tile mortar.  It's ultra white, so the glass tiles look bright and beautiful.  Now we just have to pick out a grout.  Unfortunately we can't use any of the grout we already own because you need an unsanded grout.  So off to the store to pick up a third kind of grout.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Appliances

Our new appliances are finally here.  The new refrigerator and dishwasher came in on Friday.  Yay!  It was a little scary because we had a snow storm that day.  But they showed up at about 6:45 pm.  That's dedication.

The fridge looks great.  We haven't quite decided where we want it.  Center it, close to the wall, up against the counter, etc, etc.  But, it looks nice and we're in love so far.  It's huge.  I went to the grocery store on Saturday and only filled about half of it.  Crazy.

And I'm loving the bottom freezer.  J's parents have had a bottom freezer for years and love it.  I see why they do.  I can keep all the things we use a lot on the top shelf and then put frozen veggies, pizza, and dough in the bottom.  Awesome.

And yes those are penguin ice cubes.  J has a thing for penguins.  We still have to move the water line for the ice maker, but that will be pretty easy.  The original line is a million feet long, so all we have to do is drill a hole by the fridge and run the line over there.

The dishwasher also came on Friday.  It's so pretty.  It's a lot smarter then our last one.  The last one had turn dial and really only one option to pick from.  This one has a whole host of things the choose.  It's an energy efficient washer, so it has sensors that sense dirt and then washes them according to how dirty your dishes are.  Great, the dishwasher is now smarter them me.  It's only a matter of time before appliances start taking over the world.

It took us a little to get the dishwasher in.  We had to work around our original 1950s cabinets, which are shallower then modern cabinets.  It was also a very tight squeeze when it came to height, but the manual said it would fit, and with careful instillation, we got it in.

It looks all wonky, but we measured and it's level.  We're going to add some trim around it to close up the gaps.  Which will make me happy because I feel that part of our cabinets needed something.

And the best part, it cleans dishes like you wouldn't believe.  Which is the whole point, right?

Now the only thing left to replace is that stove.  Count your days stove, count your days!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Counter Tops are Here

Since rearranging the kitchen, we had a lot of unused space.  I knew this baby had some potential.  So to put this unused space to, well, good use, we ordered counter tops to match the existing counters.  We considered doing butcher block, but decided to just go with a matching set.

I'm pretty happy with how they look.  And I'm absolutely loving having counters on each side of the stove.  It's so nice and handy.

We're going to put up two small open shelves above the cabinet on the right of the stove for my spices and other cooking goodies.  Then the backsplash will wrap all the way around the kitchen.  Love.  I wanted to tile up to the bottom of the cabinets, but J didn't like that idea.  So I lost that argument.  You win some, you loose some.  I might just paint a different color behind the shelves.  Or use some left over beadboard.  Hmmmm, so many opportunities.

We're also going to do some sort of storage on each side of the stove once the new stove comes in.  Then the stove will be centered under the hood and not look so weird and small.  That's a standard stove, you'd never know it looking at it.

And speaking of stoves, this is the beauty that will be replacing the electric stove.  Look at her, she's a lovely gal.  I can't wait to bring her home, but I have to wait a few months.  Oh to have a gas stove again.  I can't wait.   

But anyway, the counters look nice and I'm happy that the kitchen doesn't look overcrowded now.  Everything is spaced out and lovely.

And I'm loving the fact that we moved the fridge.  I was so sick of it taking up half the kitchen and being the first thing you saw when you walked in the room.  It's not in the 100% ideal spot, but it a hell of a lot better then what it was.  And the new fridge is 3 inches narrower, so it takes up less space.  Yay!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What a crazy weekend

It was a crazy weekend, as well as an expensive one.  But we picked up the last major things on our list for the kitchen.  In two weeks our kitchen will be 95% finished.  Notice I didn't say 100%.  That's because there are little things that we would like to do, but they can wait for a while until we get settled into our new kitchen.

I'm excited to say that our countertops will be delivered this Friday.  We added almost 8 extra feet of counter space just by rearranging the kitchen.  We will now have counters on all 4 walls of the kitchen and plenty of space to cook and entertain.

This is the color of the counters.  The previous owners installed these right after we looked at the house the first time (the house still had the original yellow counters at the open house).  Luckily we liked them and decided to keep them.  We also decided to try and get the new ones ordered as soon as possible just in case Formica ever decided to discontinue this color option.

They are laminate, but pretty nice.  They are etched and on the more expensive side for laminate.  We would like solid surface, but right now they are not in our budget and we don't want to deal with pulling the current counters out.  For now these will work nicely.

My mom liked them so much, that she put a similar color pattern in her new house.  Only her's have a copper flake in them (and are solid surface).

We also made the decision on tile and bought what we needed.  We found a glass mosaic that we liked at our local hardware store.  And the best part was it was on sale for a fantastic deal.  It was more the half the price of what we picked out at the tile store.  It's beautiful.  I'm glad we decided to look at what they had.  That will be delivered on Jan 20th.  I can't wait.  Can we start working on the backsplash the second the tile comes in?

We also finally bit the bullet and bought appliances.  We went into sears thinking we were going to buy the Frigidaire Gallery series, but left with Kenmore Elite.  They had a fantastic sale and because it's sears, all the Kenmore appliances were on sale.  We left spending more then what we wanted to, but ended up with appliances that were three times better then what we had picked out.

We went with the refrigerator pictured above, the Kenmore Elite french door fridge.  It was an overproduction item (the manufacturer made too many of them), so we got the fridge for almost half off.  Then they had their Friends and Family sale, so we got an additional 20% off of that price.  So the fridge was just a little bit more then what we planned on spending.

This fridge is smaller then the one we own now but is 3 cu ft larger on the inside.  I'm not going to know what to do with all that space.  Oh yeah, fill it with delicious foods.

Then we picked up a dishwasher as well.  It's a Kenmore, but not the Elite line.  This one was also a really good deal.  It was 35% off to begin with then with that extra 20% off, we couldn't pass it up.  We picked up a stainless steel dishwasher, with a stainless steel tub, for the same price as the entry level models with the plastic tub.  I'd say that was a fantastic deal.

We picked up a fridge and dishwasher for less then what the fridge was originally priced.  Yay, for saving money.  And the best part was our associate that worked with us.  He showed us numerous models and explained the differences in all of them.  He worked with us to stay in our price range and got us some extra little discounts (one delivery fee and one haul away fee for two appliances).  He also got us and extra 20% the price of the warranties.  And he told us when we were ready for the stove or a new washer and dryer to call him and he'd give us a heads up on the next sale.  I enjoyed working with him more then any other associate I've dealt with.  And we've been to a lot of stores looking at appliances.

I know we spent a little bit more then what we had originally said we were going to, but we also upgraded to higher end appliances.  And in the end we were not that far over our set limit.  And we have saved so much money on the rest of the kitchen that our budget is still intact. 

Now I can't wait for them to be delivered.  We'll have a dishwasher that cleans the dishes every time and does rattle all the cabinets while it's doing it.  And a fridge that holds more then we can imagine right now.  Fantastic.

The stove that's in there right now should be counting it's days.  We're waiting for our tax refund to pick up a stove.  For the first time ever in my life I will be using my tax refund to actually buy something instead of paying off debt or saving it.  But I guess I can do this just once.  Especially if a beautiful 5 burner gas stove with convection oven is the item I'm buying.  Swoon.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kitchen Reveal #2

So I, like many others, am trying to loose some of that holiday weight I put on.  I banished sweets and sugary treats from the house for a while.  I just don't need them tempting me right now.  I mean we were able to finish off a whole angel food cake in just 2 days.  Then on my first day back to work what do I find on my desk?  A box of fudge brownies left by one of the product reps.  What the hell?  I'm trying to loose weight here, I don't need a box of brownies tempting me to just have a taste.  That taste will turn into eating the whole box.  I have no self control some days.  And it's not like I can share with our grad student, she doesn't like chocolate (I know, what's up with that.  I don't trust a person that doesn't like chocolate).  So I guess I'll just have to eat those brownies myself.  Lets just hope I can eat only one a day.

But now lets get to today's kitchen reveal.  I mean that's what you came here for, not to listen to my rant about being given free brownies (who complains about that).

When we took out this cabinet to open up the space we were left with a large hole in our cabinets.  And it's been that way since we took this cabinet down.  now I'm all for open shelving, I actually love it and plan on using it in other parts of the kitchen, but I wasn't a fan of everyone being able to see into the cabinet where we have all of our plastic cups and travel coffee mugs.  Not what I want to display.

See, not exactly the stuff you want everyone to see.  I could just hear the conversation now; "Oh, I see you have a nice collection of Jimmy John cups and is that a Happy Wok one?  Nice."  Ugh.  Certain things need to be behind closed doors.

But look at it now.  Wowee Wow Wow.  Looks nice (okay, the picture is a bit blurry, but you get the idea). We used two solid oak boards to patch the hole, this was easier and a little cheaper to do. Then I stained them using my trusted Walnut gel stain and a nice protective layer of Polyacrilic.

Then back up with the door and two little pictures I picked up at the thrift store (with a quick coat of ORB). You can see the color difference in this picture, but in person you can't even tell we added it. It looks great and hides away our less pretty kitchen items. In Love.

It's just these little projects that really make the kitchen look finished. I'm so happy with the progress we made. Now don't forget to swing by later and see some of the other projects we finished up.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kitchen Redo Reveal #1

Over the last two weeks J and I have been working nonstop on the house.  That's what I call a fun vacation.  Well maybe not exactly what I would a fantastic vacation, but we accomplished a lot and that feels good.

We are about 75% done with our kitchen redo.  It looks so nice and we are pretty damn happy with it.

Here is a quick peek at what it looked like when we first bought the house.  Luckily the original goldenrod counter tops and sink were replaced before we bought the car.  Too bad I don't have a picture of those, oh well.  A lot needed to be done.  It's a nice kitchen, but it was so out of date, we needed to update it and make it work for me (if you didn't already know this, I love to cook.  LOVE to cook.  I once thought of becoming a chef, but decided to go into science instead).   

 Here's a picture taken as you walk in our front door.  It wasn't necessarily a wonderful sight.  The large cabinet that was blocking the left side needed to go, I mean why didn't they just build a wall there.  The interesting hole in the wall on the right needed to go, it was for the landline phone if you were wondering.  The floor, the color, the.... well you get the point.  It was time for us to put our mark on this house, and what better room to do it in then in the kitchen.

Over the summer I stained all the cabinets and painted the walls and ceiling.  We replaced the old floor with groutable vinyl (which we are loving) and we opened up the room by taking out the cabinet and widening the door.  And over the last two weeks we finished up by changing out the lights, patching holes, putting up bead-board, and getting some counter tops ordered.  Now on to some reveal pictures.     

Here is the cabinet before the bead-board when up. We stained it walnut to match the rest of the kitchen cabinets.  And boy am in love with it.  I wasn't sure if I would like it stained, but have to admit it makes my heart flutter now. Oh and that's the lovely mess I had because I was also painting the inside of the cabinets, so everything just went on the counter.

Here's J putting the bead-board up. We used liquid nails on the back and then tacked it up using brad nails.  It went up quickly and looked great almost immediately.

Here's a picture of the side of the cabinets.  Look how pretty that looks.  I love you pretty bead-board.  You look so pretty.

 And here is the finished product.  We finished it off with some trim, also stained walnut.  It looks so much more finished then before.

I'm supper happy.  And what's on the other side?

A bookcase for all my cookbooks.  And there is even room for my rice cooker.  I love this addition to the kitchen.  It's a pretty simple addition, but one of my favorites.

So that is one of the many updates we've accomplished over our "vacation".  Stay tuned for some of the others.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!