Thursday, March 23, 2017

The kitchen banquette

This weekend we will be finishing our little kitchen by tiling the backsplash and adding trim to the top of the cabinets. Sometimes we jump around from project to project and finish things as we have the time and resources. Tile has been put on the back burner as other more important projects jumped in line, so I'm excited to see it finished. As we prepare for the big backsplash tile project of 2017 (this is our first time) I thought it would be fun to see what the other side of the kitchen looked like when we bought the house and before we built the banquette. 

The house came with a lot of wallpaper and the kitchen had a lovely scallop trim to go with it. 

Luckily we found original hardwood floors throughout most of the house except for the kitchen and family room which was an addition at some point. You can see a peek of the family room to the right of the kitchen.

We had a small window of time to work on the house before we moved in, school was starting and the new owners of our previous house wanted to move in. The goal was to get a lot of the messy stuff done, so we gutted the kitchen, and had hardwood floors installed in the kitchen and family room.

The old plaster walls needed a bit of work after the wallpaper was removed. 

The banquette came about seven months after we moved in, but I knew this was the perfect spot for one the first time I saw the house. We are an eat in kitchen kind of family, and a banquette would be the most practical and attractive option for our tiny kitchen. 

My husband built the bench seating, and included some much needed storage inside. One very important tip when building or having a banquette built is to be sure to have a nice deep overhang on the seat. It allows your legs to have room to naturally swing back like sitting in a chair verses sitting on a box. 

We used plywood ripped down at Home Depot and nickles for spacing to get a planked shiplap look.

One coat of primer and two coats of my favorite advance paint by Benjamin Moore finish it off. 

I couldn't have imagined how functional this space would end up being for our family. It's comfortable, cozy and we spend a lot of time here working, eating and doing homework. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dining room before & now

When we bought our new/old house the dining room came with busy red wallpaper and molding in desperate need of painting. The floors are original and were in really good shape, we just had them sanded and stained darker with a matte finish. I love how the floors turned out but talk about high maintenance! Every fuzz and piece of lint shows up.

We lived with it like this for about six months until it was next on the fixer upper to do list. I really couldn't handle being in this room for very long.

The before picture doesn't look too bad, ugly yes but the walls were in poor shape under the wallpaper and all the trim needed to be caulked and painted. It almost looked like someone primed the trim and lower walls but never finished with paint.
I was the painter on duty but we hired someone to refinish the floors and skim coat the plaster walls after we removed the wallpaper.

If you haven't stripped wallpaper in your life, consider yourself lucky. This was the remove all the glue with smoking hot water step. 

We moved the chandelier from our previous house to replace the seventies brass chandelier. I gave the old chandelier a little makeover and used it in our bedroom, I meant for it to be temporary until I found something else, but I like it. 

Our shabby chic buffet also got a little makeover with paint (Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray) and new brass hardware.

I painted a big chunk of the wall with chalkboard paint because I knew I would miss writing and drawing on it like we did at our old house. And something about chalkboards just make me happy, weird I know;)

The giant mess in the background is the kitchen banquette in progress, more on that later.

At this point I'm starting to breathe easier because I was over the hump of hours of priming and painting and the room was looking fresher and happy.

Then it was time for the chair tryouts. I bought two wicker chairs last fall to kind of test them out, see how they fit and how functional they would be. They are comfortable but take up a lot more room then the smallish wood chairs, so once I realized we didn't need six chairs out at all times, I ordered the remaining two and love the way it pulled the dining room together.

Here is a look at the kitchen banquette from the dining room. We eat most of our meals there and use the dining room for games and crafts, lots of crafts:)

Our "nature boxes" were inspired by Lauren Liess. She is a genius to come up with the idea to use an old printers tray to hold collected nature. We fill ours with little rocks, shells and other things we find on hikes or at the beach. I love the subtle color and texture and being able to see our finds everyday. I recently picked up another tray for the other side of the window and spray painted it with black chalkboard paint to match the other one. I don't plan on writing on it, I just like the soft black color.

Next up is some type of shades for the windows here and in the living room, I'm thinking bamboo to match the family room and maybe trim for the drapes. I'll share the kitchen banquette process next time.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas at our house 2015

I had so much fun decorating our new/old house for the holidays this year. Last year we still had a long list of work that needed to be done and didn't quite feel at home yet. We still have that list but it's not as long. 

I had a couple more decorating projects I wanted to do but ran out of time. I usually keep it pretty simple, but I really enjoy taking my time putting everything together. I fuss and fiddle, craft and make until I run out of time. 

We hung the garland right before Thanksgiving and I worked on the front urns on and off for a couple days. The garland is from Home Depot. I cut it in the center and reattached it so both sides of the garland is hanging in the same direction. I learned that nifty trick from the talented Deborah Silver @Dirtsimple

In the living room I mixed fresh evergreens and an old faux magnolia garland from pottery barn on the mantle. A fun deer basket is filled with silver and black ornaments and paper white bulbs planted in mercury glass pots are starting to sprout. I planted them late but they have grown so much since I took this picture. 

I made a little forest of bottle brush trees on the coffee table and included a toy truck hauling a Christmas tree in the back. 

This is Hank the Christmas moose. Our daughter has a huge collection of plastic animals that she doesn't play with anymore so they usually come out for the holidays. 

A peek into the family room. It has lots of windows that look out to the backyard, we always seem to gravitate to that room. 

Last minute I added some greens to our tiny banister. When we first moved here I got really excited one morning when I was looking at a picture of a beautiful staircase decked out for the holidays. I realized I had a banister to decorate (This is my first house with a second story) and came running into the living room to take a look at what I had to work with (the risers were in terrible shape and ugly wallpaper lined the walls) and laughed at how small the banister was. In my mind at that moment, I thought I had a much bigger space to work with. I'm kind of silly like that.

I wrote a post about the dining room tree here. 

I made this huge wreath for above the mantle but it was too big, so I hung it on the chalkboard wall. Super easy to put together. I bought the grapevine wreath at a craft store, stuffed preserved moss and a variety of evergreens inside and called it done. 

I have a thing for cloches. 

From our home to yours, have a Merry Christmas!

I am sharing with The Nesting Place for her annual tour of homes. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Dining room Christmas tree

This time last year we had only been here for a few short months. House projects were still in full swing and we didn't exactly feel settled. 

The dining room was still untouched, wearing busy red wallpaper and needed some major TLC all around. So this year I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas tree in here as well as the living room. (I'm planning a post about the changes we made in the dining room soon.)

We brought the chandelier from our previous house and it turns out the ceilings are higher here, so its hung a bit high for my liking. But we are here to talk about the tree, not what I want to change or what isn't finished. 

This is the first time we've had two full size trees. In the past I've done table top trees, so this was fun for me.


Every year we go to a tree farm and cut our tree down. But for the dining room tree I decided to try something different. I ordered a fresh cut tree from Green Valley Christmas Tress in Oregon. It was pretty cool because it was delivered right to our door. This is what a seven foot fir tree looks like in a box! I have to say I was impressed with how well it shipped.

I couldn't wait to unwrap it...

This is how it looked after we fluffed up the branches.  I tried a new to me variety called a Nordmann Fir. I did have to trim it up in the back a bit to fit our space, next year I'll go with something slimmer. I will definitely order this way again in the future. This tree holds its needles really well and smells so good.

I'm calling this our merry and bright nature tree. Lots of pine cone, wood and acorn ornaments. With some sparkly white and black balls thrown in.

Someone special is getting that cute vintage basket filled with a few goodies for Christmas. I love how it looks next to the tree,  I kind of want to keep it now!

Christmas music is in full swing here and I love every minute of it. It was nice sitting down to write our cards here at the table with the tree in the background. Last year I couldn't stand being in this room for more than ten minutes.

I'll be back soon with some before pictures and I'll talk about what we've done in here and what the future plans are.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The new old house exterior editon

I'm blowing the dust off my blog to share some pictures of our new/old house. I want to document our progress as sort of a scrapbook to look back on and hopefully inspire someone as well. 

Time has flown by, we have been working away on house projects and living life here in our new town. I have to admit I was completely overwhelmed on and off for the first six months or so. We gutted the kitchen and downstairs bathroom before we moved in so living without them for over six weeks didn't help. The the little one was starting a new school in less than a week and life was chaotic. We still have lots more projects to work on but at least we feel more settled.

Today I'm sharing the exterior all dressed up with an evergreen garland and urns that stand about as tall as me. (I'm 5'3) The font of the house got the most attention this year with a new front door, landscape, lights, a new doorbell and fresh paint for the molding and cornice around the door. The back of the house and garage are another story.

Our house was built in 1940 and is a cape cod style. Our street has seen a lot of tear downs with new homes built to look vintage. Two streets up towards town the lots become wider and the original homes are grander, built around 1920. The streets closest to town are mostly from the turn of the century again with new homes mixed in. Total eye candy for the house lover with so many different types of architecture in a small area.

This is the house when I saw her for the first time. Tons of landscape rock with 7 huge stumps hiding underneath that we found later and an old storm door that would slap our guests in the butt. Work would have to wait out here until we got things going on the inside. I was trying to be patient but I missed having flowers and landscape.

Weeds started coming through those rocks and it was getting worse as fall wore on. We were still busy working on the inside so I got a great idea to put an ad on Craigslist for free landscape rock. A few people came and took all of them within a week or so! One step closer and we didn't have to dispose of them. After removing the 7 giant stumps that hid under all that rock we were left with this. A new roof, a couple new lights and a rock free garden bed ready to be planted in the spring.

We planted 40 baby boxwood that will eventually form a hedge, (patience) and 10 little lime hydrangea along the foundation. I also planted annuals in front of the tiny boxwood since the hydrangea wouldn't bloom until later in the summer. 

Then the day came to have the new front door installed. (This is the primed color) We are a mix of DIY and hiring out. This was one we didn't want to tackle. The installer did a great job preserving the original molding around the door inside and out. 

He even removed the railings for us. No need for them since there are only two steps and it really closed the stairs in. I was doing a happy dance right about now! You can see the hydrangeas were doing great at this point. The empty space is there to allow everything room to grow and will be part of stage 2. We did plant a bunch of tulips in there this fall so I'm excited to see if they come up or if the bunnies ate them.

The steps are not in great shape with holes where the railings were so the plan is to have them covered with some type of stone and widened a bit. A black door was my first choice but that would make us three in a row so I tried to go outside my comfort zone. I had a grayish green color picked out but changed to this last minute. Its a pretty color it just wasn't working for me so I painted it again before the cold weather came.

A black door it is! It feels more like me now.

It feels like home.