Friday, June 24, 2011

The Kitchen Chronicles: Lay it out for me

Rip out has begun, the mess is only going to get worse before it gets better. But I am keeping my eyes on the prize, and that would be our fabulous new cabinets. As we've mentioned before, we settled on Martha Stewart cabinets from Home Depot. They combine everything we want: character, quality, and affordability. Really, we've heard nothing but rave reviews both online and in person so we are pretty happy with the decision so far. She has some great style and color options that perfectly capture that coastal vibe we adore, but in the end we played it fairly safe.

We eventually settled on the Ox Hill door style in Picket Fence. I was a little torn on color because some of her grays are lovely in person, but decided to think long term and go with white. Our doors will be a mix of single and triple panelled (both below) as well as mixing in some the other decorative elements like baseboards and special kickplates and a few corbels.

Originally I listed an island like the one below in my 'must have' list. I love that it isn't too heavy visually and still keeps the room feeling open. However we needed the storage, and our layout was still awkward trying to make that work.

About 1 am in the morning it hit me that our solution would be a peninsula. And once the designer set it out for us visually we both fell in love with the idea of it. It also affords us space to have an overhanging countertop for seating and nearly doubles the cabinet storage space we would've had with an island.

We want the kitchen to feel bright and airy so we have opted out of having upper cabinets anywhere. There will be some open shelving over the lower cabinet on the bottom right in the picture above for some extra interest.

You can see from this angle that we have some interesting challenges like furnace ventilation and second floor plumbing on the wall with the refridgerator but our designer did a fabulous job hiding that. It will appear to be a full wall of floor to ceiling pantry doors on either side of the fridge, but in reality some cabinets will be only 14 inches deep.

I wish I only had to wait patiently for the cabinets to arrive, but the reality is that the work is just beginning and the cabinets will be one of the final touches aside from the counters.

Things to still be decided upon?

- hanging pendants for the pensisula

- backsplash

- counter top material (we're leaning towards Quartz now)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A deal come true

I found some amazing bargains while shopping on our mini holiday, but I had a mini heart attack when I found these guys. I have obsessed over these crazy shell creations from Anthropologie for what seems like forever now. 6 months ago Sean would have had a heart attack too if I would have bought them at full price (here in Canada they were $200 and up!). But I found them shoved into a little corner at the Palm Desert store for $19.95 each!

I had the perfect spot for them in my office (you can check out my free version here) but once I got them home I decided they were far too lovely to keep to myself up in the office. So they reside in our former living room/dining room-turned current kitchen/prep area.

Happy wednesday mes amis!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Kitchen Chronicles: When it all falls down

Hi again friends! Wren and I arrived home on the weekend and it has been awesome to be home. Awesome but crazy! We had one nice evening relaxing, cuddling up with Sean and then we got right down to business. Because it is such a hideous (to me at least) room, I have been hestitant to share much for the kitchen before now. I have talked about this perpetual thorn in my side for years now, but have lacked the guts to let it all hang out here on the blog. So in it's less than visually appealing entirety here are all the before shots. Please keep in mind that exactly two years ago I had already reached the end of my rope and removed all the upper cabinets on one side, bought a can of paint and devoted exactly one day to painting as much as I possibly could. By the end of that day whatever had yet to be painted was going to have to wait to be ripped out because it wasn't worth any further effort than that. So as it stood until just last week our kitchen had a bad case of multiple personality disorder. But I'll let you see just how bad it was for yourself.

the best possible view, from the dining room entryway.

The eatting area.

The bane of my existance: the random, protruding pantry.

No, that is not a future skylight. It was Sean's exit strategy during a brawl with some insulation during our closet reno.

And here was my hunk just yesterday taking out that offensive cupboard.

There is a long road ahead of us, but already today it feels so much brighter, lighter and more open. I can hardly even visualize how airy and bright it will be with the giant new window!

It is almost surreal to see our dining room from the hallway to the laundry room. I used to have a fabulous view of a tacky old wet bar and yellowed wood cabinets.

I promise to finally unveil the final plans for everything this week so you can see just where we are heading with all this!! No more impromptu vacations for me, I promise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


We've been missing you guys! Thanks so much for all your kind thoughts and words for my Dad. He got a few answers at UCLA this week but the bad news is that he will most likely suffer from his condition (extreme dizziness) on and off for life. He is determined to keep tracking down answers so hopefully we will find something that will help him soon. The relaxation and family time have done us all a world of good, and Wren has been an absolute angel the entire trip.

In Santa Monica last week she 'adopted' this balloon chicken and it has been the best $10 I think I've ever spent. He is already a very worldly chicken, and squeezes a smile out of anyone who passes him. Wren has dubbed him chicken boy and I think he may be the subject of a book I'm going to write for Wren tentatively called "Me and Chicken Boy; the travel memoirs of a two year old and her fowl".

Hangin' in the W hotel lobby.

After our short stay in LA we made our way out to the desert where we are spending most of our days by the pool here at my parents' house.

Wren and her grandma (aka Nanny) practicing a dance routine behind the house.

As much fun as we are having, I am eager to get back home because Sean has surprisingly made a lot of progress while we've been away. Not only has he got the new windows on the move, but he has had plumbers in to move all our gas lines around as well as adding an exterior line so we can get that new barbeque hooked up pre-kitchen ripout. The new gas line got him motivated and he decided to strip and repaint the deck as well and buy patio furniture (our deck has been bare for years, with all our focus being on the inside of the house) and getting a Rhino bag set up for all the old cabinets and tiles to be easily trashed.

What a guy!!

And if anyone knows where to track down a replacement chicken back in Edmonton, PLEASE let me know!! This one is on his last leg and it will be a sad sad day indeed when he doesn't board the plane on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Everytime I say hello I say goodbye

Life's been exciting and hectic here! Potty training is in full force, Sean has bought 2 cars (apparently boys need a separate car for Summer and Winter) and the kitchen is progressing nicely, but I've been really distracted this week because on Sunday we decided we would be taking a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles.

My Dad is headed down to see a specialist at UCLA and Wren and I offered to tag along for support. Unfortunately Sean couldn't swing any time off so we are making our first solo Mommy/Baby trip which should be exciting and eventful. Just getting ready to travel with a 2 year old has taken up all of my abilities the last 2 days, getting parental consent documents sorted out with a lawyer and plenty of in-flight distractions. But I'm hoping she won't need them and will be doing lots of this:

Why is it that 2 years constantly have the lovely smear of food around their mouth? I feel like I am wiping it away every 10 minutes...

anyway I will try and pop in at least once or twice while we are away, wish me luck during our travels!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fashion Friday and our Giveaway Winner!

It has been a few months since our dream closet was finished, but I am embarrassed to admit that it hasn't been completed. What I mean is that I haven't found time to fit a dresser into my production line for myself, so my mirror hasn't been hung and I haven't installed my green crystal hooks. I'm on the slippery slope of decorating...

But I have been furiously adding to the clothing side of things. As I've mentioned, my goal has been to only buy things I absolutely, 100%, certainly will wear. My most beloved shirt of the last year has been a rolled sleeve safari style linen shirt I bought at Forever21 about 2 years ago. It is so comfy, and the button down style makes it a little more mature for casual days. But it has been worn ragged from the amount of love it received so I went on a mission to track down more safari style shirts.

I particularly love these ones because they are henley style shirts with buttons only halfway down the front. A couple are even dresses, and they've all seen a fair amount of wear already. Wren loves them too, mainly for dancing under.

This is where the dresser and mirror will eventually end up, but I love my $10 goodwill rack as well, so maybe it will go along the opposite wall. It is the perfect spot to hang dresses and I tend to keep my most loved items on it for easy access. The other thing we want to switch to are all wood hangers. The only problem is that they take up so much space, so maybe I will try and track down a nice style of metal or plastic hanger and convert us all to one style. It sounds over analyzed, even to me, but they bug me now and bug Sean even more so it must be done.

And a BIG congratulations to Emily Kate, who will be adding a new dress to her wardrobe thanks to La Posh Style!!

Drop me an email when you have a chance Emily Kate and we will get your dress out to you!
Thanks to everyone who entered and to La Posh Style for their generosity!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Teapot Garden

We've been doing a lot of work outside thanks to all the sun shine. Washing the car, watering the lawn, and this week planting some shrubs and flowers.

My trusted sidekick.

Wren helped me pick some beautiful (and really cheap!) flowers at SuperStore this week. Gosh I love that place... I really should go more often. I tried to mainly bring home annuals with small flowers because Wren is notorious for plucking every last petal off a plant. This way they won't be bald by the weekend. I hope. By the time all my pots were full I still had a few crates of plants left so we had to get creative and go inside for more containers.

It was perfect timing because just this past weekend I had amassed TONS of boxes of kitchen wares while out garage saleing and hitting an auction with Torri and my sister in law, Kate. I really only wanted 3 or 4 things but those few things we located inside giant boxes of odds and ends (no joke, I literally brought home 30 year old used soap, rubbing alcohol and a giant nest of phone cords just to get these few items). I haven't sorted through it yet, but on the top of one box I found a cute old sugar pot.

It's old, but not anything special.

And the lid is cracked all over so I am sure it has so value. Which made it a good candidate for an outside pot!

A little dirt and a wispy looking flower make a perfectly imperfect addition to the bistro table.

And THANKS THANKS THANKS for all the tips on keeping us fed during the next few weeks!! I cannot even believe the amazing ideas and recipes you shared. It looks like the process may take even a little longer than hoped since the pantry wall is needing to be ripped out to confirm cabinet dimensions before they are even ordered... let the chaos begin!

I am off to finalize everything with the designer today and then I will be sharing the breakdown and where this is headed.
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