I’m frantically editing pictures for tomorrow’s nursery tour, but this guy just wanted to stop by and say hello:
See you dudes tomorrow!
I’m frantically editing pictures for tomorrow’s nursery tour, but this guy just wanted to stop by and say hello:
See you dudes tomorrow!
I have emerged from the shadowy depths of baby hibernation a butterfly transformed by your kind comments. Thank you for reading all about my room tour last week, and double triple googleplex thank you for letting me know you’d like to see more of them. I’m working up a tour of the nursery for next week, so please do tune in for that there goodness.
Today is not so much goodness. Both kids have/had crazy high fevers and I’ve gotten 4-5 hours of broken sleep every night for a week. Right about now I’d like to punch winter in the face. Since winter is an intangible being with no face to punch, let’s talk kitchens for a minute or two.
You knew it would come to this, right?
So, Ben and I tried to strip a door in the hopes we might turn our dated glossy honey oak cabinets into something with this vibe:
And the door laughed in our faces. I’m guessing the finish applied to our cabinets is some kind of super space age polymerized diamond hard coating designed to resist grease and terrorists, because it is NOT COMING OFF. At least not like it does on tv, when you apply the stripping compound and 72 layers of paint slough off in one fell swoop, revealing clean and sparkly wooden goodness beneath.
First we tried denatured alcohol, then we tried lacquer thinner. Then we glopped on the citristrip and left it on for 30 minutes. Then we glopped on more citristrip and left it on overnight. Then in desperation we tried acetone. Basically, we dumped every chemical we could find on that door and only a fraction of the finish was removed.
And so, paint it is.
I’m pretty sad and keep mooning over this kind of stuff:
But maybe for the next house.
I did consider trying to copy this look by refacing our cabinets, but I think it’s just not financially feasible. We may as well gut the kitchen and rebuild at that point.
Sadly, we are not rich. We’re real people on a stupid real budget that makes me real mad. But at least we have a house and food and cars, so it’s time to get over it and move on. Maybe to this?
But with light uppers, yes?
I’m still pricing out replacing our doors with paint grade shaker style doors. What we spend on new doors miiiigggght save us a few bucks in paint labor. Maybe. I’m not sure if it’s going to be worth it or not.
While my kitchen plans continue to incubate, go check out the power of paint over at Styled Thing:
Not too shabby, Miss Julie.
See you dudes next week for the next tour.
I know it sounds like I think I’m a rock star or something, but I am pretty excited about this tour. I mean, I only finished this room seven months ago, but back then I was carrying a 700 lb baby in my belly and couldn’t muster the strength to really show you around the place. I also couldn’t tie my own shoes, however that’s another story.
Fast forward half a year and I’m down to my pre pregnancy weight, we just did sleep training and the dude is not keeping me up all night (don’t judge — he’s still keeping me up most of the night), and occasionally I even leave the house to do photoshoots and decorating consults. Like a regular person. By myself. I’d say I pretty much own the world. Let’s celebrate in living color.
This teeny tiny room was used as the formal dining room by the previous owners. Behold:
Yes, it is the same room. Scary indeed. As you can see a full size oval dining table doesn’t even fit lengthwise, so we decided to repurpose this room and use the dinette as our primary dining space. That space is fraught with its own issues, but we’ll deal with them another time since I promised no kitchen talk today… (but look, you can see the kitchen from here).
Ultimately we would like this room to function as an office, but for now it’s actually a playroom. I moved the big wheels out of the picture just for you.
I was kind of going for an old school library look, so Sanders helped me choose some mega dark paint (Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor). Then I added flanking shelves in matching glossy paint, swing arm sconces, and of course my crazy lady painting.
I love her.
Somehow this room has become the repository for all the weird antique things I own. Grab a drink and get cozy, because for some reason I thought you might want to see every single item on my shelves.
On the other side of the room you can maybe kinda almost see my new hall wallpaper…
The styling looks like a dirt sandwich because I’m too afraid to hang anything on the paper. Maybe my new print?
My cat is obsessed with that chair, therefore it is always littered with leaves. I would love to reupholster our vintage rosewood couch and chair someday, but I will probably let the kids and pets totally destroy it first.
This room is great grandmother approved. I hope you enjoyed it, too.
What do you say: should I post more tours?
They take a long time to work up so pretty please leave a comment if you want to see more of this kind of stuff.
Or maybe you just want to talk kitchens?
I just want you to love me. Let me make you happy.
[all images copyright ERIN WILLIAMSON]
I’ve decided that 873 kitchen posts in a row might be one too many, so let me tell you about my latest obsession: Scowters. Scowters is a flash sale of epic vintage proportions that takes place Thursdays at 8pm on facebook. I know! Basically every week at 8pm my left hand has been glued to the phone while the right feeds babies, but hopefully you will enjoy funner things while facebooking — like drinking five or six glasses of wine in between the oohs and ahhhs said flash sale will most certainly elicit. It sure beats reading 99% of the posts on facebook, because WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?
Anyhow, look what I scored at last Thursday’s sale:
Well, this is the painting my screenprint was created from. Here’s my new print in all its framed glory:
Now, I am a cheap bastard. I hem and haw over $8 hand painted Chinese vases, but I will buy art all day long. It’s so rare that I regret buying art, because it invariably finds a home. And art makes me happy when I look at it. I can’t say the same for lots of other stuff I buy — stuff that accumulates like drifts of crap in closets and the garage.
That’s not to say I’m a baller… I’m still cheap. But $140 (including shipping!) for a framed, signed 40″ wide piece of art was enough for me to type SOLD during the sale. I admit that I get cappy when I’m excited.
Plus that picture makes me feel like this:
Margot Tenenbaum and Scalamandre wallpaper… two of my favorite things.
I am really liking this dude Mark Sabin‘s work. Check it.
I’d never heard of this artist before the Scowters sale, so hey — I learned something new. And I supported small business.
You should support small business, too. The dealers who sell at Scowters are folks just like you and me, except way cooler and with better taste. You can learn yourself all about them right here.
I have to put in a plug for two of my favorite dealers, Christian May of Maison 21 and Susie Q of Minty fame. Two lovelier people you will not meet. Also they shop way too much so they have great stuff to sell.
All you have to do to join the party is like the Scowters facebook page and tune in to the sale at 8pm on Thursday nights. If something strikes your fancy, be the first to type SOLD in the comments. Prices are good for three days, so you can even waffle if you must. Easy Peasy. But hands off the amazing jewelry… that be mine.
Now, where shall I put my new print? I’m kinda thinking over the bed?
I bought it on Valentine’s Day, so that seems appropriate.
Another location contender is in the hallway over my fancy ass wallpaper that I am scared to breathe on…
You just might be able to see a glimpse of that wallpaper tomorrow because I am posting a room tour. Finally!
You will come back tomorrow, right? I probably won’t even discuss the kitchen.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the most stupidly expensive overhyped day of the year. Well just between you and me, I don’t need roses or fancy chocolates or build-a-bears in pink tutus to get me all hot and bothered. I need wood. Big strong wood. And I’m not talking cherry cabinets and glossy glazed finishes, here. I’m talking ’bout this:
Shut your mouth!
Or actually, please don’t. Because we need to discuss the viagrability of kitchen wood.
Everything about this kitchen says elegant, thoughtful, and practical. Probably those aren’t the precise words that come to mind when you want to get the sex on, but maybe “tactile” moves us closer to that end. These kitchens just seem like they would feel good.
To cook in.
I’m kind of obsessed. I like wood with white counters, I like wood with black counters. I even like wood with wood counters. I would like wood in my kitchen.
But I’m more than a little afraid it cannot be. I investigated the gel stain some of you suggested and it appears to kind of sit on the surface of wood, sort of like transparent paint. I don’t know how I feel about that. Maybe I’m totally delusional about the quality/style of my cabinets, but what I reallllly want is a bare, matte finish — something that looks more like old wood and less like plastic impregnated woodishness.
This is super gorge. Someday our floors might even look like this. Of course those cabinets are repurposed from an Edwardian era storefront so it’s not like this can ever happen in our kitchen. Except maybe the hardware.
Sorry about the dumb picture, but I think this cabinet situation is about the best we could hope for.
What I need to know is, should I even go down this road? Is it worth it? Is gel stain the only viable option or should I actually take on the possibly sissyphean strip/stain/wax triumvirate?
I love the idea of durable, touchable, delicious wood, but am I headed for heartbreak? Is this going to triple our work load only to look crappy with our dumb cabinets?
No cheesy iphone filter can disguise that horror, so I didn’t even bother. They really are that orange.
Would I just be better off stealing Bailey McCarthy‘s kitchen?
And the rest of her house while I’m at it?
Help me out, people. Lower cabinet finish/color is the last decision to make before we tear this mother down.
I promise no more kitchen posts until we actually do stuff.
Also I am hoping to put up some house tour action next week.
Please don’t leave me in my time of need.
Hi friends, thanks for all the fab tv suggestions to get me through the plague that has decimated our house… Luther? Yes. Sherlock? Up next. Also, have you watched the first episode of The Americans yet? It’s all perestroika and high waist jeans with an awesome 80s soundtrack. Can’t miss.
So notice my title suggests that the kitchen PLANS have progressed… alas, the actual kitchen is as barfy as ever. We’ve yet to take a sledgehammer to anything, but we’re getting closer. I’ve all but convinced Ben to knock the soffit completely out and see what happens, largely thanks to your comments. It helps to show that I’m not
completely nuts when I embark on these grand projects. Also, I have started speaking about the soffit demo as if it were fait accompli, e.g., “after we knock the soffit out…” I think the power of suggestion is working.
So the next step is to figure out what to do with the cabinets once the ceiling is (hopefully) raised. The lovely Naomi at Design Manifest sent over this picture a few weeks ago:
Raise existing cabinets and add shelf below to fill in the space. Brazilliant. But then, Miss Naomi is a professional kitchen designer so she is smart like that.
You know who else is smart like that? Lisa, who commented on my white kitchen post. Behold her horrifying before picture:
And her glorious after:
Let’s discuss how much shuffling those uppers around opened up this kitchen. A whole big lot, that’s how much.
Here’s another reader redo from Justine, who transformed the most hideous ranch oak cabinets into this oasis of soffitless delight, replete with new Ikea cabinet fronts. Oh how I wish! One thing I’m eyeing is the space over the pantry where the soffit used to be. I had planned on building the cases up to the ceiling and ordering new doors, but maybe I don’t have to?
Let’s review the situation:
Oy. My eyes!
Ok, now for the plans:
1. Remove soffit and drywall in beam. Maybe add simple molding.
2. Raise upper cabinets and add shelves below. New glass doors for the uppers. Like this:
What the hell, just give me the entire kitchen.
3. Decide what to do with the floor to ceiling cabinets… build cases up and add new doors? Or maybe something like this?
But I think this is way more than the 12″ soffit removal will give me. This part is confusing … not sure what to do yet.
And this is where things get really nutty. I’m pretty set on white/cream uppers, but the lowers… well. First of all, I believe the floor to ceiling cabinets should be the same colors as the lowers, right?
Except what about the free standing pantry/fridge cabinet? White, or lower color?
As for the paint scheme, I know I could pull off something like this — even with my bung counters:
This is kinda what our floors look like now.
And this is the color our floors will be someday.
Here’s the two tone white/gray look again…
And yet again… The Inspired Room did a real super good reno that pretty much matches exactly what I had originally planned.
Now, I know this is going to make me sound like an asshole, but the fact that this look has been done (and done beautifully), makes me not want to do it anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still my awesome backup plan.
But now I am hatching a new crazy plan…
Namely, I am considering replacing the wood lowers with… wood lowers. Wait — not even replacing, because we’re keeping the old cabinets. The old SOLID WOOD cabinets.
But what if we stripped them, and stained them darker to tame the grain, and then we waxed or oil finished so they wouldn’t be 80s lacquer perestroika shiny, and then we added some awesome brass hardware?
I know you probably think I’m crazy, and maybe I am. But just wait until I unleash a torrent of super dope wood kitchens on you. A tiny taste:
Now, how hard will this be to execute???
Remember that I’m sick. Please be gentle.
I desperately want to tell you about all the exciting! plans! I’ve cooked up thanks to your comments for our kitchen facelift, but I’m just way too sick. We’re on week a million of the bubonic plague and I kind of want to shoot Little Orphan Annie in the head for even suggesting that the sun might come out tomorrow… I really don’t want to get my hopes up. Because most likely we’re in for another month of snot and misery and it’s best to look a bleak future square in its runny face and get on with it.
Honestly the entire situation wouldn’t be so bad if only I had some good tv to watch. I feel like I’ve seen EVERYTHING. Suggestions?
Anyway, sorry for dumping pink eye all over your day. Here are some toe curling good kitchens that have interesting, daring design elements. Hopefully they will be enough to get me off your naughty list.
Next up: wood kitchens. Who’s with me?
Kitchen renovations have entered a mystical — dare I say Seussian — territory. I was pretty pumped by the surfeit of AMAZING comments on my last post, and fueled by renodrenaline I tracked down link after glorious link. Man, some of you are pretty freaking talented. And all of you have fantastic taste. I loved so many of the cabinet combos and layout suggestions you offered, and I promise we shall discuss them ad nauseum very soon.
But first, we must deal with this:
Oh yes. It’s true. There are two 2×12 load bearing beams stapled together in that god forsaken soffit. Hell, let’s call it what it is: a tray ceiling. The entire thing save a wee punch out in the center is dropped down to seven feet. As far as we can tell, the beam is the only thing that stands between us and gloriously smooth eight foot ceilings that rival an angel baby’s bottom. But there it is, and it can’t be moved.
Ben and I are going round and round about this… I don’t want to address the cabinets and not bust out the soffit, because I want to raise the uppers and build the floor to ceiling cases up to the (hopefully) new eight foot ceiling. But he keeps pointing out the expense, the mess, and the MF BEAM, and contends it’s not worth removing the soffit.
The whole thing is stressing me out and making me wonder if Stage One should be the floors instead.
It’s come to Jesus time, people. Am I crazy? Should we leave the dropped ceiling in there? Is it worth a thousand dollars, a mess, and possibly more drama (pipes? other beams?) to raise the ceiling when the beam will still be there?
I keep bringing up our old house to make the point that our dining room would have been horrifying with seven foot ceilings. And that maybe we could turn the beam into some kind of architectural detail? (Aside: I am seriously missing our old house right now. Too bad it was in hobo town.)
We don’t have room on the sides next to the cabinets to build out anything too boxy, but I was thinking maybe some glossy trim that tied into the upper creamy cabinet color might work? Yes, I see that there is still some kind of soffit in that room… Ben would be perfectly happy to move the soffit back to the cabinet line.
But I really want the whole thing gone. Perhaps a minimal wood facade would tie into our future light oak floors?
Love this, don’t think we have the room.
Not the best picture, but it looks like this kitchen has a beam on top of drywall maybe?
Or maybe we should just do drywall, perhaps with some arch at the corner, and trim the ceiling with thin molding? Would that look weird on the dinette side of the room, where there’s no cabinets or crown molding?
Oh, and there’s a soffit on that side of the room that hides the roof edge. Awesome!
(ps: the pink is getting axed asap. pregnant women should never choose paint colors. also we are getting a new dining set.)
We could always straight up drywall the beam in and paint it ceiling white.
Or maybe we should build a box out on the dinette side of the room to house some electrical, then hang lights from it?
Ok, HELP. Please.
The beam is literally blocking the path to renovation.
Should we knock out the entire soffit, or do we keep a dropped ceiling that is ugly but perfectly drywalled and functional?
Or maybe we just push the soffit back to the cabinet line?
If we knock it all out, how do we finish the beam? The devil is in the details, y’all.
Thanks. I love you forever and I promise to come back to cabinet colors soon.
We’re finally embarking on a kitchen redo! I talked Ben into doing it all… but in stages. Stage One will address the ceiling and cabinets. Stage Two will demolish the fugly floors and replace them with natural oak. Stage Three involves jackhammering out the counters and backsplash and sacrificing them to the Milquetoast Beige Overlord. Then I’m thinking white quartz counters and simple carrara backsplash.
In the interest of moving Stage One of our kitchen renovation forward, we priced out midgrade Ikea cabinets and they came in at over 5K. I have to admit I was a little surprised since we did our last kitchen in the most expensive Ikea cabs for less. Luckily the current cabinets are more functional and of better quality than the last setup, so we’re going to work with what we have.
Where was I? Anyway, this whole time I have been planning something dramatic in terms of color for the kitchen… something not all white. Partly this is because my floors are revoltingly beige (for now), but also because I think painted white cabinets often scream HEY I PAINTED MY UGLY DATED OAK CABINETS.
Yes, I am an asshole. But I had to sacrifice this person for the greater good.
There are several things wrong here, but most glaringly the white is too white and the bright uniformity of color calls attention to the crappiness of the cabinetry.
I vow to avoid that mistake.
Low contrast two tone.
High contrast two tone. Both good, just different.
I’m resurrecting the two tone plan for our cabinets. I do love a white kitchen, but I think painting a darker hue on the lowers will break up the sea of cabinets, while painting the uppers light (but not blindingly so) will help to open the back wall and let it recede somewhat.
I mean, if you have fantastic cabinetry and glorious kitchen architecture that you want to highlight, then by all means paint it white.
And my kitchen is only slightly better than the one above. Let’s review:
Yikes. And guess what? It looks worse in real life.
I was really hoping a two tone look would break up the oak acreage… but now that it’s time to choose a color I’m second guessing myself.
We plan to live here for a decade, probably. When it comes time to sell, will I wish I had just painted everything white? Will I be sad that I chose some shade of gray for the lowers, because gray is sooooooooo 2010?
All of the pro color blogs are drilling the WHITE WHITE WHITE kitchen mantra into my brain.
But I just don’t see all white kitchen cabinets looking good in here unless I rip everything else out and go mega snazzy on the backsplash to help distract from the cabinets, like this:
And that won’t look dated at all in 10 years.
So what do you think?
Are white cabinets the only way to go?
Will the two tone look date quickly?
What about gray?
Tired, poor, inquiring minds need to know.
[images via pinterest]
Yes, I am still alive. I know it may seem like I fell off the face of earth, but that’s only because you don’t follow me on pinterest. Ahhhh, pinterest. Is there any place easier to access with my left hand whilst the right shoves a boob in the baby‘s mouth at 5 am? Nay, I say there is not. And what pinterest is bringing me these days is tile envy. Major major tile envy.
Tile in the kitchen…
Tile in the bathroom…
Tile, tile, tile.
I could go on, but I’m getting sad. Just before Christmas I helped the in laws redo their guest bathroom, and seeing all that fresh new marble go in reminded me that our bathrooms look like this:
I feel that I should defend the cleanliness of our grout — it really is cleaner than it looks in the picture! I promise! Maybe it’s wet or something??? — but seriously, what’s the point? That is 10 pounds of shit packed into a five pound bag. Completely indefensible.
I would kill for those $1 black and white checkerboard tiles (set in a diamond pattern, please), and even the cheapo white square ceramic tiles behind the tub. I don’t need fancy — I need NEUTRAL. For heaven’s sake, who thought greenish khaki (basically bile colored) tiles were flattering in a bathroom?
Oh, and let’s not forget the kitchen.
What. The. What.
So this is how things break down: since we moved in I have either been sick and pregnant, on bedrest, or the caretaker of a newborn and a sassy three year old (they’re still here — just older). I did my best to transform the things I could with paint, curtains, fabric, etc., but there is some fundamental horribleness lurking in this house that must be demolished. The tile must die. The cabinets must be painted. A bowling ball might accidentally be dropped on the granite counters.
I need to win the lottery.
And/or maybe learn how to set tile.
In the meantime, I’m going to return periodically to take you on a tour of the cute rooms I have “finished,” and probably you will be so wowed by my magnificent decorating and photography skills that you will hire me to help you do one of those things.
Won’t someone think of the tile? For only the price of a cup of coffee a day it could be saved.
As long as that cup of coffee is a grande starbucks somethingccino with 24k gold sprinkles on top, but who’s counting.
It’s good to be back.
Happy New Year!
Ok dudes, I have maybe four minutes to write this post before Luke demands to be fed and then proceeds to vomit forth said feeding all over my briefly clean clothes, so buckle your seat belts because this is going to be a lightning fast haunted ass trip.
Remember how I said I can’t stop shopping at 4 am? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding. And at 4 am your brain isn’t wired quite properly… it might gravitate towards the quirky end of the spectrum. So when I saw this, my semi wired synapses sputtered and sparked up the old paypal account pretty much immediately. Love at first bleary sight.
Yes, that is a mega giant hand painted Victorian backdrop used for photographs. Like this.
These painted backdrops were used as early as the daguerreotype era, but more commonly for tintypes or carte de visites. Oh, and did I mention that I used to make daguerreotypes and albumen prints and all sorts of other toxic and delightful antique processes? I had to have this thing. Had. To.
Then it arrived in all its crumbling, eight-foot-square glory. Holy shit — BIG. Oh, and look at my new leprechaun green velvet chairs… they are GREEN.
Anyway, lucky for me Ben and my sweet father in law are handy men, capable of nothing less than magic. In other words, they built stretcher bars for this bad boy and then framed him up with cheapo molding from Home Depot that I spray painted gold (duh).
All along I had plans to transform the back wall of our living room from this drab, flat blahdom:
To this splendifirous rendering:
Ok, sure that may be Albert Hadley’s house, but you get the idea. I bought the backdrop to be a backdrop.
But, huh. Hmmmm. Yeah, I don’t know about that. PS, this is about how dark and flat that wall really is for most of the day. I photoshopped the bejeezus out of the other picture I posted previously… before I had a baby. When I had time to photoshop things and use a tripod and SHOWER.
Where was I?
I think I need to rethink my Albert Hadley plan. I don’t like how much of the backdrop is being backdropified by all the stuff piled in front of it. Should I ditch the mirror? The lamps? The credenza?
All of it?
I haven’t had the time or pumped up the muscles to move that credenza out of the way, but I have had time to make some mockups. Of course. Behold:
Option 1 recycles the rug I already have, tosses the credenza and adds a smaller antique oval library table. I saw one similar to this a few days ago… totally doable. I did black library sconces and muted pillows to tone down the rug.
Option 2 is a little more glamooooor. Brass and glass console (this is an actual table I could buy, thus the wonky angle), brass double sconces, same rug and pillows.
Option 3 is muted maximus. The sconces are similar to a pair I’m eyeing… new rug in this mockup.
I guess what I’m thinking is that the credenza has to go. It might fit somewhere else in this room…
Like where it used to be or behind the couch? But I use that white console as my desk, so then I would lose my desk space.
Also, thank gawd my house doesn’t look like that anymore.
Phew, that’s better.
Also also, whatever I do on the back wall needs to flow with the front part of the room. So I probably shouldn’t go too Tudor Regency all up on it. Whatever that means.
Ok, kids. There you have it.
What should I do?
Here are jpegs of the chairs and backdrop… make your own mockups if you want to.
I’m sure you have nothing better to do — like grocery shop and wash the sheets and sweep dust bunnies under the rug before your Thanksgiving guests arrive.
Speaking of, I need to do those things STAT.
Check y’all later.
Wow… I didn’t expect the Blue vote to be so unanimous! Seems you guys feel the best is yet to come for the nursery. However, Mazey is pretty surprised the race wasn’t tighter and isn’t quite ready to concede the election. Meanwhile Frenchie doesn’t give a shit because he just wants to smoke some pot and marry another Frenchie.
What? I’m only talking bout rugs, y’all.
Seriously, thanks for voting. For everything. For important stuff.
Please keep me on your reader because I have lots of updates to share, including the new rug in situ (which will it be?!), and a MEGA CRAZY purchase that could be fabulous but might be 100% fail… Also I have gone on a pillow binge that shows no signs of stopping.
Oh yes I did.
And finally the hall wallpaper should be up soon…
Hooray me! Obviously I am the winnah here.
Later, taters. It was so awesome to hang out again!!!
See you soon.