Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Design over pretzels

Yesterday the ear doctor and I went to a hole in the wall for lunch and had the most outstanding cheese steak I've ever had in my life. While we were sitting enjoying our free pretzel and first taste of birch beer the Food Network was playing on the TV in the corner. I thought it was an odd choice because most of the other patrons were big mechanic type guys. For some reason it made me smile to see these guys eating their lunch and watching Tyler Florence stuff a turkey with fresh sage sprigs.

Anyway, we were both watching the show as well and at the same exact moment we turned to each other and said, "we love that tile"

If you haven't seen the show, he has this gorgeous green subway tile lining the entire wall of his kitchen set. Since then we've updated our kitchen design plan to feature this beautiful idea. Here's where we're at as of today:

Outside wall: Dark cork snap-in-place cork floor, shaker style cream colored cabinets, chocolate brown laminate counter top, butcher block shelves floating out under the cabinets (my dad offered to MAKE these), LG stainless french door fridge and dishwasher, stainless steel sink with cool faucet, and beautiful green subway tile.

Inside wall: Same dark floor, same shaker cabinets, same chocolate counter top, same butcher block floating shelves, same tile, LG microwave and stove (there's a great sale right now if we buy all the same brand of appliances...basically the dishwasher will be free) the remainder of the walls will painted a soft gray color.

Here is my question for you...any great sources for green subway tile?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obligatory New Moon Post

Friday morning I woke up at 5 am and got to work.

And I worked at a frenzied pace so I could leave by 2 and meet up at the new house to unpack the first of 2 fully loaded moving vans. Being my mother's daughter I was DROWNED in sweat in 10 minutes flat. We ladies do not do physical exercise daintily.

At 5:30, back aching and knees bruised from moving around heavy boxes we took a trip to a discount flooring store where we basically ran from row to row trying to make a very important choice in less than 5 minutes.

At 5:45 we gave up and I drove back up to our apartment to change into something not covered with the 15 layers of dust we haven't removed from our furniture since the last move 2.5 years ago.

No time for a shower, I thank the heavens that I'd remembered to wash my new jeans the day before because at least THEY will show up to the party clean.

At 6:45 I rushed myself to the living room of a dear friend. She had convinced me that the best possible thing for me to do this Friday night, in the middle of moving, in the middle of a full-on kitchen renovation was to co-host a New Moon release party with her. By 7 we had about 20 of people crowded around a dessert table giggling like 13 year olds.

So is it any wonder that at the 10:10 pm showing of the movie I was a bit tired? I was not in the mood to be sitting in the 4th row of a giant movie theater, craning my neck and watching teenagers go on and on coldly reciting dialog straight from Ms Meyers tome. And then they flash this beauty up on the screen:

And pull up your pants.

I wish I'd stayed home and slept instead.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Burglar beware

My dad has been here in Colorado all week helping us destroy our kitchen and get all our stuff moved into the new house. As a result my mom has been home alone up in Washington.

Before they left to drop my dad off at the airport he went out into the garage and rifled around through all the miscellaneous kid paraphernalia that still litters my parent's house. He came back in carrying my little pint sized aluminum bat from little league.

Confused, my mom looked him and asked, "what's that for?"

To which he replied, "well, we don't have a gun in the house..."

She shook her head and chuckled as he stuck it in the front foyer closet. I guess he's just worried about my mom fending off intruders while he's not there to defend her honor.

When she returned home from dropping him off at the airport she went into her bedroom to lay down for a minute and bumped her heel on something hard. The bat had been relocated to the side of her bed.

Is that not the cutest story you've heard in a while?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A new direction?

Well, after 2 straight days trying to reveal our precious hardwood flooring we found out that a previous owner had adhered vinyl floor with an asphalt based adhesive. Yup, I tried to get my dad to rip up the FREEWAY that someone laid in my kitchen.

Mission original hardwood is officially over.

My second idea for flooring was dark cork, suggested by one of my beloved readers. The more I read about it the more I thought it an idea material. Soft, easy to install, eco-friendly...all things I love. Want to know what I don't love? No one has it in stock. Annoying.

And for some reason having a dark floor has been permanently wedged in my mind...that is until I saw this picture (via Apartment Therapy from Domino):

Now, I thought I was dead set against tile in the kitchen. I thought it would be cold and hard and not fit with the historic character of the house. But, how beautiful is that light blue penny tile (I assume) floor? With all the white and that pretty gray color as an accent? I just think it's really stunning. To me it looks both modern and very traditional at the same time. What do you think?


I had grand ideas of showing you the step by step process of our little house renovation here on this blog. I thought it would be so fun to document the whole thing and get your ideas and encouragement. I thought I'd post how-tos and our selection process...the whole she-bang.

Those ideas were grand indeed.

Because here's the thing. When I'm not furiously working my job to try to get everything done there I'm feverishly heaving and schlepping and painting at the house. I don't find myself with a spare 30 minutes to take pictures, arrange text, tell funny stories and then try to make it all looks effortless, as most bloggers are apt to do. Turns out that something has to get cut from the day.

And it can't be sleep.

Sweet Jezebel, every minute I can spend in my warm soft bed has become precious indeed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great news

After being in our new house for 7 minutes my dad took a hammer and pry bar to the tiles on the kitchen floor and got to work. What we found:

Top Layer: Gross tile with REALLY wide grout lines
Next Layer: .5" thick cement board...why they thought they needed that thick is beyond me
Next Layer: Old vinyl or linoleum...hard to tell which yet...is it strange that I'm excited to see what ugly pattern it is?
Final Layer: HARDWOOD!


Now we'll just have to see the condition. Here's hoping that they (1) didn't use too much glue to lay down the vinyl and (2) did not staple it to the hardwood every 2 inches like some previous owners in my sister's home.

Right now the ear doctor and my dad are at Home Depot buying new sledgehammers and renting that tile scraping thing. Is there anything as exciting for a man than purchasing a new sledgehammer with a job in mind?

I think not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Tooth

I know I'm completely ungrateful and probably pretty rude for posting this, but I just don't care. It got under my skin and now it's all that comes to mind when I want to write.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a salt fanatic. I crave potato chips and french onion soup. I love it so much that when I get fries I douse them liberally with additional salt then smash them into the piles of salt left on my tray just so that my sodium tooth is sated. When I was little my mom would serve dinner and before I even tasted it I'd pick up the shaker and make a little white Christmas on my plate. I never understood why this hurt her feelings...until last night.

I was invited over to the home of a very awesome new couple. We'd had a few previous chats where I mentioned my love of baking. Being a guest, I asked the wife what I could bring to dinner. Being the gracious hostess she suggested I bring dessert.

Love that.

All week I thought about what I would make. Right now we are dead smack in the middle of packing and moving, so something elaborate was out. Knowing that pears are still pretty great this time of year, I settled on this harvest pear crisp from the current BA. I knew it probably wasn't going to blow anyone's mind, but it would be good, fast and easy. Just what the doctor ordered.

I prepped it ahead of time and just when we walked in the door I popped it in the oven. 50 minutes later I pulled it out of the oven and admired how bubbly and delicious it looked.


The wife took one look, turned to me with a truly pained look and said, "I don't like fruit"


Are you kidding me? It was about 12 degrees and snowy outside last night and you're turning down warm, bubbly fruit crisp topped with vanilla ice cream? Are you nuts? But then I thought, oh well, I should have asked. Some people don't like fruit desserts...that's alright.

I scooped us up 3 bowls, one for me, one for the ear doctor and one for the husband. As I set the warm delicious goodness down in front of the husband he looked at it, got up, went to the fridge to get HERSEY'S SYRUP and proceeded to drown my dessert in the stuff. He didn't even TRY it without the cheap topping.

After this experience I have 2 thoughts: 1) only make these people chocolate cake from a box and 2) apologize to my mom for salting before tasting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The before

I thought I'd give you a post that was filled with the before photos of our kitchen. As a reminder here is a birds eye view of the layout of our house. The kitchen is off the dining room and bathroom and has a mudroom attached:

Here is a picture of the actual room as it was on the day of our walk through. These pics were taken standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the mudroom. The rolling island I talked about on the last post would probably usually be tucked against the far wall above that awesome black heat vent.

And here is a picture of the room from standing in the door between the dining room and kitchen:

Notice how there are no lower cabinets along the inside wall, but a stainless table which the previous owners left behind. I kind of like the industrial vibe, but it's pretty horribly stained and scratched. Right now it is our inside work bench and is full of paint cans and drill bits.

What you can't see is that the tile in the kitchen is more than a full inch higher that the original hardwood floor in the dining room. I really hope that the hardwood is under all those little drab dingy tiles. It would be my absolute dream to rip those up and just refinish the hardwood.

If I can't do that, what kind of flooring should I put in?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you think?

The ear doctor and I have decided to push full steam ahead with a kitchen remodel!!!!!!!! Exciting, right? My dad is even coming to Colorado next week to help us get the demo started off right.

Our kitchen is like a wide galley kitchen...the sink, dishwasher, fridge and window run along one wall and the stove/oven combo is on the other. After playing around a bit with the layout here is what I have in mind.

Sink wall:

Working from left to right the upper wall cabinets will extend all the way to the counter top so I can hide away my toaster and other breakfast/baking stuff. Before she stopped writing it, this awesome kitchen designer used to write a blog and she said that having a breakfast/baking nook tucked away was her favorite feature in any kitchen. I'm pretty excited to incorporate it on this little project. The dishwasher will be right under it. Next will come the sink which looks out my pretty kitchen window...that also needs to be fixed. Then the fridge will but up on the opposite wall. The very top cabinets will go all the way to the ceiling, have glass fronts, and be lit inside.

Stove wall:

Perfectly symmetric with a shiny stainless steel hood right over the brand new stove. Again, the tippy top cabinets will have glass fronts and lights. The lower set of wall cabinets will only be 30" high to make sure there is plenty of under cabinet space. I foresee most of my prep/cooking happening on these two pieces of counter space so I want to have plenty of vertical area to work it. Such are the drawbacks to being on the taller end of the height spectrum.

Since the room is about 9.5 feet wide it is a little bigger than a standard galley kitchen, but too narrow for a proper island. Solution? We are also planning on making a rolling butcher block top island that we can tuck away in a corner when we aren't cooking, but we can pull out and use when we're both in the kitchen.

So that's what I've got so far. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Monday, November 09, 2009

A thing I had not supposed

Saturday night the ear doctor and I went on an honest to goodness date. And it was awesome.

I always thought that since it is just the two of us at this point (our puppy Roscoe doesn't count) that all our time together was "couple time." I figured that grabbing dinner or watching a movie at the house all counted as fun date time because, well, we were there together.

Plus we've been trying to be SO frugal since April so we could buy our house that we cut out going on formal dates.

Turns out that was a bad idea.

Because it was AMAZINGLY fun to be out on a date with my man. Aside from the near catastrophic case of dehydration I almost gave myself (FYI, working on home improvement all day in Colorado without drinking a DROP of water = a bad idea), it was the best time I've had in months.

We went to dinner at our favorite diner downtown, Sam's. Then we walked over to the performing arts complex to watch an awesome improv comedy show.

All in all, a perfect night. And a great lesson learned on my part...going on official dates is uber important for our relationship.

Friday, November 06, 2009

recreational hazard

This morning my forearms are so sore I can barley type. My hands ache and are so weak that double clicking is a challenge. And all because of the frenzied house work I did last night. I performed a killer-shoulder combo that should not, under any circumstance, be duplicated by anyone.


In the span of an hour and a half I:

planted 200 flower bulbs in the hopes that this spring I will have some cherry yellow blossoms to great me when I enter the house.

I also:

stood on a home depot bucket and taped/painted the ceiling of my living/dining room. The previous owners had chosen a high gloss dingy white color and that just wasn't going to work for us. Now it is a crisp, clean fresh flat white. When I stand in the room I feel just a million times better.

The same can not be said for my shoulder.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Great debate

Help me make up my mind. Remember how we're doing family pictures after thanksgiving this year? I put together this little collage last month. I bought that pretty navy wrap dress and when I tried it on it was too short!

(raises fist in air while howling)

DANG YOU FORTUNE! Why did I have to be given such a short torso and long legs!

Well, now I'm trying to come up with an alternative look that will blend well with everyone else. So far I'm a bit torn between two ideas:

On the left we have option #1: Ann Taylor Loft's shirred v-neck cardigan in medium brown melange and the Ruched Front Scoopneck under for some texture. This is the combo I usually go for...colored sweater with white underneath...pretty standard for me.

And on the right is option #2: Again, the AT shirred v-neck cardigan on top in white, but then this pretty silk ruffle blouse in caramel chew from gap under. But I'm pretty sure with this option I'd wear a skinny belt over the outside of the sweater to keep my waist defined. And I like how there are a few different colors of brown in this one...a bit more interesting?

I think the warmer color of brown will look better with my coloring, but do you think those caramel ruffles will look strange with the cardigan? Which do you like better? And what kind of accessories should I wear? Necklace? Long or short?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Design our house round 2

Here's kind of the idea I've got brewing for the dining room:

It's actually the same space as the living room, so the paint, paneling and window treatments will all be the same, making the room feel unified and continuous.

The dining room table is the Basque honey from Crate and Barrel. I really wanted to get a table that wasn't very fancy. I wanted it to be heavy, slightly rustic and a really warm wood color. This one will fit the bill. The rug under it is the chunky wool jute from Pottery Barn. Neutral color and bumpy...to hide crumbs. Over the table will be an awesome drum shade hanging light from Room and Board. I love the subtle stripes...but I'm worried that the bottom one will end up being slightly blue? That's not allowed the the room. If it even hints at being blue it'll go back and we'll continue our search.

The curtains are from west elm and I just LOVE the pattern the introduce!

Under the window where a sideboard would be will be a cabinet that the ear doctor made. We're going to paint it an awesome color of green to tie in with our swirl rug in the other room. Inside the cabinet I'll put these woven baskets from IKEA to contain our dining linens and other dining room stuff. On top of the cabinet I'll probably put some pictures and a cool lamp...still looking for just the right one. I'd love to have something silver and shiny.

Any thoughts? or better ideas? I'm all ears!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

White Knuckles

I left work a little early yesterday to pick up my dog from day camp and get to a deli to pick up dinner. We were planning on working at the new house all evening so we needed to get some food. The internet said the deli closed at 5 pm on Monday nights so I had to get over there quick.

Nervously, I screeched into their parking lot at 4:55 and noticed that the door actually said they'd be open until 8. What a relief.

I got to the house alright and started drilling out some holes. The ear doctor was supposed to meet me at 5:45 and around 6:30 he called and told me that his car refused to start and he was stranded all the way across town.

I'd have to leave immediately and make my way home to get him.

But we'd scheduled an apt with a Home Depot kitchen designer to get a quote for renovating our new kitchen.

I tried to call and cancel the apt, but they put me on hold so long that my phone battery died.

AH! I had no way to call the ear doctor and make sure he was OK!

I raced back to our apartment to charge my phone and call to check on him. He'd called a tow truck and asked me to meet him at the dealership to asses the damage. At about 8 I found myself wandering around the dealership looking for my husband getting hassled by a salesman that suggested instead of fixing his truck we just buy a brand new one.

Memo to salesman: do not suggest incurring MORE debt to a red head who has just signed a commitment for 30 YEARS of indebtedness.

I then found my husband and drove him home. We sadly left his truck behind with the hope that said salesman doesn't attempt to sell it to someone else, or that the bill for fixing the truck will not totally wipe out our little house renovation budget.

When we got home we found an express mail envelope on our door mat. The ear doctor opened it and found out that he has been awarded a $4k scholarship because he is the smartest little audiologist this side of the Mississippi!

Happy dance of joy ensues.

I then collapse into bed totally overwhelmed by the life roller coaster I'd just been on.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Something you don't want to see

Well, since Halloween is over, I can officially start celebrating the holiday season without being deemed a total weirdo. And after reading this post over on Emily's blog I knew I just had to get my bake on.

I woke up early Sunday morning, mixed up my dough and excitedly waited all day for the dough to cool in the fridge. At about 6 I started rolling and stamping the dough with the awesome cookie molds the the ear doctor got me last year.

After pulling the first sheet of cookies out of the oven I was a bit concerned. They didn't look right. They hadn't puffed up the way that I expected them to. Then I glanced over at the counter and noticed one perfectly intact, now room temperature egg innocently sitting on the counter.

Here's hoping that this is NOT an omen of the upcoming season...