Kitchen Renovation Inspiration

{kitchen design sketch}

You guys. Demo day is less than a month away! The architect has been by, permits have been pulled, cabinets are being made, appliances are ordered, and it’s now almost not moving fast enough! I wish that it was August 27th, yesterday! Here’s a few images that inspired the end design that we came up with!

We’re going with a shaker style, stacked cabinet. The lower cabinets will be black and uppers white!

Two-Toned Kitchen Renovation Design Ideas

Controversial Kitchen Design Decisions That People Love to Argue About

MHouseInc | Westover Hill Residence

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Countertops were a debate. We weighed the different materials – granite, marble, quartz and even porcelain! Each material has its own pros and cons but we ultimately decided on quartz. Low maintenance and being able to predict what each slab is going to look like (read: reduce my stress as much as possible) contributed to it became the clear winner! It was SO much fun going through and seeing all the giant slabs in person. So much fun that we changed our minds about 5 times on what we wanted! We narrowed it down to three and then two and after seeing the samples in our space (which I highly recommend because of lighting) and comparing to the color of our cabinets we picked a winner. We’re going with Calacatta Verona quartz!

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The veins are lighter than other slabs, yet still defined and will hopefully make a really beautiful match for the island’s waterfall edge and slab backsplash. Which brings me to the next piece of inspiration… backsplashes. Pretty much from the very beginning I knew that I wanted waterfall edges on the island and a slab backsplash. I love the look those two features both create. Unfortunately this meant that we needed to get a second slab to cover the sq. footage, but I thought it was worth the extra cost. Changing to a subway tile (which is everywhere) or some sort of design would change the whole look that I was going for and since our space is smaller, the less busy the better to create an open and larger appearance.

Calacatta Verona Default Scene

Love the white recess-panelled cabinetry in this kitchen! {Photography by Donna Griffith}

Step inside the midcentury home of the founders of Rifle Paper Co. // Anna Rifle Bond's gorgeous Lacanche Range

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Now that the big stuff is figure out it’s time to make a decision on hardware, faucet, sink and a wall shelf for the back room! Stand by for those posts!

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Sippin’ on a Southern Summer

D.C. isn’t the south… I know this. But this cocktail will take you to a southern state of mind regardless of where you’re sipping it! The black walnut bitters really compliment the sweet ripe peach and it mixes oh so well with the smooth bourbon flavor leaving you with just a hint of mint. Speaking on mint… I understand not all have mint infused simple syrup at the ready in the fridge, but I highly recommend you whip up a batch to change that! You can use the mint syrup for so much more than just cocktails. For example, throw a dash or two in hot or iced tea instead of granular sugar for a refreshing twist! I do usually have some on stocked in a mason jar in our fridge so it’s chilled, but if you don’t have any on hand it’s about the easiest thing to make:

Mint Infused Simple Syrup: Pour equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add about 6-8 whole sprigs of mint and stir. Chill before using in cocktails.

 

Southern Summer | Yields 2 cocktails

3 oz of Bourbon

1.5 oz of Mint Infused Simple Syrup

1/2 Peach, muddled

3 dashes of Black Walnut Bitters

 

In a shaker muddle half of a peach. Add in bourbon, simple syrup, and 3 hefty dashes of Black Walnut Bitters. Add ice halfway up the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with a slice of peach and enjoy!

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It’s All a Facade – DIY Fence

Another house project checked off the ol’ never ending to do list! Completing projects are always satisfying but this DIY project turned out exactly how I imagined. The before and after of our backyard is night and day so I’m super excited to share!

First let’s start with a little before action (look below). How sad!!! Behind our house there’s an alley and vacant brick building. A lot of our neighbors park their cars behind their house so sitting out on the back patio area was never really that relaxing. We watched cars and people go by, and felt like everyone was looking in on us. It wasn’t private, it wasn’t relaxing, and if/when I was sitting out eating dinner at our little bistro set, I was just staring at a line of trash and recycling bins. Not really my first preference of scenery!

In December I started looking at the cost of replacing our fence. Given that we want to start planning our kitchen remodel soon, the $$$$ estimates coming in weren’t really feasible. I started thinking. And googling. And pinteresting. I knew that I could figure out a way to make this chain link fence not so chain link fence-y. I considered purchasing more of the bamboo cover that the right side fence is covered with, but considering I don’t love the look, I opted not to. After running by a few other options with J, we decided to give covering our chain link fence with a wood plank facade a go. So spoiler alert, the chain link fence is still there, you just can’t see it!

So our backyard went from this:

To this:

Wondering how we did it? Don’t worry, I’m about to share!

Materials:

6 – 1″x3″x6′ boards

2 – 1″x10″x8′ boards

8 – 1″x8″x8′ boards

12 – 1″x6″x8′ boards

1 gallon – BEHR DECKplus Waterproofing stain (Transparent Cedar)

Exterior Wood Screws

12 – 1-1/4″ Electrical Metallic Tube 2-hole Straps

 

Assembly Instructions:

*Disclosure: I would recommend having two people assist in the actual putting together.

Since it’s two swinging doors, and ideally we wanted to still be able to open the doors if needed,  we measured each “door” and figured out we needed two sets of 72″ H x 81″ W for each. (We had Home Depot cut the planks to the length that we needed to save a step at home plus it’s free.)

We picked out the stain that we liked, and stained. And stained. And stained for a total of 3 coats on each side. We realllly didn’t want water to warp the planks so we made sure we used up the gallon of stain and then purchased this Thompson Waterproofing spray to seal the deal.

Once all the planks were stained we laid them out and picked the sequence. We wanted to make sure we put the best planks with the coolest wood grains at the top, and ones with drips or nicks at the bottom since they’d be covered by the loveseat or other furniture in the future.

I painted the side posts of the fence an aged bronze/black to go one step further in removing that chain link feel.

We then used the six 1″x3″x6′ boards to create the “frame” on the fence. We braced one on each side, and one positioned in the middle with the brackets at the top and bottom to secure to the fence and prevent the planks from sliding.

Then plank by plank, position, level and screw away! (We used a screwdriver wedged between the planks to create a consistent gap between wood planks.) After we had all the planks up, we sat back and enjoyed the transformation for about 5 minutes before I wanted to get started on gardening 🙂

We went back and forth on whether to position the wood horizontal or vertical, and I’m so happy that we landed on horizontal. It gives it a little bit more of a modern feel, and goes with our patio furniture. I’m debating what we should do with the bamboo covering on the right end, and divider fence on the left… maybe paint them black? Or cover with the faux boxwood screen squares?

If you’re renting, this option doesn’t ruin the existing fence so it’s an awesome option for renters too! If you don’t want to put in the effort there are actually a ton of privacy screen ideas to consider if you want something less permanent or even more affordable than covering your chain link fence! I ordered this faux boxwood screen squares and was pleasantly surprised at how great it looked when I covered the single door next to the wood fence.

The total cost of the fence ran us about $450 for the wood, stain, screws, and brackets which is considerably more affordable than having a company put in a new fence.

Here are some additional options:

Fabric Windscreen Cover | Faux Boxwood Hedge Covering | Bamboo Reed Fencing | Chain Link Weave

 

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*Our firepit & rug are on MAJOR SALE!! Don’t miss out on them!!

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Living Room Reveal

Going into staged homes can either be a blessing or a curse. Blessing because you can see what size furniture works (or doesn’t work) and curse because then that set up is stuck in your mind. I kept picturing the staged set up- which I thought worked really well- but I wanted to nail down pieces that were a good mix of feminine and masculine, traditional yet modern, and make a bit more of a punch since it was the first room you see as you walk into our home and sets the stage.

The brick wall was like an obstacle that I had to get past. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I was having the hardest time figuring out what type and shade sofa that I wanted that would look good against the brick. J & I both liked the idea of a leather couch with a fun profile since this space is our more formal, conversational room (read no TV) but finding the leather sofa was difficult. I didn’t consider black leather until we came across this West Elm Modern Chesterfield sofa and we immediately knew the buttery soft, tufted leather in Licorice was exactly the punch that we were looking for! To brighten up the room, I opted for a pair of mid-century modern wingback chairs in a neutral twill, a black and gray overdyed rug, and brass accents throughout the room.

I had everything in place for a couple weeks, minus a coffee table. I debated a few different coffee tables but ultimately decided on this CB2 one. A simple marble slab. At our old place our coffee table was always covered in things, trays, books, mail, etc. so I’m trying to keep the accessories to a minimum and let the white marble show off itself!

Staged Living Room while on the market:

My Living Room Design:

 

Living Room Reveal:

I was overjoyed when I walked in during our house search to see so much of the original character maintained. The French doors and crystal door knobs make me smile every day!

 

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Rouge

You’re never going to believe how much I practically s t o l e this look for. Top, pants, AND shipping came out to $30.03. Seriously! I can’t make this up! I saw the top featured in an instagram post and watched for my LikedtoKnow.it email to arrive in my inbox like a hawk. I knew the silky satin material of the cold shoulder top would be so romantic for date nights and perfect to throw on for holiday dinners this winter. I followed the link and to my surprise  the top was on sale for $12! I was even more surprised when I saw on the side of the screen these pants for a whopping 80 cents more! You better believe I was doing a happy dance, almost frantically clicking to check-out in case the pieces were priced in error! Both the top & pants for under $13 a piece… talk about a deal!!

I don’t visit Kohls often, but after this purchase I am definitely going to keep my eye on the LC Lauren Conrad collection. I mean how cute is this dress?! And these oxblood velvet leggings would be so sassy for Christmas dinner – not to mention the elastic waist would be oh so perfect for going back for seconds! A lot of the pieces out there right now are in blush, burgundy and navy shades which all are on my love list. I’ve linked a few of my favorites below, most of which are under $50, and my outfit details! Happy savings!..I mean shopping!!

 

LC Lauren Conrad Picks:

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Autumn Date Night in the City

You know all of the places that you pass every day and about every third day you say to yourself “I really should go there.” Yeah, that’s me. Every day to and from work I pass Gallaudet, Union Market, NoMA and tons of other little streets that I cannot wait to explore. But so often either I’m too tired, need to laundry, or something else “prevents” me from just going there!

One random night the other week it was like everything was working in my favor. I left work at a reasonable time with sunlight still shining, I wasn’t sitting in hours of traffic, the weather was just about perfect, and we had nothing to do. (Well, at least no chores that we wanted to do.) Insert: We had no excuse not to try out a new place for a spur of the moment date night! We strolled through Gallaudet University, which is beautiful – the campus is so much bigger than I assumed, and the grounds are really well kept- and made our way to Union Market. We did a round and decided to pick out a few cheese, order a glass of wine, and found a little table outside to enjoy our spread from Righteous Cheese. We sat, talked, and tried to keep our phones away for a couple of hours to enjoy the beautiful fall evening together!

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Belle

Back during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, my mom, sister, and I had a girls day shopping and celebrating  her birthday. It almost felt like years ago when we went out together back to school shopping and since my mom now lives far away from us, she wanted to buy us each a new top keep the back to school shopping feel going. This beauty immediately caught my eye and I have been counting down the days until the temperatures cool a tad to be able to wear it.

The color reminds me so much of the final dress Belle wore in Beauty and the Beast… which I finally watched! I was this close to booking a trip to the French countryside after that movie. So good! But back to this top-  I don’t have that much yellow in my wardrobe but after buying this golden yellow top and this sunshine yellow dress (now on major sale!) for a wedding this past summer, I know I need a lot more of it!

  

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Master Bedroom Reveal

Going from a 700 sq ft apartment to a 2100 sq ft row home was a big difference. When we were moving in and transferring boxes from room to room, I literally could not find J anywhere in the house. I called down, no answer. I walked downstairs, no J in sight. We laughed that we passed each other without even noticing! Much different than what we were used to with our one bedroom, one living space apartment! But with the increase of space means more rooms to furnish, which can get a little bit overwhelming, and expensive!

I decided to focus on the  furnishing the living room, dining room, back sun room on the main floor and our Master and Guest Bedroom upstairs. The basement, additional bedroom rooms (which is acting as my closet), and office are on the backburner for now.

All the interior doors in our house are painted black- which I love!!- and the majority of the walls are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray (SW 7029). We still loved our bedroom furniture so we brought that with to use, and moved in a floor length mirror that we previously had in our apartment hallway. We changed up the bedding, replaced the ceiling fan, bought two new matching nightstands, a rug that would still showcase the original hardwoods, and added some pictures from our Italian honeymoon above our headboard to give our Master a fresh new feel. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it here and there, re-styling the nightstands, etc. but I am super happy with the outcome! See the progress below!

Staged Master while on the market:

 

My Master Bedroom Design:

 

The finished Master Bedroom:

I bought three of these wall hooks/knobs from CB2. I have two next to my dresser to hang purses that are in my current rotation, and J has one next to his closet to hang up any shirts, belts, etc. It’s a great way to keep things off the floor, avoiding things from piling up!  (These are the small size)

We’re attempting to keep things simple and not over crowd our night stands and dresser tops. A leather catchall is a great way to keep collar stays, pocket squares, and loose change tidy! I’ve also been much better at my night skincare routine now that I’ve been keeping my creams and oils on my night stand. I’ve been loving this Vitamin E oil. Already seeing a difference in my skin!

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Save vs Splurge – Chandelier Edition

 

While our almost 100 year old row home is in great condition, and it’s evident the previous owners really took care of it, there was one major thing that they did that completely bugs the heck out of me. (Even more so than the dated kitchen appliances!) They bought fans and light fixtures that are completely the wrong size – either entirely too big for the rooms, hanging down too low, or just plain ugly. I don’t know if it was what was on sale or if their taste is really that different than what mine is, but I knew switching out light fixtures and fans were a top priority!

Since we just recently settled on and purchased a dining table, my search for a chandelier and wall sconces are in full force! (I can’t wait to get rid of the fan they put over the dining table. Talk about cold food!) Here’s the first “Save vs Splurge” post rounding up some really pretty chandeliers & pendants to hang over your dining table! It’s amazing that if you want a certain look for a certain price, it’s out there! Or if you want to splurge because you know it’ll just make the room – go for it! Either way, pick the one that you love because lighting really makes or breaks a room!

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The Fun Begins

With each house that we considered I started dreaming about how I was going to decorate the interior. I would scroll through and find chandeliers, sofas, tables, and more that would fit the “vibe” for that particular row house and DC neighborhood. J and I have similar but different tastes when it comes to decor. I am a little more adventurous where as J tends to lean toward more of the traditional with a little modern spin on it… as long as it’s comfortable, but he lets me take the decorating reigns.

I love the idea of adding more modern pieces in a hundred year old home so when we found out that our offer on our place was accepted, I immediately began searching for items that I wanted to fill the house with. I probably  know every coffee table, sofa, and dining table out there- I give the sales associates a run for their money knowing what’s in stock right now! A way that I keep track of which items I like, and what would look good together is by plopping it into my test design.

For example, I’m on the hunt for the perfect coffee table for our formal living space. Our sofa and chairs arrived this past weekend but without a coffee table, there’s a major missing piece! I’ve narrowed it down to a few that I keep going back to but just can’t seem to put my finger on which one I think would work best! What do you think; Option A, B, or C?!

Option A: Rectangular marble slab and brass table

 

Option B: Round marble and brass pedestal table

 

Option C: Round black and brass pedestal table

 

I’ll be sharing my ideas of each room with a “before and after” so you can see my ideas on paper in real life! If there’s something specific that you’re looking for, let me know!

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