Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Kitchen Renovation

Hey there, fun kitchen! One big area we were going to upgrade was the kitchen. As we planned, we went back and forth between doing an entire kitchen upgrade {potentially reconfiguring, new cabinetry, etc.} and a simple upgrade {back splash and counters} and in the end, we decided on the simple upgrade. I love it so much and we are thrilled with our choices and how it turned out! 





As we looked into all of this, who the heck knew that a few new cabinets were so darn expensive!? After pricing stuff out, we left them alone and once we did the other fixes, the other upgrades made the cabinets look good. It was a wise decision for us to save money on them. Other good news of just the simple upgrade?? The counter top and back splash were able to be done in a few days versus having to wait weeks for custom cabinetry to be built. This allowed them to do the job prior to us moving in and made this Mama one happy camper! 

While planning, I knew I wanted light, fresh, neutral and airy. I stuck with the ever popular subway tiles and we went with a granite that had grey undertones since our walls were a grey shade. I had a loose vision in my brain, and I toted around with me pieces of the subway tile, a similar color paint swatch and an image that had the granite on it in case I ever had thoughts or inspirations or wanted to see if they matched anything. If I was ever looking for something for the kitchen, I would pull it out just to see how it would look. I am a very visual person and so having these little pieces were key for me to help put it all together! 

My sweet husband is also very much an engineer. He is very methodical, functional and calculates everything. He is a thinker while I get a picture and run with it. All of that to say that these little pieces that I could throw out and show him, really helped his mathematical brain turn artsy and envision the whole thing. This saved arguments and time as we both agreed and knew the idea and goal we were aiming for. 

Planning process and envisioning!

Planning and the tile and granite up against our actual wall.

We had a few quotes before we selected who to go with. We used "A Southern Touch Landscaping and Reno" and they were wonderful. They are out of near Athens but work all over the state. Matt is the contractor and owner and he was fair and reasonable cost wise {beat the competitors} and his crew was fabulous. They did all we asked for, didn't cut corners or skip steps and we would recommend them to others and we will hire them again in the future. 

I don't have our invoice handy but I think the back splash was a few hundred, the granite counter tops a few thousand and then extra littles like replacing the side of the counter where it had water damage, etc another few hundred. They threw in the sink and we purchased the faucet from Lowe's. The painting this room was included in our house painting cost. 

Obsessed with our faucet! 
I need to apologize before I show you all of the pictures! The latest pics I took are from my iPhone and were taken late at night - so its dark out. The original ones were taken during the day with more natural light. Also, some of the angles are different! One afternoon when all of the kids are asleep and its clean, I may try to snap a few better ones so I can really show you! Til then, these will have to do! 

Excuse the photo overload and enjoy our simple upgrades! 

Before
After...excuse the blue TV glow! 
BEFORE
AFTER!
Before
After
Before
After

Breakfast area before
Breakfast area after

Here are some pictures as it all progressed. Basically one morning, we came over and the counter tops were gone. Since we weren't moving in yet and didn't need them, they took the old to make the molds for the new versus measuring and making a mold. 



In this image you can see the old back splash

CT3 and his Dad were working at the house over the weekend and all of the sudden the sink and counter top showed up! They pulled down the back splash and installed the new granite and the sink. 


Granite being brought in!
Under mount sink and counter top installed!
That's how it looked after granite but before new back splash. 
The counter tops required time to set and then the supports {corbels} were installed. These little wood things were in place til then and I was a nervous wreck that one of my children were going to manage to knock the counter top off! Haha! 
That is the new light we installed. 
A day later, we were there and the tile guy was there! He spread what I keep calling glue but my husband is INSISTING that I refer to it as "thin set" or "mastic" {#whatever} and then put the tiles up. They have larger individual tiles but we wanted the smaller ones and it actually worked out better because they were already on sheets and so it made the install a lot quicker and it was cheaper for us.

 

The tiles were up but grout not yet done. 
The tile guy got all of the tile in place and then came back the following day to do the grout. The other worker then finished the faucet and just like that, it was done! 


If you want to see what it looked like during move in, here ya go...thankfully, this mess is all clean! My Mom spent an entire day organizing cabinets! PHEW! 


I am in love with my new kitchen and I think in a month in the house, I have already cooked just as much as I did in my old house! Its fresh, clean, fun and is just begging for me to whip up something fancy!! 




For other room tours and DIY projects, here are the links::
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Brain

My brain is not with the program these days!!

Talk about scattered thoughts?? That would be me. One day last week I went to the kids school FOUR times because I kept forgetting stuff and getting times confused. No doubt they think I am a nut! Want to know what its like, in my little brain? Let me tell you.

"Okay, what was I about to do? Oh yeah, check bank accounts and pay a few things. OH! I need to order that thing for Moose. And that thing I was going to get for me too. Shoot, I forgot to, wait, what did I forget? Oh well. AH! I need to set up that Stella & Dot show. And email those girls! I'll do that now...{get computer, open computer}...Dang! I need to have the blog post up for the group I contribute to - now how do I log in there again?! Oh yeah its in my Facebook messages...{skim statuses for a few seconds}...I don't have time for this, now what was I going to look at?? Oh! Blog. And I really need to get up my kitchen renovation post that I have written 13 times. I wish I didn't take pictures of everything at night and I wish I could find my big camera. Speaking of things to find, I need one of the kids birth certificates, I cant find my jamberries and I cant find our tickets to the train ride. Maybe I will go get a mani/pedi tomorrow since I cant find my nails. Wait, I cant spend money on that right now. AH! There is that envelope that I wrote all of Annie M's birthday gifts on. Mmmmm. Birthday. I want cake. Geeze, no wonder I am so fat. All I think about is cake. Anyway, thank you notes. I have to remember to write the thank you notes pronto. I wonder if I have thank you cards around here? Maybe I should order some more. I will google to see if there is a coupon code. Dang, we just moved. Probably shouldn't order anything, let me check the bank account. Oh yeah, that's what I was going to do about 15 minutes ago....."

Yall, my brain is for real spinning and while I still have lots to catch up on and a to do list a mile long, last night I started to feel a huge relief wash over me. We had Annie M's birthday party, Dad worked like a dog to get everything hung in the house and CT3 folded and put away gobs of laundry. The move is behind us, we celebrated my best girl and the good news is that the house is about 90% done and the rest can and will wait.

This weekend we get to pop over to a friends birthday party and then we have church. That's it. Nothing crazy, just simple. We will go to the grocery store, spend time with the kids and watch some football. I am eager to get back to blogging and to have more down time to exercise and be with the family and I can feel all of that just waiting around the corner. Its gonna be awesome.

Last night as I laid my head down, I was exhausted but happy. I finally relaxed into the bed knowing there is still stuff to get done, but I don't feel like I am on a huge timeline any more. I took a deep breath and I breathed a bit lighter. It was a surreal feeling with my entire family sleeping in this morning and waking up to a bit of a post princess party messy house but no real agenda.

I am so thankful for all that we have gone through, those that have walked with us through it and now the opportunity to rest in it.

...fingers crossed that a few more of these restful days and this crazy persons brain will go away and my normal Lauren brain will begin to function as its old self!! ;)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Gallery Wall

I am absolutely in love with this part of our home. I will a bigger pictures where you can see the entire room later, but for now, I just wanted to focus on the gallery wall and share the story behind it. Special thanks to my all star hubby for putting up with my vision and for my super awesome Dad who hung it all perfectly. 


Basically, all over Pinterest, blog and world wide web land, you see these cute gallery walls. Photos or mix and matched objects kind of abstractly hanging on the wall into a beautiful collaboration of sorts. All different and all taking on ideas and art forms of their own. The more I looked at them, the more I wanted one for myself.

I liked the ones that were crazy and quirky and different shapes and sizes and included all sorts of things. I wanted more than just photographs and I wanted to include my husband and my current life, my family history and his family history. I wanted it to be relatively neutral with a bit of color, have texture on my wall and be a piece that would beg for conversation.

When we bought this house, it had a few big walls and immediately, I knew. One wall in the living room really just beckoned for a fun piece of art, or something large on it and while I looked at a few options for large artwork, I kept coming back to the idea of a mismatched gallery wall.

I started scouring the house for random items. I saw an old clock and decided that I wanted one on my gallery wall. My Mom had an one she had brought back from Switzerland that she offered me and I took it. I made the silhouette portrait of Champ and knew I wanted him on it and just like that, as I thought of things and collected my vision came together.

I asked my inlaws for a few specific things, I asked my mom for a few things and then I just dug a few things out of the basement to fill a few remaining spots. As I gathered things, I would lay it out on my parents kitchen table or floor. I would move things around, see where my gaps were, feel where I needed a pop of color and then go from there as I looked to fill in the pieces.

To say I love it is an understatement. Honestly, this wall makes my heart SO happy and I am thrilled its one of the main focal parts of our house. Like, I keep looking over my shoulder at it or walking through the room and staring because I am so in love! I think its really fun and funky and I think its lots of fun. Its weird and different and it incorporates old and new, color and bland, traditional and non-traditional and I feel like it truly defines who I am.

If I could be a picture on a wall, this is what I would want me to be! ....yes, I want to be fun, funky, weird, different, old, new, colorful and bland all wrapped into one! :)

I am going to post a few small pictures and tell you what each thing is. I do need to get more of the history behind a few of these pieces, but I am too excited to wait and not show it off! Again, here is the wall in its entirety.


The buffet table was my Grandmothers and her and my Dad repainted/refinished it eons ago. The teal chair was CT3's Gammie's and the old lamp {which I am not sure if I will leave there or not} came from my Grandma as well. I love the table and the chair and that they fit here and play a role in the wall. Perfect fit!

  • Bottom left: These were squares to a quilt that my Granny was making and never finished. I took four that were in good shape and just mounted them with a straight pin into a shadow box {from Home Goods}.
  • Bottom Right: Dog watercolor was painted by CT3's Gammie and is of his favorite dog growing up.
  • Bird needlepoint is Jonathan Livingston's Seagull made by my Granny.
  • Bottom left: Building image above that mounted on a block of wood is a school in Indiana where my Grandfather attended and my Dad went for a year.
  • Top left oval picture: not a clue what it is but it was from Granny's house and is hand done and I liked the antiqueness of the frame, delicateness and colors of the work.
  • Middle white frame is a telegram that my Grandfather sent to Granny at one point. This I made a color copy of, folded it a few times, wrinkled it a bit to make it look more authentic and put it in the frame! 
  • Heart: I have a few little hearts on the wall and I stole all of these from my Mom. She has always had them around our home and she loves to love and they make me think of her and her big heart! 
  • Top right is an old clock. I don't know much about it but I think it was Mom's as a little girl?


  • Bottom left old washboard is from Grandma's house and the butterfly above it she drew with colored pencils. 
  • The train photograph was taken by a relative on my husbands side.
  • Blue plate on the top right was from Grandma's house where all of her plates and decor was blue and white! 
  • The T in the middle is courtesy of Hobby Lobby. Antique, I'm sure! ;) 
  • The blind contour drawing was done by my sisters famous artist boyfriend and its of my Dad! I kind of love this piece!
  • Again, a colorful heart to remind me of love! 
  • The silhouette of Champ, I hand cut and you can order them here!


The bottom left is a copy of piano sheet music written by a family member of ours, the Swiss clock was my Moms, the knife my grandfathers but reminds me of my rustic, outdoor, loving husband and the white doilies cam from my husbands Grandmommie. I mounted it in a shadow box as well. 

Here is another image from the side, so you can see angles and the dimensional aspect of the wall. 



While this wall is truly special - and awesome, as our home has come together, we have used so many special things to make it special. More to come, on the rest of our house, but I hope you love and are inspired by our eclectic little gallery!! 

...I have to thank and also say that my husband has been 100% supportive of this endeavor, though his affections for the wall aren't as strong as mine and though he does think I am a bit crazy! Love you, pal! :)

If you are thinking of doing your own gallery wall, here are my tips::
  • Think outside the box!
  • Don't be afraid of color, dimensions and odd shaped items. 
  • Strive for some balance - doesn't have to be perfectly square, but you want it to neatly fit the wall. In regards to balance, I also had two larger square pieces that I used, two ovals, a few vertical pieces and a few horizontal and then I filled in the gaps with smaller items {hearts, blue plate, knife, etc.} 
  • Hang your items TIGHT. You want it to look like one unique piece of art and your eye to flow from piece to piece. Lay it on the floor and play around with the layout. When hanging, start in the middle and work out. 
  • Don't be afraid of random!! After all, its a bit random to begin with! 
  • Find a few pieces and start from there. Mine were the clock and the picture of Champ. 
  • Think of meaningful or representative things...Talk of the Trains...trains...picture of a train...get it?
  • HAVE fun with it! 
Soon I will also get my Dad's tips for hanging! I don't feel "home" until stuff is on the wall and Dad has played a huge role in helping us to feel at home! He hung almost every thing in my house and he is the master guru to speak on that!! Stay tuned! 

For other room tours and DIY projects, here are the links::
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Upstairs Bath and Simple Decor


Since I am on a roll right now with bathrooms {only semi-clean rooms without boxes in the house!} I will show you the third and final one in our home. 

We have two downstairs bathrooms {guest and master} and then one up. Thus far, I have been using the upstairs one for kids baths and just trying to keep the kids toys and such up there! I know they will use all of them eventually, but for now, this is working out well! 

Since this bathroom will primarily be used by kids or people playing in the playroom, we opted not to change up a lot in here. The walls were already being painted and we switched light fixtures because it was cheap {$40} and the one fixture was already off for painting. 

In this bathroom, since we weren't doing anything else, I focused on decor. I wanted it to have a fun pop of color, but still be relatively simplistic. I wanted it to be kid friendly but still have a classic touch to it. 

I went neutral on the walls, simple on the shower curtain and wall hangings and pops of color on my mat, towels and other kid like things! 


Here is the bathroom before:: 

And here is the after! 


 Before shower curtain::

After new curtain and mat and a cute little colorful boy stool! Hubby was nervous that the taupe shower curtain against the light gray walls would not have enough contrast, but once we got it in and up, it totally works and all looks great. 


I saw on Facebook, someone post an image of a sign that reads "No whining, no complaining, absolutely no frowning. Only hugs, smiles and warm fuzzy feelings allowed. Thank you." 

I took about 10 minutes and whipped out my own little copy of it and I love how it turned out! I did it in Photoshop and just swapped fonts around and aligned how I wanted, but you really could do the same in Microsoft Word! Its in a cheap $2.99 frame from Hobby Lobby that I think I got at half off! Since these pictures were snapped, Dad hung it for me, right above the towel rack. 




Here are the details::
Shower curtain: Target, Nate Berkus
Bath Mat: Target, Nate Berkus
Towels: Target, Nate Berkus 
Stool: Home Goods
Wall Print: I made and printed! 

{Note, I only bought the towels that you see here. Two bath towels and two hand towels. I will use them for guests and display - but did not buy full sets for the kids! They will just use the regular ones! I know that's a bit lazy, but this way I am not constantly switching, doing, washing my good towels and it let me make this room what I wanted without the additional cost of a ton of towels!}

We have already put the sink, toilet and tub to good use and I am keeping a close eye on these two cuties who are using it and enjoying it! 



In case you miss a post, here are all of our house pictures and updates::
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