Here We Go Again

After a brief home improvement hiatus, we're back at it. This time, we're tackling the front bedroom, which currently services as a guest-TV-storage-exercise-lounge combo room. This combo isn't working too well, so we took a hammer and crowbar to the parts that needed to disappear for good.

Saying Goodbye

IMG_1323 (1).jpg

Step 1: tear away the silly bump-out closet taking up already limited square space. Step 2: see what's hiding behind the mantel.

We plan to use the existing tiny closet as a built-in book shelf and are currently figuring out exactly what to do with the part of the wall formerly concealed by the mantel. We've got some brainstorming to do here and called in a contractor for an expert approach on this front.


Painting the Floors

 Image via  Oliver Yaphe

Image via Oliver Yaphe

 Image via  One Kings Lane

Image via One Kings Lane

I've done it before and I'll do it again. Since the majority of the floor will be covered by an area rug, sinking money into refinishing the hardwood doesn't make sense for us right now. I'm looking into black-painted hardwood floors as continuation of the painted steps and landing I'm working on wrapping up. I'll be using Benjamin Moore Floor & Patio Low Sheen Enamel on this after sanding and priming the heck out of the surface.


Using Elbow Grease

The walls and trim need some love. With my favorite friend Ready Patch by my side, I started patching the cracks and filling the gaps. Once it dries, I'll sand before priming and painting.  These little details are the opposite amount of fun as demo work, but they make a huge difference. Tedious, but necessary.

I'll use Benjamin Moore Simply White on the trim and my very favorite Benjamin Moore Moonlight White on the walls.


Furnishing it

To keep the room as versatile as possible, we're looking into Ikea's UTÅKER Stackable Beds. They can transform into two singles, one queen, or an L-shaped couch quite easily, so they'll allow us to keep the room serving several purposes. So that it continue to serve as a storage space, we'll keep a dresser and such hanging out.

So that's the plan. I'm beyond excited to get this space working for us. Stay tuned for what is destined to be another adventure.

Open Shelf Options

The kitchen is just about complete and I want to show it to you, but I also want it to be a little more breathtaking than it is at the moment. One thing that needs to happen: open shelves to fill the bare blank white wall. I am so glad we decided not to install wall cabinets. We didn't need the space and they definitely would have cluttered the room.

Right now, the color palette is monochrome. Gray floors, white fronts, dark gray counters, white walls. We need to get some stuff on those white walls - colorful stuff - to bring it to life. Here's where the open shelving comes into play. The internet never fails to overwhelm me in decision-making processes, so I'm halting my search and presenting these as recommendations to myself:

I quite like how the back splash runs up to a very thin line of a shelf in the top left photo. The mounting of that piece would require some investigation, which is why something with brackets (top right) could be more feasible.

 Image via  The Design Chaser
 Image via Nicole Franzen

Image via Nicole Franzen

These two are quite clean. The black shelves, which I believe are from Ikea, would be placed next to each other if space allowed. And while the wood look of the bottom right photo is charming, I'm really looking for something that requires minimal assembly and time.

Let' s mull these over together and come back with a decision. Meeting adjourned.

Taking Stock

With our Ikea kitchen flat packed and hanging out in the living room and the contractors not quite ready to get started on their end of things, we're in a kitchen limbo. I'm using it as an opportunity to inventory and cleanse, following the KonMari method as much as my impatient heart will allow.

Kitchen drawers are a real wasteland for unused/unnecessary gadgets. If you have a cast iron skillet, a good chef's knife, and some solid mixing bowls, your kitchen is complete. The rest is gravy and that gravy needs a home. 


This is a picture of only 1/3 of our kitchen cabinet space emptied. Getting it all out so I can only put the good stuff back in (re: KonMari).

The dining room is about to become the kitchen for a few weeks while we tear some things apart and build something new. The less we have to deal with inventory-wise, the better life will be when we come out of this (hopefully) alive. I posted a few things I'm getting rid of over on Instagram if you're interested.

I know it to be true that prep work pays off, but I also know it to be true that I forget to finish my prep work 9/10.

Ikea Kitchens - Here We Go

After soliciting advice from the Internet and friends and strangers, we decided to get a quote from Ikea for the kitchen. The process can go a couple of different ways depending on your confidence levels. We opted to have Ikea's team come out and measure the space for us. We have a ton of bump outs and weird protrusions in the kitchen, so I feel confident that those have been accurately captured. Glad we went with the pros on that one.

The result was a 3-D model of the kitchen, which can then be modified in Ikea's online design platform. I played around with some thoughts before we went to an in-store appointment with an Ikea rep, who was supposed to help us design our space. He did give us some ideas, but only after we asked a lot of questions. He never asked what our budget was, what style we liked, etc., but rather looked at what I had done in the design tool and made a few tweaks. At this point, we're in $89, so it's not a total loss. Do I recommend the measure and design appointment? Meh. I feel confident in our measurements but less than confident in marching ahead with the big purchase.

The goal now is to finalize all of the fun design elements. The layout is pretty sound, but I'm still waiting for a vision to come to me on the overall look of the space. The more I go on Pinterest, the more paralyzed I become.

Things that are settled: black quartz counters, counter and shelf configuration.

Things that are not settled: fronts and fixtures. Has anyone had success with Semihandmade? They sell fronts to Ikea cabinets that are way more customizable, paintable, etc. The first image below is from their site. The second is an Ikea option for cabinet fronts.

 Image via  Semihandmade

Image via Semihandmade

 Image via   Ikea  .  com

Image via

We have an imposed deadline of a few weeks from now to make our final decision since our 15% discount from the Ikea kitchen event has a time limit. This is probably a good thing because I could mull over these options for eternity.