Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Limbo

Well. It's been a week. I won't give you all the details, but it involves sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the middle of boxes with no AC or hot water at the new house, while spending each night still moving things out of the condo. I allowed myself one small breakdown (ok, maybe two) on Wednesday, and then it was back to business.

The upside is that in the grand scheme of things, these are minor inconveniences. Sure, cold showers and stuffy rooms are annoying. But as Husband wisely pointed out, there are people who live without air conditioning and hot water every day. And houses, for that matter. Sometimes, all we I need is a little perspective and thankfulness.

I'll be back this weekend with some more updates and a better attitude. :)

In the meantime, I leave you with these beauties...

What I hope our bedroom will look like, once the mattress is off the floor!
Source: Pinterest (original source unknown)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kitchen Update: The Perfect Grey {Paint}

While designing the kitchen has been fun, it hasn't been without it's hiccups. There have been days when you couldn't pay me enough money step foot in Home Depot and the seemingly innocent question of "Hey, when are you going to pick a paint color for the kitchen?" was enough to send me into a downward spiral.

Deciding that I want a grey kitchen should have been be easy enough, right? WRONG. There are only hundreds (thousands?) of shades to choose from, and don't think for one second that what ends up on the wall is going to match what's on the paint chip. In short, paint stresses me out.

Over the course of a month, I purchased 12 different samples of grey paint and put them on the wall....convinced each time that THIS was the one.

I hated all of them.

One looked purple, one looked blue, one was too light, one was too dark, is that one even grey at all??? And on it went...

Does that stress out anyone else?
 I was convinced that the colors looked "off" because they were being painted on an yellowish-ivory wall, as opposed to a crisp white (although both Husband and a gentleman at Benjamin Moore assured me that was not the case).

Finally, Husband very sweetly said, "If you don't pick a paint color TODAY, I am picking it for you."

Well, when you say it like that.... :)

So off we went to Sherwin-Williams, picked two more colors and hoped for the best.

I'm actually quite surprised that Husband didn't immediately break out the champagne when I sent him this text:

Here's the swatch...

Sherwin Williams - Mineral Deposit

And here's what it looked like going on the wall (please excuse cruddy iPhone pic, it was all I had!)...

I LOVE it. In certain lighting, there are hints of blue - which is pretty much perfect, because our granite slab (unexpectedly) has some blues and greys running through it.

At the end of the day, it was definitely worth the stress (and countless quarts of paint) to find the "perfect" grey.

But I hope I never have to pick paint colors again. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homemade Spice Jars

Can't wait to make these....

Adorable spice jars from Burgon and Ball put here...

Yay for built-in spice racks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Weekend...

....looked like this:

Fun with hammers

Making me nervous

What a difference!

Ok, to be fair - this isn't actually what MY weekend looked like. It's what Husband's weekend looked like. Our amazing dads were both in town to help knock out the porch (the previous owners had walled it in to make a sunroom, and we wanted to return it to its original state). I stayed at the condo with my mom, who helped me pack while we drank wine and watched Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family (packing is way less awful more fun with wine and Harry).

We are thrilled with how the porch looks so far. It was really important to us that, while renovating and updating, we kept the original structure and character of the house in tact. So we decided not to do anything crazy on the inside (like knocking out walls or building new ones), but we definitely wanted to showcase this great space. We are looking forward to many dinners out here! When it cools down, of course.

New view of the front
In other news, our granite is being installed in the kitchen tomorrow (insert happy dance here!!). I have been looking forward to this for months...ever since I exhausted the poor folks at ASA Granite in Trussville when I went to pick out my slab and made them rearrange my template a million times until I was happy with the exact layout of parts to be cut.

Yes, I am crazy. It's ok. I embrace it.

Meanwhile, here is the faucet we picked!

From Home Depot. I know, right?

It's exactly what I was looking for...I love the vintage look of the bridge style. Plus, it was WAY less expensive than similar styles from other places. And it got great reviews on Home Depot's website. So, I feel pretty good about it.

Can't wait to see how it all looks. I'll post pics soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kitchen Update: The Sink

One of the first (and ultimately, easiest) decisions that we made regarding the kitchen was the sink. Early on in the "daydreaming and designing" process, I fell in love with farmhouse/apron-front sinks. The style seemed like the pefect fit for the overall look we wanted to achieve in the kitchen- classic and traditional, with modern convenience.

My inspiration:

*photo from

*photo from

I love both white fireclay and stainless, but stainless ended up being more budget-friendly, so you can guess what we went with.

The only other detail to decide on was a single-bowl vs. a double-bowl. Most of the farmhouse sinks I had seen were single-bowl, but I was torn. I've never used our current double-sink as it is intended to be (wash in one side, dry in the other), so I was pretty sure I wouldn't mind the single (more room to pile dishes!). But what about a future buyer - would they prefer a double-bowl? Would that affect our re-sell? Why am I fretting so much over a SINK?

Finally, my mother-in-law gave me some great advice - "get a sink big enough to wash a dog and a baby in".

Mission accomplished. I was out of town when the sink arrived, so I texted Husband to see how it looked. His response: "HUGE".

Forget the dog or baby, I could take a bath in it.

Sink Stats:
We have yet to order a faucet, but I'm going with a brushed nickel, bridge style facuet - similar to this:

I'll let you know when I find one!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sneak Peek - The Butler's Pantry

I couldn't resist posting a little sneak peek of our butler's pantry, which my wonderful father-in-law finished painting over the weekend. I was absolutely THRILLED when I first saw it during our initial walk-through of the house...just one of the many great features of an older home. I also have what some might call an "unhealthy obsession" with china and wine glasses, so I've got plenty of things to fill it with. :)

Since the pantry is original to the house and in good shape, we didn't want to mess with it too much...just give it a little face-lift to help brighten the space. The inside of the cabinets were black, and even though most of my dishes are white/ivory, I was afraid the glassware would just get lost. So we painted the inside the same color as the wall...

Glidden Wood Smoke, half formula
also used in living/dining rooms and upstairs
...and painted the outside a glossy white to match the trim. New hardware on the drawers was the finishing touch. Now I just have to figure out how to arrange everything (post-move, of course!).

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Kitchen

Yesterday was spent scraping paint off of windows with a razor blade. It's exactly as much fun as it sounds.

Let's talk about something more exciting, yes? Like the kitchen!

Oh, the kitchen....what started out as the room I was MOST excited to re-do (also requiring the most work, planning, and therefore, $$$), has turned into the most stressful. Renovating a kitchen is a lot like planning a wedding...there are SO MANY OPTIONS. It can be quite overwhelming. Not to mention, our layout is a little tricky. Let me back up a bit...

When Husband first described the space to me, he said something about a shelf above the sink with a plate rack, no upper cabinets (translation: no storage) and a wall with a "serving window" to the breakfast nook. I was thoroughly confused. When I finally saw it in person, here is what I noticed...

There are definitely some pros - the hardwood floors, the large windows (tons of natural light!), and...yup, that just about covers it. The cons? Well, they are a little more numerous.

While the windows are great, they are oddly placed. We have two on either side of the sink (I don't know why it bugs me that the sink is in front of a wall and not a window, but it totally does)...

...and the third window is off-center on the adjacent wall, leaving little room (and an awkward layout) for upper cabinets (that part makes sense now!).

The dishwasher door can't be fully opened without running into the oven. The cabinets and counter are crooked (because the floor is crooked), and we are pretty sure the fridge has to go in the pantry (more on that later).

After a lot of discussion (and indecisiveness), we decided to gut the kitchen and start from scratch. It's not that the kitchen was in terrible shape - we had a lot of great stuff to work with; it just wasn't set up to be functional. And I want my kitchen to be both beautiful AND functional. Otherwise, what's the point? 

So far, we've painted, installed a new sink and cabinets, chosen the granite slab and ordered appliances. I'll cover those details in a separate post.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of my very favorite kitchens (and a major source of inspiration!)...

Yup, I could live with this! ;)
*photo from

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our New {old} Nest

Eight months ago, Husband and I purchased our first house (eek!). After three years in our newlywed condo, we were ready for a change. And by we, I mean me. I was ready for more storage. And a bigger kitchen. And a living room without golf clubs or a road bike in the corner.  And so began our search.

We started out focusing on Vestavia/Homewood for many reasons...our condo is in Vestavia, so we are comfortable with the area (and we love it). It's convenient to both of our workplaces. Most of our friends live close by (including my family). The school systems are fabulous (not that we have kids or plan to have them any time soon, I just like to needlessly fret plan ahead). Easy decision, right?

It was Husband’s idea to consider some of the historic neighborhoods downtown, where we could probably find something more affordable with lots of charm and character. Plus, he’s always wanted our first house to be a fixer-upper. I’d had enough of the fixing when we re-did our condo, and was not eager to embark on a larger-scale renovation. 

I lost. 

Ok, that's not entirely fair...I'll admit that I wasn't crazy about the idea at first. But the more I thought about it and the more time we started spending looking around, I began to see that the neighborhoods were, indeed, charming. Living downtown (or close to it, anyway) would be different. A new experience. We'd get to see a whole new side of Birmingham. So looooooooooooooong story short, after months of flyers, drive-bys and open-house stalking, we landed in this gem in Forest Park:

Exasperated Husband included!

The house was built in 1926, so it has fabulous high ceilings and hardwood floors. It also has some neat little features, like this:

Adorable built-in spice rack

And some not-so-neat features, like this:

Awful bathroom vanity

Now, Husband is amazingly talented at seeing the potential in things. Me? Not so much. Although I was excited about the possibility of living in Forest Park, I needed a little coaxing. I mean, the house wasn't a TOTAL disaster (we looked at one that was MUCH worse), but it needed work. A lot. Of work.

We started out planning to flip it. It was a foreclosure, so we figured we could get a good deal, do most of the work ourselves, make a decent profit (hopefully), and find another house to "settle" in. Preferably, back in Vestavia with the stellar school system. You know, so I can worry about my unborn child's education in peace.

Well, that didn't last long. Just like I'd fallen in love with the historic neighborhoods, I fell head-over-heels for this house. In the end, I think I was the one who convinced Husband that we should forego the flip and live in it long-term (a fact he likes to remind me of when things get particularly stressful).

So, here we are. After countless weekends at Home Depot and more paint samples than any one person should conceivably purchase, I'm FINALLY getting around to blogging about our little adventure. As we get ready for the big move (or as I will refer to it, Operation Breakdown, because let's face it - I'll probably have at least one), I'll fill you in about what's been done so far and what we are planning for the future.

I hope you'll join us on our renovation journey, and the craziness that is sure to follow. Enjoy!