Archives For kitchen

Threshold Makeover

September 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

Eight months later and I’m still in love with the cork floors in my kitchen (more on their installation here and here). Seriously, they are amazing. They look great, feel good under my feet, and are easy to clean. If anyone ever asks me how I feel about them, I become a walking infomercial (have you googled ‘cork trees‘ yet? DO. IT. Your mind will be blown). But there was one task leftover from the big install last winter that I never got around to finishing.

This is the threshold between the kitchen and the dining room. While it was installed perfectly and I’ve never had any problems with it, I never got around to staining it to match the cork.

For some reason I was nervous about staining it, which I soon realized stemmed from my last attempt at staining. If you don’t remember, I tried to stain a dresser and it was disastrous (more about that here and here). But after a brief tutorial and pep talk from my friend that helped me install the floors, I was ready to just get it done.

I used my good old Frog Tape (more on my preference for Frog Tape here) to tape off the threshold. Since sanding wasn’t necessary, I just put on latex gloves and used an old sock to rub the stain on. I used Minwax in ‘Special Walnut’, the kind of stain without the poly added in (that was my mistake last time).
My staining coach told me that if I wanted to make the stain darker I should apply the stain, let it dry over night, and then apply another coat. But if you know me at all you know I am the most impatient person on the planet. It’s like a real problem, so after a few coats I was done. I left the tape on until the next day optimistically thinking I might do another coat, but the next day I was satisfied with how it looked (or too lazy to stain it again, take your pick).

It’s a little thing, but it made me happy for a solid week. The transition looks so great now! I should have done it months ago since it only cost $6 and took 15 minutes. C’est la vie!

A Gift From Japan

September 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

Side note: The home tour went amazingly well! I’ll be back on Friday with a post all about it!

A got a gift from Japan, actually I got several, but today I’m only talking about one, and it’s awesome!

I had two students stay with me from Japan a few weeks ago and they were great. Sweet, kind, and came bearing gifts!

Can you spy what is new below?

I’ll get a little closer…
I got a fan! Were you as obsessed with these when you were a kid? I always had one that I played with (which is retrospect is sort of strange… what did I do with it?). Anyway, I was really excited when my friend got me this one, mostly because I love the print on it.

It’s little fish. Adorable! I really really like this print, too bad I can’t go buy more of the fabric!

Antiques Mall Finds

March 1, 2013 — 1 Comment

There is a big difference between thrift shops and antique shops, but they both have their merits. Thrift shops make you work harder but you can get really good deals. Antique shops are curated for you and you pay for it. I’ve chronicled my thrift shop adventures here and here, but I haven’t yet talked about antiquing. A week or so ago I made my way up to the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall and like most things with ‘mall’ in the title, it was huge! Most antique malls are set up so that different vendors can rent sections of the store. For that reason pricing varies from booth to booth. Overall I found this mall to be reasonably priced. I tried to walk out with only one thing but alas I left with two because I’m obsessed with weird things.

Can you spy what is new?

Okay, that is a little too far away to see her. Here she is up close.

Yep, that’s a solid brass Nefertiti. This one booth had a solid brass seal with beach ball on his nose and I was sort of tempted by it because it was brass but the seal was very cartoonish looking. Then my friend spied this lady up on a shelf. She was $10 and I had to have her. Actually, I really debated whether or not I needed her but I’ll get to that in a minute. First let’s talk about how regal Bob looks here:
So serious, as though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Anyway, on to the kitchen where the next item I bought is.
I know what you’re thinking… you didn’t even bother to put away the dishes before you took pictures? Yeah, it’s true I didn’t but no what you’re probably thinking is… didn’t you just buy a different rug for under the sink? Yes, I did, good observation! So apparently I’m now obsessed with rag rugs because I’ve purchased two in two weeks (the first one is here). I can’t help it I just really like them. The best part about them is that you can just throw them in the washing machine – amazing. So the pinky coral one that I originally purchased for here is great and I still love it but when I saw this one which is a little longer I knew it would work better under the sink. So I moved the smaller rug to the bathroom which I’ll show you a picture of in a minute but first another picture of Bob who was feeling very photogenic on the day I took these pictures.
This picture makes me really happy for three reasons:
1) Bob is standing still. That never happens, seriously never.
2) The new rug is so pretty
3) The. Floors. Are. Beautiful.
Here is the other rug, relocated.
iPhone picture because I was too lazy to get out my good camera
As you can see I just laid it on top of the bath mat that is already in there. Why did I do that? Because I thought it would add texture and depth to the room, uh, just kidding, I did it because I’m lazy. But I actually like it sitting on top of the other one because it makes me feel like I’m standing on a plush carpet while brushing my teeth. So luxurious. Plus I love the bright color in there.
But back to my big decision, both the rug and the Nefertiti statue were $10 so I was trying to choose between the two but I decided I liked both of them well enough to pay $20. That is the big difference between thrifting and antiquing. Last time I went thrifting (here) I paid $16 for five things and at this antique store I paid $20 for two things.
Do you prefer antiquing or thrifting?

Yay, it’s finished! I am beyond happy with my latest project. I’ve hated the linoleum floors in the kitchen since I moved in, but they were in decent enough shape that I decided to spend my money elsewhere first. I waited 54 weeks to do this project. That is a very long time for an impatient person like me! But enough rambling, here are my new kitchen floors:

Little House Design: Cork Floors, Black and White Kitchen
Ah, I’m so in love! The old floor was super nasty and it never looked clean (not that I ever mopped or anything). To replace it I chose Lisbon Cork in Rossio from Lumber Liquidators. I love it! I’ve been really intrigued by cork flooring for a long time. The first time I heard of it, I was like wha??? Cork? That’s strange! But after some research I was sold. My favorite feature is how the cork is harvested. Cork grows on trees and the top layer of bark comes off in a big piece. The tree stays alive and over a period of nine years it redevelops the layer that was peeled off, amazing uh? Seriously, Google cork trees. The images are insane. So the environmental aspect was really important part of my decision process, but I also happen to love the way it looks. Another bonus is that it really cuts down on sound pollution (it would be perfect for a house with a finished basement). The only things that sort of worries me is getting it too wet, but I’ve read tons of reviews, commentaries, and blog posts about how to clean it plus it came pre-sealed so I shouldn’t worry.

There are still a few finishing touches left to do (toe kick and thresholds) but I couldn’t wait any longer to share ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures. I’ll be back later this week with a little more detail on the how the floors were installed (I kind of helped!) plus more pictures naturally.

Happy day!

*This project was managed and executed by Osborn & Stillman. Specializing in custom furniture, Osborn & Stillman also do built-ins, flooring, countertops, and pretty much anything “wood” you can imagine. Being that they are good friends of mine I heartily recommend that you contact them for any home projects you have in mind. They also did my bathroom tile and medicine cabinet which I’m still in love with. Seriously, check out their website, it’ll make you want to burn all of your IKEA furniture. 

I had a request (a while ago) for a post about how to style the top of cabinets. It’s a great post idea because decorating unused space is hard to do. The top of cabinets are generally too high to store things that will be used regularly so they are basically just dead space (hence the trend to take cabinets all the way to the ceiling or have open shelving). I really enjoy decorating but it’s hard even for me to style dead space.

In this house I do not have open cabinet tops so this isn’t really an issue for me.

But I do have a large bookcase and I plan to get another one soon which is essentially the same thing – dead space that isn’t accessible but it still needs …. something.
Here is the current state of the top of my bookshelf. A stack of books and twin greyhound statues. Nothing fancy or striking.
But the request got me thinking because eventually (hopefully sooner than later) I will be getting my dream bookcase which will have six feet of dead space that I will have to fill so I did some research. Here are six objects or collections you can use to help fill any dead space in your house (top of cabinets, bookshelves, ledges, etc):
1) Globes. 
I love this trend of layered globes. The best part about this version of dead space decorating is that you can get globes for pretty cheap if you look hard enough. The globe in my entry way is from a thrift store for $12. Yesterday at a thrift shop I saw a black globe (those are much harder to find) for $25. It would be a fun collection to start because you can always have your eye out for one. You can also enlist your friends to look for you too. Besides being affordable, this look is also great because it has such a strong color impact. To further add to the visual appeal you can stack them on books or put them on stands to give the look a more layered feel.
2) Baskets.
Baskets can go kitschy-country fast, but what I like about the baskets in these images is that they are big and bold. If you put a few small baskets up on top of cabinet they are going to look lost and sad but large baskets will fill the space better. I also like how the texture and color of the baskets contrasts so nicely with the white kitchens they are in. If you have stained wood cabinets try white baskets for a similar look.
3) Your (fill in the blank) Collection. 
Whether you are a collector of wine bottles, milk glass, vintage thermoses, or vintage tins; dead space is the perfect place for your collection. My theory on collections is that they look better all in one place. For example, I collect pencil sketches from the places I travel and I found that I like them best all grouped together as opposed to spread out around my house. The visual impact of a bunch of like items in one place is very strong.
4) Monochromatic Layering. 
It’s simple; pick a color and get a bunch of items in that color. Go!
5) Plates.
Decorative plates were once reserved for your granny but times are a changin’. I don’t own a decorative plate but I get the appeal. My good friend collects state plates and they look awesome hanging on her wall. You could do a certain color palette, florals, toile, or Little House on the Praire commemorative plates… the options really are endless. It could be something that you start to collect or it could just be a matter of visiting a few thrift shops and seeing what you find.
6) Framed Art.
Everybody knows I’m obsessed with gallery walls so it’s natural that I’d want to stick art up there. It’s actually a small miracle that I haven’t stuck art above my cabinets yet (although I’ve thought of it often).  This also a pretty inexpensive way to decorate dead space. I like both the uniform look and the messier leaning look, either could work depending on the space.
I hope that was helpful! I really enjoyed looking around to find all these images, makes me want to start collecting stuff. Just remember, as long as you don’t resort to fake ivy and birdcages (like my Mom in the 90’s) you are good!

My kitchen is small. It is basically a glorified galley kitchen but that works for me because I live alone and if I cook it’s just for me. When I was deciding to buy this house the kitchen was a non-issue because while everything in the kitchen outdated it wasn’t outrageously so. The appliances are white and the cabinets are original and the countertops/backsplash/floor are beige… nothing crazy going on. When I moved in a new I would change things but the first phase was going to be paint/decorating.


Yeah, it wasn’t really what I was going for. The paint color was way more tan than I thought it would be. I was going for more light grey but it ended up being the exact same color as the backsplash and countertop. Not cool.


Much better.

Next up, Phase Two:

It may be hard to see in this picture but the floor has changed. My next big project is to replace the old peeling linoleum with cork. I’m so excited! I’m thinking it will happen in January so stay tuned.

This is the cork floor I want, it’s Lisbon Cork in Rossio. It’s hard to tell from this picture but is the exact same color of my hardwood floors so they will blend in perfectly.

Phase Three:

The backsplash and counter tops have got to go.

If you looked past the fancy Pellegrino bottles you can see that the backsplash is 12′ floor tiles. Cost effective but not so cute.

I haven’t decided for certain what finishes I want but I’m toying with butcher block counter tops and a white subway tile backsplash. Kind of like this:

I Spy

November 1, 2012 — 6 Comments

If you haven’t already guessed I love to read blogs. Since I read so many blogs I start to see trends or common things being repeated. One trend I noticed recently is in the following pictures, can you spot it?








So what’s your guess? If you guessed S.Pellegrino brand carbonated water bottles than you guessed correctly!

I see Pellegrino in soooo many kitchens on Pinterest and blogs. It’s no wonder really because that green bottle just looks so good. I noticed the trend a while ago but I didn’t jump on board because I don’t drink Pellegrino often. But then I was at the grocery store yesterday and they were on sale (3 for $5) so I went for it.

Now my kitchen is super trendy and I can have gin and tonics any time I want. Win-win!


September 25, 2012 — 2 Comments

Confusion never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks

Let’s talk clocks (not Coldplay). I’ve been suffering from some serious clock envy lately. I’m not sure why because I loathe the sound of a ticking clock. I mean, it will seriously drive me out of my mind. I once had one of those $5 clocks from Walmart in my dorm room in college but it drove me mad so I threw it away (to the chagrin of my roommate). But I may consider living with the sound again because these clocks look so so good (I can always take the batteries out right?).

I am so in love with this clock I want to eat it. Unfortunately, it is $160 🙁

I love this clock. It comes in silver, mint, red, and white and it ranges in price from $25 to $40. It’s adorable.

This sunburst clock is awesome and amazingly it’s only $25! It reminds me of the sunburst mirror in my entry.

Here’s another little retro number.. adorable and only $24 it would be a cute addition to any room.

This is a great clock and it would look great in a living room and it’s only $25 so yay!

For some reason it seems like the most popular place for clocks is in kitchens… like these:





And they look great there, but I think clocks look good in lots of places.

Okay so this is technically in the kitchen but this a seriously ‘go big or go home’ take on the kitchen clock. (Source)

This kind of reminds me of those clocks at fancy banks, but homey and cool. (Source)

I’ve already professed my love for gallery walls and a clock would be an awesome edition to any gallery wall.

It’s a pretty classic look to have a large clock in the living room. This clock really stands out because it’s the only thing on the walls and the statement is lovely.

In my house I currently don’t have any clocks, not an alarm clock, or a stove clock, or a microwave clock… I’m like living in the stone age over here. The only clock I have is on my phone so *fingers crossed* I never lose it! Maybe I “need” to get a new clock (I like to trick myself into “needing” things so I don’t feel bad about buying them). How do you feel about clocks? Are you as torn as me about them?

Okay so chalkboards are everywhere these days and in my opinion they can go ‘cutesy’ really fast. For that reason I was never really into the trend. That is until I saw these images.




Aren’t those amazing? These are clearly expensively designed rooms and they make chalkboard walls look textured and cool as opposed to kitschy and crafty. Inspired by these images I decided to do my own chalkboard wall.

I chose this wall in the back of my kitchen. It is by the basement door and the back door. I chose this wall because I can’t hang anything on it because of the electrical box. The box is non-functioning so it’s just there built into the wall with nothing to do.

I started by taping the whole area. I don’t normally tape everything when I paint but since it is such a small area I figured it would be easier. Plus I was about to use black paint so I knew mistakes would be harder to mask. I used black chalkboard paint from Valspar. It only came in quarts. I asked the worker how much wall space a quart could do and she said a 10’x10′ area. This wall is about 3’x8′ so I only got one. It was $19.98. I used a 3″ paint brush to do the whole thing because I didn’t want to break out a roller for such a small space. I did two coats and used less than half of the quart. I let it dry over night and then I took the tape off. I was dismayed to find that some of the black paint had leaked through in places.

I knew this would really bug me so I got out a small artist paint brush (about 1/2″) and touched up the paint with the leftover kitchen paint and some white semi-gloss paint I had on hand. So much better!

The paint is still wet in the first image, it has since dried and blends in perfectly. So after I did that little correction I primed the whole wall with chalk. I don’t really know why you have to do this but I did it.

Again, I’m not sure of the purpose of this but I love how it looks after it’s all been wiped off.

I had a little trouble capturing the affect on camera, but I am seriously happy with the result. It gives my kitchen something interesting to break up all the beige and white. It was such an easy and relatively cheap project since I only had to buy the paint. I’m so happy I changed my mind about this trend.