04 Feb

Bye Bye Cookie Cutter Kitchen

final finishes

I know this is going to come as a shock to you but I don’t cook. So when we walked through this house the modest size of the kitchen wasn’t really an issue for me. For the most part, it serves its purpose and we have all the appliances we need. And though I’m not really keen on them being black they were pretty new so there was no incentive to spend the money to swap ’em out.

builder grade kitchen

Instead, I splurged on backsplash tiles that pulled the space together. The black and grey glass worked well with the appliances and the variations in the slate pulled in the orange tone of the wood cabinets and trim.

glass backsplash tiles

The laminate countertops were in great shape so instead of replacing them I created a spice shelf to physically and visually break up the surfaces. It extends about 4″ – just enough room for the salt and pepper (or sample jar of paint). Once that was complete, I installed upgraded lighting fixtures.

diy spice shelf

So, it always bugged me that the countertop around the sink was a bit ‘overgrown’. It wasn’t wide enough for a true breakfast bar and you couldn’t sit there and not back up into the dining chairs. Since we didn’t have another eating space I had to find a way to make this one seem larger.

eat in kitchen area

Now listen, even if I wasn’t a DIY’er or interior designer I have watched enough HGTV to know that never, in the hundreds of hours of real estate shows aired has there ever been a buyer who loved everything about a home except for the fact that it lacked an overgrown countertop.

I have, however, heard plenty a property virgin whine about where all of her friends and family will sit during their housewarming party. So, the decision to cut the countertop was an easy one to make – for resale value obviously.

cut laminate countertop

See? Once I trimmed it out and stained it to match the other wood, you couldn’t even tell it hadn’t always been that way.

wood trim on counter

Just look at how much larger the dining area is! (all of the chairs are around the table)

extended dining space

After adding brushed nickel hardware to the cabinets and drawers (to tie in with the stainless steel on the stove) I cut and installed wooden crown molding above and swapped the builder grade hollow core pantry door for something a little more fun-ctional.

cabinet crown molding

Then the 7″ shallow sink was replaced with a deeper 9″ version.

shallow sink deep stainless sink

…and it was bye-bye to that cookie cutter kitchen.

final finishes

Want to see what is going on behind that pantry door? Check it out here. Or are you wondering where I stashed the trash can? It’s under here…

24 Jan

Stop Stealing My Joy

Hello friends! It’s been a while and I’m sorry. I could spend the first few lines here giving you all sorts of excuses about how busy I’ve been, detail the long lists of projects I’m working on and parade my ever-growing To Do List in your face. Or I could publish a new project post and pretend I never skipped a beat. Read More

27 Nov

A Tale of Thanks Giving

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was stuck at the office.

Hours after everyone else had gone home, I braved the cold towards the parking garage, hopped in my new Honda Civic and threw it into drive. As I made my way to the grocery store, I gave thanks for great friends willing to open their home to us the following day. Read More

14 Nov

How you doing?

I got an email the other day from a reader asking if I had given up writing blog posts and project tutorials. She’d noticed the website redesign (still in progress) and assumed by my latest Facebook posts that I had gone back to work full-time. After assuring her that the blog was still a go (and realizing I completely missed its second birthday last month) I sat down to whip up a new post. And had no idea where to begin…

See, she wasn’t exactly wrong in thinking the focus of this blog had changed, it has. And she wasn’t wrong in assuming I was working full-time again, I am. And if I’m being honest her “its okay to have nothing to say” felt like the out I’ve wanted to give myself for some time now.

But I won’t because, as I told my sister the other day, I am not a quitter.

I am, however, real enough with myself (and complete internet strangers) to admit when something isn’t working. And I guess not saying anything came through as loudly as spilling my guts (which I was avoiding) would have.

And I have plenty to say. So here goes…

What’s going on with the blog design?

I’m still trying to decide exactly how I want the menus set up but the goal was to make navigating this place easier. For you, for me – it’s total b.s. when I can’t even find something I’m looking for so I can just imagine how annoying it is for you to get around. Nevermind what a train wreck it must have looked like to someone new to the site.

When I first jumped into the blog pool I swam around like everyone else who was blogging. After two years of treading water, I realized I can’t stand the format of most blogs. A homepage that dives right into the latest blog post seems about as welcoming as a house where the front door opens into the bathroom. So, the new design offers a foyer of sorts – giving you the option to decide which areas you want to peek in to (or not).

Am I doing any more DIYs?

I don’t necessarily understand/agree with how bloggers use the term DIY. Sure, it’s an acronym for Do It Yourself, but no one seems to have a clear-cut understanding of what “It” encompasses. Since most of my projects are completed for someone else, I like to think DIY stands for “Do It for You.” In that case, yes! I’m pretty much only working on DIY projects.

But as it pertains to things I’m doing myself around my home, notsomuch. Not because I don’t have projects I’d like to/need to get done but because there are only so many hours in a day.

What’s with all the painted furniture?

Full disclosure – I clearly remember dissing people who paint furniture for painting furniture. “It’s a table. You took a white table and painted it blue and it’s still a table. Big whip.” is pretty much exactly what I said a year ago whilst perusing Pinterest. Color me unimpressed.

I’ve since changed my tune – completely. {I also spend no time on Pinterest.} See, painting furniture isn’t hard but all the other stuff that goes along with it – finding, cleaning, restoring, finishing – fascinates me. Done right, painting and/or refinishing a table (and letting it remain a table) is an art form. Done wrong, well, rewards you another chance to get it done right.

Did I get a job?

Yes. No. Maybe? Okay, let’s first decide what exactly a job is. If you’re asking if I am pulling a 9 to 5 gig, away from home in an office – no. Then again, I wasn’t doing that before I started blogging. Who works 8-hour days in construction?? If, what you’d like to know is am I keeping busy for the majority of the day and getting paid for that effort – kinda.

I’ve officially moved my inventory and shop underground and printed business cards. I have a design ready to go for work shirts but haven’t pulled the trigger.

I know the real question you want to ask is…

Are you making money?

Yes. Somewhere along the line I built up a client base and they are keeping me busy with custom pieces. As I type, I have 6 projects I should be working on – one of which is close to being late and another is due by Thanksgiving. This is why I have slacked severely on the blog posts.

Remember the projects I was working on this time last year? No? That’s because I still haven’t gotten the photos edited and loaded up for posting. I suck. I know. And spending 10 days on-site at a commercial project three counties over didn’t help scheduling matters.  But work is work and cash is cash and it all helps in the long run. Besides, sleep is overrated.

Why don’t you sell out of a shop?

Of all the questions I’m asked this one comes up most often. (I lie, “Is your website on Facebook?” is the most frequently asked question but I can no longer spend time explaining how the internet works.) The short answer is because I don’t have to but the real answer is a tad more complicated.

I’ll probably pull an entire post together about this somewhere down the line but know that there is a great deal of overhead built in to the price tags in co-op retail shops. Better are the savings on upcycled/recycled pieces you’ll find at flea markets and vintage fairs and not just because the vendors don’t want to load up and lug the pieces back home. What this means to you is that if I sold out of a shop my prices would increase – by double.

Aside from the upfront costs, I’ve found the local painted furniture scene to be cliquey. I can’t say I’m surprised since it’s made up primarily of middle-aged women. Since I don’t partake in junior high school antics I’ve opted to steer clear of that scene. Plus, I really don’t align myself with the painted furniture party – my skills and experience are much broader and I can (and do) offer more than the competition. So, it doesn’t make much sense to me to rent booth space along side them.

I do, however, support single artist shops and have my sights set on this business plan for the future. #suchatease #spoileralert

So, what now?

For the immediate future I’m going to work my tail off to clear the books of the pending commissions projects. Then, I’m hoping planning to get the last ‘built in’ project here in the house completed. It hit me a few weeks ago that we’ve got less than 18 months left in this house. That may seem like plenty of time but we still haven’t decided where in Colorado we want to go and since I’m still planning to work out of the house and open a shop – we’d better nail down a location. And soon! Plus, houses in our neighborhood are selling in a day. One day – that terrifies me.

If you’ve taken a gander at the photo gallery of raw inventory you know that the basement and garage are full of pieces to be rehashed. I don’t expect to have it all complete before we head out west and keep telling myself it’ll pack better if I don’t. Dave has his heart set on a going away party complete with massive bonfire.

I think he’s just worried I’m going to die and he’ll have to do something with it all. #paybacksabitch

As far as the blog is concerned, I really want to write more. I’ll still post my projects, before and afters and tutorials but I gotta tell ya, I get pretty bored with all the “I did this, then I did that” posts. And if I’m bored with them you’ve got to be dying over there.

So, you may not see as many pretty pictures. And it’s okay if you want to skip over a post or two but I hope you’ll stick around as the site (and my work) evolves. Because you’re pretty much the reason it exists.

Without you I would totally be vegging on the sofa.

Um, thanks?