Being that we’re going on two totally renovated, gutted to the studs kitchens in two years, I think it’s safe to say we had a pretty good idea of how we wanted the room to look and feel after we were done with it. Been there, done that type of thing. In the name of keeping our sanity intact, we’ve made a few decisions on the space that are the exact same as our last kitchen (like the faucet, and the hardware) and we’ve made a few decisions that are different as well.

One of those happens to be the counter tops – in all honesty, you’d be hard pressed to tell though, since they landed up looking so similar!

It’s always nerve racking to spend a wad on something and not be sure if you’re going to like it when everything is said and done. Y’all, I thought the counter tops in our last house were as good as it gets, but man am I glad we shopped around this time, because I’m thrilled with how these turned out.

Sans backsplash, the entire kitchen now looks like this:

Cortina Counter Top

And this is how the room looks, peering out from the Dining Room. (oh, how I long for some finished backsplash!)

Cortina Counter Tops

Now, as much as I love (LOVE) the look and feel of marble in a kitchen, Jay is the cook and he gave me a firm n.o. on that one. Not happening.

Although I know many people have found ways to work around the whole etching, staining, scratching ordeals associated with marble counters, I just didn’t want to be in a situation where we were freaking out when our friends spill some red wine or something, ya know?

So again, we opted to go with Quartz counters, but this time we purchased Cortina vs. Lagoon.

Cortina Quartz Counters

Added bonus. Lagoon was over $70 per square foot, and Cortina comes in at $59. Along with the free color promotion they were running, we were able to score this bad boy for around $50 a square foot. Bam.

Oh, and they threw in a free sink, too. 🙂

Sink Not Under Window in Kitchen

Just like the lagoon counter, this is a gray based counter top with subtle veining throughout – similar to the look of real marble.

Cortina Quartz Counter

Here’s another shot of it up against the edge, so you can see the detail there as well.

Very subtle veining.

LG Cortina Quartz Counter

For comparison, this is what Lagoon looked like in our last house. A bit more gray, and the veining is just a tad more pronounced as well.

Silestone Lagoon

And another shot of Lagoon, from a bit further out.

Silestone Lagoon Counters

In all honesty, one of the most exciting things about putting the counters down was removing all of the brown paper we had down to protect the floors.

Man, it feels good to be reunited with my little vintage Persian.

Persian Rug in Kitchen

Confession. The corner of our kitchen (where our future eat-in will be) currently looks like this. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 😉

Organizing Kitchen

Any one else out there in kitchen renovation mode? It feels good to be coming around the final bend over here!

Calling All Faucet Fans

Truth be told my friends, I’ve been holding out on you. We’ve had countertops in our kitchen for about a week now. Which has meant a week with a dishwasher and a sink (!), and blessed counters to put my bagels on as I butter them. Life, is good.

Now, I’m going to hold out on y’all a little bit longer to show some close up shots of our counters (coming Monday!). Today, I’ve got almost as exciting of a reveal though. May I present, our kitchen sink. Drum roll, pa-leassse.

Traditional Kitchen Faucet

It’s awfully purty, isn’t it? Here’s another shot of it, from the back, looking out toward the kitchen.

Traditional Faucet with Sprayer

For those of you that have been along on our renovating journeys since day one, it probably looks a wee bit familiar, no?

Oh, ya know – like this faucet. 😉 Yep – it’s totally the same faucet from the last house! No, I didn’t steal it from our Michigan house … I went out and bought a new one. 😀 See we landed up with the same guy due to almost having a faucet emergency. We were told by the counter top company that we needed to have a faucet on the day of installation or they wouldn’t cut the holes for us in the counter top. Problem was, we found this out about 48-hours pre-install. Screeeeech.

CRAP. No faucet was chilling at our house. Enter in Mary running around like a crazy woman to try and secure faucet. ASAP.

So although I had my mind set on a different faucet this time around, truth be told, the fact that this one was in stock at our local Home Depot helped to sway me toward this guy.

We got right to installing it, since we’ve been itching to have a dishwasher and sink!

Installing Faucet

Jay insisted on wearing his mining light. Hi ho, hi ho it’s off to work we go.

After he had all the drain lines connected for the dishwasher, sink and garbage disposal, our area under the sink looked a bit cluttered, but definitely better than our last house, where the sink and garbage disposal came down much further and took up most of the storage space. Over time, I think I’ll ask Jay to secure the drain line for the dishwasher up to the top of the cabinet as well, so it’s not cutting through the middle like it does now.

Storage Under Sink

Thanks to our wall removal efforts, you’ve got a nice view of the dining room and living room from the sink. This room is so much more open concept than when we bought the place and it just feels much more updated now.

Open Concept Kitchen

Here’s a shot of the sink further out, with a full view of our peninsula.

Sink Not Under Window in Kitchen

And another final view, of the handles on the sink. Can you tell I’m smitten?

Vintage Style Faucet Now, if I had a few more weeks to pick out a faucet, there were definitely some other contenders in the running. Here’s a round up of some of my favorite options.

Best Traditional Kitchen Faucets

Danze Cross Handle Faucet // Hampton 2-Handle Faucet // Danze 2-Handle Faucet // Moen Faucet

A Nurse and a Nerd | Guest Blogger!

You guys are in for a treat today! Laura over at A Nurse and A Nerd is telling all y’all about her a-mazing kitchen reno. It’s quite the before and after! Here’s Laura, to give you the deets!

Hi there everyone!

My name is Laura!  I blog on a little place on the web called A Nurse and A Nerd.  I work as a nurse by night and a home renovator/blogger by day.

Back in May of 2013, my husband and I bought this.

Our circa 1975 cape cod that was screaming to be loved… and demolished. So we started out with a huge Phase 1 renovation that took us down to the studs and back again.  Why would we do such a thing?  Well because we are crazy!… and because this house was perfectly situated with a panoramic view of the river and directly next to my family’s apple orchard and farm.  It’s been an adventure to say the least, but after 6 months of renovations we moved in and have been settling in for the past 7 months.

Mary was kind enough to invite me over here to Lemon Grove to share with you our kitchen renovation.

Here is the kitchen on the day we closed on our home.

Let’s go on a 360 tour – clockwise.

It was a bit dark and a bit dingy – with a great big layer of grease all over everything to top it all off.  Not really our style.

So we gutted everything.  And knocked down the walls that were closing in the kitchen.

We removed the exterior door, the soffit, the linoleum and all the drywall.

And now?  Well I’d say we’ve made a least a mild improvement.

I’m a simple, timeless, country cottage kind of girl.  So that’s what we went for.  White inset perimeter cabinets.  Black beadboard island.

On the island we used a white quartz that has a cararra marble look.  Its called Bianco Carrara Quartz.

And on the parameter we used a granite called Silver Wave.  I love that it grounds the white cabinets.  Plus the busy pattern hides a lot of messes while I’m baking cookies for my cookie monster husband.

I love the timeless simplicity of subway tile, so that is what we used as the backsplash – not to mention I found the tile for about $20 total at the Habitat ReStore!

The farmhouse sink is Kohler. It’s super special to me.  You can read about that here.

One of the other favorite parts of my kitchen are my copper lights.  They just are the icing to my cake.  The cherry on top.  The chocolate syrup on my sundae.   

Newsflash: I like sweets.…And I also like my copper lights.

The counter stools are IKEA. And I love how they pop next to the black island.

We absolutely love our kitchen.  The biggest thing we love about it?  The openness. The opportunity to entertain and be in on the action. We’re big extroverts.  So the idea of keeping everything open and flowing was our #1 priority in our kitchen renovation.

We just finished painting and sprucing up our living room and currently have our eyes on the bedroom.  I hope you stop by and see the progress we make!

Thanks again to Mary for inviting me over and thanks to you all for taking a tour around!


Sometimes, you’re without something for so long, you forget what it’s like to actually have said item. Take kitchen cabinets, for instance. Who needs em’ when you can just keep all your stuff in boxes. All your stuff. After countless delays and countless headaches, y’all, we’ve finally got our kitchen back. I don’t know if I should cry, or grab a hula hoop or chest bump my neighbor, but I must confess, it feels good to be reunited with our cabinets.

Now, our kitchen transformation is not complete. Far from it – see we’re still missing an important detail known as our countertops. Without those, we are unfortunately still sans dishwasher and sink, but I’m celebrating the victory at hand for what it is.

Although this room is still light year’s away from being done (notice how I keep mentioning that) 😉 , I’m happy to report it no longer looks like this.

Martha Stewart Kitchen

Most importantly, however, it no longer looks like this:

Kitchen Before

Old cabinets, be gone. Welcome to the 21st century kitchen.

Martha Stewart Kitchen Cabinets

Now, if you erase that lovely pink paper on the ground, and the missing backsplash and the lack of counters, I’d say we’ve got a pretty swanky looking space on our hands, no? This room is leaps and bounds better (in many ways) than any other kitchen we’ve had to date. Things like our built-in microwave stand make my heart sing a nice little tune.

Built-in Microwave Cabinet

We decided to go with the Martha Stewart Wellston cabinet front, which is an embellished shaker style door. Very classic looking and I’m absolutely dying to see what it looks like with our new counters installed and our backsplash up.

Martha Stewart Wellston Cabinet

We nearly had disaster strike when our kitchen designer at Home Depot put in the completely wrong fridge size, but when we worked to reconfigure the space, we actually landed up with a happy little accident. See this guy, nestled between our cabinets?

Built-in Spice Drawer

It’s a built-in spice drawer, also known as the best use of 3″ in a kitchen ever. When you live in a small little vintage house, every little nook and cranny needs to get utilized to maximize your storage space, so I’m absolutely loving this new addition. Here it is in action.

Installing Spice Rack

Some things on this kitchen are the same, or very similar to the last one. Since we knew we already liked the look (and price!) on things like our hardware, we decided, why reinvent the wheel. Here is how the hardware looks up and installed, with a breakdown of the sources for each item.

Martha Stewart Wellston Cabinet

Although the baskets we used for storage in the last house don’t fit quite as perfectly in these cabinets, they’ll do just fine for now. Am I the only one that gets giddy from organizing cupboard space 😀 I see a trip to HomeGoods in my future. #basketheaven #husbandhell 😀

Kitchen Cabinet Organization

Look how lonely my new lazy susan looks without baskets 🙂 Oh, by the way, not sure how I lived without a lazy susan before now. It’s pretty much amazeballs. so. much. storage.

Martha Stewart Lazy Susan

Although we’re so happy to have our cabinets in, there are still quite a few things that need attention in the room from the installers, including:

  • Toe kick installation
  • Panels on fridge
  • Fixing a gouge in one of the cabinets (replacing it, I’d guess…)
  • Adding a back panel to the peninsula
  • Ordering a new cabinet face for one

Blame it on my fried, overworked brain, but it took me a quick second to realize that final bullet. I kept looking at one of the cabinets and thinking it looked janky, until I realized, yep – totally the wrong cabinet face. Fail, Home Depot, fail.

We’re working with the installers, and hopefully the list above will be accomplished very soon!

Wrong Door On Cabinet

Has anyone else out there done a Martha Stewart kitchen? We still have a few odds and ends that need to get taken care of, but for now, we’re pretty over the moon to have a spot to store all our goods!

The Spark of the Dark

Oh man guys, for the record, I’m kinda missing the apartment. I know it sounds weird, it feels weird even saying it, but I guess that our little hole in the wall with the mattress chilling on the floor and the orange tabby always at arms reach, our house just doesn’t feel like home yet. I know it will, soon, but right now, at this moment, it still feels pretty construction zone and not so home sweet home.

That being said, painting progress we made last week has definitely moved us further along on the continuum of making this space feel a bit more homey. As my walls can testify, we’ve tested lots of paint. LOTS. Seriously, gray tones can be tricky! The first few I slapped up there just looked way to purple to me – and that’s definitely not the look I’m going for.


After lots of testing, and comparing the view between the Dining Room and the Living Room, I finally decided on Sandy Hook Gray, by Benjamin Moore. It’s a nice darkish grayish greenish color that I think will look oh so fine once we add in our nice bright cabinets and some trim work in the dining room.

Before we started painting, we had to wave farewell to some lovely lookers up on the windows. au revoir!


Since the Dining Room and Kitchen are more or less, one large room, we thought it made the most sense to paint both of these rooms the same color, to have some cohesion between the spaces. Truth be told, the kitchen barely has any paint that needed to go up, largely because the cabinets and back splash will take up a solid chunk of that space, so that helped to move things along!

It felt good to paint in the kitchen, since we had been living with some unsightly marks from the wood floor installation where the mallet hit the wall.


Now seriously, if y’all know me, you know that I’m kinda color phobic. Something bad and brightly colored must have happened to me as a child. So going dark is kinda liberating for me! It’s not like I’m painting the room neon orange or anything, but I considered this color to be a bit of a deviation from the normal paint programming around here and I’m pretty darn excited about it. 😀

Going up, I had a few panicked moments …


But by the time we had (2) coats up on the walls, I was liking it an awful lot. Here’s a shot of the room, looking out from the Dining Room onto the Living space.


The Dining Room also only has a little bit of paint going up, since the bottom half will be getting some board and batten action, just like our Master Bedroom upstairs. In the name of making sure everything jives just right, I think we will wait until the cabinets get delivered to install that though, just to make sure we have the right height, since we want it to match right up with the bottom edge of the counter.

Here are a few more shots so you can get a feel for how it looks in different lighting.

Sandy Hook Gray Benjamin Moore

This is what that same window looked like before we painted. Hello, yellow!


And here is a shot looking out from the kitchen, into our Dining Room and Living Room, so you can see how the rooms interact with each other.


It was lots of fun to have the orange tabby back in our renovation extravaganza. Even though he’s a little bugger that’s often getting in the way, the house felt pretty empty over here without him.


The next step, now that we have paint on the walls, is to upgrade our trim throughout the house. See this rinky dink crown? It’s really more like a small piece of trim, and y’all – it’s just got to go. We installed the final pieces of crown this weekend and it looks SO much better! I’ll have some official after shots of all the rooms later this week.


The best part about seeing paint up on this wall, is how much it helps to unite the space and make it feel like one, large room, instead of the segmented separate rooms we had going on before.

Has anyone else used Sandy Hook Gray before? I think I’m slowly before converted away from white! Baby steps people, baby steps.

The Big Box Duel

Buying cabinets – it’s quite the adventure. I have to add – especially here in the south. I’m convinced that people work at just a bit of a slower pace down here. This northern girl that sprints everywhere is still trying to adjust 😉

In the name of being thorough, we decided that we’d scope out both Home Depot and Lowe’s this time around and report back on which one was our favsies. A big box duel, if you will. Are you ready to rumbllleeee???


Since we got our cabinets for our Michigan house from Lowe’s we figured that it was a logical place to start. We weren’t bowled over by the process the first time, but things went smoothly enough and we thought that we might as well start there again. Plus, Home Depot makes you pay in advance to come out and measure, and that seemed like a bit of a hassle to us, too.

So we set up an appointment and found a few cabinet styles we liked. When we started the planning process, we were leaning toward this style (Culver), which is pretty much a traditional shaker style, with an extra inset panel. Nice.

Gray Diamond Cabinets

This is what the Culver cabinet style looks like in a full kitchen, and in white (which is what we’d be doing). Swanky, right? I’m a sucker for traditional cabinet styles, so I’ve always been partial to a nice shaker door.

Diamond Culver Cabinet

This is another, similar, door style that I had in mind as well. Just a hair different than our kitchen in our last house – thought we’d mix it up just a little since we liked how these door styles provided a bit more visual interest.

Diamond Reflections Shaker

We went through the entire planning process (laying everything out, customizations) and then we got a zing-zing-zinger. The cabinets we picked out at Lowes we’re going to cost us about $11,000. WOAH. Now, for context, our first kitchen from Lowe’s set us back just under $5,000 and this one is certainly not twice the size. Herrumpph.

Initially, we had it in our heads that we wanted to go through Lowe’s since last time we got some pretty sweet Memorial Day savings, including 10% back as a gift card to Lowe’s. Now, when you’re moving into a new pad, any bit of $$ is helpful, so that was pretty enticing. Needless to say though, once we got that big fat total from Lowe’s we decided it would be worthwhile to at least look at Home Depot. I remembered last time we were on the hunt that I really liked the Martha Stewart Line – so I decided to start there.

And wonder of wonder’s I found a cabinet door that made my heart go a pitter patter. Martha just came out with a new door style, called Wellston and it might as well be called the key to Mary’s heart – cause I love it.

Wellston Martha Stewart

What do y’all think?! I was really liking the more updated take on the shaker cabinet door. Yummy. Note, the photo above is of the cabinet in cream – we will actually be getting “Picket Fence”

Here is another, side angle shot. Classy!

Martha Stewart Wellston Cabinet

Now, unfortunately this cabinet style is so new that there really are not any examples of it online. Boo.

That being said, Holly over at Life in the Fun Lane has an awesome Martha Stewart kitchen, also in picket fence which provided a general idea of what ours would look like once installed. Truth be told, I’m officially geeking out looking at these photos 😀

Martha Stewart White Kitchen

We loved that in addition to being beautiful cabinets, that the Martha Stewart line also carries lots of nice (optional) upgrades to make your space that much more user friendly. Considering the cabin style bases we had before, we are beyond excited for sweet details like pull-out shelving and spice drawers. To optimize space, we’ll actually have a drawer like the one below, but just for spices (it’s only 3″ wide!). It was so much nicer to be able to use that 3″ for functional storage though, vs. a filler piece.

Martha Stewart Kitchen

We also decided to upgrade and get the pull-out drawers, to make our stored pots and pans that much more accessible.

Martha Stewart Cabinets

Lucky for us, the Martha Stewart line came in $2,500 less than the Lowe’s counterpart we had selected. Bam.

Added bonus, since we ordered the cabinets during a Memorial Day sale – we got an extra 10% off our total, bringing our total out of pocket cost, with tax and installation, to $7,200. Now in my book, that’s certainly nothing to bat a stick at, definitely not chump change! But since we knew we’d want to invest in some key features in our new home when we first moved in, we set aside some dough from the sale of our last house to help us pay for all of these initial renovations up front. We definitely feel like this will be money well spent!

Overall, here are the pros and cons we found for each location.


We officially ordered the cabinets last Friday, so now we just wait! It’s going to be close and truth be told, we may be kitchenless for a hot second when we first move in. At least we’ve got the grill, in a pinch! 😉 Next up, counter options!!

Floor to the Door

After having 2+ months off from home ownership while we’ve been chilling in our little apartment, I’ve gotta say there are some nights when you’re longing for a glass of wine and an episode of Mad Men. And a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, all of those things. Although fixing up houses is seriously my jam, some projects are just grueling any way that you look at it. Our kitchen demo/floor install falls into that category. We’re definitely attempting to take things at a more comfortable (sane) pace this time around, but every once and a while you come up against a deadline where you’ve just got to bust it out and make it happen.

The deadline this time, our tool rental. So it was ready, set, 24 hour rental, let’s go!

Before we went to grab the nail gun (our rental), we had a few minor things to do to get the space all ready for the next round of flooring. If you’ve been keeping up with our little adventures, you’ll know that we removed all the old flooring before, so that the new wood would match up with the old flooring we already had in the dining room. But, since we’d removed a wall in the process, we had to create a clear edge as a starting point for the next row of flooring.

Removing Existing Wood Floor to Add Flooring

Luckily, this took all of 2 minutes, since we literally just came through with a circular saw, cut through the last row and then grabbed a crow bar to pry the loose pieces out, like the photo above.

We knew we’d be under a tight 24 hour timeline, so we did everything we could to prep for the flooring installation before the tool was actually in our hands. By the time we were done getting the room ready, it was looking like this – mighty empty.

Prepping for Wood Floor Install

Other than the tools we knew we’d be needing, we made sure to have everything completely cleared out of the space (along with having it swept clean to avoid any conflicts with debris and the new flooring). I also started a new tradition with this reno. Since I knew it would be a beast of a task, and that Jay, well, might be reluctant to make the magic happen – I made an executive decision to resort to bribery. From this point out, I’ve started budgeting an extra $20 bucks into the equation to buy this fella some nice beer that he can sip on to help stay motivated (ahem, wash away his sorrows and pain). For one, it makes Jay the happiest husband ever, and for two, happy husbands are just a very good place to start a project. Since y’all, it usually heads down hill rather fast with a reno 😉

How to Bribe Your Husband

But before we even got to this point, we had to purchase our 200 (or so) square feet of wood that we’d be laying down. When we moved into town, we immediately noticed that there was a lumber liquidators over by our new apartment, so we thought purchasing the unfinished wood we’d be laying down would be easy peasy. I knew the wood had to acclimate to the house for a few days, so I called about a week out from when we planned on installing the floor and was told that 1) they didn’t have the wood we needed in stock, and 2) that it was on backorder – indefinitely. Errrrkkkkkk. Brakes, people.

After a considerable amount of progressively desperate antics from me, the sales guy mentioned that they did have 204 feet in stock – but it was 200 miles away. Mmmmm, eeerrr – ok. Problem is, desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, so my friends, you bet I got into our little Prius that could and crossed over the state line into Virginia to get me that wood.

How to Save Money on Wood Flooring

Turns out the $30 to fill our tank was totally worth the trouble, since the wood we wanted was only .88 a square foot, vs. over $3 a square foot for their premium grade oak. We did some research and found out that although the wood we were getting was lower quality stuff – if we were willing to deal with a few knots here and there, and some inconsistencies in quality, than we could save upwards of $600 on our flooring. So, we rolled the dice, and decided to save our similions.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the quality of the wood. It definitely had some serious jankiness with some of the pieces, but since nearly a 1/3 of our flooring in this room will be covered by cabinets, we decided to just be strategic about it and hope for the best.

Laying Down Tar Paper for Wood Flooring Install

The first step to laying the wood flooring down (after we had cleared the debris, and cut the final row to match up), was to lay down some tar paper under where we would be laying down the new flooring. After the first cut was down, I eventually took over this job so that we could multi-task a bit and get some more done. In theory, laying down this paper should help to insulate the floor and minimize any squeaking as well.

From there, we just tapped each piece of wood into place with our mallet, and than came back through with our trusty rented nail gun. Lucky for us, our only cut for each row was a straight cut at the end. Heeeeelllll yeah – that definitely sped things up! 😀

How to Install Wood Flooring

To start out, Jay was in charge of installing each piece of wood, and I would come through in front of him to “pre-lay” each row of flooring. Since I knew I cared about each piece a bit more (i.e. not wanting wood knots and mis-colored pieces front and center) I took over with laying down each piece preemptively, so he could just grab and go.

Prepping Floors for Wood Install

Now, given the fact that we went the cheap route and opted to use the chipper chicken wood, we did have to get creative at times. After putting all of the seriously ugly wood under where we knew cabinets would be, we still had some improvising to do. I.E. the hack-a-wood-a-thon. Take the wood that’s jank, and cut it so it ain’t.

Removing Imperfections in Wood

You can see that I definitely tried to use the worst off pieces first though, to cluster along the edges of the wall, where we will be placing our cabinetry. Anything that was deemed to dark, or had lots of knots got placed right along our new cabinet base locations.

Installing Wood Flooring

In addition to bribing Jay to bust this beast of a project out with beer, I also decided to redeem a sweeter than life coupon we got from Whole Foods for a free dinner (say whaatt??). We totally got a free coupon in the mail as a welcome to the neighborhood type of thing and I got this, for absolutely nothing!

Whole Foods Coupons

I may or may not be Whole Foods biggest fan now 😀 Seriously, as anyone that’s been through home renovations knows, things like making food tend to take a back burner, so having this plop on to our doorstep was a very welcome addition. (Added bonus, that whole meal is normally only $16 bucks (including the salad…), and we got 3 meals out of it, so that ain’t bad either)

When I came back from the grocery store, and saw Jay bird crouched in the fetal position, I knew it was a good time for a food break anyway 😀

DIY Wood Floor Install

The next day, after we’d returned our nail gun to Home Depot, we came back through and did the final round with our normal nail gun. Unlike the rental, this one had different nails in it that technically, aren’t meant for installing floors, but since we were unable to fit the rental in that small of a space (since it was too close to the wall), it worked in a pinch.

Installing Unfinished Wood Floors

Now instead of a big, vast, open space, we’ve got some matchy, matchy floors going down in our kitchen. Well, at least we will once everything is sanded and stained. Can’t. WAIT! 😀

Adding On Wood Flooring

Tearing out My Heart

Demo is supposed to be the easy part, right? So why, why renovation God’s have you forsaken me? Sometimes, home renovations move a bit slower than you’d like. Case and point – our floor demo process. So, if you can’t tell from the previous posts, Jay has been the main guy stationed in the kitchen area these days and he’s most definitely on demo duty. Rip it, rip it good. I’ve been continuing my cathartic wallpaper removing ritual and Jay bird’s been tackling this beast of a kitchen.

See this linoleum floor. Turns out I just wasn’t able to fit this beautiful pattern into my design for the space, so heave ho, out it goes.

How to Remove Linoleum Floor

And although removing linoleum floor in itself doesn’t sound so beastly, it turns out when there’s 3/4 inch of additional flooring hanging out underneath it, it’s a bit of a task. Sad truth, somewhere down the line someone definitely put linoleum floors right on over wood ones and totally and completely ruined them. In the end we decided to rip everything out, down to the subfloor since nothing was really salvageable with all the nails and glue on it.

After considering lots of options, I’m super excited to say that we’ve decided to install wood floors in the kitchen, which after everything gets sanded down, should match up with the rest of the house. I think once it’s all finished it will make everything look a bit more intentional in the house, and aesthetically, I think it will help the kitchen and dining space flow into each other nicely, too.

How to Remove Old Subfloor

We also noticed a bit of leaking under our sink in the kitchen, which was leading to some wet flooring underneath that needed to be ripped out. Look, here’s the amazing job the previous plumber did under the sink. Saaayyyy what!! It’s like a roller coaster in there – and none of those million little ups and downs have a good seal on them. People, I’m telling ya!

Since we’ll be moving the sink location over to our new peninsula, a plumber will help to cap off this old (obviously not functioning location) and help install the new one. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about the prospect of some new plumbing 😀

Bad Plumbing Under Sink

So the combination of our desire to tie in all the floors in the house for a cohesive look, coupled with the fact that a lot of the flooring had seen better days, meant that replacing the flooring in the room was, in our minds, the best option.

We tried a variety of tactics, and found in the end that it worked best to remove the plastic linoleum sheeting first, since it was essentially binding everything into one piece, making everything that much more difficult to pop up.

How to Remove Old Linoleum

Once we were ready to start taking out the actual wood underneath the plastic (seriously, I find it kind of crazy that a floor can peel up like the photo above), we had to move on to the using the big guns. A mallet and a crowbar. Going old school here, people.

Tools to Remove Subfloor

To get at the subfloor, we just took the crow bar and tried to nudge it right underneath the flooring (as much as possible) and then tapped it a few times with our hammer. And slowly, but steadily, the flooring started to come up.

How to Remove Subfloor

Needless to say, this was quite an undertaking. The 3+ layers of flooring really had us feeling whipped after a full evening of working. When we were finally coming around the corner toward the double door off the eating area, we started to notice that the flooring underneath was not the same wood we’d seen throughout the rest of the demo. With older homes, you really never know what you’re going to get.

From the looks of it, it appears that some type of porch used to be over here, and they closed it in to make the larger eating area. There was all kinds of weirdness over here, including shingles that we’re used to shim the floor to bridge the gap between the two surfaces.

How To Replace Subfloor

After we had the majority of the floor removed, we moved on to taking out the kitchen cabinets. Luckily we found someone on craigslist who was willing to take these off of our hands. Since we just wanted to get rid of them, and they were quite old, we just listed them for free and they were out the door pretty quick.

We knew we wanted to try and sell the other items in the kitchen, including the large cast iron sink, so we were very careful to remove it without damaging it. We just scored the edge of the sink (where it meets up with the counter) until we were able to pry it right off.

Removing Cast Iron Sink

After we had all the base cabinets and flooring removed, the room was looking like this! Almost ready for some nice wood flooring! 🙂

Replacing Floors in Kitchen

Anyone else have exciting projects going on this weekend?


Can You Say Kitchen?

I like to eat, a lot. Therefore I like kitchens, a lot. I also like kitchens since designing one, in my book, is a barrel of monkeys worth of fun. Sit me down with some graph paper and images of pinterest kitchens dancing in my head, I’ll have a layout down on paper in no time flat. I like designing a kitchen space in concept, but the long and short of it, is that when reality wakes you up from your dreaming and scheming you realize that kitchens cost ya top dollar my friend. With our last house’s renovation still fresh in my head, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what this next kitchen will set us back. That being said, there are some wrinkles and differences between the two houses, so we’ll have to see how the cookie crumbles at the end of the day.

We’re not quite to the price everything out phase yet (although we do know what our general budget will be), so I thought I’d start with the fun stuff first – i.e. the design for the space! 😀

This is what our kitchen looks like right now – from this angle – pretty vintage chic cute, right?

1940's White Kitchen

Upon closer inspection, there are a few issues though. Like this cabinet. It’s so close to the dishwasher that it actually doesn’t even open. #fail


Or the bundle of cabinet doors that don’t actually shut. All the doors are super tricky to open, too. You need an on demand Popeye hoisting the door open to grab your cereal spoon each morning. Fo realz.


When you’re actually able to get the cabinets open, it looks more like a rustic lodge camping kitchen, than the tres chic look I’m going for 😀


In all honesty, I’m pretty bummed that we’re not able to salvage the cabinets. When our realtor sent us the MLS listing she mentioned that the kitchen would need a complete gut and when I looked at the pictures I was all naaahhhh – I can work with that! But once we actually got into the house to see things up close, I could definitely tell where she was coming from. Although I love the traditional style (and I’ll definitely recreate the white shaker look when we start the reno), the kitchen as it is just really does not function.

We are going to try to be really careful when we remove them, so that we can find another home for them via craigslist, or perhaps for a workbench area in the basement. That being said, when we were looking at them up close last night, it’s hard to even tell if these are boxes (where you can unscrew them, and remove them) or if the cabinets are actually built right onto the wall.

The upside of our catastrophe of a kitchen, is that we’ll get to renovate it! After this vintage ensemble, I can tell you it’s going to feel a-mazinge to have all updated digs (soft close doors! Crisp and new!) As of right now, this is the general direction I think I’ll be going in for kitchen reno 2.0.

Kitchen Mood Board


If you were around for the last kitchen renovation last summer, you’ll definitely see a lot of the same finishes. What can I say – we liked it, and it worked! We’ll probably tweak things here and there, but for the most part, it’s going to have the same look and feel as the last house.

Although I really liked how things turned out last time, I do look forward to adding some subtle accents in, to keep everything from feeling too stark and white.

One of our all time favorite things about our last kitchen renovation, was the HUGE impact we had from taking out the wall between our tiny dining room and our tiny kitchen. Since we were amazed with how much this small change opened up the room and the flow of the space, we’re doing the exact same thing in this house. Yep, that walls down and things are looking so. much. better. in there! We’re still cleaning the room up a bit post demo, but I’m so excited to show y’all how things are looking tomorrow.

For reference, when we moved in this was the general layout for the kitchen/dining room space.

Changing Kitchen Layout

On the left side wall of the kitchen, the only thing that was positioned there when we bought the house was the fridge. In a smaller sized kitchen (11’6″ x 10′) – that is a just a waste of space! With the door opening location though, it was really the only thing you could put on that wall and not restrict traffic flow through the room. Here is a shot of that kitchen wall, as it looked on move-in day. Definitely not optimizing the space!

Removing Wall

Since we’re removing a wall, our game plan is to reconfigure that area with a much more functional peninsula, which will have our dishwasher and sink on it. We wanted to avoid the pitfalls of the current kitchen, where the only spot the dishwasher fit meant that you had a cabinet drawer that didn’t open …

Removing Wall Between Kitchen and Dining Room

The layout above is what we’re hoping to go for when we reinstall the cabinets. I’m super excited about adding this peninsula and think it will be great to have the sink and dishwasher loading area facing out toward the dining room, which allows you to chat with guests even if you’re rinsing off dishes.

Now, let me tell you, since we’ve always owned and renovated older homes, I literally never thought we’d have a house large enough to accommodate any type of island, so I’m so excited about putting together some ideas for this one. Here’s a basic sketch of what I think the peninsula will look like once we’re finished with it.

Custom Kitchen Island Plenty of room for storage, including a little built-in nook for our microwave to keep the counters clutter free! Squeeee!! (I think you can add that to my never thought I’d ever have this feature in my kitchen list, too!) 😉

Overall, we’re so excited about the transformations we have planned for this space. I’m pretty sure that once it’s done, it will be my favorite space in the house! Has anyone else undertaken a kitchen renovation lately? Any words of advice as we embark on this new adventure?


Queen of Persia

What’s wrong with me. Why can’t I satiate my need for rugs around here. Now that we have fluffy floor coverings in the living room, the dining room and both the bedrooms, my heart has once again wandered. This time to a far away and exotic land. Persia, why are your rugs so darn beautiful? You taunt me.

Pinterest also taunts me, by forcing me to pin beautiful images like this one, further fueling my insatiable desire for a soft, glorious, Persian rug underfoot.

Persian Rug in Kitchen

Swoon. Hubba, hubba – right?! So every since I was born practically, I’ve been pegging for one of these beauties to come into my life. Specifically, into my kitchen. We had a little ikat number chilling in our kitchen for a while.

It was nice, but too small, plus it scooted all over the dang place with no rug pad underneath.

White Shaker Kitchen Cabinets

So we later upgraded to a nice neutral sisal rug, which I loved (aesthetically) but as far as function, that one was lagging behind, too. Since you really are not supposed to get natural fiber rugs wet, it wasn’t the best option for the surface right under where you load and unload your dishwasher. That rug wasn’t in long – my only documentation of it is this photo of the orange tabby being cute this winter and trying to stay warm. Heater hog.

Neutral Rug in Kitchen

So, I did what any sane girl about to move her tuckus across the country would do. I drifted over to ebay and bought myself a fancy pants persian rug. I told my husband we needed it to stage the house 😉

Here is my find, in all it’s glorious beauty.

Persian Rug in Kitchen

And a sorta washed out snap shot of it against the counters. Yummerlicious.

Discounted Persian Rug

A nice finishing touch to the kitchen, right? As we’re leaving our mostly finished abode for the next one, I got to thinking about the things I love about this kitchen, and the things I might do differently next time. Without a doubt in my mind, my favorite part of our kitchen by far are the counters.

I fell pretty hard for these counters in the store, and love them even more in person.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Although I love (ADORE!) the look of marble counters, my husband gave me a firm no on that one. Since I make almost all the design decisions in the household, and he’s the main man in the kitchen, I told him fine, I’d try to find an alternative. Now that we don’t have to worry at all about staining and etching in the stone, I’ve got to say that quartz was definitely the way to go for us. More expensive, but the long term maintenance free nature of it made it so worth it.

Here are our Silestone Lagoon counters in action. MEOOOOWWW.

Silestone Lagoon Counters

Another favorite feature? Our faucet! I love it. Plus, it was way less expensive than some of the other faucets I was lusting over. Added bonus.

Antique Kitchen Faucet

One thing I really love, but might do differently the next time around is our hardware. If I can work up the guts, I’m definitely going antique brass next time around. One lingering concern for me is whether or not I should go matchy matchy with the hardware and the sink…. Although I’d love a beautiful antique brass faucet to go along with the look, all the ones I’ve seen have been mucho cost prohibitive, making me want to sway back to the safe side with the nickel all around.

Martha Stewart Cabinet Hardware

Decisions, decisions….

While we are all pondering the future of my kitchen’s – shall we take one more parting glance at my lovely looker purty Persian. Yes, I thought so.

Hot dog, I’m in love.

Antique Persian Rug

Plus, if y’all are looking to score a similar look for your home, I thought I’d put together some of my favorite sources for quality, but not cray cray expensive, persian rugs.

Sources List for Antique Persian Rugs

Ebay, Specific Sellers:

1) Hgallery128

2) Ruggallery123

3) Rugemporium240

4) Mycony

5) Domimex71


One Kings Lane