Living It Up

So now we’re a few weeks into this house update over in Sell Casa 4.0 and I thought I’d share how our Living Room is looking after a full year under our belt in the new house. We have not made a ton of updates in here, but my favorite change is probably the feature trim work we added to the fireplace wall.


This is an up close view of the detail. This project was very similar to this DIY, if you’re looking for a step by step BTW, we just decided to double up each strip to make it thicker and a bit more substantial looking.


And now a Rafiki, look haaarrrrdddeerr.

This project was really quite cheap all things considered, just some plywood (that we doubled up to give some more depth to the wall). The total cost was under $40 since we already had the trim paint purchased. Score!


This is what the fireplace wall looked like before.

Family Room off of the Kitchen

Here is another angle of one of my favorite walls, with some new etsy artwork up and looking oh so fine.


This summer we went to the HGTV Smart Home (which was in Raleigh this year) and I spotted a really cool, considerably larger, artwork piece that was broken into (9) frames if I remember right, at the base of a stairwell landing. Having slightly less space to work with, I decided to go with a 4-frame art option and I really like how it turned out!

I found an etsy print online that I loved and approached the artist about dividing it up into quarter segments – voila! Pretty cool statement wall now and the artwork really helps to ground this wall a bit (which had been completely bare for over a year).


We spend a ton of time in our Living Room these days with Mr. H running around, and we’ve found this layout works really well with us. The sectional tucked against the wall prevents furniture from blocking the flow – great for running around (and through) the room.


This room opens right up into the newly renovated kitchen – we love it. We’ve loved all our houses in different ways and for different reasons, but y’all, this one feels the most like home.


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!

Reunited and it Feels So Good

Oh my kitchen. How I’ve longed for thee. Do I cook? Not a lick. Do I like it when my husband cooks for me? You bet your knickers I sure do. Also, I miss things like having a fridge that stores more than a gallon milk. Yes, we were using a 2 foot tall refrigerator for the past 2-weeks, and living in our basement as the floors get refinished. Oh, and did I mention that a 7 foot tall giant moved in with us? Yes, we don’t have a new pet dinosaur, we do have a new roommate. His name is Iain, and he is living with us for 5-weeks while he works on his Master’s at the U. What a student, what a guy. So anyway, we’ve all been camping out in the basement and storing all our worldly refrigerator items in a mini-mini fridge. Fail. Here, meet Iain.

New Roomie

So much more exciting than the addition of the giant roommate (sorry, Iain), is the addition of our new kitchen cabinets, and the addition of our appliances back in their gosh darn rightful location (hooked up, in the kitchen). Woo to the hoo. Here is a view of the room right after the installers wrapped up their day of work. Still needing a few things (appliances, backsplash, paint touch ups)… but golden mother of pearl, I think we can all agree it’s an upgrade from the empty room we’ve had for the last month.

White Kitchen With Shaker Cabinets

Literally the longest, and hardest part of installing the new appliances (GE Cafe Line) was getting the microwave oven in. Frickety frack. It took like 2-hours, and it was just tedious, to the max. Luckily the microwave came with a handy little template that gave us the play by play of how to get this guy in.

How to Install Wall Mounted Microwave

You literally just put this piece of paper right up against the bottom portion of the cabinets, and it told you exactly where to put each screw and drill each hole. I mean, come on, that is da bomb. Here is Jay, making some final adjustments before we popped in the new microwave. Even with all the hand holding, this step took us 2-hours, and lucky for us, we had an extra set of hands around with Iain, since this beast was heavy.

How to Install Microwave

After we got the microwave, and the rest of the appliances in for the evening, I had to go and take some beau-ti-ful after pictures of this joint. Let me preface that by saying we are missing the following: counters (obvi), hardware, backsplash, a sink, a dishwasher, touch-up paint and … I feel like I’m missing something else, so, we are probably also missing that mystery object. Ah yes – Crown!! We are planning on DIYing the crown over the next few weeks. Yippie skippie. Should be a wee bit easier with the new nail gun. 😉

This is a view of the wall with our range and the microwave. I dig it. We’ll be putting backsplash behind, and there will be counters for prep on either side of the oven.

GE Cafe Gas Range

And a vantage point of just the fridge, and the cabinets around it. The sink will be going in to the right of the cabinets base beside the fridge. Is it just me, or does the area right above the fridge look kind of gappy? I think I might have the hubster come back through and add a piece of trim there to tighten that up a bit.

White Shaker Diamond Cabinets

Oh, and as with any renovation, there were a few issues. Namely, the cabinet panel for the left side of the fridge was “defective” according the the cabinet installers, so we have to order another one that they will come and install in a few weeks. At least it’s just the edge of the fridge, so it should be pretty straight forward to pop that sucker in.

Here is a close up of the fridge, you can see the gap action a bit more from this angle.

GE Cafe French Door Fridge

Overall – I am pretty gosh darn happy with how the kitchen turned out. It’s still not there (we have to wait 3+ weeks for the counters still – UGGGHHH), but man alive, it feels good to have the full-size fridge back. Fun size just wasn’t cutting it.



Kitchen Reno | The Lay of the Land

Ah, the kitchen reno. It’s a love/hate relationship. At this point, I would say we are 10% into the process, which is enough to feel very daunted and enough to feel rather poor by the oncoming onslaught of bills about to come your way 😉 You think you budget in every detail, and then…

In order to get a good idea of the lay of the land with cabinetry and counters, we have been shopping around quite a bit. First stop was Lowes. Mainly, because I saw this kitchen via Young House Love (actually a reader re-design from Design Me Gilla) and knew that I had to at least price these babies out and see how the cards stacked to determine if they were within our price range. We are going for all white cabinets with a shaker style door frame. I really like the detail on the front of the ones below, and the full overlay door. Love the poster, too!

Diamond Jamestown Cabinets
Diamond Jamestown Cabinets

When we first started browsing at Lowe’s the first time, the Jamestown cabinet through Diamond estimated a total cost of $3,400 for a 10 x 10 kitchen. Since ours is closer to 9×10, and we are pretty limited on the space that we can put the cabinets in due to door ways and window frames, we thought that we would budget in an extra grand and call it a day. Yeah …. I guess we should have added a few extra k’s. Oye. After the Lowes promo, our kitchen was right at $6,200. For just the cabinets.

Lowes Cabinetry Cost
Lowes Cabinetry

I gotta say – this has been a part of the kitchen reno I’ve found rather perplexing. We didn’t add all that many bells or whistles, so it’s kind of a head scratcher to see the price bump up that much. I think the biggest distinction is that the cost estimates given are only for basic cabinetry, and do not include any ad ons or odd sizes. When we were looking through the line items, the biggest bump was the paint! Just over an extra thousand for the white paint cover. Seriously.

Another bump was the crown molding. Just under $1,000 for that, which definitely means that Jay and I have made an executive decision to put that purty little detail up ourselves. We actually came to this conclusion for a few reasons.

First – We want to be able to do crown throughout the entire kitchen, and if we purchased the manufacturers crown for the kitchen cabinets, we might have difficulty matching (we most likely would have difficulty matching…).

Second – Umm, hello cost savings. After pricing it out, it looks like we will be closer to $200 for the entire room vs. $900 for just. the. cabinets. Yep – that help us make the decision, too. 🙂

Cabinet Crown Molding
Kitchen Crown

Above is an example of the type of trim I am looking for. Lovely lovely love. Here is a look we are going for overall in the kitchen. Hoping we can pull this off with our ensy teensy kitchen.

Kitchen Renovation
Kitchen Renovation

Next up – counter top searching! Looking for an affordable and durable alternative to carrera marble. Along with the rest of the world, right. 😉

Just Commit Already

Now that the bathrooms are starting to wrap up around here – we have two more BIG projects in cue. The first is the kitchen gut and remodel and the second is the attic conversion to a master suite. Both are so daunting that we’ve just been dragging our feet on them. Plus, since they are more involved, they’re also more expensive, so all our hemming and hawing has given us a bit of time to add some cash to the reserves to actually PAY for them. 🙂 For reference, here is a shot of the kitchen when we moved in. I think she was going for the wine and Tuscany type of look. 🙂

Kitchen | Before

The cabinets in here are actually quite nice, and the kitchen even has granite counter tops – both are just terribly not our taste. We will probably craiglist the whole kit and caboodle. Never sold an entire kitchen before, so I’ll keep ya posted! 😉 Since we moved in, we made a few minor revisions to the space, most notably, painting over the faux finished walls and green trim. Now, it’s time to bring this space to the next level. So. excited! The absolute best part is, since the kitchen is so very small, the price tag is also a bit more manageable. Score. Overall, we are looking for simple lines, lots of function, and bright, white cabinetry and counters. Here is an inspiration shot – would love the rug, too!

White Kitchen
Kitchen Inspiration

The first step to the kitchen reno, was ordering the appliances. Since we can’t measure for new cabinetry until the appliances are installed, I knew that I had to get my rear in gear on this one and just commit already. Like any girl with a kitchen renovating dream, I had my eye on some top end Viking appliances when we first started looking. (Not) being the cook in the house though, my pure motivation was looks 🙂 He he. Jay (of course) also liked the idea of the Viking set, but after we started searching around a bit, a few things started to sway us toward more affordable options.

First, the Viking fridges are actually made by Kitchenaid. Go figure. After looking around at all the fridges, we just kinda shrugged our shoulders and we were like. Yep, that one will keep my milk cold, too. We really became less and less keen on shelling out lots o’ similions for a fridge that was more or less, jacked up in price due to the name plate attached to it. After seeing Aubrey and Lindsay’s kitchen reno here, I was starting to become a bit more receptive to some other options as well. Namely the GE Cafe line.

Here is the fridge – love, love, lovely.

GE Cafe Counter Depth
GE Cafe Line | Counter Depth Fridge

And here is the gas range. We bought them both. :0

GE Cafe Gas Range
GE Cafe Gas Range

And…. here is the scoop on our search. Once we decided to nix the Viking line in favor of something more affordable – I started my search at Lowes. They are having a pretty awesome deal where if you spend $5.999 or more on appliances, you get a $1,000 Lowes gift card. PLUS we have our 5% cash back at Lowes this month (which caps out at $1,500 per card, for our two cards, an extra $150 back) AND there is a GE Cafe line rebate right now for $450 off if you purchase (3) appliances. Given these sa-weet deals, I had my oven, fridge and dishwasher all lined up and ready to go to purchase at Lowes. And then, I saw the total populate in the shopping cart. Yowzers. Granted, this did not include the $1,000 Lowes Gift Card OR the $450 in rebates, but still. That would be our initial out of pocket cost.

Lowes Shopping Cart
Lowes Shopping Cart

Being so reluctant to part with $7,000+, I thought I would do some quick online shopping around, just to see if I could snag a better deal. And snag a better deal I DID. Did you notice the capital D.I.D. Fo shizzle., ya ever heard of it? Yeah – me neither but we are now BFF’s. They had this tricky little promo where they didn’t tell you the price until you put it in your cart. Before I put it in the cart, the oven and the fridge were like $200 cheaper each. So my $1,000 Lowes gift card, and $150 back in credit card rewards were still tipping the scale. Shopping Cart Shopping Cart

But then, a magic fairy came and sprinkled fairy dust on my shopping cart, and brought the prices down to $1,764 LESS than the Lowes options. And THEN I found a 5% off coupon online! Win-Win-Winning! And the extra good news is that our local distributor just happens to have a floor model available of the dishwasher, and that is marked down to $799 from $1,600. And THEN, we realized that there was free shipping with, where Lowes was going to charge $100+ for deliver of each one. Sweet tamales, say it ain’t so Joe!

So the final breakdown is as follows for our new sweet fleet of stainless appliances.

  • Fridge – $2,124
  • Gas Range – $2,201
  • Dishwasher – $799
  • AND there is a $450 rebate
  • So the grand total is $4,673 

We plan on selling our appliances for a few hundred bucks, so that should knock the price down to right around $4,000. Since we were initially budgeting to spend closer to $10k on a Viking suite, this make me very, very happy! We are having these guys delivered in a week or so, and I couldn’t be more excited. Only downside is that this means we have to get crack-a-lackin’ on the rest of the kitchen reno. Exciting, but also expensive and daunting! I feel like we are on step 1 of 100 right now. Each step gets us closer, though!