Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

the light fixture that wasn’t

Last week I shared with you my kitchen mood board.  All of the elements in my design plan – the lighting, the fabric, the tile – were selected after several weeks of browsing home décor blogs, pinterest, and catalogs in search of inspiration.  While the tile was a pretty easy decision – I had my heart set on white subway tile – lighting and fabric is a whole other ball game.  The options are nearly endless.  The more I researched the more I became confused.  After making my fifth or so pinterest mood board, I finally felt confident in my design plan.  I selected the Ikea Leran Pendant Lamp for over our kitchen table.

I loved that the natural texture of the shade would be juxtaposed against the shiny black kitchen table we already own from Crate and Barrel. 

I was in love with the mix of natural materials (pendant) and painted wood (table).  And let’s be honest…the $89.99 price tag of the Ikea Leran made this an easy decision.  I decided to hang the Ikea Leran over our table and the Crate and Barrel Victory Pendant over the island.


I thought that the light fixtures related enough (in size and shape)…but would make for an interesting combination of industrial steel and natural woven fibers.  I also loved that the pendant hanging over the island would be silver galvanized steel (and tie in nicely with our soon to be grey/charcoal walls), while the Ikea Leran would be hanging over our shiny black table (but relate to the stain of our kitchen cabinets).

Well all of my planning was for naught.  My husband vetoed the Ikea Leran on the spot during our trip to Ikea.  Back to the drawing pinterest board.

The Crate and Barrel Victory Pendant lamp arrived the very same day the Ikea Leran was vetoed.  I opened the box to find a light fixture whose scale was way too large to be used over our island.  The light fixture measures almost 26 inches in diameter, while the depth of the island is only 27.5 inches.  The proportions just weren’t going to work.

My light fixture plan was a fail – a double fail.  I selected two light fixtures that weren’t going to work for the space (albeit for two different reasons).

To salvage my plan I decided that the Victory pendant lamp would work with the scale of our table (45 inches in diameter without the leaf).  I’m going to have that fixture hung above our kitchen table.  I then worked to find a light fixture for over our island.  A light fixture with the correct dimensions,  and also one that my husband approved of.  I decided on the Ballard Addie Pendant.  I couldn’t be happier with my two choices and dare I say, I’m actually happier with the combinatin of the Addie Pendant and the Victory Pendant than I was with the original plan.


From this experience I learned a very valuable lesson: Measure.  Measure again, and then triple check your measurements just one more time.

Kitchen Update: The final reveal of the kitchen will probably take a bit longer than first anticipated.  I still have to schedule our painter, as well as decide on/order fabric (and then sew the drapes).  Flipping through the Ballard Designs catalog I came across two more Ikat fabrics that I like and I’m awaiting the arrival of the fabric samples.  So far, these three are in the running.  What would you select?


August 30, 2011

My local Goodwill – also known as the “Target outlet center”

My local Goodwill has been chock-full-o-goodness lately, and I just returned from yet another sucessful trip.  There is a Goodwill a few minutes from my house, and it just happens to be next to the Giant where I stop in for quick grocery runs (shhh! don’t tell Wegmans I’ve been unfaithful).

A few weeks back I stopped into Goodwill and picked up a pair of beautiful BRAND NEW lamps.  Literally, brand stinking new, they still had the Target stickers on them.  Click here for the link to the lamps on Target’s website.  Target is selling these lamps for 59.99 a pop.  Goodwill’s price: 9.99 per lamp.  Yes, I saved a total of 100 dollars off retail price.  While I believe that I “saved” 100 dollars, my husband likes to argue that I didn’t save anything and in fact I “spent” 20.  Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.  Either way I came home with some brand new lamps in exchange for 20 bucks.  While the lamps were a pretty color, the plum really wasn’t fitting in with my decor scheme.  I’ve already given the lamps a makeover (which explains the setting of the pictures below):

Today, I stopped into Goodwill on my way home from work and was pleasantly surprised to find that Target had just unloaded more NEW merchandise.  I was greeted by this beautiful sight:

I know what you’re thinking.  Ceramic garden stools covered in pink flowers – ugly.  But at 24.99 per stool, it’s nothing that a can of spray paint can’t fix.  I know that garden stools have been all the rage lately in home decor, but I’m not over them.  In fact, I’ve been lusting after a pair for a while now and I’m so happy to have found a pair that don’t do too much damage to my decor budget.  Target is selling these stools for 59.99 each.  Enough said.

I also picked up some other goodies while at Goodwill today.  I’m in the process of decorating one of our guest bedrooms (yes of course I’ll be sharing all of the design and DIY goodness) and was in desperate need of a bedskirt to cover the ugly bedframe.  Team Goodwill-Target to the rescue again.  I scored a King size bedskirt for…wait for it…2 dollars and 49 cents.  Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pictures…

Let’s recap my “savings.”

Lamps – Target price: 120    Goodwill price: 20

Ceramic garden stools – Target price: 120    Goodwill price: 50

Bedskirt – Target price: 32    Goodwill price: 2.50

Total spent: $72.50

Total saved: $199.50

Goodwill trip = success!

August 26, 2011

a {minor} kitchen remodel – progress!

When I left my house today, I said goodbye to this as my backsplash:

and helloooooooo to this:

U.S. Ceramic Tile Bright Snow White 3 in. x 6 in. Ceramic Wall Tile

Before we get to the after pictures, let’s walk through the process. 

1. Buy tile from Home Depot. 

2. Beg my Dad for help

3. Go to work, come home from work, and admire Dad’s mad tiling skills

I hate to break it to you but this was NOT a DIY project.  There are many projects I’m willing to tackle on my own – but when power tools are involved, along with the possibility of losing a finger -I hire out.  And by hire I mean politely beg ask my contractor father for his services.  In return, I treated him to some really great takeout for dinner.  Fair trade, right?

I was able to snap a few pictures along the way, for your viewing pleasure only.  I won’t even begin to provide an explanation for what was happening here.

And how about a few after pictures?  As you can see we went with grey grout.  The darker grout helps to tie in the dark granite countertops.  I’m not able to find the grout on Home Depot’s website, but I can tell you it came in a box (as opposed to a bag) and the color was “light grey.”

You like?  I loooooove!

You’ll also notice that my Dad switched out the builders grade “cream” electrical fixtures to pure white.  Again, I’m not here to provide a tutorial (especially not when it comes to electrical), but it is something to think about when tiling your backsplash.

Although this is just the start of this makeover, I can already see how much lighter and brighter this space is becoming.  I’ve got a smile on my face just thinking about the end results.  There are still a lot of big projects to tackle: painting, curtains, and light fixtures.  I’ll also need to decide on artwork and smaller area rugs for in front of the sink and sliding glass door.  While I won’t be tackling the painting or the electrical work on my own, you will see me DIY the drapery panels.  Eventually, I’d love to put together a lined drapery panel tutorial and share it with you.

**hugs to my Dad for tackling this tiling project for me**

August 25, 2011

a {minor} kitchen makeover- the plan

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m working on a plan to turn my kitchen into a space that I love.  The kitchen is the heart of our home: it is where our guests linger during dinner parties, where you can find me Sunday’s in the fall rolling meatballs and cooking up a pot of gravy (my maiden name does end in a vowel), and most importantly where my husband and I sit down to dinner each night to discuss the day’s events.  There is one rule in our house and that is that all dinners are eaten at the kitchen table and with no TV background noise (well…certain exceptions *might* be made during college basketball season).

With that said I’m ready to make this space more ME (i mean uhhh, “US”) with…

a whole lot of classic white subway tile

and beautiful ikat fabric for drapes

two new overhead lights for the island and kitchen table

and a new area rug for under our table

Of course we’ll be painting the walls as well, paint color yet to be determined.  I’m leaning towards something in the gray family which will blend in nicely with the wall color from adjoining rooms.  I received a great design tip from a close family friend years ago – when designing a room always pick your paint color last.  I would have NEVER thought of that on my own…but it is so true.  It is much easier to match a paint color to fabric, than vice versa.  So, I’ll be taking my ikat fabric swatch to the local Benjamin Moore retailer and testing a few paint swatches on my wall before any decision is made.

I can’t wait to see my plan come together.  I’ll be sure to share updates along the way.

Side note: my husband leaves all design related decisions up to me, with one caveat – he has veto power.  In our kitchen redesign, he has vetoed one item thus far which I’ll share with you tomorrow.  At first, I wasn’t very happy when he exercised his veto power.  However, in the end, his decision ended up guiding me to a better design decision.

August 24, 2011

a {minor} kitchen makeover

When we purchased our house in the summer of 2009 our kitchen looked a little like this:(minus the big hammered copper table and faux plants peaking out in the background)


(courtesy photo of previous ower)

Truth be told, not much has changed even though we have lived in our house for {over} two years.  The first 18 months we lived in our house, all excess time and funds were dedicated to wedding planning.  And well, the last 6 months, I’ve delayed making any decisions because I knew no matter what changes I made to this space, I still wouldn’t have my ultimate dream kitchen: big open floor plan, double island, top of the line appliances, carrera marble, white cabinetry, and random width hardwood floors

But, our kitchen is functional, and new, and clean.  For that that I count my blessings and I’ve decided to work with what I’ve got.  Even though I won’t be changing the cabinetry, or having new appliances installed – I can make this space more “ME.” 

Up next…my design plan to transform this kitchen into a space I LOVE.