A Woodstock Kitchen Update

I’ve been slacking on regular blog posts focussing thoroughly on actual work and nesting/the One Room Challenge. Since this Woodstock Kitchen is in the home stretch, I thought I’d give a little behind the scenes view of some of the work in progress during my last few visits. The first visit was in the midst of demo day and the second was on countertop install day. Some really great progress is left to be revealed once we get these last few loose ends tied up and get some photos taken to share!

I’ve really loved working on the project and seeing all of the details come together. I’ve seen a few pictures from the client on how things are shaping up, but I can’t wait to see it for myself. This project has been such fun updating what was existing and not doing a full gut. (You can read more about that here.) What do you think? (Sorry for the poor phone picture quality… such is the case with works in progress.)

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Decisions & Inspiration | ORC Week 2

In cased you missed the announcement last week, we are joining in on the One Room Challenge again this season! The ORC is hosted by Linda at Calling it Home and has been running for 11 seasons now I believe. It has become a challenge that many design and decor bloggers and enthusiasts look forward to every Spring and Fall Season. The challenge is to pick one room and transform it in six short weeks. We first participated last spring with our Living Room and with baby on the way, we knew we wanted to participate this fall to get our space ready for our new arrival! Here are some inspiration spaces for our room:

 

(Sources, clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)

Since last week not much has changed in our bedroom. Okay, nothing has changed. But there has been a lot of planning and brainstorming of details happening. So without further ado, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to with our space this week!

Color, or a lack thereof. The bedroom right now is green, like a really pretty jewel-tone green, but it needs to be lightened up. Though I debate painting it the moodiest of deep eggplant purples, or seriously stormy gray, for what we are doing, neutral is key. I do feel that babies can thrive in dark spaces, but, for us we are also keeping resale in the back of our mind since we won’t be painting again before we sell our place (whenever that is) this is it. Buyers are unimaginative and that is putting it nicely… so light and bright it is. And I think the change will be refreshing for us too!

Texture, texture, texture! Since we aren’t finding out the gender of Baby P, and we will all be sharing the room, in addition to keeping the colors neutral, we are using a lot of texture to add to the space. Our area rug in here is a white short pile shag carpet with a grey linear pattern, which we will keep and just steam clean to refresh. Our curtains have a great visual texture to them, they will also stay. I’m considering re-upholstering the bed though… currently it is a light tan/beige color. I’d love to have it be more in the gray/white/ivory family we are going towards, so I’m considering a white or ivory linen or velvet…or maybe charcoal… Thoughts? The bedding will pretty much stay as is (white with greige border detail, and quilted greige euros) with the introduction of some new pillows maybe… I’m thinking of maybe some of the fun lamb pillows we have in the living room.

Let there be light! I want to make sure we have enough layered lighting in the room so that if baby is sleeping and we want to read before bed, we still have the option. I’m thinking of hanging some pendants over each side of the bed for that purpose and then adding a lamp/nightlight set-up on the changing area to make sure we can see what we need to in the middle of the night. And then I just have to decide on which ceiling fan/light combo to go with. Here are the ones I’m considering (clockwise from top L, 1, 2, 3, 4.):

What do you think? I need some opinions on the fan/light situation as well as the option to either leave the headboard alone or make the change and if I change, what color/texture to go with… help!! Follow along with our progress every week here, and be sure to also hop over to the Calling it Home blog to see the other Guest and Host participant spaces. These are so great for inspiration, definitely worth the time to read through the posts!

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A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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Project Update: 1893

Summer is my busiest season with my workload and the whole work-life balance. Things have been moving right along and I have a few projects underway right now, a few of them that should be wrapping up soon(ish). And I wanted to give you guys an updated look at the progress on the 1893 House!

The tile work is done in the bathrooms, the new wood floors have gone in where needed, all the windows are in and we are only waiting on the custom french doors leading out from the kitchen. The cabinetry started to go in over the last week or so and the counters have all been templated. We have selected paint colors and had the guys swatch them on the walls for us and we will be meeting at the house on Monday to review and finalize so they can paint. All in all, good progress has been made and I am starting to really see the light at the end of this one! And if you ask me, it is looking pretty bright!

How has your summer been so far? I hope it’s going well, filled with a lot of competed projects and fun adventures on your end too! More updates to come… Happy Friday!

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The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

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The Life Changing Magic

So this year one of my goals was to spend more time reading and to make my own home a priority in getting it to the same level of comfort as I work so hard to help my clients get to in their homes.

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Well I’m busy, so time to read ends up falling pretty low on the totem pole, but I had heard so much about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo that I thought maybe that would be a good way to get two birds. Read something that helps me get my own home more in order.

So again, with no time to read, I posted on Facebook about audio book apps and what people thought of them. Most of my friends left comments raving about both Audibles and Overdrive, and I would be willing to try either, however Overdrive is a free service that works in connection with library systems so it is only as good as the library you are linked to and Audibles is a monthly fee for one book per month or a higher fee for multiple books. You can look into more on that here, but I ultimately decided to download Overdrive and connected using my Mom’s library card to start and see about the service.

Her library is amazing and so far has had every title I have searched for and I’m on my third book with more on hold… I might be addicted to audio books. 

That said, the first book we listened to was the life changing magic, to learn the KonMari method. I say we because I wanted to make sure that P and I listened together so that we could work on the process together, sense after all we share the 525SF space equally with equal amounts of possessions that add to our chaos and do not bring us joy.

We started listening to the book on Monday the 18th I want to say. On Friday the 22nd there was a blizzard brewin’ so I stopped at Home Goods on my way home to buy some organizational baskets and things. Friday night we listened to more of the book and Saturday morning we listened throughout brunch until we got to a point where we felt we had heard enough to get the concept and start working on it. (This was about 2/3 through the book where she had completed discussing the order of the process and how the process works, so we were in a good place really to start.)

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Everything all laid out, ready to sort. No judgement!

I have to say, at first it was hard and I did end up with a lump in my throat sorting through some items. P and I discussed it and he said that he learned after a few ‘tough’ items to figure out, he realized that he really knew which way he should go on them and some things were just harder to detach from, but if they don’t look good, feel good, etc., then do they really bring you joy just taking up space?

We moved past the hump, finishing our clothes and by Sunday morning our closet was put back together in such a stunning way, and we had rearranged our bedroom minimally but gained so much space in the process! (Can’t wait to share more on this down the road!)

The order that Marie Kondo discusses in her book is first clothing, then books, papers, komono and mementos. Komono is a Japanese term that basically covers all of the miscellaneous items you may have, such as linens, cleaning products, medicines, accessories around the home, kitchen goods (from dishes to the items in your pantry), etc., so this is a vast category to get through.

Sunday we worked through all of our books, then started on the komono (there is a specific list/order to follow mentioned in the book).

Monday after work, we went through our papers, realizing we had skipped this necessary and evil step.

Tuesday we sorted through a few more areas of komono in the morning, and then started taking a few things to the car to donate.

Tuesday night we took out our narrow dresser that had been in our closet along with our old filing cabinet, both now empty, down to the street (in JC if you put any furniture on the curb, people will come pick it up in under 24 hours) and someone else had picked them up by the time I got home from work the next evening. The last few nights and mornings upon coming and going to work, we have taken a few more items and loaded them into the car.

This morning, I took the first car load to the Goodwill Donation Center. In this car-load alone, we donated 10 garbage bags of clothing/shoes/accessories, 2 boxes of ‘komono,’ 2 folding chairs. At home we still have 3 bags of closthing/komono, one box of books and one more folding chair to donate that wouldn’t fit in the car this time around. That and we still have about half of the komono category to go through. Not to mention, we have also taken something like 6 bags down to the garbage and recycling (mostly recycling when we can!) since we started sifting through everything, and we have one stuffed bag to take to the shredder.

Here is what I am feeling throughout this process. First of all, holy shit. How is it possible that we even had so many things just sitting around, stuffed in corners and hidden away in the back of our closet that we truly don’t love?! That in and of itself is crazy. Second of all, I feel amazing. I am starting to feel lighter in my space.

When I would come home from work before, it was always hard for me to feel calm. I always felt like there was something that had to be taken care of because there is always stuff everywhere and surfaces covered. Especially doing what I do I have always felt a bit of guilt that my home doesn’t look and feel as beautiful as my clients do.

Homes should be lived in, and that means they should have stuff. You should have things that are meaningful to you laying out on your surfaces. Things that when you see them bring you joy. But you shouldn’t have a seemingly bottomless pile of junk mail covering a section of your kitchen counter no matter how many times you clear away that section. You shouldn’t have your electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) just laying around on the coffee table. And you shouldn’t have a pile of miscellaneous crap just sitting on the table for no good reason. For these reasons, I am completely absorbed and invested in the KonMari method. The life changing magic is no joke.

I can feel our life changing. I can feel the weight of the things that don’t matter to us that have been filling our lives being lifted away.

For now, things are still in a state of chaos as we are still sifting through things one day at a time and around the time when we are at work or my client appointments, etc., because this takes time. The more you have, the longer it can take. In the book Marie Kondo says that it can take up to 6 months for some people… I’m aiming to be done in less than one just because I don’t do well with things up in the air-I need some sense of finality, but I also want it to be done right, so we will get it done when we can.

We have still been listening to the book and are just about finished with it. I have started to get really excited about what this ‘life change’ means for us moving forward. I think we will be so much more comfortable and relaxed in our home.

I will report back once we are truly finished with the process and the book as a whole, but I had to share what we have been up to and how amazing it has been so far. It is certainly not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the process without considering what it means and if you are really mentally/emotionally/physically ready for the grueling process. I also have to say that having your spouse (or house-mates) on board is HUGE. For me, knowing that P is in this with me has been so wonderful. I feel supported and that it is a joint effort to move forward with a tidier lifestyle, and thus I feel my efforts are not wasted but matched.

Have you heard all the rage on the KonMari method and this book? Do you buy it? Do you want to try it? If you have questions, chime in in the comments section, I’m happy to help if I can!

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Simplifying a Bathroom

This project is the type of project that is so fun! No major plumbing or electrical changes are taking place, but the transformation is so HUGE! The work is in progress now, hopefully will be done soon so that I can share a reveal with you but on the phone last night she said to me that already the bathroom is “one hundred and fifty seven thousand times better!”
I love that, and I have to agree. The old space was outdated with burgundy 4″ tiles everywhere with the exception of a one piece tub surround unit that felt cheap and dingy in the space, a vanity that was dis-proportioned to the space and visually felt bulky with the details and finish, and an overall yellow tone in the space that didn’t feel right.


The goals for this space were to maximize the functionality and the storage while making the space feel clean and bright and more open.


Here’s what we are doing:

First things first, the vanity that is existing is 42″x 21″ and with a long narrow bathroom like this one, we want to make sure the vanity protrudes into the space too much. We decided to order the vanity to be 60″ wide with a reduced depth of 18″ to allow more storage in the length, while running the cabinetry more flush against the wall.

Due to the position of the door, we can’t run the vanity all the way to the door, so we positioned it as close to the commode as we could according to the code regulations, leaving a 20″ space between the entry wall and the vanity unit… perfect spacing to accommodate a decorative hamper or waste-basket, or just leave it open, either way, the space is left feeling elongated and open.

We changed the vanity finish from dark wood to a painted white finish and from a dark granite top to a gray and white top.

The other main thing that we changed that will make a huge impact is the tile. On the floors we removed the old dated mini burgundy tiles from the floor and replaced them with a large 10″ gray hexagon, and on the walls, we used a large white tile, staggered just like a standard subway tile would be, but in the large scale, it makes the space feel so open and the white is so refreshing compared to the old dark tile that was there before. Instead of using a standard bull-nose tile to finish the ends, we capped it all off with a sleek chrome trim. (Some in progress shots below.)

Basically the re-design is a simple change in the scale and tone of the details to really simplify and freshen up the space. Hopefully I will have more details to share soon… be sure to follow along on Instagram to see any updates that may come along.

What do you think? Are there any little things you can do to simplify your bathroom? (Or any room in your home?)

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Updating to a Classic Look | Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation In Process

TGIF y’all!! I wanted to celebrate that we made it through the week by sharing a bit about one of my current projects!

I started working with this client on their space several months ago (back when there was still snow on the ground). We sorted through all of the details of their space, worked out a plan, and started selecting our materials.

Farmhouse Bath Floor Plans

Orders were placed around March or April and then we waited. This is not that uncommon in the world of renovations. You have to wait for your contractor to fit you into their schedule, the town to approve your permits, and the materials to all arrive. All that said, we were ready to go in June, but couldn’t start until a few weeks ago due to many variables.

You can take a look at the planning process in this post (the first image shows me working through this space planning). And the plan above is the one that we ultimately went with. The idea was to bring in some more classic farmhouse elements to be true to the home’s character while not creating something that would easily feel dated.

We decided to choose materials that represented that classic farmhouse feeling with the wood look tile on the main floor, white subway on the walls (in an updated scale and finish), and accents of Carrera marble in the counters, shower floor and saddle pieces.

We went with a claw-foot tub centered in the bathroom space with a beautiful and classic tub filler to finish it off. This detail was the one sticking point for this client, we had to find a way to make a claw-foot fit in the space in addition to the shower, and ideally make it stand out as a centerpiece.

Farmhouse Bathroom Storage Cabinet Linen Tower Custom Amish Dining Room Hutch

For the cabinetry, we went with a simple style and a classic valance base that nods towards an Amish farm style cabinetry detail. The plan is to carry this theme through with custom corner cabinets to flank the tub and add storage in the space (we had to knock out the linen closet in the hallway to make everything fit in the space that we wanted). The corner cabinets would be a painted white finish with a valance base that would match that of the vanity cabinet, but for now they won’t be added due to budgeting restrictions (also very common in renovations), however they are all planned and ready to go whenever we are ready to add them. The vanity cabinet itself is a really pretty chestnut brown finish, which is a nice rich tone without the reddish undertones.

I can’t wait to see how this whole space comes together! Hopefully I can share more soon! Are you working on any projects at home? What renovations are on your list currently and what types of renovations do you want to see me share more of here?

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Halfway There on a Home Redesign

I wanted to share a photo post of a space in progress. I shared a little bit about this project on this post with the before, and here is a look at the first install day trying to get as much done as possible before the family hosted a big event at the house. 
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We are still waiting on most of the furnishings for both kids’ rooms, the headboards alone will make a world of difference. And for the living room, we still need the chairs that were on back-order (I brought my living room chairs to fill in while they wait), and all of the accent tables, art work, window treatments, etc., but I have to say that the place has already made such a huge transformation on 2 weeks notice before the party! I can’t wait until the rest of the pieces arrive and I can get this job wrapped up and photographed so I can share it with y’all! This project has been a favorite so far!

What do you think? Do I look like a crazy person in these photos running around trying to get all the details in place? What little transformations have you been making to your home lately?

100 Year Old Basement Renovation In Process

This project started out a lot like many others. When I first met with the homeowners, the wife was timid and anxious about even letting me see the basement, but upon seeing it and discussing the space with her, she became very excited to be moving forward with renovating this space.

When I presented the plans to the husband and wife they both became very excited about the space and anxious to keep things moving. This basement needs to consist of more organized storage for household items, their extra refrigerator, an appliance pantry for larger counter-top appliances that get used only a handful of times throughout the year, a laundry room, and gym. In addition to these shared spaces, we needed to create a space where family can crash when needed, so there is also a shared mud room with exterior entry and a full private suite with a kitchenette, living room, bathroom and bedroom, and knowing how amazing this space is going to be when it is finished, any member of the family who gets to crash in this basement is going to feel like they landed at a 5 star hotel.

Through shopping trips, research, planning and revising plans, I have become pretty close with the family and they have had some unfortunate news come to light. That said, we are doing everything we can to finish this project as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

The space has been fully gutted and the french drains are going in. The space feels so much larger than it felt before and they are starting to be able to envision the plan within the shell of their basement now. We are at a pretty fun stage of the game with everything so raw right now. (All of the images above are pre-demo; below is where we are now.)

I wanted to share this seemingly nothing of an improvement so that you can see how these projects start. We have to knock things down in order to pick them back up again, and in this business it isn’t all pretty. Sometimes you might be ashamed of how your space looks now, but it will get there, even if it takes forever.

This basement is 100 years old, it has a lot of character, and we are intending to keep a good chunk of the character in tact. Can’t wait to show you more along the way as we progress.