Monday, March 6, 2017

Kitchen Reveal


Today I am excited to bring you a glimpse into our newly renovated kitchen. It was a three- week, very highly anticipated project that occurred partly out of pure desire to rid our lives of orange granite counters but also partly because there had been some water damage to our walls (#oldhomesarethegiftsthatkeepongiving).  As you might know, we live in a rowhome in South Philadelphia that we purchased almost three years ago. We absolutely love living in the city and to this day are still so glad we made the decision to buy where we did. It's not our "forever home" though (at least I don't think I want to be in the land of cheesesteaks and mummers forever) and in doing the kitchen renovation, I had to keep that in mind. We needed to make sure the look was classic and would hold up for a few more years for our use, while also making it something that would appeal to the clientele of South Philadelphia when we sell it down the road. I really look forward to the day when we have more room and a place of our own forever, but for now, this was a lot of fun. 

I stuck with a white palette because you can't go wrong with it. For the counters, we chose Silestone Quartz in Lagoon. It's a great marble-looking alternative and known for its durability. All the other floors in our house are original heart pine hardwoods and to find more of that and run it into the kitchen would have been a lot of legwork, so we opted to use Daltile Slate in Brazil Gray for the floors. I like how it's just a clean, classic, and neutral look that will work for years. The best advice my Dad gave me was to seal it right away with a matte slate sealer, which I did. This came in handy on night one post-reno when my husband was back in the kitchen cooking and the olive oil was flying and all I had to do was wipe it off and it didn't penetrate the slate. 


For the backsplash, we went with good ole' subway tile- the Rittenhouse 3"x 6" white from Daltile-and Alabaster grout. This was a hard decision for me- I was worried it would look too modern or too transitional (ps nothing wrong with either, just thinking about my preference here) but I think it's all in what grout color you choose. Dark grout= modern. White grout= transitional (think traditional and modern mix. ie pottery barn). Alabaster grout= juuuust right.  


And finally...the fixtures. The fixtures are what pull the whole place together. The faucet is satin nickel, purchased from Wayfair (Kingston Brass). I love how it looks with the 24" Barclay farmhouse apron sink I found on Amazon. The pendant light above the island is from Wayfair and the range hood is also from Amazon. We opted for open shelving on one side to open up the room- and it seriously worked! The brackets are Rubbermaid from Amazon and the wood is hard maple from a local lumber yard. After about 2 weeks of living with open shelving, I absolutely love it! No dusty dishes when you display things that are used on an everyday basis. 


For this renovation, we decided to keep our existing cabinets. When I painted my cabinets two years ago (click that link to see more), I did it thinking someday we would replace them, but turns out cabinets are muy muy expensive, and since my paint job held up nicely, we kept them! We also did not replace the appliances yet. This isn't HGTV- this is real life. Things cost money:)



Overall, this project went really well and I am thankful we were able to do it! One of the best decisions we made to open up the small room, aside from the open shelving, was to rotate the island so that the short ends were parallel to the side counters of the room. This made it feel like less of a rowhome layout and more open into the bottom floor of the house. We also "customized" the island by adding trim to it and decreasing its "builder-grade-ness". 


aaaaand for the melty cupcakes...


Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post! 


AND NOW THE BEFOREs.....

These are the real estate listing photos....


And some other before photos.... 








Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hostess Gift Idea



I am headed to a Christmas party tonight and really wanted to bring a special hostess gift. I love the bottle of wine idea like anybody, but decided to step out of the box a little to come up with something different. I was inspired to create something that would last the hostess through the whole season, so I turned to good old paper whites- a bulb that can take 3-6 weeks to bloom. I found a small vase at AC Moore (craft store)..of course used my 50% off coupon...and some small decorative vase filler stones at Target (the Smith and Hawken collection). Believe it or not the city of Philadelphia has no idea what paper white bulbs are (I went and called EVERYWHERE and no one had a clue) so I finally found a 50% off paper white kit at Home Depot and threw everything else out but kept the bulbs. As you can see already, if you shop smartly, this project should cost very little. The stones at Target were $9.99 which I bought because they have a marble look to them, but I have found similar white or grey ones that are as little as $2.99 (Home Depot or craft store). 

Here is how to put together your vase:

1. Fill the bottom of the vase/container with your stones. Fill about 1.5-2" high. 
2. Nestle your bulbs in the stones, but don't let them touch each other. 
3. Fill the stones in around the bulbs to provide support so they do not fall over. 

...and literally that's it. 





The receiver of the gift should be instructed to fill the vase with water until just under the bulbs. The bulbs should not be resting in water, as they could rot. Keep the vase in a window or area with ample light, keep the water at that level, and as I said above, wait 3-6 weeks for a bloom! 

What a simple gift that is fun to put together and the host will think of you for weeks to come! (maybe because you gave them another thing to take care of, but hopefully because the flowers will be so beautiful!) 

After you have assembled your vase, wrap it as you desire. I decided to put it in a burlap sack and tied with ribbon, a sprig of decorative "berries", and a few hanging dried citrus. 

I hope your host enjoys this! 




Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Living Room Tour 2016


Well the first floor is decorated for Christmas, with the exception of the tree which we will get today!! This is our third Christmas in our house in Philadelphia and it's so funny to look back over the past two years to see how my style has changed and what our home has evolved into. I have truly grown to love this house so much...obviously I loved it enough to buy, but I think there is a much different level of love that comes when you have truly settled in and made it your home.

This year we accomplished a few updates to the house...renovating our master bathroom (thanks, Dad!), fixing a leak or two and damage from old leaks, shiplapping a wall (again...thanks, dad!) and adding a church pew to our "dining area", re-slip covering the couch with drop cloth, having a photo shoot at the house, repainting and furnishing our back deck, and adding lots of treasures in between...because I think I might have obtained a partial hoarding gene from my mother...I mean, because my heaven looks like a giant antique store in my head. I am so excited to see what 2017 has in store for this little row home in South Philly...(Dear kitchen, I'm coming for you and your horrendous orange floor tiles!).

On another note, I hope that your Christmas season is filled with so much joy and peace. If your 2016 was anything like my family's (deaths, illness, loss, damage to relationships, etc), I can only hope and pray that you will remember God has not given up on you and is carrying you through this season just as he has every other. Or maybe you have been through seasons like this in the past and Christmas is a painful reminder of heartache. Wake up each day knowing He is on your side no matter what comes your way. He loves you and so do I. And enjoy whipped cream on your coffee, because that usually helps too.

Merry Christmas, all! Thanks for visiting.

"Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you!" Colossians 3:16























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