Archives for August 2012

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

This week my kitchen remodel took a big leap forward. New counters were installed and subway tile is in progress!! YESSSSS! Finally. I’m trying not to jump up and down squealing too much because that is embarrassing, but YIPPEEE this stage of remodeling is SO exciting to me! Finally I get to see what I’ve been imagining in my head.

And THANK GOODNESS, I’m happy with it all so far.

Phew. I don’t know about you but I definitely think and think and overthink and then stress out a bit that I probably made the wrong choice until I see it all together and love it.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big big deal. I don’t want to mess it up. Right?

Please excuse my cell phone pics but these project updates are just way easier to get pics of when I can just sneak around the workmen and snap a quick picture with my phone when they aren’t looking! heh.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

So, as you can see, I couldn’t just stop with a white subway tile backsplash.

Mama had to have an entire kitchen of subway tile.

Oh yes, I did.

If mama is happy, EVERYONE is happy, right? Sometimes you just need to go for the gusto on what you really want and cut back elsewhere if you need to. That’s how I roll.

Fortunately my kitchen is not really big, but installing tile all around the cabinets from the floor to ceiling, around the door frame and around the window over the sink will make a BIG statement! I love me a big statement. It feels so fresh and clean, cohesive and solid, I LOVE IT already!

Best of all, it feels like home.

You might remember I had quite a bit of subway tile in my old kitchen too. My old kitchen was remodeled maybe seven years ago? And I STILL love subway tile, so I know I’ll love it for a very long time and probably forever.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

The rest of the tile will go up Thursday, the grout on Friday and the sink, faucet and dishwasher will be hooked up Monday! Cabinets still need to be painted, new hardware put on and updates in the adjoining family room are still under way.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

The only hiccup so far was my new drawer fronts arrived but they were not the right style (I had two banks of three drawers each installed to the right of the dishwasher). They should match the rest of the cabinetry so correct shaker style fronts have been ordered and are on their way. Other than that, things are moving right along!

I’m absolutely in love with my sink. I didn’t get a good picture of it but I’ll be showing it off more once the faucet is all in next week. And I could not love that long counter to the right of my sink any more. LOVE!

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}
Jack had to be barricaded in the family room so he’d be out of the way of the tile guy. He was not too happy about that, but still enjoyed watching the whole process from the chair.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

As you probably have noticed by this point, my counters are white! 

While I adore the look of white marble and actually considered it for my kitchen, once I really thought it through I realized marble didn’t make sense in this house.  My floors have a lot of grain so I didn’t want another material with heavy pattern or graining to compete with them.

These counters are actually a white Quartz, Caeserstone Organic White, with a tiny bit of no-color pattern that keeps them from being too stark.

From a distance they just look white. And that is just the feel I wanted! Simple and clean.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

I also really wanted a little bit more updated beachy look to my kitchen and while marble is absolutely gorgeous, I felt like maybe it was a bit too traditional classic in style when paired with my subway tile. I guess I was looking for a little bit different mix in this kitchen. Cause you know, I kind of love mixing things up. So quartz it is!

While I adored my wood counters at my old house and thought about doing them again here,  in this house I have already had wood floors. I really like contrast in materials with a balance of warm woods and cool stone. My last house had tile floors and one soapstone counter so the wood counters added just the right amount of warmth. Here I wasn’t needing the added warmth of wood counters since my floors are providing that.

So stone and tile counters and backsplash create the perfect cool balance to the warm wood floors. My cabinets will be painted, as I mentioned.

Kitchen Progress:: {Subway Tile and Counters}

You might also note that I used all the same counter material on all my cabinets this time, rather than mixing it up with two different materials like I did in my old house. The reason for that is in this kitchen I really wanted a bit more streamlined, fresh and cohesive look from one side of my kitchen to the other. I didn’t want to chop things up too much.

However, I will have a freestanding island so that gives me the opportunity to mix things up a bit there.

Because  if things get TOO streamlined and simple, I might break out into hives. Just kidding. Kinda.

So, there you have it! The up to the minute kitchen updates.

Next up will be the remaining tile on the wall, the new faucet, and installing my existing dishwasher and then I’m hoping to get the cabinets painted in the next few weeks. Oh, and installing the new sconces. So many details still left but we are getting closer to the bulk of the work being completed!

Thanks for following along! You can find the rest of the kitchen progress updates here.


Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style 

Mixing Up A Great Decorating Style

I’m always growing in appreciation for design. As I learn to love and embrace new things, I hopefully evolve in my own style as well, because that is what happens as you learn and grow. There is no real label for my style any more, but I like that I can’t exactly pin point it or even describe it. It isn’t fully cottage. Or fully traditional. Or modern. Or French or English or American. And it isn’t blogger-style. Wait. Is there a blogger style?

There is freedom in not being able to pigeon-hole your style — to not feel confined by what is expected.

I most admire style when it is just a great mix of the unexpected. Layers of patterns, textures and styles, all happily residing together in a space that exudes personality over predictability. I don’t even mean it has to be colorful or crazy eclectic style, sometimes those wild mixes can be a bit over the top for me.

I’m not really a fan of trying really hard to “design” a room to look good or trendy, I would rather just bring together awesome and unique pieces and let them speak for themselves. There is just a comfortable mix that oozes personal style, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly the style is or how it all came to be.

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

But honestly, I think that undefinable style can be a bit scary.

If you can’t put your finger on what it is, how can you create it or duplicate it? It’s like traveling without a map.

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

When certain patterns and colors are trendy, they can feel safe and familiar because we’ve seen them enough to be comfortable with them. We might use them, even though they may not really be our own style, perhaps because they are a safe choice.

Do you ever choose something knowing everyone else will probably like it (since clearly everyone does judging by its popularity in blogland or Pinterest), even if it doesn’t really reflect our own style?

Hmmm. Stuff to ponder.

Can we find enough confidence to choose what we love, even if we haven’t seen it already repinned thousands of times? Are we that brave to do what we  might LOVE, in spite of how others might react?

This is especially a good question for bloggers like myself, who put their personal style on display every day. 

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

A few weeks ago I was invited to West Elm to check out their Fall collection from South Africa. Seeing all those lovely handcrafted things (some of which are featured in my photos today) really cemented in my mind just how uniquely beautiful our style should be!

It is so easy to get stuck in a style rut when you don’t look at what is happening style-wise in the greater world around you. I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit (never to South Africa, though, darn!) and I’ve always come home with a new appreciation for art, color, style and craftsmanship from different cultures.

Why do some people seem to have so much personal style and others seem to blend in with the masses, never quite finding their own unique voice? It isn’t always easy to know what you love and how to be confidently unique in a sea of what is expected and popular. But if you enjoy creativity and personal expression, you probably want to have your own style, right?

So without further adieu, here are five go-to tips to mix up unexpectedly great style!

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

1. Go Global.

If you want a real personal style that is as unique as you are, I think every home should have at least one piece that comes from another country. Even more exciting and unique would be to mix things up from all over the world!

I really think you can grow in appreciation of a wider range of decorating options when you look at the art and decor from other countries! Venture outside of your local bloggers or stores once in a while for decorating inspiration and see what is happening on the other side of the country or the opposite side of the world! Your style will be all the better for it.

I love that West Elm has partnered with so many global artists to bring a unique flavor to their merchandise so we can shop the world from right where we are.

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

2. Go Classic & Modern.

If you prefer a more modern style, maybe you can add in a classic or even antique piece just to mix things up. Or if you have always had a very traditional style, you might consider adding in a few new touches to create your own modern interpretation of classic style. As you are trying to “reinvent” your old traditional look, don’t go so far as to abandon good quality pieces or cover them all up with paint! Try mixing painted and wood pieces for a more multi-dimensional style.

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

3. Go Fresh.

Let’s say you love a certain fabric pattern that is popular right now. Look for a pattern that might be similar but not the same. Yes, you might feel a little less confident in choosing something you haven’t seen before, but I am pretty sure you’ll be happier in the end because your style will endure past the trends! Once everyone has something, it tends to get tired and dated. Unless, it is classic of course. Classic pieces from certain time periods don’t look dated, they are just classic.

Even with a classic, you could liven it up in a new color or interpretation if you want something a little different! To get a fresh look, try something that is new to you, that you wouldn’t normally pick, and something you haven’t seen in everyone else’s house yet.

Try unique combinations of textures and layers for your own fresh interpretation of style.

Five Tips To Mix Up Unexpectedly Great Style

4. Go Crazy.

Go crazy in a good way. Pick something a bit risky for your house, something that you happen to love. Use something in a new, unexpected way. Choose the fabric or color or material or accessory or furniture or that everyone might think is the wrong choice for whatever reason (too hard to maintain, or too bold, too light, or too dark, for instance) or is totally not in style right now (zig when everyone else is zagging!). And then embrace your choices every day because YOU LOVE IT regardless of what “they say.”

5. Go Bold.

Small and plain is safe. Normal and expected doesn’t command attention. Almost unnoticeable can’t be wrong because no one would know it was wrong anyway. But BIG AND BOLD? That is daring. A bold pattern on a chair? A giant light fixture over your table? A big bright sofa instead of a safe neutral? An extra large mirror over a cabinet instead of a bunch of smaller  or barely noticed accessories?

While you want to be careful not to overpower your room, it is fun to go BOLD in a few places and tell the world you are confident in your style choices. It is your house, so live boldly and with confidence in what you love.

 Do you feel like you have your own unique style?