Sunday, February 8, 2015

Randy and Brenda's Farmhouse Kitchen

Happy Weekend everyone!
It's a very snowy past couple of days here in the GTA and it definitely feels like winter. The roads are greasy, slick with mixed snow and freezing drizzle today and I am anxiously awaiting the return of my honey who drove north to Owen Sound yesterday to visit his dad.


I have never ever posted about any of my customer's kitchens I've designed but will do more of that from now on as I plan to make a point of going out and getting pictures once their renovation is complete. 

Randy and Brenda are wonderful people who have been putting their heart and soul into renovating their gorgeous farmhouse in the country that was built in the late 1800's.  
As you know, century homes are nearest and dearest to my heart and I wanted to make sure their kitchen was perfectly designed for their home.
Randy runs his own renovation company and is also a creative genius with welding and if that isn't enough, an auto body mechanic. Brenda is a warm and extremely funny lady who works for the Board of Education.
Brenda and Randy wanted the kitchen to feel inviting and cozy for their family and for entertaining but also wanted to make sure it was in keeping with the style of their home.
They chose painted warm cream cabinetry with a raised bead panel detail on the door  and drawers to keep it feeling light and airy but also have character as well.

Their entire kitchen was taken back to the studs, all the historical trims removed and painstakingly stripped and restained. All new insulation and drywall was installed as well as new hand scraped floors laid. Randy also added this gorgeous beam he stained to play off the stained trims in the rest of the room.



Randy is going to build Brenda her dream harvest table and then she will get a new set of chairs for it that will finish off the space to completion.. 
After much searching online without any luck for lights for the space, I found these gorgeous historical reproduction fixtures on Restoration Hardware's site that were on sale and when I showed them to Brenda she ordered them up right away.


These beautiful chairs are so comfortable and Brenda told me that she loves to sit here with her tea and laptop on weekends and that the counter space is incredible for cooking up a storm. Randy incorporated lighting in all the glass cabinets and when they have company over at night, they turn just those lights on and the room glows.
Since the room is quite large, I created many layouts but this one made the most sense for a reasonable work triangle and gave the most working counter space where it is needed most, near the sink.


Brenda loves her white cast iron drop in sink, another choice that is befitting of an old farmhouse and is extremely durable as well. She chose the Victorian faucet from Delta in brushed nickel. I love a mix of metals and this one works beautifully.
Like most projects, some of the final details just take time to get right and Brenda is still on the hunt for another light for the sink area. The stove is tucked into it's own little niche and we decided to keep it free of cabinetry since there is plenty of storage in the rest of the room.
Gorgeous new stainless steel appliances bring the kitchen into this century.


Our granite company arrived at 4pm and worked well into the night to install the granite in the kitchen with it's challenging wrap around design and slide-in stove at one end. They did a fantastic job!



Randy chose to install wood stained baseboard behind what he calls the"yickety yacks" (arched valance kicks) so that their profile stood out and I thought that was a super idea. I didn't get a good shot of the door to the right side but I'd suggested they paint the door a nice pop of a muted colour like a blue grey and Brenda plans to paint the glass with blackboard paint. I think it will add a fun and charming detail to their large kitchen. 
I asked them why the handles and knobs were positioned differently on the upper pantry doors on either side of the fridge than what you would normally do and Randy told me that because the knobs are a larger size, when they opened the fridge door all the way, it would hit the knob and cause a dent in the door. Fortunately they had to get the fridge replaced under warranty due to issues and immediately remedied the situation with the new one by changing the doors on either side so that wouldn't happen again. 


This symmetrical design of custom looking cabinetry on either side of the door to the living room creates visual harmony in the room and oodles of storage.
Rich brown granite counters add warmth but also contrast nicely with the cooler carrera marble subway tile backsplash. Brenda found stunning glass knobs at Anthropologie for the upper cabinets and oil rubbed bronze pulls the lower cabinets and work beautifully together.
The lights move up and down on their pulley system, beauty and function, how could you ask for more!


Where most folks would just rip out old wood that needed some work and toss it in the garbage, they  removed, stripped, repainted and reinstalled the tongue and groove wainscotting. 
Ah, people after my own heart.


Just off the kitchen through the door you see to the left of the penninsula is an enclosed sunroom porch that runs the entire length of the front of the house. Talk about lucky! Brenda says they live in that porch when except in winter as it is not heated. They replaced the solid door with a glass one to allow all the light to pour in and connect the spaces in the winter when the door has to be shut.
I love her large wall clock!


 Here is the man who did an incredible job with the help of his lovely wife!
They even created an open transom above this doorway that leads to the main entrance mudroom to let some more light into the kitchen and they might add a stained glass window to it. For now it is a great place for some charming chickens to roost.



With my visit fast approaching, Brenda lit a fire under Randy's butt to get this gorgeous hard to find (we sell it at my store as a special order) real travertine silver stone tile I helped them choose for the mudroom and he rose to the task and finished it the day before I arrived.
Way to go Randy it looks incredible!


I love how the silver travertine floor plays off the backsplash as well tying the two spaces together.


Randy also made the floating shelves and below them created a holder for his antique drill bit collection. Another creative idea, the electrical panel is behind this bumped out area to the left of the stove and he showed me how he opens the door by removing one of the slats first which allowed him to put his hand in the opening to open a hinged door that opens just above the counter. If you look closely you can see the seam where the door is. 
Amazing!


Randy and Brenda told me that they had realized their new kitchen has fulfilled their wishes completely, when their kids, for the first time in years chose to stay home on New Years Eve and celebrate in their new kitchen!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Master Bedroom Daydreaming and a little more update!

Well February is here tomorrow and I cannot believe how the first month of 2015 has gone by in a blink of an eye for me. I am feeling so much better, have been walking for 50 minutes almost every night and not feeling fatigued after and it is such a huge relief to finally feel quite normal, to start doing things again.
Yay! Yay! Yay! I am literally doing a big fat happy dance!

Our master bedroom reno had come to a halt as I basically put off making any decisions last year and so Todd started to tackle the hallway to get that properly insulated now that the winter is here.


On one particularly low day for me, my honey surprised me with this stunning, ethereal photo of a horse that is the likeness of my gorgeous Jube I owned as a teenager. It took my breath away when I saw it, has stolen my heart and is the inspiration for this room. 


This burnt orange beauty was another Value Village find for $40.00. A solid and heavy, classic lined piece that will never go out of style and very deserving of a makeover with either a slipcover or if possible reupholstery. In spite of it's worn covering I love how it pops against the chalky white primed walls.



Although my chair is original, it is just like this custom designed Sarah Richardson's Elsie chair.




The honey oak narrow strip floors in the entire upstairs are in good shape mostly but a few areas do need repair so we are undecided if we should sand it down and stain it


or take a chance and rip up the 3/8's thick oak to reveal the over 100 year old gorgeous wide 1 1/2" thick wide plank old pine floors?


It would be so much easier to just sand the oak floors which are a cleaner look and the pine boards will no doubt have gaps here and there which is a more casual look but the patina and warmth and character from a wide plank floor cannot be compared. 
The other side of this argument is that oak is much harder where the pine will show dents and marks and of course dog nail scratches as well.
It would be interesting to hear from a real estate agent what is the more popular option for resale?


I am trying to be very patient with our delay in this project but it is so very hard when the quality of the light in here lifts me up so much and it just feels so good even as a raw and unfinished room that I can only imagine how much better it will be when it is done.


The monster of a bed although charming will not be staying as much as my honey likes it. He digs anything large and over sized and resembling elizabethan times, you know knights of the round table kind of stuff.
The back wall will either be a horizontal slat board design or perhaps a gorgeous wallpaper that we both like with a lower half wall wainscotting but I am having a hard time deciding which I prefer. I really wanted to hang pendant lights over the nightstands instead of having table lamps but was vetoed on that idea. I did find a great swing arm plug in wall sconce that may be an option instead of lamps as I do like to read in bed at night and they would serve as perfect task lighting.
 Either way I know it is going to be just dreamy!

So tell me, have any of you recovered old pine floors and are you happy you did?
I would love to hear of your experience with them.





Update! I found my camera that was recently misplaced and what a relief. I took a few snaps of the wallpaper I finally decided on for the back wall behind the bed and bought it yesterday at Lowes with a 15% off special they were having when you spend $300.00 or more. Todd needed a new compressor for work so it worked out great to make this decision and save money too. I'm hoping that the two rolls which was all they had in stock is all I need as I have no experience with wallpaper and am not 100%  sure. I know it all depends on the pattern etc and I have more square footage than I need so will have to see.
Isn't it gorgeous?!
I wanted something soft and airy but contemporary and this fits the bill and the budget too at $39.99 - 15%.


Here is a possible choice of greys that could be used for the other walls. It's a south facing room so all of these could work it just depends on how I want it to feel. Cool and airy or a little warmer like the one on the far left.


Here it is with the lovely horse picture and a throw I found that has all the greys in both the picture and the wallpaper.
Perhaps a pop of colour like this gorgeous teal pillow will find it's way into the room but I'm not going to decide on that immediately.


I am loving this swing arm wall sconce in satin nickel from Lowes for a great price and think it would look amazing against the wallpaper but I have a lamp fetish as well so will have to see, that can be decided at the very end once everything else is in place.



We got a nice dump of snow today, alas, our winter has arrived!
Enjoy!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Carpet Find!


Happy Monday!
While some folks are getting snow near by or other poor souls on the eastern states are bracing for a wicked snowstorm, we have had nothing but clear sunny skies with - 13 degrees temperatures. When the sun pours into our living room from our very large and very old two over two double hung windows I love to snap photos and I am especially excited because I recently found and added a number of new things to our living room to bring it towards it's full potential.


Yesterday was supposed to be a trip to the IDS show in Toronto which is always amazing but I woke up with a sore throat and decided to pass. Still feeling the need to get out of the house, we took a drive in the beautiful sunshine to Lowes in Whitby and Oshawa to check out some wallpaper I was considering for our master bedroom that was in stock at those locations.  

I started my day with a dose of extra goodness to chase this cold away and juiced up for us some kale, carrots, apple, parsley, cilantro, ginger and garlic. YUM!
We had recently watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead which has inspired us to once again drink a green juice at least a couple of times a week. 


After changing her food yet again and giving her some melatonin at night we have finally seen an end to the ridiculous amount of shedding from our little Emmie and now instead of hair everywhere in spite of daily vacuuming, I only need to vacuum once a week which started me dreaming of a new carpet for our living room. Her coat is now so soft and shiny and she no longer bites her legs too which is the most important thing.

I absolutely love seagrass carpets and would have them everywhere if I could but it is just so much easier to vacuum hardwood when you have a dog. That said I have always wanted a carpet in our 12x13' living room to ground the space and give it another layer of texture and colour and over Christmas I so badly wanted to order an 8'x10' seagrass well reviewed carpet from Wayfair that was on sale for $380.00 but just couldn't due to the high price tag. 



And so when we were at Lowes I came across a bin of rolled up carpets with two different price tags. Those carpets are always the off gassing plastic type which I will avoid at all costs if I can for health reasons and then my eyes happened upon a tan and cream carpet in a herringbone pattern that I had to peak at anyway. I pulled it out of the bin and fell for the colour and the pattern, again disappointed that it was synthetic and decided to take a closer look. I thought wow, it sure had an amazing likeness to seagrass or something like that and upon further inspection found out it was jute and cotton!!!!
But oh no, it is only 5x7 rug and I needed a bigger one but low and behold, there were two of them. Could I possibly put them together and make it work pattern wise? I certainly was going to see if I could.
The price on the bin said $100.00 for 6x9 and another sign that said 10 carpets $49.99.
What?!!!
 I wondered, how much are these gorgeous ones that I am now watching over like a hawk while I wait for my honey to return with the cart?


We got to the cash and I crossed my fingers and felt like a such a winner after feeling sad about missing the IDS show when she rang them in at $49.99 each.
We got them home and I was still unsure about if they would feel like a quality rug in our space but we rolled them out end to end which turned out perfect with the band of beige lining up in the direction I preferred and ended up with a 7x10 carpet for $100.00 before taxes!!!



I will now have to figure out how to bring these two together. I'm sure it can't be too hard to stitch them together or perhaps carpet tape will do the trick and we will add a carpet pad underneath for more cushioning. 


After recently hearing about how plants can up your productivity and improve your quality of life (which I already knew) I decided to add a little plant to our space to bring real life into it and picked up this leafy little guy called a Homalomena plan on sale at Lowes. I put it in this tin bucket for now but will keep my eye open for the right container with a watering tray attached. I also need to find out if it is a dog toxic plant as my little Emma loves anything green and could possibly eat it when we are out of the house which is also the reason I have not bought more plants.
You can see the granite counters in the kitchen and how the carpet ties the living room visually to the kitchen now.



I have purchased and returned so many different pillows, trying to get the right ones to work with our airy blue walls without spending a fortune or having to make them myself but some were too green blue, others too grey blue or there were not enough of the ones I did like but then on a trip to the Home Sense in Leaside I found 4 of these large real linen pillows and two of these grey pillows with just a touch of chevron and mustard yellow in them. The yellow was the little something I needed in the room to balance all the blue and ties in to the warm wood tones and it surprised me how much I love it. I still love my off white slipcovers which only require a wash about twice a year. They were the best money ever spent.



The decor gods also must have been looking upon me that day because I also found this gorgeous blue fishing float in just the right shade of turquoise wrapped in the perfect shade of twine.
You should have seen my face that day as I pushed my cart around stacked high with my perfect pillows and fishing float.
It made me so happy that I said to my honey, hey, let's have a contest and see who can get the most people to smile back at you by smiling at them. At first he said no way but that didn't stop me. I was happier than a pig in poop with my finds and one woman smiled at me and says "are you having fun today?" to which I replied, absolutely!
After that, he joined in and we each counted 8 people by the time we were done and ready to leave 10 minutes later and I'm sure some folks just thought we were nuts but I didn't care, it just felt good.


A woven garden stool was also on my wish list but they were always too much money but I found this one a while back at Target on sale for 30% off and snapped it up knowing that even though the colour is too light I can transform it's raw texture with some stain. I am probably going to darken it to a medium stain and then give it a wash of white paint over that to soften it.


I found this heavy quality comfy vintage chair over 10 years ago at Value Village for some ridiculous price like $40.00 or maybe even less. I brought it down from our upstairs at Christmas time for extra seating and aside from the pattern, it is the perfect addition and has the right scale for our room. It will eventually get a slipcover for chair perfection and I don't even have to do a thing to the legs with their nice walnut stain.


I also recently found this lovely piece of pottery in the antique barn east of my work and could not pass up on it. It is a lovely shade of turquoise that is actually not as green as it looks in the photo.


I love that it is a Canadian made piece, although not an expensive collectors piece it just spoke to me with it's organic shape and it now has a place on my side table to the left side of the sofa.



And so the TO DO LIST happily continues....

1.  Properly add feet to the bottom of the coffee table, its temporarily propped up on 1" blocks for now.
 (I didn't like it flat on the floor and wish we had made it that way from the start). 
2. Sanding and staining parts of it darker and painting the legs and skirt white. 
3. Stain to and white wash the garden stool. 
4. Either spray the metal of our glass lamps oil rubbed bronze or darken the shades. 
5. Find two different grey/mustard pillows for the love seat, the old striped ones don't work now.
6.  Make the turquoise pillows on the love seat a little smaller so they suit the scale of it. 
7. Add antique brass cabinet knobs to the built-in doors, I am so loving that finish these days. 
8. Add bead board or perhaps grasscloth wallpaper to the backs of the built-ins or if we do bead board on the built-ins then I may add grasscloth under glass to the inside of the tray side tables.  
9. Paint the little pedestal table to the right of the love seat. 
10. Accessorize the open shelves better. 
11. Stain the love seat legs to match the sofa. 
12. Find fabric and have slipcover made for little chair.
13. Find shades for the sconces. 
14. Have mom paint a smaller scale painting for under the wall sconces near the love seat.
15.  Buy another set of white curtains for more fullness and hang on rings instead of the pocket tab back for a more tailored look.
16. Buy carpet pad and stitch or tape carpets together.
17. Buy a plant pot for plant.
18. Last but not least have Todd build built-ins for the TV wall that I have designed.

Oh yeah and have a party to celebrate the finale!

Have a great week!





Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lightening Up and My Greatest Inspiration

Hi All!
I hope that everyone has had a healthy and happy Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year. 
I for one am and have had an epiphany of sorts. 



You see it has been a heck of a year with my health again and am still trying to figure things out why I don't feel good just about every other day but while I've been off for Christmas vacation this week, I came to the astounding realization that if I wait to feel like I think I should, I could be waiting a very long time and life is not going to wait for me. 

I have also been my own worst critic and while in my low energy state, I have allowed myself to be a negative perfectionist but alas
 I AM HAPPILY GIVING THAT TYPE OF THINKING THE BOOT 
once and for all! 
 I had previously started this blog with such joy but slowly as time passed, compared myself and allowed myself to become intimidated by those who were creating, renovating, designing, building, photographing with such great energy and completion that I allowed it to make me feel bad when I was not getting anything big done in my own life.
But, the thing is, this is MY life, my own unique life with accomplishments big or small that no matter what they are, instead of critiquing them, I choose to celebrate them and share them here once again as well as take joy in the energy and amazing creativity of all you wonderful bloggers. 

I also have been so very inspired by my big brother Ken who has suffered greatly a terrible tragedy this past entire year and still is after a spiral fracture to his tibia from playing hockey which required repeated surgeries and has and still does cause him such terrible pain. He has come close to loosing his leg and may not regain full use of his foot.
You see my big brother, unbeknown to him, is my hero. He is an amazing one man show along with his incredible wife Barb, just the two of them running their Island View Marina in Bailieboro together and as well he is a boat and auto mechanic and a dedicated volunteer Fire Captain who also maintains multiple snowplow contracts for the winter season.  He NEVER EVER asks for help even when he was laid up in the hospital while the snow kept coming last winter worrying about who was going to take care of the snow removal but he is the very first person to help others. He is an amazingly devoted father and cares about his kids and grand kids with such kind and gentle love. He has had to learn to sit for months at a time to let his leg heal which literally killed him to do as he you could never get him to sit still ever and against his doctors orders would get into his truck and literally drive with the other leg which no doubt caused him great discomfort so that he could be sure and get his snow plowing done.  
Seeing him at Christmas made me realize that although my own issues are very real and at times feel insurmountable and never ending, they are absolutely not even a drop of what he has had to endure. He is the most amazing person I know and I am so very proud to say he is 
MY BROTHER.
Thank you Ken, my dear sweet brother for showing me what it is to be strong. If I can have just half of the strength that you do, I will be happy.
and so
without further a-due  here is my perfect imperfect Christmas!
































I am so very very blessed.
Happy 2015!