Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Updates

I've been making some slight changes to the blog layout and format around here.  What do you think? I added a header with links to pages that I'll be updating soon. I hope this will make it easy to navigate through pages to find what you're looking for.

I saw a post on The Nest today about house bios and it reminded me that I need to start a house tour page. This will be a page that shows what we've done with all of the rooms in our house. I love looking at these on other blogs, so I hope you enjoy it too.  I'm also going to start updating a page called "Featured Projects" with things that people might be interested in and want an easy way to find all of the posts on a certain topic, like painting kitchen cabinets. Plus, it's a great way for me to keep pictures of the finished product easily accessible.

Then, of course you'll notice I've posted a link to my Pinterest boards. Click there to see all of the things that I like.  If you've never heard of Pinterest, you're missing out! It's a really cool website that allows you to save and organize pictures from all over the internet, then share them with others. It's a great tool for all kinds of projects and topics, but is really useful for looking for decorating ideas. Check it out.

A kitchen update: We finished all of the cabinets, except for a few minor touch-ups that we'll do later and the wine lattice.  I'm going to save the pictures for the final reveal for later. But, it's looking really great! The rest of our appliances, the fridge, range, washer and dryer are being installed this weekend! Woohoo!

We are planning to move in next weekend after the kitchen is fully functional, so that will be a big step! We can't wait!!  Of course, more pictures and posts will come when things happen! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kitchen Progress III

The cabinets are sooo close to being done, it's driving me crazy. We have only 2 more doors to hang. I'm so excited to see the finished product. Yesterday I put a light second coat of paint on a lot of the doors and touched up areas on the cabinets that needed it. We were supposed to be getting 3/4 of the appliances delivered today, but it will only be the microwave and dishwasher. The fridge had a dent on it this morning when they were preparing for the day of deliveries, so we have to wait until next week for the new fridge and range to be delivered.  Once those are in, the kitchen is really going to feel so different!

Here are the pictures I took last night.  It's come a long, long way from where we started.

We still have to paint and hang the doors above the desk. If you noticed, we removed the divider from the open cabinet above the fridge. We're going to leave that as an open cabinet and put wine wine lattice there. I'm going to order something like the lattice in the picture below, and we should be able to put it up ourselves. I think that once it's installed, it will make the kitchen cabinets look even more custom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Herb Garden

This weekend, I planted an herb garden in the plant boxes around the bay window on our deck. Kevin and I love to cook (which we'll be doing a lot of, once we finish the kitchen and get moved in!) and fresh herbs are a great way to add extra flavor to your dishes. Buying sprigs of herbs at the grocery store every time you need something for a recipe can get expensive too. Plus herbs are pretty to look at and smell so good!

I planted rosemary, thyme, Italian flat-leaf parsley, curly parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, chives, and dill. I also planted some new flowers in the boxes surrounding the herbs.  Then, once they were all planted, I decided that I needed a way to label all of the different herbs, as it can get confusing. That might not work out well when cooking, for example if I wanted parsley but accidentally used cilantro, there would be quite a big difference in flavor!

So, I went to the craft store and picked up these little wooden ovals on sticks. I also got some black enamel spray paint and a white enamel marker. I picked those hoping they would be resistant to water, but almost look like chalk, but we'll see.  Then, I painted and labeled each sign and stuck them in the planters with the corresponding herbs. I think it turned out pretty well.
wooden signs from AC Moore
Black enamel spray paint

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finally pulled the trigger!

On ordering the kitchen appliances, that is.  I've been tracking the appliances we wanted to buy in a spreadsheet for probably over 2 months. I was watching all of the stores that sell them and keeping track of the best prices along the way. Well finally, yesterday, we decided to go for it and order the appliances... and we got a great deal on them!

We went to HHGregg and they were really helpful.  We got them to beat some prices on the range and microwave that were better elsewhere, and we also got some discounts through our realtor and got Memorial Day sale prices. Plus, KitchenAid has a fantastic rebate going on right now if you buy multiple of their appliances and we're getting $500 back from them!  The fridge, dishwasher and microwave are all being delivered tomorrow!! Then, our range, which was special order, should be delivered next week. I can't wait to see what the kitchen looks like once they're installed.

We went back and forth over a lot of these appliances, side-by-side vs. French door, gas/dual fuel vs. electric range, and eventually settled on what we thought was best for us and most cost-efficient.  We decided to go for side-by-side fridge, just because that was our preference and we didn't like the drawer layout of the French door. Plus, the side-by-side was bigger!  We also picked a counter-depth fridge so that it doesn't stick out into the walkway of the kitchen so much.  For the range, we picked an electric slide-in because of all of the extra costs we would have had to face in order to install gas lines to the stove and proper ventilation. Here's what we got:

KitchenAid Counter-Depth Fridge
Inside of the fridge
KitchenAid Slide-in Electric Convection Range
KitchenAid Over-the-Range Microwave
KitchenAid Dishwasher

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!!

Today was our 1st Anniversary! We had a wonderful day and I can't believe it's been a year already. This year was really great, so much has happened. We're so blessed for everything that we have and for how wonderful our first year has been.

Tonight we ate dinner at Fearrington House Restaurant south of Chapel Hill, NC. It was really amazing.
I had:
Peppered Veal Striploin with Tuna Tartare with Roasted Garlic, Fava Beans, Capers, Cornichons, Fennel
Seared Foie Gras with Celery Root Fondant & Red Wine Pickled Apples, Hazelnut, Truffle, Pearl Onion &
Roasted Chicken Breast with Potato Pave and Butter Poached Shrimp, Dried Grapes, Ramps, Shitake

Kevin had: 
Yukon Potato Soup with Smoked Scrod and Quail Egg, Sherry, Peas, Leek, Mustard
Seared Monkfish with Aged Acquerello Risotto Cured Iberico Pork, Fava Beans, Red Pepper, Basil &
Meyer All-Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin with Melted Smoked Onions, White Beans, Asparagus, Blue Cheese, Sunchoke
The Fearrington House
Dining room at The Fearington House
Gardens outside of The Fearrington House
The Barn at Fearrington

We came home for a glass of champagne from the champagne house we visited on our honeymoon and a slice of our anniversary cake from Sweet Memories.  We ate a little bit of the actual top tier of our wedding cake earlier in the day. It was really good, and surprisingly tasty and fresh for having been frozen for a year.

Our anniversary treats... Cake and champagne!!
Champagne from our honeymoon in France
Our anniversary cake from Sweet Memories
The real top tier of our wedding cake... 1 year later! Weird looking, but delicious! 
Thanks to all of our family and friends for wishing us well on our anniversary. We love you all! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kitchen Progress II

We've made a lot of progress this week in the kitchen.  We're really close to being done with painting the cabinets. Today, we also started adding the kitchen hardware and rehanging the cabinet doors.  It's finally starting to take shape and I think it's really looking good. We also added crown molding to the top of the cabinets this week. I think it really helps to make the cabinets look nicer and and brings your eye up.  Here are some pictures:

New cabinet knobs

Desk is almost done!!

Crown molding is up and painted!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

And, we're off...

... painting that is. I FINALLY found Cabinet Coat in stock at a store in our area. I called around to a ton of places and most could order it for me, but I was having a really hard time finding a place that I could pick it up in store this week.  So, if you plan to use CabinetCoat on something in the future, be sure to find it or order it before you actually need it.  I got the paint mixed in Benjamin Moore Snowfall White. It's slightly off white, so it's not bright white but it's not antique-y either.

Yay, CabinetCoat! 

So far, I'm really liking the finish.  I think they're going to look great when we're done. These pictures were taken when they were drying but some parts were still wet.  It takes a little bit of practice, because you have to be careful not to go back into areas that you've already painted, as the paint begins to level and harden. So far so good, can't wait until we're done. It's crazy that the end is in sight!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What a difference a few days make!

It's crazy how fast our kitchen is evolving. On Thursday evening, we removed the old stove and prepped for the granite install. Friday, the granite countertops were installed and we continued painting the walls.  Saturday and Sunday we made the final touch ups on the blue-gray (Benjamin Moore Smoke)wall paint and sanded all of the primed cabinets and doors.  It's going really well, we only have one more major step: final coat(s) of paint on the cabinets and doors. It's going to be tedious, but I can't wait to hang the doors up so we can really get the full effect of the painted cabinets.  Here are a couple of pictures showing the changes that have happened since last week:

We've decided to use Insl-x Cabinet Coat for the final paint on the cabinets. I've read some amazing reviews on this product. It's water-based so it won't yellow like oil-based paints. Also, it is self-leveling, which will reduce brush-strokes, and will harden to form an enamel.  I can't wait to try it out this week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Granite is in!!

I'm at work today, but Kevin has been sending me pictures from his iPhone as the installers were demolishing our kitchen and installing the new granite. I can't wait to see it in person. I think it's going to look great with everything else we've planned! Here are a few pictures...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kitchen Progress

We've made a lot of progress in the kitchen. This weekend we cleaned, stripped, sanded and primed the cabinets, cabinet doors, and drawers.  It was a lot of work, but it actually went by pretty fast. We're following these steps for painting the cabinets:  http://www.squidoo.com/paintingcabinets

Here are the pictures from before we started:
Kitchen - Before
Kitchen - Before
Kitchen - Before
Here are pictures of what it looks like now, with at least 1 coat of primer on everything. We're not painting the inside of the cabinets because that would be way too much work for little actual benefit.  We decided it's ok if you see the wood tone when you open a cabinet door. Once the doors are put on, you won't even be able to tell.
After (w/primer)

Cabinet doors

Today we also picked out the paint for the kitchen walls and living room.  I got 4 samples at SW to test on the walls because I was having such a hard time with the paint chips.  We tested Sherwin Williams' Comfort Gray, Sherwin Williams' Silvermist, Behr Light French Gray, and Benjamin Moore Smoke.  I got Kevin to put the paint on the walls without letting me know which color was which.  Then, I picked my favorite and he picked his favorite.  We both ended up picking the same one as our #1 and that made the decision pretty easy.  We decided on Benjamin Moore Smoke!!  Its a really pretty gray blue that has a little bit of aqua... exactly what I was looking for!

We're also trying to decide on the backsplash.  I ordered samples of 3x6" and 2x4" Carrara marble tiles online. I prefer the 2x4" tiles because they come on a mosaic mesh and will be easier to install than the 3x6 tiles, which have to be placed individually.

BM Smoke paint, 2x4" Carrara tiles, & Steel Gray granite

2x4" Carrara marble tiles and  3x6" Carrara marble tiles
We're going to finish the primer coats and sand them this week.  The granite countertops are being installed on Friday morning. As soon as they're installed, we'll work on the final coat of paint! Hopefully, by next weekend, the kitchen will be a completely different space. :)

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