Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kitchen Reno: Slide on Over

Last weekend's kitchen project was replacing the sliding door to our screened porch.  Honestly it's one of the parts of this whole kitchen thing that was making me pretty nervous.  Sliding doors are expensive and big and I'm pretty sure that replacing one is a 2-person job.  So when it came time to do it, we invited Jason's brother down for a weekend to help.  And he's a carpenter, so he's done this sort of thing before.  

I gotta say, it was great that he was able to come.  He arrived early enough on Friday that he and Jason could go pick up the door from the supplier.  And he brought his daughter with him and she & Sarah had a blast hanging out for a few days.

Now, as a blogger who is pretty devoted to DIY projects, I like to be involved or at least closely observing the work that happens in the house (yeah, I am often on kid wrangling duty for the heavy-lifting sorts of tasks).  But sometimes it's fun to disappear and have projects finished when I return.  Sorta like the magic of television!

I was really hoping that last Saturday would be like that with the guys working hard on the house while the kids and I (my 2 plus their cousin) went to the zoo, alas it was not meant to be.  Some unforeseen complications delayed their progress and there was still a lot left to do (and because I was trying to stay out of the way, there aren't a lot of good progress pics).  By dinnertime they WERE done.  Is anything ever as straightforward as it's supposed to be?  Nope.  Never.  *sigh*
So here it is:
The new door has been "in" for a week and I can already say a few things about it:
  • It glides so nicely!  The old door was tough to open sometimes.
  • HANDLES!  I love that both sides of the door have real handles to grab.  And they don't come off in your hand.
  • It locks!  The old door didn't lock.  Yeah, I know we could have just replaced the hardware, but the old door needed to go anyway.
  • The insulation is MUCH better.  I used to be able to feel cold radiating from the slider and I can already feel the improvement.
  • It's MUCH quieter.  Lawn mowers, barking beagles, chirping birds - all quieter.  
  • Definitely much prettier
Tons of work still to do in here (obviously) but it's nice to have this one checked off the to-do list.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kitchen Reno: The Design Process

I'd like to take some time here to tell you about the design process we have gone through over the last few weeks.  
It actually started a lot earlier with me daydreaming about the kitchen, thinking about what I liked about the kitchen (not a lot) and what drove me crazy.  Also, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted my new kitchen to look like and finding inspiration on Pinterest and other blogs.  
Things that made me crazy:
  • Placement of the fridge.  It was right up against a wall which meant that the fridge side of the appliance wouldn't fully open.  In truth, it annoyed me to no end so it HAD to change. 
  • Trash out in the open.  I don't want to see a trash can.  Ever.
  • Cookie Sheets.  I bake and need a good vertical storage space for my stuff!  
How I want my kitchen to look:
Light & Airy 
Check out a few of my "Inspiration Kitchens":
Young House Love's kitchen:

And I have to mention the Bower Power Blog kitchen:

With these ideas in mind we started perusing cabinet options at places like Home Depot and Ikea.  And really, it's tough to get a good sense of cost from these places without really sitting down and talking to someone.  Ikea has a ton of options, but there were a few things I though we absolutely needed for our layout and they weren't options there, so Ikea was quickly eliminated.  Home Depot was a contender until I got a recommendation for a local kitchen/bath place.  

I made an appointment there to spend an hour or so with a real kitchen designer, Melissa.  Armed with measurements for our space and a few "must haves" she quickly clicked in a design for our kitchen.  It was amazing.  Our kitchen is a small space, but Melissa's years of experience helped her come up with a functional design that maximized work space, fixed our fridge problem, and included a pantry cabinet.  

We're set on the design now (hardware & counter top are still up in the air), and I couldn't be happier.  I can't say for sure that we wouldn't have been happy with a HD kitchen design (honestly we'd probably end up with something very similar), but I know that Melissa has a degree in interior design, 7 years of experience at this company, and has designed literally HUNDREDS of kitchens.  Throughout the whole process she asked me questions and made suggestions on how to save money, consider different options, and that really helped me feel more confident in the choices we made.  I'm sure that we paid more this way, but worth it in the long run, I think.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Springing Up the Front Porch

Well, this is more spring and summer (if I can remember to stay on top of watering and the plants don't die).

If you recall, last year I put out a few potted plants on the front porch.  I went cheap and got 2 plastic pots from Home Depot, drilled holes and put a bright pink geranium in each one. They were bright & colorful, but too small to be the star of the show on the porch.

This year, I needed to go a bit bigger.  I had spotted these pots at Ikea:

And I truly fell in love with that blue color.  Last year's pots were yellow and I really love a blue & yellow color combo, so I picked up 2 of these bad-boys.  They were pretty big without being ENORMOUS.  And at $15/each the price was right.

Planting up the big pots was pretty simple.  I drilled a few holes in the bottom of each pot to allow for drainage of excess water.  Then I put a brick in each one (to prevent tip-over).  A bit of potting soil and then a few flowering and green plants and it was done!

Here's how they looked:

I made matching planters for each side of the porch.  Here's the look from the yard:

I'm starting another bigger curb appeal project, so I'm holding off on any from-the-sidewalk photos until that's more done.

What kinds of outdoor spring spruce-ups do you have going on??



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