Thursday, March 28, 2013


So, we  bought a kitchen.

That sounds kind of funny, but it is so true, and we are so excited!

This is the fourth kitchen Hero and I have done. (Remember what I really mean when I say "Hero and I" or "we"? I usually mean "Hero".) But this is the first time we used IKEA, so there is the extra step of building the cabinets. No big deal.

Hero is talking to Lisa, an IKEA kitchen expert. She looked over our plan (that we did on IKEA's online program) and tweaked a few things. She said we had done a pretty good job, and that makes her job a lot easier. Anytime, Lisa.

While she was creating our order and pricing everything, she sent us to the accessories section for get everything else we would need. See, right now the IKEA kitchens are on sale. Everything you need for the kitchen is included in the sale (except floors and lighting). So we skipped over to the organizer section.

You know I skipped - that is my favorite part!

We have four regular size drawers, so we got four of these cool dividers. Easy to clean, easy to see everything. Unlike the situation we have at the moment:

I promise - I did not touch this drawer to take the photo. This is really it. Ugh.

We also picked out the handles and knobs. We checked out some kitchens while we were there to finalize our choice and we went with a classic black knob for our white cabinets. And we picked out some cool handles for the drawers. Wait till you see those.

The sale at IKEA is a pretty good one. If you spend a certain amount, you get 10% off. But if you spend at least the next amount (which I cannot remember), you get 20% off. Lisa asked us if we had everything we needed,  because we were thisclose to the 20% off deal. Um, okay. 

And we chose this:

We have a perfectly good dishwasher already that works swimmingly. The only problem with it was that it was white. We thought we could live with that. But when we get 20% off our whole order, we brought this beauty on board.

Lisa is good at her job.

But we saved a ton. 

And here is the kitchen in the garage.

Doesn't it look fabulous?

Maybe this view is better?

Since we have a major holiday in a few days and it is someone's birthday (Hero!) on the same day as the major holiday, we cannot rip out the kitchen quite yet. But we can start building in the garage. 

And this time we have helpers. Liam, Colin and Brenden are super excited to help demolish the old and build the new!

Oh yeah.

So excited - We bought a kitchen!

Just so you know - these photos were taken with my IPhone. And I edited them with Snapseed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Getting Ready

We are getting so close!

We have big plans for this little kitchen. And it does not involve any wallpaper.

It has so much potential for being awesome, and we are going to get started on that awesomeness in the next few weeks. Yay!

Let's do a tour, shall we? 

Here is what we are working with. This is the working side of the kitchen. We had new lights installed recently and what a difference that made. 

I know this is not the worst kitchen ever. It is just so desperate for a new look and more efficiency. It was born in 1958, got a little update sometime in the 80s and has been pretty much stuck with the same hair style since. It is ready to move on from this mid-life crisis!

Rotating clock-wise, we have the back wall, with the big window I painted last year.

Hero built this awesome table for our family when all our kiddos were small. It is the best! It is actually a little too big for the spot, but we are going to make it work. We can easily fit 10 people at it. And we have had up to 13.

And turning just a smidge more, we are back at the opening to the living room and the edge of the working side. The opening is actually pretty good sized, but because there is a big hunking refrigerator in a very unfortunate spot, that is not evident right off the bat. But we have a plan for that.

And see the former "pantry"? Just waiting to paint the walls to make it completely disappear. And we have a fun project for that wall that includes windows and platters. You'll see.

In the current setup, the stove is smooshed up against the fridge. Not cool. We really only use the two burners on the right, because a right-handed cook cannot turn the pot handle all the way out. (FYI - our lefty cook has no problem :) So, with the door blocking and pot handle issues, that refrigerator has to go!

Ok, not to far. Just to the other side of the work area.

Over here. It looks tight over there with the door, but we have a plan for that, too. New door, opening the other direction. Still cozy, but a much better arrangement than the current one.

Let's just pause here to look at this photo. Notice the lack of ugly upper cabinet doors (same as the lowers), wallpaper above, rough walls where wallpaper was removed in between and so dated cabinet doors. Oh yes, we need some attention here please. 

We are replacing all the cabinets, removing the soffit above (along with the wallpaper) and adding some kind of cool back splash in between. The plan is to install extra tall cabinets on top to the ceiling (extra storage!) like these:
AKURUM fan cab/top cabinet to refrigerator, Lidingö white, birch Width: 29 7/8 " Depth: 12 7/8 " Height: 24 " Width: 76 cm Depth: 32.8 cm Height: 61.1 cm

There are a few little quirky touches that may or may not be obvious:

This cabinet has an extra special treat - A gas line for the fireplace downstairs runs right through it. Not super convenient for using that space at all. Hero has a plan to relocate that.

Great view of the lovely wallpaper.

And what's up with that crazy fake oak board in front of the light over the sink? That light fixture puts out about 10 watts of light and with the board blocking it, it's more of a night light than anything. That is hitting the highway as well.

I have to say it has been super handy having no cupboard doors - I'm tempted to put in a few open shelves. But Hero is not really on board with that, so we are going to use a few with glass doors. Not as handy, but can show off the cute dishes (unlike this current chaos).

We went back and forth with putting in a little island. Would be handy, but ultimately decided it was too tight, especially with any traffic from the back door. Instead this spot between the door and the window is going to get it's own cabinet situation. Totally looking forward to having that extra space.

The back door comes right into the kitchen, which wouldn't be my first choice, but it is what it is. We are going to switch it out with a half window door, opening on the right, so it should work and feel a lot better.

Here is the cool plan view of our little kitchen with the updates. It totally makes it feel official!

We are so close!

And then there is this.

There really is not much to say about this ceiling fan and light - except that it's functional.

It has been good to live with this kitchen for a while so we are pretty sure of what we would like to have happen in the remodel. That's what I keep telling myself.

Colin and Liam are looking forward to helping with the demolition ("Can we use a hatchet? Can we use the ax?") I have a feeling the removal will go pretty quick.

Good thing - 'Cause we are ready.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Non-Kitchen Project

While we are waiting for a certain major holiday to celebrate before we start on the kitchen, we are saving a few more dollars, measuring twice, getting the plans printed up, cabinets, counter top and sink ordered and trying to decide on a floor to get our kitchen remodel underway. We are so ready to have a beautiful and functional kitchen!

While we are waiting to get that party started, I've been working on a few organizing adventures.

I am totally on a back and forth with things coming and going out of our house. I recently inherited my mom's belongings. She has lived in the same house for about 60 years. She also had a very hard time throwing anything away. 

Like really really hard.

So, I spend a few hours each week making decisions about what to keep, what to give to other family members, what to sell and what to donate. Some things are pretty easy. Sea horse painting from the 40's painted by my Aunt Bonnie? Give to my Aunt Bonnie. Marriage license dated 1873 for a family member? Keep. Box of old (but not that old) keys? Trash.

But some things are not so easy to make a quick decision about. Fiesta Ware pitcher? Love it, but I already have one. So I bring it home to noodle on it for a while. I think I am going to sell it after all  Cool old glass and metal animal feeder? Very cool. Would love to keep it, but not sure what to do with it. After a month, I decide to give it to a friend who has chickens. She is in love.

So this thing with stuff coming and going in my house. It's hard. Hero and I are on a path of keeping things that we love or find useful, and eliminating the rest. It is so not easy. We sold the big house a year ago to really help us on that path. And we are doing pretty good. We did away with about 40% of our stuff when we moved and got settled into the small house. Less to clean, less to maintain, less to worry about. More time for more important things. And we are continuing to edit to make our home the best it can be without clutter or unnecessary extra goods.

But bringing in a few boxes of quick edited things home each week is throwing off our groove. Not to mention a few pieces of furniture and other things that won't fit in a box, like a mantle clock and swords (Yes, swords). 

My strategy is to go through the boxes within a few days of bring them home, and making decisions about their status in our home. Sometimes bringing things home makes it much more clear about their fate - Lots of it ends up in the donation box or on Ebay. And that donation box hits the road right away. The Ebay and Craigslist stuff has to hang around a little longer until it has a new home, which makes me a little bit crazy. Since it doesn't have a home at our house, it kind of floats around. Ugh. 

As this project will be going for a while, I have to come up with a better plan for the floaters. Like find a temporary home that is not the kitchen table, but not so far so it doesn't get too comfy. 

And after Easter, we will be creating even more craziness while we take our kitchen out of commission for a few weeks.

What kind of projects are you working on?