Sunday, April 29, 2012

Recipe Wall Art

I am absolutely in love with the Recipe Wall Art available from Articipe at Etsy.
With Mother's Day and a couple of important family birthdays I was thinking this would be a neat gift for some special ladies in my life. Since I don't have time to get something ordered by Mother's Day and I'm secretly wishing I was a talented graphic artist, I threw this together.  The colors are a bit vivid, but I was just trying to see if I could do it before I tweaked the colors. Plus I'm currently obsessed with Fiesta Ware and these colors would match my kitchen perfectly!!

I'm trying to decide...lace border?  I like the white border from Articipe but I'm trying not to exactly copy them!! They are also much better at filling the space than I am. So this is more *my* version.

 Or how about a fun splatter?
I could play with font and Photoshop all day...I really could!! If you are looking for a spot to get fonts like this go to


Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. ~John Lennon

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DIY Art Cable

One of the latest trends that I really like is hanging artwork from an art cable. Pottery Barn has some really nice choices like the Flower Art Cable but I found myself feeling stubborn about paying $39 (plus shipping).

I started Googling and looking through Pinterest and realized I could probably DIY something that would work well enough.  This is what we came up with!

I found the wire and hooks at (we do not live near any *craft stores* and I hate shopping so I buy a lot online). I wanted something thicker and sturdier looking than the Pottery Barn wire and this wire was rated to hold 50 pounds...PLENTY for this job. I don't think we'll see very much sagging here. I shopped around online trying to decide on the perfect knob or hook and finally asked Sean to see if he could find something on his next trip to Lowe's.  He liked these knobs because he thought they matched the hooks. 
Sean found the studs in the wall that made the most sense visually which ended up making our art wire 6 feet 8 inches long (shorter than Pottery Barn's version, but we couldn't fit 10 feet in the space we had.). He simply wrapped the wire securely around the knobs and we were all set!

I'm really happy with how our project turned out. I can honestly say when we were done I was already trying to figure out where I could put another one!

Parts list:

OOK 50174 Framers Hanging Wire Supports Up to 50 Pounds  $5.15 at (I could have probably gotten this cheaper at Lowe's but I was already ordering from Amazon and I was feeling impatient. Lowe's would be a special trip or an extra stop.

Clip It Up Clips 25-Pack $8.79 at (again...I could have shopped around for these too. But I have 25 vs. the 10 that come with the Pottery Barn wire, so I can make more art wires if I want.)

8-Count 8-32 x 1-1/2" Zinc-Plated Flat-Head Hanger Bolts  $0.98 for again...I have supplies for another project.

So the total cost for our version was under $20 and we have spare parts left over to make more.

(Sorry if the parts list is displaying wonky. It looks just fine in the preview but the formatting is all wrong in the actual post. I give up....)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blank Spaces

As I was puttering around the kitchen today a thought came to mind about a design feature that our builder and kitchen designer the woman who ordered our cabinets questioned. (The architect actually designed the layout of the kitchen quite well and we just made a few modifications to the plan. The woman at the cabinet place may think of herself as a designer, but she really did nothing for us and did not do any planning or foresee any potential issues that we ended up having later. In my mind something a skilled kitchen designer should take care of. More on that later...)

Anyway...back to the design issue. I wanted to put all drawers in our kitchen except under the sink where drawers weren't possible. I did not want any lazy susans in the corners though. This raised eyebrows with our builder and cabinet woman and all they saw was wasted space. All I could see was impractical space that was hard to access and ended up being useless to me. We lived in a house with a lazy susan and I had a tendency to overfill it and it seemed difficult to me to access its contents through the standard sized opening. (The best thing about it...we had a timid cat that used it as a place to hide when company came.) I've learned through the years that I need to have simple systems that work for me. Nothing fancy schmancy.

Here is the architect's version. It is very beautiful and I'm sure very functional. As much as I like the drawer pulls, I've also learned over the years that I have a tendency to open drawers with one hand and over time twist the drawers as a result. It's a personal preference, but I also do not like the mix of knobs and pulls.  The lazy susan here looks like one where the door spins with the unit which is better to me than the kind with a door that pulls open and then the unit inside spins. Often those end up with just one handle or knob on the side that opens and that visually drives me crazy.

Here is our version. We chose longer, deeper drawers with one long pull. No lazy susan!!! The drawer space is amazing and I'm quite happy with it. We did buy Omega cabinets that have very nice drawer slides but we actually lived in the house for over a month before we had the pulls so drawers would occasionally twist from us grabbing the side to open them up. I'm glad we went with our experiences and selected a pull we could grab with one hand.

Although there are doors under the sink we also decided we liked how it looked by placing those pulls horizontally instead of vertically. I had seen this in another kitchen while looking around for pull ideas and thought..of course! It actually works quite well, honestly better than if we had placed them vertically.

One *minor* hiccup....The cabinet lady assured Sean despite his concerns and repeated questioning that *everything was fine* with the slide in stove. Everything was *almost fine* except for there is very little clearance between the stove and the drawers.  The stove (sorry for the bad picture example) flares just a touch at the top and we were unable to open and close the top drawer on either side. The cabinet lady should have thought of spacers. Thankfully Sean was able to shave off the slightest bit of the drawer corner to make them work and you couldn't tell unless you knew the story.

So to sum it all up, as I was puttering around, I realized I am not missing that space, the drawers are very functional and I'll have even more space once we get our pantry shelves installed. I'm so glad I didn't get talked into something I didn't want. I've asked different folks what they think of lazy susans and the reviews are mixed. I think it's definitely a personal preference and when you are designing a kitchen it's important to know what you like.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Concrete Countertop - Round 1

I've always loved the look of concrete countertops and we even toyed with the idea of doing our kitchen countertops in concrete. In the end we opted not too, but we had a pantry that needed a countertop and we really didn't want to bust the budget on it.

Sean did a lot of research but the DIY experience posted here on Kelly Moore's blog was the one that we could identify with and referred to the most.

On the original plans the pantry was the laundry room, but I wanted the laundry room upstairs and thought this space would be great as a pantry.

First Sean made a template to help later when making the forms, the sink placement, etc.

As our luck would have it we had higher than normal temperatures the weekend we wanted to pour the countertop so we were up early in the morning to get started before things got too warm.

 Halfway through filling the form we threw in some rebar for good measure.
 Then vibrated out the bubbles.....
We let it sit a day before taking the forms off.

 And finally, sealed with the sink installed.
I'd say this contertop cost us less than $100 and we really like it. Right now it is buried under a pile of odds and ends just waiting for us to get our pantry shelves installed and organized.

We were so pleased with how this countertop turned out that we decided to do Rosie's bathroom in concrete too. More to come on that in another post because it turned out a bit differently for us the second time around!

Pantry color: Sherwin Williams Holiday Turquoise from the 1950s Suburban Modern Collection

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Upstairs Hall / Study...whatever you want to call it...

One of the things I liked about the floorplans for our house was that the upstairs hall area was more like a living area rather than a long narrow hall leading to the bedrooms. It is not a big space but it gets plenty of natural light.

Here is the version from the Healthy Home Plans site:

Here is our version in its developing stages: trim here either. But this is the perfect spot for our beloved secretary desk that has been kept in 2 separate pieces in two separate houses for the past four years since our temporary house did not have high enough ceilings for it. We've also been pulling our favorite books out of storage to fill the shelves.  We eliminated the short wall that maybe was meant to define what the architect had labeled as the *children's study* thinking that it would flow better. I just didn't envision this space as a children's study either.We are happy with the change and think it really opens up the space. We need to get some pictures on the wall and fill the space to make it look lived in, but we are getting there. I'm not a decorator, so things just have to happen naturally over time.
I've been scouring the internet to try to find an electronic copy of this view. I do have a print copy but it is buried in the heaps of boxes I need to unpack and I just can't put my hands on it.  Where we have a railing (very rough and temporary for code purposes only) the architect had walls to the ceiling with a little desk and art glass in the wall overlooking the staircase. We really wanted to open up the whole space so we eliminated the walls in the stairwell all the way down through to the basement.  Eventually we are going to add a windowseat on the landing where the plant stand is now.

The little step-down before heading down the stairs is actually a nice little detail that we like. It leads to our daughter's room and just provides a little architectural detail without being too obvious. It's just something we like without really having to know why.

(The walls and ceiling are Hubbard Squash from Sherwin Williams.)