Kitchen Renovation: Day 15?

So we didn’t quite make the two week deadline but I think we’re coming in pretty close.  Thursday or Friday of this week the construction should be finished and everything installed but it will take a few more days after that for me to get everything moved in and the painting finished, etc.  I am very ready to have a stove and dishwasher again!

You can see in the above photo that the cabinets have been painted and I painted a chalkboard wall and a frame around it.

Painting is underway but still has a way to go.


No renovation in the history of renovations has ever gone perfectly and we had our hiccups over the weekend.  First of all, the two cabinet doors for the sink cabinet are too small and have to be reordered and painted.  You can see the gap in this photo:

And there was a miscommunication between me and my contractor about the cabinet pulls and she thought I was using the old ones.  So, the existing holes were not filled and painted over when the cabinets were painted.  That got remedied today.  Tomorrow the floor gets painted and Thursday the plumbing and electrical go in.

Also, you may have noticed some changes to the blog and website.  I am slowly getting the blog updated with images and more pages and special thanks go to my husband who is single-handedly doing this for me!


Rule Breaking: Mixing Finishes

I have been thinking a lot lately about the big “no-no” of combining finishes when designing a room.  This is supposedly true of any room but especially a bath or kitchen where metallic finishes play such a large part.

Before I had much experience designing and decorating spaces I was afraid to follow my instincts in the face of “rules:”  Don’t mix finishes, cream hates white, don’t combine patterns of the same scale, etc., etc.  Of course, as they say, rules are meant to be broken.  But to look good and not just crazy, they have to be broken with a certain intention and purpose.  Then breaking/bending a rule can be the thing that makes a good room look great.

I feel it’s OK to mix finishes when your house is older (an old house could have had decades of layering),  when you are going for a vintage/eclectic vibe, and when the space is large enough to handle multiple tones.  (For instance, my earlier post about our little bathroom reno has all polished nickel because multiple finishes in that small of a space would have overwhelmed the eye).  Also, I don’t think I would combine more than three finishes in one space.  Of course, I realize have just laid out a new set of rules that might need to be broken–where does it end?!  (Love the kitchen below from Keen and Fitting).


With all of the mental energy I have been devoting to this, I was happy to see Brooke Giannetti at Velvet and Linen do a post about this very topic in discussing the planning of her large home, Patina Farm, in southern California.  Below are some images from that post:



Both of these images have at least three finishes–copper, gold, and silver–and it looks lovely and authentic.  Also in both, the basis for the introduction of mixed finishes is a beautiful range.  (If only that were in the budget!).


What are some rules you might like to break in design?  Have you ever done it and how did it look?

Oyster Shell Mirror

No kitchen updates today.  They sprayed the cabinets so I can’t get in to take a picture–it’s driving me crazy!   And maybe by Saturday the cabinet doors will be back on and they will have started on the floor.  So, instead of kitchen photos, I’m posting a picture of a mirror I made for Becky out of oyster shells.  I had no time to stage this photo today as two out of three kids were home sick, but I did get the cute little tea set she got for Christmas in there.  As my website progresses I hope to eventually have a shop page where items like this mirror will be for sale.

Thanks for checking in!

Reader Kitchen Before and After

Here is a kitchen renovation before and after from Tery in Annapolis, MD.  Tery and her family own a 1920s oysterman house that they have been painstakingly restoring for the last eight years.  Much like my house, Tery’s home had been converted to apartments and then reconverted back to a single family dwelling and had layers of bad renovations.  The shot above shows the dated cabinets and cramped layout of the “before” kitchen.

More before shots.  It looks in this one as though a bank of cabinets has already been removed.

I love this shot.  The floors had to come up so some repairs could be done on the joists.  Although they had professional installers for plumbing electrical and cabinetry, they did much of the work themselves.  I’m so impressed with that!  Also, when the floors came up, Tery says they found hundreds of oyster shells underneath which may mean the kitchen used to be a porch.  This is actually another similarity to our house–our kitchen is built on the side portion of what was once a wraparound porch.

Here, the lovely dark hardwood floors start to go in…

And here is the completed kitchen!  Of course I love the carrara marble and all the white cabinets are so fresh and bright.  You can also see a school house fixture hanging down in the top of the frame.  Tery had to buy five of these and instead of the pricey ones she found at Circa Lighting, she was able to find look-a-likes at Lowe’s for a fraction of the cost.

I think this may be a peninsula–so lovely with the gooseneck faucet over the sink.  Hello doggie!


I’m jealous of this stove and pot-filler!  Also, a homeowner tip:  Tery said she was able to save by doing marble tile on the backsplash.  This is a great way to incorporate marble into the look of your kitchen without committing to slabs.  This tile backsplash would look lovely with butcher block counters too–a much more budget friendly  option.  Thanks so much for sharing your lovely kitchen Tery!


Do any of you have before and afters you’d like to share or tips on remodelling?  Send them to me and I’d be happy to post them.


Thanks for stopping in!

Guest Room (and Kitchen Reno Day 10)

This afternoon after the rain stopped the prettiest light was coming through our western windows.  I almost missed it when I ran to get the camera and fluffl the pillows on the bed in the guest room but was able to catch the very end of it before the sun set.

I know I posted about the guest room a while back but since the photos from that post were taken with my iphone, I figured I would take some more with the good camera.  This is a detail of the Waverly drapery fabric.

This is the little vintage vanity with painted chair.  I found the chair at a salvage yard and loved the lines of it.

View of the antique armoire I also found at a salvage yard.  The wastebasket came from World Market.

For more details on sources for the items in here, see my previous post.

And here’s the update on the kitchen–Today the paneling went in and the wall for enclosing the fridge went up:

The paneling will actually continue behind the window.  And the faucet’s not in yet.  I just stuck it in the holes that were drilled so I could see what it’s going to look like…

Sorry this last one is so blurry!  It had gotten dark fast.

Also, the pulls and knobs for the cabinetry arrived today but of course, we have to wait until the cabinets get sprayed before any can go in.   These are what I ordered:

And the pulls are not exactly this but pretty close:

Thanks for checking in!

Kitchen Chairs

Here’s a sneak peek of some chairs I have been working on for the kitchen.

I can’t show them all the way yet because I think I still need to work on them a little but wanted to show what I did when the renovation was on hold yesterday.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Kitchen Renovation, Day 9–Counters and Sink

Today the counters and sink went in and it made a big difference…

Although the counters were a big part of the budget, they were much less than you might think.  A few years ago when I first decided I wanted marble counters I went to a marble yard and and got an estimate.  Needless to say, the number I was given made any thought of upgrading the counters, much less the rest of the kitchen, unthinkable.

But then this year I went into this place I had always driven by but dismissed called Granite Expo.  I didn’t want granite but I had heard from people that it was a good kitchen resource.

Lo and behold, at the end of all the granite samples, there was one marble sample–carrera!  It had a bull-nose (not square like I wanted) and was polished (not honed like I also wanted) but it was sold by the slab: 8 or 9 feet for about $250 each.  Installation was extra but still a huge discount.  Now, I knew I wasn’t getting the finest carrera marble–the white background with the large clear veins that is considered so desirable–but I was OK with that.  Also, they wouldn’t hone it for me or cut off the bull-nose so my contractor hired a granite installer who was first of all someone she trusted, and secondly, could do all the extra customization I wanted.  Granite Expo is not a warm experience–you definitely feel the people there work on commission and once you have paid, you’re kind of on your own.  But for the deal I got I thought it was worth it.  If you are in the Bay Area and considering a kitchen remodel on a budget, definitely check them out.

Do you have any budgeting tips for a kitchen remodel?

Kitchen Renovation–Day 8

Today the base of the cabinets got installed.

Tomorrow the counters go in so I’m hoping to see  a bigger difference soon!

This is where the sink will go–the front gets cut out for the apron front.

Also, a little thing, but the pantry got dry-walled.  Little victories…

Thanks for checking in!

Kitchen Renovation Day 7: Floors Installed

As of about 7:30 pm this evening, the floors are installed.  They are still unpainted but they are in and it’s making a huge difference to the space.

Forgive the baby in the last 2 shots.  I was single parenting tonight and she is in a real “mama” phase so I had to take the pictures fast before she caught me…

We are starting to feel the stress of the renovation more and tonight I made quesadillas in the microwave for dinner while the floor guys were hammering away in the kitchen–not exactly a pleasant evening!  But all is quiet now.

Tomorrow I think the cabinetry is going in and then maybe the counters on Saturday.  We also had all the plumbing done this morning so things are really moving along.  I hope to have some more big changes to post about tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in!

Kitchen Remodel, Day 6-Where is Everyone?


So nothing actually happened today.  The floor guy was supposed to come but rescheduled for tomorrow morning.  We are handling the stress reasonably well around here although I did almost have a panic attack at 5:05 pm when I couldn’t find the wine bottle opener!  Pizza it is!

Instead of kitchen projects I’ll post some pictures of some grouse statues I’ve fixed up to go in a client’s house:

I found these vintage garden statues at a shop here in Berkeley several months ago and loved the shape of them.  Plus each one weighs about 15 pounds so they are substantial too.  When I tried them out in my client’s house, they were to pinky-beige for her mantel so I painted them and added some antiquing to give them some depth.  I can’t wait to try them out in her house now.

I have to say, I think they are adorable and I think the new color is going to work so well.  I’ll post more pictures when I get them in the client’s house.


Hope to have more kitchen updates tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!