Cora’s Nursery

 

 

IMGP2204

Welcome to my room, I mean….Cora’s nursery.  This room has been my absolute favorite to design.

IMGP2299

This is the second nursery I’ve designed but this time around it’s been a lot different.  I designed Flynn’s nursery while I was trapped on the couch for 10 weeks on bed rest.  Of course, when you’re on bed rest you can’t go shop for things in store. And you don’t feel like spending a lot of money because you’re sitting on your butt not making any. So his room became pretty heavily DIY (origami, cross stitching, homemade banners, really bad sewing, etc.) and therefore relatively cheap. If I couldn’t order it or make it, it did not go in his nursery.

I still love the way his room turned out but this time around has been so different.  For one thing, I spent a lot more money. Oops. I also have the perks of having gone through the baby phase and into toddlerhood and seen how a room needs to evolve rather quickly. So Cora’s room could easily work for a toddler girl or pre-teen or say, even me.  Because I pretty much designed it for me – just switch out the crib for a full and I’m all set.  Sure it still definitely reads girly (I’m pretty girly after all) but I very much tried to steer away from anything too babyish.  I also didn’t want to get locked into a theme. So my simple criteria for every purchase was that it just needed to be something I loved.  With so many cute girl things out there, I didn’t want to rule out anything (I’m looking at you adorably themed muslin blankets!).

As I started collecting things I started to picture that the room was kind of an eclectic mix for a cool chick. Of any age. I designed it for the girl I hope she becomes.IMGP2217

It’s light and airy and yes, pink.  Well technically it’s white. The color is stunning and I couldn’t dream of a more perfect, subtle pink.  I fell in love with it when I saw it used in this nursery (I also want to steal her kitchen!)  It feels so refreshing. I’m sure I won’t feel that way as I schlep back and forth to the room in the middle of the night 10 times.  But, I still look forward to those magical moments at dawn when the rest of the world is waking up and there’s a sweet babe curled into my chest snoozing away and the light filters in and fills the room with that delicious glow. That is exactly what this pink was made for.

IMGP1978

The light fixture was my first purchase and it really set the tone that this room means serious, non-baby business.  It is gorgeous and it just feels right even after all of the changes this room made.

IMGP2032

IMGP2311

The dresser wall has quickly become my favorite.  IMGP2178

After using a small dresser for a changing table for Flynn’s room I knew I wanted something wider (read: avoid setting poopy diaper down only to have baby’s foot propel it across room).

IMGP2180

This 6 foot MCM I found on Craigslist is a bit wider than I had hoped for but ended up working out perfectly.  It gives us a lot of storage and plenty of elbow room for changing wriggling babies. There was a long period where I was afraid to take the plunge and paint it but I’m so glad we went for it. The white feels bright and fresh and the cleaned up brass and laminate hardware gives it just the right amount of charm.

IMGP2080

The artwork is a collection of my favorites from rifle paper and urban outfitters with a unicorn head from land of nod.  It’s mythical creatures meets cool chick with shades, which coincidentally is exactly where my inner child fits in.

IMGP2296

IMGP1971

Choosing the art that went above the crib was no easy task. I fell in love with a few prints from minted but fell out of love with their price tags, even unframed. And how the heck do you frame a 30×40 print without it costing a fortune.  I was able to get the look I wanted by this minted for west elm piece and with the use of a coupon code and a gift card it became a lot more reasonable.  I imagine one day she’ll grow tired of it and then I know it could go really anywhere in the house and to others it will be abstract and for me and Eric it will always remind us of sweet baby Cora.

IMGP2159

The mirror was a gift from my mother in law and the scalloped edges play nicely with the light fixture.

IMGP2095

I picture us storing stuffed animals and books in a large basket somewhere else and the shelves will hold a few pretty things.  The flipped over bottom flisat can hang pretty clothes or with the addition of some s hooks cute bags or purses.

IMGP2151IMGP2276

IMGP1972IMGP2197

I added the removable wallpaper to the front of the hidden shelves on the dresser as well as to the sides of the other drawers.  It was sooooo easy and affordable (it was less than $30 for the roll and I only used maybe half)

IMGP2212IMGP1981If the nursery was themed I suppose I’d have to say it was Summer-themed with an emphasis on mermaids, flamingos and ice cream…which you’ll find multiple times around the room.

IMGP2149

Do you see those adorable little plates?  Those are only $5 each from Anthropologie (when they’re on sale which is often lately).  The C plate has a cactus on it and says “dare to cuddle” ūüôā

IMGP2061

The hardest part of pregnancy for me is the middle because it’s the scariest time.  Every week I would wonder if this would be the week my baby girl would be taken from me.  Every week I looked up the percent of babies that survive birth at that week and the percent of babies that have major developmental issues.  Planning the nursery and obsessing over each and every detail was my distraction, just as it was with Flynn’s pregnancy.  I finished the nursery around 35 weeks which was just in time to be able to sigh and realize that everything will be ok.  Now this belly has gotten bigger than I had ever hoped and carries a *full-term* baby in it which is just mind-boggling.  I wish I could go back and tell myself at 20 weeks to not worry – that not only would we make it longer than Flynn but we would make it to the end but that’s not how life works.  I probably would’ve eaten a little healthier…

Cora will arrive on July 28th via c-section after being stuck breech for 3 months.  She will have stayed in my belly for 6 weeks longer than her brother to the day.  I am so delighted that unlike Flynn, she will likely come straight home.

Welcome home baby girl!

IMGP2315

Source List

Wall Color [SW Intimate White] | Rug [Joss & Main] | Dresser [Craigslist-Drexel Paragon Collection painted with Flat White Rustoleum spray paint] | Light Fixture [Serena & Lily] | Table Lamp [Pottery Barn Teen] | Floor Lamp [Target] | Crib [second hand Delta] | Curtains [Target] | Curtain Rod [Bed Bath & Beyond]  | Curtain Clips [West Elm] | Art over Crib [West Elm] | Side Table [Target] | The World is Your Oyster [Rifle Paper and Co] | Mermaid [Rifle Paper & Co] | Shades [Rifle Paper & Co] | Horse [Urban Outfitters] | Sloths [Urban Outfitters]  | Unicorn Head [The Land of Nod] | Gold Coral Jewelry Stand [Target] | Mobile [Pottery Barn Kids] | Rocker [IKEA] | Pouf [Home Goods] | Mirror [Pottery Barn Kids] | Shelves [IKEA] | Pink Dream Catcher [The Land of Nod] | Letter Plates [Anthropologie] | Hanging Planters [Anthropologie discontinued] | Laundry Hamper [Anthropologie discontinued] | Gold wire basket [Anthropologie] | Face planter [Target] | Wallpaper on dresser [Target] | Trash Can [Target] | Palm Throw [Pottery Barn Teen] | Mermaid Pillow [Target] | Hazel the Deer knit doll [Blabla Kids] | Crib Sheet [Anthropologie] | Changing Pad Cover [Spearmint Love] | Pride & Prejudice [Amazon] | Flora [Amazon] | Rosie [Amazon] | Paris [Amazon] | A Little Princess [Amazon] | The Little Mermaid [Barnes & Noble]

 

 

 

 

 

Tile Tips

The thought of trying to write a post detailing every step in the process of tiling our kitchen is a bit too daunting.  So instead I thought I’d hit the high spots and give out some of the more important tips I learned along the way.

First, a little background.  This was my first experience tiling anything so the hardest part of all was taking the plunge and starting.  I got quite a few interesting looks (from mostly men) when I explained our project was going to be tiling our kitchen from floor to ceiling and that we were going to do it all ourselves.  Eric was a huge help – especially with the grouting process which I will say you simply can not do by yourself unless you do tiny spaces at a time.  We spent about 4 days working 5-6 hours on tiling together which got us about halfway I’d say and the rest of the work I did at night or during nap times by myself.  Grouting was another 2 full day process.  This was not one of those tile jobs that people say they did easily over the weekend.  Not happening.  In fact, if we had done just the backsplash alone I’m not sure we could’ve managed in 2 days alone.  We purchased enough tile to cover 110 square feet and then needed about 60 more tiles to complete the job.  All in all, it took us just over a month to set the tile.  The project has dragged on for another couple weeks as we found time to grout, caulk and replace all the trim and put the hood back up, etc. all of which occurred after our son decided to transition out of his crib which seriously put a damper on my ability to get anything done at night.  Despite how long it has taken, I could not be happier with what we’ve achieved.  I made mistakes along the way.  And I for sure can see that my work done on the last wall is significantly better than the tiles we did first but anyone else that comes in the kitchen will not see that.

So without further ado, here are some tips from lessons I learned along the way.

  • Go with 1/16 inch grout lines.  You will be tempted to use 1/8 inch.  RESIST THE URGE!  I knew 1/16 inch grout lines were recommended but I did a trial with some tile using peanut butter as my faux grout to assess the spacing and in my mind I kept thinking – but don’t I want bigger? img_7039

The tile we used actually made grout lines slightly less than 1/16 inch which made me even more skeptical about not using spacers.  We decided to not use spacers in the end and the grout lines look so neat and tidy.  If you’re going with darker grout IMO 1/8 inch grout lines looks messy.  1/16 looks professional and clean.  And I absolutely love how the grout lines turned out.

IMGP1235

Pre-grout

  • avoid tile that isn’t self spacing – it is hard enough tiling this large of an area without them.  I would estimate that spacers would have made the project take about double the time.  Yes at times I wish I had the flexibility of the use of spacers to be able to fudge my grout lines more but overall it was just SO MUCH EASIER.
  • pre-mixed mastic will make your life easier – we took the advice of multiple other blog posts and went with mastic instead of powdered thin set (as the salesperson at the tile shop recommended) and absolutely loved the convenience.  On those nights when I’d tile for an hour it was so worth it to be able to open the tub, go to town putting up 20 or so tiles and then closing it up and using it the next night.  After a week or so of being open the mastic did start to thicken slightly but not so much that it was un-useable.  We used 3 of these tubs and at ~$40 each I do not regret the cost at all because the convenience factor was so huge.
  • consider your starting point but don’t get too hung up on it.  it’s easy to plan when it’s just a backsplash but in a kitchen like ours, we could’ve debated for days where to start because so much of our tile depends on the starting point – like about 90% of it (only one small area doesn’t communicate with the other tile so to speak).  We chose to start in the center of the oven wall which is the focal point of the kitchen.  The truth is we could’ve started anywhere but I thought it might be weird if the tile that met the doorway on the left was different than the tile that met the doorway on the right.  This means that the oven wall looks great in our kitchen – but that left some other rather odd issues.  The tile meets the doorway from the center with a half tile/full tile situation which is ideal but that means that as the tile went over each doorway and came back down we were left with awkward awkward small tile cuts.  So annoying.  In the end, they look fine but they were a real pain in the butt.  We also got stuck w/ annoying small tile cuts where it meets up to the border on the far left – looks fine, but also a pain in the butt to cut all those teeny tiny tiles.  The worst problem we ran into with our starting point was where it met the counters on the window wall.  We left about a 1/8 inch gap between the counter and the tile using a 1/16 inch spacer under our tile.  As we went left that amount got eaten up and our tile had to sit directly on the counter.  As we came up and around to the counter on the window wall we got to the counter and had an awkward gap.  The gap was too big to not put something in so I cut slivers of tile and we jammed them in. It does NOT look good. IMGP1249The counter on the window wall is unlevel so the far left the tile meets the counter and the far right there’s that awkwardly large gap again. We chose to just caulk it anyway and it doesn’t look great but probably looks better than the slivers would have.
  • keep it level (to a point).  we checked after almost every tile.  it’s so much more important when you’re going floor to ceiling.  each tile we pressed into place firmly but we still got off.  When our bubble started to escape the middle portion we intervened by cheating one side up but otherwise we just kept going.  I think we stayed a little high on the left for almost the whole project – but you can’t tell at all!  don’t get too hung up with the level- it’s going to get off.  it must take quite a bit for it to be noticeable.imgp1247.jpg
  • keep the tile level and ignore your unlevel trim or choose an area slightly in between.  Above our window the trim is very unlevel.  One of our doorways also had a similar issue.  When I made the tile level it looked unlevel due to it’s juxtaposition next to the trim.  Long story short that window was a real PITA and I tiled it 3 times to get it right.  I ended up choosing to keep the tile pretty much level, just slightly unlevel like the trim.  That kept me level when I got to the ceiling.  The doorway wasn’t much easier but I had learned my lesson with the window (somewhat) and I at least didn’t have to rip out tile and patch drywall and all that nonsense.  In the end, I decided the trim could always be changed or redone but that I wasn’t going to be ripping out tile and fixing it later on.  Now that it’s all done it looks great.  And 90% of people probably won’t even notice the issue over the window even if they look right at it.  And once I get a shade on that window you definitely won’t see any issue.
  • spread your mastic onto each individual tile, not the wall.  I’m pretty sure no tutorial out there will tell you this and maybe I’m just terribly slow but I found that when I spread it on the wall in a small area to tile that it would dry or I’d end up taking longer to clean off the semi-dry mastic to redo it.  Also, it was a lot less messy when I did each tile individually.  There was less mastic oozing out of the cracks.
  • use a wet saw I don’t even like using a circular saw – it freaks me out!  But I made every single cut required using the wet saw.  I can tell you my first few outlets I had to cut around were a bit rough – and if (not that you ever would!) you take off the outlet cover you will see some ugly cuts.  I got A LOT of practice though.  Not just around outlets but around cabinet trim and around our wonky unlevel ceiling and I got good.IMGP1250
  • Cut that tile again.  If you make a bad cut, don’t try to force it or give in to the exhaustion of the fact that you’ve cut the same tile 3 times and haven’t gotten it quite right.  Do it again.  It’s annoying, but it’ll be worth it.  Caulk can work miracles, but sometimes it’s just easier to redo it.  There’s one tile in particular that annoys me now every time I look at it because I know I gave in to using it instead of cutting another and the caulk only made it look halfway decent.  Live and learn.IMGP1256
  • Toothpicks = 1/16 inch.  After every 3-4 tiles, take your toothpick and swipe your grout lines to clean out the oozy mastic.  Its a heck of a lot easier when it’s still wet.
  • Clean off your tile before grouting.  Better yet, clean it off while you’re still tiling.  Wet mastic is easy to clean off with a wet paper towel.  If you wait until it dries, take a warm, wet rag and wipe down a small area for several minutes.  If you moisten the mastic it’s 10x easier to remove.  After it’s good and wet (you can tell because it won’t make any noise under your rag) you can then scrape it off with a fingernail or toothpick.  Once you scrape it off the surface of the tile, go top to bottom on your grout lines with your toothpick to pick out any debris you just wiped into them.  Some mastic in the grout lines is fine – the grout will hide it.  But if it’s raised out of the line, it’ll still be visible once you grout.
  • Test out your grout color.  We were between two colors – delorean grey and charcoal.  It was really difficult to choose a color because the color on the bag can’t really be trusted.  We decided to buy both bags and test them at home.  I set up 2 samples of tile on a strip of wood and then mixed both grouts up and grouted the samples.  I could see exactly what the color would look like when dry and move the samples around the kitchen to see how it looked in different lighting around the kitchen as well as with natural and fluorescent lighting.  I did not want to go through the whole process of tiling and making it look so great just to pick the wrong grout color and get stuck with something that wasn’t perfect.IMGP1449IMGP1451
  • Don’t wait the recommended time to wipe down the grout Eric and I used a 2 person method of me spreading on the grout and 15 minutes later he came behind to wipe it down.  This was what our grout recommended on the bag.  Unfortunately for us, it dried too quickly.  For the first small area it was appropriate and then it was too dry and he had to scrub with everything he had to get it out.  And because I was working ahead I had gotten to the next wall already before we realized the issue.  So we had to scrub, scrub, scrub to get the grout out….for hours.  And then – I literally had to take a toothpick and trim each and every grout line.  I am not kidding you.  For our next round, I wiped on the grout and he IMMEDIATELY wiped it down and voila! it was perfect.  It saved so much time.IMGP1455
  • If your grout lines aren’t perfect take a wet sponge and wet a 5-6 square foot area for about 2-3 minutes.  Then take your toothpick and hold it nearly horizontal to the tile with the point going to the exact point you want and then scrape over each line using this method.  Follow up with a wet paper towel.
  • Use grout-colored caulk for between the counter and tile, use white, paintable caulk elsewhere (around trim, under cabinets, at ceiling).  LIFE SAVER.  White caulk with white tile and that botched/unlevel ceiling line suddenly looks professional!  I searched everywhere trying to figure out if I had to use tile grout for these areas and couldn’t find anything.  So I tried the tile grout at the ceiling over the stove and cried for a few minutes.  Then, I caulked on top of that with white caulk and damn, suddenly it looked great.  In the end, my cuts were just not good enough to withstand colored caulk.  The white is so much more forgiving!

And the rest is just putting it all back together again, a post for another day.  But for now….some sneak peakies:IMGP1467IMGP1456

Kitchen – Prepping for Tile

This was by far the least fun part of the entire project but still necessary unfortunately. ¬†You might think, it’s a new house – how much prep work could there be? ¬†But see, that’s the fun part of new construction homes. They don’t make them like they used to. And though the materials are all new, there’s usually some amount of cutting corners. You never know what’s hidden – lurking behind that fat bead of caulk.

The scariest part is of course the moment you start to dismantle your perfectly new kitchen. For us, this was ripping out the granite backsplash. I knew from day one it had to go but I still cringed and wonder if I went wrong when I saw the gaping holes in the drywall it left. ¬†I had asked when we selected our options if we could simply not have the 4 inch granite backsplash installed and have the walls left blank but unfortunately they said there had to be a backsplash – whether that be tile or 4″ of the counter material. ¬†Now I realize they likely do this because of how the counters are (poorly) installed. Counters should almost meet the drywall so that when tile is installed there is no gap remaining for water, spills, etc. Our countertop maker, a reputable company in Richmond actually, installed each section of counter with the middle cut out and only the ends meeting the walls. They then hid this flaw with an inch thick of granite backsplash. This makes it easy on them installing if the walls are not level. Unfortunately for us it meant too large of a gap in some areas – like nearly 1/2 inch! ¬†Much wider that the width of any backsplash tile. ¬†I was left with the conundrum of how to close the gap.

Closing the gap between the granite and the wall

The best solution would be to add some coved tile along the bottom row which would look like a bit of molding to completely hide the gap. But I really wanted a flat, perfect surface. And what mama wants…but mama wasn’t about to have all new counters installed! ¬†So off to the google I went and the common consensus was caulk it. ¬†So I went in search of a light grey caulk. I wanted something that would blend with the granite as best as possible. I bought the lightest grey tile caulk that Home Depot carried (which annoyingly is not the same as the lightest grey grout they carry) and at $8 a tube I filled the gap for about 5 feet. But the color was too dark. I was worried it would match our caulk under the tile and look like the worlds fattest caulk line. Also, at the rate I was using it up I’d spend a fortune on it. Plus, caulk shrinks by 30% when dry. So I wondered if I’d ever be able to make it look level. I pictured it being a divot forever. So I scraped out a bit of the caulk and threw google to the wind. What do you know anyway tile experts? ¬†So I grouted it. I figured WTF…this stuff is supposed to be sealed. The nice thing about grout is it doesn’t shrink as it dries like caulk does. ¬†Although over time I am curious how it will look – it is sanded grout so I’m thinking that will help. ¬†It also was in stock in a light grey in a small pre-mixed tub. I think I spent $20 and it will definitely be enough for all the gaps. ¬†It has a sandy, textural quality that in a large gap like mine looks kind of like poured concrete. And I suppose you could say that’s a step towards granite. Ok it’s not granite. And it definitely doesn’t match my granite. But I figured if I got really annoyed with it I could paint it to match our granite better. But I’m just hoping hoping hoping that it will be barely noticeable.

IMGP1242

Removing the granite backsplash

Now back to the actual removing of granite. ¬†I pictured it would be like removing trim. A little slice of the caulk and then a little prying and “pop” the granite comes right off. Ya, not realllly. More like hammer your crowbar deep behind the granite crushing your drywall, then pry with all your weight and repeat at every 1 foot. And then go back again at each point if needed. It wrecked the drywall. Damn silicone is some sticky stuff that does not want to come off granite. ¬†So it takes all your drywall with it. ¬†Fortunately, almost all of our major holes were easily fixed with some heavy spackle (about 3-4 coats, sanding in between coats). However we had one crater that was so deep it nearly went the full depth of the drywall and was over a foot wide. This one was significantly more challenging. I at first thought we’d need to cut it out and put in new drywall. We also looked into patch kits that use a mesh backing. However, I couldn’t see how I’d be able to get either of these fixes level enough to tile. So I decided to at least attempt to see if I could spackle it. I bought a big tub of spackle and hurled it into the crater and used nearly the whole container in one go. The next morning I realized the weight of the spackle caused it to separate from the drywall and sag down and I very easily removed the whole lot of it which really hadn’t adhered and was still wet. ¬†I realized I needed to go thin layers and take my time. ¬†It’s been a process… ¬†I’ve lost count of how many layers of spackle I’ve used but I’m guess I’m in the teens somewhere. ¬†But eventually it became level enough.¬†IMGP1178

Tricks for granite backsplash removal:

  • if you can identify where your backsplash was glued, pry at these points.
  • Place a shim longitudinally behind your crowbar so it more evenly distributes your force (less damage to drywall)
  • Separate the glue where the granite meets the counter with a sharp knife and then once it is laid flat on the counter, pry it away from the drywall giving it a shear force to help separate it

Adding granite behind the stove

Our next problem was behind the stove. We have a slide in range which means our stove is flat and there is a bit of counter surface behind the oven. Our sneaky counter installers had skipped putting down a counter behind the oven and instead installed the 4 inch granite backsplash on top of nothing at all behind the stove. Once removed, there was a sizeable 1 inch gap behind the back of the oven. ¬†You could just imagine god knows what collecting back there and you could also see the gap from the sides which didn’t look nice. ¬†Lucky for us my dad had a saw he could use to cut some granite. We got him to cut some of the backsplash granite down to a 30 inch piece. He installed it flush with the counter over a wooden plank to help take the weight of the granite. We used a good amount of liquid nails to glue the granite on because that’s what we had on hand. ¬†This solution gets an A+. ¬†It wasn’t easy, but it looks great.



Removing granite backsplash and silicone from cabinetry

This one was the silliest of all. Our granite installers put backsplash ON our refrigerator cabinet sides. They put backsplash ON a cabinet. Whaaaa? ¬†I do not understand. It looks dumb and does not make sense. But did I think to tell the builder – “Hey don’t let the counter installers put granite on wood?” No. Because why would you do that? ¬†But that is exactly what they did. And once it was done there was no undoing it. And it really wasn’t the builders fault. And there was no way they were removing it – I didn’t even bother asking. ¬†As difficult as the granite was to remove from drywall, the cabinet was 10x harder. Because apparently silicone likes granite and wood and doesn’t want to let go of either. But it likes wood slightly more. So after prying my butt off, here is what I was left with. Big ole patches of silicone on my cabinet. Now what. ¬†I haven’t solved this one yet because it really doesn’t impact tiling at all but some kind of goo gone or something is going to be needed. ¬†I used an exacto knife to get off bigger chunks and then sanded the area but it’s still not gone. ¬†If anyone reading this has a solution please tell me! ¬†Once I get it smooth, I’m then going to have to attempt to paint the whole cabinet too which I’m really concerned about…

Removing cabinet trim and the vent hoodIMGP1182

I figured the more we could remove, the easier it would be for us. ¬†We have some small bits of trim pieces around our cabinets that hide the gap between the cabinet and the wall. ¬†It was installed with a few finishing nails and easily popped off when I stuck a butter knife under it and turned. ¬†The hard part was ripping the nails out of the cabinet. ¬†Eric used a set of vise grips and used his man guns. Removing the vent hood was quite a bit trickier. ¬†The stacked portion on top was easy to remove and then we made the mistake of unscrewing the bolts into the wall before unwiring it. ¬†Which meant that I then had to hold the hood while Eric unwired it. ¬†And we also did not turn off the correct breaker for the hood and Eric got a nice shock when he did finally get to the wiring. ¬†When we¬†unscrewed the bolts they fell back into the drywall because they had an anchor on them. ¬†This was fine except the bit of drywall we’d need to go into to anchor them when replacing the hood was gone. ¬†We decided to remove the drywall enough to slip a board in between the studs. ¬†We will then hopefully be able to bolt directly into this plank, instead of using drywall anchors. ¬†I’m crossing my fingers on this one.IMGP1175

Final Steps: tape + plastic wrap

Once these problems were addressed came the easy part: Taping everything off. ¬†I taped about 1/3 inch from all surfaces I’d encounter to accommodate the width of the tile. I used a clean plastic sheet (a couple bucks from Home Depot) to cover the counters. ¬†I only taped off a portion of the room at a time since the area we’re tiling is so large (about 100 sq feet)IMGP1185IMGP1179

Picking the perfect white subway tile

The first white subway tile we brought home was the stock product from Home Depot (far right).  It looked pretty darn white in the store.  We brought it home and were shocked it looked much darker than our cabinets.  And next to our white trim it looked almost taupe!  We knew then that it was going to be a bit tricky.  We began collecting subway tile at all the major stores in-town.  And I also ordered a few samples from online.

Our big deciding factors came down to:

  1. Color.  We wanted something slightly lighter than our cabinets which are a mid-range off-white.  In areas where our cabinets are close to white trim they can look quite dark.  In areas of the kitchen where the cabinets sit farther away from the white trim, they look whiter which made it even more confusing.  If we chose a tile close to our trim, would the cabinets look dingey?  We figured in the end it would be easier to repaint all of our trim a bit darker than to repaint our cabinets.
  2. Cost.  Some of the options listed below are 5x the cost of the others.  It was hard to want to like these tiles.
  3. Lugs.  These are the built-in spacers that some subway tile has.  The options that are lugged all have a 1/16 inch spacer built-in.  Since the tile self-spaces you don’t have to add spacers in later which supposedly makes installation easier.  And we definitely need easy as this will be our first tile experience.  The good news is that all of these tiles have some sort of lugs or self-spacers.

A few of the tiles we looked at were matte instead of polished/glossy.  I first saw these used in Yellow Brick Home’s backsplash.  These were really beautiful because the finish gave them an understated iridescent quality.  The only problem with the matte tiles was that they look darker than their glossy counterparts because they don’t reflect as much light. Unfortunately, we didn’t find one that was white/bright enough.  Also, our cabinets are basically matte so we thought the glossy would be more interesting.

So here’s the roundup of the tiles we purchased.  These are your basic white subway tiles at major stores in Richmond and a few options I purchased from Wayfair.  They’re listed from whitest white to darkest off-white (left to right in the photo).

Bright White Ice [Floor and Decor] $0.21/piece or $1.68/sq ft

  • brightest white
  • only “cool” white of the bunch with blue undertones – therefore made the cabinets look too warm/dingey
  • Cheap!

Imperial Bianco Gloss [The Tile Shop] $5.99/sq ft

  • Expensive. Somewhat whiter than cabinets but with corresponding warm tones

Arctic White [Daltile sold by Home Depot] $2.82/sq ft

  • spot on to our cabinet color but light enough? Would it blend in?

Arctic White Matte [Daltile] $2.00/sq ft

Imperial Bianco Matte [The Tile Shop] $6.99/sq ft 

  • expensive
  • slightly smaller than other tiles and not a true 3″x6″
  • appears darker than glossy version
  • Slightly darker than cabinets

American Olean Starting Line White [Lowes – in store] $0.22/piece

  • cheap!

White [Daltile] $2.00/sq ft

Kohler White [Daltile] $2.00/sq ft

U.S. Ceramic Tile Bright White Snow [Home Depot – in store] $1.76/sq ft

  • cheap!
  • darkest – white snow?  scoff.

    So there you have it.  In the end, we went with the Imperial Bianco glossy. We very nearly went with the Arctic White by Daltile because of the huge difference in cost but in the end we decided this was something we should not skimp on.

    Built-Ins Reveal

    The built-ins were installed by a local carpenter right before Thanksgiving.  We paid $2,000 for them.  It took 2 men 2 days to install them.  After seeing the work and effort that went into it, I’m still happy with the amount we paid.  Also, they look fantastic and that was the main concern.  I can paint, caulk, finish trim, tile, etc. but carpentry work is not something I’m comfortable doing.

    One perk of our custom built-ins is getting to have sconces.  Every set of built-ins I pinned probably had sconces.  I knew I wanted them but I wasn’t sure how possible it would be given we didn’t have wiring for them.  There was also the issue of how to install them so that they could be turned on easily.  At first we thought we’d have to probably run a cord down to the outlet at the base of the wall.  We then thought we’d send a wire through the fireplace wall to the other side to hook them up in series so at least one plug could control all 4.  But it definitely didn’t seem ideal to have to turn them on/off using a plug.  We then considered adding a light switch on the wall of the fireplace opposite of the one that controls the fireplace.  While this was definitely a good option it also wasn’t ideal to walk to the fireplace to turn the light on.

    Eric came up with the best idea.  Our ceiling fan is pre-wired and has a separate switch for the light and the fan.  However, the ceiling fan we purchased has a remote and the fan can only be operated with the remote.  So the second switch is not usable.  And because it’s with the other light switches, it’s in an ideal location.  Eric’s cousin is an electrician.  He came out and checked under our crawl space and told us it wouldn’t be too difficult.  So he ran wire up under the subfloor to the light switch and ran it to both sets of built-ins.  He fished the wire up through the wall and stubbed it out of the top board of shiplap on each side.  Sorry no details here because this is pretty much the extent of my understanding of electrical stuff.  We let our carpenter know the diameter of the canopy of the sconces we purchased and he adjusted the face board down enough to allow for the canopy plates.  Once the built-ins were installed, we measured and cut holes in the face board large enough for the wire to pass through the board.  Because of the way our sconces our installed we had to also drill holes on either side so that a screwdriver could stabilize a screw head from behind the board which has a decorative but very functional knob that holds the canopy plate on the wall.  This involved a lot of measuring and remeasuring because we didn’t want to mess up and put holes in the wrong place.  Once we had everything set, we installed the metal plate and the rest of the sconce.  The sconce closest to the stub on each side got installed directly to the stub and the other sconce got wired to it’s neighbor.  We took a long time trying to come up with the best plan for wiring because we knew code was probably to use one of those blue electrical boxes to contain the wiring and esp. the connections but there was just no way to achieve that with the type of sconces we bought.  Eric took extra time to make everything very secure and used u-brackets to secure the loose hanging wire to the wood.  After we painted everything, we installed a pre-painted board using the same technique our carpenter used for the shelves (adjustable brackets).  The board hides all of the wiring but is also removable if we need to access the wiring for any reason.

    Another unique quality of our built-ins vs. the builder-version (besides costing $8,000 less) is a middle drawer stack.  The builder-version actually had 2 doors for each built-in.  We thought a 36 inch door seemed a bit excessive – I mean it was massive.  We played around with both a 3 and 4 door option but the 3 door option left us with asymmetric door hardware and the 4 door option made the doors rather small at 18″ or less each.  That’s when Eric had the idea of doing a middle drawer stack.  I got a quote from another carpenter and to add the drawer stack in was an extra $1,000 alone.  The carpenter we went with asked for an additional 500 I believe for the drawer stacks.  So it was definitely not the cheapest option but in the end I think it looks great and gives a custom look.  Something we definitely could not have done if we DIY’d.

    After they were installed, I began the long process of prepping them to be painted.  There were a lot of finishing nail holes in each door/drawer where the shaker paneling was installed and there was also some slight gapping in the cabinets wherever two pieces of wood met.  I also needed to caulk all of the seams that met the wall/ceiling. This step took me a solid 2 weeks of working a little each night.  I like to forget how long this kind of stuff takes, it’s never as fast as I’d like.

    Next we started painting.  We chose Behr Canyon Wind and I painted a good 2 coats on everything on the left built-in (which was no quick task) and then we stepped back and decided it was too light.  It was definitely a greyish-white and not a light grey like we wanted so it actually competed with the Behr UPW on the shiplap.

    So, not wanting to shell out another $50 and 3 hours of painting for nothing, I convinced myself I would go with something tried and true.  And there’s a lot of good light grey options out there but we have a Sherwin Williams near our house so we went with Repose Grey.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures but it was significantly darker than the Behr Canyon Wind (these pictures aren’t the best at conveying that, given the difference in lighting sitches).  

    The Repose Grey has a nice warmth to it that feels substantially different from the shiplap color but also complements it.  It also works nicely with the brass.  I’m definitely glad that we decided to go light with the built-ins.  I had at first wanted to paint them navy blue.  Our living room gets a great amount of natural light thanks to having a southern exposure and 3 large windows as well as being open to the kitchen, however, I like that it still feels nice and bright in there despite how massive the built-ins are.  When we picked out our Repose Grey at SW we were already aware of the problem you see in the picture above – where did the fireplace mantel go?  It totally blended in with the shiplap, more so after the built-ins were painted.  So we also picked up a pint of SW Sea Serpent which is a fun navy blue.  It gives me the trendiness of navy blue that I craved but on a surface that is small enough to paint in one sitting (as opposed to a couple weeks like the built-ins).‚Äč

    ‚Äč

    Faux Shiplap Part Two

    Materials used:

    • Wood filler
    • Spackle knife
    • Toothpick
    • Medium grit sandpaper
    • Small art paint brush
    • Painters tape
    • Caulk
    • 1 gallon eggshell paint w/ built in primer (Ultra pure white by Behr)

    If you missed part one – here it is.

    To recap, we’ve installed our shiplap to our fireplace wall and built-in walls and now it’s time to finish it out.

    Our first step was to hammer in all the nails so that they were flush with the shiplap. ¬†Because they didn’t look very noticeable, we chose not to use wood filler on all the nail holes like some tutorials.

    We did have to apply quite a bit of wood filler to our outer corners where there was a significant gap where the boards lined up. imgp8014I used a spackle knife and spread the filler into the areas and scraped the excess away. Before letting it dry, I recommend taking a toothpick to get the filler out of your nickel-gapping or you’ll lose that beautiful gap you worked so hard for. Once dry, I sanded the area down until it felt smooth and level to the touch. You can take a small art paint brush to brush the powder out of your gaps.

    imgp0133

    I also applied wood filler to a few areas where the veneer had chipped off badly at the end of a few boards.

    I applied the wood filler on the outer corners probably 3-4 rounds with sanding each time in between. ¬†It was very time consuming and very dusty. What complicated our project more was that the boards on the fireplace wall expand and shift when the fireplace is turned on. I had pretty much got everything smooth when I discovered this one day and it left a nice crack down each filled area. ¬†Looking back, I probably should’ve used caulk for this because it would’ve been more flexible but it’s too late now. I think if I notice it cracking again I’ll run a little caulk in the small gap.

    imgp0130I next caulked wherever my boards met the ceiling or base molding and around the fireplace. Caulking can be messy if you wing it. I recommend taping your area off. It’s more time consuming but results in a neat and tidy caulk line. ¬†Place your tape as close to the edge of the board and leave 1/4 inch gap at the other tape strip from the corner. Run a bead of caulk into the corner and then use a finger to spread the caulk. Once done, quickly remove your tape. ¬†In areas where there was a larger gap I had to go back and apply a second round of caulk because when it dried it left a bubbly gap.

    imgp0131

    Every single shiplap tutorial that I read did not mention how to paint shiplap. ¬†I originally thought I would paint the edges of each board before installing them but it was taking so long that I gave up. ¬†Little did I know painting the¬†edges would take so much more time after they’re on the walls. ¬†So if you’re reading this and you only take 1 thing from this: PAINT THE EDGES OF THE BOARDS BEFORE YOU NAIL THEM UP.

    Here’s how I thought it would go: I thought I’d take my small trim paint brush, paint into all the cracks and then put on a few coats of paint using my roller. ¬†But when I took my trim brush and painted into the cracks – nothing happened. ¬†A very MINIMAL amount of paint went in there. ¬†I was stumped – now what? ¬†So Eric suggested I go ahead and roll on the paint and then see what it looked like. ¬†So I did. ¬†I put on 2 coats of paint and it looked good….from afar. ¬†But¬†up close you could see the sides of each board were wood colored. ¬†imgp0222Because of the angle of each of these cracks it was really only evident on the fireplace wall and at the boards near eye level on the other walls. ¬†So I went in again with my trim brush – loaded it up and jabbed it into those cracks. ¬†I followed up with a toothpick to get out excess paint and my trim brush to smooth the paint out. ¬†But it was only maybe 30% effective at getting paint in there. ¬†So then Eric suggested my little art paint brush. ¬†I tried it and it worked much better. ¬†But still – we’re talking real slow because I’m literally taking a paint brush the size of your pinky finger to paint little by little into these cracks. ¬†So I hit the high spots – the fireplace wall and especially those corners which were the most apparent and the boards at eye level on the other walls. ¬†imgp0223I then followed up with 1 more coat of paint on the entire surface. ¬†2 coats was close but 3 coats looks better. EDIT: After about a month, I noticed the color of the white had yellowed significantly. ¬†It was as if the wood was bleeding through. ¬†So I painted another 2 coats of paint and that seemed to do the trick. ¬†5 coats of paint – really? ¬†Yes, really…ugggh.


    imgp0216imgp0217imgp0218imgp0219imgp0224imgp0225imgp0221

    We’re very happy with how it looks and now we’re excited to get built-ins installed on either side of the fireplace to finish out the space.

    Faux Shiplap Part One

    Materials Used:

    • stud finder
    • 5 sheets 1/4 inch oak plywood (ripped into 8 inch pieces at store) about $30 each
    • circular saw
    • jig saw
    • medium grit sand paper
    • level (we used a longer 4 foot one and a 12 inch one)
    • dremel tool
    • nail gun (ours is a borrowed electric one)
    • 1 1/4 inch brad nails
    • measuring tape
    • straight edge ruler
    • pencil
    • 4 nickels
    • Earplugs

    This tutorial is for all the folks out there who are super into details.There are loads of faux shiplap tutorials out there but a lot of them leave out important steps and that’s not cool.

    All in all, installing the shiplap itself (minus any finishing work such as use of wood filler, sanding, priming, painting – that’ll be another post) took us about a month. ¬†YUP. ¬†That was with us working an hour to 90 minutes a night about 4-5 days a week. ¬†Why only at night? ¬†Because toddlers and nail guns don’t mix.

    So here is our project. ¬†We wanted to install faux shiplap on the entire fireplace wall and jutouts as well as the walls behind where our built ins will go. ¬†The nice thing about knowing we would be installing bookshelves to the back walls was that we knew we didn’t need to be perfect at those corners or even line up straight to the next board. ¬†We did need to pay attention to those outward corners of the fireplace. ¬†Ideally, boards should line up straight with a perfect little nickel gap straight across the corner. ¬†Hahaha….

    imgp7833So we began our project at Lowe’s. ¬†We did a little math (not so well) and we purchased 3 sheets of ~1/4 inch oak plywood and had an employee at the store¬†cut the boards down to 8 inch strips. ¬†We later went back and got 2 more boards to finish the project. ¬†It cost us about $150 for 5 sheets.imgp7836Other tutorials used 5.5 or 6 inch but I wanted some chunky 8 inch boards and we have 9 foot ceilings so I figured it could work. ¬†Also, real deal shiplap is 8 inches. ¬†The thing about real shiplap is it’s probably level across the top and bottom of the boards. ¬†The thing about getting plywood cut down is IT WILL BE UNLEVEL.¬† And that was with some pretty special attention used to cut the boards by the guys at Lowe’s that helped us. ¬†Each board seemed to have a nice taper to it, especially near the ends. ¬†The other thing to consider is that each board will be a different width. ¬†No 2 boards will be the same and you’ll have anywhere from 7.5 inch to 8.25 inch width boards. ¬†This will mess you up because that perfect nickel gap you want will go to heck if you use 2 different width boards on a row. ¬†So in theory, you should use boards the same width across each row. ¬†The problem will be that you can’t always get it perfect. ¬†Sometimes you have to use a board that’s not quite what you need and then your spacing gets funky. ¬†And then on the next row you try to correct it by using a bigger/smaller board in that area which helps some but it still ends up looking off. ¬†¬†Each 4’x8′ sheet of plywood will yield 5 full pieces of shiplap and a 6th piece that’s more narrow. ¬†This piece can’t be used except at the bottom of the project if you don’t need a full board. ¬†imgp7838

    Prior to installation we took our stud finder and marked each stud on the wall for a few feet down from the ceiling. ¬†We then took a piece of our (unlevel :p) shiplap and connected the dots and drew a line from ceiling to floor. ¬†imgp7840We realized this wasn’t completely necessary later on because you’ll be able to see where you’ve nailed into the other boards and will have a pretty good idea where your stud is, but it didn’t hurt.

    We began our project in the top left corner. ¬†We chose to start at the top because we wanted to have a full board at the top of the fireplace wall and didn’t care as much about having a full board at the bottom where there’s just a smidge of wall on either side of the fireplace. ¬†We had a suspicion that our ceiling would have some wobble to it so we did not put the first piece flush. ¬†We left about a 1/4 inch gap to the ceiling. ¬†Each section on either side of the fireplace is just over 72 inches wide. ¬†We measured 72 inches on a board and used¬†our circular saw set up in the garage to trim it down. ¬†We brought our board in, sanded down all edges, left our 1/4 inch gap and used our wide level to sit the board on top of. ¬†Once we were level, we nailed in 3 nails down the board hitting each stud. ¬†As I said earlier, we weren’t concerned about having the ends of the boards go flush into the corners because we knew it would get covered up later by the bookshelves. ¬†Each of these planks got about 15 nails or more so if you’re thinking I can totally nail these up using a hammer don’t even think about it. ¬†Trust me.

    imgp7841We then moved around the room, leveling up each board and nailing into the studs. ¬†imgp7842By the second board we had already eaten up our 1/4 inch buffer and were flush to the ceiling which was a little scary because we had a long ways to go to make it around the fireplace. ¬†Fortunately, it appears that most of the ceiling from that way on is pretty level. ¬†And even if it isn’t, we got the boards as close to the ceiling as we could while leveling them and shot them into place.

    imgp7857

    That first row was tricky because we both had to be up on ladders juggling the board, the level and the nail gun. It took us about an hour and a half to finish that first full row. ¬†The second row you now add juggling nickels into the mix. ¬†Because we used another 6 foot board across the top right wall, we were down to a 2 foot section. ¬†The problem with smaller sections is you don’t always have a stud nearby. ¬†We chose not to use wood glue/liquid nails although it would’ve been a good idea if we could’ve. ¬†Instead, we hit studs as much as we could and placed the wood on the wall to use it’s slight warp to our advantage. ¬†I honestly can’t imagine juggling glue in this process as well. ¬†There are a few areas where the wood isn’t completely flush to the wall but I’m hoping that adds character ūüėČ ¬†After the 2 foot section went up, we needed a 4 foot one. ¬†This is where it gets tricky because you’ll need 4 nickels – 2 to go on top and 2 to go on the side where it meets to the other board. ¬†There were a lot of dropped nickels… ¬†This is where being on ladders isn’t so fun.

    We wanted to use all of one board up and then move to the next like many tutorials we had read in order to give it a random feel. ¬†The problem with that was that we had a space that required some symmetry. ¬†imgp7859What happened on the left of the fireplace needed to match the right. ¬†Or if it was going to be random, it needed to all look random. ¬†Because most of our¬†cuts were basically 6′, 4′ or 2′, a pattern emerged early on. ¬†Once we got to the tv rack, the pattern would’ve then got thrown out because we would then be making some different cuts. ¬†So what we did on the left would not match the right. ¬†If it had all been random, it would’ve looked good. ¬†But because the¬†left¬†was pattern and the¬†right¬†was random we thought it would look odd. ¬†So we decided to keep whatever we did on the left as what we did on the right.

    imgp7862

    A few times we’d put up a board and it would be level from the get go, but more often than not, it needed an adjustment. ¬†If the bubble went left, we’d take the nickel on the left and turn it to widen the gap slightly until we were level. ¬†Thus we sacrificed keeping the spacing consistent to keep¬†it level. ¬†You can’t really tell but it becomes an issue when you go to meet up to the next board. imgp7864imgp7866imgp7867

    Here you can see we did not get snug to the interior corners. ¬†The outward corners we tried to get as close to perfect as possible. ¬†Wood filler will come in to save the day later. ¬†We chose not to miter plywood. ¬†It’s probably too thin and we don’t have a miter saw anyway. ¬†Instead we brought the boards on the side walls as close to the edge as possible and then cut the boards on the front of the fireplace a little longer to gap it to the edge. ¬†With the circular saw, the plywood gets rather chewed up on the ends. ¬†You can sand it, but the veneer does get ripped off the edges in some spots. ¬†We may fill it with wood filler or leave it. ¬†It’s likely once it’s painted it won’t be very noticeable.imgp7868

    Yes, that top board is wonky. ¬†Thank you to whoever dry walled around the fireplace and laughed thinking, “No one will even notice this so I’m not even going to care if this is close to level”. ¬†Praying that wood filler can help us out there.imgp7934

    Oh, look…we got a fan. ¬†imgp7935Yes, that spacing around the outlet is not our best work. ¬†But with the TV covering that board almost entirely we pretty much did not care enough to make it look any better.

    imgp7936

    Here you can really see how the boards get chewed up. ¬†I suppose we probably need a sharper blade but this is what we got. ¬†Also, you’ll see a few spots of wood that are painted white. ¬†This is a result of my 5 minutes of “I need to paint every edge of every board before we put it up” which quickly got dismissed because it was taking too damn long. ¬†If I could do it again, I would’ve painted the edges of every board before nailing them up (read more about that here).imgp7937

    The height is off! ¬†We’ll try to correct it by using a fatter board underneath the one on the right. ¬†imgp7973

    All along we were dreading the cuts around the mantel. ¬†When it finally came time, I had developed a plan. I took a sheet of paper and I trimmed with scissors around the left mantel holding the piece of paper about where the board would lay. ¬†This only took me about 2 minutes and is actually the easier part of the whole ordeal. ¬†I trimmed the edge of the paper where it would meet the board behind it. ¬†We made the decision to split the fireplace in the middle even though technically we were due for a 4’/2′ situation. ¬†So we measured from the end of the board to where half of the wall would come to. ¬†We drew a straight line down the board. ¬†We then needed to adjust for the cut out portion. ¬†We took our sheet of paper and lined this up with the left edge. ¬†We drew onto the board the area we would need to remove by following the edge of the paper. ¬†We extended the line all the way to the edge of the board to cut out for the full amount. ¬†We took the circular saw and cut down the board to the tricky area. ¬†We then took a jig saw and cut the other area out. ¬†We used my dremel tool to get all of the tricky areas that the jig saw couldn’t do too well. ¬†We held it up and guess what….it was too short. ¬†It fit, but the edge on the left was too far over to the right and exposed the piece on the short wall. ¬†Since this process took about 40 minutes we were about to chuck it in the trash and go to bed. ¬†But we randomly decided to flip the board over and try it on the right¬†side. ¬†And it fit! ¬†It wasn’t perfect,¬†but that wall is just slightly smaller on the right side and so it worked. ¬†imgp8011Then it came time to do it all again for the left side. ¬†This time we allowed more than enough space to the left of the board. ¬†Also we got rather good with the dremel tool the first time around so we used it mostly to make the intricate cut and the result is that the left side is just about damn perfect. ¬†imgp8009imgp8010

    Yes we are super proud of this little piece of wood!imgp8012

    Because it was a bit lengthy on the left and left too much overlap, I took the dremel tool and sanded the edge down (once it was already up). ¬†You can sand the boards with sand paper but this really only removes the veneer of the board. ¬†The particle middle will remain so you’ll need a sander or dremel to get that portion to sand out.imgp8013

    We marked on our built in walls 34″ up from the floor knowing that this would be about the size of our cabinets. ¬†The way it worked out, that left about a 2 inch space to the mark so we went ahead and put one more board on each side. ¬†imgp8014

    The side walls and fireplace front wall were taken to the floor because these will be exposed.  In order to go around the fireplace switch we first removed the plate.  We marked where the hole would be and used a drill to make a hole in the middle of our plank.  From this we were able to insert the jig saw and make a rectangle.  We used the dremel to get out the rest.imgp8015imgp8016

    Some of the corners look awesome.  You could stick a nickel in that right there!imgp8018

    About half of the corners line up like this though ūüė¶ ¬†No amount of board selection would fix it and so we’ll have to hope that no one gets too close. ¬†I’m hoping once it’s painted it won’t be noticeable.

    It was a very tedious process which I wasn’t quite expecting given how easy some of the tutorials made it seem. ¬†Next up is using wood filler and caulk to smooth out the joints followed by lots of sanding and then painting everything white.

    Check out Shiplap Part Two.

    imgp0135

     

     

    THE pendants.

    It’s been about 7 months since I began the search for the perfect pendants. ¬†It has been a roller coaster. ¬†And at times, even Flynn has questioned my sanity and my love for pendants.

    img_1205

    But we’ve reached the end and there are actual pendants hanging up in my kitchen. ¬†And I’m not talking about one of the hundred or so mood boards I made with scaled to size pendants. :O

    img_0418

    Not too long ago we had only narrowed it down to 36 options….oh boy. ¬†Here’s the low down on how we took it to ONE.

    At first I was dead set that we were having copper pendants.  So I had all but bought these pendants here from barn light electric.  wescocopper

    But I knew I really wanted to paint the island. ¬†And I wasn’t sure if the color of the copper would ¬†be too much with a painted island.¬†Then, for a long time I was convinced we needed brass pendants. ¬†Brass is in, baby! ¬†But…how long will it be in? ¬†And all of my hardware is chrome. ¬†And my vent hood is STAINLESS. ¬†I found a few kitchens on houzz that made mixed metals work, but was I trying too hard? ¬†Why was I trying to make brass work when it really didn’t seem to be our destiny?

    fetch

    The day our granite got installed is pretty much the day the ship sailed on brass pendants. ¬†The granite has a decidedly green tone to it. ¬†And if I was going to have mostly colored pendants WITH colored granite, I couldn’t paint the island. ¬†And painting the island was one of a few things I was really sure we wanted to do with the kitchen. ¬†So then I went back to the drawing board on metal pendants. ¬†What about chrome pendants? ¬†What about nickel pendants? ¬†But they either looked too fancy schmancy or just boring.

    So then I nixed all metal pendants.  The kitchen needed either glass pendants or white pendants.  And so somewhere oh, say, 3 months ago I was ready to pull the trigger on one of these guys.

     

    factory7Rejuvbutte

    And we both decided the Factory 7 pendants were it! ¬†But then Eric, who always has a way of saying things I really need to hear even though he DNGAF about pendants said, “what if the white clashes with the cabinets?” ¬†And maybe the cabinets are far enough away that it wouldn’t matter and maybe it wouldn’t clash anyway….blah blah. ¬†We’ll never really know. ¬†But it was enough to convince me to not go with them. ¬†Also, if white pendants are anything like white subway tile I can tell you there are way too many shades of something that should be pretty darn standard.

    The other issue digging at me was that all along I had pictured similar white barn lights going over the kitchen table which is directly next to the kitchen island. ¬†And of course I couldn’t pick those pendants if I went with the factory 7 pendants. ¬†The 2 sets of pendants needed to “go” together but also be different. ¬†Between the 2 sets of pendants I wanted a pair of glass pendants and a pair of barn lights/down lights. ¬†¬†And whatever I picked for the kitchen, I would pick the opposite for the eat-in kitchen. ¬†Because the eat-in kitchen is really looked through from either side, I didn’t want glass pendants that would obscure your line of sight through the space (ahem…read TV). ¬†Also, the table pendants should be much smaller and less impacting. ¬†The island¬†pendants needed to be the WOW. ¬†The table pendants needed to provide lighting over the kitchen table and to not distract too much from the WOW.

    IMGP7689.JPG

    Closing Day

    So that left me wanting glass pendants for the kitchen.  And I had quite a few favorites, most of them from rejuvenation.  And then there was the hicks pendant.  Cue beams of heavenly rays.

    hicks

    Oh, the hicks pendant, how I adore thee. ¬†A simple search on houzz reveals some of my absolute favorite kitchens. ¬†All boasting the beautiful hicks pendants. ¬†All spending $735 on each of those gorgeous lights. ¬†All making the statement, “I’m ok spending a shit ton on my lights.” ¬†Or something like that.

    There was about a week where I toyed with the idea of getting the hicks pendants. ¬†And even though my husband said something like, “I’m ok with it, I thought you were going to buy those months ago”, I couldn’t help that feeling that I was spending way too much on lights. ¬†So I kicked it to the curb. ¬†But not so far that I couldn’t google it or look it up on houzz and sigh and wonder what our lives could have been like together.

     

    A long time ago, when we moved into our first house in 2009, I discovered rejuvenation and I fell in love with the hood pendant. ¬†I remember getting the rejuvenation catalog, paging through it and just dreaming. ¬†I didn’t have a kitchen or a house quite worthy of rejuvenation lights at the time and truthfully I didn’t have the cash for them either. ¬†But I dreamed anyway. ¬†And in those dreams I had an¬†amazing industrial kitchen with hood pendants. ¬†So why didn’t I just buy the hood pendants right away then you might ask?

    hoodpendantcatalog2011.png

    Well, similar to the hicks pendants, the hood pendants were unattainable in my mind. ¬†Too pricy. ¬†But I never not loved them. ¬†I just thought deep down there’s got to be something else I can love that isn’t quite as expensive.

    So I tried to love some other similar glass/globe style pendants.

    But each one made a statement I wasn’t quite ready to stand behind 100%. ¬†The luna pendant from schoolhouse electric and the globe pendant from west elm were just too mod. ¬†And the schoolhouse shade on the rose city pendant looked a little too retro. ¬†I think my husband’s still in the rose city camp.

    img_1950

    14″ globe vs. a (wanting to fold) 15.75″ schoolhouse shade

    I could put a globe on the rose city or eastmoreland 8″ but the fixture itself had me thinking, shouldn’t I just buy the hood? ¬†And when you’re already up to $600+, what’s a couple more hundred, right?

    Then for a brief week I was falling in love with Cedar & Moss.  Especially the alto rod pendant in this amazing kitchen.

    cedarandmosskitchen

    But, similar to the west elm globe, I was afraid I couldn’t quite handle the mod look. ¬†But if nothing else, this made me realize that white globes were hot hot hot!

    Then, destiny was set. ¬†THE REJUVENATION SALE. ¬†20% off all pendants and chandeliers + FREE SHIPPING. ¬†It would save me easily 300 bucks. ¬†I’m such a cheapskate at heart so it’s not surprising that the sale is what clinched it.

    So the hood was it! ¬†But then I was all….ahh, which one? ¬†Clear globe? ¬†Opal globe? ¬†What finish on the fixture? ¬†I’ve always loved the opal¬†globes but then I got scared seeing them lit that it would come off as yellow-y when on. ¬†Then I got worried that we’d have to use edison bulbs in the clear globes and that it wouldn’t provide enough light. ¬†So I came back to the opal¬†glass and am so glad I did.

    Then we had to decide on the size. ¬†All along I was thinking 14″ was going to be it but when we cut out a 14″ round piece of paper and hung it up (left) it looked BIG (p.s. our island is 99 inches wide). ¬†So we put up a 12″ one (right) just for kicks and we both looked at it and knew that was the right size.

    img_2078

    As far as the finish we loved the oil rubbed bronze from the start in pictures and the black with the white was such a nice contrast. ¬†We toyed with going with the antique copper but we weren’t crazy about it. ¬†If they had polished copper as an option I think it would’ve made the decision much harder.

    So we ordered everything and about 2 weeks later, it arrived!


    imgp7888imgp7925

    These lights are stunning! ¬†I’m so glad we went with the opal globes. ¬†That glass is thick and milky perfection. ¬†As soon as I opened the box and saw the globe I got shivers. ¬†It’s THAT good. ¬†These pendants are so versatile but also have such a classic feel that I hope we never tire of. ¬†Our kitchen may go through changes over the years, but I think the hoods will always look at home here.

     

    Moving In

    Moving Day

    The last 2 weeks have been a bit of a blur as we unpack and settle into the new house. I have done approximately 20 loads of laundry cleaning everything we own so it doesn’t smell like cardboard and stale storage units. And I still have about 10 more loads of laundry. It never ends…

    In between loads of laundry and chasing around a crazy toddler, I have been obsessively shopping. Lighting, rugs, furniture, art…you name it, I’ve searched for it this week. I’m ready to throw out everything we own and start anew but obviously I can’t do that. So I’m trying to stay on task and focus but seriously 10 minutes down the road on my search tangent i’m looking at desk chairs and I’m wondering how did i get here? But when i did stay on task this week I focused on 3 items: pendant lights for the kitchen, our eat-in kitchen table and finding the perfect not-so-white subway tile.

    I finally checked one of those off the list with the pendants so that means I can officially have a conversation with my husband that doesn’t include random pendant questions. Believe me, he’s pretty excited about that.

    Which pendants did I pick?  Spoiler – it’s a 12 inch globe of some kind.  More to come….

    Paper cutouts representing 14″ globe (L) and 12″ (R)

    I finalized our kitchen table measurements (36″ by 78″) and inspo. I’m still waiting to hear back from the carpenter I found on facebook to see if he can make it happen.

    And I have officially acquired 4 different white subway tiles that just aren’t quite right. Very frustrating. Why is there umpteen shades of white? It’s just white. ūüĎéūüŹĽ (more about that here)

    Other things we did this week were hanging this beast…

    And decorating the glass cabinets because priorities.  (if you haven’t discovered this video on kitchen styling by studio mcgee you should check it out – I found it super helpful)

    Tomorrow we’ll go select our blinds at Lowe’s and then we’ll be enjoying a few days of non-house stuff.

    This weekend is about savoring that last bit of summer and SALES.  Yup, so many sales.  If you are a rejuvenation nerd like me they are having a super duper sale with 20% off all dining room stuff including pendants and chandeliers (oh my!) + free shipping.  YAssss.  Other sales include Barn Light Electric and Lulu & Georgia.  You know who’s not having a sale?  CB2.  I ogled their catalog last night and I’m in love.  I need this light in my life.

    Happy Labor Day and happy shopping!