March 21, 2012

Dining Room Update

It has been a while since I last showed you the dining room. Since then we have ripped out more walls, laid new hardwood floors, installed new baseboards, added crown molding, and repainted. All of these things were still easier than figuring out a way to add the new lamp shade (from Target) to the chandelier that never seemed quite right. THAT was a doozey of a project. 

Here is the room now...

Read this to see the back-story about how the built-ins came to be. It's been a long project and we are glad to finally see them 100% finished.

 I lightened up the feel of the built-ins (that I designed and Nate built) by removing all the heavy books and wooden boxes and replacing them with the glass stemware I had previously stored in the base cabinets of the built-ins.

These built-ins also hold a little secret about how they were built - I know I teased you with this before but then I didn't show you {what a jerk!} Nate built the face frames and the inset doors, but the 'guts' of the cabinet came from Ikea. 

We really wanted this new found storage space to be completely usable and we needed smart storage. Our kitchen is small, so I needed to store all of my serving pieces in the dining room including large trays and platters that are bulky and awkward and never seem to fit anywhere. We dreamed up this configuration standing in an aisle at Ikea. We started with a 30" wide base kitchen cabinet - you can buy them without doors, so it's just the box - then we added 24" wide pullouts (one deep and one shallow) and added a vertical divider so that I would have enough space leftover to store trays and platters.

Just like the pullouts we used on the pantry, these pull all the way out to allow for full access to all our serving pieces.

Because we were basically re-framing this wall,  we also added a plug at the back to make a 'smart drawer.'

We added a surge protector with velcro at the back of the drawer. Now the counters aren't cluttered with cell-phones or cameras charging. They are all safely tucked away in the top drawer. A non-skid pad keeps them in place while the drawer opens and closes.

Crown molding finishes off the room and continues on into the living room and hallway providing continuity and cohesion in our small cottage.

I found these square bird plates on sale at Pier One a while ago.

Milk glass handed down from my grandmother (plus one 'fakie' milk glass piece that my mom picked up for me) sits next to my wee Tour de Eiffel that I bought off some street rat vendor in Paris for a couple of Euro. It's one of only a few trinkets that made it safely home from our last jaunt in Europe. Sadly our hand-painted eggs from Salzburg didn't fair so well.

When I was little, my dad used to take me 'bottle hunting.' We would drive out to some deserted and forgotten piece of land and dig up old bottles. These two blue bottles (1940's era?) were un-earthed at a sand dune somewhere between here and Timbuktu (or so it seemed to a then six year old). Maybe that is why for a brief period in my youth I thought I would become an Anthropologist and dig up lost treasures (that or I just had a thing for Indiana Jones, who didn't?)

This is the view looking into the kitchen. The dining room before was dark, with no windows or natural light. Removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room opened up the whole space and allowed all the light from the windows in the kitchen to stream into the previously dark dining room.
This space still seems a bit dark. Yeah, I know that I just installed dark wood floors, and now I'm complaining about it being dark in here. Go figure. I love the dark floors, just not with a dark table and dark chairs. {so hard to please!} I'm thinking about stripping down the dark stained table and re-staining it with a light gray stain and possibly painting the dining chairs (white? yellow?) There is no end to my fickleness.

This shows the evolution of the built-in wall.

This is the view towards the kitchen.

And because I know you'll is where it all came from:

Chandelier (the lamp shade was separate)-
Lampshade - Target
Table & chairs - Pottery Barn
Flooring - pre-finished acacia hardwoods from Lumber Liquidators. The color is called Imperial Teak.
Wall paint - Moonshine by Benjamin Moore
Paint on the trim and built-ins - Roman Column by Sherwin Williams
Paint on the beadboard at the the back of the built-ins - Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore
Antique Hutch - inherited from my Grandmother
Artwork - by my mother
Dishes on the hutch - Grand Hotel by Pfalzgraff but is discontinued now.
Antique soup tureen - local thrift store. It was the find of my life!

March 19, 2012

Project 366: Weeks 5 - 8

I'm playing catch-up today from my month long hiatus because...

There is a battle being waged in my head. Two warring factions that I can't seem to reconcile: my desire to live a purpose-full, meaning-full life, and this strange affection for that seemingly innocuous orange button festooned with the word 'publish." (if you use blogger, you know what I mean). Everywhere I turn I see people dealing with real problems, and what do I write about? Fluff, mainly. So I took a step back last month and refocused on my priorities (my family, my faith, my creativity) until I felt whole again. 

No, the battle isn't over, but for now I've signed the peace accord. The fluff will now take the backroad. Not that fluff doesn't certainly have it's place in my heart. It is a needed escape. A welcome outlet for my creative pursuits. But sometimes it seems so...insignificant. Especially when I am intently focused on my laptop, and out of the corner of my eye see my one-year old melt to the ground and land in such a pitiful heap of utter despair and self-pity only a child can master...all because she just wants her mom. 

She gives me purpose. She gives my life meaning. She is important. More important than this blog. 

So I continue struggling to find balance. Which is why I am behind on my self-imposed Project 366. Oh well, what's the rush?

February 2 - H relaxing

February 6- Shopping for tile for the backsplash. 

February 9- An early Valentine's gift from Grandma 
{a adorable handmade doll that H instantly fell in love with}.

February 10- Grunt labor installing the backsplash tile (more pics to come soon!)

February 11- H checking CNN for her daily dose of news before breakfast whilst she grooms Sir Leopold. 

February 12- Homemade pretzel bites with herbed mustard dipping sauce. 

February 13- A fresh box of crayons. Is there anything better?

February 14- Baby + mirror = hours of entertainment

February 15- H exploring the possibilities of a career in anthropology
at the Natural History Museum of Utah

February 16: Our discovery after our one-year-old was being uncharacteristically quiet. 

February 17- A little joyride on H's new birthday present.

February 20- "Um...honey, did you spill something in the basement?" "What?" "Like a foot of water?"

February 21- H enjoying a play-date with her friend.

Feb 23- Life, as it turns out, is not all bubble-blowing and kitty-mauling.
Sometimes you bite down on a wicker basket and it really hurts!

February 24- H rearranging all the apps on my phone for the 467th time.


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