decor, diy, home, kitchen, new, posts, renovation, Uncategorized

Kitchen Before and After

When we bought this house every room was like a blank canvas. Builder grade to the core. We live in a small town, in a small house but I wanted people to be transported to a farmhouse cottage the moment they walk in the door. My home is designed from the heart and my heart loves white, shiplap, subway tile and open shelving. So of course when we gained the budget to renovate the kitchen, we let the heart lead.

And After…

We removed the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to create an open concept feel. We also completely changed the layout of the kitchen to better suit our needs. I needed the kitchen sink facing the bay window into the backyard so I could clean and keep an eye on the littles. We also had to build a pantry since we had no upper cabinets or storage to store food and cleaning products. Our pantry has a sliding barn door (that my husband built), and a chalkboard door for grocery lists and scheduling. The island was also a diy that held our microwave and baking pans. The island, however, now resides in our garden as a potting bench.

Our kitchen still is incomplete with the unfinished beam exposed, baseboards and trim not yet installed and the ceiling soon to be raised and possibly exposed as well.

The concrete countertops (that we created with molds from Z-CounterForm) were possibly the hardest part of the kitchen because it was our first time pouring concrete, but it was surely a fun learning experience. I wanted the countertops to look raw and natural… like as if we ripped up sidewalk and plopped them onto our lower cabinets. They are imperfect and rough in some spots but so beautiful. Best part about them are their durability. We can spill anything, cut anything, even drop anything on them without a scratch that you most certainly would have from any other type of countertop. Of course we have a wonderful sealant provided by Z-CounterForm, Concrete Countertop Solutions. And yes, I know our drawer pulls are crooked LOL! I never had them fixed because we are getting ready to replace them with something new.

Our sink is probably my favorite thing in the kitchen. I wanted an apron farmhouse sink but our lower cabinet just didn’t suit the shape so we went with this beautiful Kohler drop in that is just as big and just as useful. From bathing babies and puppies to taming all of my cray diy project messes, our sink sure has seen its fair share of action. Our countertops have too…

Thanks for stopping by!!

 

 

 

diy, home, kitchen, new, posts, renovation

Kitchen Progress (Winter 2017 Kirklands IG feature)

We worked our butts off in this house. We redid our kitchen twice in the last three years to get it to where it is now. The last renovation was $500… this one was a lot more but we saved up tons and waited a long time in between projects. You do not need a big budget to get the kitchen you want. You just need two things… hard work capability and time. Salvaging, repurposing, saving searching, and creativity are also very important towards a kitchen renovation with a small budget. We salvaged old cabinets and wood. We repurposed shelving. We searched for the cheapest deals on a sink and subway tile. We made shiplap out of plywood. We splurged on paint though because in a kitchen you should always buy paint that resists stains, mold, and scuffing. Everything else was work ethic. We believe when we want something, work hard and you’ll get it. We sure did work hard. And we almost have it. Still have the whole other side of the kitchen to complete but for the moment, I am deeply in love. & its not just with that wonderful, amazing, talented husband of mine 😉

Featured on Kirklands Instagram

More photos to come…

 

home, new, posts, Thoughts

One Month to 31 (& winter porch tour)

I am going to be 31 in exactly one month from tomorrow. After 30 years of being on this Earth, I learned many things. I’ve learned through experience that life is everything YOU make it to be. Perception is key. Love is blind, but can be endless. And the most important thing I have ever learned through the years of being a daughter, sister, mother and friend is to never compare yourself to others. Not just yourself, but your life. There has been many times I have felt envy rear its ugly head through my own eyes when I was “younger” and nothing good ever comes from seeing green. They say the grass is always greener on the other side but thats only true if you forget to water your own lawn because your too busy watching your neighbors. I was never happy comparing myself to others and how can you be? You have to be happy with yourself to be happy with your life. It takes some people a life-time to learn that. Don’t get me wrong, I get discouraged when I try to obtain a goal in life and fall short…but there is no sense in holding hate for others who have what you want. To hold love and happiness for another person’s successes will fill your heart far more than envy. Isn’t that what life is about? Happiness? Finding happiness and contentment for what God has given you is also important. I believe that all of us have a path in which we are meant to follow. God lights the way. Sometimes we might get overwhelmed or even underwhelmed with what lies ahead of us, but trusting that God has a plan gives me “calm”.

When I was a little girl I dreamt of owning the very home we are in now, and I have been through so much in my 30 years that I still find it amazing that God led me to where I am now. And though I don’t know if we will be here forever, this home holds such a big place in my heart that I can not imagine living anywhere else at this moment in my life. Our home is not only a place to rest our heads, but a canvas, a stepping stone, a haven, a memory, a place where my husband and I are building such an amazing life and future for our little “big” family of ours. We have made such progress to this house and have so many plans developing for not just our home but for others. Though my dream is to one day open up my cottage shop here online and brick and mortar, we have another “project” up our sleeves that might end up happening before the other considering I still can’t figure out how to put a “shopping cart” on my website *face palm*. That’s another thing I need to work on. My stubbornness to figure out how to do everything on my own. Sometimes its better to get some help from others I suppose. Hopefully the big three – one can give me the strength and experience (and patience) to finish what I start like my promise to myself and others of an online shop LOL. One day at a time.

As for now, in this very moment. I am happy. I am happy with my home even though there still is walls to sheetrock, spaces to paint, pictures to hang, and rooms to change. I am excited to finish the things I started in 2017 and excited to see what 2018 and 31 has in store for me and my family. I pray this year brings all of us lots of luck, happiness, and success especially YOU! God Bless.

Here is also a short tour of our Christmas/Winter Porch

decor, diy, front porch, home, new, outdoor

Neutral Autumn Porch

Autumn is by far my favorite season. The weather is beautiful and so are the colors in the trees and the sky. I wanted to share with you a short tour of our porch decorated for the Autumn season. Enjoy!

This table I made a couple weekends back from scraps and pallets in our basement workshop. The ticking stripe chair was another DIY on a whim. The chair was trash picked a few years ago, no shame in my game 😉 and the fabric is from Joanne’s Fabrics. All I did was paint with white chalk paint and distress with a sanding block.

 

Sources:

  • Porch Swing- Given to by a Neighbor
  • Grainsack runner- Hobby Lobby
  • Big Ticking Stripe Pillows- HomeGoods (sprayed with Thompson’s Water Seal Fabric Spray *Walmart)
  • Table- DIY
  • Farm Chairs- Yard Sale, I distressed & placed pillows for seat covers
  • Bowls, and small oval plates- Rae Dunn Pottery
  • Large Plates & appetizer plates- Homegoods
  • Copper Mug- TJ Maxx
  • Silverware- Target and Various others
  • Sugarmold- Antiques and More-Old Glory Barn Washington Twsp. NJ
  • Black Vintage Scale- Decor Steals (Creative Co-Op)
  • Pumpkins- Indian Acres Farmers Market NJ
  • Wood “tray”- Repurposed wooded sign from Hobby Lobby
  • Antique Crock- Antiques and More- Old Glory Barn
  • White Cinderella Pumpkin- Walmart 2016
  • White Standard Pumpkins- Michaels
  • Gray & White Striped Fringe Blanket- Ikea USA
  • “Antique” Wooden Ottoman on Wheels- Michaels 2015
  • Faux Fur Throw- Ikea USA
  • “Its Cuddle Weather” Sign- Homegoods
  • Turkish Towel- Homegoods
  • Linen Cover on Swing- Repurposed drop cloth table cloth
  • Greenery in Crock- Hobby Lobby
  • Linen “It is well with my soul” pillow- PCB HOME
  • Small pillows on swing- Amazon.com
  • Three Legged Wooden Stool- Yard Sale

Thank you for stopping by!!

 

 

 

diy, home, new

Our Fireplace Story

“This is the story of our fireplace. Its a faux fireplace and was built by two people who really had no idea what they were doing… and if you want to get straight to the process, scroll down and pass the story… 🙂 “

The Story:

When we were searching for houses back in 2014, we had a long list of things that we wanted. Of course being first time home buyers, we really thought we would find everything on that list we conjured up. Reality kicked in and every house we seen just didn’t feel right. Most of the homes we were shown we not anything like what we had pictured in our heads and even the homes we found online didn’t feel like the one. The biggest reason was price. Our list would have called for a much bigger budget that just wasn’t possible for a couple of young newlyweds with three little ones. We were dreamers and “do-ers”. So what happens when you have to people who want certain things that don’t have a problem getting creative and doing things themselves? Well, we found an empty canvas. We found an “ok” house in a great location and decided that we were going to make our list of things we wanted in a home, pop off the page. So here we are. Three years into our home and we have done a lot of changes, but we are no where near finished. We probably never will be with this girl right here ; )

One of the main things on our list was a fire place. Our home we bought probably once had one. Our home is just about a hundred years old and does have a chimney running through it, so I imagine there must have been a fireplace at one point. We couldn’t use the chimney and it is completely useless serving no purpose whatsoever. But the location of the chimney just didn’t make sense to me so we decided to put our “faux” fireplace in the living room. We already had a faux fireplace mantel that I built years ago in my early twenties when I lived in Philadelphia. I found pieces of a mantel in the basement of the home I was living in at the time and decided to add molding to it and a base along with a slate slab that I used as the “firebox” cover, which I also turned into a chalkboard. In our new home we use that mantel in our dining room and had the option to just use that but we wanted it to look and feel real. So, we built one from scratch instead.

It has been one whole year since we built and have been using the fireplace. Of course it is not a REAL fireplace but it sure looks like it is. We use it as a place to mount our tv and inside the mantel itself is hollow so we could run wires through it so we wouldn’t have loose wires anywhere and didn’t have to go through the wall. We installed shiplap above the mantel to give it some depth and character. I’m absolutely in love with the way it came out. I think its perfect for our small living room but our measurements won’t be as perfect for your home so I am leaving most of that out. Our home is old, settled, and built on a marshy plot of land that has made the home not exactly symmetrical. One side of our mantel is centimeters higher than the other so it would be leveled. our home is also on a hill and if we could rip it all down and make everything perfectly straight and completely leveled, we would. But we can’t so bare with me…

Instead of an exact measurement, name of the tools we used, the type of wood, the type of nails and products we used tutorial…I am showing you how we built our fireplace through pictures and what we experienced. This was a hard project, it took three weeks to completely finish due to four kids and work schedules, but we did it. And we have hardly any experience, learned as we went, made many mistakes and plenty of memories that you will to if you try to build your own faux fireplace.

The Project:

We started with a blank wall. We pulled up the trim where the fireplace would be and our floor was already ripped up to the original hardwood. If you want a hearth like ours, the best thing to do is get down to the original floor where the fireplace & hearth will be. Next is the framing.

You are basically making two boxes. Frame out your hearth to whatever size fits your space (That is the “box” my husband is standing on in the first picture. *sorry about the quality*) and cover your box with a sturdy plywood (remember tile & a heavy fireplace will be going on this “box” so make sure there is plenty of support underneath). Next attach the back framing to the fireplace box and the wall. It is very important to anchor your framing to the wall. Again, frame out a box to the size of the fireplace you desire. Don’t forget to leave an opening for the firebox. Wall off the sides and top. You can also begin to put a “shelf” or “mantel” on top of your box. So, every side but the front of your framed box has sides now.

Make sure that you also make a “floor” of the area where your firebox will be. Building a fireplace is basically building a bunch of framed boxes altogether. (Remember, we are not pros and this was the first time my husband and I ever built a fireplace. We had no instructions other than a few tutorials from youtube and google.) After you are finished putting the firebox floor down, you will want to enclose the rest of your firebox, “the opening of your fireplace”. You do not need to put a firebox ceiling in, and we did not because we were going to run wires through out the faux fireplace. We used the same plywood that we used for the hearth top, for the face of the fireplace. When you are finished with that you will have this…

We then started to add the “grey barn wood” tile to the hearth and some of the stacked stone that we salvaged from our visit to South Dakota. Always make sure everything is leveled. We used liquid nails to apply both the tile and the stacked stone. It saved us so much time and money and since it is a faux fireplace and won’t be getting hot, we can use it! We also added the tile to the inside of the firebox floor. The stack stone went in the firebox and out on the face of the fireplace. Both the tile and the stacked stone was cut to fit by a wet saw. *TIP* If you never used a wet saw before, practice with unneeded tile and stone before cutting the real deal.

After applying the tile and stone you will want to put another layer of (smooth) plywood on top of the whole surround so it will level up better with the stone and give it more of a finished look before the molding and trim goes on.

Now you are ready for the character details and paint.

*TIP* a temporary shelf to hold up the stone while it is drying to the top face of the fireplace will help tons! We left ours in place for several days while the tile and stone took its sweet time to dry.

 Pumpkins, optional!

Now its time to add the “fancy/traditional” molding and “trim out” the surround & face of your mantel!

Now here comes the fun part, PAINTING EVERYTHING! We painted the mantel white and with the same paint, white washed the stacked stone firebox.

 Painter’s Tape does wonders!

Simple Way To White Wash Stacked Stone:

Mix white paint of your choice in a spray bottle with 50 parts water, shake, spray. Take a rag and blot areas where you sprayed. Also take a simple paint brush and add white paint to areas you feel need it. Continue until you get the desired look. *REMEMBER* This is a very messy job and will take a while to dry. You should allow to air dry for best results. White washing involves “washing” paint onto the surface. You can’t just use a paint brush without water and a rag helping you out or it will just look like it was messily painted white.

After you allow to set and dry for a few days you can shiplap the back of the wall above the fireplace.

We framed out the back like this to stick the wires in between the framing so we can mount the tv to the wall. We then drilled a hole where the wires would go into the mantel. We then added the shiplap and painted it white.

The wires were fished through and plugged into an outlet inside the fireplace and some wires had to be fished out through the bottom left side of the fireplace where we had to put in another hole. My husband wished he would have simply put enough electrical outlets “in” the fireplace so we wouldn’t have to do this, but you live & learn. I usually hide this “boo-boo” with decor.

It has been one whole year since we have built this gem and it was

definitely not easy, but surely one of my favorite parts of the house now!

I still want to add trim to the top and around the ship lap and maybe another coat of white paint now that a year later, the wood’s characteristics are starting to show through, but I am still in love with the turn out of this DIY project! (I took off all of our decor and the Xbox so you can really see the details of this project. We used to have metal arrows on the front of the fireplace, but now a little fabric banner I made from pillow scraps from another project lay across the mantel. We left that area of the mantel face blank so I change out the decor through out the seasons.)

We later added in the Pleasant Hearth Fireplace Grate from Lowes ($ 43.99) and the cute little birch log stack from Hobby Lobby to give our fireplace a realistic feel. I have been keeping these items in here year round.

We added in the Luxury Vinyl Planks from AngleWorld.com that just happened to go perfectly with our Barnwood Tiles from Lowes Home Improvement Store. The blank canvas home we bought back in 2014 is slowly checking off our Home Wish List. Heres to many more projects and turning the home you have into the home you love!

-Ashley