My “New” Kitchen

Our kitchen “update” is just about done.  And it looks fabulous!

We opted not to have a full-on kitchen “remodel,” although we had talked about it and had sketches drawn up.  After our England experience, I really liked the cook-top/wall oven look.  Hubby and I measured and talked about different configurations and options. We figured out we could put in a cook-top and wall oven, but it would require all new cabinetry throughout the kitchen.  I went to talk to 2 different kitchen designers, and they showed me computer-generated drawings of our “vision.” OMG! BEAUTIFUL!! However, Hubby and I talked more and more about making changes. We looked at our cabinets some more…..the builder actually put in some very nice, good quality maple wood cabinets in our kitchen!  And if we were to change our cabinets, the color choice I would  pick would only been a shade or two darker.  Would it be worth it?  We decided NO.  It would be foolish (and very expensive) on our part to replace 10 year old cabinets that are still in excellent shape just to fulfill a “vision” of mine.

Instead, we opted to replace all our appliances (which were dying a slow death anyway), replace our laminate countertops with granite, enlarge our island, and have a corner “hutch” installed.

Since we went with the “less expensive” remodel, and because I LOVE TO COOK, hubby let me spend a bit more on a stove. I chose the Electrolux IQ-Touch because it has 5 full burners (3 of which are “double”)…something that was a MUST HAVE with my growing boys!  And although it carried a hefty price tag for a stove, it did end up costing less than had we gone with a separate cook top and wall oven. We also bought a Bosch dishwasher, and we still have to buy a new refrigerator (Thanks, Sears, for discontinuing the model I had chosen!)  For all our appliances, we chose to go the stainless-steel route.  For many years, I didn’t understand what the SS hype was all about. I fought against it. However, I have to say that I am really, really liking the look in my kitchen.

The other “must haves” for the kitchen were a bigger island and a hutch.   We tried VERY VERY HARD to design an island where we could have chairs and eat at the island.  However, the dimensions of our kitchen just doesn’t allow for it. Oh well.  So instead, we decided to make the most of the space allowed.  Our old island had 3 drawers and 3 doors.  In the cabinet part of the island, I kept all my pots, pans, lids. There was a shelf inside the cabinet,  and that’s where I stored my crock pot, blender, and Corning Ware. Due to the weight of those items, the shelf was starting to bow.  We also wanted to replace the 14-yr old “TRASH” Box that sat just outside of the island.  Our kitchen designer suggested that we choose an island with 2 giant drawers to store the pots/pans/etc, and have a pull-out trash/recycle bin drawer.  Hubby and I both loved the idea!

Shortly after we moved into the house, Hubby had sketched out a hutch/bar area for the naked corner of our kitchen.  I kept the sketch all these years.  It was the basis for what we ultimately had made.  For the first 6 years of living here, the space was empty. It became a  junk collection corner.  Then we bought a desk for the corner, in hopes the boys would do their homework there.  It became a great home for my laptop, and [many, many] paper piles.  We decided to make Hubby’s “vision” a reality—more kitchen storage, a display area for our nice glasses, a new home for our “Grown-up beverages”, and a space in the kitchen for my cookbooks (MY NEED). It would also function as a nice bar area, since anytime we entertained, the desk did become “the bar.”

For the island and hutch, our kitchen designer suggested that because it would be challenging to exactly match 10 year old aged-maple cabinets, we go with a two-tone kitchen look.  The island and hutch would be designed as “furniture” pieces to give the kitchen a more elegant look. She suggested a chocolate-colored cherry wood.  The look….stunning.  The island takes up no more room than the previous one, and the hutch looks like it BELONGS in the kitchen.

For the granite counter tops, I chose a pattern/color called Saint Cecilia Classico. It’s a yellowish-vanilla granite with black markings, as well as chocolate spots (to go with the island and hutch) and honey-colored shadings (to go with the maple cabinets) as well as some silver markings (great for the stainless steel).  A fantastic result of the granite: it makes our kitchen looks larger and brighter as a result of the light bouncing off it. 

Funny side story regarding my honey-colored maple cabinets (the ones we decided to keep).  In the two weeks between the removal of the green laminate countertop and the arrival of the granite, we had 3 different people stop by and they all made the same comment.  Tom, a good friend who as been here numerous times in the past 10 years, Nancy, a neighbor who has popped in every now and then over the last 8 years, and Deb, who has only been in my house on 2 previous occasions—they all commented that the “new maple cabinets look very nice in the kitchen!”  We had to remind them that those are the original!!!!  That compliment made me happy that we decided to keep them!

The only thing left is to install the handles for the drawers (on order) and find tile for between the counters and the maple cabinets.

Ok, now without further ado… are pictures of my “new” kitchen



The Domino Effect

Thomas Inc. is continuing the update of its headquarters.

We’ve decided (and are hoping to stick to) on a budget to work with the interior decorator on the family room and dining room. We do plan on using a lot of her suggestions, but she has agreed that we can go and price out our own vendors/contractors for some of the work to save us some money (cuz, HOLY COW, her peeps are $$$$). 

[on a side note, I find it comical that she uses the term “save money” when this is not money I had planned on spending this year or this way]

But what has happened is that once we start applying her decorative suggstions to our house, it makes the other components look old, drab, worn out, dirty, icky….yuck.  I have received the go-ahead from the CEO to put new carpet in our family room. I think the statement “I want to puke every time I vaccuum” (which is 2-3 times a week) helped my cause.  The couch will have to wait until Aspen……..

So I found a carpet I liked, Hubby liked it too…got an estimate…was told to put the order in.  But of course, before we put new carpet in the family room, shouldn’t we paint the floor molding…eliminate all the scuffs and scratches caused by our 3 little angels??? 

Ok, no problem.  Not  a big deal. I like to paint. Shouldn’t take me too long.

WELLLLLLLLL……as I moved around the room touching up the molding, I get to the doorway to the kitchen. HMMMMMM…….the molding around the doorway should be done too.

Which will make the molding in the kitchen look horrible…and the hallway….and the stairway….and all the other doorways.

Guess what I’m doing this week?????

Decorating Sense (?)

My hubby received extra big kudos (from me and many other women) this past Christmas for one of the gifts he gave me.  It wasn’t the typical gift–sweater, massage, spa day, whatever. 

He paid for an hour consultation with an interior designer.


As mentioned in some previous posts, we’re thinking of re-doing our kitchen a bit (that project is on “temporary hold” or in “rescale” mode), and since returning from England I’ve wanted to “freshen up” our 9 years, 3 kids, and 2 dog walls. But I have actually enjoyed the color scheme in my home, and was having trouble finding/choosing colors that would “flow” nicely throughout the house. Plus some other minor “wants.”  Hence, the interior designer consult.

I had no idea what to expect. Maybe I did.

I talked to her on the phone, explaining my “problems,” and my “style.” When she came over I gave her a tour of the house and pointed out my “issues.” I was hoping that right then-and-there, she would say “I see your hallway with THIS color (and take out her color wheel), which would transition nicely into the kitchen with THIS color” Etc. 

Uh-uh. Didn’t happen.

Instead she focused on my 2 “big” problems. (which in all honesty, needed  “professional advice”). But she didn’t just FOCUS on the problem, she focused on the ENTIRE room. So although I appreciate her insight and advice (and enthusiasm) I’m wondering if I’m in over my head. Let me explain…

In our family room, we have a GIANT window. Shortly after we moved in, I contacted Sears, JC Penny, and a private Window Consultant to order shades/blinds for all 29 windows in my home. Only the independent WC had a solution to my big window—it wasn’t a great solution, but the only one. So we went with him (I was also either prego w/ the twins at the time or they were newly born–so I wasn’t in the mood to spend too much time/money on this project). I didn’t want vertical blinds, but honeycomb blinds, and because there wasn’t a way to attach one big shade, he broke it into 3 parts–2 small shades with a big one in the center (for the largest part of the window)…attaching all 3 to a homemade cornice. It certainly wasn’t elegant–and we had 3 sets of cords hanging–but it was a good temp fix. Well, 1 or 2 years ago, the cords broke and we’ve been unable to lower/raise the big shade–thus permanently leaving it up. It needed a fix.

Luckily, thanks to Interior Design Consultant (IDC), she HATED the look, called upon her window expert, and “window shade technology” has improved over the last 9 years, and a single shad solution could be done!! YAY! But of course, if we change the big window, the shades on the 2 “normal” windows would have to be changed too (to “match”). Ohh, but the COST. Holy cow. Yes, the “industry best” were being ordered, and “professionally installed” but I nearly had a cow. (especially since I was quoted a price last summer for the “industry best” and it was approx. $100 less per window.). I told her to order the big window, and I would go elsewhere (like Home Depot) and order matching “industry best” at a price I could live with. She DID NOT LIKE THAT scenario, and she came down $75 per window. Deal.

And now that they are installed, I can say my big window shade looks MUCH better. Like it should look.

But during her “assessment” of my family room, she did not like our vertical blinds on our sliding door. I admitted to her that they did not match or look very good compared to the rest of the room (again, they were chosen with the Ind. Window consultant when our room’s color scheme was different than it is now). The vertical blinds are “just there” and I’ve never given them a second thought.  I asked her if she had a better solution, as we need the window/door covered with something (for heat purposes) but also make it easy accessible for dogs, kids, grilling.  I LOVED HER SOLUTION…..a big, handmade drapery on a decorative rod that can open/close easily, with an insulated lining. Of course, this custom-made solution will come with a price tag.

And then there’s my dining room. YEARS AGO I went to a twin-mom Cope meeting, and I LOVED the drapes at the hosting mom’s house. They have been in my head for YEARS. I’ve been searching for something similar FOR YEARS.

NADA. Can’t find it.

Solution—custom made. Oy– the price.

Can we afford it? Truthfully, yes. But my system is just in a bit of shock on custom made vs. what you can find at, let’s say, JC Penny or a curtain store. I keep telling myself that I’ll get WHAT I want and it will make my house look unique. Surprisingly, hubby is board with her suggestions and costs associated with her suggestions (or at least he hasn’t choked yet). Truthfully, it’ll make our home look pretty special. But getting over the “custom cost” is a hurdle I’ll have to overcome.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a pretty good job putting my house together (purely by luck, might I add), but it does seem kinda fun to take it to the next level (which I do not have the creativity or capability of doing on my own). Although I do get a little scared when my interior designer makes statements like “I can’t wait to get my hands on your dining room.” Somehow, getting custom drapes has turned into a dining room remodel. But I’m a simple girl, and I won’t get swept away with her suggestions. Just what seems “right” and “necessary” (using THAT term loosely)….and NOT go overboard.