{renovate: kitchen remodel} the reason behind a complete renovation

So, for the record and in the name of thoroughness, I wanted to give you all some details about WHY we opted for a full kitchen remodel, instead of partial/using what we have and upgrading. I think it's easy to gloss over the negatives of a space when you're blogging. There are a lot of ways to hide your homes "sins" when taking photos. So let's go over what our kitchen space is REALLY like.

Besides being ugly 80's linoleum? 

Scratched and stained to the point that they just look dirty. All. The. Time. Whether I've mopped 5 minutes ago or 5 weeks ago.

Linoleum baseboards. Yep, that exists. And yep, the trim in the entire two rooms (kitchen + nook) is linoleum. Oh and it's hard to tell in the photo but the trim and the accent on the floor are a deep forest GREEN. Awesome.

Walls + ceiling.
Our entire house is still lath and plaster. It's old and it's natural that old = settling. But nowhere is that more apparent than in the kitchen and bathroom. We have HUGE cracks like the one above in the ceiling across both the kitchen and nook.

I LOVE nothing more than gorgeous, original, well-made cabinets. If there was anyway I could've salvaged the cabinets I would have in a heartbeat.

BUT, none of the cabinets match. The ones above the stove are different than the one next to the stove, which are both different than the ones above and around the window, which are ALL different than the ones below the sink (see below).

Painting all the cabinets the same color went along way to unifying the space, but when you're standing in it, it's pretty messy. Also, the cabinet to the left of the window is way too long for the space. We have so little counter space as is that having that cabinet come within 12 inches of the counter basically takes away that much more space.

Forest green-specked linoleum. Enough said.

That space behind the sink? Awful plywood. Again, doesn't show up in photos, but is very apparently - and ugly - in person!

Improper fit
I just chalk this one up to old as well, but we have some, err, fit issues. The stove doesn't sit flush against the back wall. We need to sink the plug into the wall -- or just rip that wall out and relocate the stove completely :).

The space between the wall and the cabinet next to the stove. Ick.

So friends, that's the reality we've been living with. We debated for a very long time about whether to upgrade a few things -- floor, countertops, backsplash -- and call it good. But in the end, we think a complete demo and rebuild will not only make us way happier as home owners, but will make our resale value much higher.

Fellow bloggers ... what are some issues that you cover up with photos? I know we all have them! I'd love to hear yours :)


{renovate: the kitchen} it's demo time!

Friends, it's official. We no longer have a kitchen! And, it's really weird. I thought I'd take you on a journey of what the kitchen went through this weekend. I was, in fact, enjoying time away, but I had Chris taking photos. Of course. So, the guy in all the photos isn't Chris .... it's his best friend and general contractor. Yah for great friends! :)

When I left for the beach on Saturday morning, the wall between the kitchen and living room looked like this.
And then this happened ....

And now, it looks like this ....
ps. The next step is to take the majority of that wall out. YAH! :)

The window wall started out looking like this ...

Then this ....

And now.... nothing.
The space heading out the back door looked like this:

 Then this.
And now there's nothing also (forgot that pic! :)

The ceiling also came out.

Which led to a lot of really old insulation. Everywhere. Seriously. They were still cleaning it up yesterday when I got home.

There's our roof/attic!

The guys also managed to get up both layers of linoleum, which honestly, was the part I was dreading most. 

So, it's a start. It was a little surreal to come home to this big gaping hole in the middle of our house, but it's also very motivating to get it finished! :) I have a couple more kitchen posts lined up for you this week -- including the reasons why we decided for a full gut, instead of working with what we have, and an mood board for the space! 

Did anyone else gut something this weekend? Or, start/finish any home projects? I'd love to hear about them!


{inspired} to have a great memorial day!

Friends, I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Are you off to do something fun, thrilling, relaxing? Or, are you staying home to get some work done around the home / yard?

We're doing a little of both. While I head to the beach for some r & r with my family, Chris and friends are demoing the kitchen (!). Yes, I did in fact receive the good end of that deal :). But he's on photo duty so I can share photos with next week.

Have a great weekend!

And, Portland friends .... don't forget to RSVP for the Blogger Summer Social coming up on June 6. I saw the attendee list yesterday and let me know say .... it's gonna be a fun night and you don't want to miss it!


{inspired} a graphical kitchen brain dump

Tell me if you can relate to this friends. You're updating or remodeling your home. You have a gazillion ideas - yes, that's a lot - and you're trying to communicate those ideas to your spouse/partner/roommate. And, somehow they just don't get it! 

I thought I'd show you the craziness that is my original brain dump for our upcoming kitchen remodel. I had a gazillion ideas and couldn't decide on anything. I had them all pinned, but flipping back and forth between pins was getting annoying. Meanwhile, Chris was visibly having trouble keeping all my ideas straight and had ideas of his own.

So I put all our ideas + sources + prices together in one big brain dump - graphic brain dump, if you will - and came up with this:
It worked like a charm! When we had everything in one place it made it SO EASY to decide what we like, what we didn't like, and what worked together to create the look we're going for in our kitchen.

We're looking at lights now, so I starting adding my favorite lighting to the mix as well.

We have a couple more ideas to pull together before I create the mood board we'll actually work off. But, I thought you guys might be interested in the process. It was a tiny bit time consuming to create this chart, of sorts, but worth it in the end because it actually helped us to communicate much more efficiently and make decisions quicker. I'm always willing to spend a little more time for that kind of result! :)

I have sources and prices listed here, but if you'd like actual links you can find all of these on my Pinterest pages.


{inspired} painted wood floors

Friends, do you all think I'm a crazy tease for dangling a kitchen remodel in front of you and then never talking about it again? Yeah. Me too. :)

We're planning, planning, planning. Which I hope makes the actual doing go by much faster :). We did start to tear up the linoleum in the nook though, and were sadly met with another layer of the hardest, most tightly glued and waterproof linoleum. EVER. Seriously, this stuff is NOT budging. We still want to pull it up and try to salvage the hardwoods, because when we're done the kitchen will open up to the living room and it'll just look much better if the floors flow.

In the meantime though, I've been considering options in case we damage some of the hardwood pulling up the linoleum. One idea I've always loved - even before the linoleum debacle - are painted wood floors. Whether stencils, stripes, cafe-style or solid, I think there is something so charming about hardwood + paint. As a bonus, it hides blemishes :).

Has any of you ever painted your wood floors? What about just admired painted wood floors? 
Don't worry, I have more kitchen updates coming this week! :)


Portland Blogger Summer Social

Portland area friends! I have a fun announcement today.

I've teamed up with Kirsten at Restored Style to host a fun evening for local home and design bloggers. It's going to be SO. MUCH. FUN. There will be amazing food and awesome company .... haven't you all wondered who these people are behind the blogs? I know I have! :)

We're working with the caterer to make dinner super affordable ... and space is limited. So make sure you RSVP soon!

WHO: Portland Home and Design Bloggers
WHAT: A night of food, fun and inspirations!
WHEN: June 6, 2012
WHERE: Seek the Unique
WHY: Why not? It will be so fun to meet you all!

For all my non-PDX area friends -- I wish you could join us! Come visit :)


{inspired} ITALY!!

I have news that is SO EXCITING that I couldn't wait to share. This fall Chris and I are going to ITALY!! :) We booked our plane tickets this week.

Friends, I seriously could not be more excited. I spent some time in France when I was in college and during that time made a weekend trip to Florence. It was amazing (and, I definitely got kicked off a train at one point, and spent a night in a train station at a completely different point! Memorable weekend ;)! But beyond that I've never explored this beautiful country. Chris, on the other hand, has never been to Europe. I'm excited to introduce him.

We were actually supposed to go last fall, but then last summer, within a couple weeks of each other, we both got new jobs and with new jobs comes incredibly limited vacation time. So, we bided out time, saved our dollars and booked a trip for this fall instead! 

So I want to open this up to you guys. Do you have any recommendations for must-see, awesomeness in Italy? We'll be based out of central northern Italy, but will definitely be traveling around. I'd love to hear what your favorite places are!

Anyone else have a super fun vacation coming up this summer/fall?

Update: We returned for an amazing two weeks traveling around in Italy in October. Make sure to check out all our photos from the trip here.


{renovate} front yard landscape updates

Friends, before we talk about my yard, I want to thank each of you for the super kind words you left us after Monday's post. I love this space and love sharing things with you guys and reading all your comments brought tears to my eyes. I shared them with Chris and we both treasure them ... thank you for all your well wishes :). I'll keep you updated with (hopefully) good news!

Now, let's talk about my yard. We originally landscaped the front yard in the summer of 2010. It was a pretty big project ... we tore out a bunch of grass, shaped the remainder and we planted a lot of shrubs, plants and even a couple trees! You can read more landscaping our front yard here.

Front yard *before*, circa 2008

I'm think I need to preface the remainder of this post with .... we are NOT landscaping people. In fact, it kinda terrifies me. I'm so worried about messing things up. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that, much like indoor decor, landscaping can always be changed. This brings us to this past weekend. 

Yard *after* landscaping, circa 2010

Last summer I began noticing that there were some plants I wasn't happy with -- some died, some weren't flourishing where they were planted, and some were flourishing more than they should've been! :) But, I wanted to let them grow a little more and put off really taking action until this year. 

And here's where things stood this spring:

The beautiful orangy copper plants in front were being VERY overcrowded by that insane Mexican orange.

On the other side, we had a HUGE hole. There were a couple plants there, but they died. 

Remember when I went to the nursery to buy soil a couple weeks ago. There were so many amazing perennials, that I came home with a bunch of plants to fill in the gaps in the front yard.

And, now all those great plants are beautifying my front yard!
On this side, I moved a few plants to different places in the yard, moved the gold plants closer to the lawn to create more of a border, trimmed the Mexican oranges and planted both white and red flowering perennials. Pretty! :) 

Actually, I have a question for you all. Does your yard have a color scheme? Because ours totally does: reds, yellows, oranges, whites and greens. NO purple or pink. I just makes me happy to have a cohesive look in the yard. Some people think I'm nuts. But really, if I'm going to colors scheme my house, why not my yard too? :)

On the other side, I planted the same white and red perennials on the other side of the stairs, moved a few more plants and added a bunch of white and yellow flowering plant/bushes.

And, here's a close up of those right side plants (ps: I know. We need bark dust. It's on the list of things to do this spring :):

I am so much happier. I just hope the plants I moved live! We'll see :). Like I said ... not an expert in landscaping. But, it was easier than I thought it would be and now I feel way more confident.

The next challenge is a biggie, simply because I'm stumped.

How's that for keeping it real? EW.

Originally we had these gorgeous gold/red grasses planted (you can kind of see them in the 2010 after photo, above). But, most died. Awesome. And then weeds COMPLETELY took over. Obviously. They're worse here than any other place in the yard. So the plan is to dig it all up, put down plastic and start over. The stumped part comes in though because I have NO idea what to plant there! I'm leaning toward boxwoods, but they seem so .... predictable. I don't know. Suggestions are more than welcome! :)

So that's where we're at with our yard. Lots of positive updates. A little ways left to go. You know, before we start all over next year :). What are you guys doing in your yards this spring? Any major updates? Minor? I'd love to hear!


Lately ....

Friends, did anyone happen to read up on some of the "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" series last week? If not, I have to recommend it. It's truly brave and inspiring when people let down their guard and open up their lives a little, don't you think?

In that vein, I wanted to share with you why I've been a little hit or miss on the blog lately. You all are so encouraging and supportive and I wanted to assure you that I LOVE this space and I haven't forgotten about you! Some of you know this, but for others this might be news: my husband is sick. Like, really sick. He's has Crohn's, an auto-immune disorder, and symptoms come and go. But it reared it's ugly head in a worse way than ever over the holidays. A test confirmed that it is in fact worse than it ever has been and so we've been working incredibly closely with our naturopath for the last few months to get it back into remission. We truly believe that we can heal this through food and not the crazy scary medicines -- with even crazier side effects -- that doctors want to put him on. Seriously. The options are not good.
All said, most of my energy outside of work has been focused on Chris lately. I've done little projects for the blog here and there, but there are just some weeks I'm way too spent to do a project or focus on what's inspiring me. I didn't realize how much energy I was putting into this until the last week or two. I have a whole new appreciation for the healthy husbands and wives that are fighting even more serious diseases with their spouses. 

Just to give you an idea of what we're up to, we've been: researching, going to acupuncture appointments, doctor appointments, cutting grains out of our diet (we've been gluten free for awhile) and we just completed a three week juice fast. Crazy, right? But the thing that has taken me by surprise the most is how I would do ANYTHING to make sure my husband it healthy. Anything. I don't even think I realized the depth of my commitment to him ran until we began fighting this. Together. The encouraging part in all this is that every step we've taken has led us closer to figuring out what's best for Chris. We've finally settled on a diet that has a great track record of healing people with Crohn's. We laid out our plan for implementing the diet this weekend and so I'm hoping the worst part is over. It can take months and months to send Crohn's into remission, but we both feel that we're making huge positive steps towards that and Chris is starting to feel better all ready.

Friends, THANK YOU for hanging in there with me over the past few weeks and months. I'm working really hard to be here and be present, but I really appreciate the understanding when I'm not :).

Happy Monday all!

Photos, in order: society 6etsy, anthro