{renovate} it's all in the details

Friends, it occurred to me this weekend that I am terrible with updating you guys about small changes we make around the house. Somehow a new welcome mat just doesn't seem to warrant an entire post. BUT, we have made a couple small updates around the house that I thought you'd like to see. And I just have to apologize about the photos - for the last few days, even when it's daylight, it isn't actually light out. It's that pesky rain thing that comes with January in Oregon :).

Entry rugs.

In the midst of the kitchen remodel chaos we somehow lost both our back and front entry rugs. I have no idea. So the front door has a new lovely rug (that was on SUPER sale) at West Elm. I can't even remember what our last rug looked like (a true sign your remodel is taking too long), but I really love how BOLD this one is - especially when paired with our navy front door

The back door has a fun new graphic rug from Target. I do remember the last one here - it was very beige. I am really liking that this one is dark and moody. Sort of like the January we're having. Which makes me wonder if I'll still feel like that once the weather's nicer? :) 

Fruit bowl?

Possibly. I've talked before about Portland's Seek the Unique - we held our blogger event there last spring - and this lovely was the result of a quick stop this weekend.

Isn't it gorgeous? I don't know how long it will stay a fruit bowl (it's huge, if you can't tell by the amount of fruit in there), but I know that it will easily travel around the entire house and be amazing. That texture! Kills me!


I've wanted striped sheets since the minute we bought our duvet cover - 4 years ago! I finally bought these from West Elm, which I'd been eyeing for more than a year (!), when I stopped by there a couple weeks ago. I LOVE them. And this photo reminds me - where do you fall on the spectrum of bed making? I fall firmly on the "what's the point, you're just going to get back in it later" side. I only make my bed for you guys, really :)

I think what I love most about these updates is that each is big and bold in its own way. All are supporting characters in the grand scheme of things, but are still making a fun and unique statement. And I think because of that, they add so much to our home.

Friends, I love to know - what small changes have you made around your house lately?


{inspired} kitchen fabric options

So, as for the kitchen remodel, we're getting so close to the fun and pretty part - decorating! Adding some color, some fabric, etc. The stressful part, though, is that I freeze and quadruple guess myself when it comes to picking out fabric. I am the worst at picking fabric - it takes me forever. And in this case, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Let me set the scene for you guys.

Because of the new couch, and yet to be shown new ottoman that will serve as a coffee table, we're mixing up the entire first floor a little. I'm looking for ottoman fabric (desperately needs recovering), kitchen window fabric and nook window fabric. Because everything is so open to each other, they need to coordinate on some level. I'm also trying to decide if the kitchen window fabric should match the nook window fabric to give in a cleaner look, but then I think it might be more fun to have a different fabric. See? Factors.

Our rug, which I love, is pretty traditional. The color palette in the rooms, as I talked about last spring, will be blues and greens. As a lot of you probably know, I'm really drawn to geographic patterns, which I think would balance out the traditional rug really well. Here's what I've been looking at so far:
I love them all! Oh, but there isn't a lot of green here, so I'm still looking.

A part of me also really loves soft florals, though. And I think they play off graphic patterns beautifully - when done well. My fear with these, though, is they can quickly escalate to granny. Granny is NOT the look I'm going for, but these fabrics can be nice:

It's a start, right? I'm sure we'll be talking about this more :).

Friends, how do you narrow and choose fabrics?


{renovate} kitchen backsplash and counters

Well, if you follow me on Instagram (jennmccormick), you know that over the long weekend we tiled! Specifically, the kitchen backsplash! But along with tiling, we also got a few other major things done. On a very related note, we seriously have the most amazing friends. You know the friends that way-back-when helped us renovate our back entry and refinish our hardwoods? Those are the same friends that helped demo the kitchen and built our cabinets? Well they came over this weekend specifically to tile and do whatever else we still needed help with. I cannot even begin to tell you guys how grateful we are that they're in our lives -- and how much we'll owe them when they buy a house :).


We have a backsplash! And oh does it change the look of the space!

The tile is Ann Sacks Swiss Cross. I am so in love. Because it's such a small space, we wanted something that had personality, but was still neutral and classic. I think this fit the bill so well.
I didn't take a lot of photos of the process, because I was actually tiling! The girls tiled while the boys did other stuff. It was my first time tiling - and it was actually pretty easy. The hardest part was figuring out the pattern so we could begin.

Up next will be grout - hopefully this weekend.  But FIRST we need to decide on what color grout - white or gray. I am so torn! Any opinions, friends?
ps. You can also see that we installed window trim after the last post about trim :). Much better!


First, the counter top extension! We've been planning this since the beginning. We couldn't plan the island to be as long as we wanted - for clearance reasons - but, we really wanted it longer than the space logically allowed. Enter, the extension. It can go up when we need it, down when we have a lot of people over and need the space. We still need to install the piece that moves it up and down, so that's next.

While the girls were tiling, the boys were adding the extension and gluing down the copper.

Making sure it's a tight, solid fit :). Yep, there was a rolling pin involved.

The boys also did some ducting work, which I'll show you later. But really, it isn't all that exciting, but is really nice to be getting done!

And this guy? He was our supervisor for the day :).

All in all, a very productive weekend. It's going to take me quite awhile to finish up and paint all the trim, but I'm getting so excited to share final photos with you guys!


{Italy} Venice

Friends! My last post about my wonderful trip to Italy last fall will be about ...  the lovely Venice. If you're new around here and would like to catch up with my fabulous vacation, you can read all the posts here.

I have to preface this post with a couple things. First, I was pretty anti-Venice. I have no idea. I'd heard some negative things in the past and I just didn't really care if I ever went. The friend I was staying with practically shoved me on the train. Second, it rained the entire day I was there. And it was that heavy mist type of rain that is impossible NOT to be soaking wet when you're walking around in and never ceases to make me super cranky if I have to be out in (and also made my pictures sorta gloomy! ;). So, as you can imagine, I went into my day in Venice with an awesome attitude!

And you know what's crazy?? I LOVED, loved, loved Venice. Like, kicking myself that Chris and I didn't spend a few days there. I'm sitting here trying to find the right word to describe how I felt about Venice and all I can come up with is .... enchanted. Venice is enchanting. It felt like another world entirely - the architecture, the water, the boats, the history. I completely fell in love. And I didn't care that I was wandering around in the rain because I just wanted to explore every nook and cranny.

I started my day on a water taxi that took me on an amazing tour of the city. At the end of the route, before the ocean, is the palace and it was a great place to start. From there, I wandered back toward the train station - which took hours and I got lost more than once :).

Loved all the stripes! These guys were all over the place -- I'm sure they have a purpose, I just don't know what it is :).

I know, they're incredibly tourist-y, and I didn't go on one, but the gondolas were so cool! Much more fun to look at than the water-skiing type boats :).

Friends, thanks so much for following along on my Italian adventures. It's been so much fun for me to both capture and relive my vacation, and I appreciate you all coming along for the ride :)

Have you ever been to Venice? What was your experience? And, have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a vacation spot?


{renovate} kitchen cabinets, hardware and appliances

Um, it looks like I owe you a HUGE kitchen update! We looked at the pantry and the nook during December, but I completely forgot that the last time you saw the actual kitchen we still didn't have cabinet doors or a stove top. I was all set to tell you about our trim and all the work I've been doing caulking, but let's take a look at more than that, mmmkay?

Let me assure you, the kitchen has been functional since the beginning of December. Yah! All appliances are hooked up and all the boxes are unpacked and moved in. It's absolutely wonderful. So let's take a look at progress and then I'll tell you what's left. Hint: not a lot!

Stove top.

The game changer. This was the last appliance we installed and also happens to be one on I use the most. So, it was an exciting day :). We do need to hook up the fan, which pops up from the middle there, and that's why there's no doors on that cabinet. But fan or no fan - I can cook again!


All the cabinets are installed! With the exception of those two doors, above. You can see we even have a door to conceal the dishwasher (to the left of the sink), which is just fabulous.

I've mentioned before, but the cabinets are IKEA's Adele. We just love them and are super happy with our choice.


We agonized over this decision, but am so in love with what we chose. I REALLY wanted a bin pull, but wanted to mix it up a little. I really like that the shape of these bins is just a bit more modern. All the hardware on the bottom cabinets are Restoration Hardware's Duluth pulls.

The upper doors - all four of them - are sporting RH's Ephram knob.


We're so close to finishing up the trim. As you saw in the first photo of the post, we need to trim out the window. Other than that? A tiny bit of quarter round in the nook!

It makes SUCH a huge difference to have trim - even when it isn't painted. The whole space just looks so much more polished. I'm working on caulking and then we'll paint it up!


Last update. A lot of you know that I've also been agonizing about our stools. We bought the ones we loved, only to learn that the were actually bar height - and we needed counter height. We thought about returning them, but then my incredible talented husband cut/welded about four inches off the bottom and now they're perfect! Seriously, you can't even tell they used to be taller and I'm so happy I didn't have to find something else!

What's left.

- TILE. Yep, that's a biggie.
- Stove fan installation.
- Trim: window, caulking and painting.
- Install last two cabinets.

See? See how close? It's nice to have the end in sight. And luckily, we're both really sick of working on this so we'll be busting out these last tasks over the next few weeks.


{renovate} THE LIST. 2013.

Friends!  I can't even believe I'm going to post this list ... but in the interest of complete transparency, I thought we'd take a look at the list I made last year at this time about all the projects we were going to accomplish in 2012. I actually laughed out loud when I re-read this list last week -- we were seriously a little over ambitious! We'd actually talked about doing both the kitchen and bathroom in one year. HA! See? A little crazy :).

 Now, I've already mentioned that we aren't taking on any new remodeling projects this year, but I updated this list to show you what we did accomplish last year (crossed out), will tackle this year (ital) and new additions.

Kitchen - at least the list starts on a high note?? :)
  • Install new counter top
  • Tear up linoleum (BOTH layers) and refinish hardwoods
  • Build a kitchen island
  • Install a dishwasher

Back Porch - I am determined to finish this room up this year. It keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list and then acts as a staging area for bigger projects. This year I want to finish and then just ENJOY.
  • Refinish chairs
  • Paint floor
  • Add artwork
Bathroom: gut. Off. The. List. 2014, I'm looking at you.
  • Install new non-wood window
  • Tear out everything
  • Tile floor
  • Tile shower
  • Paint
Craft room: This room. Sigh. Seriously needs help. I've worked on it here and there, but I need to take a serious look at functionality.
  • Find a suitable organizing system
  • Finish decorating
NEW: Living room: We'll be switching up the furniture in this room. I'm so excited!
  • New ottoman
  • Find room for new couch
I think this list is much more realistic. I'm excited to get started on all these projects! Well, after we finish up that kitchen :).


{inspired} home holiday gifts

I think I've mentioned a couple times here on this blog that my lovely husband might struggle a tiny bit in the gifting department. It's one of the main reasons we go on vacations for both our birthdays and anniversary. The other reason being that he's impossible to buy for -- double whammy. So I feel like I need to brag on him just a bit after this Christmas. Friends, he hit it out of the park.

Meet my new couch!

Leather and tufted with big roll arms? Yummy.

The couch actually has a back story. Chris' hobby is restoring vintage cars. And to do this, he's often out buying/trading car parts with guys he meets at various events. Sometimes I tag along. I was doing just that about a year and a half ago when we were walking through this one guy's basement as we made our way back to the room where he stores his car parts and we walked by this amazing couch. Clearly not being used and exactly the couch I would pick out if I could pick out any couch. I have no idea why I didn't mention it then, but I did mention it later and we've talked a couple times about calling the guy and seeing if he'd be willing to sell it. But of course, the living room isn't really a priority - or even on the list! - so nothing ever came of it. Until Chris surprised me with for Christmas!

He hid it in the garage and arrange a really awesome scavenger hunt for me to find it! It was the sweetest and I was so surprised. Maybe his gift giving skills are coming around? 

I think you can tell in the photos, but this couch is a little dry with some surface scratches. And, one tuft has popped out. Other than that it's in perfect shape! I'm so excited to show you when we move it into the living room. And I'm excited to share with you how we plan to restore/condition it so it glows like new! 

Another gift I'm really excited about?

Yep, my mom read my wish list. Good job mom! :)

Friends, what was one of your favorites gifts this year?


{create} an organized home

Friends! It's a new year! I know, what would you do without me? Does anyone else out there get a cleaning and organizing itch at the beginning of the year? Well, you know how sometimes you have a hard time getting rid of things. Or you're just really busy and don't take the time to organize/clean on a regular basis? And things just keep piling up and piling up until you can't take and you end of just donating it all.

What? Is this how your household works too? This is the pile we took to goodwill this week (well, except for the kitchen stool that crept into the photo - that didn't go to goodwill). I've been a on cleaning/organizing streak and now our house feels empty and spacious and awesome. For now :)

Anyone else cleaning out to prep for/celebrate the new year??