Category Archives: countertops

So with my best, my very best, I set you free…*

*Lyrics from I Wish You Love as sung by Frank Sinatra (though the National Youth Jazz Orchestra performance is cheerful and delightful, and certainly worth watching on a day like today). I considered an alternate title – “I wish you shelter from the storm, a cozy fire to keep you warm” – especially because the entire Eastern portion of the US is being battered by yet another bracing, snow-filled, ice-capped, rained upon bit of winter goodness, but I thought the above excerpt was more fitting. I heard this song ages ago and jotted it down to use at the end of something. Today’s weather makes the timing even more apt. 

Le sigh. It’s over. This is the last installment of the Project W AFTER Tour (catch up here: master bedroom, kids’ rooms, main floor part one, and main floor part two). I am so proud and grateful that I got to have a hand in the complete transformation of this now gorgeous home. So, now, pictures! (Get ready, this is a long one…)

Bright, open, airy, efficient, classic. Hello, new kitchen.

Bright, open, airy, efficient, classic. Hello, new kitchen.

Boom. Project W kitchen. Do you remember it when it looked like this?

BEFORE: Dated is a kind way of putting what this kitchen looked like. AFTER: Better space planning really took this kitchen into a new world.

BEFORE: Dated is a kind way of putting what this kitchen looked like. AFTER: Better space planning really took this kitchen into a new world, and a new era.

Sort of major, right? When we toured the space, there was a giant spiral staircase – de rigueur in 1982 – that cut right through what I saw as perfectly usable kitchen real estate. When we first met, the clients – craving brightness, space, and fluidity – wanted to open up the wall between the kitchen and dining room, but I felt that they would lose too much storage space. The kitchen was a galley and, while efficient and completely appropriate to the home, it didn’t exactly ooze storage space. With a tween, a teen, and a big, hungry dog, I knew that losing those uppers would be a risk. read on…

If I were a season I’d surely be spring…*

*Lyrics from “If I Were a Bell” as sung by Beverly Kenney which can be found on her album Come Swing With Me. I know this song from Guys and Dolls (the movie), but this version is decidedly sweeter, and somehow fresher than the version I know so well. Maybe it’s because I have Mad Men on the brain, or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to the Ella Fitzgerald station on Pandora. Either way, this song, combined with the crazy-beautiful weather we’ve been having, has been lingering in my mind.

Ok, so, remember how at the end of last summer I teamed up with Dave, Jonas and Pappy to help some clients renovate their kitchen and powder room? Of course you do. But, in case you may have forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.

Remember this?

BEFORE: As if I had to tell you that. (Note the framed poster - it's likely one of the few design elements that re-emerged in the kitchen after it was finished.)

Well, now it looks like this:

AFTER: Talk about dramatic changes.

read on…

All day today the sun was out, the winter stayed inside the shade…*

*Lyrics from All Day Today by Hospitality. I’m attempting to seek out new artists, new sounds, new experiences for my ears. Check it out, if you like. And feel free to recommend some ear-sounds for me.

I love impromptu house projects. I really, actually do. What I don’t love are the crazy deadlines that accompany them. But the spontaneous impetus to make something better than it was before? Yeah, love. So, last weekend when we were continuing to deal with the state of the basement…

The basement! It's a total work-in-progress filled with cast-off furnishings, DIY supplies and other remnants of our life that got boxed up during the renovation but never got unboxed.

…we began by clearing out the laundry room. Before we began our mini-makeover the following things were issues: the folding area wasn’t working as well as it could; the floors were grungy to look at; and, there was unused space that could have been better utilized for household storage (to get it OUT of the basement once and for all!). All of these things were fixable by a little elbow grease (and a thorough vacuuming), paint, reorganization (and imagination) and some thrifty re-purposing.

read on…

Out with a whimper, it’s not a blaze of glory…*

*Lyrics from MGMT’s Congratulations from their album Congratulations. Don’t ask me what the video means. I have no idea.

Summer has effortlessly shifted into fall, marking the official close to a season that was full of fire and energy, heat and flooding, plenty and too much plenty. Windows were unceremoniously closed, yet screens remain in place; sweaters were unearthed from the drawers, or backs of closets, yet summer clothing has not been put away yet; seasonal cooking has shifted from tomatoes, fresh herbs and all things raw to squashes, soups and an increased interest in baking. The tides have changed, without us really noticing, though we are certainly aware.

Way back when, in late spring (a full two seasons ago!), we met with Mr and Mrs K to discuss ideas for their new kitchen (at that point merely a hope). Meeting after meeting, month after month and we weren’t sure they were going to choose us. Or even start at all. Drawing after drawing, email after email and we finally arrived at a direction, picked a start date, and boldly attempted to renovate an entire kitchen and bathroom in a month. Well, that didn’t quite happen, but it very nearly did: the kitchen is finally done!

read on…

I am all the days that you choose to ignore…*

*Lyrics from, you guessed it, more Radiohead! This time from their In Rainbows album, which cemented them for me as a go-to, must-have, favorite band to listen to at all times, preferably late at night, when it’s raining, or when you’re feeling internal (tipsy works, too). This one’s All I Need. Radiohead is all I need.

Client kitchen and bath renovation – weeks 5 & 6

For those of you who are just joining us, or maybe want a refresher, this is where we were merely a month and change ago. With a 4 to 6 week timeframe, and a hope for 4, we began, guns blazing, to tear apart Mr and Mrs K’s kitchen and bathroom. Well, a few weeks later and we’re in the final stretch. I know for them it’s been extremely hard – small child, small dog, small living space, small budget – but I hope it’ll be rewarding in the end. Today they got countertops.

read on…

I really feel that I’m losing my best friend, I can’t believe this could be the end…*

I don’t know how my every-other-daily blog posts turned into week-and-a-half-ly blog posts, but there you have it. Things have been slow on the home improvement front. And it’s difficult to photograph paint drying. But, I can report that I have completed the painting of the cabinet and shelves, the second coat is on the wall, and a coat of enamel paint is curing on the countertops. I finally tackled the stripe treatment that I threatened (promised) to do, even if I did simplify it a bit (for expediency as well as design – sometimes less is more). Everything is coming together nicely, and the weather improvements mean that I can open the windows while I use toxic enamel paint.

read on…

Let it go, this too shall pass…*

*Lyrics from OK GO’s This Too Shall Pass.

So, for the past month (I looked it up since it seems like it’s been longer) I’ve been battling the never ending saga of tooth pain. If you’ve ever suffered from anything related to that, you’ll understand exactly why I’ve barely done anything but bathe, eat soft food, haven’t exercised, and have only gotten mildly through my punch list for the family bath. After my latest dental examination showed that I might not just have one tooth in peril, but two (cue meltdown here) I’ve decided to stop feeling badly about neglecting my work, and my blog. I will be back at it, and the exercise, too, once I feel that my tooth pain issues have been properly addressed, and when I feel safe in encouraging blood to pump freely (and quickly) through my head.

read on…

Cupcake Monthly: March, take two

When you have a good friend, and they have a birthday, and you’re craving sweet things anyway… well, you extend your only-one-batch-of-cupcakes-per-month rule and say, okay, maybe two. I love baking, and frankly I needed the shift in focus (nothing like watching news, or worrying and crying about devastating natural and man-made disasters a la post 9/11). I needed a little cheer to lift me up, and make me remember why we all love life so much. It’s because of cupcakes, obviously.

read on…

And there upon the rainbow is the answer, to a neverending story…

Throughout the past week, Team Carpentry (aka: Team Jonas this time around) has been here working diligently, tirelessly (well, ok, he did get tired), and mindfully to get the built-in cabinet done for the Family Bath Project (aka: the neverending project, ahha ah ahha ah ahha ahhh). read on…

And we wait for something beauuuuutiful…*

Each year, in January, stores have their annual “white sales” where they discount sheets and bedding, towels and bath items to make room for… something. Anyway, amid the sea of white that we have been surrounded by in one of the snowiest Januarys we’ve had in a long, long time, I, too, participated in the deals of the white sale. Discounted shams and a duvet cover for the soon-to-be-redesigned guest room (the purple room), a lightweight blanket and towels (from The Company Store), and just yesterday, a new lightweight quilt-type blanket from Target at 50% off (locals take note: Holyoke store has bunches of clearance bedding, FYI). So, white was the order of the month, by me and by Mother Nature. But it didn’t end there.

read on…