Monday, February 28, 2011

now we're cooking with gas

Just a few more details to finish up the cabinets today. And the granite guy is currently creating the counter top template.

Also, my propane tank mocked me yesterday by going out right in the middle of grilling dinner. On the bright side, I hadn't put the salmon on yet and the grocery store is a minute away. And the wild-caught coho salmon with Autumn spices was delicious!

Friday, February 25, 2011

winter wonderland

Phoenix weather alerts crack me up.

I just got off the phone with my mom, who is enduring the worst Cleveland snowstorm so far this season. 50 mph winds, heavy wet snow, drifts up against the family room sliding door, the works. In an attempt to commiserate, I relayed our impending weather drama. The Weather Channel has a "special weather statement" posted for Phoenix. Brace yourself for these gasp-inducing excerpts: 



Yeah. I don't think that made her feel any better.

island in the sun

I'm in love with my new island. It's going to be the perfect place for Pyrex or Jadeite or pottery...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

they're heeee-rrrrrrreeee

Our cabinets arrived yesterday! I was so nervous despite having seen samples in the cabinet showroom. Never fear; they turned out gorgeous. The cherry is warm and has just enough variation to appeal to my taste in rustic-ness...if that's a word. The uppers and crown molding were installed yesterday and the rest will be installed and leveled by Monday. Then the granite folks can swoop in and make their counter templates. It's a tad behind the original schedule estimate, but I really wasn't expecting a completely smooth process. 

Speaking of which, our handles and knobs are on back-order, the tile back splash layout appears to be exceedingly tricky, no one can figure out if our under-cabinet lights are dimmable, and I'm still waiting on my RO faucet to be delivered. But enough about the reasons behind my eyelid twitch; onto the pictures!

I really didn't realize our whole home would be coated in dust, but the following pics make up for the mess!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Ginger is a very cautious pup - suspicious even. The other day, when I treated her with an almost-empty Jif jar, she was definitely suspicious at first. She could smell the delicious peanut butter but the jar was foreign and scared her apparently. It just took a minute to warm up though, attacking it with her unending appetite.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

one of these things is not like the other

I present to you a collage of the furniture in our home. Is there such a thing as too much oil-rubbed bronze and rattan?

Monday, February 21, 2011

demolition day!

Within a few short hours today, the kitchen turned into an empty wasteland and the rest of the house acquired an oh-so-annoying layer of dust. Why did I even clean last weekend? Take a look at the remodeling progress for day 1, but first a few last glimpses into the past:

My arch-nemesis - the water would NEVER stay on unless you tilted the handle to full-blast:

Cracked tile counter and dirty grout: 

Major water damage under the sink - probably because the reverse osmosis system is ridiculously complicated. We've already had at least two floods since we moved in last summer:

At the beginning of demo day:

At noon on demo day (cabinets out but soffit still needs to be cut up):


At the end of demo day (soffit cut away to make room for taller cabinets and so that I (and other people shorter than 5'4") can actually see through the pass-through):

Dinner on day 1: Chipotle! I promised myself I'd figure out how to heat up leftover stew tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


kitchen: phase 3: the deets

So, we've picked out the materials, the bits and bobs that will make up the kitchen. Now we just have to wait and see if it all works together. (I sure hope so!)

CABINETS: Medallion seems to be a popular and well-liked brand, according to GardenWeb's online forum. The price was right for our budget so hooray! I love the look of rustic woods like alder but in the end, we chose cherry because of its durability.

Medallion Lancaster doors (drawers will be flat-front)

cherry wood in pecan stain vs. current oak cabinets

HARDWARE: Even though our appliances are stainless steel, I didn't feel that the cabinet hardware needed to match. I have an affection for oil-rubbed bronze hardware (it just dawned on me that most of our wood furniture shares this feature...) Enter Amerock handles and knobs - thrown in for free by the cabinetry company. Gotta love free stuff!

Amerock Revitalize handles

Amerock Allison Value knobs

COUNTERS: The most difficult decision! We at least knew we wanted granite from the start. After at least 3 trips to Arizona Tile's granite warehouse, 1 misguided trip to a fancy-hat granite warehouse geared towards the rich and famous, quibbles about safe choices (me) vs. interesting patterns (husband), we settled on some lovely Colonial Cream slabs. The first slab they pulled out for us had a giant brown vein right smack in the middle. I was scared that the vein would stick out too much, but luckily the next few slabs were easier to work with.

our very own slab #9 (didn't get photos of his pals 7 & 8)

vein of doom = didn't reserve this slab

BACKSPLASH: I've coveted white subway tile for quite a while now so of course we're making that happen! Bonue: Daltile Rittenhouse Square 3" x 6" subway tiles are cheap. Actual white tiles looked too stark, I thought, so I decided on the color almond. They're a bit more expensive than white (40 cents vs. 25 cents each) but that's still really cheap compared to most other tile options.

PLUMBING: Going with the reasonably priced Kohler Simplice model. I was swayed from my initial pick, Moen Annabelle, by the shiny "Consumer Digest Best Buy" sticker on the Kohler display in Lowe's. And you already know about my RO faucet indecision.

pretty pretty Moen faucet...

...but the reviews for Kohler were more favorable

LIGHTING: Right now, I do practically all my prep work on my small island, but if I had under-cabinet lighting, I'd utilize all that neglected counter space around the edge of the kitchen. I'm leaning towards the ubiquitous xenon puck lights, but the energy-efficient LED strips are tempting. If only they were dimmable! Still going to sleep on this one some more.

Now I'm off to figure out how to empty the kitchen without any moving boxes...

Monday, February 14, 2011

faucets faucets faucets everywhere...

I can't decide on a drinking water faucet! (Phoenix water is gross - a reverse osmosis filter system is pretty much a necessity around here.) Of course my husband's favorite doesn't match mine. Here are the three options next to the main sink faucet I just bought. Care to offer your opinion?

kitchen: phase 2: planning

Since we got back from Christmas traveling, we've been thinking of nothing but kitchen remodeling. It finally seemed like the right time to dive into our first ever home improvement project (minus painting rooms in our first home). Bye-bye 1988 kitchen! It was tolerable living with you.

First, I gathered up lots of ideas - from the internet, library books, and cabinet brochures. Then we got estimates from four cabinetry companies/kitchen designers. And estimates from three general contractors. And then we did tons of research. Just a helpful hint if you're doing any home improvement: the forums on are awesome - lots of helpful advice and pretty pictures.

Which brings me to the pretty picture segment of the show.

Inspiration and ideas:

#1 from The Kitchen Book by Bill Partsch

#2 from The Kitchen Book by Bill Partsch

#3 from Mid Continent Cabinet brochure

#4 from Mid Continent Cabinet brochure

#5 from GardenWeb

#6 from maybe

#7 from GardenWeb

#8 Don't remember the source

#9 from GardenWeb

#10 from GardenWeb

#11 from GardenWeb

#12 from GardenWeb

#13 from GardenWeb

#14 BHG Kitchen & Bath article I've been saving since 2007


#17 from GardenWeb

#18 from Kitchens by Karen Templer

#19 Pioneer Woman's Kitchen

#20 Pioneer Woman's Kitchen

#21 from Kitchens by Karen Templer

#22 from Kitchens by Karen Templer

You can see where we're headed with this remodel. Hopefully our dated orangey oak/tile counters/mauve miniblind kitchen will turn into something warm, casual, timeless and inviting. I'm excited for the work to week!