Farmhouse Chic Kitchen Plans

#WTShouse is in the home stretch and I've been meeting with trades people left and right to pick out the finishes for this house. I first met with the floor guys, then the tile guy, appliances people, doors and trim, garage doors, counters, cabinets, hardware, even windowsills have "a guy". I'm a professional trades-meeter at this point... armed with Pinterest pictures and floor plans at all times (Not to mention clinical-strength deodorant. No AC on job sites in Florida in August can get moist). The past week the focus has been on the kitchen specifically since it needs the most "stuff" installed on top of the basic house shell. Hence... my plan!

For YEARS I have been planning this nonexistent room on Pinterest and in my head. I took Facebook polls on weather or not to have wood floors in my kitchen. I got a subscription to Consumer Reports to make sure I knew what the best-rated appliances were. I researched sinks and lights and vent fans and what the best grayish wall color would be. So when it came time for these meetings, I was ready, to say the least. My vision has always been an updated farmhouse feel with some shiny things thrown in for a modern twist. Try telling a plumber that! :)

Ready for the rundown? Here's what our kitchen looks like on paper.  It's basically an "L" with a large rectangular island in the center, completely open to the living room. There's a small butler's pantry on your way out of the kitchen, heading toward the dining room. A good-sized walk-in pantry is built in behind the wall of cabinets that house the fridge. And, a nook is off to the side, which one day will have some builtin benches and a large table.

Starting from the ground up, I chose to have wood floors in my kitchen. Since the kitchen is so open to the living room, I didn't want a floor break with tile. Also, I chose light gray walls and white cabinets and I felt like tile would only make everything feel sterile. I needed something dark and warm on the floor. The floor is an engineered hickory in a medium brown with some distressing and runs through all of the main rooms of the house. The guys from Shaw were extremely helpful when I was trying to chose a floor without going broke. I basically brought a sample to my builder and told him to match it. Funny thing about building contracts... you can't always use the suppliers/installers you want. But that's a story for another day! :)

Next, (or simultaneously I should say) I chose white shaker-style cabinets with brushed nickel cup pulls and simple knobs. I was nervous about getting white white cabinets (ahhh, so harsh!) but the creamier color looked too yellow. And (spoiler alert) the cabinets have arrived and I love the color. Here's a sneak peak from my Instagram. I chose a mix of solid and glass uppers along with cabinets and drawers for the lowers. Also, since we have tall ceilings I got a price for doing double stacked cabinets (you know, those little square, usually glass ones above the regular cabinets?). Let's just say the upgrade charge was a little too steep for a "that might look nice" add on.

The countertops are a bit off a pain point ya'll. You see, we are at the very tail end of this project and we are Out. Of. Money. Of course I would love gorgeous soft white and gray Carrara-looking slabs of quartz everywhere but unless I suddenly win big on Wheel of Fortune or stumble upon some treasure, I think a mid-level granite is where we're sticking. We actually still haven't officially bought a slab of anything yet, but "Colonial White" granite is looking like the winner at this point. Who knows. That could change. This is the picture I took of the actual slab at the granite yard. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty. Just not the picture I've had in my head for the past year.

Above the island will hang two large pendant lights. I can't even remember when I started looking for the perfect lights (years ago). They're going to hang right in the center of the house so I was a little nutty (the hubs might say "a lot nutty") about getting the perfect ones. Lamps Plus has a major selection of pendant lighting (of any lighting really) but I think I narrowed it down. These are Possini Euro Arlo 15 3/4" Wide Chrome Pendant Lights from Lamps Plus.  I. Love. These. I love that they are sleek yet slightly industrial. I also love that the bulbs don't stare you in the face and they have a diffuser so I don't suffer permanent cornea damage while scrubbing peanut butter off spoons. The scale is great for our large island and I cannot wait to hang them. 

The sink and faucet will be in the island and right in the center of the kitchen. I debated for a while getting one of those large restaurant-style faucets with the big spring thing that moves all over the place. While I do like those, they are huge and ultimately decided against it. I think it would be way too in your face right in the center of the island. So, instead I'm going with the Hensley faucet from Moen. I think the slightly squared details compliment the farmhouse feel nicely without standing taller than I am off the counter. :)
And for the sink I definitely wanted a farmhouse-style sink (or apron-front). And again I debated between white and stainless steel but ultimately went with the more practical choice. I know a couple people with white sinks and it takes some effort to keep them white. So stainless it is. I'm going with the double bowl option also since, in our last house, we had the "one giant sink" variety and it just doesn't work for our family. I'd love to say I never have dirty dishes in the sink but I almost always do and I need a way to keep them off to the side.  haha This is the 1800 Series Double Bowl sink from Moen also.
Our appliances will all be stainless steel as well. We kind of got a hodgepodge in this department. Our cooktop was in the "scratch and dent" section because it didn't have a box or something ridiculous so we got that for a steal.  Our dishwasher was the same story.  (Save money where you can, right?!) The oven is where I splurged. Full price for a Kitchenaide double wall oven with the shiny blue interior and fancy handles. :) I cook every night so the oven was a priority for me. And we just bought our Samsung fridge on Labor Day taking advantage of the sales. We chose Samsung because it was the highest rated (and least likely to leak on my new wood floors!). I'm not huge on all of the appliances being the same brand. We went with best rated and what we liked... not weather or not the labels matched.

And last, the pretty stuff starting with barstools. The island is fairly long so I'm thinking at least 4 stools are going to fit. I've got my eye on this weathered wood backless option also from Lamps Plus (that's the "plus" part). I think the contrast between the natural wood finish and all the other shiny things I have going will be perfect and warm it up a bit. This will be an "after we move in" purchase though once our bank accounts have recovered. :)

The nook is supposed to have a built-in bench which I plan to cover in pillows in a mix of patterns in blues and grays. Not sure yet if I'll be making those or buying them. These are Lamps Plus options and pretty much exactly what I'm thinking.

And finally, no farmhouse kitchen is complete without a large farmhouse table. Like the barstools, I'm drawn to the weathered finish and nail heads on the Maddox Antique Pine Dining Table.  It's gorgeous and certainly my inspiration for when it's time to buy the table. The pedestal legs are what I need in the nook area so you can slide your behind around the bench without your knees getting stuck. Plus it looks like the kids could ding it up all they wanted and it would still look like it's supposed to be that way. :)

The rest of the room will get filled in with fun, colorful antiques and thrift store finds. If you're ever in Orlando and  headed to LegoLand, Bless This Mess is minutes from there and a hidden antique/thrift store gem. The teal cash register in the mood board picture is from there :) 

So that's it. My kitchen plan. So far it's on track and I've heard a rumor that the floors are being done today so I'm about to go out there and stalk check on the floor guys. I'll post highly excited Facebook and Instagram pictures if that is the case. Don't you worry. Stay tunes for the kitchen reveal post... I can't wait myself!

Heads up. I'm working with both Moen and Lamps Plus to make this farmhouse chic kitchen a reality. 


Creating My Modern Home

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Shutterfly through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Shutterfly, all opinions are my own.

Some time around three years ago I got the bug to have some gorgeous outdoor family pictures taken. You know, the flawless ones you see on Pinterest. I shopped for coordinating outfits for weeks, watched YouTube videos on how to get flawless on-camera makeup while not gluing my eyelids shut, and scoured our town for the perfect field with the perfect weeds we could frolic in. The day arrived with superb weather, no toddler meltdowns, nor wardrobe malfunctions, and our photographer got some beautiful shots of our family (I still use those pictures on my “About Me” page). I loved those photos when we took them and I find I love them even more now because my kids were so tiny in them. You forget they are growing before your eyes.

And since the day I got the proofs back I’ve been meaning to get some printed and display them in our home. Indecision and life just got in the way and before I knew it, three years went by. I started to notice friends’ houses and families’ hallways covered in their babies and old family vacations. “Gallery walls” filled their stairways and snapshots covered their shelves, and I started to feel a little guilty. The photo situation at our house was sad to say the least. Just a couple of department store diapered-baby shots hung from when our kids were brand new. It was time to do something!

So I did a little research. I was looking for a way to have a small gallery of our family but with a modern edge… trying to avoid the 1980’s class photo with the laser beam background in the tiny frames from living rooms gone by look. (You know what I mean.) I wanted fresh and modern but still pictures of us. It is our house after all and being surrounded by photos and memories of us is part of what makes this house feel comfortable and like home. My answer was found in metal prints from Shutterfly.

The sample photos on their site had me sold. Basically, they can print your photos on thin sheets of metal, in either a glossy or matte finish. I chose the glossy, true-to-color option, uploaded my photos, and arranged them on the website into a gallery wall option I liked. There were several arrangements and sizes to choose from. I tried to keep our entryway size in mind when ordering, and went with something close.

My prints actually arrived early and were packed really well. I was nervous that they might get bent in shipping but not a chance. (We’ve got plenty of bubble wrap and cardboard for the move now!) The colors are vibrant and extremely glossy. I arranged them a bit on our dining room table and came up with a configuration I liked. It’s slightly different than the configuration I ordered but it’s really easy to change your mind with the templates provided.

Time to get to work. I think I had the entire project done in less than 30 minutes. Here’s our entry before. I love the mirror (my brother-in-law made it) but I’ve got plans for that in another spot. I also recently refinished a midcentury dresser that is going in place of the teal table­– a DIY of years past J. (I look very serious when I take before pictures)

First thing I did was measure for the center of the wall and tape the provided template up using a level.

The template shows you exactly where to make your holes (or hole for smaller prints) and where the top of the print will end up. I used simple pushpins to mark the holes. Worked great.

Then I worked from the center outward and added each piece. (You can really see the glossy finish in this shot.)

The brackets are already attached to each print (woo hoo) and add a nice space between the wall and the metal print. Kind of makes them look like they’re floating when on the wall. And that slot just slips right over your nail.
And seriously, about 30 minutes later I was done. This is one of those projects that, every time I walk by it now, I ask why I didn’t do it sooner. I’m so in love with our entryway now. It’s modern, colorful, full of my DIY treasures, and us.


Mid-Century Modern Dresser Makeover

Heads up. For this post I worked with my buddies over at HomeRight who provided me both the sprayer and the shelter. My opinions and posts are all me though.

I'm sooooo ready to move ya'll! You know when a move is approaching and all cares about your current abode die in a pathetic pile of apathy along with your motivation to mow the grass or desire to get that grape that just rolled under the fridge? I'm living there right now. It's bad, people. Bad. Exhibit A: my hoarded-out garage.
A actually giggled when I watermarked this picture. Like the demand to steal it will be high. Better be on the safe side. ;) This is the aftermath of every box I've scavenged from the work garbage pile in the past few months, paired with various thrifted furniture pieces all meshed together like a giant game of Garage-Tetris. The boxes are for moving obviously (no giant cardboard DIY in the works as of yet) and for almost a year now I've been collecting and planning how our furniture will be in the new house. Included in those plans is this mid-century dresser I picked up at Salvation Army for $60. Sometime last year I lived out the drama of buying this beauty live on Facebook (originally priced around $125). It's a fun read.

My plans have always been to buy one of these suckers and use it as a console table behind our couch. Since our couch will be "floating" in the middle of the room, this winds up being front and center  when you enter our front door. The pressure was high (from an always skeptical husband who after all these years still isn't 100% confident in my DIY visions) to make it awesome. 

And, he was a little bit justified in his cautious skepticism. There was quite a bit of damage to the veneer on top.

Both sides and the middle were missing large chunks. However, besides being dirty and dusty, the drawers and legs were in great shape.

Since I knew I wanted to paint the top and sides, I didn't bother replacing the missing veneer. Instead, I removed what wasn't securely attached and re-glued the rest back down. Then I filled the missing sections with wood filler. I've used several kinds before. This time I went with the new Elmer's purple variety (dries white).

It worked really well. Went on very smooth (sometimes wood filler can be a little gritty). The kids even helped a bit. Kaley takes her supervisor roll seriously. And it's Florida, we never wear shoes. I'm surprised he's wearing a shirt (however it is a swim shirt, haha).

Once that was dry, I gave all the parts that were going to be receiving paint a light sanding... hence, crazy sanding eyes. Did I mention I got LASIK a couple months ago? How's it look? Getting off topic...

Then, I moved the entire thing to the backyard inside my new HomeRight spray shelter. I don't know if me or my neighbors are happier that I got this thing. I never realized how much paint I was wasting just spraying out in the open backyard. This takes the wind factor out and keeps the paint on my piece... not on my neighbors patio. (sorry bout that!) Also, funny thing happens in a tent in Florida in July... it gets hot. Real hot. Like I created a giant furniture oven. So not only did my paint dry almost instantly, I think I lost 5 lbs too. Bonus! :)

Once I got the dresser inside, I taped off the areas where I didn't want paint. That included the legs on which I use aluminum foil. Many DIY projects and rolls of tape later I learned that foil works amazing when you need to cover up weirdly shaped things. You're welcome.

Then I prepped my sprayer. This is the first time I have ever used a paint sprayer. I went the HomeRight route because I'd heard such great things about the finish a spryer produces from other bloggers. And like I said before, this piece is going to be in the center of my living room. I figured it was worth a shot. I followed the directions to set everything up (it was pretty quick). Thinning my paint took the longest and it didn't even take that long. Home Right provides a little plastic funnel that helps you determine if your paint is the right viscosity. I used exterior paint plus stain blocking primer in one. I was thinking durability. 

Then I began with one light coat after another. I did sand very quickly and lightly between them with a foam sanding block. I think I must have done 5-8 coats. But like I said, they were drying almost instantly and the sprayer works so fast, one coat probably took less than a minute. Super fast! I think I have told everyone that I will never go back to a brush for furniture. Just the time factor alone has me sold. The smooth-as-buttah finish is really just a bonus. :)

So that's it. The rest of the piece just got a good cleaning and some Old English oil and it looks brand new. My "new" dresser/console table has currently bumped our old sofa table out of it's spot in our foyer while it waits for it's spot on the moving truck. I didn't dare drag it back into the Garage-Tetris chaos with it's new fresh finish.

I'd say the hype was right. HomeRight Finish Max for the win. I would have never gotten this finish with a brush. Even if I had sanded my arms off. I can't wait to move it into its new spot... soon!


Thinking Out of the Box - Quick Dessert Ideas and Free Dessert Printables

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Sara Lee®, and Breyers® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EasySimpleSweet http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
To download the free dessert printables click HERE.

I'm writing this post as the rest of my family is sleeping. And, duh, "While They Snooze" but this this it's because I can't sleep! We're in the home stretch of building our home and lately it's felt more like an extra full-time job full of decisions about finishes and money. I don't have time for anything extra what so ever right now. My normal weekday looks something like: wake up, go to work, leave work, pick up kids, meet a contractor at the house, call 4 people to set up other house appointments, cook dinner, baths, bed, repeat. Any extra cooking is certainly out of the question, including baking. However, I LOVE dessert so I've been thinking out of the box lately (you see what I did there, ha!) on ways to whip up special, yet really fast dessert ideas when you're swamped and company is on the way over.

In fact, my sister was just in town with her husband and 3 boys on their way back from vacationing in the Keys a couple days ago. My mom called the night before to tell me they would be over and could I bring dessert. This is one of those times a quick trip to Publix for Sara Lee® Double Chocolate Pound Cake Slices and Breyers® Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry ice cream would have come in real handy.

Seriously, what kid (or adult!) doesn't love chocolate cake and ice cream? It's like the go-to of all desserts. And while I'm the kind of person that would devour chocolate pound cake presented to me in any form (utensils optional), I know there might be a desire by some to make it a little more fancy. So for that, I designed a few dessert-themed printables you can download for free.

Included in the downloadable PDF are cupcake toppers, flags, popsicles, and table tents. The kids helped me cut everything out and glue them to the sticks.

The popsicles are my favorite and I can see them being used for place cards or tucked in a napkin ring as a decoration. The kids have already claimed their favorites and use them to play house.

The toppers turned out so cute and make an already delicious dessert look even better.  I made a few blank ones so you can add your own personalization. I will confess, I'm the person that digs all of the chocolate and strawberry out of the carton and leaves the lonely vanilla for my unsuspecting husband.  :)

Kaley wrote the chalkboard "Scoops" sign for us which I think is funny because after she wrote it she asked "Don't you mean five dollars, Mom? I mean, nothing costs five cents."  So true, Kaley.  So true.

So head to Publix and stock the freezer with Breyers Ice Cream and Sara Lee pound cake (it's solo good!) for when company is on their way. Then download the printables and make them fancy! And, take advantage of $3.00 off any ONE (1) Sara Lee® Frozen Dessert 9.6-30 oz. and Breyers® Ice Cream 48 oz. (combined purchase required) now through 8/28/15 at your local Publix while supplies last.