Category Archives: home dec

Kitchen Remodel: Week 7 — Part 2

We’re continuing with the progress made during Week 7. The glass doors and shelves arrived for the upper cabinet on the north wall:

Here’s the same view with the undercabinet lights turned on:

The Dear Husband scoffed when I initially told him I wanted under-cabinet lights. Guess who really loves them now?

Did you notice something else? Cabinet hardware! I can’t keep from going around the kitchen opening all the drawers and cupboard doors. They’re the “soft close” kind so all it takes is a gentle push for them to glide closed.

Here’s a look at the east and south walls with the cabinet hardware added:

Looks pretty spiffy, doesn’t it? Did you happen to notice that red glow on the backsplash under the cabinets to the left of the stove? It’s the reflection of my next door neighbor’s red patio umbrella. That’s how much shine those backsplash tiles have.

Here’s a look at the west wall:

We are using the kitchen even though the counters have to be cleared every time the workers come. It’s a happy trade-off, believe me.

Here’s a look at the kitchen in full use mode:

It looks almost finished but there’s quite a bit left to do starting with painting the trim,  scheduled for the beginning of Week 8. The end is in sight!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 7 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 6

We have countertops!

They certainly dress up the kitchen, don’t they? The countertops are Cambrian quartz in a pattern called Swanbridge. I’m very pleased with the look of the pale gray counters against the blue lower cabinets.


The space currently occupied by the handtruck in the photo below is where the refrigerator belongs. The fridge has been in our dining room for the last six weeks. (One more week till it gets moved to the kitchen. Believe me, I am counting the days.)



Last week my contractor and his assistant started working on the trim around the windows and doors:


The millwork matches the trim in the rest of our 1913 house, a vast improvement from the previous remodel.

The subway tile backsplash is also underway. You’ll see that transformation in my next kitchen remodel post. Do come back for that!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 5 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 5

When my twin sister Diane saw the photos in my last kitchen remodel post of the range hood cabinet above the stove, she asked if I would use the ledge for display.

“Maybe,” I replied. “What should I put there?”

Her response was immediate: “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!”

But of course. Twenty-some years ago I bought a set of Spode spice jars in the Blue Room pattern and have used them in my kitchen ever since. As soon as I auditioned them, I knew they were perfect for the spot:


Surely you noticed the new stove is in place (having been moved from its temporary home in my living room). It will be a while before I can cook on it but it needed to be installed so the template for the quartz countertop could be accurately made. That happened last Tuesday.

The new appliances — stove, fridge, and dishwasher — are stainless steel and all three have a brushed finish with some polished accents. Those design features helped me decide pretty quickly on the finish of the cabinet hardware:

Can you tell the knob and drawer pull are polished nickel? Polished nickel has a slightly warmer cast than polished chrome and adds just the right amount of bling to the kitchen. See how good the hardware looks  alongside the stainless steel?


It looks mighty pretty against the blue cabinets, too:

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 13 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 4

Last week was a big one for the Portland White House kitchen remodel.

First, the walls got painted a soft gray and the ceiling and trim around the windows and sliding glass door got painted white:

I was originally planning to have the walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Metro Gray,” which happens to be the same shade I chose for the master bath remodel in 2013. At the last minute I went one shade lighter (1458) with “Silver Bells.” Gray might seem an odd choice for Portland, which gets its share — and then some — of overcast days, but I knew the bright white of the upper cabinets and the vivid blue (Valspar 4006-8C “Bluer than Blue”) of the lower cabinets would be a good foil for this elegant shade of gray:

Can’t you imagine a quilt in these colors?

With the cabinets installed, the empty shell of a room was transformed into a kitchen! Here’s the view looking southeast:

Notice the custom cover for the range hood. (Thank you, sister Diane, for guiding me to this design decision.) The tabs of blue painter’s tape on the upper and lower cabinets allow the cupboard doors and drawers to be opened. The doors are inset — that is, flush with the cabinet frames — so until the knobs and pulls are installed, the best way to open the cupboards and drawers is to pull on those tabs of blue tape.

Here’s the view looking southwest:

The narrow cabinet to the left of the refrigerator cabinet is missing as it got damaged somehow at the shop. The installer wants to wait until the cabinet is in place before attaching the crown molding as he thinks the molding should be cut from the same strip.

The upper cabinet on the north wall will have glass doors and shelves, to be delivered later:

That upper cabinet makes the wall look pretty top heavy. I’m hoping the glass doors will make it feel lighter.

I must say, Coco has remained remarkably mellow as the remodel progresses. As long as her meals arrive on schedule, she is one happy cat:

 

 

Posted in cats, family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 4 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 3

We have new windows in the kitchen! Take a look:

The windows are traditional double-hung windows made by Marvin, replacing three casement windows we installed in 1985. This time around I chose windows that match the rest of our 1913 Craftsman house; the trim around the new windows will match the rest of the windows as well.

The floor also went in last week. I snapped a picture when it was partially in:

Before I could get a photo of the entire room, the workers covered the floor with butcher paper in preparation for the walls being painted.

The floor looks like porcelain tile, doesn’t it? Surprise! It’s actually luxury vinyl tile — LVT for short. You practically have to get down on your hands and knees to see that it’s not real tile. LVT was an extremely practical choice for the Dear Husband and me. He and I both like to cook — he makes breakfast every morning and I do dinner. I don’t want to say we’re sloppy cooks but . . . we spill stuff. LVT is easy to clean and maintain plus it’s softer underfoot than tile. And definitely warmer. (We put porcelain tile in the master bath when we remodeled in 2013; my big splurge on that project was a heated floor).

I had these tiles (each measuring 12″ x 24″) installed across the width of the kitchen rather than the length. Since the kitchen is just a little over 9′ wide, I think the placement of the tiles will make the kitchen seem larger.

Now that you’ve seen the floor, take a look at my countertop and backsplash choices:

The countertops will be quartz. I chose the pattern “Swanbridge” from Cambria’s Marble Collection. I had to laugh when I read the manufacturer’s description of the design:

“A marbled background with grays and pinpoints of charcoal summon up images of the stony beach along Sully Island where pirates walked within sight of the Welsh hamlet of Swanbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan.”

Some copywriter sure got carried away. I prefer this description I saw on houzz.com: “a mix of very light grey, silvery grey veining and small dabs of creamy white.”

The backsplash will be 3″ x 6″ subway tile by Daltile in Arctic White. I looked at a lot of beautiful tile patterns but in the end I kept coming back to this simple classic look.

Remember the pendant lights I showed you in my Week 2 post? They turned out to be waaay too big. I returned them and found a more suitable size:

These globes are 6″ wide and 4½” tall — much more suitable for the space. And they were much less expensive than my initial choice.

What’s coming up in Week 4? Paint! And on Friday we expect the cabinets to be delivered. I can hardly wait!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 8 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 1

Last week marked the official start of our kitchen remodel. This is what the kitchen looked like Monday morning before the demo crew arrived:

Looking toward the southeast corner

Looking toward the southwest corner

In the first picture, you can see that the trim around the windows has already been removed. My contractor did that a couple weeks ago to get the exact measurements he needed for the new windows. You can also see what looks like a hole in the upper right side of the soffit over the kitchen sink. It is a hole. We needed to confirm that the soffit could be removed and the best way to do that was to knock a hole in it to look inside!

(I really wanted that soffit removed in the last remodel but my then-contractor was strangely reluctant to take it off. I wish now I had insisted on it because I would have gained much more storage space on the south wall. That’s one design issue that is being rectified in this remodel.)

Here’s a look at the kitchen after the demo:

Looking toward the southeast corner

Looking toward the southwest corner

My contractor determined the original ceiling was dropped about 10″ at some point, perhaps when the soffits were installed. Raising the ceiling to its original height now would be an expensive proposition because of existing second story plumbing so we’ll leave it as is.

On the west wall the demo exposed writing on the concrete surrounding the furnace. We knew the house was built in 1913. Now we have an exact date . . .

. . . although we don’t know what it signifies. We also see a partial name: C. Schmi. I’m guessing it’s Schmidt. Could he be the worker who encased the chimney in concrete in a “Kilroy was here” moment? I guess we’ll never know.

By the way, I completely forgot to take a picture of the north wall of the kitchen. Here it is before I emptied all the cupboards and took down the wall decorations:

The electricians were here all day last Thursday completely rewiring the kitchen and doing some rewiring in the basement pantry. The electrical inspector came Friday and gave his stamp of approval.

The old refrigerator has been moved down to the pantry and is already in use. And the new refrigerator? We plugged it in last week — in the dining room! It’s the logical spot for it as we have set up a temporary kitchen there.

I hope you’ll come back soon to see what happens in Week 2!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 8 Comments

Happy Mail #2

It started with this:

Isn’t that a pretty teapot? The pattern is called English Scenery. It was made by Enoch Wood and Sons, one of the many Staffordshire potteries in the United Kingdom. This teapot probably dates to the middle of the last century. At one point, about 25 years ago, I thought I might start a collection. Ultimately I decided not to — because I was already collecting English Scenery in the blue and white version! I have almost a full set and use it every day.

Now I’m in the process of paring down (yes, Marie Kondo had something to do with that). My pink and white teapot was among the items I was prepared to part with. I was getting ready to donate it to charity when I thought of Jera Brandvik.

Jera is a quilter, author, and fabric designer living in Seattle with her husband and two darling boys. (Her website is Quilting in the Rain.) I follow Jera on Instagram, where I occasionally catch glimpses of pink and white transferware in photos of her lovely home. It occurred to me that Jera might like to have this teapot. I asked her and she said “yes!” immediately.

As we corresponded via email, Jera asked me if I had her books. No, I replied, though I’ve been on the lookout for them. It seems that the quilt shops I’ve visited in the last couple of years don’t carry many books. Although I sent my teapot to Jera without expecting anything in return, a few days later look what arrived in the mail:

Not just one but both of her books! She even inscribed them to me — such a thoughtful touch. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading through the books and have decided that I really need to give Quilt-As-You-Go techniques a try now that I have these great resources.

Thank you, Jera! I hope you enjoy your teapot as much as I enjoy my books.

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, update, vintage quilts | 5 Comments

All Quiet on the Sewing Front

Say what??

You know it would take something major to keep me out of my sewing room.

For the last few weeks I’ve been distracted by a looming project: a major kitchen remodel. It all started with the decision to replace three windows that look out onto the back yard. The windows were installed in 1985 and while they have held up very well given their age, they are now cloudy.

Replacing the windows would require redoing the tile backsplash around them. Might as well replace the counters at the same time. I’ve been wanting to replace the laminate counters we have now with quartz. And oh yes, the flooring has plenty of dings in it from dropped knives so it’s due for an overhaul. The refrigerator is fairly new but the stove and dishwasher are nearing the end of their life expectancy so this is the ideal time to replace them.

You see where this is going, don’t you? It’s the domino effect.

I had really hoped to keep the kitchen cabinets as they’re only 20 years old. They are made of cherry but the stain has not held up well. In fact, the finish is completely gone in places from too much scrubbing, especially around the knobs. I’m afraid the original stain wasn’t applied very well and I haven’t been careful enough in maintaining it.

I looked into having the cupboard doors sanded and restained but they would not match the rest of the cabinetry, which has darkened over time. Having the cabinetry painted was an option but in the end I decided against it.

Going with all new cabinetry adds considerably to the final price tag but it means we can address some design issues. It also means that everything in the kitchen will be updated at the same time, an important consideration when it comes to selling the house down the road.

Far down the road, I trust. The Dear Husband and I have lived in this house our entire married life, almost 38 years. While I hope we have many more years here, it seems prudent at this stage of our lives to be thinking about what will make our house more attractive to potential buyers. The return on investment for kitchen remodels is quite high — around 80% according to some websites — so the DH and I took a big gulp and decided to go for it.

I’ve been poring over kitchen design magazines and photos on Houzz.com, walking the aisles at appliance stores, reviewing options for flooring, counters, backsplash tile, pendant lights — and lying awake at night thinking about it all. Usually when I can’t sleep my mind wanders to quilt projects. You see how distracted I’ve become.

I wonder how many kitchen remodels start with replacing one thing and end with a complete overhaul. In our case there’s a second domino effect. I’ll tell you all about it soon.

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 14 Comments

Looking Back on 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of last year. It’s a fun way to look back over the past 12 months and identify some of the high points.

Finished projects are always high points for me so that’s where I’m taking you now, showing you five projects in random order. Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Quilt Finish: Checkerboard Curves

This 44″ square quilt was made from the pattern Dancing Churndash by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of sewkindofwonderful.com. I’ve made several quilts using their Quick Curve Ruler; this is one of my favorites.

Number 2. Quilt Finish: Hip Hop

A lively print featuring kangaroos was the inspiration for this wall hanging made using my pattern Full Moon Rising. Finished size: 16″ x 59″.

Number 3. Quilt Finish: Bluebirds for Bethany

Scraps from another quilt went into this lap quilt for granddaughter Bethany featuring Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks. The quilt measures 57″ x 58″.

Number 4. Project Finish: Junior Billie Bag #8

The essential quilter’s tote, designed by Billie Mahorney. It’s 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep. I’ve been teaching Billie’s design for three years now and make a bag every time I teach a class. This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Number 5. Quilt Finish: Spokesong

I became quite enamored with Corey Yoder’s pattern Idyllic and taught it at a quilt retreat last year. This quilt was my class sample. It’s a lively design so I simplified three blocks to give the eye a place to rest. The quilt measures 53½” x 67″.

Joining the Best of 2018 Linky Party has been a useful exercise in reviewing my quilting accomplishments over the last year. I’m also inspired by looking at the work of other  quilters who blog. Take a few minutes right now and join the party! Clicking on the link will transport you right there.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, home dec, Idyllic, pineapple quilt block, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt retreat, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

In the Lap(kin) of Luxury

Many years ago my sister Diane and I found a set of four oversize napkins at a vintage linen shop in Portland. The proprietor told us they were called “lapkins.” Measuring around 27″ square, each lapkin is beautifully monogrammed with the initials KMG and has a lace insert and faggoting around the edges. We imagined them tucked away in a hope chest as part of a young bride-to-be’s trousseau or laid out at an elegant dinner party where splendidly clad ladies and gentlemen sipped champagne from crystal goblets.

We split the set. My two napkins are still neatly folded away in my linen closet. Diane’s, however, are part of an updated window treatment in her dining room. That window treatment was my home dec project during this two-week visit to her home over Thanksgiving:


As projects go, it seemed simple: all I had to do was make two squares of fabric that could be draped on point over a curtain rod before the napkins were added. But Diane wanted the fabric seen from the outside to be yellow to match the paint color on the exterior of the house. (Does this sound a little obsessive-compulsive? Like something I would do? It’s a twin thing.)

The solution was a two-tone square:

I had brought these fabrics with me — part of my stash of quilting cottons — thinking the colors would work well in Diane’s dining room. Isn’t that a gorgeous paisley? Although most of the paisley print is covered by the lapkins, enough can be seen to tie the window treatments in with the rest of the dining room decor:

The dark print is also a good foil for the detail on the lapkins:


Here’s a look at night, with some sparkly Christmas decorations reflected in the windows:

Now I’m inspired to get my lapkins out of my linen closet and transform them into a window treatment in my own home.

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 10 Comments