My Navy Kitchen – Updated Photos

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

There are some problems only bloggers face, like stressing out over the quality of old photos.  Cedar & Moss asked to feature my kitchen in their lookbook, since our kitchen showcases a pair of C&M alto brass pendants above our island. It was the perfect excuse to retake photos of my kitchen, since my photography skills have improved a little bit over the years.

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

I get a lot of questions about the color of our cabinets. The navy is  Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams which we color matched to Kelly Moore Dura Poxy paint (for it’s durability and rave reviews on handling high traffic areas). Depending upon the time of day, the cabinets read a super dark, moody navy, and during the lightest part of the day they read much brighter. I like these photos I’m sharing today because they show the truest color of our cabinets.  I personally love a paint that changes color throughout the day.

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

navy kitchen with gold accents // brittanyMakes

If you’re interested in reading the renovation story, here are some quick links for you:

  1. We’re finally remodeling our kitchen & living room!
  2. The wall is gone and the beam is in!
  3. The kitchen take-down
  4. 5 kitchens influencing our design
  5. Countertops & 3D rendering of our plans
  6. Walls are up, floors are bare
  7. Cabinets installed!
  8. Painted cabinet drama
  9. Kitchen (pre flooring)
  10. Why wood tile
  11. Initial kitchen reveal

Sources: Cedar & Moss pendant lights | Roman shadesDelta faucet | Wood tile floors | Carrera marble counters | subway tile backsplash | farmhouse sink | exhaust hood | refrigerator | range | lower cabinet paint color: Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams color matched to Kelly Moore Dura Poxy | Target Windsor style counter height stools | Lew’s brass hardware | CB2 bell flush mount light | brass globe chandelier | dining table | dining chairs – vintage | brass vase | vintage rug


Demoing #ProjectMyKindaKitchen

Have you forgotten about #projectmykindakitchen? Well I haven’t! We’ve hit a weird lull between finishing the kitchen installation without the finishing touches, like window treatments, counter stools, chandelier, etc. Those items are key to the full reveal, and I’m hoping they all get sorted out/installed very soon!

Last we talked, I showed the design plans and how we selected the cabinetry for the kitchen. Let me dive into the demo of the kitchen, as this is one of my favorite parts of the process! Remember the before?

#projectmykindakitchen before

Day one of demo and all cabinets were torn out quick. There’s nothing as satisfying as creating a blank slate.  Can you imagine having that florescent lighting in your home? The homeowners were so happy to see it go.

#projectmykindakitchen demo

#projectmykindakitchen demo

Notice that pocket door in the top left? Another major improvement to the flow of the kitchen was eliminating the pocket door and opening up that wall more so that the kitchen better connects to the living room.  Unfortunately (for the budget) this wall is load bearing, and we needed to insert a beam to allow for the weight of the house to continue to rest on this wall.  A lot of folks choose not to mess with load bearing walls, but sometimes getting you don’t have a choice if you want to get that open concept. (Remember? We removed a load bearing wall too!)

#projectmykindakitchen demo

It always gets worse before it gets better…

#projectmykindakitchen demo

We took everything down to the studs. Below is the china hutch wall, can you see it?

#projectmykindakitchen demo

When the walls are open like this, it’s the best time for the electrician to come in and install all the boxes. The hutch wall would have outlets and undercount lighting on the upper cabinets. We had boxes added flanking the window for sconces, and can lights throughout the kitchen. Very soon after the electrician was finished, new drywall was installed, then taped and textured.

#projectmykindakitchen demo

We were all eager to get the kitchen cabinets installed, but we needed to prep the floors. My client chose the same faux wood tile flooring that we installed in our house last year! Coincidence much? This flooring is fab and we couldn’t recommend it enough. It just so happened they loved it just as much.

Installing tile flooring can be tricky, and pricey, but when done right it will seriously last a lifetime. My client’s home had some minor leveling issues. I forget off of the top of my head, but I recall the contractor mentioning anything over an inch typically needs to be floated, which is just another major chip away at the budget. Rest assured, they no longer have any leveling issues!

flo#projectmykindakitchen installing wood tile flooring

Now that the floors were leveled, we could start installing the CliqStudios cabinets!

#projectmykindakitchen installing CliqStudios cabinets

My client chose the Dayton cabinet profile in two colors. The upper cabinets are “painted white” and the lowers are “studio gray”. We ordered a half dozen samples (free for everyone, by the way!) in various colors, and were surprised that studio gray read more of a light grayish green than it appears in the online swatch. I always think it’s a good idea to order samples outside your comfort zone, you never know! Originally we were thinking of white uppers and “urban stone” lowers, but once we held the sample in their kitchen, the amount of light was an issue and they ended up reading more dirty white than greige. Studio gray was the winner anyway, everyone fell in love with it quick.  I love that CliqStudios offers so many options when it comes to cabinet finishes and colors. I think they just need to add a navy to their lineup and all would be perfect!

Cab#projectmykindakitchen installing CliqStudios cabinets

Ahhh! It’s taking shape! Up next: counters, backsplash, and all the little details

*CliqStudios has partnered with us on this project by offering us a discount for sharing our story on the blog. CliqStudios couldn’t have been more of a dream to work with and I am thrilled to share our experience. This post is two of a four-part series. Read part one here.

Need to catch up? Check out the kitchen before photos here, the design process herethe floor plans here, and choosing cabinetry here


The Benches are Stained!

Floating benches - Before

I’m happy to report, the benches have been sanded & stained! The only task remaining is sealing, but I am letting the stain cure a little bit. I spent literally the entire afternoon yesterday working on this side of the backyard. Last weekend I worked on the other half. No workout will make you more sore than 4 straight hours of sanding. I think my hands have finally stopped tingling, thank goodness.

Floating Bench - Before

This is what happens to wood when you don’t seal it before the season changes. So stupid of me, I knew better but never carved out time to do it, then the sun and rain over the last year bleached them out. GRR.

benches sanded

Modern Backyard with Floating Benches

Here’s a happy GIF for ya 🙂

Modern Bench Backyard GIF

What do you think of the stain color? I’m on the fence, but no way am I sanding that beyotch down again. I didn’t have a scrap piece to sample off of, and I had used a version of the stain mix we used in our sunroom and thought it would turn out similar. It’s slightly different, a little darker. The floating benches are made with redwood while our sunroom benches are made with fir (I think). Whatever! Anything is better than sun bleached wood in my opinion.

growing cactus garden

OH, and look at the growth on my cactus! He’s only been planted for 3 weeks, and the only one that looks to be growing.  I hope the others are as happy 🙂


Gift Guide: For Mom

Mothers Day Gift Guide // brittanyMakes


I know you’ve been thinking about all the moms in your life lately, Mother’s day is coming up quick! I’ve made your life a little easier with 9 gift suggestions for your favorite mommy out there. Any of these are bound to please. I know I could certainly use more brass & fringe in my life 🙂


My Backyard (according to my phone)

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

We’ve been working on our backyard these last few weeks, nearly every chance we get. I hear a few of you shout “show us the after already!” which I totally get. Trust me, I’ve been waiting way too long to share!

Let’s begin with our turf. I’ve received a lot of questions about it, and wont be sourcing ours just yet (I’ll do that in the final before & after post, sorry) but I will say It’s not from any big box hardware store. We did a lot (a LOT a lot) of research on turf (different blade structures, thatching densities, etc) as well as weighing the options of sod vs turf. We chose turf for a few reasons:

  1. we are low maintenance people and turf is the lowest maintenance option for grass out there
  2. we live in California where it’s almost illegal to water your lawn and we weren’t about to pay thousands to lay a sprinkler system and sod just to watch our lawn die
  3. because we had a dirt wasteland back here before, the cost of sod/sprinkler system + perpetual landscaper fees vs laying turf was pretty much the same cost.
  4. and lastly, NO MUD

Before showing you the full before & after, we have one last (big) task to do which involves sanding, staining, and sealing our floating benches because, stupid us, we didn’t do it last year and now they look like this – dry, sad, and sun bleached.

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

Not a fun project, but once it’s complete it will make a world of difference.

Now, since I feel bad about not sharing much of the afters yet, let me share photos of my backyard as of now, according to my phone!

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

See that guy on the bottom right in the above photo? I snapped this pic the day after these guys were planted. Two weeks later he’s grown!

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

All those new little buttons, pads, fronds, whatever they’re called, make me SO happy! Grow kiddo grow!

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

The perimeter of our backyard consists of a LOT of space, and I knew if I wanted to fill it up I would have to find some “filler” plants that still fit with the modern desert-scape theme I was shooting for.  This guy above was $40, not too bad for such a wide sculptural plant. I bought a bunch of mini versions at $10/pot and peppered them around the perimeter of our yard, with the hopes they’ll grow like this dude.

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

Other filler plants I found were these wispy tall plants (I’m terrible remembering plant names and tossed the pots too soon, so if you know what they are, please leave a comment!) These were $30/pot at Lowes, and the aqua colored grasses were $5 pot, also at Lowes.

And guess what you see in the back?! MY AGAVE! He was my biggest individual purchase. Someone asked me how much one of these guys cost. In this size, I’ve seen them sold for as high as $900 and as low as $175, so it’s hard to say how much a mature guy like this should be. I bought mine for $175 (after negotiating a little) at Dry Garden in Berkeley (I love that place!). They currently have others with not so long of a neck for $200.

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

modern backyard // brittanyMakes

Besides my pet agave, I will say this euphorbia cactus garden my favorite little nook in the entire backyard. Oh, and for those of you concerned about my kid falling into these plants, do not fear! Almost all of these plants I’ve had for over half a year sitting in my sunroom where Zano frequently hangs out, and has learned that these plants are off limits. Right now we’re now working on him not throwing the rock all over the yard. Ha! That kid.


Over the Weekend

This weekend was a tough one. Our family is recovering from heartache – we lost our Gram, suddenly, on Easter Sunday, and our family held the services this past weekend. I haven’t had much experience with loss at a close, personal level. This one is tough to swallow, but as a family we’re slowly moving forward, remembering her for what a fantastic, loving and caring woman she was.  Gram, you are sorely missed.


I pretty much stayed low all weekend, hung around the house and appreciated my son for being such an angel during the (very long!) funeral. He’s growing up so fast, it also breaks my heart. Wasn’t the baby stage supposed to last longer?  Zano sat (with his iPad, on silent) through the 3 hour funeral without a peep, except for yelling out his baby cousin’s name “CALLIE!” during one of the speeches – totally adorable and equally embarrassing.  Maybe it was the big crowd, or maybe he’s maturing enough to know when to be reverent. Either way, this kid couldn’t have been more of  an angel this weekend. As if my heart couldn’t get any bigger…

Enough of the sad sappy stuff, what I did do this weekend was prep for the launch of more rugs and pillows in the shop! I also received the pair of #FP+Loom moccosins that I ordered last week. Now that I’m a shop owner and equivocally a ‘maker’, the urge to support small businesses, especially women in business, has quadrupled. I always loved Freshly Picked moccs, but this collab is too good not to support.

#FPxLoom Moccasins // brittanyMakes

I also got a wild hair up my you-know-what and made the first article of clothing ever – these insane mudcloth trousers! I analyzed a pair of Zano’s joggers (these to be exact) and created my own pattern, then made these joggers (with elastic and jersey lining and everything!).  It took me probably 5 hours and a few curse words, but how cute are they?

#FPxLoom Moccasins // brittanyMakes

#FPxLoom Moccasins // brittanyMakes

#FPxLoom Moccasins // brittanyMakes

Gah, how cute is that kid.


Over the Weekend

With my weekdays being so hectic and fully focused on my day job, I spend almost every “free” minute on the weekends focused on content for the blog or my shop. This weekend was a fun one!

Rock Delivery

It took a little convincing (after trying out a new budgeting process, thanks for the tip Julia!) but my husband was finally on board with finishing the backyard! Friday we placed our order for 9 cubic yards of rock (um, that’s a lot!) and Saturday morning the delivery came! We ran around town purchasing plants for the perimeter of our back yard. We are low maintenance people and decided drought tolerant is the best option for us. We spent two days straight planting and spreading dirt throughout our backyard. I’ve never been so sore. How do I not have a 6-pack right now..


I’m also happy to report I now own a massive foxtail agave! For a hot minute I didn’t think we could get him into the car. But the front seat worked perfectly! (I documented the whole thing on snapchat, I’m: brittanymakes)


He looks happy as a clam 🙂

New Rug

Sunday morning I hit the flea real quick to restock product for the shop. I just about died when I saw this rug, peachy navy perfection. I desperately want to keep it for my kitchen, but I think it’s a tad too wide 🙁 Good news for you, it might hit the shop!


And finally, I actually went shopping for once. Let me preface this by saying I NEVER do this (never post photos of myself in the dressing room – I look like a total dork and I’m wearing a black bra – oops). BUT, this shirt makes me feel like Claire Underwood (sans the jeans) and I bought it in two colors. It’s structured and really flattering in person (my selfie photo skills are majorly lacking). It’s on sale, and I recommend sizing down.

What did you do this weekend?


Finishing touches on our Backyard

Backyard Peek

It was about this time last year when my husband and I started planning our backyard renovation. Our backyard used to be a dirt wasteland (you can check out all the before photos here) and desperately needed some love.

We completed all of the hardscape and turf, just a day before our deadline. We were throwing a big one-year birthday party/house warming and it was probably the first time our extended family had seen our house. The deadline was self-imposed, but it totally helped with decision making, and just getting things accomplished that we had been talking about for months.

While the hardscape was finished in the nick of time, we ran out of energy (and budget) to finish landscaping the perimeter and adding the fun al fresco stuff like a dining table and chairs.  Now that winter’s over, I’m ready to put the finishing touches on our back yard. Here’s what I’m thinking:


Modern Fresh Patio Design // brittanyMakes

string lights / chairs / pillows (coming soon) / shade flag / white planter / black planter / concrete pot / stacking chairs / outdoor table / ottomans


Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinetry for your Budget

When we remodeled our own kitchen, one of the most frequently asked questions besides “where is your hardware from” or “what color are your cabinets”, was “where did you get your cabinets?”  At the time of our renovation, I had no idea where our cabinets had come from. Our General Contractor ordered them, we only knew they were prefab and made from plywood. Prefab cabinets are already made to a standard size and ready to ship, perfect for a smaller budget project like ours. It wasn’t until later that I checked the branding inside one of the drawers that I found out where they came from. I guess the real question is, now that I know where they came from, would I order them again given the cabinetry knowledge I’ve gained in the last almost 2 years? I’m not sure! I would want to carefully weigh my options, but I sure wish we hadn’t paid our GC the markup for them :/ Live and learn.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options out there for kitchen cabinets. You can quite literally drive to your local hardware store and order an entire kitchen right then and there. Some folks want a completely customized kitchen made out of the rarest wood species, they call up their local cabinet maker and pay top dollar.  Some folks want to save on the cost of labor and DIY themselves, which you find in most Ikea kitchen renovation stories.  As my boss says (almost daily), ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat!’, which is a gross way of saying there’s more than one way to choose your kitchen cabinetry. For my client’s kitchen, I’m going to tell you what we did and why we did it, and the process we went through and the questions that came up. I want to share our entire experience in hopes it helps someone who might soon be approaching their kitchen renovation.

#projectmykindakitchen - 2D rendering

I talked yesterday about my client’s kitchen layout. Nailing down the layout, in my opinion, is best to figure out before you approach a cabinet company or cabinet maker. Almost all cabinet companies will offer some sort of design service, so you don’t have to go so far as what we did in building the 2D rendering, but some companies will charge for the service while others might offer it for free. (Inside tip! The free Ikea kitchen builder tool is always a blast to play around with, even if you’re not going to end up with Ikea cabinets!)

The reason I say you should nail down the layout first is because the “design service” that a cabinet company offers is not an interior design service. What they do is take your layout and measurements and design the 2D & 3D renderings of your kitchen.  Some might be nice enough to offer suggestions etc, but going in blind is going to cause you way more headaches (and possibly dollars) than you think.

Now that I’ve talked your ear off, let’s get back to our project. My client and I had the layout completed and were ready to get bids from various cabinet companies. We excluded Ikea from our list mainly because the client wanted plywood cabinets, and Ikea only offers MDF cabinetry. MDF swells in moisture, and although can be inexpensive to replace, the client was concerned about longevity, and I wasn’t going to argue. My client had initially started looking at what the local hardware stores offered, but we learned they subcontract out a lot of the work, therefore charging an overhead premium to the job which could potentially eat up most of their budget. We were engaged with a contractor already, and knew he could install the cabinets at a more favorable price.

I remember reading Centsational Girl’s post on her Las Vegas remodel, and recall that she used the online cabinet company CliqStudios for her cabinets. I recall following along Kate’s process closely and loving the results she shared. Since we had our plans handy, I sent our plans over to CliqStudios to get a bid on cabinetry after reading that they offer full 2D & 3D designs for free (!!!). PS, they also have a ballpark estimator, which I think is genius, especially if you’re the type who just needs a ballpark figure to work from.

At the same time as submitting the plans to CliqStudios, I ordered a few cabinet samples (also free!), seeing as they had a few colors that were close to our design plan. Just a few days later we received the 2D & 3D designs and custom quote. I won’t go into too much detail on the tweaks we made to the floorplan, but I will tell you we went through 9 revisions with the designer (all for free might I add!). It wasn’t until we were completely satisfied with the design (and cost, of course) that we had to pay anything. Below were the final design plans for my client’s kitchen:

#projectmykindakitchen & CliqStudios Cabinets

#projectmykindakitchen & CliqStudios Cabinets

#projectmykindakitchen & CliqStudios Cabinets

You’re probably wondering, ‘where’s the island?’ The abridged story of the peninsula is basically we hit a hurdle with our original plan for an island. An island or table would have taken up too much space. The walkways would have been tight, you need roughly 36″ for a walkway, and risk of banging chairs against cabinets was high. We decided to order some trim pieces along with the cabinetry, and our contractor made the pillars himself. Here’s a sneak peek!

#projectmykindakitchen & CliqStudios Cabinets

The peninsula totally came to life, right?! I’ll be sharing more about the demo phase next!


*CliqStudios has partnered with us on this project by offering us a discount for sharing our story on the blog. CliqStudios couldn’t have been more of a dream to work with and I am thrilled to share our experience. This post is one of a four-part series.


Need to catch up? Check out the kitchen before photos here, the design process here, and the floor plans here


Floor Plans for #ProjectMyKindaKitchen

My client’s kitchen renovation is coming right along! I’ve dubbed this project with a hashtag, #projectmykindakitchen, which some of you might think is lame but it’s all in good fun! Plus, it helps make this project search-friendly 🙂 If you’re not caught up on the project I included direct links to previous posts at the bottom of this post.

I’m eager to share with you a full demo update, but its better if I show you how the planning process went down because – and for those who have gone through a reno project before already know this – it’s the planning phase that can actually cause the first of many headaches!

The first thing we did was measure the entire space. Truthfully, we probably measured the kitchen three times over throughout the whole process.  I took the measurements and inputted them into a very basic (aka free) software, to start visualizing things in 2D.

projectmykindakitchen - initial measurements

We knew our overall goals were to 1) increase counter space & storage 2) make the kitchen feel larger 3) make the dining area feel connected to the kitchen 4) allow for seating for more than 2 people). Keeping these goals in mind, I started playing around with the placement of things, like the symmetry of cabinetry and which cabinets would get drawers vs doors or pulls vs knobs. Questions you didn’t initially think about usually arise during this initial planning phase, like where do we put the microwave? Or where should the oven go? If we put the oven in this wall will it block traffic? Will the oven door hit the cabinets on the opposite wall if we put it over here? Do we want a hidden hood vent or a fancy one? Luckily for them, this is why they hired me! To guide them to the best layout and design for the kitchen they will have for years to come.

ProjectMyKindaKitchen - General Layout

The above rendering is what we agreed to be the general layout of the kitchen. Before I move forward, let’s define the four walls in discussion for their kitchen 1) the “back wall” which is the wall in the dining area 2) the sink wall 3) the short wall which is the short wall facing the sink wall and 4) the “left wall” which, when facing the sink, is the wall to your left. Still with me? Hopefully this isn’t too confusing.

ProjectMyKindaKitchen - Sink View

The sink wall and the back wall were pretty much set, not a whole lot of changes needed from the initial design. The short wall and the left wall caused a lot of headache, mainly because we needed to determine the width and depth of the lower cabinets on the short wall, placement of the oven and microwave and hood. There was a lot of virtual musical chairs with the oven, as you see below:

ProjectMyKindaKitchen - Oven Placement

In the original kitchen, the clients had a range top and a separate wall oven. Wall ovens are not ideal in small kitchens, as they take up a TON of space and typically make a space feel less open, if not placed strategically. I was not a fan of the wall oven, but for kicks I threw in a view of the only logical place you could put a wall oven. We all agreed it wasn’t the best idea (phew!). My next suggestion was to place a full range oven on the bottom left of the short wall. This opened things up for sure, with more counterspace (check!) and symmetry with upper and lower cabinets (double check!). Oh, but what about the microwave! OK, so we moved the oven center to that wall and threw the microwave up above it. I wasn’t a fan, and suggested we add an inset oven in a lower cabinet, which the client didn’t like.

Well, while we were mulling over the placement of the oven and microwave, we soon realized that having the oven on the short wall meant that we couldn’t have shallower cabinets along this wall, as ovens are a standard depth. If you remember, this was one of our original goals – to make the kitchen feel larger. We couldn’t remove the short wall because it’s a load bearing wall in a two-story home, and making that happen would absolutely blow the budget. That really only left us with one option – the oven needed to go on the left wall. projectmykindakitchen - oven placement

We toyed around with it on the far left, but ultimately ended up centering the oven on the wall, with a range hood directly above it. Once we had everything planned out and measured, I took the plans to our cabinet company and had a more professional 2D rendering drawn up for us.

#projectmykindakitchen - 2D rendering

I can hear everyone asking ‘But wait! You skipped a step! What cabinet company did you choose?’. This post seriously couldn’t be any longer, so come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the client’s budget, and how we narrowed down our cabinet options and ultimately selected the best cabinets for our budget!

Need to catch up? Check out the kitchen before photos here, and the design process here


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