Fall in Love // A Room Makeover

Happy Monday everyone! Thanks for being patient with me as I re-adjust to my back-to-work schedule.  It’s been extra tricky with our house being out of commission, still.  I hear the inspector is finally coming tomorrow to sign off on things… fingers crossed!

I have a fun announcement to make today – I’m participating in the Fall In Love Room Makeover Challenge along side a gang of brilliant bloggers (direct links below).

Fall in Love room challenge // brittanyMakes

The details about this challenge are easy, 19 bloggers are flipping a room upside down over the next 6 weeks, turning a sad room into one that’s inspiring and seasonally fit for Fall! We will be posting progress along the way so I STRONGLY encourage you to add these ladies to your reader and follow them on social media (I think Instagram is a general fave for sneak peeks and progress shots).

Now for the hard hitting question, what room will I make over??

Actually, that’s a very easy answer, and I think I’m about to commit blogger suicide with the picture I’m about to share.  It’s our bedroom.  Calling it a disaster is an understatement, and I’m beyond embarrassed to share with you that this is our current state of our bedroom.  Like, this is what it looked like yesterday.  I could give you a hefty list of excuses: just had a baby, kitchen and living room in demo, just had a garage sale, yada yada.

bedroom before // brittanyMakes

 

{cue slasher movie music – ree! ree! ree!}

What is even going on in here?! Nothing inspiring, that’s for sure.  Here’s the jist of my to-do list for this room:

  • Paint walls
  • needs adequate storage update
  • attach headboard to wall
  • get a rug
  • add window treatments

There’s so much I need to do to turn this room into a place we want to retreat to at the end of the day.  Right now I get so stressed out when I hang out in this room for too long.  It desperately needs help.  I’m truly ecstatic to be participating in this makeover challenge, it’s the fuel I need to whip this room into shape!

Don’t forget! Hop on over to these fancy ladies to see what rooms they will be making over.

LoveB

 

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Countertops & 3D Kitchen peek

The newest update on our kitchen reno is here! We’ve selected counter tops, which was surprisingly a very arduous process.  Before I get into it, here they are, in all their vein-y glory!

carrera marble // brittanyMakes

Making the decision on how we were going to execute our kitchen reno wasn’t a quick one.  I’ll go into more detail in another post about the evolution of our plans, but I want to mention here that prior to engaging with our GC we had gone through a ton of research on marble counter tops and suppliers in our area, including cost of installation and fabrication.  It was good that we did all that research before settling on a contract with our GC, mostly for the fact that we were now educated on how far we could stretch our dollars.  The cool part of the research was getting to see and touch some gorgeous marble slabs.  The down side was falling in love with some slabs that were waaay over budget.  If money wasn’t an issue, I’d smother our kitchen in statuary marble, which is bright white with intense grey veining.  My second favorite marble is Calacatta Oro, which is also white marble with grey and gold veining.  My husband dislikes Calacatta Oro, he thinks the gold veins looked like rust (luls! right?).  Both marble options were double, or triple the cost of Carrera, which as one showroom explained, is considered the “economy” grade of marbles.  Whatever, Carrera is still super beautiful.

The above slab is Carrera marble.  I tend to like the more vein-y Carreras, over the more spotted Carreras.  These slabs happen to be a nice mix of both.

So why was this process so arduous? Well, we (as in me and the baby) had to drive all around the Bay Area to find these slabs, which is stupid to begin with because the majority of granite/marble suppliers are located in the East Bay and should be easy to access from our house.  If you haven’t worked with a General Contractor before, something to keep in mind, they tend to want to work with their preferred suppliers, companies and businesses they have a relationship with, over ones they don’t.  This may or may not get you the best deal out there.  We originally fell in love with some remnant slabs at a local shop, but our GC wouldn’t consider working with him.  Poop.

We were sent to the first of our GCs suppliers which was located about 30 mins from our house.  I get there and see all their inventory is of pre-fab counter tops with bullnose edging.  There were two problems with this, the first being we needed a slab for our island, which measures roughly 4′x5′, and pre-fab counters are just that, counter depth, which is just not possible to turn into an island.  The second issue? I want mitered edging.  Bullnose edging is so early 2000′s.  This place was a no go.

Our GC then sent us to his second supplier, which was a super fancy granite showroom 45 mins from our house. They had rows and rows of exquisite granite and stone, I was in awe.

marble & stone // brittanyMakes

marble & stone // brittanyMakes

I was guided to the white marble section and was happy to find 20-30 slabs of Carrera available to choose from.  Or so I thought.  When I went over to the sales counter, I was informed all of the slabs but 4 were just sold.  I had only 4 slabs to choose from, and they were pairs so in reality I only had 2 slabs to choose from.  The first pair happened to be spotty and foggy with little to no veins.  I didn’t like the look so they were off the table.  The other pair was beautiful and vein-y. The sales lady began the process of putting these vein-y slabs on hold for me, and that was when I noticed these huge gashes in the middle of the marble, like claw marks.  I asked her if they would buff the gashes out and she said they don’t to that and I would have to have my fabricator do it, and no they wouldn’t give us a discount for the gashes.  I gave her the stink eye but continued to put them on hold.

I informed our GC of the issues with the marble, so he sent his guys out to the showroom to inspect the slabs. It turns out the slabs were unusable.  Someone would have to cut around the gashes and we didn’t think it was worth the cost.  Off to the third supplier.

Well, third time’s the charm, right?! The third supplier was located about 30 mins from our house.  I took a trip there with the baby in tow, and finally found the slabs you see in the first picture.  Part of me just wanted the slab-hunt to be over, so it was great to finally find a pair that were a perfect fit for our kitchen.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t be afraid to push back, if you’re paying $$$ you better get what you want! Although we couldn’t afford our dream marble, we could afford to say no to the crappy marble that kept coming into view.  Also, make sure you inspect your marble slabs for fissures or cracks, or in our case, gashes!

And now, for the final peek into our kitchen plans, here is the current 3D rendering of our new kitchen!

kitchen plans // brittanyMakes

Only a few tweaks have been made since this rendering.  I just can’t wait to see it come to life!

LoveB

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Friday I’m in Love {My Favorite Links & Things}

 

Friday Favorites | brittanyMakes

// ONE interesting and beautiful, this custom star ceiling lamp is uh-mazing! // TWO just a really cool cord kit, if you ask me // THREE this lamp is from TARGET!!! // FOUR loving this hex throw blanket for fall // FIVE don’t want to try your hand at himmeli? CB2 makes it easy to get that sculptural piece you’re looking for.

More faves around the web!

// I can’t stop oogling over Emily’s and Jenny’s homes featured on Domino.

// Congratulations Sarah!

// this floor has me contemplating a temporary flooring solution for our house

// I’m heartbroken. I hope they get the recharge they need, this space wouldn’t be the same without them.

We’ve got a little family get-away planned this weekend for my bro’s 30th birthday. And after my first week back at work, I need a little relaxation away from our hectic house reno stuff.  I expect lots and lots of cuddling with sir Zano.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

LoveB

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5 Most Influencial Kitchens

If it weren’t for bloggers and Pinterest I would have absolutely zero clue what style of kitchen I’d want to design for our house.  You’d probably see me featured on an HGTV episode giving everyone a good laugh with my home design naivete. Luckily, the internet.  Right? Thank you internet for birthing Pinterest, and giving us bloggers a means to share our home interiors and the design processes, start to finish.

I’ve fallen in love with so many (like a ridiculous amount) of kitchens that I feared design paralysis.  Instead of letting my love of every single amazing kitchen fog my visions, I thought of a method to narrow down the features I like most in my favorite kitchens.  With this post I bring to you the 5 kitchens that most influenced the kitchen we’re designing for our house.

Let’s get to it:

ONE // CABINETRY

5 most influencial kitchens // brittanyMakesI’m a fan of simplicity and the whole idea that ‘less is more’, especially when it comes to a kitchen.  I don’t want to regret my decisions 10 years from now, and as much as I love and admire certain trends like bold colored cabinetry or open shelving, in my kitchen, I need to keep things simple and clean.

TWO // COUNTERS

5 most influencial kitchens // brittanyMakesI don’t understand why so many people complain about high maintenance counter tops. I need my kitchen to be functional, but there’s no reason I should compromise function over beauty! If I’m going to spend $xx on counter tops, by George I’m going to take great care of those counter tops!  If I have to seal my honed marble counters, I will do so with huge smile on my face because beautiful counters deserve to be taken care of.  In all seriousness, even counter tops that are low maintenance require maintenance.  In my opinion, if you opt for a counter that requires less maintenance, it will show. A well cared for kitchen lasts longer, honed marble or not! So anyway, I’m going for marble counters, I don’t care what they say.

THREE // SINK

5 most influencial kitchens // brittanyMakesI’ve always dreamed of having an apron front farmhouse sink.  I love everything about it.

FOUR // ISLAND

5 most influencial kitchens // brittanyMakesWe don’t have a huge dining space in our house. We will be getting rid of our current dining table and downsizing to a table that seats 4 and will also incorporate seating at a kitchen island.

FIVE // HARDWARE & FIXTURES

5 most influencial kitchens // brittanyMakesSarah’s kitchen is my dream kitchen.  It’s so well designed and so amazingly executed.  My heart skips a beat every time I see those pendant lights and cabinet pulls, so much so that you just might find them in our kitchen!

Sources: ONE //TWO //  THREE // FOUR // FIVE

LoveB

 

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On my mind…

I wasn’t sure how to share this, probably because I still can’t figure out how I feel about it all, but I needed to let you know: I’ve gone back to work.

You’re probably wondering “but why?” or “what about when you said this?” or “who’s going to watch your baby?”

I’m so incredibly torn over this decision.  Many of you chimed in that work brings you balance and sanity, while others applauded my desire to be a stay-at-home mom.  I desperately want to be at home with my baby, but I couldn’t help but feel tossing my career out the window wouldn’t be the smartest decision for us right now.  My husband and I can provide so much more for this little man if we both work.  On the other hand, I’ve always felt it’s a luxury to be able to be at home with your children, something that is priceless and could never be outweighed by a day job.

Yesterday was his first day in daycare.  I was told he did well for his first day, but judging by this picture I think he was hurting just as much as me.  On the bright side, it makes me feel just a tiny bit better that he has a little buddy to hang out with all day.

zano daycare

There are so many working moms out there, so many women who have struggled with this same decision.  If any of you are reading, please tell me! How do I feel less guilty for working? I feel like society is saying I’ve chosen work over my baby, which isn’t true! But why do I feel this way?

I love my little man with all my heart.  If I could be at home with him all day, I would.

LoveB

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Demo Update – The Kitchen

There’s a LOT going on at our house right now, and I want to keep you as updated as possible so be prepared for a lot of demo type posts. I hope you don’t mind.

We’ve officially been without a kitchen and living room for a week.  I’ve been camping out at my brother’s house during the day, then returning to our construction zone of a house for the night.  It’s been interesting, that’s for sure.  So, you remember when our kitchen looked like this?

KITCHEN

 

This is what it looked like when we bought the house.  A few months ago I posted about our kitchen dream plans thinking it would take a couple years before we would be able to tackle the reno.  Well, our general contractor gave us an unbeatable deal on the load bearing wall + kitchen combo that we just couldn’t pass up.  I plan to talk more about our experience working with general contractor, from the bid process all the way through to the end.  I think I’ll tackle that topic once all is said and done. Anyway, for reference, above is what our kitchen looked like as of last tuesday, and below is what it looks like today.

kitchen gone | brittanyMakes

 

Completely. Gutted. Oh, and that wall on the right in the image below has been taken down since I took this photo.

house remodel | brittanyMakes

 

We are that much closer to our open concept home! We just approved the kitchen layout today. I can’t wait to share!

LoveB

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DIY Black & White Chevron Pillow

DIY Chevron pillow from Striped Fabric | brittanyMakes for 6th Street Design School

I love mixing things up with fun pillows, don’t you? Today I’m sharing a pretty cool tutorial over at 6th Street Design School on how to make this chevron pillow from your favorite black and white striped fabric! My bets you have a stash somewhere at home, pull it out and let’s go!

LoveB

 

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Demo Update – The beam is in!

If you’re just tuning in, we’re (finally!) working on our house! For what we thought would take us ages to accomplish, we’ve finally made moves to get some work done.  It all started last week when the construction crew took down the load bearing wall separating our living room from our dining/kitchen.  When I got home that day this is what our front yard looked like:

house remodel | brittanyMakes

It’s crazy to see how much work can get accomplished in one day.  This crew works fast! I was afraid my neighbors would get upset over the mess, but our construction crew cleaned this up in a flash.

The second day was completely devoted to getting that load bearing beam in place.

house remodel | brittanyMakes

 

 

house remodel | brittanyMakes

 

Apparently this beam is like a thousand pounds. A thousand pounds of glory! You see how fab my living room looks now that the wall is gone? Yes it’s still a mess, but it’s so open and amazing!

house remodel | brittanyMakes

 

The next step is to get this beam approved by the inspector, then the crew will patch everything back up and hide the fact that wall ever existed.

Have I mentioned we’re tackling the kitchen too? Oh boy, things just got good REAL fast.

See our living room plans here

See the first demo day here

LoveB

 

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It’s happening!

Even while typing this, I don’t fully believe it’s happening.  It wasn’t long ago when I shared our kitchen and living room plans thinking it would be months, years even, before we would be able to change anything.  Well, spoiler alert! We’ve started the demo process!

This wall is going!

living room

I think my husband and I were just tired of looking at, and talking about, everything we wanted to change in the house, so we decided to get some information from contractors in our area.  We wanted to know how much it would cost to remove, or cut out, the load bearing wall that separates our living room from our dining/kitchen.  The alternate bid we wanted to get a feel for was demoing the short wall that divides our kitchen from our dining space. We thought we could save a buck and tackle that project on our own.  With the help of family and friends we would demo the wall and remove the cabinets and all that jazz. The load bearing wall though? For sure we’d  have to hire out.  Our house is small, and having all those walls just made the space seem smaller. We knew removing this wall would open up the floorplan and make the space appear larger, not to mention improve the overall flow of the house.

The more information we obtained by the different contractors we had look at our space, we realized a lot of the work that we thought we could DIY would be over our heads. We would have to move pluming, draw a new gas line to switch our stove from electrical to gas, and moving our vent hood from the interior wall to the wall that faces the backyard.  As much as I love a good DIY, I knew it would take a long, long time to get all this done on our own, possibly meaning weeks without a kitchen and more likely than not we’d do a shoddy job.  As a DIYer, you just gotta know your limits!

We got a couple of bids from a few contractors, and they seemed to be all over the place.  We ended up finding a company off of Angie’s List that came out to meet us right away.  They really wanted to work with us, saw our needs, and knew their team could get it done for us right.  Not to mention, for all the work we wanted to do, they happened to be the most reasonable. I like to think baby Zano seduced them with his cheeks! Really though! His cheeks are scrumptious :)

So, we signed the contract on Sunday and I’m happy to report that demo has already begun! Yesterday morning our house was intact, our load bearing wall looked like this:

interior wall before | brittanyMakes

and when we got home last night, it looked like this!

house remodel | brittanyMakes

In the front there you still see a corner of the wall that shares the entryway.  This piece is being taken down today!

I feel like i’m talking in circles, but seriously, taking down a load bearing wall is SUPER important to get right, which is why we decided to hire out.  Load bearing walls are generally responsible for the structural integrity of a house.  As you can see in the pic above, in our house all cross beams were resting on this wall. Just don’t be an idiot and remove a wall without checking if it’s load bearing. That’s all I’m gonna say!

You’ll notice in the picture our contractors first built supports on the left and right side of the wall before they did anything to the load bearing wall.   Once these were in place and fully supporting the house, they went on to removing the wall.  I can’t see the full effect yet since the tarps are still up, but it’s so close! We’re so close to having that open concept space we’ve been dreaming about since we moved in.

So, the good news is we’re opening everything up! The bad news? Our floors will have to be patched up until we can save up some dough for flooring.  Anyone have 1100 sqft of flooring they want to send us? Yes? No? Crickets?

LoveB

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MAKE THIS // Leather Handle Tray

Thank you everyone for all your great comments on the woven bench post! I already have some family members requesting that I make them a bench.  It’s very encouraging, although I just might have to invest in a KregJig.

OH. And about that earthquake!  Is everyone OK?? My grandpa owns a couple stores in Sonoma which got a little rattled, poor guy had to rally up a team of employees at 3:30 am to clean up before they opened.  A friends brother’s garage floor cracked, some keepsakes broke at my Meemaw’s house, and my baby boy slept through the whole darn thing. It definitely woke me up, and motherhood has officially changed my outlook on earthquakes.  I used to think they were no big deal, but this was the first time I really felt panicky that I couldn’t protect my baby from something, and I didn’t like that feeling one bit!  My husband on the other hand, he just fell right back to sleep (ha!), but it seriously got me thinking that we need to fine tune our evacuation plan.

ANYWAY, back to today’s tutorial! You may have noticed a cute little leather handled tray sitting on that woven bench I made…

HACK THIS // Woven Bench DIY | brittanyMakes

 

Maybe you didn’t, that’s OK! See it there now? So cute, right? Well it just happens to be world’s easiest project I made from my stash of leather scraps. If you remember, I made this pinwheel pillow and this camera strap also from leather scraps!  Seriously, don’t toss your leather scraps or fabric remnants, chances are you can easily make something chic and sophisticated with them.  I’ll be here all day encouraging you to do so :P

So anyway, this project started out with a need.  I needed a tray of sorts by my bedside to corral all the random things – glass of water, hair clips, baby monitor, etc, you know, all those random things that make your bedside table look a mess? It was getting out of hand and I didn’t need yet another fancy $50 tray.  Lo and behold I found this $5 fabric covered tray at Target (I can’t find it on the website, sorry!), and athough it was lovely enough in gray linen, I thought it needed a little dressing up.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

Naturally the next thing I did was grab my trusty stash of leather scraps.  Then, I measured and cut two 3/4″ x 6″ strips of leather to make two handles.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

I cut triangles out of each end so that the handle resembles a little banner.

 

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

Using a leather hole punch, I punched one hole on each end of the strap.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

I eyeballed where I wanted to place the leather strap on each side of the tray, grabbed my drill and drilled two holes using a bit about the same size diameter of a rivet.

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

I attached each handle with two rivets, I only had silver rivets on hand but brass rivets would look fantastic here too!

 

MAKE THIS // DIY Leather Handle Tray | brittanyMakes

 

Super cute, right? And so easy? What’s funny is I originally needed this tray at my bedside but now it resides on our coffee table. I’m back at square one with a mess of a bedside table.  Tell me, what do you use to corral your bedside randoms??

LoveB

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