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!
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 🙂
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?
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:
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
I’ve had this project on my mind for months! I’m happy it’s complete. It turned out even better than I imagined.
Here are the materials you need:
- 2 x Macrame cotton cord (3mm 50 yds)
- 3 x Household twine
- 30 x 1/4″ brass tubing
- clear braiding bands
- 3/4″ x 36″ wood dowel (walnut or source at your local craft store)
Step 1 – Start prepping an assembly line. First, wrap 30 bunches of twine consisting of at least 30-35 individual strands each by about 16″ in length. Next, cut 30 strands of macrame cord each 3′ in length.
Step 2 – Make the tassels. Take one bunch of twine and trim the edges off with your scissors. Tuck one strand of the macrame cord in the center of the bunch, then wrap an elastic band around the ends. I chose to wrap two bands on each tassel, but one is probably enough. Then, trim the opposite end of the bunch of twine, and flip it up side down.
Step 3 – Thread the brass tubing on each strand of macrame cord then tie around the wooden dowel.
Step 4 – Tape the design you’re going for on the wall, then re-position each strand so that the top of the brass tubing hits the tape.
Step 5 – Turn the entire wall hanging around so you see the backside of the knots. Glue the knots against the dowel, then trim the excess cord and flip the wall hanging back around.
Untangle the tassels and trim the ends as needed.