Odds and Ends Until The Kitchen Reveal!

I know I was suppose to share kitchen cabinets and counter tops in my Blog this week, but counter tops won’t be installed until Thursday. Instead I will fill you in on some odds and ends that have been going on. I finished the desk for my office, the chandelier was hung in the powder room and the barndoor was put up.

This is the server my mother- in-law gave me that I envisioned as a desk. I refinished the top only to uncover the amazing burled wood. Burled wood is from a tree growth where the wood has grown in a deformed manner. When the tree is cut, the wood grain comes out in a swirl pattern. Very unique and beautiful!

I decided to paint the base of the desk with Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint. The wood legs were beautiful, but it was a little dark for the direction I am going for in my office.

The color is exactly what I was looking for. It changes it enough to suit my taste, but does not deter from the beauty of the burled wood top.

Look at that detail!

Here is the desk in my office. I love it! Now I just need to make some decisions on color and décor to go around it.

I picked this chandelier up for five dollars at a garage sale. I knew some day I would find the perfect place for it!

I can not wait to see it with the wallpaper!

The barndoor to the laundry room was hung.

I love the way it looks with the herringbone tile!

If all goes well next week kitchen reveal!

Its all starting to come together!

Just when I thought I could not take anymore of this addition/renovation project things started to happen. The plumber was scheduled to come this past weekend and install the washer and dryer. This motivated us to hang the wallpaper in the laundry room. In turn, that started a frenzy of door and trim painting. We also found out our kitchen cabinetry will arrive tomorrow and we have an appointment to see our counter top slab for final approval also tomorrow. These are frosting on the cake items! After all the months of feeling like it would never happen, it’s happening! After all the years of looking at white kitchens and saving hundreds of photos of them, I am finally going to have my own white kitchen. I can’t wait to share it all with you! In the meantime I will show you how the laundry room is coming along. In my last post, the Herringbone Tile was laid down in the hallway and the laundry room. It is beautiful and has kept me on cloud nine all week! As I stated before, we put the wallpaper up in the laundry room. The Astera Grey Floral wallpaper, from Ebern Designs makes me smile every time I look at it! I may even begin to like doing the laundry.

The first strip went up and it was everything I thought it would be! Remember the utility sink I asked all your opinions on?

The majority of you wanted yellow, so yellow it is. Can’t wait to see it in the little nook!

We only went down halfway on the second wall because that is where the washer and dryer will be.

It looks fantastic with the Herringbone floor tile!

My painting frenzy spot! Half of my French doors.

That’s all I have for now. I need to go and make sure everything is ready for the arrival of my new cabinets!

Long awaited Herringbone Tile!

This is the fifth month of construction and the third week we have been sleeping in a tent. To say I am ready for the addition/renovation to be done would be an understatement! Tent life has been fun at times and a real pain at others. Like when it rained all night and our blankets got wet, or when the skunk was outside the tent and sprayed. Luckily for us in the other direction. On a positive note we also learned that we like camping in a tent. My husband is from Brooklyn and was never keen on tenting. Now he’s onboard with a camping trip with my son and his girlfriend in the spring. I also want to thank all my friends who graciously offered their homes to me. I appreciate all of your generosity. Knowing that I had a alternative place to stay meant a lot to me! But, I really like being home, seeing my family everyday and being part of the addition/renovation progress on a daily basis. Like being able to see how the herringbone tile was laid in the hallway and laundry room. This is an extra special part of the project for me . I had a vision for how the hallway and laundry room would look with a charcoal grey tile in a herringbone pattern. What I found though was that it was not so easy to find the tile I was looking for. All of the local tile shops had larger tiles that would not work in the space, but none in the size and shape that I was envisioning. We saw a TV commercial about Rochester Flooring and decided to try there. At first, it looked like they would not be able to help us either. But to the credit of the salesperson at the store, he would not give up on it. And voila! He found it for us. The perfect tile! They ordered it for us and when it came in, I knew it was going to look amazing!

It was done in sections over a few days. The tilers like everyone else who has worked in our home were so professional and talented. It took hours to work out the pattern on the floor. Watching them meticulously cut and create the herringbone pattern was a sight to see!

This is the beginning of the pattern. We were asked which way we wanted the direction of the tile. I chose to have it pointing toward the garage entrance showing people the way out.

Laying this much tile took them all day. That is how precise they were!

He was on his knees the entire time. The other tiler cut the tile and gave it to him. He was in the zone totally engrossed in his task!

When they started to go into the laundry room they used a board to walk back and forth. You aren’t suppose it walk on it until it sets. They also had little scooters. I wanted to try one!

We chose light grey grout so the tile would pop!

Both the hall and laundry room were completed today!

I am in love with this floor!

The rest of the grout needs to be cleaned off, but oh so pretty!

The laundry room will have the utility sink and washer and dryer put in this week. No more laundromat! Yeah!

In the next couple weeks our kitchen cabinets and countertop should be installed! Can’t wait!!

Vintage Finds On Craigslist!

I used to check Craigslist on a weekly basis but then Covid 19 hit. The last time I really went there was when I found my French chairs. Even though they were an amazing find, I decided that encountering strangers during a Pandemic wasn’t a good idea. As we are slowly reopening, I have started to look on Craigslist again. When I was scrolling through, two items jumped out at me. An old schoolhouse bench and an original seat from the Eastman Theater, an historic theater here in Rochester, NY. To my delight both were available. The schoolhouse bench will be for the laundry room. Because of the size of the laundry room and how it will double as a mud room for us, I needed something small for people to sit on while putting on or taking off their shoes. The bench fits the bill. It is not only small, but the seat folds up to give more space when needed. The Eastman Theater chair was a really cool find. Especially since I live in Rochester where Eastman Kodak was founded by George Eastman. When my husband and I picked up the seat, the seller told us his aunt had rescued it during a renovation of the theatre in the ’70’s. It has been in their family for fifty years and it was time to say good bye! I will put this seat in our front room. I love that we own a little piece of Rochester history!

This is the Old Schoolhouse bench. It has so much character. It will add a lot to the laundry/mudroom.

Having the option to fold it up is a great feature.

The wrought iron legs will tie in nicely with the black school house light and pendant in the room.

I’m not sure if I will reupholster it. I like that it is in its original state.

This is the only picture I could find with the original seats. That is definitely our chair!

I was curious about the metal rack under the chair. I researched it and found out it was a gentlemen’s hat rack.

I would say I had a successful vintage find weekend!

Addition finally takes shape (literally)!

We often wondered what the addition would look like on the outside when it was finished. In the beginning, my husband and I were both afraid it would end up looking like a box jutting off the back of our house. It was one of the first things we talked about with our architect, Chris Hennessey. We asked her if she could make the addition look like it was always there. We were introduced to Chris by our contractor, Vinny from VJ Construction. The minute we met her, we knew she was the one we wanted to work with. She was very down to earth and made us feel comfortable immediately. When we asked her about the exterior aesthetics, she suggested different roof lines to create interest and make it look purposeful. Everything she has done for us has been amazing. She was able to give my mother-in-law the space she wanted, fit in a first floor laundry room, relocate the powder room, and carve out an office for me, all while keeping the space feeling open. It wasn’t until now that we can appreciate her attention to detail on the exterior of the addition. It ties into our home beautifully and absolutely feels like it could have always been there!

Recap of where we started from:

We began the project with the laying of the foundation in June.

Once the foundation was finished then came the floor joists and sub floor.

Then came the framing with father son team Dan and DJ of Dan House Construction.

This is when the size of the project started to really sink in!

The trusses went up and we began to see the different roof lines our architect put in the plan.

Here it is! The finished exterior of the addition!

The siding is dead on! The far right is the old siding and the left is the new. They did an amazing job matching it!

I think our architect, Chris Hennessey, accomplished exactly what we asked for. I love how it looks!

I have good news and bad news on the interior part of the addition/renovation . First, the good news! The drywalling will be complete in the next couple of days! Which means, cross your fingers, I will be able to get back into the house soon. Yeah! The kitchen cabinets will be done about the first week of October. The bad news is the counter top and flooring are looking like the middle of November to install. Looking on the bright side, it will give us more time to finish all the details!

Rerouted pipes become an eyesore and then a feature! Plus: A new renovation video!

I have to say we have been very lucky when it comes to any unforeseen problems in our renovation/addition project. As a matter of fact, we have had some very pleasant surprises. Like the half vaulted ceiling in our dining room. It was suppose to be normal ceiling height like the rest of the house. When my husband saw how the framing was vaulted, he asked the framer if it could be drywalled like that. He said he did not see any reason why not. As an added bonus, it would not cost any more. That was a win all around! There were two more instances that brought about a change in a very positive way. Both happened when our architect Chris Hennessey came by to answer a question for our contractor. That visit resulted in the foyer and family room becoming even more open by eliminating the headers that divided the rooms. It made an incredible difference in creating a more cohesive family room and dining room. It also made the foyer feel more like a proper entrance. With all these unexpected positive things happening, I guess we were waiting for the other shoe to drop. The shoe dropped when we started rerouting the horizontal waste pipe (yuck) that ran through the soffit above our original kitchen cabinets and was now between the kitchen and new dining area. I had wanted to get rid of that soffit for years! However, after they rerouted, we were left with a big vertical pipe in the entrance to the new dining area. My initial reaction was there is a big honking pipe in my kitchen. What are we going to do with that! After talking to the contractor, and doing some research, we found a solution that would hide the pipe and not create too much of a distraction.

They were able to move the original pipe from the soffit into the kitchen ceiling.
Unfortunately, they were not able to fit all the pipe into the ceiling.
One of the suggestions was to build a wall out to hide the pipe. I really was not in favor of that plan. We had just opened the family room into the kitchen and I did not want close it off again. So I started researching ways to hide the pipe.

New addition update video!

Kitchen Cabinets and Countertops! Drywall dust and Allergies…Oh My

When we decided to do the renovation I knew there would be some inconveniences. But I had no idea I would be living in a hotel because of my allergies. I’ve been dealing with allergies for years and get injections regularly. I figured the construction would irritate my allergies, but I was totally unprepared for the extreme reaction I had to drywall dust. The minute they started drywalling inside the house it was unbearable. I ended up getting a sinus infection and started taking an antibiotic. When that did not work my doctor prescribed another antibiotic plus a steroid. At that point, I knew it was time to get out! I checked into a hotel for a few days and now I am at my mother -in-laws in Binghamton N.Y. The good news is drywalling should be finished this week! Hopefully, I can return to the fray where I belong!

I am going to admit that I have been collecting pictures of white kitchens for many years. One time I was scrolling pictures on my my phone and my friend noticed all my pictures . “That’s a lot of white kitchens”. She said. My reply; you can never have to many pictures of white kitchens! There is something about white kitchens. White is a universal color, it works well with any style. It can lend itself to sleek and modern or traditional and timeless. Its like the classic white shirt. Its perfect for weekends or at the office. A night on the town or a night in watching movies. Best of all it never goes out of style! When the moment came to finally start picking out cabinets and countertops we went to the local big-box store. We worked with a very nice young lady. She helped us pick out cabinetry and counter tops from their selections and made a mock up of the design. When we showed our contractor, Vinny of VJ construction he said he works with someone who makes custom cabinetry. The look on our faces must have said; “There’s no way we can afford custom cabinetry”. Because our contractor said they could work within our budget. We still were not convinced, but nonetheless made an appointment to see Nick from VHI CABINET. We thought we could at least hear what he had to say. Nick is a great guy. He worked with us and determined that we would be able to get custom cabinetry. We were pleasantly surprised. He even showed us where the cabinets would be made. Over the following weeks we made our final decisions on wall and island cabinets and a range hood. When it came time to pick out counters. You guessed it our contractor knew a guy. That what comes with working construction for years. Much To our benefit! So, we made an appointment with Sam of North American Stone. Sam was easy to work with. He helped us a make a decision that worked with our design and budget. So exciting!

The moment finally came to pick out the cabinets and counter top for our kitchen. All my white kitchen dreams are coming true!

There were so many selections at VHI Cabinets. No wonder it took us weeks to make a decision.

The door color is Hearthstone we chose that for the island. The smaller block color is designer white that is for the cabinets.
This is the quartz countertop we chose.

I will be sharing pictures of North American Stone in the future. When our stone arrives we are going to see it actually cut. I will take pictures of the entire process and post it on the Blog.

Renovation Life…Questions? Questions? Questions? and Great deals on lighting fixtures!

Our contractor Vinny and our electrician Matt, came to do some work on our addition/renovation yesterday. After getting all their equipment in and set up, the questions started to come! How many plugs do you want in the kitchen? Where do you want them placed? Where do you want the recessed lights in the ceiling? Where would you like the pendants over the island? Every time a question was asked my husband and I looked at each other and mumbled I…uh…um…we aren’t sure. The contractor and electrician offered suggestions, but we looked at them like deer in headlights. We quickly did a search on the internet, and all kinds of answers came up. Which confused us even more. We finally pulled ourselves together and took the contractor’s, electrician’s, and internet suggestions and then added a little of our own opinion, and hoped it would all turn out all right! It is true. There are a lot of decisions to be made during a project like this. Luckily for us, one area we have a leg up on is lighting. Many of the lighting choices have already been made.

Before the renovation started we began looking for lighting in architectural salvage places. I really wanted to bring character into the renovation and save money at the same time! Architectural salvage places are great places to do both! As luck would have it, on a trip to Pittsburgh to see my son, we struck gold! On the visit, we went exploring and found a salvage place called Construction Junction. It was a really cool salvage place with some amazing lighting (link to “Great Finds In Pittsburgh” Post). The fixtures we found there were in great shape. We would have to rewire some, but for what we paid, it is worth it. The trip was very successful we were able to find lighting that we know we are going to love.

These gorgeous globes will be going in the hallway.

These sconces are earmarked for the dining area. They are really solid pieces!

That left lighting for over the island and the laundry room. In all my white kitchen dreams there are large oversized lanterns above my island. I have always loved that look. I saw exactly what I coveted on an episode of Nate and Jerimiah by Design on theTLC channel . Below is a photo of their kitchen just beautiful! Look at those lanterns!

Unfortunately, our ceiling height quickly put the kibosh on my beautiful white kitchen lanterns over the island dream. So with a reality check in place, the search started for kitchen island lighting that would actually work in our kitchen. We found a couple we really liked, but were surprised by the cost of $250-$300 on average per light. Times three that’s close to $1000. I hate to say it, but all the time I had dreamed of lanterns for the island, I had never really priced them out. I really was in dream land. Even with this newfound information I was still determined to find something comparable at a reasonable price. I scoured online sources, went to local lighting stores, and looked for coupons. I did everything possible but to no avail. I conceded and started looking for other possibilities. I found pendant cord kits in a variety of finishes and different style shades to go with them at Ballard design.

They were at a good price, but I still wasn’t ready to give up on my design. I decided to keep trying. I sat myself down and starting entering different descriptions of what I was looking for. I kept doing it until I hit the right combination and a bunch of sites came up that were not there before. Surprisingly, Walmart was in the mix. It was actually Walmart’s online marketplace and they had some very nice options. They had a fixture that was very similar to one I had seen from another vendor, but at about half the price . I had to say, I was a little skeptical though. But I had nothing to lose. If I did not like them I could always return them.

The fixture below is from Wayfair. I like it, but the price was around $200 for each pendant.

This is the one I got from Walmart. I actually like the shape better than the other one. The price was only $129.

I also needed a light for my laundry room. I have always loved the look of old school house lights. This one is from Rejuvenation Hardware. Just the shade costs $169.

I Got this fixture at Lowes. It had a silver top, but the globe looked just like the school house light but at a cost of $40.

I spray painted the top of the fixture and I think it looks just like the one from Rejuvenation Hardware.

Lastly, I needed a light for over the utility sink in the laundry room. Instead of buying new, I repurposed our old light from over the kitchen sink. I painted the stem from silver to black and replaced the shade with a new one from Lowes. Funny story, we saw this glass shade hanging on a light on display at Lowes, but I couldn’t find any on the shelf. I asked an employee about it. It turns out it was completely out of stock and Lowes did not carry it anymore. So the Lowes employee took it down from the display and gave me the very last one for just $10. What a deal. I think it is going to look great. It was meant to be!

Next week, I will being showing you our choices for the kitchen cabinets and counter!

Long Awaited French Chairs Reveal!

In a previous post, I talked about purchasing eight French chairs off of Craigslist. The woman really wanted to get rid of them. She had purchased a new set and did not have the room. She was asking $20. Not per chair, but for the whole shebang! It was the deal of the century as far as I’m concerned. I had been looking for French chairs for years! I would find some chairs, but they would not be well made or there would not be enough of them. I couldn’t believe my luck! They were sturdy, had beautiful detail and there were eight of them. Six side chairs and two arm chairs. The backs were in bad shape but I wanted to reupholster them anyway. The color was dark but I could change that. So they came home with me and the work started! I painstakingly refinished the chairs. It took weeks, but it was so worth it. After the wood was how I wanted it, I decided to have them reupholstered. We have a great place here in Rochester, NY called Fabrics and Findings. I have used them before and they do an amazing job! It took eight weeks, but they are finally done! I picked them up and I am so excited to show you the finished product! It was a long time coming, but wait until you see results!

First the recap

The original state of the chairs. Structurally sound, the backs were in bad shape, but I was planning on upholstering them anyway. Dark stain which could be removed.

I removed the original upholstery. Literally hundreds of upholstery nails later!

Stripped off the dark finish!

Look what I found underneath. Gorgeous light wood!

I got into every nook and cranny to remove every last bit of shellac, stain and dirt I could!

Then I sanded every inch to a very smooth finish!

Three Phases: Original , stripped and sanded.

And now the reveal!!

Quite the difference!

I posted video #2 on Instagram here is link: Addition Update Video:

Mirror Redo For Powder Room!

This week has been a challenge. My back went out and I could not get out of bed. After a couple of days I was able to stand and walk around a bit. Even though I was feeling better, I still stayed mostly in our bedroom to rest. I know myself to well. If I were downstairs, I would be looking at all the projects I had planned to do and try to do them. In doing so, I would have put myself back to square one. It took an entire week, but I am back to normal and ready to get going. The first thing I did was refinish an antique mirror. I am planning on using it in the new powder room. I found the mirror at Rehouse Architectural Salvage in Rochester, NY. I bought it at the same time I purchased the utility sink I just refinished . The bones of the mirror were great, but some of the detail work had been painted and there were panels on the sides I did not like. But I knew it would be a beautiful piece in the end.

This is the mirror. You can see the painted areas and the wood panels.
I used Annie Sloan Paris Grey Chalk Paint.

I painted the wood panels making sure to get into all the crevices.
It worked great covering up the painted areas.
This is what it looked like when everything was painted.
Next I used Annie Sloan Black Wax.
I put it on the areas I painted.
I did the same to the wood panels.
Then I wiped it off with a paper towel.
After everything was waxed, I used steel wool to shine some areas.
The panels look like it was this way all the time.
The detailing is beautiful!
I am really pleased with how the mirror came out. It will look great in the powder room!