Wednesday, February 23, 2011

in lieu of a dining room :: a roll out table

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that we are planning on building a table that rolls in and out of our island. It's best explained through pictures.

If you look closely at the picture, you can see how the rolling table works. The frame of the island is built by using cabinets that are usually wall-mounted.

source: O magazine, 2008

The description reads
Under the stationary, standard-height counter, Williams installed cabinets that are normally wall-mounted. Shorter and shallower than base cabinets, they allow the table to pass over and around them when it is stowed away. The tabletop is stainless steel wrapped around a sound-dampening plywood core, and rolls on six casters that lock to hold the table in place. When the table is fully extended or fully collapsed, the legs are positioned to allow all the cabinet doors to open.

We are going to do a few things differently with our roll-out table and island:
  • No sink in the island.
  • No casters on the roll out table. We're yet to figure out what 'sliding' mechanism we'll use, but it won't be wheels.
  • If space allows, we would like to have an area at the island for barstools.
  • Wood-topped island, but roll-out table will be made of stainless steel.
  • The legs of our island will be a little different -- we're not loving the look of all those table legs.

Our roll-out table will be made so that there is always room for 4 (or more) at the table. In other words, the table will never completely disappear into the island. If space allows, we would like to make it big enough to seat ten people.

To be clear, this will take the place of any dining table. You can revisit a blueprint of our great room/kitchen area here.

So what do you think? A creative space-saver or an eyesore?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ikea success

Over the long weekend, John and I made our way to IKEA. I had a list of things I wanted to research, and I'm happy to say that we found all sort of good things.

For 7's room, I found three storage options:

#1: Metal locker cabinet - $99

I love that 7 could hide his mess behind the cabinet doors.

#2: Lack shelves - $80

#3: Expedit shelves - $60

This photo is on its side because we would put the shelves on their side.

We are probably going to go with Option #1, the metal locker.

Another find for 7's room was the Hoven area rug. Only $49.99 for a 5 x 7.

My requirements for 7's area rug: soft texture (very important for my tactile kid!), neutral color, washable, low pile (to reduce the amount of lost Lego pieces.)

John and I were very impressed with the kitchen cabinet options. There was so much to choose from, and we are seriously considering IKEA cabinets for our kitchen. Over the next few weeks, I'll probably spend some time reading reviews of IKEA kitchens.

Last, but not least, this is what really excited John: stainless steel table tops.

Why would these table tops make my husband so happy? Because we are planning to have a roll-out table with a stainless steel top. The table will roll in and out of our island -- hard to explain. (I'll explain better in another post, with pictures.)

John has been trying to figure out how and where to have the stainless steel table top fabricated. Also, he didn't know exactly how much it was going to cost, but he knew "it wasn't going to be cheap."

We didn't buy anything, but we hadn't intended to buy anything. However, we came away with all sorts of ideas! A great success.

Monday, February 21, 2011

uh oh

Anybody who has ever done a remodel, knows that you are bound to uncover details in your house that you didn't foresee. Things that you couldn't have foreseen without tearing open the walls...

We found our first snafu:

That, my friends, is a sheer wall that we didn't expect. You may remember it better as the backside of a closet in 4's room (seen here) and seen below.

What does this mean for us?

We had intended to steal that space for the great room, as every square foot of living space counts. But since it's a sheer wall --a loading-bearing wall-- we can't remove it. The wall has to stay put.

We were talking about it this weekend, and John and I came up with a solution that we're happy with. We still intend to *steal* the space from 4's room, but we're going to turn it into a storage closet or linen closet, accessible from the great room/front entry. However, we don't want to be *greeted* by a door, when we work through the front door. (see our front entry here)

We haven't figured out the exact details, but we might try to build a "secret" bookshelf or something. Once we figure out the plan, I'll be sure to update.

p.s. Our trip to IKEA was a big success -- I'll post about it later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

bay area bound

We're headed out of town this weekend. The kids have both Friday and Monday off from school, so we're taking advantage of the 4-day weekend.

We're heading home to the Bay Area. The Bay Area is where we moved from, just 7 months ago. Besides visiting friends and family, John and I have some *local* errands to run:
  • IKEA
  • West Elm
  • Target

IKEA is the biggie. There are several things we want to check out for future projects.
  • Kitchen cabinets. At this point, we just want to rule them in or out. We want to know if IKEA has viable options when we start shopping for kitchen cabinetry.
  • Area rugs. I'm currently looking for an area rug for 7's room, but we will need various rugs for other areas of the house. Of course, this will be after we lay new flooring throughout the entire house...
  • Ceramic planters/pots. I'm just curious. I'm a big fan of indoor plants, and I want to see what they have to offer.
  • Components for a play kitchen. I have been wanting to build a play kitchen for 4 for so long! Her birthday is in May, and I would love to build her a custom kitchen for her room. Maybe I'm overreaching, but we'll see. I'm particularly inspired by the play kitchen below.

image via

John doesn't know (yet) but I also want to make a stop at West Elm. I doubt I'll buy anything, but I want to look. These are the items that have caught my eye.

ceramic planters for my indoor plants

I have loved this mirror for a very, very long time.

I am in love with air plants.

3 images from West Elm

Have a good weekend, everyone. I'm outta here for the next few days!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

oh em gee


to progess!!

There used to be a spiral staircase there.

The appliance graveyard. Craigslist, here we come...

Monday, February 14, 2011

curb appeal :: exterior paint color?

our previous house

I'll be honest: My best ideas aren't always my own original ideas. I've usually been inspired by a photo in a magazine, a photo on a blog, or an actual real house. (see a complete house tour here.)

Many of our choices for our previous home were inspired by other houses in the neighborhood.

The paint color? Inspired by a home down the street.
The front door? Inspired by a home down a different street.
The railing? Inspired by the house right next door to us.
The carriage doors on the garage? Those were our choice, but we were probably influenced by the plethora of carriage doors in the neighborhood.
The garden? Well, that was all me.

We knew the *look* we were going for in our previous home; however, this time we're going for a completely different look. If you've paid any attention to the front door that we have ordered, or the new fence we plan to install, you already know that we're going for a more contemporary, modern style this time round.


There's only so much you can do to the house exterior without breaking the bank.

The fact is that our windows have white casings. As minor as that seems, it greatly affects the look of the house. I'm not saying it's the end of the world -- I'm just saying that the white-cased windows need to be considered when choosing the exterior paint color. Another thing to be considered is that the house exterior is stucco versus siding.

I have scoured the internet for inspiration, but have come up mostly empty-handed. The two photos that I have bookmarked are...


both images via houzz

We're thinking that a dark, rich grey is our best choice. But which one?

Anyone want to recommend a paint color or a great inspiration photo?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

busy weekend

We got several things done this weekend.

1. Laundry.
2. Grocery shopping.
3. Cleared out the garage.

4. Power washed the garage floor.

5. Made treats for 4's preschool Valentine party.

6. Worked on a project for 7's room.

* * * * *

Apologies for my lack of posting on Friday. My computer died. D.E.A.D. John rebuilt it, but we still think it's dying a slow death.

We're considering getting a Mac, but we're on the fence. Any opinions?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

inspiration from house & home

I am in love with this window seat: simple, grey flannel seating, storage underneath.

See our bay window? We could totally rock this.

I'm also loving this photo.

Check out the lighting. Not the pendant lighting on the left; I'm talking about the wire track lighting on the right side. Can you see it? It's much easier to see in the magazine.

Can you imagine wire track lighting up there across our ceilings? We are going to have structural beams going across those high ceilings. I think the wire track lighting is perfect.

Images from House & Home.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

5 key factors in choosing a contractor

After weeks of waiting for bids, we've chosen our contractor.

All props go to John who met with them, showed them our renovation plans, and let them all know our choice.

Since we received bids from five different contractors, we had to have some sort of criteria to make our choice. This is our criteria, in no particular order.

5 key factors to consider:

1. Price

Obviously, price was important to us. Like everyone, we're on a budget. That being said, we also know that you get what you pay for. So we weren't going to just go with the lowest bid.

2. Referrals & recommendations

We wanted to know that people were happy with their work. Duh.

3. Priority

We want to be a priority. Our renovation plans are not major; therefore, we're not a huge *money maker*. We don't think that should make us a low priority though. We want a contractor who answers our calls and gets back to us promptly.

4. Personality!

We want someone with a nice personality and someone who is easy to get a long with. If we're going to be working side-by-side with him (and by *we* I mean *John*), he has to be nice.

5. Future projects

Our renovation plans are not the end of our projects -- they are just the beginning. Too many projects to list here, but we are going to need help finishing a few of them. It would be nice to have a contractor who will help out on a few {future} odd jobs here and there.

What would you add to my list?

Monday, February 7, 2011

#1 tip for painting stripes

In the last few weeks, I've learned a thing or two about painting stripes. I'm no expert, but I have developed a strong opinion about what works and what doesn't work.

The kind of tape you use does not matter. I used Frog Tape, supposedly known for preventing seepage. Yeah, right...

#1 Tip for preventing seepage: Seal your tape with paint.

To prevent seepage, seal your tape with the background paint color. I learned about this trick from House Bella. Unfortunately, I didn't know if I should believe this tip or not. Therefore, I sealed the tape on one wall, and I didn't seal the tape on another wall.

Since pictures are worth a thousand walls, let me show you how the trick worked.

The results of tape that had been sealed.

The results of tape that was not sealed.

I learned the hard way. Hopefully, you won't have to. Seal your tape!

***You can see photos of the finished stripes here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

appetite for destruction

Let's be honest. I've been going stir-crazy lately, wanting to get started on our renovation plans. I'm tired of waiting for permit approval, and I'm tired of feeling like nothing is happening.

If it seems like we've been doing nothing but dreaming about new front doors and fencing, it's not true. Actually, we have been doing quite a bit of destruction demolition.

Demo #1: Removed the unnecessary shed-like structure.

here today...

gone tomorrow.

Demo #2: Removed a wooden step inside the garage.

After John jackhammered the garage floor, he had new plumbing put in for the new laundry location. After the new plumbing, John patched the concrete...

and then finished the patch with self-leveling Finish Coat.

Demo #3: Carpet removal

My personal ongoing project...

4's room

the hallway

front entry

You can see that we have been busy. Trying to make {small} progress before the real progress begins...

if you don't hear from me

Just letting you know that we are having serious computer malfunctions lately. If you don't see new posts, it is because the laptop finally died.


I will keep posting as long as I can.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

diy :: paint swatch valentines

***Disclaimer: This post is written by a DIY-er who is dying to get started on the renovation already!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All waiting and no hammering makes Karen create silly projects.

I don't know about you, but we've been working hard on our valentines.

For this project, you will need a lot of paint chips.

What I did:
  • tore various bodies from paint chips
  • cut red and pink hearts
  • cut various noses
  • cut message bubbles from white paper (not pictured)
  • wrote all messages for 4 and some messages for 7

What the kids did:
  • created and glued parts of valentines
  • drew arms, legs, and details with a sharpie
  • thought of something nice & unique about every classmate
  • put up with their mother's crazy DIY tendencies

4's valentines

7's valentines

***This project was inspired by this one. We just tweaked it a little, by using masses of paint chips.

This post has been linked to the Making Monday Marvelous blog party.

handmade projects

It has also been linked to Made By You Mondays.

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