Why We Chose an Ikea Kitchen

So, let me tell you a little something about my neighbor.  She’s an architect.  A Hah-Vahd educated architect. And her house is AH. MA. ZING. Anyway, beyond being a great architect,  Lauren has been a great sounding board through this whole process. Though she probably rues the day when that bathroom flooded. Poor woman. Too much wine has been poured over this damn kitchen. I am sure at this point, she wishes for something a little stronger.

Anyway, because I’m a full on stalker, I invited myself over to Lauren’s house early and often while we waited out painters and other contractors when we first moved. When I first saw her great room and kitchen, I was floored. Totally something out of a magazine. I went through it all: Oh, I love your carrara marble. Oh, I love these handscraped wood floors!  I love the laquered cabinets! So modern and clean!  I felt like she and I would get along just fine. Especially when I noticed her fully stocked wine fridges. Yes, multiple. As I ogled and molested every surface available, imagine my surprise when she informed me her cabinets were Ikea. SOUL SISTER. I just about died on the spot.

So in the back of my mind, I always had an inkling we would go with Ikea cabinets during this renovation. However, due to our low ceilings and crazy layout issues, and since insurance covered replacing our custom cabinetry, we headed in that direction.

Until I realized that in this case, custom is not better. It’s just expensive as _____.

I wanted drawers, not cabinets. Open shelving. Frameless fronts. Pull outs. Soft-close drawers. Shelf dividers. A warranty. I wanted a custom look with my own ideas incorporated. Silly me.

What I got was a replacement for a 25 year old kitchen. Which means no drawers, but cabinets. And more cabinets. And incorrect placement of cabinets. The most basic framed door and drawer fronts available. 6 week lead times. And additional costs over and above our estimate. Crazy pants.

I do not recommend renovating a kitchen with two small kids. Moreover, I do not recommend extending that timeline to get “custom” cabinetry that doesn’t meet your needs or wants.

So back to Ikea we go.

Equipped with my measurements gleaned from my kitchen designer’s faulty plan, I simply plugged them into Ikea’s planning tool and started moving around cabinets and shelves until I got the plan I wanted. And even when I had that, I still played around. I had about 12 saved floor plans. Any configuration I could think of, I tried. So much fun. So much timesuck. Ikea kitchen planner surpassed Pinterest and Houzz as the biggest timewaster of my life.

ikea kitchen reno picmonkey

I was beyond thrilled that when I tallied up my loot, which included new appliances, I had saved us the equivalent of compact car. Beyond that, Ikea is running their kitchen sale until August 25th, so 20% off for meeeee! Cha ching.

True to my nature, I did a ton of research before and during the decision making process, right up until I hauled myself to Ikea and placed the order (which, even with my advanced planning, took 2 hours! Don’t underestimate the allure of an Ikea kitchen.)  In addition to the advice I received from Lauren and the staff at Ikea, who, and I can’t say this enough, were extremely knowledgeable and helpful and never once rolled their eyes at me (that I could see),  I found great advice from people who own Ikea kitchens in forums like GardenWeb and Ikeafans. Seriously, those people know their kitchens. Definitely consult those if you are looking for information.

Along the way, one of the things I learned was Ikea uses Blum drawer slides that offer the soft close feature, which are superior hardware compared to other RTA (ready to assemble) cabinets and usually an upgrade on most custom designed kitchens.  All those extras I wanted? Not a problem. Certainly Ikea is not charging me $300 for a shelf. Yes. A shelf.

I also found out that there are companies out there who make custom doors for Ikea cabinet frames, so if you aren’t all that keen on Ikea’s options, you can order from sources like Cabinetnow or Semihandmade Doors for fronts of your choice.  You can easily customize your cabinetry, or “hack” it, and there are lots of tutorials for basically any modification you might want to do (though this voids the warranty on the specific piece.) Ikea offers a 25 year warranty, too, though, as Lauren pointed out, “Who even likes their kitchen after 10 years?” (God, she just gets me.) Which brings me to my next point: Kase also likes the fact that the costs are low enough that when I decide I hate the fronts I chose in five years because they are “dated”, I can pick up new fronts for a fraction of the cost and instant facelift!

Though you can easily DIY the whole shabang like Lauren and her husband, Kase and I know our limits. We lack time and attention to detail.  And tools. Like a level. I hear that’s helpful. We are not architects or handy/ uber man/ engineers.  Also? You can hire people to do it, and we like to keep the economy robust (uh-huh.)  I did some quick Google research and also consulted Ikeafans.com and found a couple of companies who specialize in Ikea kitchen installations in our area.  We are happy with our decision as we need some custom elements that we just don’t have the skills for. All said and done, the quote for installation lined up to what our cabinets and appliances came out too, so it’s definitely an area you can save money in, if you have the time to DIY.

Anyway, if it’s good enough for Sarah Richardson, it’s definitely good enough for me. 🙂 I got a ton of design ideas from watching old episodes of “Sarah’s House” and “Sarah 101”- ideas like flanking your  cooktop with undercounter wall ovens, to achieve that open, airy look. Sarah often uses Ikea cabinetry and decor, mixing it with high end finishes to make it custom. And yes, I am on a first name basis with her. In my head, we are besties who travel to Ikea every weekend with an unlimited budget and no children.

Ikea for the win.

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Wanna see my new kitchen?

As he cleaned out the garage yesterday, Kase asked me, “Is today like your Christmas?”

And I answered, “HELL YEAH!”

Because….

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It’s here!

My new kitchen is here!

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Oh. Wait.

Huh.

Hmmmm……..

Yup, that’s 115 boxes of flat packed goodness. No, really. That’s not a joke. There’s two ovens in there somewhere, and a dishwasher. They aren’t flat packed, but if Ikea could, I’m sure they would flat pack their appliances as well.   It took the delivery men 30 minutes to unload the truck. They started off by asking me, “You got 115 boxes?” Like I would know. Oh, right. I have the kitchen manifest, but seriously? I have no clue. I figure we should be able to MacGuyver some sort of functional kitchen out of all that MDF. Right?

The Look for Less [Pottery Barn Graham Chandelier Edition]

‘Sup Homies.  It’s been a minute, huh?  We are busy with end of school year shenanigans and just general family busy-ness. At least the pool is filled and functioning, Colin’s signed up for swim lessons, and we’ve got the newly installed central air up and running. In short, apologies for being out of sight, and I am sure, out of mind.

Oh, did I forget to mention our upstairs bathroom flooded our kitchen? All night long? While we slept? And this all happened the same week we were having our central AC installed? And our ADT security system? I stopped looking up when someone would walk through the door, there were that many contractors here. I also stopped looking at our bank account. Sadsies.

Longest week of my life story short,  we are in the throes of insurance adjustments and about to embark on a kitchen renovation.  Sorry.  Mah bad.

kitchen

Sometimes life just gets too “too” and so blogging takes a back seat.  And the possibility of a kitchen and bathroom reno in the dead of summer with two small kids is overwhelming. When the adjuster is discussing asbestos remediation and helpfully explaining alternative housing options and a daily food budget given “you have two small kids”  and saying things like “hopefully you still have your moving boxes to pack everything up!” (nope, thanks!) you get the sweats and your heart starts racing.  Suddenly a full kitchen reno isn’t that exciting. It’s a pain in the you know what.

But, we will be fixing the bathroom. Not having a toilet or sink or FLOOR for that matter is a pain as it turns out. Who would have thought? And of course, there’s the kitchen. The floors and cabinets are considered dunzo. As you can see, the ceiling has been torn down, and for the last month, covered by a tarp. Klassy.  And so I’ve been spending and obscene and very unhealthy amount of time watching home decor shows and perusing Pinterest, trying to get ideas. Too many ideas, probably.

This past weekend, while Kase and Colin were enjoying the indoor water park during an impromptu weekend getaway, Jack and I dozed on and off, ate on and on, and somewhere in between caught the pilot episode of “Fixer Upper,”  a new show on HGTV. Yup, I know how to spend an afternoon holed up in a hotel room! Anyway, love the couple on the show, especially the wife, who I would love love love to hire to decorate my entire house. Kase even agreed. But, But! Even more, I loved the kitchen they (She-Joanna) designed. And what particularly caught my eye was the kitchen lighting:

magnolia mom chandelier

Lovely, am I right? So naturally, I must have this chandelier. It’s just a perfect mix of traditional and streamlined modern aesthetic that we love.  The one used for the show was from Shades of Light, and I’m too lazy, er, I mean, busy, to find it. But their lighting is ridikalus expensive, at least to this cheapskate, so I looked elsewhere.

First, I thought of Pottery Barn, because, well, that chandy screams, “PB”! And I was right. Enter, the Graham Chandelier:

Pottery Barn Graham Chandelier

But, But! I can always count on Overstock for an alternative:

overstock iron 5 light chandelier

Same look. $70 less. And actually, a closer match!  Even better? It’s 4″ wider in diameter, so it makes a bigger statement. Bang for your buck, I say. Hey, every penny counts in a renovation, right? That’s what Kase keeps telling me, anyway.

The New Nursery


With 8 weeks left to go, Kase and I decided to start tackling the nursery a couple of weeks ago. Which is good, since I can no longer get myself up from a sitting position without assistance.

First, we had to decide whether we would kick the despot out of his crib or not. He’s a bit attached to his crib. This makes us happy because we feel like we got our money’s worth. Even though he was gifted a big boy bed (a toddler bed shaped like a boat) for his second birthday, he was having a hard enough time adjusting to his new room in the new house, so I think he is hesitant to move from his crib to a new bed as well. Maybe we messed up on the whole transition opportunity, but we’re just trying to keep things as normal as possible during this time for him. We figure we’ll follow his lead. That’s also our story when it comes to potty training, too. But maybe we’re just lazy parents. I dunno.

So basically that was a long way of explaining why we ended up at, where else, IKEA! a couple of weekends ago. We decided to go ahead and just purchase a new crib for the baby: The Gulliver crib in white. You can’t beat the price and I love it’s simple lines. Let the old baby keep his crib until he was ready to give it up for good. Then, if he does decide before the baby is born to make the switch, we can just convert the Stokke crib back to a bassinet for the first few weeks and use it in addition to the Gulliver crib we purchased. Besides it’s never too early to start with the sibling rivalry: “Yup, you got Colin’s hand me downs and an IKEA crib. Welcome to second child status.”

Other than that, we also picked up this amazing plush rug from IKEA (5×7, off white) that has tones of white, taupe and gray, or as I like to call it, the Holy Trinity. The rug is so soft. As in, fall asleep on it soft. Ask Kase. The paint color on the walls is Benjamin Moore’s Ice Formations, which I just love- especially in a small room like a nursery, it really warms up the space without darkening it. It’s basically perfect in my eyes. And since IKEA was having a 50% off plush toys sale, we came home with the first of I am sure many stuffed animals for the baby.

The rest? A mix of stuff from Colin’s old nursery- his Sharon Montrose prints, which we love and are more than happy to use again; the glider, from Crate and Barrel, and of course, his Bla Bla mobile. The two IKEA Malm dressers we were using in our old bedroom we pushed together to form a changing station. PS: Those dressers? Already chock full of (previously loved by Colin) clothes. Anyone thinking of generously gifting this new baby with clothes? Please. Don’t. (We already discussed my shopping problem. No need to elaborate.)

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I had seen this decal on Etsy and it made me laugh.  When it came, it was smaller than I anticipated (only because I never look at measurements) but as I sat in the glider on Saturday being lazy staring at my blank bookshelves which are too shallow and short for actual books, I remembered the decal. So we placed it in one of the shelves. It may be my favorite detail in the nursery. You know, until the actual baby is in there. Then the baby should probably be my favorite detail.

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Other than that, it’s neutral. Soothing. Simple. We like a simple nursery. Babies come with a lot of crap (which we unearthed this weekend and which almost gave me a panic attack). Plus, they are complicated, to boot. Best to keep the rest as simple as possible.

Let’s Eat! [New Kitchen Moodboard]

It’s no secret. I like to eat. In fact, most of my day, when not changing diapers or driving back and forth to our new house, is consumed with thoughts about what I am going to eat next. I’d blame the baby, but truth be told, I was like this well before I was knocked up. Except now, it’s worse.

Speaking of eating, our new kitchen looks like this:

Well, it looked like that, with the old owner’s things in it. Including that lantern. Wowzas. I’m tallying votes on the lantern. So far, I have my mother in law in my corner for getting rid of it. She even told me where to bring it to sell it. And she has an appreciation for antiques. But even she said to toss it. You can vote too. You’re like family. Most of you probably *are* family, actually. Thanks for reading. So what about that lantern?

For now, we definitely need a kitchen table. Currently, we have one dining table, and it’s too big for that space, and besides, we actually have a dining room to furnish. Who woulda thunk?  So I’m looking for a cheap round table to fill the space. And while I’m at it, I picked out some other pieces to go with it.

Chairs/ Rug/ Pendant/ Black Table/ White Table/ Oak Table

Most of the items above come from Overstock. I have a good history with them. We bought our drum pendants in our old condo through them, which were a decent Jonathan Adler knockoff, and you can’t beat their prices, usually. I already have the runner version of the rug, and it matches the space nicely, tying in the granite with the wall color, so I wouldn’t mind getting one for the tiny dining nook as well. Emily ordered the chairs already, so I have seen them in real life photos, and I likey. All silver and industrial-like.

Now, my question is: Which table?  I kinda like all three. We’ve got the dark grey granite and a sage-y gray wall color (we decided not to paint the kitchen. Had to draw the line somewhere….). I could make an argument for all three. Of course, the black and the oak are cheaper, so there’s that. What do you think?

The Green Monster

We are making progress on the new house. Rather, the worker bees are making progress on the house as we speak, er, type, and we are shuttling back and forth every few days and on the weekends to check in. Which I’ll admit: is getting OLD. Fast. I am ready to get settled in our new place. But first, we have some projects to tackle. Like landscaping, painting and then of course: The Green Monster.

We’ve got a Green Monster and a Green Mile. Both are being eradicated.  First, may I present, The Green Monster:

But wait, there’s more!

Sadly, though these are merely iPhone photos, the color is accurate. That is a forest green carpet. And it extends the full 1,000 square feet (not a typo) to the back bedrooms.

The previous owner used this room, which is a more recent addition located above the garage, as a bonus room. She had a large sectional with a media center and the back bedrooms were used as just that- additional bedrooms for guests. When we initially looked at the house, we couldn’t reconcile how to make the upstairs floor plan more child- friendly.  After some consideration, Kase came up with the plan to use this bonus room as our master bedroom. The two rooms in back could be converted to storage space and a walk in closet, and we would have easier access to the two bedrooms down the hall where Colin and his little brother will sleep. Down this hall:

The dog is the only cute thing in this picture.

That? Is the Green Mile. It starts downstairs. In the family room. As in, the whole family room. And part of the ceiling. And the stairs. And stair risers. And extends to the upstairs doors and trim. Methinks someone really likes olive green. Sadly, that person is not me. But I’ll get to that later.  With photos. You’ll be green with envy. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Back to the real beauty contest winner:

“You b*&^#s are just jealous!” – Green Monster

Eventually, the plan is to create a master closet in the one back bedroom there, and a master bathroom in the other bedroom. But that is a five year to ten year plan.  As for now? I just want the green monster gone.

Upon purchasing the house, Kase and I went through top to bottom and prioritized projects as “safety” issues. Things like electric work and pool covers and plumbing and landscaping and the wood stove which was a fire hazard. So imagine my surprise and disdain when Kase literally laughed at me when I said the carpet was a safety issue. But I still won that argument. Because I am me. I’m awesome at getting my way. Would you not agree that beyond the blinding nature of the carpet, its general “nastiness” would qualify as a safety hazard? Cuz I would.

There’s only room for one rough looking lady in this house, and that is me. Move aside, Monster. Move aside.

You can put your pens and paper down. There will be no time to eulogize. Tomorrow, the Monster leaves this dark and ugly world.  Granted, she made the world dark and ugly, but bygones and not speaking ill of the dead and all that.  But can I say one thing? Good riddance to bad ruggish.

God, I crack myself up. Or maybe I’ve been smelling too much paint. Whatever.

Rub A Dub Dub. Goddang that Tub is Ugly.

[Warning: Photos of an iPhone Nature below]

Last week, we started on making some cosmetic changes to the new house. We’ve got a laundry list- even though the house is wonderful, some things just aren’t our style, or even safe for that matter. So on Thursday, we had some contractors stop by the house to take care of some of the items we’ve got in our crosshairs. And we’ve got a few.

When we were considering putting in an offer on the house, we had a contractor come in and give us some quotes for some work we might want to do. One of the items I had him look into were the bathrooms. Since it is an old house, we’ve got some fun layout issues not found in more modern floor plans. For instance, one bathroom literally has a door off the landing of the front stairwell, with a little mini stair. It’s strange and charming.

It also has another door off a hallway that leads to the guest room and what will be the nursery. Its toilet is squeezed into a corner and the faucet was grandfathered in since it has no mixing valve. But we like those things about it. It’s got character. It has its original fixtures- the sconces are porcelain, the ceiling light would sell for loads of dough on SchoolHouse Electric. What I don’t love? The hand painted floor. And the painted walls. And the painted cabinets. And the scratched claw foot tub. It had seen better days. Trust you me. It was gray and scratched up and just looking rough. Sadsies. I love a claw foot tub. And they are a mother to replace. Not to mention the whole “Grandfathered” aspect means no reno’s until we have quite a pretty penny to spend on them.  Getting things up to modern code is like, expensive and stuff. But painting and reglazing stuff? Totally in the budget.

My claw foot tub so shiny and bright and new. On the inside. And now it’s making the rest of the bathroom fixtures feel badly about themselves. Not cool, Tub. Now I’m thinking the outside needs to get spruced up. And perhaps the sink should get reglazed too. And those tub fixtures are gross. Can of worms. Opened.

Moving on…..

I also had the contractor take a look at the other full bathroom which is off of what will be our master- it also happens to be where the laundry room is. Not a problem. What was a problem? This sucker:

Have you ever seen a tub like that? Can you tell this was part of the addition done in the early 90’s? I mean, beyond the color, which is gorgeous, isn’t that shape just something else? Apparently, it is called a “cottage tub”. And removing this sucker and redoing this small space? Would cost us about $15K.  Absurd. But here’s the thing. I have an issue using “used” tubs. The last time we bought a place, it was brand new construction. No one had ever used the tub. And not having used a tub for a bath since selling?  Not cool. But there isn’t enough bleach in this world to make me sit in someone else’s tub. I don’t know why. It’s a thing. I should get over it. Or…. OR! I could just reglaze it. Brand new tub!

It makes such a difference. Let me tell you.

So tell me: Have you ever reglazed anything? Updated an antique bathroom? Fell down a full flight of stairs leaving the john? I fear that might happen one of these days. I’ve got a bad history with stairs.

Call Me Martha.

I don’t consider myself to be the best of housekeepers, in fact, I would go ahead and say my mantra is “if it looks clean, then it’s clean.” I’d say I’m a good tidy-upper, but not so much a great deep cleaner. Let alone regular cleaner. I’ll vacuum, I’ll dust, and if absolutely necessary, I’ll wash a floor without using my wet Swiffer. And if it’s dusted, it’s not washed. I never clean in a logical way that leaves the whole house feeling “done.” I’m all about the convenience cleaners, like Magic Eraser, Clorox wipes and those toilet wands. I own a mop bucket, but haven’t used it since we lived in Boston. Now it just holds cleaning stuff. Stuff I don’t use all that often.

But when you move into someone else’s home, you learn that your cleaning methods, while lazy and not exemplary, are basically at Martha Stewart levels compared to the previous owner’s. Who owned a cat.  And that makes me sad. It also makes my back hurt from leaning over kitchen counters and wiping down backsplash. Here’s a little PSA: Wipe down your damn backsplash, people. It’s gross. Wipe down the handles on your appliances, people. It’s gross for someone else to ponder just how dirty your hands had to have been in order to create such an insane amount of grime. And on that note: Wash your hands, people. That’s just basic manners. I’m sure Colin is learning that at school. If a two year old can do it, then you can do it, too.

So yesterday I spent Colin’s nap wiping down backsplash and appliance fronts and about one million drawers. I am sure I will come to appreciate the drawer and cabinet space we have in our kitchen. Eventually.  Maybe after my back stops spasm-ing.  I placed some cute drawer liners from Target once they were all Cloroxy clean. (My new mantra: If it doesn’t smell like bleach, it ain’t clean.) The liners are obviously adorable with their greige stripes, but the liner is also a nice thick foam, so it’s cushion-y and will help prevent things from sliding all over the place.  And I can’t say I terribly mind the new kitchen mat I picked up as well. It screams fall without saying “Boo!” know what I mean? Yes, you know what I mean.  And before you ask, no, glittered ghost pails for Halloween candy from the dollar section *don’t* count. They are adorable and necessary. IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN. 😉

As Is is much better than As Was.

So I decided it was high time I went to Ikea and showed the amateur masses how it’s done.

Which brings me to our guest room. Until Sunday, our guest room beckoned to our visitors, “We love you. Hope you don’t plan on staying too long!” To that end, we had bought a bed, but nothing else. Given our guest bedroom has seen its fair share of visitors since we moved in last December, it was time to spruce things up a bit. I know this because when my parents came for a visit in May, my mom was sweet enough to purchase a brand new comforter for us, with pillows to boot. Just because. Yeah, because we didn’t have proper linens. Or anything really. I have a ton of throw pillows in every imaginable color, which you will find comes in handy, but apparently, people don’t like to sleep on throw pillows.  The point is, the room was a smathering of this and that, disjointed and yet at the same time, incredibly institutional and cold. Again, we love you, but we sincerely hope you weren’t planning on spending any real time here.

So a trip to Ikea was made. And while I have promised myself that I will never buy another piece of furniture from there, I do love Ikea for its accessories.  The plan was to buy some pillows, maybe a decorative accessory or two and maybe some frames. And trust you me, I did. And then some.

Now my general rule with Ikea is to always stop at As Is first. If you’re lucky enough, you can turn right back around and check out without having to brave the underbelly of Ikea.

Which is where I spotted this:

I’ve been coveting this rug for ages. Apparently, it’s been discontinued.  And yet, there it was, just calling to me, “It’s our last chance, mon amor!”

Colin waited patiently as I hauled it off of its rack and gently folded it in quarters. And then we sang our way to the check out with the rest of our haul. Mostly pillows of course.

The upside of my SADs is I have a little collection of “home crap” that goes unused for months at a time. For a while there, I was really into mustard yellow. And I bought throw pillows with matching throws from Pottery Barn. Go hard or go to Pottery Barn is my motto. And so when I got home from the ‘Kea, I went straight for my throw pillow/random crap linen closet and started pulling things out like a crazy woman.

Which is how we ended up here.

So here’s the deal. I saw a woman on my way through the plant section with this planter, and I thought to myself, I’ve been looking for a basket just like that! And then I realized it was a planter. But I bought it anyway. Cuz I don’t have enough baskets. Right. I’m stupid like that.

Of course, like the master, there is still more to do. I may replace the dressers for the side tables- it feels a little crowded now, but that may be because I’m used to the room being pretty bare bones. Next, we need to raid the basement and open up all those tubs of frames and pictures and start nailing stuff to the walls. I mean, why not? It’s been long enough.

Master Bedroom Re-Do

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we have had in the past three years approximately 82 bedrooms. With this last move, we’ve been watching our bottom line lately, which has meant no new purchases for the house. Been there, done that. A lot. New purchases for Colin? Well, of course. He runs this place. Must make the despot happy at all costs. Literally. Funny enough, new throw pillows don’t do it for him. So no new house stuff for us. For months. Seven long months.

But enough was enough. I’ve waited 7 months longer than in any of our other homes to decorate. Our bedroom? Was sad. I assume prison cells are warmer and cozier than our room.

As you know, I had a little moodboard going. And I had some sweet side tables picked out for the room. But then, as most 31 year old married with children women do, I found myself on Craigslist on Saturday night, just looking around to see what I could find. And then I hit pay dirt: a local listing for two campaign style dressers. For a total cost of $40. Had it not been 10:30 at night, I would have hopped in the car right then and there.

I’m nothing if not in control, so I waited until 10 the next morning. And I brought them home. We had a lot of switcheroo-ing going on yesterday at the house, due to a very successful Ikea trip as well, but I’ll get to that later. In the meantime, this is how things stood yesterday at 3pm:

I believe the word you are looking for is “Yikes.”

Now, please excuse the bad iPhone pics and the lighting. The truth is, our bedroom gets its best light at precisely 5:36am-5:48am.  And during that time, I am sleeping with the shades drawn. Deal with it.

I set up our new dressers, moved out the old white dressers to the guest room, brought in Colin’s glider from his nursery because, well, we paid a pretty penny for it and it’s not being used, and then threw some new pillows on the bed and called it a day, literally.

That right there is $20 well spent.

Just keeping it real and showing you the laundry basket. Had the choice between laundry and redecorating this weekend. So I went to IKEA. With a toddler. By myself. And that should tell you how much I hate doing laundry.

Who steams or irons their linens? Not this girl. And yes, our dog sleeps in bed with us. Again, keeping it real. Real furry.

I’d still like a real headboard, but I haven’t found one I like for three straight months. Seriously, I have about three different virtual shopping carts just ready to “checkout” and have yet to pull the trigger. Throw pillows I can do. But something that I need to keep for a while? That Kase will remember we just bought only last year? I can fool him with pillows, but not so much the bigger things.

Speaking of pillows, you don’t need to ask. Yes, I like that many pillows on my bed. Most days, I even make the bed. With all those pillows. And should you still wonder “Why?” I will answer you the same way I answer Kase: “Because. Now pick up that pillow and hand it to me.”

We still have a ways to go. But trust me, this is a vast improvement. Even Kase remarked that it looked nice. And he usually doesn’t notice these things. Which is why I am going to strike while the iron is hot and tell him we need to start hanging stuff on the walls. We’ve got a wood rectangular mirror that Kase hid somewhere in the house. Maybe over the bed? Hope he can find it.

Tomorrow, I unveil more crappy pictures of the guest room re-do, now featuring leftovers from the Master!  Did someone say “IKEA As Is?” Yeah I did.

Pinterest Inspired Look for Less

It must be that time again. Seasons are changing or the stars are aligned a certain way. It’s time….to redecorate!

I used to blame SADs for this. But now I can add Pinterest to that equation. All I know is, it’s not my fault and I have no control over it.  In addition, since moving to our house back in December, I have done absolutely nothing to the bedroom, save for hanging two mirrors I got at Terrain during the Always Crafty weekend. Other than that? Nothing. Which means my bedroom is a sad sad place. It’s plain and boring and I hate it.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me show you a picture making the rounds on Pinterest that has piqued my redecoration bug.

Well, isn’t that just lovely? One of the items on my list of things to do is to incorporate a little more natural and dark wood into our house. We bought a lot of white furniture for our pad in Boston since it was tiny tiny tiny and white furniture helps to make a space feel light and airy and spacious. But now we have that elusive space, and that apartment/condo sized furniture we have is not cutting it size wise. Or style wise. Best to start out in the space where I spend most of my free time. My bedroom really is my haven- often I head there right after putting Colin to bed. I love to sit in bed and read my Kindle and just enjoy the silence. I do this all while wearing blinders like a race horse, because if I look too hard at my surroundings, I start going through the drawers looking for razor blades. Kidding. Kind of. Not really.

So I sourced this room online. It was easy enough. And not too pricey either!  Check it out:

Sheers/ Side table/ Lamp/ Linens/ Quilt/ Frames/ Mirrored Dresser Tray

Sheers for $4.99? A sweet pedestal table for under $50? And a crystal lamp look a like for under $30? This whole scheme can be redone for under $250. I think that it’s only fair that if Colin gets a new room, I should, too.

So tell me, would you find this room to be a restful retreat?

The Low-Low Project

Have any of you been watching the show, “The High Low Project”  on HGTV?  I am obsessed.  I love how Sabrina Soto manages to create $40,000 rooms for a fraction of the cost. And of course, she uses tons of stuff from Target, West Elm and Ikea, so I can get down with that!

Around here, I like to call my house, The Low Low Project. I am a firm believer in the idea that if you have a child, there’s no real point in “investment pieces.” Also, I’m just not allowed to have nice stuff. It’s along the same lines as why I don’t gamble. I’m a sore loser. Similarly, if I were to own something expensive and it were ruined, I would kill myself. First, I would kill the person who ruined it. But then, I would kill myself.  And let’s face it: that is not the healthiest of attitudes. So, Ikea it is.

But. BUT. Have you seen this Ikea hack?  Have you?!?

via

 That is a $70 black metal bookcase from Ikea. $70! They spray painted it gold. Geniuses. As you know, I love me some Ikea paired with antique brass spray paint. Hello, lover.

We certainly don’t need anymore bookcases around this joint, but there is something I have always wanted. Something that will make me a real grownup.

A bar.

Yup. I want decanters and highballs and all that crap. I want to basically live in an episode of Mad Men, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

We’ll start with the Ikea Vittsjo laptop table. It’s a mere $39, people. I mean, how can you *not* hack it for that price? Which we will do by taking our tried and true Krylon spray paint in Gold Leaf and spraying that sucker down to resemble a gold leafed console table. And then top it all off with some accessories and we’ve got a bar. Place it under our Ikea Grundtal mirror which we also spray painted and we’ve got an insta-bar. Sweet!

Now, I just need to turn Kase into an alcoholic so he understands how badly we *need* this.

Brass Monkey, er, Mirror

So I’ve been on the hunt to incorporate more metals and textures throughout the house. I love how layered it can make a room look, and how the lived in look it can create for a home.

I love the look of antiqued gold, and after purchasing some starburst mirrors for the living room, I decided that I needed to weave in the color throughout the house if I could. But let me tell you something. It’s very hard to find clean lines paired with a gold leaf at a good price. Especially when it comes to mirrors.

I’ve always loved the Ikea Grundtal mirror– it’s a round stainless steel mirror you can find in the bathroom section. Yup. The bathroom section. It’s bare bones, minimalist chic. And more importantly, it’s cheap. $39 to be exact.

The important thing is it has the clean lines and shape I was looking for. The only issue was it was steel. Nothing a little spray paint can’t fix.

This is the before:

I started by taping off the mirror, underneath the lip of the frame (this is important, because there is plenty of space between the lip of the frame and mirror).

Then I took newspaper and continued to tape off the mirror to protect it from the spray paint.

After lightly sanding the stainless steel with a fine grit paper (you can also use a steel wool pad, like a brillo pad), we primed the frame using Zinsser primer.

And then of course, it was time to spray paint- I used two small cans of Krylon Short Cuts in Gold.

Et Voila!

I decided to dress up the table a bit, since we are beginning to see the dining room as more than just a pass through now. Strange.

And I’ve got another idea up my sleeve for this space.  More tomorrow!

Black and White and Red All Over. Or Pink Here and There. Whatever.

Back when I was mocking up new rooms for Colin and still using his crib as a jumping off point, I created a couple of modern and bold nursery mood boards. I wasn’t planning on sharing them since I would not be implementing them myself and really, I just created them for fun, but then a couple of people asked me online if I would share some other ideas.  Working off of the Olin Rug from Crate and Barrel which I still love, I took it a step further and decided to create a modern, graphic nursery that while pretty bold, can be gender neutral:

Rug/ NYC Print/ Crib/ Stool/ Poster/ Bookcase/ Glider/ Pillow/ Throw

I love that Ikea footstool- it’s a perfect way to incorporate the whole cowhide trend that seems to be a hit right now.  And I still love that ABC print, which is from Ikea as well- I loved it when I was pregnant with Colin. So graphic. And hey, when they get to be Colin’s age now, that’s just a little less time you have to sing the ABC song. Ad nauseum.

An important note: pretty much everything can be sourced at IKEA. Which for all you soon to be new parents out there? Is a good thing. Trust you me. Diapers and formula will bankrupt you soon enough. Keep it affordable where you can.

Now, while I love black and red as a graphic combination, for those of you with little ladies on the way, I went ahead and mocked up another option, using the grey Olin rug with some sweet girly accents:

Rug/ Crib/ Pillow/Throw/ Picasso Dog Print/ Bookcase/ Glider/ Stool/ Audrey Print/ DIY Poms

God, I love that Audrey print. LOVE IT. I need to have a little girl. Or decorate someone else’s little girl’s room. Any takers???? Call me. No, seriously. I’ll work for free.

To recap, I used a  lot of the same elements in each room, a mix of items from affordable places like IKEA, West Elm and Crate and Barrel (but mostly, IKEA), because, let’s face it: This could merely be the first in a long line of bedroom re-do’s for your kiddo. If you’re anything like me.

Actually, each of these rooms can easily be transitioned from a nursery as you kid grows. In fact, I would love that pink room myself. I would. Unfortunately, I am married. And my husband keeps talking about this word “compromise.” Blah blah blah.

So what do you think? Would you ever go for a bold nursery?

I changed my mind.

So I changed my mind. That’s my prerogative, and I’m allowed. Also, I blame the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.

My first mistake was not throwing it out immediately, which is usually what I do, but now that most of my shows have finished for the season, I’m a little light in the DVR. So I saved the Pottery Barn catalog and took a little look see the other day. And Colin decided to join me. And then he picked out his big boy room.

I swear that is exactly how it happened.

Given that we will most likely be moving Colin to a “big boy bed” within the next 6 months, it didn’t make sense for me to plan a room  scheme around the color of his crib. He gets to be a little boy once. A little boy who happens to be obsessed with cars.  So I took that and ran with it.

Theirs: 

Mine:

rug/daybed/shelf/car/airplane kazoo/vw bus poster/ parking sign/ monaco poster/ quilt

I really love the Pottery Barn Madras quilt and have loved it for a while. And while I am usually not a huge fan of using primary bold colors, it is fitting for a little boy’s room. Colin is already the proud owner of that sweet red speedster. He rides it all around the house, both backwards and forwards, so I thought it would be fun to tie that into the design, and I was very happy to find that Monaco poster above. I love vintage inspired posters, and Kase and I have a soft spot for VW busses – one day we want to own one.   And I got the idea of the parking sign from the inspiration picture above. Did you know you can order custom parking signs? And not pay a million dollars from Pottery Barn kids? I love the internet.

This is a longer term plan.  I will slowly begin to source and accumulate things, since we’re not made of money. And I just want to reiterate, it wasn’t my fault. If you had seen Colin tear through that catalog (literally) yelling “Car! Truck!” you would have signed right up too.

So what do you think? Perfect for a little despot? Also, I’m always drawn to white, but also considering the high gloss red for the bookcase. Thoughts? The new high gloss options from Ikea are really quite nice. And did you know you can now pay a fee ($99) for them to pick out and deliver your order?  We’re in trouble now.