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One Room Challenge Week 5 | Finishing Touches on our Bold Boho Kitchen

Can’t believe we’re almost at the finish line! And here we are – so busy with these final touches – that I almost forgot to post this week! Before I say anything, I just want to give my husband a MAJOR shoutout. Guy hasn’t had a break in months. First it was 9-9 work on Saturdays and Sundays and this past month he has even been up until 2am nearly every night of the week to get this kitchen up and running for us – and complete for the ORC reveal. Move aside, Chip Gaines! ha!

Riad tile backsplash

So we’ve made some major progress this past week. We’ve added crown molding, had the floors finished, painted the walls, finished tiling with our Riad tile, got our super amazing vintage Moroccan rug in from June and Blue – and our stove arrived from Hallman Industries! I’m going to give you some sneak peaks at some, but not all of that, because that damn reveal needs to have some surprises!

Fixtures from DLdesignworks

And, of course, what Kate Pearce Vintage space wouldn’t be complete with lots of vintage touches. Those, too, will be a surprise for you next week, but I’ve been hoarding lots of great vintage and buying some from some fellow shop owners who just have the best eye – I’ll be sure to give them all shoutouts at reveal time, too.

So, back to that tile. I always want to be transparent with you all, so it’s important to know that we teamed up with Riad Tile for this space, but I also want you to know that we chose THEM, not the other way around. I have long been in love with their thick, matte concrete tiles and was dying to use them in the kitchen and they were kind enough to team up with us and put enough trust in us to install their showstopping tiles (I think my husband did a pretty damn good job!). I know I keep saying this about every part of the kitchen, but these tiles really may be my favorite element. They add that touch of bold that I crave for in each of my spaces, but the matte finish and the raw concrete material allows them to add just the right amount of approachability to counter their graphic design. Riad tiles are handmade by expert artisans, their prices are just AMAZING for the outstanding quality and the best part is they are so sturdy they could even be used on an outdoor patio (hello, spring 2020 ORC!).

Riad tile backsplash + DLdesignworks pendants

This is the first peak, too, that I’m offering up of our range hood. And, let me tell you that range hood took up SO. MUCH. TIME. First, range hoods are EXPENSIVE. Like, GAH! Not sure we would have gotten a 48-inch range if we had realized. So, since our budget was low and we had mostly drained our resources at this point, we spent loads of time researching how we could most cheaply install a safe range hood while not sacrificing style. We finally decided on buying a range hood insert, and my husband used his super skills to build a sheetrock frame around it. What you see here isn’t the finished product – we’ll have some fun surprises coming at yah next week with the range hood.

sneak peek at open shelving + Pepe + Carols hardware

And, the floors! As much as I wanted to leave those beautiful natural wood herringbone floors au naturale, they needed to be finished. We live in a home with two young children, two dogs, and two not-so-neat adults. We hired this one out, because color was super important to us and we had no idea what the ___ we were doing when it came to finishing floors. We asked them to stain the floors in a way that would enhance their natural coloring, and we are really happy with the final product – if anyone is on Long Island, New York and needs a floor guy, let me know! I’ve got a good one!

So, I’m going to leave it here for this week but, as always, please be sure to check out all of the other incredible transformations happening over at the One Room Challenge site!

Next week….. final REVEAL! HELLLLLLLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZZZZ TO THE YES!

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One Room Challenge Week 4 | Construction Nears Completion

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but after nearly four months of construction, the end is JUST around the corner. This past week was a big one for us as we saw our countertops get installed, and then everything else just seemed to fall into place: the sink, fixtures, microwave and workable surface area were all just THERE overnight and after living without a kitchen for so long it feels SO GOOD.

Countertops, Fixtures + Hardware installed

Speaking of countertops, we decided to go with a trusted local family shop called ES Marble & Granite and they worked through some of our ideas with us over the past few months until we found something that would be both practical AND beautiful. You know those little marble shelves that rest on the top of high backsplashes that are all the rage right now? Well, I desperately wanted one for our kitchen, but it turns out that neither our wallet, nor the extra hours of construction that were needed to make it a reality were on board. So, we decided to keep the high backsplash and lose the shelf.

Another area that we spent some time exploring was MATERIAL. If you haven’t realized this about me yet, I will spell it out for you now: I A-M N-O-T P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L. So, of course the aesthetic-obsessed part of me wanted marble countertops. You just can’t beat that worn-in, timeless matte look of marble and I wanted to embrace all the chips and stains and have that splash of marble in my kitchen transport me back to Italy, where all the wine rings and colander stains are just part of what make their spaces endearing.

coffee bar coming together (with a touch of painter’s tape still there!)

But, apparently, not everyone in my home is into red wine stains… and the blueberry stains from children being reckless … and the hot pan rings from the mama being too lazy, so we decided on a quartzite material that would mimic the look of Calacatta marble… and I have to admit I feel like we’re living with the best of both worlds. We have those charmingly irregular veins that are strikingly dramatic in tone, yet the entire surface is as hardy as granite. And leaving the high backsplash but losing the shelf allowed us to really appreciate the statement that the marble is by allowing the eye to follow it throughout the room from all angles.

Consider the countertop decision-making process my first lesson in embracing flexibility.

So after those countertops went in, we had our sink, faucet, and soap dispenser installed and that moment actually brought me to tears. No more walking up the stairs to wash hands, bowls, and glasses .. and after four months this mama right here just broke the F down. HALLELUJAH. This is said with the utmost understanding that having fresh, running water in my home at all is a COMPLETE luxury and I often wanted to punch myself for complaining about the lack of water on our ground floor (again, the luxury of having two floors). POOR ME.

Pepe + Carols hardware + Moen fixtures

But onward we go to finally getting to install those beautiful brushed gold Moen fixtures from Build.com They went in, I DIED. We had decided to go with a black quartz sink to pick up on all of the other black details throughout the kitchen and the way these gold fixtures popped next to the black undermount sink just made my heart sing. I wanted to keep the entire sink area as sleek as possible, so I loved the minimalistic design on the Moen faucet and soap dispenser, but I also loved how it double-functioned with a pull down sprayer. I spent hours upon hours upon hours searching for the perfect faucet, and I am so glad I found this one. It is one of the focal points on the kitchen and it’s looking PRETTTTY damn sexy. We can’t wait to install the matching pot filler!

Two more major developments happened this week, but I am just going to talk about one of them: the installation of our super-duper kick-a$$ hardware. This was another element of the kitchen that I spent WAY too many hours researching and agonizing over. I love how modern and sleek brass pulls look but they are so, well, EXPECTED. Everyone and their mother has been slapping brass pulls on their cabinets for the last five years and I wanted to do something that was equally modern, but a bit more UNexpected.

I reached out to my friend Krystal at Pepe and Carols and we went through many different options – she was even so kind as to send me lots of different samples in the mail. Now, before I say anything else I just need you to know that Pepe and Carols does not make ANYTHING that doesn’t make me swoon, but I was envisioning sort of a combination of the pulls she was sending me. I relayed my vision to her, and shortly after she mocked up the pull I was dreaming of, sent it over, and queue lots of drool pouring out of my mouth. I loved how they followed the geometric lines of the rest of the kitchen, but still had a softness to them. The black and brass dual-toned look picked up all of the brass and black elements in the kitchen perfectly – and she even added brass spacers on the side to give them that eclectic vibe I was shooting for. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Krystal for making the pulls of my dreams for me!

a peek at some other unfinished details

Other fun details were completed this week, but I am going to save that discussion for next week’s post because they aren’t exactly complete yet. This upcoming week we will see our floors get finished, our HALLMAN RANGE ARRIVE (GAH!), and our reclaimed wood will arrive just in time to be hurriedly installed before REVEAL coming up in two short weeks!

As always, be sure to visit the One Room Challenge to check out all of the other amazing spaces that are being transformed over this six week-long ORC season. So many of them are inspiring me to dive right on into our next project (which means they are INSANELY cool because I would have to be INSANE to do such a thing).

Cheers to the end being near!

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One Room Challenge Week 2: Demo Mode

Here we are in week 2 of the One Room Challenge, but really week 15 for us (yes it’s taken that long to overhaul our kitchen, and we’re still crossing our fingers to be complete by the ORC deadline). I’m going to begin with some real time updates, and then dig into some design hurdles…and then chat about how fun it was to smash all the things in the kitchen to tiny little pieces.

It’s a family affair! Our 6 year-old, Eva, helps demo walls

I was super excited when Becca of June and Blue reached out to me last week to ask if she could sponsor a rug for the kitchen. I own a few of Becca’s rugs, but really it’s my life goal to own every single rug she ever lays her eyes on. The girl has magic eyes for rugs and was able to source the most perfect piece for this kitchen by pretty much only looking at my inspiration board from last week. I can’t wait for you guys to see it, but this is also a good segue into how challenging it can be to design a space when you have a deadline.

There is something intoxicating about the ORC. I often say reveal day is like Christmas morning for adults. There are, still yet, other major “pros” that come along with tackling a room for the One Room Challenge. For example, the ORC is also a formidable enemy to our procrastinating tendencies when it comes to tackling home projects. On the flip side, it can be a serious challenge to piece together a comprehensive and aesthetically thrilling space in such a short period of time (I guess that’s why they call it the One Room CHALLENGE). They always say “a great home takes time” (or at least there is a hashtag that says it), and I truly believe that truly special rooms can’t be thrown together overnight.

So this has been a bit difficult for me, especially given my very visual nature. Our stove took 16 weeks from order to delivery, so we had to order it before we even knocked down one wall. Our cabinets wouldn’t be installed until just a few short weeks before the ORC deadline, and I was having trouble visualizing what I wanted when we didn’t even have the cabinets in our hands (a huge thanks to Krystal at Pepe and Carols for creating some kick-ass custom pieces for me and allowing me to wait until the last minute so I could see those cabinets in place first). And then comes the rug I bought from Josh at Kazimah Carpets for the kitchen. I fell hard and fast for that rug and snatched it up – and have ZERO regrets about it – but then a few sponsors came along and my vision for the kitchen began to shift and, alas, the rug I had envisioned in the space was no longer going to work. Good thing it’s such a stunner that it will work in pretty much every other room of the house. I offer you this tale about rugs as a way of showing how designing an entire room before the room is even structurally intact can be, well, STRESSFUL AF.

Upper cabinets gone

Now, onto the demo details! Our old kitchen was quite small, with very little counter space and room for only one or two people to be in the space at a time. But the largest challenge was the strange configuration of the room that most certainly did not maximize the utility of the square footage we had access to. The kitchen abutted a small powder room that had been squeezed into the space and hosted the only interior entrance to our basement (a huge issue if we wanted to carry anything large in and out).

So, we decided to demolish the powder room to create more space for the kitchen and to open access to the basement. We will, at a later date, add a full bathroom to the main floor (hello, Fall ORC!), but for now we are living with just a single bathroom on the second floor (a challenge for elderly guests, as you can imagine). We also decided to demo the wall between our dining room and kitchen to make an even larger and brighter space to meet all of our dining needs for our family of four. And, as if these weren’t enough changes to make, we decided to move the entryway to our sunroom over to make space for the refrigerator and we also changed the placement and size of every window in the room. I was able to source brand spanking new Marvin windows from the Habitat for Humanity Restore – a must-visit site for anyone looking to renovate their home on a budget.

Eva, 6, and Josie, 18 months, dance on the subfloor

Our home was built in 1910, so during demo we were dealing with plaster mixed with horsehair and lath – all of which we took down to make way for a total reconstruction of the electrical and plumbing – and replaced with sheetrock. My husband, Billy, had to pick up three different floors before we were able to finally reach our subfloor (which also needed a lot of repair work). We found a few surprises, one being a brick chimney hiding in the wall that I was really excited about. Everyone who has entered the space has suggested we should sheetrock around it, but I have been adamant about leaving it as an unexpected architectural element – and an homage to the century-old roots of our home (the chimney was originally used for a wood-burning stove to heat the home).

We finally reached the subfloor!

The total time it took for demolition was three months, working about 20 hours/week. It was an enormous and strenuous undertaking and I owe all of that sweat equity to my husband, who is basically some kind of Roman God (who just happens to have Nordic features), but who also has not only been living and breathing this kitchen for months after work hours and on weekends…AND has also happened to build some super sexy abs and biceps along the way.

What more could a girl ask for?

So, takeaways from ORC week 2:

  1. Try to not buy/commit to any items until your vision is COMPLETE and…
  2. Always marry someone who knows how to not just build, but also knows how to do plumbing and electric.

That’s all for now – be sure to check back in for Week 3 updates and also be sure to visit the ORC page to see what all the other designers are up to!