dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kitchen progress

Today, I worked from home to the lovely sounds of demo'ing, sawing, hammering, and constructing, and as I type this from the comfort of my imperfect bed, this is what the kitchen looks like:
I can hardly stand the progress!

My contractor showed up first thing this morning to get started.  Somehow, in just one workday, he managed to move the plumbing vent stack, re-route 2 overhead lights, move one switch and one outlet, and install a new electrical box.  Amazing, if you ask me.  I tried to be a good girl and stay out of the way, but I did find myself wandering upstairs so I could stand in the middle of the kitchen and just stare through the non-wall.  But, mostly I only did that when he was crawling around on his belly in the attic.

In other news, I've been on the hunt for an affordable material for my new backsplash.  While I am hiring out the serious stuff (plumbing, electrical, drywall repair), I'm going to try to tackle the easier stuff by myself (myself=with help from my dad/a friend/someone who knows DIY stuff). And, in this case, backsplash=easier stuff.  I've not made any decisions, but I will share with you some eye candy.

Pretty, right?!  I'm also considering going in another direction totally and using beadboard.  Either way, I think the color will be a gray with green undertones.

Ooh, and one decision I have made is on light fixtures.  I found these guys at Lowe's, and I LOVE them.
There will be two of them hanging above the new ledge.  I read and re-read the directions over my morning coffee today, and I think installing them should be a cinch (famous last words?). 

I am so excited about how well this is all coming together.  Honestly, I'm not sure how I'm going to sleep tonight knowing that my contractor will be back in the morning to likely finish things up.  I hope to have more photos to share tomorrow!



Monday, February 27, 2012


I see you!!  That's what I can say now if I'm standing in the kitchen and you're in the dining room, 'cause look what I did!

Well, I suppose I should rewind a little and get everyone up to speed.  Our kitchen is U shaped with one long side bordering the dining room. 
You can access the dining room from the kitchen by a standard sized opening.
 And, because of this wall, anyone in the kitchen is pretty isolated from anyone in the dining and living rooms.
 And, so, I decided that this wall, this impediment to conversation, this feng-shui violation needed to GO!
Amazingly, my decision to say farewell to this little wall coincided with my dad's visit to help give Colin's bedroom a redo.  (Coincidence?  I think not!)  We talked about the project over the phone, and by the time I got home from work that day, this is what I found.
 Yahoo!  Good bye cabinets, hello awful, ugly wall paper from the 50s!  I can't explain how much just removing 3 upper cabinets did to open up the kitchen.  It felt like we had bumped the wall back several feet.  Things were already feeling so much more open and airy.
It wasn't much later before we had started peeking behind the drywall.
And, by bedtime, we had removed all of the drywall from both sides, and I could actually stand in my kitchen and see into the dining room.  Excited doesn't even begin to describe how this made (and still makes!) me feel.  I knew from the first time I stepped foot into our kitchen that it needed some opening up.
The next day, a dear friend's super handy husband came over with his saw, and he and my dad tackled the 2x6s.  They made quick work of it, and then things were really looking open.

Here's my new view from the dining room.
 And, from the living room.
And, from the breakfast room.
Oh, I simply love how this is opening up our home.  It will be especially fabulous when we are entertaining.  The kitchen has always felt sorta cave-like, and this should really help fix that.

I met with my contractor to discuss having him do some of the major work for me.  There's quite a bit of electrical work to do (moving wires for 2 overhead fixtures, relocating several switches/outlets on the kitchen side to accommodate a 42" tall opening, hard wiring for 2 pendent lights in the opening), a plumbing vent stack to relocate, and a bit of drywall repair, and that is stuff I'm happy to leave to the experts.  The demo was fun, and I'm looking forward to picking out and installing a tile back splash, the hanging pendents and whatever I decide for the bar surface.

So, this is where we are now, and I hope I have more progress photos soon!  I actually went tile/light shopping this morning and came home very disappointed.  $1200 for a gorgeous glass tile back splash?!  Tempting, but NO!  So, the search for affordable materials continues.  :)


**  linking to the girls at 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It doesn't have to be perfect...

...to be beautiful.

Since I began reading her blog, I have really identified with The Nester's philosophy that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful".  I have been guilty of drooling over pictures of perfectly staged rooms on the blogs that I read.  But, you know what, folks?  That ain't life.  No one lives like that!  And, I'll admit that I've also been known to pile stuff in a corner so that I can fake it for that perfect shot.

So, here are some pictures of our beautiful and imperfect home this morning.  All of our lovely throw pillows are stacked here in this basket instead of being perfectly arranged on the couch.  Why, you ask?

 Because the couch is occupied!  Also notice the fitted sheet that stays on the couch 99% of the time it's not staged for blog photos.
 Here's the dining room table slash laundry folding area.
This is (was?) the wall to the kitchen.  Wanna talk about imperfections during a wall removal?!
 And, here we are in the kitchen.  Not a ton of dirty dishes this morning, but a few pots from last night's dinner.
 Colin's room isn't looking too bad.  After the weekend when we gave this room a mini-makeover and had it all perfectly staged, it felt nice but a little empty.  I actually loved seeing his weekend stuff strewn around and his covers messed up from him sitting in bed with his lap top.  Perfection is really overrated, especially if it means the room isn't being used.
 And, finally, here's my bed.  My lovely, comfy, messy bed.  And, if I'm being honest here, the reason my room never makes it onto my blog (I think this is the very first picture anyone has seen of it) is because it almost always looks like this.  I don't really believe in making my bed on a daily basis.  Haha!
So, there you have it.  Our beautiful, imperfect house!



linking up to Nester's party.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colin's room reveal

Historically, President's Day weekend is a weekend of home projects or house purchases around here, and this year was no different.  A couple months ago, Colin started asking to move the furniture around in his room and to repaint the walls.  Knowing that he'd be in sunny Florida visiting his grandmother over this past weekend, I decided this would be the perfect time to paint his room and give it a mini-makeover.  I talked my dad into coming into town to handle the painting, and I started assembling things to use in his new room.  Some of the things I put into his room were things he had but we had never done anything with, some of the things were already in his room, and some of the things I purchased without him knowing.  My goal for this room makeover was major wow with little moolah (a novel idea, I know).  :)

Here's the before of his room:

There were already a lot of things going for his room.  The room is a great size, and he absolutely loves his furniture.  He also has 3 large windows that let in a ton of natural light, but the room had zero personality.  I cringe when I look at these photos.  It always bothered me that we had nothing hanging on his walls and no personalization going on, but whenever he picked something out for his room, it would be something that I knew he'd hate in a matter of weeks.  So, I kept putting off doing anything.

So, after several weeks of gathering things and working on secret projects and a weekend of painting, here is the after:

I have lots of details to share about the things I put into his room, but I have neither the time nor the attention span tonight to write about it all.  So, stay tuned for more deets.  Oh, and Colin loves his new room.  He has hardly left it, aside from going to school.  And, that makes this mom's heart happy!



**linking to the girls at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

3 + 3 = perfection!

Earlier this week, I spent an evening going through the house and spackling some of the larger random holes that we have in the walls around the house.  And since I completed that project last night with the final round of sanding and then paint, I gave myself the green light to put some more holes in the breakfast room walls.  :)

You see, I'd been feeling like things were a little off balance in there.  Does anyone agree?
The shelves on the right are super helpful and functional storage, and it wasn't *so* bad when I had the some other things hanging on the left side, but once I removed them, the wall was awfully off balance.

Of course, that's nothing a quick trip to Ikea (and a hammer and a bunch of wall anchors and a drill and some screws and a tape measure and a level) can't fix!

Instead of 3 shelves, we now have 6!  Ahh, balance, sweet, balance!
Symmetry, how I've missed you!!
Since this project was driven more by aesthetics than a need for storage, I just threw some things up onto the shelves for staging.  Some stemware, a couple canisters, and frame with a piece of red craft paper worked pretty well for the left side.  The basket holds our cloth napkins that we use (and reuse until they're kinda grody) for each meal.  We gave up paper napkins and paper towels for the most part several years ago, so having cloth napkins within easy reach is important.
 On the right side, we have some more canisters, a vintage scale, another basket and a piece of framed burlap.  I do hope to get some more interesting art in the frames, but for now, place holders are just fine with me.

So, what do you all think?  Do you like the look of the 3 new shelves?  Do you agree that 3 + 3 = perfection?


** linking to the girls at