The Country Home kitchen makeover story finally hits newsstands!!

I realize I’ve been terrible about posting anything here lately.  So while I’m waiting [anxiously] for my wedding photos to arrive back, the Country Living makeover article finally hit newsstands!!  Our kitchen is a two-page spread on pages 68-69!  Very exciting!!


My kitchen was featured (again) on Apartment Therapy!

Wow!  How awesome was it to wake up this morning to find out that Apartment Therapy wanted to feature my kitchen again?!  Very cool.  Thanks to Leah over there, I’m glad they liked the renovation so much.


The BIG kitchen reveal!

Well, it’s been quite a few months since I moved into the new house, and quite a bit of that time was spent obsessing over the kitchen during the renovation process. Gutting it down the bones, and building it back. Well, finally I give you the before and after photos!!



More photos after the jump… Continue reading “The BIG kitchen reveal!”

Thoughts on hanging a shelf (and not driving yourself crazy in the process)

Ikea shelfI’m at the tail end of my kitchen renovation. It feels nice. Although the reason that it’s not 100% complete is because of those final little details that seem so hard to finish. One of my biggest headaches these past two weeks has been hanging a double decker kitchen shelf from Ikea. Who knew something so seemingly simple would be so freaking frustrating?

Well, I’ve learned from experience that you need proper support when trying to hang a shelf. Several years ago, I attempted hanging a different Ikea shelf and in the middle of the night it came tumbling down…along with everything on top of it. Ugh.

So this time, I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. Thus began the hunt for the perfect toggle bolt. Well, I will spare you the humiliating details of my incompetence…and instead just give you a simple DIY’ers how-to checklist for when YOU are hanging shelf [with a toggle bolt].

  1. Find a shelf. Preferably NOT from Ikea. I know they look pretty, but I’m convinced that they’re designed to make your life hell. However, assuming that you are like me and prefer form over function…then continue down this list.
  2. Determine what kind of wall you have and if there is a stud available. Screwing the shelf into a stud is ALWAYS preferable to using any other method. Or so they tell me… I never seem to hang anything into a stud.
  3. However, assuming you bought some fancy Ikea shelf that doesn’t work with the spacing of your studs (like I did), then knowing what type of wall you have will help you determine what kind of wall anchor you will need.
  4. When you’re marking the holes for drilling into the wall…make sure you use a level to make sure that your shelf will hang level. If possible, have the shelf propped up on top of something so that you’re not trying to hold the shelf whilst also marking the holes. This can be extremely frustrating.
  5. If you have hollow walls, a molly bolt or toggle bolt is your best option. But if you plan on hanging heavy items on this shelf, go straight for the toggle bolt. (Oh, and BUY A FEW EXTRA!) You’ll lose a couple in the wall trying to get it right…and the last thing you want to do is head back to the hardware store at 8pm on a Tuesday night.
  6. Also, if there is a small local hardware store nearby…make sure to purchase any wall anchors there. The people that work there are more knowledgeable and can help you pick out the right size anchor as well as any new drill bits you might need to insert that bad boy. If using a toggle bolt, you’re going to need a bigger hole than you think.
  7. Follow instructions on the package for how to use the toggle bolt, but here’s a tip: Make sure you get the right length bolts. (Or else you’re going to have to go back to the store yet again.) When you’re not sure, err on the side of longer than your first inclination . You can always tighten it.
  8. Another tip for the toggle bolt: Don’t try to be sly and put the toggle all the way at the end. You’ll need to screw it on a couple of threads so that it doesn’t get messed up behind the wall. Trust me!!
  9. Next tighten up the bolts…and then you’ve got a nice shelf hanging on the wall.

Hopefully this project won’t take you almost two weeks like mine did. But even though it took me that long, I must say that I’m very happy with the results.

Ikea shelf with stuff on it

How do you feel about hardwood floors in a kitchen?

I’ve only had limited experience with hardwood floors in a kitchen, but with the reality of an impending kitchen renovation looming I realize that I’m going to need some ideas on what to do with my new kitchen floor.  Currently it has disgusting linoleum floors…and the floors are slightly uneven so tile is not an easy option.   My friend has a source for me to get recycled pine barnwood floors at a reallllly good deal, but I wanted to get some feedback first.  Any thoughts?

hardwood floors in a kitchen

More refrigerator talk on the web

So if you’re like me and you read Apartment Therapy on a regular basis, then you’ve probably been reading about Liesl’s Fridge Saga or another reader’s question about small refrigerator brands. Well, I have my own refrigerator drama these days. I just sold my current house…and have bought a new one. One that needs a lot of work…and a new kitchen. The one that’s there now has the following issues:

  1. 12″ deep wall cabinets. (I don’t even know if that’s deep enough for a plate?)
  2. A seriously icky mold problem under the sink
  3. A weird DIY “textured-spackle” backsplash
  4. Heinous vinyl flooring
  5. Floral wallpaper
  6. A sink that’s stained beyond belief
  7. No dishwasher, garbage disposal, or working vent
  8. A stove & refrigerator that would be fine if I was renting…but let’s face it…I’m not
  9. Not a ton of space to work with

Sooo…basically my plan is to start ripping out and putting back in as soon as I close on the house.  I’m hoping to eat takeout until it’s done so that I never have to clean that disgusting fridge.  (Ha!)  Anyways…because of the relatively small footprint of the kitchen, I have been looking for a small counter-depth fridge.  It turns out that those practically do NOT exist.  Ugh!! I’ve been combing the internet looking for possibilities that don’t blow my entire budget, and have found very little.  But one of the biggest things I noticed during this process is that virtually no websites have good detailed photos of appliances.  It’s SOOOO frustrating.  How can a retailer NOT show you what you’re about to purchase when you’re going to spend thousands of dollars?!  It’s frustrating…to say the least.  It’s this way with stoves, refrigerators and basically everything.

So as usual I went to the Philadelphia Home Show several weeks ago, I checked out the 24″ freestanding stainless Liebherr refrigerator.  It was soo great.  And had the bonus of having a tiny footprint.  I love that it was TALL, but was not very wide or deep.  Obviously you sacrifice some cubic feet for style & compact size, but it’s pretty amazing.  Unfortunately it cost over $3500.  Therefore it didn’t fit my budget, but I did take photos of it so that if anyone else is looking…it would be there to help them out.  Meanwhile, the search for MY perfect small counter-depth fridge continues.  Here’s the exterior & interior.