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July 31, 2014

kitchen revamp - the afters

It's finally time to show you what I've been busy with all month long.  The reveal of my kitchen revamp.  I might as well warn you up front, there are a lot of pictures so buyer beware!

This is not the post where I tell you what I spent on what or the details of how I did this or that.  This is just my hard earned "tada" moment.  The rest will come later.

So you can see the transformation more clearly, I've included a before photo followed immediately by the after of the same area...

Removing all the clutter helped so much...

The sink area feels much larger and accessible...

I really hated losing my large black clock but once the range hood went up, I was over it and then I found this vintage looking red replacement...in.love.

Hiding the back of the island with a piece of bead board really cleaned it up and tied the two islands together.

Moving the microwave to under the island left me room on the counter top for a really cute coffee bar...

Having a solid surface as the back splash really limits your wall display space.  I used cup hooks under the cabinets and a black chain to hang this cute chalkboard...

It is still hard to believe what a difference a coat of white paint makes.  I had almost forgotten until I looked at these pictures side by side...

Remember that awkward space I had between the fridge and the stove?  This little "cabinet" helps to bridge the two together and provides a place to rest my spoon...

I'll share the happy accident that helped put this together later...

Normally I would have been a little nervous showing you this reveal, wondering if you liked it or not.  But I was reminded while working on the kitchen that decorating is such an individual thing.  Sure, I worked hard and yes, I want you to like what I did but the important thing is that I like it.

The whole process has made me fall in love with my home all over again and I'm so excited for the possibilities that exist in the rest of the house.

I'll be sharing all the details over the next week or two, along with photos of the projects I have planned for August.  Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words, you have made me brave enough to tackle anything.

xo, Patty

*edited - here is the link to the kitchen details post.
             - here is the link to the how to's on the mock cabinet between the fridge and stove.

July 29, 2014

sometimes you just need to bake...

This has been the hottest, driest spring and summer I can recall in a very long time and honestly, I am over it. Southern California is under drought water restrictions so even if I wanted to be out in the garden, I couldn't water enough to keep it green.  With August and September still yet to come (traditionally our hottest months of the year) this is truly the summer that never ends.

So what's a girl to do?  Turn the AC up and bake chocolate chip cookies, of course.

That's just what I did yesterday and if I closed my eyes and stood in front of one of the three fans we have going 24/7, it almost felt fallish.

But then I stepped outside to get something from my car and wham, smack dab in the middle of summer again!  You'd think this native SoCal girl would be used to this but summer is not what it used to be. We used to have dry, hot summers now it seems the humidity has taken over and it really is a different kind of heat.

Maybe, I'll turn on the sprinkler, fill the kiddie pool with ice, close my eyes and pretend we're in a snow flurry.  Want to join me?

xo, Patty

July 28, 2014

what I've learned through my kitchen revamp...

I've learned a thing or two about myself as I've worked on my kitchen revamp this month.

I've learned editing, purging and simplifying is very satisfying to me.  I've learned that giving stuff away feels good.  I've learned it would be much simpler if I didn't buy it in the first place.  I've learned to only keep what I truly love.  I've learned that life is full of seasons and just because something worked for me in one season doesn't mean it still does.

I've learned it's okay to leave a wall empty.  I've learned sticking to a budget is a good thing and makes you appreciate your purchases more.  I learned that it's better to wait for what you really want rather than settle for what you can afford right now.  I've learned that there isn't too much I can't do myself with a little research.  I've learned to put on one more coat of paint if there is any doubt it needs it.

But mostly, I've learned to be true to me.  My home should bring me joy.  When you walk in the door it should be evident immediately that I live there.  Not my mother, sister or friend and not my favorite blogger. Looking to others for advice and inspiration is fine but in the end, if it doesn't make me smile every time I walk by, then it's not me.

I can't stop staring at my revamped kitchen.  I want to spend a lot of time in there, cooking and cleaning and just puttering.  If feels like me, authentically me.

I gave myself until the end of July to finish the kitchen so it only seems fitting that I reveal it on the very last day of the month.  (Final tease, I promise.)

Happy Monday!
xo, Patty

July 24, 2014

wire baskets in the kitchen

It feels so good to be entering the home stretch of my kitchen revamp.  The major work is done so now it's time for the fun stuff, it's all about editing and accessorizing.

Going into this I had a pretty good idea of the feeling I was after in my kitchen and even a general idea of what I was going to place on each section of the counter.  But after a couple of days of pushing things around most of my original plans have gone out the window.  In fact, there are a couple things I was looking forward to using that won't be displayed at all.

One thing that is working for me is using wire baskets and trays to corral things on counters and in cabinets.  There are so many great options to choose from at relatively inexpensive prices.  I found this one at my local Home Goods for under $10.00.  It's big enough to hold my fruit bowl, a few old soup cans filled with garden flowers and a container of fresh mint (for Mojitos, of course!)

Sometimes decorating a kitchen seems like such a silly thing in lieu of the seriousness of life.  I have often wondered what purpose all this prettifying serves when there are so many people in need all around me.  But then I remember that one of the most important things I can do for those who fall under my care is to provide them with a calm, lovely place to hunker down in.  A place to escape the harsh realities of the world, a place of safety and security.  Not a perfect place (we have our share of strife and differing opinions to be sure) but a place where being loved is never questioned and shortcomings are forgiven...a place called home.

xo, Patty

I'm linking up with...
Liz Marie Blog for Favorite Things Friday
I'm Not a Trophy Wife for Friday Favorites
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Fridays

July 21, 2014

a sneak peek at the kitchen cabinets...

Things are really coming together in the kitchen now that the cabinets are hung.  I have to admit that I did have a moment of "what was I thinking" while the second coat of paint was drying.  But now that the third coat is on and the painting is done, I am thrilled with how they turned out.

To say my kitchen is brighter and seems bigger is an understatement.

This is all I can show you (I know it's not much of a peek) without revealing too much at this stage in the game.  I decided to leave the doors off the cabinet above the refrigerator and just use the open shelf for display.

I still haven't made my final decision on a light fixture so that's still out there. I did however, convince my husband to pull out his power tools yesterday and make the final wood cuts that I needed to finish up the rest of my plans, so now it's full steam ahead.  It feels so good to have the end in sight.

I'll be back soon to show you more.  Happy Monday!

xo, Patty

July 18, 2014

"tada" postponed - progress report week two

What is it they say about the best laid plans?  My "tada" moment was temporarily interrupted by a little thing called life.  My intention was to have my newly painted kitchen cabinets completed and ready to show you today but it looks like that won't happen until Monday.

My kitchen appliances are put back in place, I cleaned and repainted the base boards behind the fridge and stove and finished painting the upper cabinet bases but the doors still need one more coat and a day of drying before I can rehang them.

As tired as I am, I am definitely okay with that.

So, I gathered a few of the things I've made and collected for the kitchen to share with you instead.

The painted signs are a new creative outlet for me.  Luckily my husband has plenty of scrap lumber for me to experiment with and redo's are as easy as a stroke of paint.  They aren't perfect but that's what I love about them.

The little galvanized buckets are from Ikea (.99 cents a piece) and will be used to hold herbs above my stove.  I put the chalkboard together for the space above the sink and plan on using the old wire basket to hold my hand soap and dish soap by the sink.

I have a few other things planned that I'll wait to share with you when I reveal the whole kitchen at the end of the month.  Have a wonderful Friday!

xo, Patty

July 16, 2014

"tada" moments

I am two days into the five day job of painting my kitchen cabinets white and wondering if I will ever feel my arms again.  Seriously, I knew this was going to be a huge job and everyone warned me that painting over red was not for the faint of heart but I had no idea what a tole it would take on this 53 year old body.

Now ask me if I could go back and leave the upper cabinets red, would I?  Do I regret even starting?

No.way.  Even in their less than lovely two coats of primer state right now, I see the beauty.  The kitchen already looks tons lighter, brighter and happier.

I am resisting the urge to show you my progress because I don't want to spoil my hard earned "tada" moment.  Instead I'll just show you my pretty daisies and invite you to come back on Friday when I'll share with you how the cabinets turned out.

xo, Patty

July 14, 2014

school supplies and bonne bell lip gloss

Is it just me or is this summer flying by?  It's mid July already.  Yikes!  I don't know how it is where you live, but our kids start school mid August which means there is only one more "real" month of summer left around here.

I've noticed the big box stores have their school supplies out, front and center.  It's all I can do to resist buying one of everything for myself.  I have always loved a new box of crayons, an unused pink eraser, a new notebook, fresh college ruled paper and a set of colored dividers.

The new school year always held such promise.  The perfect time to reinvent yourself with a new wardrobe, a fresh hair style and a big roll of shiny Bonne Bell lip gloss.

What is your favorite new school year memory?  I'd love to hear...

xo, Patty

July 11, 2014

kitchen revamp - progress report week one

I am making slow but steady progress on my kitchen revamp (emphasis on slow).  Starting can sometimes be almost overwhelming for me on a project as big as this.  I am much better at making plans over coffee than I am about implementing them.

Since I knew I didn't want to tackle painting the cabinets until next week, I decided to start purging and reorganizing what's staying in them instead.   I figured starting clockwise was as good a plan as any so I began with the food pantry.

The first thing I did was take everything out and start checking dates and tossing.  I always feel guilty for the amount of food that doesn't get used before the expiration date.  My general rule of thumb for non perishables is six months after the "use by" date. Anything older than that gets tossed immediately otherwise I move it to the front to get used as soon as possible.

I purchased a set of these white stacking shelves for $8.00.  Not only did they pretty much double the size of my shelf but I was amazed at how much they helped in the organization of cans.  If you remember, I was storing soda and water on the floor beside my pantry.  By rearranging and stacking I was able to make room for the water bottles and liters of soda on the bottom shelf.  I also cleared some space in the hall closet for larger bulk items that I'll share later.

I gave my daughter a shelf for baby food and the food she buys for her own snacking.  (Yes, she can eat anything she wants in the house but she likes her own stash of junk food.)  This cleared off much of the main kitchen counter top where they were kept before and gave her a personal storage area...a definite win, win.

I can't tell you how good it feels to open the door and see everything in order.  It has me excited to keep going throughout the entire house, as well.

I am hoping to finish off the rest of the cabinets today so that next week I can focus on painting.  I am a little intimidated by the whole process of prepping and painting the cabinets but I've read a few tutorials and I think I'm ready to tackle the job.  I'll be back next Friday with another progress report.

Have a great weekend.

xo, Patty

July 9, 2014


I went to my sister in laws last night for a girls night chat and drank a glass and a half of wine, ate lots of seven layer dip and had three cookie bars...I want to feel guilty about it but I don't.  In fact, I'm thinking about the cookie bar I brought home right now.

I found this fabric on line and I know I need to have it but I can't figure out where I would use it.  It's $20.00 a yard so I know I need to use it sparingly, somewhere where it will have impact.  I'm thinking about a couple of throw pillows for the sofa.

Does anyone else get confused between the keyboard on your laptop and the one on your smart phone?  I can be typing away and try double clicking on my computer keyboard and not understand why it's not adding the period for me or correcting my spelling.  Not that I like auto correct on my smart phone because sometimes it totally changes sentences for me in the most unflattering, embarrassing way. 

Just a quick update on my kitchen...I am making slow but steady progress and have cleared the water and soda overflow from the floor to the pantry.  I purchased some of those stacking racks for the shelves and now have double the space for cans and such in my little food cupboard.

I was so excited to hear your suggestions and realize that my ideas are not that far out there.  I can't wait to show you pictures of my progress and a more detailed account of my vision. Thank you for your well thought out comments and emails.  I hope to answer your questions in my next post.

Happy hump day all!

xo, Patty

July 7, 2014

my kitchen revamp - the befores

Welcome to the first post in my room by room series.  This is where I hope to revamp our 1400 square foot storybook cottage one room and one month at a time on a teeny, tiny budget.  I'm starting with the busiest room in the house...our kitchen.

Grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

I took a few pictures of my kitchen the morning after our 4th of July BBQ.  This is a real peek at how our kitchen functions on a normal day.  It took all my restraint not to crop or edit them in any way but I really wanted to show you the problems I have in here and what I'm hoping to accomplish with this mini revamp.

So, here goes...

This is the view of our kitchen from the dining room and front door.  It's a decent size space but the counters and cabinets are narrow and limited so it always looks cluttered.  One of my main goals is to maximize the storage we do have and that involves purging what I don't use on a regular basis so that I can fit the things we do use into the existing cabinet space.  The best part about this fix is that it costs zero dollars.

With the exception of a small cabinet we use for a pantry, this one wall of cabinets and counter top is it. Because of the over flow of snacks and baby paraphernalia stored on the counter, I rarely use this area for food prep.  The good news is that the counter tops are fairly new quartz in a neutral tone and the cabinets are solid wood and in pretty good shape.

This island is my main prep area and I am happy with it.  There are actually two islands connected in an L-Shape. The one along the window wall is my baking area and I like it, as well.  Both areas could stand to be decluttered to maximize efficiency.

The cabinet to the right is my pantry area.  It is full and needs to be better organized.  I need to make room to store the extra soda and water so that it's not left out on the floor.

I love the natural light that these large windows let in but they open to the street so they need to be covered for privacy.  Currently there are white wood like blinds on them that function well enough but are a constant source of grease and dirt collection due to their proximity to the range and food prep area.  I am thinking I'll replace the valance and blinds with washable curtains on clip rods.

The range is only a year old and I am so lucky to have it.  As you can see, there is no vent over the stove which is a big part of the grease and grime problem I face in here.  I usually just open the window in the door next to the stove for venting.  I purchased a ductless hood vent online for $85.00, that I'm hoping will do the trick.  The other thing I want to change is the gap area between the stove and the refrigerator.  The fridge can be moved over another six inches toward the window so I am going to have my husband build a small counter area between the two appliances so that I have a place to rest my spoon while cooking.

In spite of the large windows the overall feeling of the room is dark and while I love the red cabinets, I think they are a large contributor to the darkness.  I am going to paint the uppers only a creamy white.  The walls in here will also be getting a coat of white paint.  The lighting fixture is being replaced as well.

The shelf over the door is coming down.  I think less on the walls and over the fridge will declutter visually. The wood laminate floors are fairly new and I still love them so replacing flooring is not necessary.

Well that's it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  My plan is to finish by the end of July and stick to a budget of $500.00.   Any thoughts?

xo, Patty