KITCHEN PROGRESS: Demolition and Appliance Shopping!

Kitchen Before

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

You guys! My life! It’s all feeling about as chaotic as our kitchen looks. Some friends just shake their heads at me and smile. They don’t smile for too long or I might rope them into helping, though! (By the way, I’m always accepting helping hands!) I wanted to update you all with where we’re at on the kitchen project. And first let me just say that Chip Gaines has tricked me into thinking there is such a thing as “Demo Day.” Ahem, we had a couple of Demo Weeks at our house, but I guess that might have something to do with the fact that our demo team consisted of just me and Phil, until my dad came home from a business trip and was able to help me with the cabinets. Oh, the cabinets. More on that when I talk about our range choices!

So Phil and I put on long pants, long sleeves, and safety glass, using all of our free time (and then some) to do as much demo as possible. I spent a couple of days removing carpet, padding, tack strips, and staples while Phil was at work and the girls played in their play room (which only resulted in disaster once), and later we ended up having to call friends to help haul out large cabinets. In the end, the trickiest part of demo was all the ceramic tile!

Tile Demo

We summoned all of our strength and elbow grease as Phil and I blasted dance music and ripped up the ceramic tile. I decided to rent a Waste Management Bagster, and we used a regular dumpster/trash can on wheels to haul the broken tile out of the house and into the Bagster on our driveway. Phil went out with the sledge hammer and cracked the tile. I used a hammer and chizel to get up any larger pieces that were sticking, and then I shoveled it all into the dumpster with a flat shovel. Talk about a great oblique workout! All of that lifting and twisting! Where’s my six-pack?!

We were able to get up most all of the tile in a couple of days, and took care of the smaller, stuck-on bits the next week before our contractor came. In fact, the contractors are at the house right now! I hired my friend Mark McGuire and his crew to come build a pantry in our kitchen (see floorplans below to see where the new pantry closet will be), a step out into the living room (also seen in floor plan changes), and to even out some subfloor level discrepancies on the first floor, so we can lay the wood floor throughout. By the way, if anyone in Northeast Ohio needs a trustworthy and affordable team for home reno projects, PLEASE contact me, and I’ll share my contact. He doesn’t have a website, or I’d link it up here.

kitchen floor plan before/after

This week we also had our countertops measured for Corian counters I had ordered through Home Depot, so I’d better get to painting the lower cabinets before the counters are ready to be installed! I’ll share more about the countertops, sink, and faucet later. But I must say, if you didn’t see a particular Instagram story this week, you’ll be surprised at something special I’m doing for our sink area! So exciting! Can’t wait to share it in more detail.

So now most of our demo is complete— we just have to grind up a bit of stuck-on mastic in the kitchen and hallway areas to prep for laying flooring. I’ll share another progress photo soon once my cabinets are back in place, but rest assured, drywall is back up in our kitchen, and that fluorescent light box is coming down ASAP. The next step in here is to place cabinets and saw off the back ledge of the island as well as remove the island countertop. (We’re putting in a butcher block countertop from Lumber Liquidators that we don’t even have to cut to fit!)

Kitchen Renovation

kitchen rendering

Can you see the demo picture and imagine how it will look afterwards? No? Well, let me paint you a picture. No, really. I literally painted a picture for you in case you can’t imagine it. I’ll agree that it looks a little scary right now, sure, but as with any exciting home renovation project, things must get way worse before they can get better!

But for now, let’s talk about appliances! I’ll share more about my budget (and even share a copy of my budget sheet for our renovations) next week, but I wanted to go over my thought process about appliances. I had wanted to reuse as much of my appliances as possible, but our range was electric (I’ve been spoiled by gas and can’t go back), the dishwasher’s display panel is broken, and our fridge is too deep for its location (plus it opens the wrong way— ha!), so we decided to just go ahead and replace it all. Yikes! I have the opportunity to work with Home Depot for our appliances, so I’ve been obsessively looking at all appliance options online and reading reviews until I fall asleep at night. This is all very daunting, and very exciting for me. I’ve never purchased nice, new appliances before. It’s a true delight.

home depot counter-depth refrigerators

You can see in my renderings that I’m planning on building a shelving system on the wall opposite of my kitchen window, and the shelves will go up against my refrigerator. I had considered incorporating the fridge into the shelving system, building wood shelves above it. But I’m really drawn to the idea of building a white case around the refrigerator and up to the ceiling to make it look built in, adding plain white doors to the area on top of the fridge to look something like this kitchen. Then the wooden shelves will butt up against the white built-in fridge area, the shelving then taking all of the visual attention, allowing the utilitarian appliance to fade into the background. What do you think?

If I decide to go with this built-in-and-fade-away look for the fridge, I definitely want a white fridge. If I want to incorporate the fridge into the wood shelving, I’m thinking stainless steel would be a nice finish choice, so it doesn’t seem too conspicuous— a white blob in the middle of warm, wood shelves. I just need to decide which look I want. Which do you think would be better?

As far as refrigerator form and function goes, I’m really drawn to the sleek doors with no ice/water on the front. Plus it has less opportunity for mechanical issues. We will eventually instal a reverse osmosis water system with a tap by the sink, so the water feature in the fridge may be redundant. I am worried about the upkeep of stainless steel (Fingerprint City!), but would white handles be hard to keep clean too? My favorite fridge I’ve seen, in looks alone, is choice number three above. It looks sleek, could fade nicely into the background, and I really love the pop of steel with those handles. Plus, from my friends who are in the biz, they say KitchenAid refrigerators are trustworthy appliances. That’s what I like to hear!

Option One / Option Two / Option Three

*Prices good through 7/12 at Home Depot stores.

home depot ranges

If you haven’t read my initial planning post for the kitchen, you may not know that we plan to reuse all of the lower cabinets, but rearrange them to make more space in the eat-in-kitchen area (which we will use at our main dining space), as well as to extend the island top to make that our eat-in-kitchen spot. This requires moving the oven to a different wall, which was actually kinda nice because before I thought the hood vent would compete, visually-speaking, with the kitchen window.

Another issue (besides needing to move the oven) with our plan to rearrange the cabinets was that after rearranging we had an 8″ gap on the wall where the oven would be. I knew this would be an issue, because I laid it all out on AutoCAD before we got started. (Thanks, design degree! Ha!) We considered our options and were thinking about building an 8″ cabinet with a pull-out spice rack situation. But we would have had to buy routers to make paneled doors to match the others, and my head was hurting just thinking about doing that in the midst of all of my other projects. Dilemma, dilemma!

I’ve always wanted a larger stove with 6 burners, but have always balked at the prices. However, we want this place to be our forever home, and plan to host lots of gatherings here. Should we just spring for the larger range? It would save us the trouble of building that 8″ cabinet, and also would make out countertops be less expensive, as we’d have less countertop area to cover. What do you think?

On the conservative side, I like the idea of having a white double-oven range that will fit in nicely with our white cabinets, but I really don’t like the way the back/top sticks up in the lower end models. Slide-in ranges are more expensive, but look so much more sleek and really impact the feel of a kitchen. I definitely would feel like I’m settling if I didn’t get a slide-in unit. Ah, so many decisions to make!

Option One / Option Two / Option Three

As far as dishwashers go, I’m less particular. I’ll probably just select something that is well reviewed and matches the look of my oven and/or fridge selection. I’m very excited to share this whole process with you! My flooring came in today and I laid all of the boxes into the house to acclimate before we begin installing it next week. Things are coming along! Woo hoo!

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program for appliances. As a part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

How to Create an Idyllic Childhood Summer

Radio Flyer Giveaway

When I think about my childhood summers, I think about never-ending games of Capture the Flag, sharing swiftly melting popsicles with the neighbors, catching lightning bugs in a jar with holes poked in the lid (did that even help those poor things?), solo bike rides around the neighborhood with no hands on the handlebars, discovering creepy earwigs crawling on my sleeping bag during campouts on the back porch, chlorine-crusted hair that still smelled of campfires in the morning, watching neighborhood pick-up baseball games from the roof of my dad’s Oldsmobile Cutlass. I know my memories are colored with the nostalgia of an idyllic childhood, but I can’t help but mourn the loss of a carefree childhood that perhaps my children will never enjoy.

Gone are the days when parents simply tell their children to “go play outside and be home by dinnertime.” I am old enough to remember hearing all of the neighborhood moms calling their children to come home for dinner. But that will never be me. I feel like if my kids are outdoors, it’s my duty to vigilantly watch their every move, maybe not hovering, but certainly engaging with them and looking out for their safety. It stresses me out to the point where they don’t tend to go outside as much as they probably should. But I worry about child abductors, broken legs, stray balls begging to be caught, and heck, even bee stings.

Did my parents think about those parental concerns as much as I do now? Maybe they did, but perhaps they felt safe enough, knowing their neighbors well enough that they felt comfortable giving us a little more independence each Summer. Either way, I lived for those hot, carefree days, and I often wonder if my children will be able to experience a similar childhood. Lately I’ve thought maybe I should just let go of the pressure to recreate something similar for them. After all, we live in different times.

Radio Flyer Giveaway

Now that Phil and I are using most of our spare moments to renovate our new house, I worry even more that my children are missing out on some kind of idyllic image of what I want their childhood to be. Maybe I’m too worried about personal productivity and my children’s safety, and therefore am missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a mom. Am I being too hard on myself? It’s not as if I have them plopped in front of the tv while I mindlessly scroll through apps on my phone. But I do try to be aware of how we spend these days of their childhood, as fleeting as they may be.

My own parents worked on home renovations during much of my childhood, and my dad was always building furniture in his garage workshop. (Now you know where I get it from, eh?) But I don’t remember missing out on fun family experiences. Did they purposefully set aside time to put down the hammer and power drill to get out and bond as a family? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes! How else would I have such great memories with my family as a kid?

I know that I’ll never be comfortable just telling my kids to “go outside and play,” unless I can see them easily from where I sit or work, but that doesn’t mean my kids won’t have special memories of Summers as I did. It just requires a little more planning, I think. And hey, I like planning, so I’m pretty confident I’m up to the task!

Recently I made a list of all of those things I mentioned earlier that made my childhood summers feel magical, and I realized I don’t actually need an idyllic Pleasantville-style neighborhood to make any of them happen. They just require making space in our lives, which means knowing when to quit working on house projects so we can spend time with our kids, without phones or other distractions.

Idyllic Childhood Summer

So what does our Idyllic Childhood Summer list look like? It’s not a list to make me feel stressed about completing it or failing as a mom, but it gives us some fun ideas of things to do together as a family, building our relationships with our kids and gifting them with memories that I hope they’ll always cherish. And if we don’t get around to everything this summer, hey! There’s always next year, right?

  1. Help Lucy learn how to ride a bike
  2. Have as many picnic dinners as possible
  3. Go berry picking
  4. Take the kids to the beach
  5. Catch lightning bugs
  6. Enjoy a campfire and make s’mores with friends
  7. Go to the fair and let Lucy go on as many rides as she wants
  8. Make popsicles to share with friends (Did that already!)
  9. Go camping with friends (probably will just be in one of our yards!)
  10. See fireworks
  11. Pool days
  12. Play dates at the park

Idyllic Childhood Summer

Radio Flyer Giveaway

Idyllic Childhood Summer

We recently got Lucy a Radio Flyer balance bike to help her gain confidence riding a bike without needing training wheels. It’s been difficult to motivate her to try something more challenging than a trike, but The Radio Flyer travel agency has given us some fun ideas to motivate her to get outside and learn to ride, engaging her creativity as we imagine fun destinations she can get to from within the comfort of our neighborhood park! But only on her Radio Flyer balance bike. :)

enter to win

When I think of timeless, nostalgic toys, Radio Flyer is the first brand that comes to mind. The classic children’s toy company was started in 1917 by Antonio Pasin, whose dream was to “bring joy to every boy and every girl.” Today Radio Flyer is still admired for their attention to quality and consistency in quality and design. Some things really do never change!

To celebrate their 100 anniversary, Radio Flyer is giving away one toy daily until June 30th. Check out the Stars and Stripes Giveaway and enter to win! The prize changes every day. Share your own family’s Radio Flyer adventures on Instagram and tag them with #radioflyer100 for an extra chance to win.

Idyllic Childhood Summer

Radio Flyer Giveaway

Did you have a red wagon when you were a kid? We used ours to transport supplies for fort building and other neighborhood adventures. Maybe I should add a Radio Flyer wagon to our summertime list, eh? Oh, and be sure to check out Radio Flyer on Facebook and Instagram for an extra dose of nostalgia!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Radio Flyer. The opinions and text are all mine. 

The Sunroom Plans

mandi makes a sunroom

Now that we’ve finally closed on our new home, we’re ready to begin work making all of my plans a reality! The first room we’ll complete beginning to end will be the sunroom, because it’s a small space that will be a bit easier to tackle. I think having one chaos-free space (with a dining table to boot!) will be great for us, because we’re planning to move in to this wreck of a house in a week or two, and I have a feeling it’ll take a lot of effort to keep my sanity. :)

Each part of the process is so fun for me, but planning is the most enjoyable part for me! It is definitely a mentally consuming undertaking, designing for oneself. But so much fun! Once I settled on plans for each of the rooms we’re gutting, I found my mind much more at ease, and began sleeping better at night. That’s a relief because I need all the rest I can get during these days of hard work! (Check out my kitchen plans here.)

mandi makes a sunroom

The sunroom is a narrow 7′ wide and 15.5′ room in the back corner of our home, separated from the great room by a lovely pair of wood and glass french doors. It leads out to our currently un-utilized patio area, but we do plan to build bench seating and planters in that area in years to come.

I plan on situating a nice chair for reading on the side of the room where you can currently see a little plastic slide. It’ll be situated among a few houseplants and a side table for docking my coffee and books I’m currently reading. On the opposite side of the room (as seen below), I’d like to have a bench area with a small table and chairs for the kids to enjoy books, games, puzzles, play dough, and snacks. I plan to build the bench with storage inside, and will probably deck it out with plenty of extra pillows for comfy reading sessions.

mandi makes a sunroom

The soffit on this side of the room would be a perfect area to tuck in an upholstered wall to act as the back of the storage banquette. I had planned on just building a standard upholstered bench back, but then I saw this pink dining nook on Pinterest and it completely changed my life! Ha! Channel tufting feels very late ’70s, but in the right setting feels very ahead of the latest design trends.

sunroom banquette elevation

My goal for this space is to create a refreshing environment that feels comfortable but not cluttered, modern yet inviting, and very bright. I like a little minimalism, but also will never lose my love for mid century classics. A little bit of boho feels right for a sunroom space, so don’t be surprised if you see some embroidery, wicker, and other natural elements in here. It’s a place where plants and people can be equally happy. Aren’t those the best kinds of spaces?!

 

sunroom planning

  1. IKEA linen curtains
  2. White wicker pendant light
  3. Minimal fabric wall sconce
  4. crewel embroidered pill0w (vintage from this Etsy shop)
  5. Olle Eskell poster
  6. Faux marble tulip table
  7. Vintage wicker bucket chair from Main St. Modern
  8. Cowhide rug
  9. Flooring- Island Pearl Bamboo from Lumber Liquidators
  10. Wall color- Benjamin Moore Super White

sunroom chairs

Choosing a chair for the sunroom is bringing out my natural over-thinking tendencies and giving me sleepless nights. Quintessential first-world-problem, I know. But the channel-tufted banquette wall and the sleek tulip table are such statement pieces, I want to find a pair of chairs that both stand up to those bold elements, but don’t make the small space feel too try-hard or overwhelming, stylistically speaking. I can tell you now I am most drawn to chairs 1, 2, and 4.

My brother has a set of 6 original Bertoia chairs (chair #2), of which he’s only currently using four. He has offered to let me foster two of those chairs until the day he moves to a different home more accommodating of his collection. How fortunate I am to have a brother with such impeccable taste and generous spirit! But I am also very tempted by these chairs and need to keep a style in mind that I’ll need to one day purchase to replace my borrowed chairs.

  1. Thonet bentwood chair
  2. Replica Bertoia wire chair
  3. Rattan chair
  4. Wicker cantilevered chair
  5. Patterned chair
  6. Upholstered tapered leg chair

Have you been following along with my renovation videos on Instagram? They expire after 24 hours, unfortunately, but be sure to check them out from time to time! We’ve been busting things out left and right, and today I ordered countertops for the kitchen! I can’t believe it’s all finally happening! Woo hoo!

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