1 year renovation anniversary (video)

We thought it would be fun to do a walk through of the living space 1 year post-renovation so you could compare. So here you go! About a year ago the space looked like this Jan 15, 2018:

(Full breakdown of the plans, befores and video commentary here)

As of Jan 13, 2019, it’s looking a lot more fresh

A few notes:

  • Did any eagle eyes notice that the exterior color of our house changed dramatically? Yeah, on top of everything else we tackled this year, we also painted the entire outside of the house. More photos and details soon!
  • Laundry room sneak peek!
  • Hallway sneak peek!
  • Dining room chandelier sneak peek!
  • This may be more information than you need about the inside of the cabinets. I couldn’t photograph them properly for the original post and may have overcompensated with this video.
  • Lots of living room sneak peeks! Basically you can see the whole space, but I’ll still take some proper after shots soon.
  • Points to me for not sounding like I was going to pass out during this video. Ha!

Welcome to the pantry (aka Narnia)

Welcome to the pantry… or as our friend, Tim, calls it “Narnia.” I can see where he’s going with that nickname. This super functional, neatly hidden closet is definitely a dream space, but it was borne out of sheer necessity.

  1. We needed to pack as much storage into the kitchen as possible… and we didn’t want upper cabinets.
  2. We were looking for a permanent home for our upright deep freezer.
  3. We needed to push the sides of the kitchen and former dining space together to give the finished room a cohesive feel.

A hidden pantry met all of these requirements. We planned to remove the built-ins on the outer wall and box in the space.

Post demo, wall building and drywall hanging,  we were left with a blank slate.

You probably noticed that we went a little wild with the color in this space. While we joke about painting everything white and often stick to black and gray as the other primary elements of our palette, we have a huge love for jewel tones. Evidence includes our blue couch, the emerald green captain’s suite at the firehouse, our blue master bedroom and the emerald green accent around the windows in our dining room. Keeping most things white/black/gray makes those shots of color even more impactful.

For the pantry, we wanted a big pop, which meant we needed something that would contrast the black cabinets. Yellow felt a bit too bee-like and you can guess why we scratched orange of any sort. Moving along the color wheel something in the red category was the next most obvious option. Black, white and hot pink are a classic combo in my opinion. (long standing IRL friends and family members may remember that those were the colors from our wedding.)Just to make sure we weren’t overlooking an option, we pinned some palettes and grabbed all the jewel tone swatches from Home Depot. Glidden’s Bright Black Raspberry won us over.

Enough suspense, let’s dive into the space.

We packed a lot of utility to the right side of the pantry. A countertop of Absolute Black honed granite is the perfect home for the small appliances that get used frequently but that we don’t want to stare at (or put away) every day. Both coffee makers, the toaster and the Soda Stream live here permanently. Below we nestled the microwave and a drawer that’s perfect for storage bags, foil and plastic wrap. Hiding the microwave in here kept the kitchen U looking seamless. Aaron built a shelf to complete the space next to the cabinet, making it perfect for all of our extra large items, like a massive cutting board and marshmallow toasting forks. You know, the essentials in life.

Up top, the cabinet hides all of the coffee paraphenalia – cups, coffee and filters. Custom shelves to the right of the cabinet house cookbooks. And you might notice that we opted for a motion sensing switch in here. It has made me feel like the lights should just turn on anytime I enter a room in this house. So basically I’m spoiled by it. I also love that it snaps the lights off after a few minutes.

You might also noticed that the entry to the space was not exactly “done” when I took these photos. It has since been trimmed and painted a matte black. We also corralled the undercabinet lighting wires under some trim that was painted hot pink. Basically I took these photos before everything was done…

Flipping around you get a view of ALL THE SHELVES. The long wall holds 6 shelves that are 7″ deep and 5′ long. They are perfect for things like spices and canned goods. The back wall shelves are 16″ deep and 39 1/2″ wide. This area holds larger items like baking essentials and snacks.

Did you notice that our deep freeze didn’t make it in here? While working on the configuration, we realized that we were building a pantry that would house the freezer and then some thin shelves (just the ones on the long wall). Aaron decided to take one for the team and keep the freezer in the workshop space. I was convinced that we could make it work either way… but I’m very happy that he convinced me take advantage of the extra shelves at the back of the space.

Ikea’s Algot system was the perfect option for a customizable and economical storage system. At a few bucks per upright and bracket, the components are wildly affordable. They got a coat of Bright Black Raspberry to make them fade into the background.

For the shelves, Aaron insisted on hardwood. He opted for hard maple due to the relatively economical cost and the beautiful grain. Each shelf required this rigorous process

  1. Cut to size
  2. Plane for smoothness
  3. A pass through the drum sander
  4. Hand sanding (heavy and medium grit)
  5. Wet the boards to raise the grain, then wet sand with medium grit sandpaper
  6. Dry
  7. Sand again (medium and fine grit)
  8. Two floods of dark walnut Danish Oil
  9. Wax all edges

 

In may have been a bit of overkill for pantry shelves, but they definitely look and feel very luxe. This pantry is fancy AF.

In related news, Aaron is not using hard maple anywhere else in this house.

A few other Ikea items make this space super functional. A step stool is a must because short girl problems. The Bekvam step stool was sold out in black, so we grabbed the birch option and discovered it was unfinished. Aaron stained it with Old Masters Dark Walnut Gel stain. It matches the shelves and looks like it belongs to this space. We strategically place the lower shelf high enough to allow the stool to slide underneath.

We snagged a few Algot mesh baskets that clip right to the upright, making them perfect for onions and potatoes.

While I love the look of pantries that have all their items sorted into matching containers, I knew that  was too much effort for me. (Legitimate question – how do you know how to cook things if you chuck the packaging?)  Ikea’s Variera boxes are much more my speed. They come in a few sizes and make everything from pasta to Aaron’s sour candy collection feel organized in a flash. I used these boxes throughout the kitchen and they may be the best $2.79 you can spend at Ikea.

That rounds out the kitchen renovation. I’m still spending an embarrassing amount of time looking at the before/after shots. So don’t feel bad if you’re doing the same 😉

The slab finally became a table and the dining room is almost done

When we started the process of condensing our lives to move across the country, we did a lot of paring down. We hosted an epic garage sale that helped whittle down Aaron’s massive camera collection. We sold furniture to friends and the new firehouse owners. We donated an entire carload of items. Even after that, we moved lots of things with a “We’ll see if this works in the new house” mentality. One of those things, was the enormous slab that was intended for the firehouse dining room.

This beauty was sourced specifically for the large-roomed, tall ceiling-ed firehouse. Clocking in at around 110″ long and nearly 4′ in one section, we honestly had no idea if it would fit anywhere in (or outside of) our new house. After settling in, we realized the amount of space we’d have in our future outdoor dining room would accommodate a table of this scale. Although leaving such a nice piece of wood outside in the elements (we do get occasional rain), didn’t seem like the best idea, we slated the slab for that space due to lack of options.

Once the renovation was underway and we had a better idea of the space we’d assigned in the front room for the dining area, we took some more measurements. Taking about a foot off the end of the slab would make it a sizable, but not overwhelmingly so, table for inside. Done and done.

We ordered some heaving duty legs from Etsy, bought some heavy duty saw horses, and asked a neighbor for help moving  the slab to our patio.

Time in the sun was not kind to this piece.

But, thanks to sanding (so much sanding), natural Danish oil and several coats of furniture wax, Aaron was able to revive the wood into this showstopper:

It is SOOOO pretty!

I’m particularly obsessed with the swirl.

8 of the 10 vintage chairs we’ve been hoarding longer than the slab now have a permanent home!

We have actually made a ton of progress in this front room… even going so far as to break out some decor items! Here are a few before and after comparisons

The next set isn’t a perfect match up because I’m refusing to show the kitchen in this post. (I’m the worst.) But you do get a sneak peek at the wall of cabinets and hidden pantry.

Let’s start with the basics. This space got

  • White walls
  • Smoothed ceiling and white (duh) paint
  • Overhead lighting thanks to a bunch of LED can lights
  • Contemporary crown molding (which I forgot to photograph)
  • New floors

We’re injecting doses of jewel tones in this home and we opted for an emerald green to accent the corner windows. Then we filled this super sunny spot with bunch of succulents. Basically I am in plant heaven over here.

Against the pantry wall, we added a small banquet area for extra storage and serving space.

We paired glossy white Ikea cabinets with a section of their Barkaboda walnut countertop and some undercabinet lighting for ambiance. This has been the perfect spot to store our wireless router, adult beverage glasses and some backup bar gear.

The shelf was kismet in the form of a Design Within Reach Outlet store just down the highway in Oxnard. The outlet pricing puts the beautiful designer pieces much more within reach (har har!). One our first visit, we easily talked ourselves into this ladder shelf for 300 bones. We knew we’d need something for this space and it fills it perfectly! The walnut ties into the countertop, and I was finally able to pull out some of our favorite decor pieces.

The other side of this space is still a work in progress, but you can see where we’re headed. We’re planning a casual seating area (for pre- or post-dinner drinks and games). The Ikea shelves (longtime bedside tables that we FINALLY retired) are now serving as a “for now” bar area until Aaron builds a custom piece for the space. We also have a cool plan for a unique coffee table for this area.

  This space is SOOO close to being done. It needs a chandelier (in progress, just waiting for the correct hanging hardware to come in) and some art. I love everything about it, but the table is definitely the superstar, as it should be.

New desk and new(ish) conference table

I’ve hesitated to call the studio completely done because we’ve been reserving a space in the rear for a conference/work table. Exhibit A

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We’ve even been hoarding a table base for it since late 2014. (Should I be embarrassed by that??) But as you probably know, 2015 didn’t leave much time for extra projects.

We can cross this need off the list thanks to Ikea, which opened just down the street from us last autumn. We used our first free weekend from weddings to check it out and walked out spending just over $100, which is a massive feat and probably deserving of some sort of medal. The trip reminded us that Ikea is offering sit/stand desks, and after mulling over it all night I told Aaron just to go get one. So the second trip to Ikea was not as easy on the wallet, but it resulted in this new set up.

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Ikea has a cool powered base for around $400, but we opted for the cheaper, man-powered Bekant frame that came in at just $119. After installing a white top, some cable organizers and a felt half wall that hides some of the mess, Aaron was up and running (standing?) with a new office.

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So far we’re really happy with the quality of the desk, and he has yet to lower it to a seated position. This may be because I stole his desk chair… but to be fair I’m rarely in the studio during normal business hours so he could take it back anytime he wanted.

That left us with a spare table. (Here’s a tip: if you need a big desk just buy a table. It’s usually cheaper than an oversized desk.) And we had the perfect spot for it.

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Ultimately, Aaron will probably still build something to sit on the other table base, but for now this works great. It also makes this area look less like a chair graveyard. Those beauties are in a holding pattern and destined for the dining room.

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We are dangerously close to calling this space finished! According to the list, we only have a few items left:

  • Build a cool light fixture to hang over the conference table <– Probably will get scratched because we don’t really need more light here
  • Build a new front door <– We need a workshop for this. Any guesses as to what is at the VERY TOP of the list for this year?
  • Design and build a screen door for the garage door <– Interesting concept…. I would give this a 5% chance of actually happening

 

Firehouse B&B now open

Just kidding. We’re not really starting a bed and breakfast. The last thing we need is another business venture… or random people wandering about our house construction zone. But friends and family should be happy to know that we have a legitimate place for them to spend the night!

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The captain’s bedroom has long been a dumping ground for excess furniture and all sorts of miscellaneous decor that doesn’t have a home yet. That was bound to change when we found a bed for the room. As usual, our hearts were set on something vintage, but we were stuck on having a queen size – for comfort for our guests and because I didn’t want to manage multiple sizes of sheets (our bed is a queen).

We looked all over St Louis for a vintage, queen size frame, even making a last minute search through the antique peddlers in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Nada. Where are all the mid century queen bed frames?

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So we settled for a Trysil frame from Ikea. The clean lines, dark tone and price won us over. It’s a good for now (… ok, let’s be real, for a few years) solution.

We were already headed to Ikea to check out some kitchen cabinet options and pick up a mattress. We got the Sultan Finnvik (which I’m not seeing online). It seemed like a good guestroom option, and the price was better than we expected thanks to an Ikea family discount. A mattress cover, duvet, duvet cover, pillows and pillow cases rounded out the bedding situation.

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The room is by no means perfect. There’s still excess furniture and bar paraphenalia (which we have plans for) on either side of the room, but it looks a lot more orderly. And can we not talk about the electric orange and bright blue paint, lack of baseboards, roof caps on the HVAC pipes and lack of overhead lighting?

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There are some vignettes in the room that make me very happy, like this vintage typewriter cart topped with photography books and a plant.

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We wanted to add some color with the bedding, but we’re a long way from properly styling this room (see: electric orange paint). The blue and white striped Nyponros duvet set seemed like a great option. Plus those buttons!

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The legs on the Trysil frame make it feel substantial and airy at the same time.

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Hey cool, vintage lamp! Where have you been hiding? Oh… in this room… that’s right.

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And this air plant (a sweet housewarming gift from a friend who has great taste in nurseries) has a more permanent home.

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I’m not hating that I have a place to store some of our random books and one of the many pots we got on the same Ikea trip.

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What makes me happiest is the new view from the living room.

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I realized that this is our first real guest bed. We jettisoned a futon (it had a thick mattress so it was actually comfortable) when we downsized and moved across the state. I have to say this inviting view is making me want to jump into that bed for a late afternoon nap…

Since it is our first, always made guest bed, let me ask a really dumb question. Do you wash the sheets before guests come? I’m worried they won’t be fresh if they stay on the bed with no use for months.