Monday, November 16, 2009

Poll: Kitchen Faucet

I need help. I can't decide between these two kitchen faucets. The kitchen is going to have cherry cabinets, soapstone perimeter, and a carrara marble island top (these photos are just examples). Here is the sink too.

Both faucets come with a soap dispenser, have a stainless steal finish and the price is similar. Which looks better?

Updated Plans

Here are updated plans. The fridge and wall oven will be switched and the bathrooms will probably be rearranged but for the most part this plan is final. Of course, that's assuming that the town doesn't have any issues and all goes well on the financing end.

I also just realized that there will be ample room to prominently display the Christmas tree in the front window of the living room.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inspirational Bathrooms

I've really spent little time thinking about the bathroom. I have however chosen all the fixtures for it. Here is the faucet for the master.

These are some cool bathrooms I've seen posted online. While none of these are quite what I'm looking for, each has some element that I like. I've chosen many of these inspirational photos for their shower design.

I really like the glass tile in on the back wall of this show. The bench and cubbyholes are a great idea. Don't care too much for the floor.

The first floor bathroom is now going to be a powder room instead of a full bathroom. I really like the look of this bathroom.

New Direction

I love a white kitchen. I'm drawn to the photos I see online and the photos listed have been my inspiration kitchens. Kitchens where I've been pulling ideas from.

I really like these glass pendent lights in the first two photos. The second one is probably a little a big for the island, but I'm hoping to find something similar that will work.

BUT we're changing direction and going with a cherry kitchen with dark perimeter counters and the island will be either a butcher block, carrara marble or a light granite. Depends on what I find. The island will be 4'x4', the perfect size to find a remnant piece at a stone fabricator.

The kitchen will have lots of natural light with a big window over the sink and the french doors going out onto the deck, so I'm not worried about it being too dark. I do have a hard time visualizing how a cherry kitchen is going to look in our house, but when it's all done, the house is going to be completely different. No more orange like stain on the floors, trim and doors. The floors will have a more natural stain and the trim/doors will be a shade of white.

I don't think these inspiration kitchens do the true color of the wood justice.

We met with a custom cabinet designer to design the details for the kitchen. He has done a lot of projects with our architect and is actually less than cabinets from a kitchen showroom. This is actually one place where we've been successful in trimming down the budget.

I was really impressed that he included all of the features I was looking for w/o telling him. For example, he included a double trash pullout, big drawers for pots and pans and the cabinet above the fridge is flush.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I came recently came across a great forum called GardenWeb. I'm so glad that I discovered this early in the process. The kitchen in the second to last photo has 2x6 tiles instead of the typical 3x6. I like the look.

This kitchen has "penny" tiles at the back splash. The thought on the forums is that it's going to be dated soon. A back splash is easier to change than say the cabinets.

This kitchen has 2x6 subway tiles instead of the typical 3x6. I like the look

I really like the orange pendants in this last photo. It's a great way to incorporate color without being committed to it. Also, there was a discussion on GardenWeb that answered my previous question about mixing and matching finishes. Yes, it can be done as long as the formality is the same. So I think I will go with brushed nickle for the kitchen faucet and hardware on the cabinets and ORB for the light fixtures. I could do ORB for the hardware too, I haven't decided.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beautiful Kitchens

This kitchen comes from Kitchen Sync. I'm intrigued by the subway tiles. I can't decide if that's a look that I would want in my kitchen. I feel like I am more likely to include this type of tile in a bathroom. I really like the glass cabinets but maybe not that many.

The open shelves above and around the fridge is a nice touch. Perfect for storing all those cookbooks. Even with so many recipe organizers online, a kitchen must have cookbooks

How cool is this spice rack from House Beautiful! But it's one more thing that would need dusting.
This kitchen was posted over at Cote de Texas. Another kitchen with subway tiles yet has a completely different look than the kitchen posted above.

Check this awesome kitchen from Henry Gordon Jones. I love white cabinets with black/gray counters and the island of a different material. I think I'm probably sold on Soapstone.

That one item

I'm looking for that one item that will inspire the other features we put into the house. The one that will help make all the other decisions a little easier because I'll know the style and finish I'm looking for.

For example, I love this light fixture for the dining room. I love the warmth that the golden shade brings and the oil rubbed bronze finish. This is a terrible picture, but
imagine three of these pendants hanging over the kitchen island. Again, golden shade with oil- rubbed bronze finish.

Can I mix and match finishes? I really like the oil-rubbed bronze but not for the whole house and I've read that it's going out of fashion and that brass is coming back in. Eww brass, really?
My thought is to have brushed nickel be the main finish for the house on door knob's, kitchen hardware and bathroom fixtures but for a few pieces or maybe for a bathroom, I'd like to incorporate the oil-rubbed bronze finish in a few places.

This is also my dream vanity from Pottery Barn. I would never pay what they're asking for, but I'll print up a photo and bring it with me while shopping.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Research Begins

Our first design meeting is scheduled for Sept 28 and we will continue to meet every two weeks until we confirm a plan and submit our proposal to the town for approval and building permits. At least I think that's how it will go.

I recently spoke to the designer and she informed me that we'll start to pick out flooring, cabinets, faucets and such toward the end of October. Eekk, I have a lot of research to do! So this weekend I'm going to go to a cabinet and flooring store and also poke around Home Depot for ideas.

If you've done a home renovation project, let me know if you have any tips on kitchen appliances, hardwood floor, tiles etc. For example, a co-worker highly advised against black/dark granite, particularly one with a high gloss finish because it shows every smudge. That would drive me nuts.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Walking down the home cleaning and personal care aisle at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store is a little overwhelming. There aren't the typical brands like Tide or Ponds and it's taken me awhile to figure out which organic or natural products I like. Here a few I've come across that I would buy again.

Cleaning Porducts
Ecover Toliet Bowl Cleaner: I've tried a lot of the toilet bowl cleaners, don't ask, and the Ecover is one that I like best, mostly because it has the best design

Method Dyer Sheets: I've never been big into dryer sheets, when I used fabric soften, it was always liquid, but I recently was intrigued by an end cap with the Method Dyer sheets and decided to try it. They don't leave clothes with that sticky feeling and don't seem to affect the absorption of towels.

Seventh Generation Eucalyptus and Lavender Liquid Laundry and Ecos Liquid Laundry (soy based fabric softener built in)

What's nice about Method and Seventh Generation is that they can be purchased at Target, likely at a better price than Whole Foods. AND from what I can tell, both companies are independently owned.

Personal Care
The three brands I've used the most are Nature's Gate, Earth Science and alba/Avalon Organics. All are reasonably priced, similar to drug store brands.

Overall, I've been really happy with Nature's Gate products. I especially love the Lemongrass and Clary Sage hand soap. I've also used their shampoo and body lotion.

The alba Sea Moss mostisutizer with SPF 15 is very light weight and gets the job done, even with my dry skin.

Earth Science is another line that I've been happy with.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Things I'm Looking Forward To

There are many things that I am looking forward once the remodel is finished. Here are a few of them.

* No more sucking in our stomachs to get into our only bathroom due to the massive vanity we put in; what can I say, we needed more counter space.

* No more wood dust in my pots and pans because the drawers slide wood on wood

* No more grunting to open or close a window

* No more walking sideways between the stove and microwave cart to move from the kitchen to the guest bedroom

* No more open cupboards because the dinner plates are too big

* A king size bed

I have over a year at least to look forward to all these things being no more. Hopefully all goes well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

A couple of months ago I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for book club and it really made me take a closer look at the products I was buying. Since reading the book, I make an effort to buy products produced/grown closer to home and no longer by Dean Foods products, bananas and products with high fructose corn syrup. I've made a few another changes but these are the ones I consistently follow.

I no longer buy
Dean Foods, also the owner of Horizon Organics, because of their practices regarding dairy products. If I am going to buy organic dairy products, I try to buy Organic Valley if I'm willing to spend a lot or I'll by the Whole Foods brand which has received decent ratings for their organic practices.

I no longer buy bananas because of how far they travel to get to me. Is it really worth all that fuel? We'll see if I can go the winter without them though. If Brian didn't like grapes so much, I probably wouldn't buy those either since they usually come from Chile.

Do I really need to buy products made with high fructose corn syrup, which is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar to extend the self life of processed foods? No. I try to stick to products that have the real stuff.

Sometimes I wonder where to draw the line. Buying organic is expensive and I wonder if it's worth it. Yes, our generation ate regular food, but food today is grown and processed much different today than 20 plus years ago.

I'll save a discussion on feed-lots for another post.


Over the past year or so, I've been thinking more and more about the personal care products I use and the impact it has on my body and the environment. So as I run out of a product, I search for an organic version.

Finding a deodorant that does not contain aluminum, which is linked to Alzheimer's, has been a bit challenging. I did a little research and read that
Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant worked well but it was about $15.

Another tip I had read was to stick to roll-on and sprays. While at Whole Foods, I decided on
Lafe's Hemp Oil Rol-on Deodorant Fresh and it was about $5. I think it is OK for the winter when I'm not so sweaty, but it was just not doing the trick during the hot and humid Boston summer. I took the plunge and bought the Weleda Wild Rose spray. The spray is a little strange and sometimes I miss and end up spraying my arm, but so far so good.