A Twist on Subway Tile: Heights House Guest Bathroom

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

Today I can finally share the very first tiling project at the Heights House! We’ve been stuck in the drywall stage for what seems like forever, so it feels great to get some of the finish work started.

Before I dive into the details—join me on a tour of the bathroom before we started, our date night tile-hunting at Lowe’s, the tile installation and finished results!

A few weeks ago I shared the full Guest Bathroom Design Plan of ‘bold luxury on a budget’:

The goal is to finish this space in just a few weeks, and we sure have our work cut out for us!

The first project to tackle was tiling the shower, and I talked about the design process and my decision for this tile in the last post. Since we’re using a patterned/textured tile on the floor, it was best to keep the tile simple, and glossy white to offset the black walls. The timeless, sophisticated theme of the bathroom called for a simple and classic shape like subway.

There are endless options when it comes to tile nowadays, and most importantly there’s so many great affordable options, so Lucas and I decided to check them out in person at our favorite Friday date night spot.

Yes, we were very excited about this date night

So many pretty distractions! But I had to stay focused on the mission: simple, white, classic, affordable.

I spotted these fun lantern shape mosaic tiles months ago and have them on my shortlist of “someday” tiles, but the price was a bit out of budget for this particular project.

This marble white + blue tile caught my attention, and while it wasn’t simple enough for this design, I’m definitely bookmarking it for the future! My love for diamonds runs deep.

I went to look it up online and just had to share—they just dropped the price by 75%! Killer deal for marble… I wish I had a project to use this on.

Further down the aisle was the subway tile, and there was no shortage of styles (<- so many rhymes in that sentence).

One of them jumped out at me immediately—can you guess which one?

If you guessed the middle right, you’re correct! Beveled subway tile is common but this particular design with the outlined edge was unique. And the long skinny shape gives it a clean, modern feel.

And after seeing the price, it was game over. I’ll take them all!

Fortunately Lowe’s had plenty in stock, so we loaded up our cart and called it a successful date night.

Now, it was time to figure out the tile arrangement. Most of us default to your traditional staggered subway tile, which I’ve done many times (tutorial here, here and here) and love—you can’t go wrong with a classic!

But this time, I wanted to try something new. My friends, are you aware of just how many different arrangements are possible? Here’s just a few, c/o A Beautiful Mess

And a few more, if you really wanna get fancy…

via Oregon Brick

While some of those more intricate layouts could be really interesting in the right space, I still wanted to keep things simple, with just a little something special. The stack bond look has been popping up on my radar lately, and I’m liking what I see.

via The Effortless Chic
via Amber Interiors

The tile I chose already had a unique design feature with the outlined edge, so there was no need to use an intricate layout to make it interesting. For this same reason, I opted for white grout, to emphasize the overall texture rather than the shapes of the individual tiles.

Our installer suggested skipping the spacers as these tiles already have a built in bevel the edges to allow for grout. I agreed and think it looks much cleaner this way.

Now for the fun part—installation! It was extra fun for me because this time I didn’t have to do any of the work (well, aside from placing a few tiles). Our time is running out to complete this house and fortunately, our builder has his guys lined up to get it all done.

It’s always fun to watch a skilled craftsman do his thing. Lucas and I combined would have no chance to work even half as fast or as precise.

We had a decision to make about where to start and end the tile, and took our installers suggestion of starting on a center line at the back wall and “wrapping” the tile around the corners.

This would create symmetry overall, and also allow for a finished edge along the two walls, which is important since we plan to line that edge with painted trim.

About 7 hours of tiling later…

And by the next afternoon, the tile setting was complete.

And finally, grout. We used Mapei’s Keracolor in ‘Avalanche’ (the brightest white they offer).

So satisfying to watch!

The white grout allows the tiles to blend together almost seamlessly, so from a distance it reads as an overall subtle texture.

I love the simplicity of the design, and the fact that you don’t see this same setup every day (or ever!) We bought (almost) 8 full boxes and ended up returning a box and a half, so this project came in at around just $300 for the tile (with the 5% discount using my Lowe’s card).

The room is a lifeless bright white box now, but deep black walls are lurking right around the corner…

That’s our next project to tackle in here, and I’ll be documenting and sharing the DIY in real time over on my Instagram stories, so make sure to follow along if you aren’t yet! I’ve been posting lots of progress updates lately as we’ve been working on multiple projects at once, trying to (finally) get this house move-in ready. Inching towards being able to share some pretty “After” photos… very soon, my friends! Until next week,


Simple DIY Wood Porch Steps Makeover

Last week I shared all the details about Phase 1 of our mission to maximize the curb appeal at the Riverside Retreat, and I’m happy to report that we’re one step closer to the finish line!

This project wasn’t in the original plan, but after a failed attempt at painting the tile, I turned to Instagram (and Photoshop) for help and came up with a new and improved plan of attack.

The plan was to cover the top of each step with stained wood (to match the railing) and paint the tile risers white. We could have wrapped the entire staircase in wood, but for our situation, that was unnecessary work/time/cost. Remember—the goal for this makeover is to maximize results with a minimal budget/timeline.

If this was our own house and not a future rental, we would have built a wood deck to cover the top of the porch too (I explained why that wasn’t an option for us in Phase 1) but cladding just the steps was much more do-able. I spent some time researching the plan, found several helpful tutorials on Pinterest, and was able to easily put together a plan.

Here’s what we used:

After sketching out the measurements, we were off to Lowe’s to grab our materials. Deck boards come in a few different sizes, and with the width of our steps (around 14″) it made the most sense to use 1×6 boards (which are technically 5.5″), to give us 3 boards on each step (2 full boards + one ripped down to 4″).

It’s not advised to attach these directly on top of the concrete steps, so we used 2×4’s as our spacers (or ‘sleepers’ as they’re called in this application), which we already had leftover from our DIY railing.

Since the deck boards would be sitting on top of the 2×4’s, we needed some sort of trim to wrap around the sides so you wouldn’t see the 2×4’s underneath. These 1×2 pressure treated furring strips were perfect, because they were just about the same height as the 2×4’s (1.5″). We bought five:

We had all the other tools and materials at home, so this project cost us less than $50! Score.

Back at home, we began measuring and cutting…

I had primed the tile border around the porch, including the risers, earlier in the week to give the primer time to cure before painting.

Applying a few light coats and letting it cure made me hopeful that this will last!

While Lucas was cutting wood, I was cutting in around the porch with a steady hand (using Behr’s Castle Path)—I repainted the entire porch since the old house paint wasn’t an exact match.

Then it was time to attach the sleepers. Living in a block construction house, Tapcon concrete screws have become our best friend, and fortunately they go right through tile as well. You have to pre-drill pilot holes for each screw, and our poor hammer drill was put to the test after a solid hour of drilling (it survived!)

After marking and drilling the pilot holes for each screw, we used an impact driver fitted with a special bit to drive the tapcon screws into the 2×4’s and concrete (you could use a regular drill, but an impact driver has more force and is easier to use for this job!)

Just to be safe, we used 5 sleepers per step (with 3 tapcon screws in each sleeper).

The regular drill (shown in the bottom of the photo above) had a paddle bit which was used to bore out the top of the 2×4, so the tapcon could be countersunk down and grab more of the concrete. This job would take so much longer if we had to stop and switch the bits out after each step—I highly recommend having all three drills in your arsenal!

Once the sleepers were secured, I gave the risers a couple coats of exterior paint (I shared the steps in real time in my Instagram stories, as usual!)

While this was happening, Lucas was cutting down the deck boards. Our steps are 60″ wide and we wanted there to be a little overhang on all sides, so each board was cut to 62.5″.

Two of the boards for the bottom two steps also had to be ripped down (we were able to slide the back board underneath the porch on the top step).

Accounting for a small gap in between the boards and overhang on the front, the back boards were ripped down to 4″.

Ta-da!

The great thing about exterior projects is that they aren’t held to the same standards of perfection like interiors are. You can have dents and gaps and imperfections all day long—no one is looking at those details. It’s outdoors, it’s supposed to be rustic! So much less pressure.

After all the deck boards were cut and sanded, I applied a couple coats of waterproofing wood stain + sealer to match the railing. I figured this would be much easier to do beforehand than trying to avoid splatters on the fresh paint afterwards.

Meanwhile, Lucas worked on measuring and cutting the 1×2’s for the sides:

Those pieces were then sanded and stained.

The stain took less than an hour to dry, and it was time to start fitting the first step!

The first three boards were positioned into place, and we measured on all sides to make sure they were even.

We had to do some adjusting (the wood is not perfectly straight—welcome to outdoor projects where nothing is perfect) and we made sure to leave a small gap between the boards for water drainage.

The deck boards were attached to the 2×4’s with deck screws, 2 screws on the outside boards and one in each middle board. Tip: to reduce wood splintering, make sure to pre-drill holes before securing the screws. In minutes, our first piece was in!

Rinse and repeat for the next boards…

Aww, our baby’s first step! 😉

Six boards later, and the top of our steps are done.

Next, it was time to attach the 1×2’s. We used painters tape to mark the locations of the 2×4’s before clamping the front piece in place.

Pre-drilling first…

Followed by the screw (we did this at every stud location, so five screws for each front board).

Same process for the side pieces, but using three screws.

FYI, we skipped spring here in Florida and went straight to summer. I can only be in the sun for a few minutes without overheating, so poor Lucas was sweating it out by himself for this last part.

But thirty minutes or so later, he called me outside to celebrate our victory!

Happy dances for a completed Phase 2!

Well, almost. At dusk when it was cool enough to step back outside, I touched up the screw holes with a dab of stain on a Q-tip. Notice the finished middle row compared to the unfinished outside row.

Ahh, much better.

It’s amazing what paint and a few pieces of wood can do.

The wood treads also solved our problem of slippery tile (honestly, who puts slick tile on outdoor steps?!) Such an improvement from last week, don’t you think?

And especially from a few months ago…

We have even more improvements planned for Phase 3 (which should be the last and final for this project!) including a mulch planter bed around the front of the house, a new front door, porch accessories and more.

That should be getting underway here in the next few weeks, but first we’re turning our attention once again to the backyard…

We started this project even before the front porch, but keep getting pulled away to other things so we’re looking forward to finally finishing our backyard Phase 1 this week (yep, this will have even more phases than the porch!) I’ll be back soon with all the details, and as always, you can see the progress right as it happens over on my instagram stories.

But first, back next week with our first tiling project at the Heights House!


DIY Porch Railing: Riverside Retreat Curb Appeal Phase 1

Today was going to be the big reveal of our front porch at the Riverside Retreat—a project we started working on back in January—but then life happened. If you missed last week’s vlog (and gender reveal!) check it out to see what we’ve been up to:

Our intention was to finish both the backyard and front porch by March, but after a few setbacks (and spending a lot of our time trying to turn over/rent 3 of our Bungalow units) we’re maybe halfway done with the exterior. Who’s as excited as I am about that extra hour of daylight starting this weekend?!

Even though this post doesn’t follow the typical Before + After happy ending, this blog is more about the journey, right? So let’s recap the adventure from Day 1…

Background story for those of you new on the scene: we went under contract (lease to own) and moved into this property last July, and we’ve been renovating it room-by-room with plans to turn it into a vacation rental after we move out. The goal was to finish shortly after moving into our Heights House, which is expected to be completed in the next 6-8 weeks. At this point, the Riverside Retreat renovation timeline is looking closer to mid-summer (it has to be done before the baby arrives!) so the pressure is on.

Because our first priority is our new build (the Heights House) and the majority of our resources have been allocated there, we have a limited budget for the Riverside Retreat. We also wouldn’t get every dollar back into an expensive renovation if we decide to sell someday, so we’re focusing on “bang for your buck” projects that maximize the outcome at a relatively low cost. And, that also means a LOT of sweat equity + DIY (which I haven’t been able to contribute as much lately with this pregnancy).

The exterior facade is where I knew we’d be the most limited on—we can’t change the house color, windows, roofline, or any major structural/costly components. But we could update the porch!

We actually did add a window on the left side of the house when we did the reading nook, which we deemed absolutely necessary (we DIY’d and used stock windows so the cost wasn’t bad at all!)

But this old metal railing… I couldn’t help but cringe every time I pulled into the driveway. Much to my surprise, it turns out a lot of people love this stuff, so I happily donated it to a fellow Instagrammer to repurpose in her home.

Lucas made quick work of the removal with his grinder (we just got it last fall and have used it more times than we can count) and soon enough, the house was free from its swirly metal jail.

Now it was time to figure out what to do with the columns. We considered leaving the existing metal supports and wrapping them in wood, but decided they’d end up too large and it wouldn’t look balanced. Plus, it’d be just as easy to start from scratch.

Down the columns went, and up went temporary 2×4’s for support.

For the columns, we decided on pressure treated 4×4″ posts with treated 2×4’s as spacers, wrapped in 1x’s on the outside. But we couldn’t just wedge the 4×4’s into place, of course—they had to be secured to the concrete floor.

Our online research showed that the best (easiest?) way to do this was to drive a rod into the concrete, and attach that with a bracket to the wood posts. We found these brackets and threaded rods, which we secured with a washer and nut. (They do make special post bases for this but they were twice the cost and we figured our solution was the same)

To drill a hole large enough for the rods plus concrete, we used a 1″ carbide bit and hammer drill.

Sidenote: this shirt was a Christmas gift and I think it’s the best thing ever 😆

After the hole was drilled, we poured in some concrete and set our makeshift rod + bracket contraption in, letting it cure overnight.

Everything was good to go the next day, so the 4×4’s were cut snugly to fit and wedge in place (Lucas drilled out a hole at the bottom for the top of the rod to fit into).

Checking level to make sure we’re straight…

Success!

After securing the top of the posts with screws, we added 2×4″ spacers to the back and inside of the columns to beef them up a bit.

Before wrapping the columns, we went ahead and attached the remaining posts for the railing. After considering our options, we decided that stained wood railing would not only be the easiest/most economical option, but also the best way to break up all of the beige/black/white paint and add some warmth to the curb appeal.

We used our pressure treated 4×4’s (cut down to 33″) and secured them to the ground using the same method. The new posts were placed at the same locations as the old railing posts.

Then it was time to wrap the columns! We purchased 1×8’s and 1×6’s, and ripped them (with our table saw) down to 1×5 and 1×7 so that they’d line up evenly.

They were attached using wood glue and counter-sunk screws (finish nails won’t cut it for exterior wood—it warps overnight in the humidity!)

Everything is going so smoothly, right?!

Not so fast. After letting the posts set up overnight, we gave them a wiggle and found that they weren’t completely secure. All that drilling and concreting for nothing, it seemed.

We knew that attaching the horizontal supports to the columns would stabilize the middle posts, but our biggest concern was the two end posts on either side of the stairs—those had to be solid. It was time to send out the reinforcements! We found these heavy duty angle braces and attached them to the tile (using Tapcon screws) for extra support.

Certainly not the prettiest option but it worked, and the plan was to add trim around the bottom and paint the tile so that it wouldn’t be too noticeable.

We decided to skip the stair railing because A) no railing is actually required at all by code because our porch is less than 30″ from the ground, and B) so much work, not enough time. At this point, DIY time is limited and every day counts!

With the posts secured, it was time to move onto the railing. We opted to assemble the railing ourselves (rather than buying the prefab wood rail kits) so we could customize the height (and save $$). The balusters were only 87 cents/piece and the top rails $9/ea. The wood comes pretty rough, so Lucas spent time sanding down the edges of each board before installing (our orbital sander is the best for these types of projects!)

We used 2×4’s horizontally along the bottom, attached to the posts with specialty metal brackets.

Checking for level during every step is crucial!

We left a 4″ gap below the 2×4’s (per code) and this step was the quickest one.

Interesting observation—remember how light the color of the wood columns were earlier? They darkened within just a couple days of exposure to the elements. All of the wood we bought for this project (the 2×4’s, posts, balusters and railing) were different wood tones (some of the 4×4’s were actually green!) and I was worried they wouldn’t match after staining, but in a matter of days, everything evened out to be the same color. What a relief! Not sure if the Florida climate has anything to do with it, but it’s definitely worth mentioning for those with the same concerns.

With the bottom of our railings in, it was time to secure the tops. Another straightforward installation using L brackets.

The top rails have notches predrilled, which makes attaching the balusters an easier process—you just have to make sure they’re cut to the right size and level.

Lucas drilled his own pocket holes and secured them with outdoor screws. Check it out, our first finished section!

From there it wasn’t difficult, just time consuming. Lots of measuring and cutting and drilling.

But worth the result, as always!

For the finishing touches, we topped the posts with decorative caps, and Lucas proceeded to custom fit 1×4’s at the bottom to help conceal the braces.

While he was wrapping that up, I used my trusty water putty to patch up all the holes in the columns and got it ready for priming.

I decided to paint the columns rather than stain them because I love the look of crisp white framing out a porch, and it would tie in with the horizontal support under the roofline. The wood had to be primed first, to seal/protect it from the elements and to block the knots from bleeding through.

Since the plan was to paint over the tile floor as well, I needed a good bonding primer that would stick to hard/glossy surfaces too. After lots of research and reading reviews, I settled on this Kilz primer.

It worked just as expected on the wood.

Before giving it a coat of paint, I decided to tackle the messier job of staining the railing. The stain I chose was also a result of lots of research, and my requirement for it to have a built-in sealer. Staining railing is a tedious process so you want to avoid doing double the work!

I landed on this stain + sealer in Dark Walnut after reading the reviews and seeing photos of real results (also very important).

I used my favorite short angle brush and got to it—this stuff dries almost instantly so you have to work fast! Here’s after one coat—this section took me around 30 minutes to complete.

By late afternoon, I had finally worked my way around the porch.

I had planned to do a second coat but after a full afternoon of staining, I was exhausted/sweaty/pregnant so I had to call it a night. If you’re using a stain and sealer in one, take my advice and finish it in one day! By the time I was able to get back to it a few days later, the first coat had cured and the stain didn’t take as well. I was still able to coat it but some areas didn’t stick properly. Even still, this stain does a great job of waterproofing and I’d recommend it.

With the stain taken care of, it was time to clean it all up with a fresh coat of paint. I figured this was the perfect time to touchup the house as well, like this eyesore around the window we added for the reading nook a few months ago:

The house had been painted in Behr’s Castle Path, so I picked up a new gallon and got to work, touching up all of the chips and scuffs and patches from the old railing. Much to my dismay, the color was not an exact match (maybe from the sun? maybe it wasn’t stirred or mixed properly?) and I ended up spending the whole morning repainting the entire front porch.

Fortunately, I don’t mind painting (hello, instant gratification) and by the afternoon, I was ready for the trim paint.

I bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams Exterior paint in Alabaster (semi-gloss), which is the white that the previous owners used all throughout the house. It seemed to match the swatch chip I had so I was pretty confident it was correct—NOPE. This new paint was noticeably brighter, so I spent the rest of the afternoon repainting all of the white trim.

At least everything looks nice and new!

The next day, it was time to work on those tile floors.

We went through ALL the possible options for the floor, and finally settled on painting the the tile. At one point we were leaning towards building a wood porch over the existing concrete (most definitely the nicest looking option), but that would require a ton of time and labor (removing all of the old tile and scraping the thinset, leveling the concrete, adding risers, attaching the wood, staining, etc). But the main reason we didn’t go that route is because our door is too low, so there would have been a small lip to step up onto the deck (hello, tripping hazard).

In the end, we decided we needed something relatively easy, low cost, and fast since this project should have been done a month ago. I’ve seen tons of tutorials by other folks painting their tile floors, so I spent a lot of time trying to hunt down the perfect products for our situation. I had already purchased the primer (which others had used successfully on their tile floors) and for the paint, I settled on this epoxy concrete & garage floor paint.

There are very few paints made specifically for tile, and even though this one is ideal for concrete/masonry, if it can withstand thousands of pounds and hot tires, a little foot traffic should be no big deal! This was also the only one I could find that offered tons of colors (the tile paints were all standard white/almond/blue-gray). Not only that, but we’ll be repainting our concrete backyard patio so this would do double duty.

I knew the importance of roughening the surface before starting, so I bought the roughest sandpaper I could find (60 grit) and went to town. I posted the disappointing results in my Instagram stories…

The glaze on this tile is so hard that nothing abrasive (short of a metal grinder) will penetrate it. I looked into acid etching as well, but I just can’t believe that any liquid would roughen the surface of this stuff—especially after I took a grinder to it and all it did was burn the tile (it was still smooth).

Not feeling very optimistic at this point, I went ahead and tested an area of the tile with two coats of primer and two coats of paint. The results were exactly what I had expected.

To be fair, I did this after it had dried but not cured. I tried again the next day and it was definitely resistant to rubbing and dull contact, but anything sharp still easily scratches through all the layers.

Yes, I could have waited several days for it to fully cure, then applied an epoxy sealer and waited for that to cure… then spent another 1-2 weeks repeating the process for the entire porch and hoping it all worked out. But I wasn’t married to this idea enough to make it worth all the waiting and risk of scratching was not one I wanted to take (can you imagine trying to remove all those layers if it DIDN’T work?)

Feeling defeated and hormonally unstable, I turned to Instagram to talk me down from the ledge. 

52% of you said the tile wasn’t the worst thing ever, and my inbox was flooded with hundreds of messages weighing in with ideas. Most were options I’d already considered, but a few of you pointed out that the stairs were the biggest issue and that I should just redo those. Light bulb moment! The curb appeal is our primary concern here (I can disguise the porch with a rug, chairs + plants) so now I just needed to come up with a simple fix for the tile visible from the front.

That got my creative juices flowing, and I drew up a quick idea in Photoshop…

I could paint just the lip of tile around the front of the porch, paint the stair risers and add wood on the tops stained to match the railing. So much better already! The primer should be sufficient enough to keep the paint on the vertical tile (that doesn’t get the same wear & tear of the flat surfaces), so I had no worries there.

A few tweaks later, some landscaping and a new front door really sealed the deal:

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner! Now I’m glad the porch paint wasn’t a home run, because this option is so much better (Plan B always seems to work out better in the end!) We have our shopping list for the wood steps (which should be pretty straightforward) and the primer is drying on the tile as I write this. If all goes well, that part will be done by the end of the weekend (famous last words, right?)

The later finishing touches will include a new front door, new mailbox and doorbell, shutters on the left window, a rug and chairs. A green front door could be interesting, too (this will be a fun vacation rental, after all…)

Eventually, if we are bored and in need of a project (ha!) we might change the top of the porch tile beyond covering it with a rug (most likely either tiling over it or resurfacing with concrete) but for now, I think it’s perfectly fine the way it is and for the needs of this rental.

After this weekend, we’ll turn our attention to the backyard (which we also started in January) with the goal of finishing before it gets too unbearably hot to work outside. This project has proven to be much more labor intensive than the front porch, and we’re not even halfway there!

Lots to share on this, and it will be another two (or three? maybe four?) part series over the next few months. In the midst of backyard projects, we’re about to start tiling the guest bathroom in the Heights House (and a handful of other projects) so keep an eye out for those on my Instagram stories over the next week!

 


Heights House Guest Bathroom

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

Back to back bathroom design posts means things are really about to start kicking into high gear at the Heights House! Last week I shared our plans for the master bathroom, and today I’ll dive into the design for the main guest bathroom.

Straight ahead from the top of the staircase, the upstairs guest bathroom serves our two guest bedrooms (on the left) and the bonus room on the right.

It’s on the small side, and it’s the only bathroom (out of three) with a tub.

My favorite part is the window and roofline. Pretty unique, right? I’ve got plans to make it even better!

The trickiest part about these small spaces is that they’re so hard to photograph. But I’ll do my best for ya!

The vision for this space is bold, luxurious and cozy. We’re talking rich matte black, glossy white, champagne gold and textured tartan for an unexpected yet classic touch. And did I mention this will all be on a budget?

I’m really excited about this design, but it took some time (and a lot of back and forth) to get to this plan. Let’s get into the details and my thought process behind it all!

Statement tile

To me, coming up with a design is like creating a new recipe. There are basic rules/ingredients that always work together, but the magic is in the small details/variations made which make it uniquely your own. You don’t have to worry about getting it ‘just right’, as ingredients can be delicious in many different recipes. Remember it’s an art, not a science (unless we’re talking about baking, that’s a whole other story…)

The floor tile was my ‘key ingredient’, and my starting point for the room. Months ago, I spotted this tartan tile on Instagram and literally got goosebumps—that’s how you know you’ve found a winner.

via @mhousedevelopment

I immediately assigned the tile to the upstairs bathroom and placed the order weeks ago. The only slight hiccup—it’s special order from Italy and won’t arrive until the end of March. I didn’t care, I’ll wait a lifetime for this tile. Even still, the bathroom show must go on as we need to finish our house ASAP to get our inspections passed and Certificate of Occupancy.

If you love the look of textured tile but don’t want to wait for a special order, Lowe’s has a few nice options, like these porcelain tiles which come in two different sizes (only $3.59/sf!)

And these ‘canvas’ porcelain tiles for $3.93/sf:

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving this textured tile trend! I hardly see anyone using it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it caught on and became the next patterned cement tile. Should we all band together and make it happen? I’ll go first! 😉

Colors

Color palette is always one of the first things I think about, because it helps define the mood of the space and clarify the direction you want to take the room in.

With just the tile to go off of, I could have taken this room in many different directions. Light and airy, dark and moody, soft and serene or bright and youthful. I’ve been on a dark and moody kick recently, especially for small spaces like bathrooms. There rest of our house will be white and bright, so I thought the guest bath would be the perfect space to get my dark fix.

Black was the first place my mind went—there’s just something about this bold yet timeless color that speaks to me. It makes a room feel luxurious and cozy, and I loved the idea pairing it with a classic pattern like tartan.

To bring warmth to the space, I chose champagne gold for the fixtures, which also represents luxury. And you can’t forget about including a healthy dose of white, which balances out all of the drama and allows your eyes to rest.

Throw in a couple natural accents like wood and woven baskets, and this recipe is set. It’s all about having a good variety of ingredients to make a room rich and flavorful.

Vanity

After selecting the floor tile and deciding on my palette, the vanity was the first piece I looked for. I generally try to find the largest/most substantial piece OR the hardest thing to shop for in the room first, since it will be easier to find smaller pieces that play nicely with it afterwards.

Fortunately, I needed a 48″ vanity for this room which is one of the most common sizes, so there were options galore…

One in particular caught my eye right away:

I loved the simple design, the functional drawer storage, and the open area on the bottom for woven baskets or towels. And I couldn’t ignore the price at just $949—including the stone top and sink. Hard to beat!

I also loved the fact that it was customizable, so you could choose not only the vanity size, but the base color and the type of stone.

I decided to stick with the clean look of the white, and opted for the Carrara top (it’s a faux marble, which = easier maintenance!) though they do offer a real Carrara marble option.

Verdict is still out on whether or not I’ll use the backsplash it comes with (probably not, I think it looks cleaner without) and I’m also not very fond of chrome hardware so I’ll be switching those out with these oval oil rubbed bronze pulls:

Here’s where it pays off to pay attention to detail: I went to Lowe’s to check out the vanity in person so I could inspect it before buying (they didn’t have the 48″ model in stock but they did have a smaller one), and noticed the stock handles are attached with 2 screws. The new handles are only 1 screw which isn’t a problem (I’ll drill new holes) however the new handles aren’t large enough to hide the screw holes. Instead of looking for new handles, I took this opportunity to look for something I’ve been wanting to try for a while—backplates!

These instantly make knobs and pulls look more high end and they often have a vintage feel, so I thought it’d be a great way to customize the vanity. I highly recommend upgrading the knobs on stock vanities as an easy/affordable way to make it your own.

I came across these ORB backplates  from the same brand (which means they should match) and they don’t break the bank at $5.60/piece:

The next (and probably most important) part of customizing the vanity is the faucet. Usually vanities don’t come with a faucet (including mine, it’s just shown with one in the stock photos), but it’s an important way to support the design and style of your bathroom.

From the beginning I had decided on gold/brass hardware which instantly narrowed my options, but quality was another important factor. There are certain things that fall under the less functional/more decorative category like lighting, mirrors, hardware and wall decor where you can skimp on quality for price. At this stage in my life though (and with this house especially) I’m more hesitant to cut corners on functional pieces like plumbing fixtures. My goal is to limit the expensive plumber visits and make sure things are done right the first time!

With that said, it was a pretty easy choice for me to land on this Delta Victorian faucet:

What I love about it: the vintage look, the quality/high ratings, and the champagne gold finish. Delta has an entire line of products in this finish, which I prefer to polished brass and it’s one of the main reasons I decided to stick with this brand (I’ve used their Trinsic in the past and will be using their Dryden in the master bathroom).

After the vanity situation was worked out, I turned my attention to the walls.

Wall treatment

With tartan floors, a white vanity and a white ceiling, black was the only option in my mind for the wall color. But if you know me, you know I need more in my life than just painted drywall. Normally this means wallpaper or some sort of molding treatment. Wallpaper was nixed right away because I didn’t want any pattern competing with the floors, so bring on the trim!

I tossed around the usual ideas like shiplap, board & batten, picture frame molding, beadboard, etc. And then… then I found it:

via @jeanstofferdesign

Oh, my. Here’s another angle because I know you’re glued to the screen…

via @jeanstofferdesign

After picking my jaw up off the floor, it clicked that this wall treatment was exactly what I was looking for. Well, not exactly—I’ll be swapping the stained wood for black paint. Yes, those lines you see in my rendering aren’t representing stripes, but rather thin strips of molding…

Fortunately, Lowe’s carries just the right material for this! I roamed my favorite aisle (the molding aisle, of course) and found these 1.5″ strips of wood lattice that should be perfect for the job:

They come in a few different lengths and widths too, but I needed the 10′ strips since our ceiling is 9’4″ at the tallest point. I took a bunch of measurements and calculated that I’ll need 24 pieces (including a couple extra for mistakes) which comes to around $220 for the entire room—can’t beat that!

This will be a relatively time consuming process I’m sure (especially with the funky window/wall angles, and we’re covering every inch of the walls minus the shower), but the material is inexpensive and easy to work with. I predict this will pay off in a BIG way. Thank you, Jean Stoffer, for your endless design inspiration.

I mentioned I’ll be painting all of the walls black—I haven’t locked down a specific color yet, but I’ll do a whole separate post all about the wall treatment DIY and paint color next month. The ceiling, door/window trim and baseboards will all be white. Looking forward to that post!

One more fun element I wanted to squeeze in… you see that little section of drywall where the wall meets the ceiling?

Well, it’s covering something structural but I immediately envisioned an actual beam resting in that spot, so we’re going to give it a little makeover! The plan is to attached reclaimed boards to the face, so it looks like a real rustic beam. It’ll be a nice little detail and will bring a much needed wood element into the room.

Shower + toilet

A classy room needs a classy toilet, and it doesn’t get much classier than this Kohler

Truth be told, I saw this toilet on Pinterest years ago and have dreamed about it ever since (in a normal, non-creepy way). I always said that if I ever design a luxurious bathroom, this would be my toilet. It’s not the cheapest option at $358, but it’s definitely not the priciest either. Let me tell you though—it’s something most people don’t even think twice about, but you guys, toilets make a difference. It’s the forgotten chair in the house yet it gets used the most. Don’t forget about your special chair… it deserves love too. P.S. I plan on getting these for all 3 bathrooms. 

Now for the shower… this was the most difficult part for me to decide on. I was torn between wanting to do something interesting and unique, and wanting to keep it simple to not compete with the floors and walls. If you’ve been around for enough room reveals, you know I like to take every opportunity to do something I’ve never done or seen before. In my heart I knew that I had to keep the shower simple and white, but I couldn’t bring myself to install basic white subway tile in the shower (not that there’s anything wrong with this, it’s just been done so many times!)

I also couldn’t spend a fortune on cool textured/shaped tile, and I still wanted something timeless to match the style of the rest of the room. It needed to be simple and subdued, with just enough of a unique touch to make it interesting.

Enter these $0.98 3×12″ ceramic tiles:

I spotted them on Lowe’s and they immediately piqued my interest. The outlined edge is a neat touch, and I also loved the way they stacked them vertically here:

Luckily they’re readily in stock at Lowe’s, so I scoped them out in person. Definitely liking what I see.

Even though they’re labeled ‘subway tile’, I think the added detail and stacking them vertically will make this shower stand out from your typical subway tile walls, but it also won’t try to steal the attention from the rest of the room. In a couple weeks, I’ll do a whole blog post and video about our installation with the Before + After—stay tuned!

Mirror, lighting + accessories

With the big decisions out of the way, it was on to the funnest part—accessories! Unless I find and fall in love with something early on (or need a very specific size), I usually save this part for last since there’s so many great options out there.

I had to have the lighting locations planned out months ago during the electric rough-in stage, so I opted for two sconces—you can see the boxes below:

My original idea was to have a round mirror flanked by two taller sconces, like this:

I found this round gold 28″ mirror for a steal at $50, and these elegant brass lantern-style sconces (tip: when shopping for bathroom lighting, search for “wall sconces” instead of “vanity lights”—it’ll open up a lot more (and nicer) options!)

I didn’t mind that setup, but I thought the mirror was on the small side, and there was a whole lot of brass/gold tones going on. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I continued my search and and eventually settled on the winning combo: a ‘champagne silver’ arched mirror, and warm brass sconces:

What I love about the mirror: the arched shape, the light silver color to break up all of the gold tones, it’s the perfect size and it’s only $75! Best deal I’ve seen on a mirror with this style in a long time (maybe ever?)

What I love about the sconces: I’ve actually had these pinned for months, and it didn’t click right away to use these as vanity lights. I love that they’re unexpected, the unique shape, and the warm brass tone that I think will go nicely with the champagne gold faucet. And $112 isn’t too bad on the wallet…

For the shower faucet, I went with another Delta model in champagne gold (for the same reasons listed earlier) and also to keep the room finishes cohesive. The Linden is another one of their more affordable trims:

 

I love the functionality of the pull-out sprayer, and think it will come in handy for future baby baths 🙂

I also ordered 4 of these champagne gold hooks—remember how nicely they worked out in our laundry room? Favorite hooks under $6!

I’ll be using a champagne gold (or similar toned warm brass) for the towel and toilet paper holders, just haven’t found those yet. I also plan to add framed artwork of some sort, which will probably be a last minute decision after the room is closer to being finished.

Alright, guys—I think that just about covers it. I hope that by sharing all of these details and my thought process behind the design, you’ll feel more confident about making design decisions for your next remodel. There really is no one “right” way to approach design, and it gets easier (and more fun) with every room!

Any questions/comments, please leave them in the comments below, or head over to my Instagram and Facebook where I’m most active. This week will be another double-post—we’ve got another vlog update coming at you in a couple days so check back then!


Heights House Master Bathroom Plan

Today’s post is an important milestone, as it marks the very first room design for our new build—the master bathroom! We’ve actually decided to tackle all 3 bathrooms in this house over the next month (apparently our lives aren’t hectic enough right now) but I’m especially excited about the design for the master. Let’s get right to it!

It’s on the small side, but we chose to sacrifice space here to gain more in other areas of the house. The bathroom is at the end of what will be our walk-in/hallway closet with rows of cabinets/doors (more on that in another post)…

Oh hey, check out our new doors!

The vanity wall is straight ahead. We’ll have 7′ of vanity + counter space with three wall-mounted sconces.

To the left of the vanity will be the toilet in the corner:

Across from the toilet is the shower. We shortened the length from the plans, so the entrance will be facing the toilet (we’ll add a frameless glass door here).

Then there’s the shower:

And there’s the bathroom entrance, looking back into the closet:

Rotating now to the left, you can see the bathroom and closet windows:

And back to the vanity wall on the left. The room gets a good amount of natural light with a 3’x4′ window, and the tall 9’4″ ceilings help give the illusion of more space.

The vision for this bathroom is elegant, rich and refined, warm and luxurious with attention to detail. What it lacks in size it will make up for in luxury and style.

What will this look like, you ask?

It all started with the discovery of Bedrosians Magnifica line. It’s thin porcelain tile, available in large format sizes (up to 60″x126″) made to cover surfaces like walls and countertops—so you can do things like this:

via http://www.brianotuama.com/victoria-park-house/

TOTAL GAME CHANGER. I immediately fell in love with the Calacatta Super White, with its gorgeous gold and grey veining:

 

The Calacatta Super White is available in the four unique slabs above, which join seamlessly together. The plan is to wrap all three shower walls (floor to ceiling) and continue the stone across this entire back wall…

This porcelain is what dreams are made of, and I excitedly placed the order and built the rest of my design plan around it.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I was told they were out of stock and I had to choose something else. I was CRUSHED. But no good renovation comes without its detours, so Plan B it was. After much internal debate, I decided on the Lincoln Super White:

This porcelain also has four unique slabs, and I’ll use C and D on the back focal wall which should join together seamlessly. The biggest thing it’s lacking is the gold tones I wanted, but the more subtle pattern has really grown on me and I think will work nicely with the black floors. Plus, it reminds me of lightning which is one of my favorite things in life 🙂

Here’s an actual photo of one of the slabs they sent from the factory—they’ll be arriving tomorrow!

I’m still a bit nervous since this is the first time I’ve ever worked with a material like this, but if it turns out as expected, this feature will be to die for (it requires special installation, and our installer is booked for another 2 weeks or so, but it will be worth the wait!)

For the floor tile, I looked no further than Bedrosians Paseo line. These are handmade ceramic tiles available in several shapes and sizes, and an array of different colors:

I had to choose something simple so it wouldn’t compete with the porcelain walls, but I still wanted something eye-catching (in a subtle way) and luxurious. And what represents luxury more than a diamond?

I may or may not have squealed when I opened these. Absolutely stunning in person—you can tell these are handcrafted and high quality.

Do you know how hard it is to find examples of diamond floor tile? I scoured Pinterest and couldn’t find anything like it. That only solidified my decision, because now I get to share something new! I hope you guys like it as much as I do. Can you visualize it in the room?

With the tile out of the way let’s move onto the rest of the room! The bold walls had to be balanced with something calm yet still interesting, so I decided to go with a panel molding treatment on the vanity wall (and possibly the window wall too, haven’t quite decided yet). Here are a few inspiration photos…

via @carolewhiting
via @stofferphotographyinteriors + @timbertrailshomes
via French Blue Cottage

 

The exact style and color is TBD, and the spacing will be a bit tricky since we have mirrors and sconces to work around. But I prefer the look of molding vs drywall whenever possible, especially in smaller spaces. And tile walls were a no-go due to cost and the fact that there’s already so much tile in the room. It’s all about balance!

So let’s talk about the vanity. This was easily the most difficult piece of this design puzzle, because of my specific requirements:

1) It had to be 7′ long (to maximize storage/counter area and leave the right amount of space next to the toilet—plus the sconce locations had been set for this size)

2) It had to have lots of hidden storage (ideally drawers)

3) It had to be a light-medium natural wood tone

4) It had to be relatively affordable

You guys, I spent MONTHS scouring the corners of the internet, exhausting every page of results from every possible source I could think of and nothing came close. At one point I started to resign to the fact that I’d have to go custom made, but couldn’t bring myself to fork over the $4k+ that would have cost.

via Lindye Galloway

Then, I got creative. There weren’t any 7′ vanities that meet my criteria, but 42″ is a relatively common size, and 42″ + 42″ = 7′ — BINGO!

That opened up a whole new world of options, and the search continued. It wasn’t long before I found this vanity on Overstock

Simple, sleek, exactly 42″ and meets all of my requirements. Cue the happy dance! It comes with the stone top and sink, but I’ll be using my own counter and sinks. Here’s the design plan again to refresh your memory…

We’ll secure the vanities together and place one long stone slab so it will look like one big vanity. Smart, right? Let’s just hope it works out as planned (I think it will).

With the biggest decision out of the way, it was time to bring on the fun part—accessories! I decided to stick with Overstock for the rest of the bathroom after realizing what a huge selection they had of bath options. I’ve partnered with them in the past (remember our guest bedroom makeover last year?) and they loved the concept of this bathroom, so they were on board to partner again for this space!

The counter will be a stone slab (something white and low maintenance), and I ordered two of these $47 undermount sinks:

I chose an oval shape to break up all the hard lines of the vanity/wall molding. It looks like these are currently out of stock, but they have a similar model here.

For the faucets, I opted for a widespread dark bronze/black in an antique style.

Since I’ll be using brass sconces, I thought I’d mix it up to add variety and interest. The dark metal will look rich against the light counter and walls. The faucets are solid brass, heavy and well made with great reviews. It’s definitely more of a traditional oil rubbed bronze color (black) in person:

I also picked up the matching pop-up drains (always make sure your drain matches your faucet!)

Long before I planned this bathroom, I already knew the type of sconces I wanted. I came across these beauties for $128 and it was a done deal:

They look identical to the photos in person and they’ll be perfect for this room! So elegant with just enough detail to make them unique.

Then it was time to mirror shop. This could have been tricky, since I have such a tall and narrow space to fill (the sconce locations were set and couldn’t be moved). I was also dead set on framed oval mirrors, which really narrowed the search down. Lo and behold, Overstock came through and I found these 24×40″ mirrors for under $100!

They just so happened to be the exact size I needed, fitting perfectly between the sconces and the right height for our tall ceilings. And such a bargain too—this was my luckiest find yet.

The last piece of the puzzle was the shower faucet. This actually had to be planned out months ago, so the plumber could install the correct valve during rough-in. I purchased the Delta universal valve body which works with most of Delta’s shower trim designs. This would allow me to choose the trim design later, and allow flexibility down the line if I want to change the look. Delta is a reputable brand and quality was a huge deciding factor, and fortunately they offer a range of styles and price points. I used one of their most budget friendly Trinsic faucets in my One Room Challenge makeover a few years ago…

I loved the champagne bronze color and decided to go with that again, but this time I settled on the Dryden trim style (another one of their more affordable options):

I like that it’s simple and won’t distract from the porcelain walls. One suggestion my builder made was to install the handle at the front of the shower entrance, so you won’t get drenched with cold water when you turn it on. I didn’t even think about that but it makes perfect sense! You can see the valve on the left wall.

Another solution for a shower that’s too small for a bench—add a foot cubby! This will come in handy in a few months when my belly sticks out past my toes 🙂

And that, my friends, is the master plan! Fortunately this isn’t a project we have to tackle ourselves, since we’ll have our builders crews on site to finish the tile, plumbing and electric in the house. We do plan to DIYing the wall molding, however, and will need to start on that as soon as the tile is complete to stay on schedule. Fingers crossed we’re 6-8 weeks away from getting the keys!

I’ve been posting previews of the latest updates in my Instagram stories, and I’m also hoarding inspiration over on my Pinterest (check out my Bathroom board see the style I’m channeling for all three bathrooms). Vlog update coming next week!

PS—I can’t thank you all enough for the kind words and well wishes on last week’s announcement. We can’t put into words the joy we are feeling right now. And I’m finally starting to get some energy back here in the 2nd trimester, so I’m looking forward to being much more productive over the next few months!

 

 


A Love Story

On this Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting to share A Love Story… (it’s only 2 minutes, make sure to watch until the end before reading 😉 )

For years I’ve imagined how I’d write this post. I’d share with the world how long I’d been dreaming about this day. How wanted and loved this first baby and first grandchild is. How incredibly grateful and humbled I am to finally become a mother. How I’ve planned the nursery design in every home I’ve lived in for the past 10 years, hoping each would be the one I’d get to bring my baby home to.

For the past 10 years I’ve waited patiently, watching cousins and friends and strangers excitedly announce their news on social media. I watched those babies grow up into big brothers and sisters and sent my congratulations as their families grew.

Most of you reading this will share in our happiness, but for some it will be another painful blow. This post is for you.


I know what it’s like to watch others celebrate something you want so desperately. I understand the sinking feeling of waking up to yet another Mother’s Day. I still remember those first cramps coming on every month like stabbing knives, robbing me of another chance. I lost a marriage within the hopelessness, and I didn’t know how I could survive either.


Fast forward nearly four years after hitting rock bottom, and everything has changed. I’d relive every moment of heartache, all the years “wasted” to be where I am now.


Back then I didn’t understand—I could have never imagined the detour my life would take to lead me here. This is how and when it was meant to happen.


While it may be a decade later than planned, I wouldn’t change this timing for the world. At nearly 34 years in, I feel like life is just beginning. There is so much more of the story to write… for all of us, no matter where we are in our journey.

For those of you struggling, know that one day, there will be a moment where you stop and realize “Aha… so this is why everything happened as it did… it all makes sense now.”  I’m here on the other side, telling you that everything will be okay. In fact, better than okay—even better than what you’ve planned.

The pain you feel now doesn’t compare to the joy that is coming. Trust the timing of your life.

Sending a little extra love to the world today,


Heights House Paint Colors

Dropping in with a rare Monday post because the paint colors for the Heights House have officially been chosen and I couldn’t wait to share!

A few weeks ago I shared our decision for the exterior color, which was painted SW Oyster White.

But I also needed to find a color for our new window trim.

Since the trim is designed to look like stone, I figured a natural gray-beige stone color would be perfect. Enter test samples of my top 9 greiges…

anew gray amazing gray exterior

These are my top colors narrowed down after months of research and testing (a few are leftover from the Riverside Retreat paint search). I painted both sides of a few scrap pieces of wood leftover from projects, and would recommend this method because you can easily move these around to different parts of the room to test different lighting. They’re large enough to get a good idea of the results, BUT I’d also make sure to paint the actual surface first before committing 100% (see why below!)

Here’s another round of colors (the no-name custom Behr sample was something I found in an old paint stash, so I figured I’d throw it in the mix).

accessible beige paint

After staring at my options for a while, I was leaning towards Valspar Ivory Brown. These photos are taken at the back of the house though, so I relocated everything to the front.

worldly gray exterior

Hmmm… they look a little different next to that stone, don’t they? Being the main entrance and focal point of the house, this area was top priority.

accessible beige exterior

The other factor to consider, of course, is lighting. These shots were taken on a bright day with just enough cloud cover to minimize the shadows. There was no clear winner, so I decided to wait and come back another day.

Last weekend the sun was out, and look how different yet again!

exterior gray paint

At this point, I knew I had to break out the paintbrush and really test them out. The clouds rolled in and I couldn’t believe how different they looked…

best exterior greige paint colors

They look so much warmer painted on the trim! Check out the two Gallery Grey’s next to each other in the photo above. Thankfully I didn’t neglect this step, otherwise I’d be regretting my decision!

After nixing the two Valspar colors, I gave SW Worldly Gray (top left) and SW Accessible Beige (top right) a shot. And the winner became clear (as seen in my Instagram stories)…

The top left, SW Worldly Gray! It was very close to Accessible Beige (top right), but Accessible Beige had the slightest hint of yellow which eliminated it from the running. Oddly enough, everyone who responded via DM guessed it correctly. I think that confirms it’s the right choice!

Here it is on the window trim. I love that it’s a subtle contrast from the walls.

With the exterior walls and trim colors out of the way, it was time to experiment with these window arches. I had mentioned wanting arched windows in my Window Buying Guide post, but they were way out of budget. Instead, I figured I could have my builder add arched trim and then fill in the top with black paint. It worked like a charm…

Seriously, even better than I thought. I’m still high-fiving myself for this idea.

I used SW Tricorn Black which is slightly too dark in person, so I grabbed a sample of SW Black Magic and I’ll be testing that out soon.

Okay, the paint selecting fun continues inside!

From the start I knew I wanted white walls and light greige trim. I had already decided on Alabaster for the walls, which is a versatile neutral white (not a stark white) and one of the most popular choices by designers. The interior walls have not been painted yet, only primed, FYI.

Worldly Gray Amazing Gray

I used the same greige samples indoors, and no surprise, they look different in every room. The samples are extra useful in here because they look just like baseboards (the doors, door trim and baseboards will all be painted this color).

Same lighting, direct comparison:

Best Greige paint colors

After discovering Accessible Beige a few months ago (remember I used it on our laundry room door?) I fell in love and had a sneaking suspicion I’d want to use it for the trim in this house.

Here’s the samples in the living room, with different lighting:

anew gray balanced beige

Now suddenly they’re all dark and gray.

valspar gallery grey ivory brown

After evaluating how the colors look in multiple areas of the house, I had to go with my initial gut—Accessible Beige. It really is such a versatile gray with no strong undertones (I would say it’s closest to yellow) and I think it’s lovely with the floors (those matter when choosing paint colors!)

SW Accessible Beige

I’ll be sure to update this post after everything has been painted so you can see the finished product. Choosing paint is a big decision (especially when it’s exterior paint or walls/trim for the entire house) so make sure to be thorough when testing! Never just pick from a swatch (unless you don’t mind if it looks different on the wall).

Alabaster Accessible Beige

I hope this post is helpful to those on the hunt for the perfect greige, or choosing any paint in general. If you don’t want to wait weeks to see the results, make sure you’re following me on Instagram where I’ll share updates as soon as they happen!

Speaking of updates, make sure to check back here Thursday for a special Valentine’s Day post <3


Heights House Build: 20 Week Update

Checking in at the 20 week milestone, sharing what’s coming next and new DIY projects underway at the Riverside Retreat! Watch it all in today’s vlog episode:

Click on the photos below to see the progression since breaking ground in September:

Onto the first big update… we have FLOORS!

I posted video & photo in my Instagram during the installation a couple weeks ago, and you guys went nuts over them… more than anything else I’ve posted in a long time. I can see why…

These are the Villa Barcelona engineered French oak wood planks from Lowe’s, in the color Terassa. They are a newer product so no reviews yet and I ordered them sight unseen—luckily, the risk paid off!

They come in varying lengths of 5″ and 7″ planks, and the tone ranges from a light natural oak to a light-medium oak with cool brown undertones.

A wire brushed and sawmark texture gives them an aged reclaimed look, which is enhanced by the matte finish. It seems like these will be very durable, easy to clean and any dents/scratches will blend right in with the natural texture. These are our “forever floors” in this house and we couldn’t be happier!

I’ll wait until we’ve lived with them for a while to post my review, but so far this is one of the best decisions we’ve made for this new build. Huge relief!

Another fun update is the new flagstone on our turret:

It was a bit of a struggle trying to explain my vision to the installer (space the stones out farther! More mortar!) and getting the right mortar color was a bit of an ordeal, BUT all things considered, I don’t think it turned out too bad.

It was fun to watch the technique. Like icing a cake!

Then came the exterior window trim. I’ll admit, I was more nervous about this than anything.

I had chosen the shape and texture of the mold, but couldn’t visualize exactly how it would look. Especially the shape of the arches on the front and back windows—there was some miscommunication and I was worried it’d be a disaster.

Fortunately, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I pulled up the next day and loved what I saw.

Yep… I can live with this.

The window trim will be painted a natural stone color (medium warm gray—still deciding on color) and I think I’ll fill in the eyebrow area above the windows with black to give the illusion of arched windows. We’ll be testing that out this weekend!

As for the rest of the exterior—today we’re headed to the nursery to work through our landscaping plans. We’ve been drawing up ideas to fill our 10,000sf lot…

Tell me in the comments: would you be interested in learning more about our landscaping plans? This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this, so we’re trying to learn as much as we can, and I’d be happy to share our process for anyone who is curious.

After our plans are in place, we can begin irrigation, hardscaping, and laying sod. We also need to have concrete steps poured in the front, along with sidewalks and a driveway in the back.

Let’s head back inside… our kitchen cabinets are arriving today!!

I’ll keep you posted on that (check my Instagram stories for live updates) as they are installed later this week.

Our custom 7′ doors are also ready to be installed…

Along with all of the door trim and baseboards.

And remember that antique door I scored from a local salvage shop almost a year ago?

Hello, laundry room door! We’ll have to modify it a bit to make it work, but what a stunner.

On Monday, the first delivery for the master bathroom arrived…

Soon I’ll share all the details about our plans for this room so I won’t give anything else away now… but hello DREAM TILE.

While we’re on the topic of fun pretty things, I placed the first orders for lighting! Starting with the foyer… this was a tough decision that I went back and forth on.

I posted a poll in my IG stories, and there was a pretty clear winner

I was leaning towards this one too, and I ended up getting the polished nickel version because it’s $177 less (what?!) so I’ll just spray paint it black and no one will know the difference.

I also found this really cool lantern for above the front door…

It fits perfectly with the old European castle feel, don’t you think?

Also, I can no longer make decisions without the help of Photoshop. Thank you, Adobe.

Another big decision that I’ve been mulling over for months is the living room chandelier. This will be one of the first things you see when you walk in, and it’s the largest and grandest room in the house, so it needed something special.

I was so close to pulling the trigger on this wagon wheel style chandelier

But the price was a bit steep considering we have to buy a ton of fixtures to fill this entire house, and I’ve been seeing this style a lot lately so I thought I’d go for something a little less common.

And then I found the one

Sleek lines, simple and elegant, oversized for a large room and super affordable for the size. It actually comes in a smaller size and I debated on which one to get. Photoshop saves the day, once again.

Here’s the large 53.5″ size:

And the smaller 40×40″: 

I always err on the side of larger, so it was a pretty easy choice! Once all of the furniture is in place, I think it’ll work out nicely.

Next up, the master bedroom chandelier

This one caught my eye months ago, and it’s SUCH a bargain I couldn’t pass it up. I love the wagon wheel style and the gold finish is lovely. It just arrived yesterday!

My last lighting purchase was three of these brass picture lights:

The plan is to install them here on the main wall behind the dining table (the sconce boxes have already been installed):

In my search for these lights, I realized how insanely expensive picture lights are! I don’t really understand it—maybe because they’re not super common? I ran across several (cheap looking) LED/plug-in/battery operated or frame-mounted types that didn’t fit the bill, and I was very close to splurging on these

But couldn’t bring myself to spend almost $900 for 3 lights. The ones I chose have good ratings online, so I’m hoping for the best.

Of course there’s still many more light fixtures to purchase, but I don’t want to make any impulse buys so I’m in no rush. We can install the rest later on our own time!

I was going to talk about trim paint colors next but realized there’s enough there to save for its own post. And because paint colors are such a popular topic, I didn’t want it to get buried and lost at the bottom of another post, so stay tuned to see what we chose and if I was able to find the perfect greige!

Signing off with loads more projects coming your way soon…


The Window Buying Guide

Let’s have a conversation about windows. We ordered ours for the Heights House many months ago but I wanted to wait until they were all installed before sharing our experience. So many of you have been asking for details, so I decided to put together a shopping guide with everything we’ve learned throughout this process, as window shopping can be overwhelming!

As many of you know, I’ve been working with Lowe’s on several projects over the past year. They’ve been especially involved after the fire, generously offering their support to help with the rebuild. We had already selected our windows before they stepped in as a sponsor, and today I want to share what went into those decisions and lessons learned.

Windows are a major design element, especially when it comes to exteriors, and they have the power to completely transform a home. In my perfect world they’d all look something like this:

Source: @laurelhpowell on Instagram

Or this…

Builder: @robertelliotthomes Design: @jenkinsinteriors

But steel windows are mega expensive and would have to be custom fabricated, so that was out. The closest we were able to get to the look we wanted (that passed strict Florida building code and didn’t cost half as much as the house) were special order Jeld-Wen windows.

We decided to make our windows a priority as much as possible and cut back in other areas. I think you should splurge for the best windows you can afford, since those aren’t something you can easily change out later and they make such a big impact.

Here’s the window order sheet I gave to my builder, which outlines all of the sizes, window type and location on the house:

The Window Schedule chart was pulled from the architect’s floor plan (the ‘type mark’ is labeled in the hexagon shapes, if you want to match them to the list) and I also described each location in red above. There are 19 windows downstairs (first image), and 6 windows upstairs (second image):

 

All of the windows have a “bronze” exterior and white interior—note that “bronze” in our case actually means black. With this line of windows you can choose either black or white (or beige) for both interior and exterior, which was a must for us!

I went back and forth on the interior color for ages, and as much as I love a dramatic black window, I decided white was a safer choice and I’d be less likely to regret it years from now. They’re made from vinyl, and we can paint the interior if we choose (I’m considering it in a couple rooms!)

Source: Pinterest/unknown

All of our windows have the ‘colonial’ grille style (most with two vertical bars) and they’re all simulated divided lights—which means the grids are on the exterior of the window so it looks more like traditional windows with individual panes of glass, instead of the grids in between the glass.

I believe the SDL style is a bit more expensive, but I don’t care—this is a non-negotiable feature to me. I think the difference is night and day. With the grille between glass, you can’t even see the lines in certain lighting. This makes them easier to clean, but definitely not worth the tradeoff IMO. Another thing to keep in mind: you can always paint SDL windows (using vinyl-safe paint and primer) if you decide to change the color in the future, but with the GBG, you’re stuck with that color!

We had the option to customize the number of grids or ‘lites’, and I considered going with a more modern look with just one vertical divider (a slightly higher cost), but in the end we stuck with the more traditional style of 3×4 or 3×5 lites.

Here in central Florida, new builds are required to use special impact resistant glass and low emission tint, so Jeld-Wen’s ‘premium atlantic vinyl‘ line was the only option. I love the look of wood and metal, but vinyl seems to be the standard these days, and I’ll take the energy efficiency.

Now for the big decisions… which type of window? We went with a mix of fixed, single hung, and casement. Let me explain each:

Fixed: Windows that don’t open. These are arguably the best looking with slim frames and no hardware, and they’re also the least expensive. By code, you have to have at least one window that opens in every room (large enough to use as an emergency escape), which limits the amount of fixed windows you can have.

Source: Artisan Signature Homes

Single hung: This is the most popular style of window used today, where the top half of the window is stationary and the bottom opens vertically upwards. It’s the most economical type of functioning window, but it also doesn’t look as streamlined with the window split into two sections. Double hung is the same idea, except both the top and bottom are moveable.

Single hung / Source: huntedinterior.com

Casement: These are windows that open outward as one single unit on a hinge. They’re common on older homes (our current 1940’s house has all the original casement windows) and have a thicker frame. They’re the most expensive of the bunch, but they have a uniform look like fixed windows.

Casement / Source: @our_coastal_farmhouse on Instagram

We knew absolutely nothing about windows going into this, so it took weeks of back and forth with our architect trying to figure out what was required by code, getting quotes on all the different types and sizes from Lowe’s to see what was in our budget, and researching online to determine our best options. Jeld-Wen was a more economical choice than Pella, and the product lines were essentially the same for what we needed so it was an easy choice. We used casement and fixed in the more visible/used spaces like the living room, kitchen and bedrooms, and opted for the more economical single hung in the bathrooms and laundry room on the sides of the house. Below you can see the visual difference of the single hung windows on the first floor, and casement on the second.

If you’re thinking about adding or updating your old windows, I would highly recommend visiting your local Lowe’s and talking to their window specialist in person. They will be able to guide you through the process, tell you what’s available and what is required. Building codes vary by region and state, as does the availability of window types. Our store associate, Mark, was extremely helpful and thorough in walking us through the different options and what each one meant. We worked with him over the course of weeks in person, via phone and email, and he was able to take care of the entire order & delivery as well. Lowe’s also runs multiple sales throughout the year so wait and keep an eye out for when those pop up (they were 20% off when we ordered which really adds up!)

One thing we learned was that if you are only adding/replacing a few windows, there is a lot more flexibility in what you can choose since you don’t have to follow the new construction code requirements. However if you’re replacing a certain percentage of the windows in your home, you’ll need to follow the new build code guidelines. Your Lowe’s associate will be able to explain what is required for your situation.

They can also take care of the installation so you won’t have to coordinate or worry about any of it! I normally use them for bigger installs, but our builder already had his crews set up to do everything at the new build.

I’ve already covered the most important considerations: size, window type, window style + color, and code requirements—but there’s a long checklist of options that need to be submitted with the window order. Here’s the breakdown for just one of our windows:

It’s a lot to take in, but fortunately you don’t have to worry about most of it. Lowe’s will know what to input and the majority is technical information around code requirements. I’ll point out a few other things that you may want to be aware of before going in and double check on your own before the order is submitted.

Frame type: If your house is wood frame, your windows will need to have a Nail Fin frame. If your house is block/concrete construction, you’ll need a 5/8-in flange frame. Our first story is block, and the second story is wood frame, so we had to be extremely diligent in triple checking the order since we had some of the same size/type windows on both stories. Our order was submitted correctly, but unfortunately we still ended up with one window that had the wrong frame type and couldn’t be installed. Fortunately, Jeld-Wen was able to expedite a replacement window and all is well!

Prep for Mull: Mulling is when you join multiple windows together, rather than framing them out individually. We decided to mull three windows together over our kitchen sink to give the illusion of one larger window.  Windows that will be mulled need to be prepped at the factory first, and that is indicated by “Prep at Left/Right jamb” on the order sheet. When I put in the request, I was visualizing the windows from standing inside the kitchen, and later learned that the left/right side is indicated from standing outside. Oops. Luckily, Jeld-Wen came through again with an expedited replacement, and now you can learn from my mistake!

Glass type: There are several options for glass type including tinted, textured or adding decorative inserts. This could be useful in a bathroom window where there isn’t enough privacy, though we chose to keep all of ours clear for consistency.

Note that there are a handful of other choices to be made such as screen type, window lock hardware, custom window shapes—and the variety of options really opens up with wood and aluminum frames.

I plan to hang light curtains in front of the larger windows so the black grids will pop and not fade into the background of a dark room like they do now 🙂 I think it will all really come together once we put the finishing touches on.

Speaking of finishing, we have so much to catch up on! New flooring, gutters, exterior window trim, exterior stone work, paint colors… you caught a glimpse of some of these in today’s blog post, and if you follow my Instagram stories, you’ve seen it all in real-time. Don’t worry if you missed it—I’m working on another blog post + vlog update and will share all the details with you guys next week.

The first month of 2019 is in the books! See ya in February,


The Heights House Kitchen Plans

This kitchen has been almost a year in the making, if you can remember the first post last February sharing our plans for the original Heights House.

Oddly enough, even though we have built an entirely new house, the kitchen plans have remained close to the same. The location and layout were perfect (with a wall of windows and patio doors facing the giant oak in the backyard) and we were really happy with the design, so there was no reason to reinvent the wheel.

Here’s how the kitchen looks today (actually, as of yesterday our wood floors are installed! More on that in the next post, or see it now in my Instagram stories):

The door on the right is for the laundry room/pantry area.

The french doors below step out onto the patio, and the arch on the left divides the hallway to the master suite, guest bath and bedroom.

I shared more details about our floor plans and design of the new house in this post if you missed it… here’s the new first level floor plan for comparison (note that a few minor things have been changed since the last post, and these measurements are not all accurate):

I’ll be sure to go through the design plan for each room in depth in upcoming posts, but today we’re focusing on the heart of the home—the kitchen!

Last year I came across an inspiring blog post by Laurel Bern Interiors that really resonated with me—the unkitchen, as she calls it, is a growing movement towards kitchens that don’t feature the typical walls of upper & lower cabinets, matching stainless steel appliances, granite etc that has been the American status quo for the past decade:

The unkitchen feels more like an extension of a home’s living space—it utilizes furniture, open shelving, vintage pieces and appliances, as if it has been collected over time. It feels fresh and cozy, not uniform and sterile. Laurel’s description and images were such an a-ha moment for me—I have been drawn to this idea for a while, especially after living in other parts of the world for the majority of 2017, and I want this to be reflected in my own kitchen.

via Marie Flanigan Interiors

Lucas and I have given a lot of thought to what our needs are for the space, and the main functional desires are a large, high quality range (I love to cook), large windows with a backyard view, and storage features that maximize cabinet space and make workflow easier. It’s just the two of us and we don’t have a lot of stuff, but we do like to entertain and need the capacity to host larger gatherings.

via DeVol Kitchens

On the design side, I’ve been pinning inspiration and narrowing down my aesthetic for well over a year so I had a good idea of what I wanted going into this, and even with a new house to design for, the plan hasn’t changed: mushroom shaker cabinets, marble (quartz) countertops, wood floors, white + integrated/hidden appliances only, a large custom range hood, open wood shelving, an antique wood hutch, vintage-style lighting and brass accents. No upper cabinets, no stainless steel, no tile backsplash. If I had to use labels, this kitchen would be classic, European, earthy, casual, minimal.

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Lowe’s on this kitchen again (you may remember my first Modern Farmhouse kitchen from in 2012 and the Cottage Flip kitchen in 2016, both used Lowe’s cabinets, counters & appliances). They decided to step in as a sponsor on this project and have stuck with us through all the setbacks last year, and we’re so grateful for their patience—especially our kitchen designer Angela, who has sat through countless hours of meetings and revisions with us!

Without further ado, let me break down our plans for each part of the kitchen. Starting with perhaps the most important (and most difficult) decision for me…

Cabinets

I was sure from Day 1 that I wanted mushroom shaker style cabinets (thanks to the DeVol Kitchen image above) so my primary mission going into this was to find the perfect shade of mushroom, no matter the brand.

We considered ordering unfinished cabinets and having them painted, but after a lot of research decided it wouldn’t be cost-effective, it’s more time consuming, and the factory finish is more durable. With that decided, we narrowed it down to three options:

From top to bottom: Diamond Egret, Diamond Lambswool, and Kraftmaid Mushroom. These are shown next to the Pergo flooring that we were going to install in the original house, but ended up using at the Riverside Retreat instead.

I went back and forth between all three colors for the longest time. Cabinet color choices are even trickier than choosing paint, especially since they’re permanent. I ordered small samples to take home with me, but they look different in every light so it’s still a tough choice—especially when there’s no house to look at the samples in!

What helped me to finalize my decision was searching the cabinet color online to find real-life examples. I was leaning towards the Kraftmaid Mushroom (shown in the middle above) and I dug around for weeks trying to find as many examples as I could. There weren’t many, but I did like what I saw (these were spotted on Houzz):

And with that, our final choice was the Kraftmaid Durham Maple Square in Mushroom. With the cabinet brand, color and style solidified, our kitchen designer worked with us to design the layout. We already had an overall plan in mind (placement of appliances, general idea of sizes/cabinet types) but Angela helped us choose the exact cabinets we needed to fit our measurements.

In the layout above, the cluster of cabinets on the top right is the fridge location (along with a custom mix of upper cabinets which I’ll explain in a second), the large purple box on the left wall is the 48″ range, the dishwasher is the other purple box on the bottom wall, and to the right of that is the sink. The rest are a mix of drawer/door lower cabinets.

Here’s the rendering from Lowe’s:

This isn’t representational of the actual color, of course—just the cabinet type/sizes. We chose two extra large drawers on either side of the stove, which have hidden pull-out shelves and storage compartments for spices, pots and pans, cooking utensils and baking dishes.

Above the fridge, the right half of the cabinet will be wine bottle storage, and we plan to mount a ladder to a rail on the side of the cabinet for easy access (and because it’ll look awesome).

In the open wall space between the doors and windows, I plan to find an antique wood hutch to set on top of the cabinets. This will hold all of our glasses/barware, and potentially the microwave if it’s deep enough. The 48″ lower cabinet with doors will have pull-out drawers and will hold all of our smaller appliances.

The cabinet with drawers to the right of that will hold all of the utensils, and the drawer/door to the right will have a knife block with a pull-out garbage underneath. Then we have the sink cabinet, integrated dishwasher, and corner cabinet which will hold mixing bowls/tupperware/containers.

We opted not to add cabinets along the whole fridge wall, as we’ll have open shelving that runs across the entire range wall. Above the fridge, the left side of the cabinet will be operational, and the right side will have a door to hide the wine cabinet (which is exposed on the right).

I did my best to mockup the design using the Homestyler app, and I’m hesitant to even post this because it’s NOT how the kitchen is going to look—but it’s the best I can do with the very limited options in this free software. You’ll have to really use your imagination here…

Pretend the cabinets are mushroom, the stove isn’t stainless, the wood hutch is more antique and the sconces & hood are different. Then you’re getting closer. The open shelves will hold all of our bowls, plates, ramekins, perhaps a few books and any display-worthy items.

To the left of the fridge I’m considering adding a glass bookcase of some sort (ideally with a black frame), perhaps lining the glass with curtains and using it as dry food/pantry storage. Or possibly to hold the microwave if it’s deep enough. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’d prefer to live with the kitchen as-is for a while to see what our needs actually are, and go from there.

Keep in mind that we plan to add cabinets with cleaning supplies and pantry storage in the laundry area just to the right of the fridge (you can see the door to that room in the image above).

Just so you can see how everything flows together, here’s a birds-eye view:

Below, you can see the front entrance at the top right:

Is it all starting to make sense now? Good—let’s move onto the details!

Counters & Backsplash

This was perhaps the easiest decision of all. There were no doubts about wanting a stone that looked like marble, but not wanting to deal with the maintenance and upkeep of real marble. Silestone had recently launched a new Eternal Series and I was immediately drawn to the Calacatta Gold:

It’s a quartz stone, which is non-porous and stain resistant. I used Silestone quartz in my Modern Farmhouse kitchen and loved the look and durability, so it was an easy choice to use them again.

We visited our local stone yard to see the slabs in person and make sure it was what we wanted. I’d highly recommend considering this as an option if you love the look of marble but don’t want to stress about the maintenance!

Let’s talk about the backsplash. In an effort to keep the kitchen minimal and visually light, I opted to skip the backsplash and instead run a small lip of quartz along the back. However, the stone will be used as an accent above the range, in between the hood corbels. Kinda like this:

by Marco Meneguzzi via desiretoinspire.net

The stove wall will be the main focal point in the kitchen, so I wanted to enhance it with a large area of natural stone to break up all the white & mushroom cabinets. I’m really excited about this feature and I hope it turns out as beautifully as I’m envisioning! And while we’re on the topic…

Range hood

This is actually something I haven’t entirely figured out yet. I know the size and overall look I want to achieve, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact shape/design. Here’s a few that stood out to me on Pinterest—although none are exactly what I had in mind.

This one is probably the closest, but the sides would need to reach down to the counters to create a cave-like surround for the stove:

via Brit Jones Interiors

I love the clean design, smooth finish and the curved sides of this one, but I’d want the top to be tapered:

via Joel Kelly

Beautiful detailing on this one, but the sides would need to be thicker and reach the counters:

via Giannetti Home

Some combination of the three styles above would be great, so I’ve been sketching out ideas of my own. Here’s a few options I came up with:

I’ll be working with a carpenter on this to bring the design to life, and I’m not sure how he plans to fabricate this so I wanted to have a few different options to run by him. I’m leaning towards #1, but the curvature may be too labor-intensive (read: costly) to make it worth it, so I’d also be quite happy with option #2. Some of the measurements may have to be adjusted as well, and I’m trying to stay flexible and open to changes that may be necessary. Either way, I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop and share the process with you! Speaking of that range…

Appliances

Another no-brainer going into the planning stages was to minimize the look of the appliances, and/or make sure they enhance the design. With the stove being the main focal point in the kitchen and also the most used/functionally important appliance, it had to be right.

Originally, I decided on this gorgeous white AGA range:

And I picked out a matching white AGA fridge to go with it:

This was decided back in February. It wasn’t until recently when we re-visited our design plans that I came across this show-stopping work of art

A finely crafted 48″ duel-fuel Italian range in white with brass accents—at just over half the cost of the AGA. TAKE MY MONEY.

The only problem? It’s custom made in Italy with a 17 week lead time… which means we would be going months without a stove. In the end, we decided it was worth the wait and placed the order a couple weeks ago. This range is available from a few different stores online, but Appliances Connection had the best price (we used their SAVE30 coupon code for $30 off) plus they have a rewards program which we signed up for as we’ll be needing more appliances in the future. We also opted to buy the matching toe kick which I think it makes it look much cleaner.

With the most important appliance out of the way, I started reconsidering my refrigerator options and decided I’d prefer a panel-ready model for an integrated look. This counter-depth Kitchen Aid model was the winner (it’s also on sale right now):

I love the clean and simple design, and it’s a well-known brand with solid reviews. The panels would be replaced with matching Kraftmaid cabinet fronts, of course. The cabinets won’t arrive until February 6th, so we aren’t in a big rush to order the appliances just yet since they’ll need to be installed after the cabinets.

The dishwasher was an easy choice—there’s lots of panel-ready options and they don’t cost much more than standard dishwashers. After some research and reading reviews, I decided to go with this integrated Bosch model (also on sale right now):

We haven’t ordered this yet either, but will be doing that within the next week!

Fixtures

I debated on switching it up and going with an undermount sink this time, but I’m forever drawn to the classic French-country look of a farmhouse sink so that won out. I will be trying a new style, however, and I’m leaning towards this one by VIGO:

But I’m also digging this one from Superior Sinks:

Both are 30″ sinks that will be fit into a 33″ cabinet.

For the faucet, I’m smitten with this solid brass antique-style bridge faucet (can’t beat the price either!)

We’re also installing a pot filler above the stove—can you picture this vintage style brass hardware against the stone backsplash?

The drawer pulls will be brass also, although I haven’t quite decided on the winner. I’m pretty sure about using cup pulls for the drawers and simple round knobs for the doors. A few of the pull options I’m considering… (click on the images for the source):

You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what I choose! 😉

While the main accents will be brass, I want to make sure there’s a few pops of black in there as well.That’s where the wall sconces come in, and I’m 99% sure I’m going with these beauties:

 

There will be 4 in total—two above the sink windows, and one on each side of the range hood centered over the shelves. I love that they’re simple, vintage looking, and only $79!

Future Additions

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about an island in this plan. As much as I love a good island, I’m not sure if it will be needed or if we’ll even have room.

If we were to add a small island (24″ wide as depicted above) in the center, that would leave 3′ of space to walk on either side. To me that would feel a bit cramped, but it’s hard to tell until we’re actually in the room. While the additional counter space may come in handy, we plan to utilize every inch of storage space in the cabinets (plus the pantry room) so I can’t imagine storage will be an issue. The 9′ dining table will also be nearby, so that could easily serve as extra counter or workspace when we have larger gatherings.

Rather than an island, my first thought is to find a nice vintage rug to make it feel cozy and lived-in.

While we had to plan the majority of the kitchen in advance, I don’t want to rush into making every decision before we even have a chance to move in and live with the house for a while. That’s why I’m in no rush to find the antique wood hutch and come up with a plan for the additional cabinet next to the fridge.

It may look and feel a little bare for a while (especially without a stove, ha) but we would much prefer to take our time and find the perfect pieces to complete the space. Unfortunately for you guys, that means no big dramatic kitchen reveal right away—this will be an evolution over time! I hope you understand 🙂

Ok guys—I think that covers everything! In a few weeks our cabinets should be installed and then things will really start to take shape. I’ll be back with another big update for you then, and in the meantime I’ll be sharing all of the updates in real-time over in my Instagram stories.

Next week I’ll be back with all the details about our new floors and the windows that so many of you have been asking about! If the window buying process seems overwhelming, you’ll want to stay tuned for my advice 🙂