Tuesday, January 5, 2010

light and color

As you can see from some of the pictures, the dining room and the kitchen reside on the West side of the house. That means, these rooms get absolutely decadent light in the afternoons. I am trying to figure out how I can incorporate that natural light and use every bit it's lovliness to my advantage.

I have always loved the big old craftsmen homes in Pasadena - one of the main reasons being the elaborate stained glass that you often see in homes of that sort. My house will be a culmination of things I love, not one particular style or design aesthetic. So, I kind of want to give this stained glass thing a shot. Somewhere in one of these two rooms (the kitchen or dining room) seem like a natural fit for the stained glass with their abundance of light. The questions is where, exactly?

We are going to be putting in some cabinetry for bar ware in the dining room. Since there is an cubby-ish space in the room, it would fit perfectly, framing either side of the door. At this point, halogens have been put up at the top of each side of the 4ft opening that my dad, Rich, and Bran created. The cabinets will be the color of the kitchen cabinets (definitely painted), the top cabinets will have a glass front with glass shelves so as to disperse the light top down to get to the bottom for when it's dark out, the bottom will be solid wood.

Now I don't know if this is completely crazy, but what about putting stained glass on the backs of the cabinets... the part going into the living room. I am imagining it to look this from the living room. I don't know, I think it could be quite lovely! Since it will be glass in the front, with only glasswares in the cabinet and glass shelves, the light should flow right on through to the living room. Here is a really terrible and not to scale drawing of mine:

I don't know... what do you think?

Monday, January 4, 2010

ch ... ch ... ch ... changes!

before with that weird wall in the middle of the room:
before again with the weird wall:

after our wrecking crew:

It is my kitchen. Mine. It's not much to look at right now, but ooh, I can smell the things that will be created in here already (and that's generally a good thing).

It's 5:00 on any old weekday. I am just getting home from work and then the grocery store. Brandon won't be home for a couple hours so it's time for me to unwind from my day.

I walk in through the door of my house, set my keys down in the place that they will be set, and turn on some music (I think I'd be in the mood for some Joni on this day). I leisurely put my groceries away, let the dog in the house, and look through the house for any damage done by my mischievous kitties throughout the day.

It's too cold for a run this day, so I decide to have a glass of wine and get to cooking. I look through my cabinets, at my spices, open my fridge and find my fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, OJ (beware, I drink straight from the carton if the mood strikes), leftovers. Maeby hops up on the counter when I'm not paying attention. I pick her up and set her on the floor. What's on the menu tonight?

And this is my kitchen window. I can see it already.

It will provide fantastic light for photographing food. Can't you see it?

We may not be there yet, but we have made progress! All of the electrical and plumbing in the kitchen are complete. The floor is up, the doorway into the second bedroom has changed locations. The tankless water heater has even been installed! We are just about ready to start putting it back together.

As you know, I have already picked out my appliances. The next decision was floors. I toiled over the decision for weeks, months even. There were positives and negatives to every type of flooring.

tile: durable and cheap, but difficult to clean, susceptible to cracks, cold.
wood: beautiful and can be refinished, but expensive and hard to match with our vintage hardwood in the rest of the house
marmoleum: eco friendly, durable, easy to install, but a little cold and industrial looking for my untrained eye
cork: eco friendly, soft underfoot, easy to install, hides dirt and scratches, but susceptible to gouges and water damage, as well as fades over time

I am indecisive until I'm not. And once I know, I know. I decided to go with cork. It is important to me to renovate responsibly, with as little carbon footprint as possible, and cork is made from tree bark, not the actual wood. It can be harvested many times without destroying the integrity of the tree. Also, as a home cook who is often in the kitchen, I love the feeling of it under my feet. It's really wonderful. The aesthetic is nice because it will be in the same brown tones that the rest of the house will be, but won't compete with the hardwood in the rest of the house. So it fades and gouges... I can deal with that!

I am working on deciding what kind of a kitchen I really want! I know that I want at least one purple door in my house. The back one, likely. I think off white cabinets and I hope I can incorporate stained glass somewhere into the house. It's a mishmash of ideas that get confusing and difficult to sort through, but I know we can do it.

before (back porch into kitchen view):
after with no more funky wall:

Saturday, January 2, 2010


So, so much has been done since the last time I posted! Demo is almost completely done. We are starting to work towards putting homestead back together again, and the anticipation is really building for Brandon and me. Sensing this, my dad, trooper of troopers, has been at the house in nearly every spare minute of his time. His best bud, Rich, has been there every step of the way. I can't express how thankful we are to have them helping us. There is no way we could ever have done all of this work alone. And boy, have we come a long ways!

Take the dining room for example. It shows much of the work that has done throughout the house.

Before with the lovely 70's wallpaper and paneling:

After taking off the paneling/wallpaper and seeing that there was wainscotting at some point in her past:

We removed the popcorn ceiling, which tested negative for asbestos, and revealed a relatively blemish free and smooth surface underneath... yay! Guess who removed the first patches:

The carpets were removed throughout the house:

Where there used to be a closet in the 'third bedroom' (and I use the term bedroom loosely... it is between the living room and the kitchen and will now be our dining room):

So... we braced the ceiling:

...and cut a 4ft opening from the living room into our now dining room!

view from the living room into the dining room:

This doorway is now framed in:

The brains:

Throughout the house, the progress has been immense! We have a new roof, new electrical, and our plumbers, the two old farts you see above (dad on right, Rich on the left), are thisclose to being done.

Here are some other shots from around the house.

Under the paneling, we uncovered not one, not two, but three layers of wallpaper hiding. FUN!

The forest of a driveway that invaded the driver's side door when opened:

Was trimmed back:

The entry way had it's paneling removed, under which we found that at some point it was the front porch, and the stucco was still covering the walls. We removed that stucco, as well as the closet behind the door:

All of the rooms have had ceiling fans removed and have been patched, sanded, washed with TSP and wiped down so that they no longer look like this:

In fact, we are almost ready for primer in the bedrooms, hallway, and living room. Our next big projects, after finishing the plumbing, are sheet-rocking throughout the house over the areas that are exposed, refinishing the floors, priming and painting the walls and wood work. And redoing the kitchen.

And as far as that goes... I am saving that for another day. But for now, suffice it to say that this is now where the original kitchen now resides.