January 22, 2018

Room Tour: My Kitchen

There are only a few rooms that feel "done" to me in the house. The kitchen is one of them. (Howevs, I have a feeling I'll paint the island a new color at least every couple of years. It's already been three shades of blue, which is totally normal.)

This is what the kitchen looked like a few months after we moved in, before I got to work on it.

Those counter stools were my dream stools--from Restoration Hardware. I ordered them for the new house before we even moved into it. They were so regal and comfortable. They were rich-folk stools. I don't know WTF I was thinking with them because I have two young kids. They soon turned into a nightmare of splotches and stains that just kept getting worse. I literally lost sleep over them. And when other people's kids came over and ate at the island I had to pretend not to worry that they were smudging their Kraft-macaroni-and-cheese hands on my RH stools. Anyway, I couldn't take it anymore so I sold them on Craigslist to a lady who had to recover them because they'd gotten so gross in such a short period of time.

But I was FINE because I copied Emily Henderson and ordered the Era Stools from Design Within Reach. My favorite part about these chairs (besides the fact that I can spray them down and wipe away every last morsel of peanut butter and milk and booger) is that they've been in continuous production for more than 150 years. They were designed by this dour-looking fellow (God, does he need a hug, or what?!) all the way back in 1859. So they bring some history to the space. 

Here are some of the other things I did to make the kitchen my own:
  • Swapped out the light fixtures for these pendants by Feiss (they're a knockoff of the fixtures I really wanted, but I love them just as much). Plus, I hung these bastards myself, which saved $. 
  • Painted the island Benjamin Moore's Van Courtland Blue after I saw this pin and was like DONE. (The island was also Sherwin Williams' Naval for about a year, but so was everyone's kitchen island it seemed.)
  • Painted the wall of cabinets Sherwin Williams Alabaster, an old standby for me. Those paintings are all from the Nashville flea market. I eventually want to move them to my bathroom and put this enormous print here instead. 

  • Drove out to bumfuck Tennessee to pick up a stack of barnwood from the late 1800s. I wore overalls that day. Look how happy I was with my wood. Then, I taught myself how to use a circular saw and cut all the pieces to shape. Nekos and I just screwed them directly into the wall above the backsplash tile. That was a fun and gratifying day. 
  • Had the roman shades custom-made with a John Robshaw fabric that still makes me weak in the knees. On these, I copied Holly Williams' farmhouse kitchen. See? I copy all the cool people, but then I mash all the copied things together and they become my own. At least that's what I tell myself. 

  • Swapped the more contemporary cabinet and drawer pulls for cheap-o brass pulls from Home Depot. 

  • Swapped the hollow core pantry door for a vintage Craigslist find that cost me $100. (Full pantry post coming soon.) 

That piece of art by the pantry door is by Chelsea Petaja, a local Nashville artist.

And how lucky were we that the midcentury bar we've had forever fit exactly into this nook by the back door?

This is Grayton, our 10-month-old mutt. This marks his first appearance on the blog. 

Stools: Design Within Reach Era Counter Stools
Pendants: Feiss Cadence Mini Pendant 
Main cabinet color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Fabric on roman shades: John Robshaw Baris Chambray
Drawer pulls and cabinet knobs: Home Depot Bedford Brass Cup
Bob Dylan poster: Milton Glaser

January 6, 2018

Meet Our New House.

Twenty-six months ago we moved into our new house in Inglewood (an East Nashville neighborhood), which makes the house not so new anymore. Nevertheless, this post marks its debut on my long-dormant-but-now-wide-awake blog. We consider this our dream house and have no plans to leave, possibly ever.

This house is the result of us buying our first house in East Nashville when we were young, sitting on it while it climbed in value and then selling it with a nice profit, which we used as a highly satisfactory down payment on this spiffy guy. I also believe we got this house because we are friends with the builder, Shane Stratton of Stratton Exteriors, whom I worked for when I was pregnant with Livvy and in the year or so after I had her. He's been incredibly kind to me since day one, and his kindness extended to this transaction, as he gave us a month to sell our old house, holding this one for us in the meantime. He does impeccable work and I can't recommend him highly enough. David Baird is the architect.

We moved in the day before Thanksgiving in 2015. Best feeling ever, especially for a girl who considers her house an extension of herself.

Periwinkle Front Door Sherwin Williams Celestial
Our front door: color is Sherwin Williams "Celestial" and was the result of my hunt for the perfect periwinkle

We bought this house because we wanted more space--in particular, for the girls to have their own rooms. And I admit, I also wanted all the shiny newness of this place. The windows that slid opened and shut like buttah (and came with screens!), the fireplace that sprang to life with the click of a button, the carrara marble countertops that felt cool under my fingertips, the intoxicating smell of paint and lumber and varnish. There was a PANTRY and a WALK-IN CLOSET big enough that people have joked it could double as an extra bedroom. (This was our old closet.) But the place didn't feel smug. Just luxurious enough. And though it's two stories (a must for me), it's NOT one of those tall-skinnies that Nashville has become infamous for. And it didn't NEED a thing. There wasn't paint peeling from the exterior. We didn't have to worry that the HVAC unit was lurching toward its last days. There was no basement that smelled like mildew. No brown recluse spiders whose ancestors had lived in the house for generations.

We still feel proud when we pull in the driveway (and I mean that humbly, because I am so grateful to get to live here). I would show you pics of the inside, but I've changed a lot (the kitchen island has been three colors already). And I want to go through it a room at time. 

This place was a beautiful blank slate--all the walls painted Sherwin Williams Shoji White and the trim Sherwin Williams Intellectual Gray. It all felt very new, and I've worked to splash personality, joy and character around. I've found that it's a different kind of fun trying to bring old-house character to a new house.


If, as Nate Berkus implies, my house is my autobiography, I want it to be full of passion, color, surprise and comfort. And I want to tell part of that story here each week.