About a year and a half ago, I shared inspiration for our master bedroom refresh. As often seems to happen with these more private spaces (as opposed to the more public spaces that everyone enjoys), our bedroom wasn’t at the top of the priority list (even though it is very much a hub of family life). We have finally completed what we set out to do, though, and I’d love to share the finished space with you today!
To refresh your memory, here’s where we started:
As we discussed, this room does A LOT. It’s where we sleep, obviously, but it’s also where our kids’ clothing is stored, where they get dressed in the morning, and where they pull on their jams at night. It’s our workout area, where our Peloton and weights live. And on top of all that, it’s John’s office 3-4 days a week. While it’s a good-sized room, again, that’s a LOT.
Here’s the landscape painting that inspired the color scheme. This was my gift to John on our wedding day eleven years ago – it reminded me of the dunes near his family’s cottage in Michigan. It has hung in our room ever since.
And here’s the after!
Ahhhhhh. It turned out even better than I had hoped :) Here’s a little breakdown of what we did:
We painted the walls. Thanks to longtime reader Emma, we went with Benjamin Moore Pale Smoke and I think it is the perfect color for this space – calming and elegant. We hired our handyman to paint and it was 100% worth it, as always.
We bought an actual bed (!!!). Those of you who have been here awhile know this deserves all the exclamation points. I think I started talking about wanting a real bed in 2013, ha! After much debate, we went with the Charlotte bed in Zuma White, which now appears to be called the Tilly bed. We have been so happy with it!
We refreshed our bedding. We kept the same quilt (not replacing that puppy until our kids are out of diapers, ha!), sheets, and big blue pillows, but added the green shams (in sage green) and floral pillow. (For the latter, I went with the 12×24 size and 100% should have gone larger for our king bed. Was trying to save money but wish I hadn’t in this instance :))
We switched out the curtains and hardware. I splurged on these custom curtains in an extra-long length so we could hang them high and I think they make the room. Sometimes I turn the corner and they practically stop me in my tracks, truly! We got blackout lining (rod pocket style) and the quality is excellent. We paired them with this curtain rod – simple and classic.
I have recently been thinking a lot about what a blessing our mortgage is. We’re just past a decade in this house, and in some ways, it seems so crazy that we’re still paying essentially the same amount each month when rent, home prices, and interest rates have soared all around us. It certainly eases the pain of squeezing a bed, home gym, double closet, and office into one room :) Would this multi-purpose room be our choice if money were no object? No. But it is certainly the right fit for right now, and for that we’re grateful.
It’s not too often you invite a bunch of friends over for a tour of your bedroom, but here we are! I hope you enjoyed it, and perhaps leave encouraged that it’s taken us over a decade in this house to get to this point :) Of course, as always, please let me know if you have any questions – I’m happy to help!
Friends, I am so very excited to share a few photos of our kitchen refresh with you today! If you’re new here, be sure to click over to this post first to get the back story, including before photos, inspiration clippings, and a breakdown of the work we had done. Then continue reading for many after photos, sources, and some thoughts on the process and our contractors.
So welcome into our kitchen, friends! I always laugh like this while doing the dishes ;)
Ahhhhhhhh. Doesn’t this view just make you let out a long exhale? It certainly does for me. It’s been five-ish months since work wrapped up on this project, and I still sometimes turn the corner only to be surprised by what I see. It just looks so fresh and lovely, and I pinch myself that this project finally happened, ten years in the making.
This photo sums up most of the major changes we made to our kitchen:
— We replaced the cabinet doors and hardware and replaced the crown molding with a simpler design. — The cabinets were painted Natural Cream by Benjamin Moore. — We added Shaker trim to the side of the dishwasher (what you can see right at the front of the photo above). — We replaced the backsplash with Zellige tile. — We moved the microwave from over the stove and replaced it with a range fan that vents to the exterior and a custom-built wooden hood over the top. — We switched out the light fixtures and stools and added decorative touches like the silhouettes and clock.
And then a reminder of a few things we didn’t change: the layout, the floors, the cabinet boxes, the sink, the faucet, the stove and other appliances, and the counters. Again, more on all that in this post.
By far the most common thing that pops out of people’s mouths when they see our new kitchen is, wow, it looks so much bigger! And I can’t disagree! It’s pretty amazing what some neutral paint and more harmonious fixtures can do for the felt-size of a space. We did also remove the wire rack at the entrance to the kitchen, which made a difference. But by and large, it was removing the visual clutter that has now makes it appear larger than it did before.
On the topic of the paint color: it was stressful to choose something other than white for our cabinets, even up until the first coat of color was sprayed on, but I adore how it turned out – to me, it’s the perfect not-too-yellow, not-too-cool greige. (Our painters even liked it so much they had a cabinet door sample done up to show other clients!) I credit Alaina’s impeccable taste and keeping the paint sample hung up for eight months with my success :)
Also, don’t you think it tones down the redness of our floors (which I don’t love)? I was hoping that would be a happy by-product and I think it is.
Since we’ve turned to face the other direction, let’s talk a little bit about this wall. Big changes over here! Bull Restoration (more on them below) demo’d the existing cabinetry and counter above and to the right of our fridge and built these new cabinets up to the ceiling. I love how it turned out.
Here’s the microwave’s new home! Though we did have to find new homes for a few items in this refresh, most of the items in this space were stored here before – it’s just now closed storage instead of open. I was worried (and John was very worried) it might be annoying to open the doors every time we wanted to use the microwave, but it has been just fine. From top to bottom we’ve stored paper cups and party supplies; teas and Keurig pods; mugs; our Soda Stream, blender, and Keurig; the microwave; toilet paper and tissue boxes; and paper towels.
One of my favorite features is that the height of each shelf is completely customizable, so we were able to size each shelf for its exact contents (and can adjust the height whenever we want!).
Popping over to the other side of the fridge, we have one of my favorite new additions to the kitchen. Our project manager at Bull was NOT convinced that this skinny little cabinet would be usable space, but I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for and it has been SO functional. Before, we stacked our baking sheets/muffin tins/cooling racks in a pile in a cabinet, and it was quite annoying to extricate any one of them. Now, I just slide out the sheet I need and it is glorious. This cabinet also became the new home for serving trays (relocated from the wire rack). Pitchers are stored in the shorter skinny cabinet above.
The backsplash! We chose the Bejmat Zellige tile in Weathered White from Clé Tile. It was a larger expense than simple subway tile, but I decided that it, along with the cabinet hardware, was a splurge that would go a long way toward giving a more custom look overall. I would recommend reading up on Zellige before choosing it for your own space, because it’s an artisan product with plenty of imperfections. But we really love the pearly, handmade finished look.
Okay and the light fixtures. I’m obsessed. These Ferguson light fixtures were one of the last items to be installed, and once they were in (a few weeks after the major work was finished), it was like we placed the final piece of the puzzle. I love how the more modern style of the pendants plays against the more traditional cream, Shaker-style cabinets, and how the gold details complement the gold of the hardware. Obsessed.
Full credit for finding these beauties goes to Kristin Winchester – I saw them in her kitchen and knew my search was over. We have the 13″ size in matte white/heritage brass.
Speaking of cabinet hardware: we chose unlacquered brass pieces from Rejuvenation after literally every single inspiration photo I collected used it. (I am not exaggerating.) Along with the tile, it was one of the other larger splurges, but I’m happy we did it – I think it’s a noticeable upgrade. We went with a combination of 6″ Vernon brass bin pulls, 1 1/4″ Ball cabinet knobs, and Massey 6″, 8″, and 10″ drawer pulls – all in unlacquered brass.
They’re a minor detail, but let’s talk about those silhouettes for a minute. We’ve had several done over the years for the kids, and I love that they’ve found a home here. June’s is from when she was about four, and Shep and Annie’s, about age one. Shep needs an updated one :) We have them done at the NC State Fair by Erik Johnson in the Village of Yesteryear – he’s there every year. He travels around the country the rest of the year, so if you’re interested, you may find him near you! He’s amazing – it takes him less than five minutes to cut each silhouette by hand.
A few thoughts on working with Bull Restoration:
I’ve had several local readers ask who we used to paint our cabinets, so I wanted to share a few thoughts. Bull Restoration replaced our cabinet faces, painted our cabinets and crown molding, and built the cabinets around the fridge.
After striking out with several other options, we got in touch with Bull after a personal referral in our neighborhood. Sean, the owner, came out promptly and gave me a quote standing in my kitchen. He came out several more times over the course of our project to finalize details, which I appreciated, and was our main contact throughout.
Bull does what they do and they do it well. In kitchens, they primarily build and paint cabinets and islands. They are a well-oiled machine, which is great, but it also meant that I had to be VERY clear and VERY on top of the details for anything that went outside of their usual scope. I came armed with pictures and rudimentary sketches, but because they don’t use CAD or other professional drawings, I was a bit stressed over how it would turn out in the end. Had I been clear enough? Had he interpreted everything correctly from our conversations? Communication was largely in person or via text which was also not my preference (I would have preferred email – easier to track conversations and details).
In the end, the result was great. The quality seems to be really good, and the paint finish is impeccable. The experience of having the guys in our house was good, too. They were only on site from Monday-Thursday of one week: about three days of building and taping, and one day of actual spraying and assembling. On Saturday, the punch list guy came and was impressively meticulous with making sure every tiny detail was perfect.
All Kitchen Sources:
Design consultation: Callie of Haven & Hinge (more on how Callie and I worked together in this post. She was so helpful!)
September is a big month around here! Not only have we been anticipating our anniversary trip, but also the official start of our kitchen refresh! This project has been months in the making. Many of you expressed interest in hearing more about it in my mid-year goals update, so I thought we could chat about it today!
From the day we stepped foot in this house ten years ago, I knew I’d someday want to paint the cabinets. The kitchen was actually one of our favorite parts of the house – the layout was good, there was ton of storage space, the countertops were unoffensive, and overall it was in great shape – but the reddish wood of the cabinets combined with the reddish tone of our floors was just not my style.
That being said, we emphatically did not have the budget to hire a cabinet painter for the first many years of homeownership, and it was not a project I was interested in taking on myself. We also were unsure how long we planned to stay in this house, and therefore unsure whether the expense of a kitchen refresh made sense. We did make a few tiny upgrades along the way – a sliver of a chalkboard wall in 2013 and new pendant lights in 2014 – but the kitchen largely still looks the way it did the day we got the keys. Here’s a home tour from 2015 for a little background; I’ve sprinkled a few “before” photos throughout this post, too, very much unstyled :)
We’ve decided that this will, likely, be our home for at least the next few years, and that, combined with a more recent ability to pay for these upgrades, made us comfortable slating a kitchen refresh for 2022. For all the excitement I’ve had for this project, though, I’ve also been in my head a bit.
First, this project represents a large outlay of money for us. I feel pressure to craft an outcome I’ll LOVE and be happy with for a long while (probably the rest of our time in this house), especially because I am the one driving this refresh. (John would be happy to leave things as-is.) I’ve waited ten years to spend this money, and I want to spend it well and not have regrets. That’s a lot of pressure!
Second, while I am proud that we’ve lived with a kitchen that didn’t feel like us for a decade in an age when it’s easy to find instant, extravagant, ripped-to-the-studs renovations everywhere you look online, there’s still something in me that feels conflicted about replacing things for (almost) purely aesthetic reasons. I’ve wrestled with whether I’m being a good steward of the earth and of our finances in doing so.
Those are not rabbit holes for which there are easy answers, but I’ve come to a place I can live with and am truly excited for what’s ahead.
In planning for 2022, I dubbed the kitchen refresh a Q1 goal. LOL.
In reality, in what felt like a part-time job at times, I spent all of Q1 and into Q2 chasing down contractors to bid on our project. We did, by the end of May, choose two and pay deposits, and were able to get on their calendars for three months later.
A bright spot was meeting with my friend Callie of Haven & Hinge in January. For an hourly fee, we met in my kitchen, talked through options, and weeded through my Pinterest board together. She recommended contractors to reach out to and sent me a simple design plan based on what we chatted about. Based on our meeting, I ordered and then hung up four paint sample swatches. Friends, they have been taped to our cabinets since January. EIGHT MONTHS! Even though we chose our cabinet color in the spring, I refused to take them down. Through all the waiting, frustration, and delays, they were my sign – my beacon of hope! – that something was eventually going to happen in this kitchen, ha!
In August, I had a final meeting with Callie. To maximize our time, I combed through the whole project and bulleted out in granular detail my exact questions before she came over: where should we put knobs and where should we put pulls? Which style of hood? 8″ or 13″ pendant lights over the bar? Etc. etc. etc. These are the types of questions I could spend hours debating; instead, it was so nice to spend ONE hour making all the decisions.
Once I had answers, I had final meetings to relay them to Don (who is doing most of the work aside from the cabinets) and Sean (who is doing the cabinets – not confusing at all to have a Don and a Sean working on our project). I also entered the official “spending money” stage and purchased the light fixtures, cabinet hardware, tile, and hood vent. And that pretty much brings us to where we are today!
So what actually are we doing in this refresh? Here’s the punch list:
STOVE WALL | We’re replacing the cabinet doors with Shaker-style fronts, replacing the hardware, and painting the cabinets.
HOOD | Removing the microwave, installing a hood that vents to the outside, and building and installing a wooden hood cover
REFRIGERATOR WALL | Removing the counter and cabinets to the right of the fridge, building a tall double-doored cabinet to the right of the fridge (the microwave will go inside), and building cabinets out around the rest of the fridge, to the ceiling. The wire shelf currently next to the fridge will be rehomed.
LIGHTS | Replacing the pendant lights over the bar and the dining room table fixture
OTHER | Adding or replacing a few other decorative pieces: adding a rug, painting over the chalkboard wall, removing an old intercom, simplifying the molding, removing blinds, hanging curtains, etc.
Here’s a sketch I made of the refrigerator wall, since it’s a little harder to picture:
We are not replacing our countertops, sink, or any appliances. However, we are doing a few smaller projects in or adjacent to the main room, but outside of the kitchen, at the same time:
POWDER ROOM | Painting the walls and replacing the light fixture, towel ring, artwork, and hand towels
FIREPLACE | Building and installing a custom wood mantel and replacing the tile with the same tile as the backsplash
STAIRS | Removing some fussy scrollwork detail for a more classic, simplified look
SIDE HALLWAY | Installing three large fabric bulletin boards to display kid artwork and photos
Let’s look at a few lovely photos to wrap things up for today!
Though I love a white kitchen, I wanted something a little warmer for our space. We’re going with Benjamin Moore’s Natural Cream, which is the same color used in Alaina’s kitchen (top left – so beautiful!). We’ll also be using gold hardware. (Other sources clockwise from top right: unknown, a friend’s kitchen, LEB Interiors, Friday & Co Design, unknown)
This kitchen by Emily Henderson has the same beautiful Zellige tiles that we’re using for our backsplash and fireplace surround.
Don is using this photo (from a Caitlin Creer home) for reference as he builds our mantel. (We aren’t doing the horizontal planking above.)
And he’s using this photo as a reference for our hood (I don’t have a credit for this one!).
And there you have it! Friends, the paint samples are still on my cabinets as I type because this all still doesn’t seem real – but maybe by next week it will? Because there will be new tile in my kitchen?! Thank you, as always, for being excited about the journey – even the very long ones :)
File this under classic third child situation: baby girl will not have a dedicated nursery.
BUT – we still have some special plans up our sleeves, and since where our newest addition will sleep has been one of our most commonly asked questions, I thought we could chat about our plans today!
In our home, the master bedroom is downstairs, and we are grateful to have three bedrooms upstairs. June is in one, Shep is in another, and the third is our guest room. The guest room was the very first room we painted in this house (Benjamin Moore Healing Aloe – the prettiest soft green, which I still love!), and after we hung a pair of magnolia art prints on the wall, we dubbed it the Magnolia Room. It’s perfect for welcoming our mostly northern guests to our Southern home! Here is what it looks like today:
Since we live far from loved ones and my sister and her family visit for weekend trips often, it’s important to us to keep a queen bed upstairs. Because of this, this room will largely stay intact, but we will be making a few adjustments to accommodate baby girl! (On that note, I am very glad that baby is, indeed, a girl and not a boy, because the existing decor definitely skews feminine! We could have made it work if we were welcoming a boy, but it’s a much lighter lift this way, ha!)
Here’s a look at the plan, and then a few more details:
First, of course, we’ll add a crib. We’ll use Shep’s same white Jenny Lind crib, even though he’s currently occupying it. We figure we have at least until the end of the year without overlap (if we need it!), since our babies usually sleep in the bassinet in our room for the first few months. Once we move the crib into her room, we’ll add this beautiful magnolia crib sheet (with this floral design as a back-up) and eventually this muslin quilt.
We’ll also switch out the curtains. While I love the current curtains, they’re not black-out and don’t even exactly cover the entire window when closed. (Oops – one of my earliest commissioned projects :)) I’m planning to find a seamstress to make black-out roman shades with the gorgeous Poppy fabric by Lulie Wallace, which I think will tie together lots of the colors in the room and be a fun, feminine touch for baby girl.
Finally, we’ll hopefully switch out the dresser. There is currently a dresser in the room, which was a free hand-me-down from one of our cottages in Maine. It is lovely, but smells AGGRESSIVELY like mothballs. We have tried various things to air it out over the years, but none have made much difference and we don’t have much hope of further progress. We’re currently storing a few things in there that don’t really absorb smells or we don’t care if they do, but ideally we would like some storage for baby girl things. So, we may opt to replace this dresser with another one – maybe this one. If I could get an exact dupe of the dresser in June’s room, I would in a second – I still think it is the most gorgeous honey wood color!! Alas, it was a one-of-a-kind flea market find.
We’ll also likely take the opportunity to switch out the lamps for a matching pair, add some happy yellow artwork over the bed, and frame a few family photos for the dresser!
For those who are curious, we figure the room in this configuration should be just fine for at least the first 2-3 years of baby girl’s life. Our kids don’t keep too many toys in their room until they start quiet time, so it shouldn’t be an issue to preserve the guest room feel. After that, we might consider having two of the kids share a room, or shifting the guest room to be more custom for baby girl (but still keep a queen bed). Or, we might be in a new house entirely! We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it :)
Sharing these posts is always good motivation to nail down the details – now I just need to execute! T-10 weeks to go…