Monday, February 13, 2017

Kitchen Windows

When we moved in, we immediately put up window coverings downstairs. The boys' bedrooms eventually got curtains, but they weren't using them for a while anyways. But the back of the house we left the windows uncovered. We didn't want to obstruct our view.

Plus, the sunsets are gorgeous. Even though the sun is in your eyes for 45 minutes, the view you get once the sun is behind the trees is beautiful. I didn't want anything to block it. But I lost that battle, and we have put shades up.

The windows were looking unfinished, but the main reason for window treatments was the sunset. The beautiful, but blinding sunset.

I had the salesman come over that did our plantation shutters to quote me for another project (details coming soon) and I told him to bring samples of his woven shades. I narrowed it down to three

They were all beautiful, but way past my budget. Even the cheapest one was not feasible. I went back to the drawing board. I liked the shades at the old house and I got those from Home Depot.

But Home Depot no longer carries them. I then ordered a shade from Home Depot called 'Driftwood' but it was a nightmare. It looked like fake, uneven painted wood. I returned that promptly. I then decided to look at Lowes in-stock inventory. I found a Levelor shade I really liked. It is called Tatami.

I wanted something that matched the wood floors, and it did. It had variations just like the floor. You can get the shades cut to the perfect width in the store, but not all widths come in all lengths. For some reason I could not get a shade narrower than 36 inches at a 60 inch length, it was only available in the 72 inch length. It would have to be a custom order. At $215 per window, I couldn't do it. I got the 72 inch length in a narrow size for the French doors, and came to a road block of what to do for the windows.

I used the 72-inch length on the doors. That is where the sunset was prettiest and the worst. You couldn't sit on the couch without the sun in your eyes.

Somehow I got on a Google hunt about making shades at a custom length. I then realized I could make the 72-inch length into 60-inch. So, I went back to Lowes and got the in-stock 72 inch length.

I measured where the shade hit the window sil and marked the fold with a piece of scotch tape.

I then cut a inch past the fold.

I removed the string and attached it the the next ring higher.

I then used hot glue to fix the fold permanently.

It was so easy and so worth not having to pay the custom price.

With our deep window sils, I put the shades halfway into the frame. I wanted to still have a window sil with the shades drawn.

For the really large window I was willing to have a custom shade so that I could have one shade and not three. That way I could not have to be bothered with trying to make the shades be pulled at the same height for all three. But, at 106" wide, the shade would have to be two shades on one headrail. This option wouldn't work and would look funny having two shades across three windows, and I couldn't get three shades on one headrail. So, I decided to go with three separate shades.

It looks great and is not that hard to get all three at the same height. Mr. JCrew was very worried the view would be obstructed, and I admit I got nervous when I saw the shades took up almost 1/4th of the window with them up. But I have already gotten use to it and can see things just fine. And pulling the shades at night has provided extra privacy. There is a street in the distance that while on, if you are TRYING to view our house, you can see it. I was on the street at night once and saw into some windows and thought it was pretty and then realized that was my house! Then I started thinking of what people could be seeing (no running to the fridge in my underwear! Not that I did.) Even though our backyard view is far away from neighbors, you can still see. So, I am glad we now have coverings to use at night.

Eventually, I would like to install some curtain panels the same color as the wall to add texture. I wouldn't need to close them, but they'd be there for structure. I'm on the hunt for the right fabric. I'm keeping a paint swatch in my purse for now. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2017


The kitchen was the first part of the house that I designed and built the house out from there. I wanted the kitchen to be the center of the house and it is both figuratively and literally. The last picture I shared of the kitchen, it was dirty and not finished completely.

When guests gather, the kitchen is where we stay. My attempts to relocate us to another room always fail.

This room is still coming together. The appliances are from our old house. The buyer offered them to keep and we gladly took them. I eventually might change the color, but I can wait until these die. I loved my gas slide-in range and was happy to keep it. Same with my fridge. At the time we got it, it was the largest in cubic feet.

Because we will eventually have to replace our appliances and will entertain changing the colors, we bought a cheap microwave to match the black. It was so cheap, that the plastic on the buttons has bubbled up. This happened within a month. A scratch came first and I scratched it some more thinking it was a protective layer we accidentally left on. NOPE. That is the beautiful finish.

The dishwasher was going to be black no matter what, since the island is a dark color and I wanted the dishwasher to "disappear." I don't know if I ever shared the struggle with the new dishwasher at the old house, but it was a nightmare and scared us. It had cool features and was soooo quiet. But it broke within the one year warranty and at the time when we were selling the house. After more than ten service calls and blame being put on everyone but themselves, we finally got a new dishwasher. Picking out a dishwasher for the new house took some time, but I will say after a year of almost daily use, it is awesome.

We mixed up the hardware on the drawers and doors of the cabinets and that threw the cabinet installer for a loop. After a couple mistakes, I ended up putting the hardware on myself. I admit I was picky about the hardware, but I am happy with it. It has held up and is worth it.

Behind the kitchen is a hallway. It may not be "efficient" for a mass-production home builder as it is "wasted space," but that was what I was drawn to about older homes. You don't just walk into a room when you enter a home. That hallway is a buffer. It leads to the garage and our side entry porch. Guests come in that way and we don't have to have blinds because you don't see straight into the house!

Because of the open floorplan, the flooring choice for the kitchen was simple. Yet, even though I knew my only option was wood, it made me nervous as you hear about flooding in the kitchen. And we had our share of that! When we got our fridge back from the old house, the new owner had taken it completely apart. Since I did not have a manual and I didn't watch the disassembly, I had to play the guessing game when putting it back together. I finally figured out where everything went. We were good. Except if you wanted a glass of water from the door dispenser. The ice dispenser worked fine, but when you tried to get water, nothing came out and your toe would get wet. I investigated and the tube that ran from the fridge to the door was cut in half. I researched and there was a connector missing. I ordered one that was wrong and finally ordered the correct connector, but in the meantime I had to warn people not to get water. People would forget, and I put up a sign . I was constantly having to pull out the fridge and mop up the water. Glad we caught it and it was fixed!

When the cabinets were installed, the microwave and the cabinet above it were hung too low.

They were suppose to be slightly higher. The height was fixed, but it left holes in my drywall. I never got it fixed because I knew I would eventually tile a backsplash that would cover it. Hard part = picking a tile for that backsplash. I finally picked something and installed it on New Years Eve. A new post on that will be coming.

The faucet in my kitchen was a splurge, but so worth it. I wanted a bridge faucet and was specific on the design. I found it and that was it.

The single basin apron-front sink is also perfect. I went back and forth on whether it needed to be divided or one big bowl, but the single bowl is perfect. I can wash very large dishes/pots with ease.

A baby also fits in there!

The kitchen is a work in progress. I was head-strong about nothing being above the cabinets (no baskets or plants) but it started to look plain. I found a pallet board at Michael's and thought it might be the right size for the fake cabinet above the microwave. Turns out, it was. I painted "JW Homestead" on the pallet and hung it up. JW Homestead was the name we gave the house while we were designing it. Because we were combining two households, the JW stood for Jenson-Wilkinson. I knew I wanted to display the name somewhere in or outside the house, and this spot turned out perfect.

I liked how the color of the signed pulled the color of the floors up with it. And I never thought putting more things up there would make the room feel taller, but it did. It drew your eyes up. So I went to find more warm wood tones that I could display up high. I used a cutting board, a tray and woven chargers.

I don't think the space with the chargers is complete, but it hasn't hit me yet how to finish it.

Once I looked at these pictures and created this post, I knew I wanted to change the set up above the fridge. I was browsing at Hobby Lobby and found a cute shelf. I was hopeful it would work.

The sides are natural wood tone, so that ties it to the chargers. And I put a succulant up there in it to add some color.

I like the design of our barstools, but don't like the quality. The screws are constantly falling out and they are wobbly. Even using Locktite, the screws are found on the floor. Hopefully I will always find them before the baby does.

Eventually I would like to add more trim pieces to the ends of the island to make it look more like a piece of furniture, and that will come.

The island is 10 feet long and it is great. There is plenty of room to work and get messy in the kitchen. It is definitely a favorite spot. I sometimes have the kids do projects or homework on the island.

The kitchen really is one of my favorite spots. The view I have from the bedroom is wonderful.

I wouldn't mind laying in bed all day to stare.


Wall Cabinet Color: Benjamin Moore - Stone Harbor 2111-50
Island Cabinet Color: Benjamin Moore - Iron Mountain 2134-30
Kitchen Wall Color: Benjamin Moore - Barren Plain 2111-60
Barstools: Target - Industrial
Faucet:  Rohl Perrin and Rowe
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