...because home doesn't happen overnight.
01.29.10 / Fill ‘er Up!

This is the boring white cabinet that I bought from homedecoratorsoutlet.com.

I added new knobs and painted the back of it for a fresh look with a hint of color.

Today, I finally got around to filling it up.  Take a look.

The only thing I specifically bought for dressing this cabinet is the picture frame hanging above it.  I found it waaaaay on sale at a West Elm store closing.  It was just what I was looking for!  I filled it with some photos taken from my handy hubby’s high school trip to Spain.  (The only thing he knows how to say in Spanish is, “Donde estan mis pantalones?”)  So even though the trip didn’t hone in on his foreign language skills, at least we’ve got some sweet pictures to show for it.

A tray houses two IKEA vases and a lone candleholder that I found at Goodwill.  The tray itself is from Goodwill also.  It was originally hunter green and donned a country motif of painted apples.  I gave it the ‘white treatment’.  (My 4-year-old wants to know why I paint everything white.)  I stole the lamp from our office desk.

I dressed the shelves with some of my favorite interior decorating books and magazines.  The two wooden boxes hail from IKEA and are empty at the moment.  (You’d be surprised by how many of my ‘storage’ containers are actually empty.  Room to grow!)  A few family photo albums, a mortar and pestle (a prize I won in pharmacy college), and a lovely porcelain box given to me by my grandma round out the third shelf.  My grandma really enjoys playing cards.  Some of my fondest memories are of her staying up late to teach me new card games.  So, of course, I keep decks of cards in there.  The two sculptural lanterns on the top shelf were a steal from Big Lots.  Again, I had all this stuff sitting around my house just waiting for a home.

Don’t you love the way the green acts as a subtle backdrop for all the goodies?  The bottom drawer holds some activity books, Playdoh and art paper for the kiddos. 

What’s that, you say?  The knobs are different?!  Well, as with any project of mine, this one wasn’t perfect.  When I replaced the knobs I made a mistake.  Oops!  I used screws instead of bolts to attach the knobs and ended up stripping the knobs’ threading.  My 1-year-old had a knob off in two days!  Not good.  So, off to Lowe’s for new knobs and I actually found some clear, glass ones that I liked better anyways.  Handy hubby attached ’em this time…the right way.  And he secured the entire cabinet to the wall for the kids’ safety.  He’s pretty awesome.  Finally, one last shot of the glass-front cabinet in all its painted, knobbed and knick-knacked glory. 

Have you ever ‘shopped’ around your house for decor items?  It’s amazing what you might find because you’ve stowed it away and forgotten about it.  Plus, it’s FREE.

Since phase 1 of our kitchen upgrade is well under way, it’s time to start thinking about the next step.  With all the DIY and thrifting that we do around here (not to mention working), we’ve saved enough cash to replace our builder basic kitchen countertops, sink and faucet.  We’re 90% sure that the perimeter countertops (which support the sink) will get switched out to granite.  So, we also want to upgrade the sink and faucet. 

I’m really digging the undermount sinks.  They look so easy to swipe crumbs and messes into because they’re flush with the counter unlike our current top-mounted sink. 

I also like the look of a single basin (with no divider) but that wouldn’t be practical for our household.  Since we have 2 kiddos, a lot of daily dishware requires handwashing and air-drying.  I let those things air-dry in the second basin.  So, two basins it is; although they need not be the same size. 

And as for the sink material, I think a high quality, thick gauge stainless steel would suit our needs best.  (Those copper sinks are way cool but totally out of our price range!)

Here are some sinks that float my boat. 




And since we’re talkin’ sinks, how does your sink look or function?  Do you work left-to-right or right-to-left?  For those inquiring minds, I wash in the right basin, air-dry in the left basin and load my dishwasher to the right of the sink.

An old 3-ring binder (from my college days) and loads of inspirational tear-outs…

Plus a $7.77 pack of page protectors…

Equals an organized, anytime flip-through of eye candy and endless ideas.

Or as I like to call it, My Little Black Book.

I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of painting, decorating or buying new furniture to make one of their own.  In the end, this underestimated book will save you time and money.  Simply tear out magazine pages of rooms that you are drawn to.  Don’t think (yet) about why you like them or if you can afford them.  Just rip ’em out for about 6 months or so before you do the aforementioned painting, decorating or buying.  Then compile all pages into a binder with page protectors.  (Punching holes into thin magazine paper results in torn holes and lost pages.  Believe me, I know.)  Organize them by room… kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. 

Periodically, go through and study your book.  Remove pages that you are no longer drawn to (because we all like to change our minds!) and look for a common theme in the pages you keep.  This should really help nail down a feel, style or color scheme.  Do you like bold, bright colors?  Or are you drawn to more serene rooms?  Is your taste pretty traditional or do you lean more toward straight lines and no frills?  Are the rooms in your binder mostly formal or casual?

Once you can pinpoint a feel, your projects and shopping lists should become more focused.  I didn’t do this for the first year we lived in our home.  I had all these little ideas but no overall concept of how I wanted our house to look.  Needless to say, I wasted some time, money and paint on things that didn’t turn out ‘right’.  I was in a hurry to get it done.  Once I took the time to compose My Little Black Book and discover that I like light, airy, neutral rooms with pops of color (especially green), texture and geometric details, it was easy to start working towards a cohesive vision.  Go ahead, try it for yourself!