...because home doesn't happen overnight.

HH is out of town on business. I do some of my best work when he’s away. HH is half joking when he tells people that he’s afraid of what he’ll find when he returns home from a work trip. He’ll be happy to discover that I’ve only made little tweaks this trip. I blame the kids.

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For this month’s Wayfair in the House post, I jumped at the chance to add some stylish and practical accessories to the kitchen. The kitchen is finished from a reno standpoint but I’m just now getting to the good part – tweaking ’til my heart’s content. Which, realistically, could take years.

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I’ve been dying to add something to the left of the kitchen window. I was holding out for the perfect piece. A living art frame ended up being that piece. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m aching for spring. We got another 6″ of snow yesterday. Spring? A friend described it best, “Ohio is drunk.”

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My original thought was to fill the planter with herbs. But I wasn’t willing to drag three kids around town in search of them. So I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of small houseplants: succulents, African violets, fern.

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I love the mix but am a little worried about how the fern will do alongside drought-loving succulents. There is a watering chamber at the top of the unit. I have a tutorial coming on how I filled and hung the planter. It’s unique and deserves a post all its own.

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HH better watch out. If spring doesn’t get here soon, our kitchen may become overrun with plants! All joking aside, I’m loving all the greenery in the kitchen. It makes dishwashing tolerable.

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Speaking of dishwashing…the dish towel is new too.

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It has a subtle geometric pattern and contrasting ribbon trim. Again, dishwashing is becoming slightly more tolerable.

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I get emails all the time asking how our walnut-topped island is holding up. {Read more about how we finished and installed the wood countertop.} My best answer is to tell those who are curious to check out the bar top at a restaurant the next time they’re in one. It’s pretty much spot on for how our island top looks. There are some scratches in the Waterlox topcoat but nothing deep enough that penetrates into the wood. In essence, the scratches could be sanded out if they were bothersome but they don’t bother me at all. You can only see them at certain angles and they’re just signs of life. We don’t cut directly on the walnut but we don’t baby it either. Homework and drawing is done at island. Dishes are slid around on the island. Casual meals are eaten at the island daily. Lunch boxes are packed at the island. It’s the busiest surface in our house and we love it. It still looks rich and is a cinch to clean. I use a wet washcloth to wipe it down and a towel to dry. That’s it.

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One thing I’ve been looking to invest in is a marble pastry board. But not for pastries. {I don’t do pastries.} I thought it would be nice for meal prep or to use as a serving tray when knives are involved. And, let’s be honest, I like the layered marble-over-walnut look.

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This marble board is substantial. It’s 20″x16″ and weighs a good 25-30 lbs! It’s not an accessory that is easily moved around the kitchen but, due to its size and weight, it stays in place when in use. I like it so much I think I may just leave it out all the time.

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Can you spy the new accessory on this side of the kitchen? You may recognize it from my Joss & Main event.

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Yep, it’s the pizza peel. I was in dire need of one. Currently, I count 4 scars on my forearms from reaching into the oven for a baking pizza. I’m a bit of klutz in the kitchen. Last week, I singed my arm hairs.

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I put it on display instead of shoving it into a cabinet. I wish I could turn it so the handle was up but then it would be too large to fit under the shelf.  It ties in to the wood shelves and walnut island top well.

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What do you think of the new kitchen accessories? Layne and Everett especially like the living art frame.

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I planted and hung the wall planter at night while the kids were asleep. In the morning, the boys noticed it right away and made a point to tell me how much they loved it. If hanging plants on walls makes you a cool mom, I’m in.

Thanks to Wayfair for supporting my habit.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

53 Comments

26.March.2013

Love it all. Much as I’ve admired the restrained, more masculine look of the Underdog (hasn’t the transformation earned it a new name yet? Or maybe when the kid/guest bathroom is done?), I’ve been rooting (sorry!) for some greenery. Even bathrooms perk up with plants. Every one of the new items adds richness and visual interest to the space. Enjoy!

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26.March.2013

Does the planter hold water? Succulents can take quite a lot of water as long as they have good drainage and they’re not sitting in it. The fern and the violets will want to have wetter feet but you’ll probably be fine. It looks really beautiful.

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26.March.2013

When I saw the first photo, I thought it was from a magazine shoot. Then I realised it’s your kitchen, of course! Great tweaks – I think they add a lot of warmth and make the kitchen look beautiful.

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26.March.2013

love all the additions! i have a ton of succulents at my house as well, but since i live in texas, they’re all outside soaking up the sun.

one question i’ve been meaning to ask every time i see a picture of your kitchen: where did you get your kitchen faucet? ikea? i like that it’s sleek and simple…i need to replace mine soon and i like the look of yours.

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replied on March 26th, 2013

The faucet is from Overstock. We’ve had good luck with kitchen sinks and faucets through Overstock.

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26.March.2013

In our last house we hung the pizza peel. I put a string through the hole and wah-lah! Always handy and dries nicely. love the plants.

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26.March.2013

Yes, love the new additions! It’s amazing what just a little greenery can do. You’ve done a super job on this kitchen. I always enjoy seeing new pics of it.

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26.March.2013

It looks amazing! I love succulents.

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I love your kitchen so much! It is so beautiful! xo Kristin

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26.March.2013

I’m with the boys, I LOVE the living frame. I am excited to see it “grow up”! Your kitchen looks truly beautiful. You are doing such a great job. Eye candy for sure!

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The African violets are going to need a different type of watering system. They have special planters specifically for African violets and they are tricky to keep alive. The ferns and succulents should be in different soil types and on different watering schedules for the best results. So while pretty you’ll probably need to break at least some of those out for individual pots. I love the overall of the kitchen though! The dark wood accents add a lot of beautiful interest to the space.

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replied on March 27th, 2013

The planter has separate “pots” for each plant so it could cater to different soil types. The succulents came potted in very rocky soil for proper drainage – I just added a little soil to fill out their “pots” in the wall planter. Still, there’s a good chance it could backfire.

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26.March.2013

I am head over heels for every update! Love it

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26.March.2013

Great job! I sent my mom a pic of the planter because I love it, and her fort words were “U know those plants don’t have the same light requirements” so if some do die that could be the problem!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

I’m more worried about the difference in watering than lighting needs just because of the wall planter’s location. That wall is weird. It’s a north wall so the kitchen window faces north – no direct sunlight comes through but it’s really bright indirect light. Also, the section of wall that the planter is on receives direct sunlight at various times throughout the day from the skylights. I’m hoping that’s enough variation to keep the various plants happy. Who am I kidding? My black thumb will inevitably kill them all. That’s what we should be worried about!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

Do you know how many succulents my black thumb has killed?!?! Or my cats have pawed out of the terrariums!? That’s why I was interested in this frame because I could put it where my little hoodlums couldn’t get to it.

Anyways, I’m sooo grateful for the ivy that just keeps coming back to life and growing after I haven’t watered it in a month or more.

I think my mom was talking about one or two of the plants that needed full sun, I would consider inside to be mostly shady all the time even with that fabulous skylight. I hope the plants stay alive!

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The living wall art is awesome!! I wondered what you were up to based on the instagram sneak peek!

P.S. I also tend to tackle projects when my hubby is out of town. I don’t know what it is about him being gone but it just seems to provide me the motivation to get busy!

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26.March.2013

LOVE!!! Your whole kitchen is just lovely and the new details make it even more perfection! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!!

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26.March.2013

One word for the new accessories…Awesome!

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26.March.2013

My local Home Depot does sell herbs (both plants and seeds). Your choices of green are gorgeous though. I’m really liking this living art frame, the whole concept and the color of the wood too.

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26.March.2013

have you ever seen a staghorn fern? they are really air plants, and they look so beautiful mounted on the wall. if the normal fern can’t hang with the succulents, i bet a staghorn fern would.
i LOVE your living frame!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

LOVE staghorns! I was dreaming about one today – no joke. Any idea where I could find one?

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27.March.2013

I actually didn’t recognize your kitchen in the first photo- what a difference a little greenery can make. I’ve been planning on putting a staghorn fern somewhere in my house soon, as well. I worked in a greenhouse in college and they always creeped me out then, but I walked by one a few weeks ago and wanted to take it home with me. Any large greenhouse with house plants should carry one or two, and there are online resources but shipping can be tough on plants.

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27.March.2013

I love the hanging planter. Great use of wall space! I’m heading into winter and with an all white kitchen am looking to inject some life and greenery into the space before I batten down the hatches. Great inspiration…and who doesn’t love a cute tea towel!

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27.March.2013

Really like the wall planter! I’m looking forward to a post about it as I’m toying with the idea of hanging/doing a wall planter on my balcony provided we get a real summer this year. The joys of living in Sweden.

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27.March.2013

Very nice looking kitchen – curious abt your dishes shown on shelf …..source?

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replied on March 27th, 2013

Pfaltzgraff circa 2002 – aka the year we got married. They are pretty heavy for everyday dishes but I love the look of them and they’ve lasted us this long {10+ years!} so I see no reason to fix things now.

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27.March.2013

Love your living art frame! It looks great! The kitchen is coming along nicely.
P.S.- missouri is drunk too.

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It’s the perfect amount of wood in the right spot…

er… that’s what she said!

But I’m loving all of the greenery! My black thumb is givin you the stink eye. Meh.

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Like usual, everything looks amazing!! I love the addition of some greenery and the marble slab is making me drool on top of your wood island. Beautiful!! :)

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27.March.2013

Looks great. I’d love a post about how you potted and mounted everything without soil falling all over your counters. And so what if one thing dies next month… they can always be switched out or replaced for a few bucks! I envy your dish washing space!

Where is the leafy plant next to the sink from? I love it’s color and fullness!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

The plant on the counter next to the sink is a philodendron. I think I found it at Home Depot. As far as houseplants go, it’s super easy to care for.

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replied on March 29th, 2013

I was certain that was my favorite houseplant, a Pothos. I know they look very similar, are both poisonous, and easy to care for, but the Pothos purify the air more. I keep mine on the fridge because they’re so toxic… not that I teach my kids or pets to eat plants, but just to be safe. They grow like crazy!

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27.March.2013

I love love love the living art frame! All of your new accessories are just perfect for adding warmth and texture to the space.

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replied on March 27th, 2013

I was going to add…. Separate pots means you can experiment and toss out what isn’t working. If all else fails, add some fake succulents! I think they look great! Mix with a couple of hardy real plants and no one will ever know.

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27.March.2013

Oh so pretty! Am I a total nerd for wanting you to stain the kitchen stool walnut to further match the countertop?

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replied on March 27th, 2013

That stool is getting something – whether it’s a paint job or stain has yet to be decided.

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27.March.2013

I love your kitchen, but I was just too excited when I saw the dishes you have on your shelves. I have those same ones!!!! Were they your registry dishes when you got married? They were for us in 2002….and I still love them!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

Yep, we totally registered for the dishes in 2002! Funny!

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27.March.2013

I LOVE it!!! I have to laugh because my Husband travels a TON during the winter. (Engineer + winter test = Wife’s Pinterest To-do vacation ) My hubby comes home and wanders around the house with our kids checking out all the new stuff/projects :)

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27.March.2013

your kitchen looks beautiful and i love the addition of plants-it makes the space feel warm and lived in! silly question that i often wonder when browsing blogs and design photos-do you use a dish drain to dry dishes and if so, where do you put it? do you put it away for photos? i ask because i have this small counter space to the left of my sink (where you put the plant) and i feel like the dish drainer is such an eye sore and i always want to put plants, herbs, etc…there but need a place to dry dishes that are cleaned by hand!

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replied on March 27th, 2013

I have a simple wire dish rack that sits to the left of the sink when in use. It fits right in front of the plant. When not in use {or during photo shoots}, I put it in the cabinet under the sink or directly in the sink {it’s a single basin}.

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27.March.2013

I love all the updates! I tend to kill any houseplants I get. Would love to hear how yours hold up. And I am always AMAZED at how much you get done without HH + 3 kids! We are getting our house ready to sell and every little project seems to take forever.

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It looks great! I’d love to hear how the plants hold up…succulents are the ONLY plants I cant kill, so this is right up my alley. I really need to add some greenery to my kitchen too, so I’ll keep an eye out for the tutorial!

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27.March.2013

Love the living wall art!! I noticed at first mila-second glance :) Yes, it makes you a cool mom (but your kids are cool for liking it, too) and it definitely adds some warmth and life to your kitchen.

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I L-O-V-E the way plants can transform a room. Big time. The marble is gorgeous, too…. You don’t use your knives on the marble, right? It can cause them to chip! Plastic, wood, or pressed wood is the best for knives :)

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28.March.2013

Please post how to make the frame!! I want to make one this weekend! Its killing me!

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28.March.2013

I love the planter! Can’t wait to read about the details of it. I also love your mix of various surfaces and textures–the marble block is gorgeous against the wood grain on the island.

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29.March.2013

I absolutely love your kitchen! That black is stunning!

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16.April.2013

Hi! Do you have the name of your granite? I love it and need to choose granite for my new kitchen ASAP!

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replied on April 16th, 2013

Kashmir white!

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