...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I hope you don’t mind if I eke out one more post from our recent vacation. It’s dark and cold here so I’ve been living vicariously through the vacation photos on my phone. I thought maybe you would like to do the same. Photo dump, anyone?

rosemary beach post office

As I’ve mentioned before, we stayed in Seacrest which is sandwiched between Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. We spent most of our time biking and walking around Rosemary and I was so inspired by the architecture which you can read more about here. Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter post office?

rosemary beach house

rosemary beach house

No house is just like the other but there is an underlying vibe that keeps things feeling harmonious. I was especially drawn to the exterior material choices: wood siding, cedar shingle, stucco. And the windows. THE WINDOWS.

rosemary beach garage door

rosemary beach driveway gate

rosemary beach gate

There were so many good door and gate moments, too. I nearly wrecked my bike rubbernecking. Steve and I spent ten minutes ogling the galvanized downspout on that green garage. I loved the unique silhouettes of the gates. The attention to detail is incredible.

rosemary beach modern porch

rosemary beach traditional porch

There was a juxtaposition of modern and traditional that kept things interesting. I noticed something new and different on every bike ride – even if it was an area we had passed through before. For a design nerd like me, it was sensory overload. In a good way, of course.

rosemary beach hidden lantern

rosemary beach hidden lantern

rosemary beach hidden lantern

One of our favorite places to visit was The Hidden Lantern Bookstore in downtown Rosemary. It’s part bookstore, part art gallery, and it’s gorgeous yet homey. There’s a big, comfy sofa and plenty of cushy chairs which make it difficult to leave! I noticed a trio of paper lanterns covered in “scales” cut from book pages. The featured artist was Rae Broyles. Her work is amazing.

I discovered this new book on display and wouldn’t shut up about it because when in Rome… Steve secretly bought a signed copy on the last day and gifted it to me for my birthday. He’s the best.

We ate dinner out a few nights. Since the kids were with us, our options were a bit limited but we really enjoyed Cowgirl Kitchen (get the smoked tuna dip and shrimp & grits) and La Cocina (get the fish tacos and lobster quesadilla plus a margarita). Both were family-friendly and delicious.

alys beach

On one of the cooler days, we biked to Alys Beach just to gawk. Alys Beach is one of those unattainable places that makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong in my life. Ha! The homes are opulent, beautiful and crazy pricey. Here’s a little Alys Beach trivia for you: The community is centered around Lake Marilyn. Interestingly, the lake was an afterthought. It was added in 2005 in response to a need for an irrigation reservoir. Overhead, the lake’s contours resemble those of a curvaceous woman. Hence, the name Lake Marilyn was born.

lays beach house

This was the only house small enough to fit in my viewfinder!

alys beach pool

This is just a sliver of the pool area. There are private cabanas with a lap pool on one side and woodland preserves on the other. Stunning.

alys beach horse sculpture

We stumbled upon these horse sculptures constructed of driftwood. The kids loved them.

alys beach window

alys beach door

More window and door moments. Can you EVEN? Most of the homes are centered around interior, private courtyards that feature fountains and pools. We could hear water trickling beyond the doors. It was so dreamy.

The boys and I hit up Charlie’s Donuts for breakfast one morning. We really wanted to try George’s and Fonville Press but, alas, they didn’t happen this trip. Next time! Who’s with me?

Okay, I think I can make it through winter now ;)

P.S. – The #HolidayHostess event continues this week with Jennifer from Dear Lillie. Her recently re-painted kitchen looks cozy.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

12.15.14 / Made Me Smile

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

We put up our tree last week. Cheetah was verrrry interested in it before we added lights and (unbreakable) ornaments. She disappeared into the tree once and we had to pull her out but, since adding the decorations, she seems to have lost interest other than batting around a few ornaments on the lowest branches. Just in case, we anchored the tree to the mantel with fishing line ;) WE ARE THOSE PEOPLE.

More happenings…

*Coolest open house ever.

*So much potential.

*DIY corner shelves. (Way to go, Alison!)

*A reader from Estonia contacted me this week. It piqued my interest and I did some reading up on the area. Now I want to visit! Have you ever been? This beach villa looks amazing and this old town home in Tallinn looks so cozy.

british standard kitchen via Remodelista

*Kitchen love.

*One mama’s thoughts.

*Someone gifted me an Amazon gift card for my birthday. I bought this book and have been devouring every word and image. I’m kind of sad I only have a few pages left to read.

Have a great one!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Alexis Hamilton

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

gold coast ikea kitchen before 1

In February of this year, Jess and her partner, Tim, purchased their first house located in Queensland, Australia. The kitchen was closed off from the main living area and faced the back of the house. 90’s cabinets and laminate countertops did not reflect the couple’s impeccable style.

OLD FLOOR PLAN

house

NEW FLOOR PLAN

house2

gold coast ikea kitchen before 2

To improve the layout, the couple made plans to remove walls separating the kitchen from the living area and flip the kitchen so the peninsula would separate the kitchen from the living area. They used Ikea cabinetry to achieve a sleek, modern design. I asked Jess several questions about the remodel. Find her answers and the mind-blowing “afters” below.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 1

gold coast ikea kitchen after 2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

We chose to purchase our FAKTUM cabinets, ABSTRAKT gloss white doors, drawers (and fronts), BLANKETT handles, RATIONELL drawer liners and cutlery organizers from Ikea. We also selected a few of our appliances – namely the MW6 combi oven, dishwasher and rangehood (discontinued hidden model).

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I had a pretty solid Ikea bookcase constructing background as my first house was furnished with many of their inexpensive storage solutions. I knew that we could probably tackle the kitchen cupboard assembly without too many hiccups. Obviously, the price was also a huge deciding factor for us as we are renovating on a budget and committed to completing as much as we can ourselves.

I also spent hours and hours online reading reviews and comparing different kitchen systems. I found ikeafans.com (sadly, it’s no longer) to be an invaluable source of knowledge. If hundreds of other novices had attempted an Ikea kitchen and come out on the other side without a messy divorce, so could we!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 12

Who designed your kitchen?

We designed and redesigned several times using the online kitchen tool which we found to be very useful and, at times, a bit frustrating. It is amazing how much bigger your kitchen looks onscreen versus real life! I definitely suggest taping out the rough dimensions of your new cupboards before making any final decisions.

Once we were fairly set on our design, we made an appointment with an Ikea kitchen specialist who helped us to finalise additional items like cover panels and plinths.

In terms of aesthetic, we managed to combine our individual styles and also take inspiration from my favourite blogs – House*Tweaking, Manhattan Nest and Chezerbey. The end result is a Scandinavian / clean-lined / warm wood tone style that we both absolutely adore. All the pieces fit together better than we could have hoped!

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 1

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 2

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 3

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 4

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

With heaps of over-confidence and a passion for late night arguments, we tried our hand at everything over the course of our renovations. And we didn’t suck at it…especially the bickering, we excelled at that!

We knocked down the old wall between the kitchen and the lounge room, built a new wall to effectively reverse the kitchen, plastered and painted, and generally spent every weekend taking carloads to the tip.

I built all of our kitchen cupboards which took approximately 12-14 hours total. Tim & I installed the cabinets ourselves and we even tiled for the first time when we installed the marble splashback.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 4

gold coast ikea kitchen after 5

Unless you are a licensed electrician, it is illegal to undertake electrical work yourself in Australia. Fortunately, we have a great electrician who installed our new downlights and pendants and wired up our new appliances. We also outsourced the plumbing work and the Caesarstone bench top construction and installation.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 8

gold coast ikea kitchen after 18

gold coast ikea kitchen after 10

gold coast ikea kitchen after 11

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

To suit our style of mixed cold and warm elements, we chose a Caeserstone bench top in sleek concrete, sourced hexagonal carrara marble from ebay and utilised Tasmanian oak as trim on archways and above the cooktop.

We recycled cover panel offcuts to close a 7cm gap between the ceiling and top of the upper cabinets. We cut down a standard FAKTUM cupboard to create a usable storage space above the fridge pod.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 6

gold coast ikea kitchen after 7

Our kitchen features a few unique items that give it that little bit extra in our opinion: a black Franke techtonite sink, a clock purchased on an anniversary trip to Byron Bay and Tim’s dream induction cooktop which we managed to pick up for a song from an online auction house.

We also took the opportunity to install new flooring throughout our house which originally featured the cheapest bamboo laminate and old cracked tiles hidden under black linoleum. We chose Quickstep classic midnight oak brown which was extremely easy to install and perfectly complemented our kitchen choices.

How long was it from design to the final product?

Design has been happening since day one of viewing the house. We ordered our kitchen components in June and began renovating on weekends in August. The final kitchen reveal happened during the first week of October. I took three weeks holiday in September which allowed me to install new flooring and paint pretty much everything.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have lived with the finished product for two months now and have only adjusted the push-to-open hardware on the top cupboards to ensure they close properly. I am very impressed with the quality of the Ikea cupboards and appliances, particularly the fact that we have a working dishwasher again!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 13

gold coast ikea kitchen after 15

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

This is a hard question! Tim’s favourite is the Electrolux 70cm induction cooktop, whereas mine is the actual layout which has opened up the main living area.

Our least favourite is, unfortunately, the pantry size. We didn’t realize that the 40cm cupboard actually means 30cm drawers so it was a bit of a downsize from our old kitchen. Luckily, we have ample spare cupboards to compensate.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Yes, absolutely. We are very happy with the quality of the cupboards and the endless options / configurations.

We would highly recommend the combi oven and love the soft-closing drawers. The gloss finish of the doors and drawer fronts is impeccable and seems to be very durable.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We would definitely use Ikea again. In fact, we are taking on the study / linen closet as one of our next projects and plan to use a combination of the Ikea FAKTUM cupboards and the PAX wardrobe system. Ikea provides both great service and an awesome result.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Dulux vivid white
flooring – Quickstep classic midnight oak brown
cupboards (cabinets) – FAKTUM, Ikea
handles – BLANKETT, Ikea
bench top (countertop) – Caesarstone sleek concrete (4003), Regency Stone
cooktop – Electrolux 70cm ceramic induction cooktop in black (EHD68210P), GraysOnline
rangehood – Luftig (BF570), Ikea
oven – Fisher & Paykel 60cm oven (OB60SL7DEX1), JB Hi Fi
microwave combi oven – Nutid (MWC6), Ikea
dishwasher – BESPARA integrated dishwasher, Ikea
fridge – Fisher & Paykel, already owned
splashback (backsplash) – 50mm hexagonal carrara marble mosiac, ebay
grout – Ardex magellan grey, Beaumont Tiles
sink – Franke tectonite kitchen sink in carbon black (SID110-50), Masters
tap – stainless steel with vegetable hose, ebay
wood trim – Tasmanian oak, Bunnings
clock – anniversary gift
pendants – Tadao 1 medium point top concrete pendants, Beacon Lighting
stools – Tolix in white, Outlet Homewares
Hahnii snake plant in grey pot – Masters

gold coast ikea kitchen after 19

gold coast ikea kitchen after 20

Jess & Tim, thank you for sharing the story of your kitchen remodel so candidly and so thoroughly! DIY novices? You could have fooled me.

OH MY WOW. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this amazing renovation. I love that they had the forethought to knock down those walls and flip the kitchen’s layout. It completely opened up the space. The kitchen looks as if it’s been this way all along. Jess & Tim make it look easy, but committing to a minimal design and limited palette requires restraint. And the attention to detail is flawless: the DIY cabinet over the fridge, hexagonal backsplash, concrete pendants, concealed hood, fancy electrical outlets / switches, trimmed out space between the upper cabinets and ceiling. One of my favorite parts is the oak trim above the cooktop and in the doorways. They complement each other so nicely and provide the slightest touch of warmth at eye level. Not to mention, the oak-trimmed doorways are practical. Our drywalled corners have taken a beating from the kids!

As you can see, Jess & Tim’s stellar style doesn’t stop at the kitchen. I’m all over that sofa. It’s further proof that Aussie’s must have an innate sense of style that puts the rest of the world to shame. (No offense, world.) I’m just glad these two are kind enough to share theirs with us and I hope it’s contagious. You can follow Jess & Tim’s renovating adventures over on Jess’s blog here.

I’m off to practice my Aussie lingo (cupboards, bench top, splashback, lounge room – so adorable!) but if you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:

An Ikea Kitchen in Asheville

A (Mostly) Ikea Kitchen in Denver

An Ikea Kitchen in Rural Australia

An Ikea Kitchen in the SF Bay Area

An Ikea Kitchen in Northfield, Minnesota

An Ikea Kitchen in Brooklyn

An Ikea Kitchen in Orange County

An Ikea Kitchen in Texas Hill Country

An Ikea Kitchen in Chesapeake

An Ikea Kitchen in a Barn (in France!)

An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod

P.S. – The #HolidayHostess event continues this week with Kelly from Lily Pad Cottage. She recently painted her laundry room navy and it looks fab!

images: Agent Thirty Six

12.07.14 / Made Me Smile

star light, star bright

It really felt like winter here this week: cold, gray, gloomy. The early dusk doesn’t help. The star lights in our front window help a little. Reading helps a lot. I’ve been looking through our vacation pictures all week and I can’t decide if it’s torture or therapy. I think it’s about time to start planning next year’s vacation ;)

More therapy…

*The holy grail of the Beat Generation has been found!

*Grace’s mission statement is spot on. Two thumbs up for the part about making mistakes.

*A garage turned rental.

*Did you see this amazing house with its sneaky shortcut from the kids’ bedrooms to the main living space? So fun!

owens + davis

*Love all the vintage textiles and statement lighting in this house tour.

*Sometimes, for fun, I search “Austin” on Houzz just to see what comes up.

*The bathroom is coming along!

Keep on the sunny side, my friends.

P.S. – You can check out my #HolidayHostess sale over on Joss & Main for two more days!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Owens + Davis