...because home doesn't happen overnight.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Remodelista. The site is a constant source of inspiration and the book (by the same name) offers pages of eye candy along with healthy doses of useful information. It’s a winning combination of beauty + brains. The book made my good reads list last year and I included it in my gift of favorite things earlier this year. I’ve read it all the way through several times and find myself picking it up and leafing through the pages on a regular basis. If you don’t own a copy already, I would strongly suggest adding it to your design book arsenal.
Luckily, Remodelista is going to hook up two lucky readers with a signed copy of the book! See entry details below.
PRIZE: a signed copy of Remodelista (There will be TWO winners.)
RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S., UK or Canada (excluding Quebec) to enter. One entry per email address.
TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “REMODELISTA ME!”
DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, August 3rd at 9:00 p.m. EST. Two random winners will be announced Monday, August 4th.
WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: If you have a minute, check out the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards. They feature both professional and amateur projects in various categories. Find inspiration and vote for your favorite!
BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Our kitchen is featured in the Remodelista Rehab Diary series today! It’s a synopsis of the renovation so if you’ve followed along here, you might not learn anything new but it’s kinda cool to see three years of work condensed into one article written by someone other than me. If you would have told me three years ago that our Underdog would be featured on Remodelista one day, I would have laughed in your face. This s#!% is BANANAS. I’m honored…in the most self-deprecating way possible.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
On the blog, I’ve affectionately referred to this room as the “everything room” but in real life we usually just call it the mudroom. Here’s what it looked like when we bought the house…
There was an A/C unit in the window and an ominous ceiling fan. We thought the laundry closet was cumbersome. The dryer vented directly into the attic! Ugly tile and a remnant of green shag carpet completed the mess. We did like that this room served as a pause when entering from the backyard through the sliders (on the left) and from the garage via the man door (on the right).
Out of necessity we assigned this room multiple purposes: mudroom, dining room, craft room, game room and laundry room. Knowing the room would receive abuse on a daily basis, we opted for durable, dirt-colored tile on the floor and a forgiving tongue-and-groove wainscoting on the walls. (The tongue and groove is a repeated element also seen on the vaulted ceiling, planked TV wall and kitchen desk backsplash.) We were in need of closed storage for seasonal outerwear, reusable shopping bags, a broom, crafting supplies and a small collection of home accessories. We added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to serve as closets. One is customized with hanging rods at different heights (for outerwear) while the other is full of deep shelving (for crafting supplies and home accessories).
In an effort to optimize wasted space under the window, I commissioned a local woodworker to create a custom wood bench out of Douglas fir. We hung sconces above the bench on side panels of each wardrobe to create a cozy nook without actually changing the structure of the room. It’s a great place to read, play a game of Uno or watch the kids get on / off the bus. The bench is surprisingly large!
A long, farmhouse-like table is perfect for dining, crafting, sewing or enjoying family game night. I chose a lighter wood tone to avoid overpowering the space. A mix of knockoff tulip and wishbone chairs surround the table for a laid-back vibe. I had the tulip chair seat cushions covered in a vinyl leather-lookalike. They are so kid-friendly! The iron pendant is industrial and beautiful all at once – which is fitting for a mudroom-slash-dining-room. We DIY’d a fauxdenza to house board games and incoming mail. The sleek profile and floating installation free up precious floor space. Cleaning underneath it is a breeze.
I painted the walls THREE TIMES before falling hard for the velvety black. It’s a great contrast to the slick surfaces and oodles of white. A gallery wall of family photos and art dress up the space so when we eat in here it doesn’t feel like we’re eating in a mudroom.
We had the original sliders replaced with french doors. This room is our main entrance / exit on a daily basis and, for us, the doors are easier to open and close. Not to mention, they look better.
A small bench just inside the door gives the kids a place to put on / remove their shoes. A felt basket and a trio of hooks corral shoes, bags, jackets, backpacks and hats. We try to keep only the items we’re currently wearing or using out in the open. The rest is stashed in a wardrobe.
We nixed the laundry closet in favor of a laundry nook. (And the dryer now vents to the outside.) Discovering a recessed dryer vent box at Home Depot was like winning the lottery. It allows the dryer to hug the back wall. We built the wood countertop using boards we found in the attic during renovations. A small “lid” opens to reveal the washer controls and detergent dispenser. In a perfect world, I would have a dryer with a flat top and controls near the front so the countertop could extend all the way to the back wall. But I have never lived in a perfect world so until my current dryer konks out, I’m stuck with a raised control panel on the back of the dryer and, consequently, a tiered, shallow shelf above the countertop. For fun, we added a metal strip along the shelf to display family photos held in place by magnets.
Fabric panels hang from curtain wire to conceal the washer and dryer while still allowing easy access. I also keep a rolling cart and small ironing board hidden behind the curtains. Two upper cabinets hold laundry essentials, instruction manuals and lightbulbs. A leaning mirror bounces light around the dark corner.
The idea behind the laundry nook was that it could function as a serving area / bar when we entertain. I’d love for it to pull double duty as a dry bar someday. And who said doing laundry wasn’t fun?!
Admittedly, we eat most of our meals at the kitchen island but it’s nice having a designated dining table for special occasions and entertaining – even if, technically, it is in a mudroom. I never have liked formal dining rooms that are only used once or twice a year anyway. The small laundry nook forces me to fold and put away clean laundry as soon as it’s dry. That might seem like a disadvantage but it’s super effective and keeps me honest. This (unusual) setup totally works for our family and we’re happy we aren’t wasting money on unused space. It’s such a hardworking room!
Resources of note:
wainscoting & trim paint – Benjamin white dove, semigloss finish
wall paint – Ace Paints besalt mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish (I LOVE this paint.)
pendant – Crate & Barrel Hoyne pendant
pendant lightbulb – Bulbs.com
dining table – West Elm Boerum table in natural
succulent centerpiece – DIY
vintage kilim rug – etsy
tulip chairs – Overstock, reupholstered by Springboro Upholstery
wishbone chairs – Home Emporium
wardrobes – Pax units, Bergsbo doors; both from Ikea
hardware – Värde handles from Ikea, spray painted black
sconces – Jonathan Adler Havana wall sconce
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
wood bench – custom (I found the woodworker via craigslist.)
Hmong pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
ochre throw – Target
sheepskin – Ikea
woven basket under bench – Wayfair
fauxdenza – DIY featuring Ikea’s Akurum wall cabinets
fauxdenza hardware – Home Depot
faux horns – Home Emporium
wood sculpture on fauxdenza – thrifted
white picture frames – Ikea
metal picture frames – West Elm
wood picture frames – Target
art – various DIY, Clare Elsaesser, Amelia Kay (The baby pointillism piece is Steve’s work.)
saddler bench – Wayfair
wall hooks – Home Depot
felt basket – Target
laundry cabinets – Ikea Lidingö wall cabinets
laundry countertop – DIY
magnetic strip – Home Depot
laundry nook mirror – Feiss Cleo mirror via Wayfair
curtain wire – Ikea
curtains – Ikea Aina panels, hemmed to size
If you feel like reading more about this multipurpose room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:
You can access this mudroom / dining room tour via the “See My House” link in the side bar along with a general house tour and tours of individual rooms. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
How was your week friends? Ours was FULL. It was Steve’s first full week back to work after his appendectomy three weeks ago and somehow Layne contracted chicken pox. (?!) Luckily, it seems to be a mild case but it has limited what we can do. We spent most of our time hiking and enjoying the polar vortex. (Btw, polar vortex in March = no bueno. But polar vortex in July? Me gusta!) We also squeezed in time to work on the clubhouse. We should have it finished next week just in time for a sleepover before school starts back up. The new driveway is coming along nicely! As much as we enjoy a good DIY, it has been completely satisfying to watch someone else do the dirty work. I’ll post an update soon.
A few more things to enjoy this week…
*I’m devouring Covet Garden Home, a special print edition.
*Genevieve’s Renovation aired this week. Did you watch it? Our satellite is disconnected while the driveway is being excavated and poured so I wasn’t able to watch it but I’m dying to. I’ve always loved G’s style.
*No satellite = time to rent a movie. Steve and I finally watched Tiny. I think it deserves its own post.
*House lift. Fascinating!!
*If I were in Boston, I’d be all over Robin Luciano Beaty’s solo exhibition.
*Origami in space.
*DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux shares her beach house and tips for effortless style. “At the end of the day, our interiors are just the canvas for great memories.” So true.
I hope you make a few memories this weekend. xo
images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Jonny Valiant
Ohhhhh, the kitchen.
The original kitchen was walled off from the living and dining rooms.
If the cabinets had been in better shape, we might have tried to work with them but, sadly, they were rotted and the doors / drawers didn’t open or close properly. The odd layout assigned the refrigerator to a lone corner with no storage or counter space nearby. There was no dishwasher.
One thing we liked about the kitchen was the window above the sink which looks out onto the backyard. It was one of the few windows that had been replaced by the previous owner.
To enlarge the kitchen and create a more functional layout without altering the house’s original footprint, we removed walls separating the kitchen, living and dining rooms. We aren’t formal people so the small dining room was relocated to allow for a large island. The dining room window was replaced with french doors to connect the kitchen to the backyard. A vaulted ceiling and skylights flood the north-facing space with natural light. It’s a far cry from the dark, soffit-heavy room we started with.
We had our plumber run new water and gas lines to accommodate the current layout. A counter-depth refrigerator stands where the stove once lived. A freestanding range occupies the site where a wall used to separate the kitchen from the original dining room. A new dishwasher is located to the right of the sink. It’s hidden behind a cover panel that matches the base cabinetry. When the house came to us, a microwave sat in a corner eating up precious counter space. We added a shelf next to the refrigerator to house the microwave and a few cookbooks which freed up counter space for a coffeemaker, toaster and shelf of drinking glasses.
One thing we didn’t change was the location of the sink. I like that I am able to look out the window when I’m washing dishes to admire the greenery or watch the kids playing.
We opted for solid surface countertops around the perimeter of the kitchen for easy maintenance. An extra deep, under-mounted, single basin sink makes cleanup a breeze.
The nine-foot-long island is the hub of the house. It sees as much Play-doh, crafting and homework as it does meal prep, entertaining and casual dining. We topped it with a walnut slab to give it the feel of a wood table since we eat most of our meals here. It’s a warm contrast to the granite in the rest of the room. Guests always comment on the island and wood top saying they feel like they’re at a bar. We take it as a compliment.
We suspended a trio of pendants above the island. I wanted something that would punctuate the island but not impede the view of the kitchen from the adjoining living space. Clear globe lights were an ideal choice. I especially like the black cloth cords. The pendants are on a dimmer so we can have bright light for food prep or low light for dining and ambiance.
I chose durable metal counter stools to stand up to the kids and their inevitable messes. I wipe them down with a wet cloth and they look brand new. To keep the view from the living room to the kitchen uninterrupted, the stools are backless. This feature also makes it easy to turn around to talk with someone in the living room. Initially, I had some reservations about using backless stool with kids but it hasn’t been an issue.
We kept the back wall free of upper cabinetry and installed reclaimed wood shelves. A sleek range hood and minimal backsplash add to the open feel. It’s nice to look over from the living room and not be bombarded with a slew of wall cabinets or an entire wall of tile. I really wanted the kitchen to feel like an extension of the living space instead of a kitchen thrown into a living room. To achieve this, we continued the engineered hardwood flooring into the kitchen. The wood flooring, walnut island top and reclaimed wood shelving help bring warmth to an innately utilitarian room.
The cabinetry is Ikea. From the get-go, I had my heart set on a tuxedo kitchen: dark lowers, white uppers. I wanted dark base cabinets to ground the kitchen in such an open space. I wanted white wall cabinets to keep things light. A mix of black and white just made sense.
We fell hard for the Ramsjö black-brown base cabinets but were disappointed with the slightly pink tone of the coordinating white wall cabinets. In the end, we used three different door styles. (Ramsjö black-brown, solid front for the bases and Lidingö white, solid and glass-front for the uppers.) I was a little worried about the mix on paper but in real life I think it goes a long way in helping the kitchen feel less generic.
One end of the kitchen is devoted to paying bills, making grocery lists, creating meal plans and all the other secretarial tasks that go along with running a household. It’s also where I do the majority of writing and photo editing for the blog. Essentially, it’s a home office. Base cabinets hold a printer, office supplies and the kids’ crafting supplies. Upper, glass-front cabinets provide pretty storage. I use an assortment of baskets, bins and boxes to corral vitamins, batteries, camera accessories, receipts, crayons and a bunch of other miscellaneous. The planked backsplash is a repeated element also found on the ceiling and TV wall.
To give the kitchen space a cozy vibe, I added greenery, artwork, vintage rugs, an upholstered desk stool and a linen-covered lamp. It feels lived. It is lived in.
There are a few tweaks yet to be made in the kitchen. (We need to add a trim piece next to an upper cabinet in the corner near the microwave and I’m brainstorming an interactive side panel for the refrigerator.) But I’m very lucky to be able to spend the majority of my time in this bright and airy space. In the evening when the kitchen is tidy after dinner and the dishwasher is humming away, I pour myself a glass of wine and golden light glows through the skylights. It’s my happy place.
Resources of note:
wall paint – Benjamin Moore tapestry beige
trim, ceiling, planked backsplash paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
french door paint – Glidden trim & door oil paint, extra high gloss in deepest black
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
base cabinets – Ikea, Ramsjö black-brown
wall cabinets – Ikea, Lidingö white
perimeter countertop – kashmir white granite via Stone Design
walnut countertop – Hardwood Lumber Company
island corbels – The Home Depot
hardware – Ikea (Värde handles sans rosettes)
refrigerator, dishwasher, gas range, range hood – Ikea
microwave – LG
sink – Kraus 32″ undermount single bowl
faucet – VIGO stainless steel pull-out
backsplash tile – imperial bianco gloss 2″ x 12″ via The Tile Shop
backsplash grout – Laticrete epoxy grout in natural grey
globe pendant lights – West Elm
counter stools – Overstock
wall sconce above sink – Barn Light Electric
house artwork near sink – gift
spice rack – Ikea
glass storage containers – Wal-mart
kitchen towels – Crate & Barrel
step stool – Ikea, painted & stained
rug near sink – ebay (seller was manhattanrugs)
open shelving - DIY using Ikea brackets and reclaimed wood
oil & vinegar drizzlers – Amazon (These are the best!)
stainless steel containers – Target
antlers – etsy
black & white planter – vintage
rug near desk – etsy
desk stool – Blu Dot knicker stool
laptop bag – STM
blue & white planter – JoAnn’s
letter tray - Ikea
magazine files – Ikea
linen lamp – Crate & Barrel
wood cubby – Kalon Studios
highchair – Ikea
art above highchair – Clare Elsaesser
mat & frame – Utrecht art supplies
tongue & groove planks – Home Emporium
skylights – Velux
In case you’re interested in seeing how this space came together over time, a slew of kitchen-related links:
For ease, you can access this kitchen tour under the “See My House” tab in the side bar along with a general house tour and the living room tour. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking