...because home doesn't happen overnight.
When I was noticeably pregnant with Mabrey, strangers would ask “So how many does this make for you?” When I answered three, I would sometimes get the “oh, I love the dynamic of three!” from all-knowing parents of three. But I was surprised by the reply I most often received…
“Ohhhhhhh, I started drinking coffee after number three.” And then they would nod their head slowly as if remembering something they hadn’t thought of in a long time.
I get it now. I drink coffee now.
I had always enjoyed a cup of coffee here and there. In college, I would occasionally grab a cappuccino for late night study sessions. Before Mabrey, a hot cup of jo was a special after-dinner treat on chilly nights. But I never drank it regularly until Mabrey was about a year old. I started out drinking a cup maybe once or twice a week in the mornings, usually on the weekends. Eventually, I really looked forward to those rare cups. I would purposefully wake up earlier than everyone else on coffee mornings to sip my joe in peace and quiet. It made for some good me time and gave me a chance to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
Fast forward to this summer. It turns out, I need more than one to two mornings of me time per week! I’m drinking coffee almost daily now. Just one 8-ounce mug. For me, it’s more of a mental – rather than physical – ritual. I don’t get headaches or fatigue on the random days I miss my daily cup. But I do cherish those quiet moments. They are little slices of happiness that set the tone for the rest of my day.
I recently read an article in Real Simple magazine that discusses happiness. Here’s what one contributor had to say:
“…I really believe that happiness is a collection of small, pleasurable experiences, like buying flowers or eating a square of chocolate. I try to have a few of these moments every day.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter
I couldn’t agree more. Does coffee itself make me happy? No. But having that pause before the chaos of the day sets in is what really does it for me.
So here’s my question to any coffee drinkers / snobs out there. What coffee do you drink and how do you brew it? Currently, I have a Keurig that my bonus mom gifted me earlier this year. To save money, I have been using a reusable filter cup and inexpensive ground coffee but I’ve been bouncing around from brand to brand and haven’t really fallen in love with a particular brew. Seeing as how this coffee thing is such a big part of my happiness (ha!), I’d really like to make it special. I’m open to other methods of brewing as long as they don’t yield a whole pot of coffee (I’m the only coffee drinker in the house) and aren’t super involved. I’m not opposed to grinding beans – whether at home or in-store. A few years ago while on vacation, I had coffee brewed in a french press and it was AMAZING. I’ve heard wonderful things about Chemex but, I’m not gonna lie, it looks intimidating. So, please, for the sake of Monday, spill the (coffee) beans and let me know what you’re drinking and how you’re brewing it! Thanks!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
Last week I didn’t publish a Made Me Smile post. My grandmother passed away and my heart wasn’t up to the task. So this installment includes two weeks’ worth of smile-worthy links. I hope you find something that inspires you in some way!
*Did you listen to NPR’s TED radio hour, Growing Up, last week? I loved it.
*SHE FOUND HIM.
*Terrible real estate agent photos + hilarious captions = a good way to waste time.
*Be still my organizing, laundry-loving heart.
*My favorite hand soap in bulk refills!
*Such a great mix of old + new in a home with a family history. (The home is also featured in the current family issue of Anthology magazine. So good!)
*A smart and stylish galley kitchen. (Don’t let the initial 30-second ad turn you off. You won’t be disappointed!)
*I’m usually one of the last people to try new apps and tech-y things but the issuu clip is right up my alley. Clipping and pinning directly from the pages of a magazine? Yesssss.
*Patrick Dempsey’s thoughts on being a caretaker of a home (not just an owner) make him even hotter. Trust me, it’s possible.
*Tips for creating a bright kitchen in a basement apartment.
*A house inspired by Tom and Jerry cartoons. Needless to say, it’s a giant indoor playground – for kids and adults!
*It’s National Book Lovers Day! A few on my wish list: Clutterfree with Kids, Tiny House Living, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap).
What are you up to this weekend? We’re laying low and gearing up for the start of another school year. Here’s to backpacks, jackets, lunch boxes, books and homework overtaking the mudroom once again!
images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Ensemble Architecture
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!
Isadora has lived in cities all over the world (i.e., New York, Paris, London, Rome, Sydney and LA to name a few) but one of her biggest adventures has been gutting an old house and turning it into her young family’s dream home. When it came to the 1953 kitchen, Isadora and her husband made gutsy structural changes for a big impact. After receiving disappointing results with cabinet refacing and mid-grade custom cabinetry in two previous homes, Isadora chose Ikea cabinetry for her current kitchen. I asked Isadora several questions about the remodel. Find her answers and the “that can’t be Ikea!” kitchen below.
Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?
When designing our kitchen, I decided fairly early on that I wanted as many elements from Ikea so we could maximize the savings during their 20% off sale. We bought our cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, countertops and drawer organizers from Ikea. I considered getting the appliances there as well but they had discontinued their 36” professional style range. So, I bought my appliances elsewhere.
What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?
In our first house we had our cabinets refaced, which was the cheapest option, but was still not as cheap as you might think. In our last house we did a kitchen remodel and had mid-grade custom cabinetry. After a few years, you could really see the wear and tear. I decided then and there that our next kitchen would be an Ikea kitchen. My thought was I could easily freshen it up by just going down to the store, getting new doors and changing them out ourselves since all of the sizes are standard.
Who designed your kitchen?
I planned out the kitchen using the Ikea kitchen planner software and spent many evenings working out how to best optimize the space. Going against the advice of our realtor and contractor, I removed the window above the original sink. For the way we live, wall storage took precedence over the window.
To compensate for the loss of the window, we removed a wall which brought in lots of natural light from adjacent rooms.
I reviewed the design in-store and made a few changes based on the employees’ knowledge of the cabinets. The one frustration I had was the corner next to the glass front cabinets. There were no good options for an upper corner cabinet. I didn’t want an angled corner; I wanted a square corner. Ultimately, I had to override Ikea’s recommendations and go with a blind corner to get the glass front cabinets and square corner that I wanted.
Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?
We had a crew of workers at the house already working on every room of the house since the house had been taken down to the studs. We had the crew assemble the cabinets. That being said, if we had only been working on the kitchen, we would have put the cabinets together ourselves. Over the years, we have built countless Ikea units and assembling kitchen cabinets is manageable. I’ve found that the key is to take your time with the instructions the first time around, then subsequent cabinets are a breeze. Installing countertops is another matter and under no circumstance would we have attempted something like that on our own.
How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?
The profile of the door we chose is a little more traditional than I would have normally chosen for a mid-century house. But I really wanted an all wood door and this door was the only one that came in all wood at the time of purchase. Having had experiences with foil finishes buckling and veneers peeling, I knew this was something I wanted to avoid in such a high traffic area. An all wood door resolved those issues for me.
To personalize the design, I chose the bridge faucet from the Hansgrohe Axor Montreux collection and paired it with Hickory Hardware’s Cottage Collection knobs and pulls. The countertop was the nougat quartz from Ikea so I wanted the backsplash to be special. If I could have afforded a Calcutta marble mosaic I would have done that but that material is so expensive! In the end, I went with an Arabescato marble which is warmer than your standard Carrara marble and, in my opinion, the extra warmth works better with the nougat quartz.
Customizing the glass front cabinets with mirrored backs has also made a huge difference since we closed up a window in that spot. Everyone who comes to the house always tells me how much they love the mirrors in the cabinets. It’s a simple customization that made a big impact.
How long was it from design to the final product?
I don’t really have a good answer to this question since the kitchen was just one aspect of the overall remodel. I ordered the cabinets during the sale but they sat in storage until we were ready to install. I wanted to take full advantage of the sale!
How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?
We’ve had our kitchen for a year and love it. So far, the only problem we’ve encountered is the amount (lack) of storage. Though our kitchen is not small, it is actually not that big – roughly 11’ x 13’. Finding places to fit everything has been a challenge. But that probably means we should have less stuff.
What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?
I love how much counter space we have. It’s perfect for having the kids next to me, helping to prepare their favorite cookies. As for my least favorite thing…I wasn’t able to incorporate a good place for spices so the spice arrangement could definitely be better. I’m still looking for a good solution.
Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?
Absolutely! This was our first Ikea kitchen and we have not been disappointed. However, I can’t speak for Ikea appliances since we don’t own any.
Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?
Definitely! In fact, we used Ikea kitchen cabinets in our laundry room and it turned out great.
Resources of note:
backsplash – 1” x 3” arabescato stacked honed mosaic
faucet – HansGrohe Axor Montreux
pendants – industrial globe light from Shades of Light
range – Verona 5 burner
fridge – LG counter depth French door fridge
dishwasher – LG (all appliances were bought during a Thanksgiving sale to save money)
Thank you, Isadora, for sharing your kitchen remodel!
What a transformation, right?! I love that Isadora went with her gut on the window removal to create a space that works best for her family. By taking down a wall, hanging glass front cabinets and using reflective mirrors, Isadora managed to amplify the natural light in the room. (Fun fact: the mirrors came from the home’s lower level which once housed a dance studio. How resourceful!) High end appliances and special features – like the marble backsplash, bridge faucet and mirrored cabinets – give this Ikea kitchen an elegant and timeless look. You can read more about Isadora’s kitchen right here and see all of the family’s remodeling adventures over on her blog.
If you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:
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
And if you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) that you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
P.S. – Thanks to everyone who has already submitted an Ikea kitchen. I really, really, REALLY appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into bringing these posts to fruition. I have a slew of Ikea kitchens sitting in my inbox waiting to be featured. I apologize for the lapse in time between submission and the post going live. I’m buried in Ikea kitchens – in a good way! Keep ‘em comin’!
images: Re:Located Living
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*
Congrats to Jessica who isn’t a jewelry girl, per se, but loves the skylight disc pendant!
Do you display your jewelry at home?
I have a porcelain egg crate on my nightstand. I use it to corral my favorite pieces.
It also makes a great dumping zone for my everyday studs, wedding band and hair elastic at the end of the day when I’m crawling into bed.
I recently added a jewelry tree to the top of the dresser. I love the simple, modern design. (It was an etsy find.) I had been stashing the majority of my jewelry in plastic sandwich bags in a drawer and, as a result, it wasn’t getting much wear time. I’m hoping that by displaying everything in plain sight maybe I’ll be more inclined to wear pieces I haven’t worn in years.
The top tier is perfect for watches, bracelets and dangly earrings. The bottom tier holds necklaces galore. I was a little worried about the display looking too busy (I tend to like things uncluttered) but I think it looks so pretty!
A trio of wood dot hooks is another fun way to display jewelry. I hung these in Mabrey’s room just this week. At two years old, she’s a little young for jewelry yet, but maybe she’ll use these to display her baubles some day. (For now, I hang her towel, sleep sack and favorite tutu from the hooks.)
My jewelry is a mix of high and low. The red triangle choker was a flea market find. It’s very Wilma Flintstone, no? In general, I’m drawn to beaded necklaces and bracelets with a few special pieces thrown in.
Speaking of special pieces…Gemvara sent me this skylight disc gem pendant to share. A small black diamond eclipses the gold disc and it’s just about the cutest thing ever. This is going to sound far-fetched and cliché but the pendant makes me think that no matter how big our problems (the black diamond) might seem, in the grand scheme of things (the gold disc) they’re just a blip. I like that this necklace can be dressed up or down. It’s perfect for day or night.
For years, I swore off gold jewelry but I’m having a big love affair with it at the moment. If black diamonds and gold metal aren’t your thing, no worries. Gemvara jewelry is customizable in over 20 different natural gemstones and 9 precious metals. (You just click on your preferred gemstone and metal then the site generates an image of your selections so you know exactly what to expect.) There’s no inventory. Each piece is handcrafted in the U.S.A. and shipping is always free. If something doesn’t fit (or she says no – AH!), you have 101 days to return all items – even engraved pieces.
Does all this talk about jewelry have you itching to get your bling on? Yes? Then keep reading because Gemvara is giving away a $1,000 credit to their site! See more dazzling pieces and find the giveaway entry details below.
gemstones by the yard stud earrings // zoe band // roxanne band // cecelia ring // emerald isle ring // gemstones by the yard solitaire necklace // gem wire earrings
PRIZE: one $1,000 credit to Gemvara
RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.
TO ENTER: Click here, sign up for email, then link to your favorite Gemvara piece in the comments section below.
DEADLINE: Enter before Thursday, August 7th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Saturday, August 9th.
BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Score 15% off your Gemvara purchase over the next 72 hours by clicking here. (The discount will automatically apply. No promo code is necessary. Easy!)
Good luck! I hope you win something special.
*This post is sponsored in part by Gemvara. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking