kitchen chronicles: cabinet updates

So far, the room in our house that has seen the biggest facelift is our kitchen. There are definitely other rooms that need updating as well, but the kitchen was one of our top priorities given that a) it was pretty gross and 2) it’s where we spend a good deal of time, so we were eager to make it feel more “us”.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably picked up on the fact that I am a sucker for a white kitchen. Although the wall colors in our last two kitchens have been yellow and blue, if I’m honest with myself, I really prefer clean, neutral spaces (as I noted in my last post ). So, we continued with the same wall color (Benjamin Moore’s Dove Wing) that we used in the living and dining rooms, although there is actually very little wall space in the kitchen that won’t eventually be covered by backsplash tile (another reason that introducing a whole new color didn’t really make sense).

I initially wanted to go with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (one shade lighter on the paint strip) for the cabinets and trim, but after buying some and seeing it on the trim, I was worried that it was a bit too cream (here is where I kick myself for not buying a tester first like we usually do- hate makes waste, people). As a result, we opted for Sherwin Williams’ Westhighland White, which we used on the cabinets and trim at our last house and loved (don’t mess with a good thing, right? Apparently today is a day for adages.)

We have had our cabinets professionally painted in all three of our houses, and definitely think it’s worth the investment. While we are comfortable with painting the doors and faces of the cabinets ourselves, the fact that we have purchased older homes in need of a little TLC has ended up meaning that the boxes also needed a coat of paint. (In other words, my germaphobic self didn’t want to put clean dishes amongst the nastiness, no matter how times we scrubbed them with Clorox wipes. There were also several weird sticky patches left after we removed the shelf liner and peel-and-stick tile that had been put down, which could’ve made for frustrating adhesion problems.) Paint helps freshen everything up without the much larger expense of replacing the cabinets, and since professionals have the equipment to tackle a job like this with quality and efficiency, we happily handed it over to the pros.

While our painter, Joe, got to work on the cabinets, I took the hinges and screws down to the garage for a healthy dose of spraypaint. This is also something that we did in our last house, and we were thrilled with the results. Since we wanted to save money and stick with the current hinges but also wanted them to match the new cabinet hardware, the best option was to paint them, and since Joe needed to remove them to paint, we capitalized on our opportunity.

One tip: the only part of the screws that you end up really seeing are the heads, so I stuck them into a piece of scrap cardboard before painting to ensure that paint would get in all of the grooves.

I completely forgot to take after pictures, but just picture the hinges and screws with a coat of Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spraypaint, and there you have it.

To end this post with some more baby goodness, I’ll share a repeat of a picture I posted on Facebook but can’t get enough of:

Can you even stand it? I can’t, that’s for sure. This little man is edible.

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paint progress

If you payed really close attention in the last post, you may have noticed something. Our main living area walls have gone from this:

To this:

We went with Benjamin Moore’s Dove Wing in the kitchen, dining room, and living room, and are really happy with the way it turned out. We loved the color when we used it in the guest bedroom in our last house, so we chose it without even testing a sample. Blindly buying paint isn’t something I would normally recommend given the fact that colors can change so much with the light, but the ever-changing nature of this color was what we liked about it in the first place, so we figured we were safe. Thankfully, things worked out really well.

We love that this color sometimes looks white, sometimes gray, and sometimes tan. We’re often asked what color it is, mostly because people have a hard time pinning it down into one category, which I like. Since I figured that one solid color was the best bet for the open plan of our living space, I like that this one is so versatile.

The funny thing about moving into a new house is that lots of people love to ask you what colors you’re going with. If, like me, you grew up during the Trading Spaces era where white walls were blasphemy and dumping sand on the floor was perfectly acceptable (Hildi, anyone?), you feel sort of goofy saying exciting colors like white, cream, and tan.

But here’s the reality: I love neutrals. I also love color, which is why every room in our first house was something different (green, yellow, tan, blue, chalkboard paint, and teal), but the more places we live in, the more I realize that I just like calm, subtle tones for our house. As a result, we’re going with much more subdued paint choices this time around.

We actually opted to hire a professional to paint the main living space, purely because it’s huge and with everything else on our plates, we didn’t feel like messing with it. We love a good DIY opportunity, but we also like trying new things, and we figured that since we painted every single wall in our last house, we have proven to ourselves that we’re capable of painting. It was so nice to just tell someone else the color and watch the walls magically transform.

While the painter was here, he also scraped and painted the ceilings in the main living area (we removed the popcorn ourselves in our last house and loved the difference that it made- if you have the opportunity, do it. Super inexpensive, pretty easy, huge difference.) painted some of the trim and doors, and painted our kitchen cabinets. The kitchen has been the area that has received the most updating so far, and I’m looking forward to sharing pictures soon.

Since I can’t think of a good way to wrap things up, and no post these days is complete without a cute baby picture, I’ll leave you with a shot of the best snuggler in the history of the universe:

floored

Slowly but surely, we are making definite progress around here. We moved out of the basement several weeks ago, and have been working to get the upstairs of the house more liveable. While we were thankful to be in our own home, we’re definitely glad to have upgraded from this:

Basement living…can’t say I miss it. At all. (Thank you, friends that came to visit during the early weeks- you are brave!)

Our first priority before moving upstairs was getting the flooring taken care of. The old carpet was rather disgusting (and ugly), and, with a baby that will be crawling all over before we know it, we definitely wanted the peace of mind that comes with new floors.

The bedrooms all got new carpet, which, even though it’s not as pretty as hardwood, I sort of prefer in a bedroom. I love not having to worry about walking on cold surfaces when waking up early in the dead of winter.

Carpet installation day was a bit of an adventure, with my two-week-old and I hanging out in the basement while the carpet installers blared 80s rock from their van all. day. long. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with 80s rock, it’s just not the best soundtrack for babies to nap to. Nevertheless, we survived, and the bedrooms got an update:

The next decision we needed to make was for flooring in the main living spaces.

Here is where things got a little tricky. Half of our house is built over a basement, while the other half is built over a concrete slab. Nailing into concrete isn’t exactly feasible, which ruled out traditional hardwoods that are finished on site (which is always my favorite option).

The next wrench in our plan came in the form of the kitchen and hallway linoleum, which we learned was asbestos. Before you all run in fear, I would like to assure you that people have survived for decades in houses with asbestos. While the word can make some homebuyers shudder, asbestos is typically only dangerous when it is friable (easily crumbled). For more information, see this fact sheet.

Because most asbestos-related danger comes when ripping it up, we determined that the safest option would be to install the new floors over the old tile. Seems simple enough, but the adhesives used for most glue-down floors likely wouldn’t stand up well to the linoleum.

So now, we were in need of a floor that 1) didn’t have to be nailed down and 2) didn’t have to be glued down. Also, while ripping up the carpet revealed beautiful hardwoods in the living room, it also uncovered this patchwork of craziness in the kitchen/dining room:

Yes, those are six different types of linoleum.

No, I do not understand what they were thinking.

So basically, our house was making the flooring decision for us.

Because of these constraints, we opted for a floating floor, which is basically a click-and-lock hardwood system that sits atop the old floors.

Thankfully, most pre-finished floors come with a click-lock option, and it’s often the cheapest of the three choices.

We browsed through floors at a few places, including Lowes, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators, and a local flooring company (where we bought our carpet). We ended up deciding on Mohawk Chocolate Hickory floors (from Lowes) for their dark stain, handscraped look, and reasonable price.

Photo via fmhfloors.com

Thanks to a 10% off new mover coupon from Lowes, we placed the largest order of our lives (flooring, light fixtures, a toilet, and some other fun house stuff), which arrived to our garage on a couple of big pallets (which are begging to be turned into a Pinterest project).

Then, my handyman husband got to work.

No, I did not help (other than using the shop vac to prep the spaces he was heading to). Basically, my job was baby feeding/changing/holding/playing while Zach installed the floors. So, while I was looking at this:

Zach was doing this:

It took him about 70 hours to get the floors down, and we still need to add quarter-round, but I’m so impressed with his work! It was such a huge job, but it’s pretty cool to look around and know that he did it all on his own. As a bonus, I love that we can now walk around our house barefoot without worrying about contracting some asbestos-induced foot fungus (or maybe that was just me).

Hudson also tested them out and gave them his seal of approval:

 

what’s in a name?

After having a baby, one of the number one questions we get asked is how we came up with the name (well, that, and, “When’s the next one coming?”), so I thought I’d share a bit of the backstory.

Sometime during our first year of marriage, Zach (who loves biographies), read The Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor, a biography about the famous missionary to China. (Not to be confused with Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, which is the same, but different. This still confuses us.)

Needless to say, he loved it, and upon finishing, promptly declared that Hudson Taylor was a stud and we should name our first son after him.

Then, this conversation ensued:

“Sounds good to me, I love the name Hudson.”

“No, I mean Hudson Taylor.”

“Well you can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because you can’t name a person after another person’s whole name. That’s just weird.”

“Arielle, Martin Luther King.”

“Oh.”

And that, my friends, is how we decided on the name Hudson Taylor for our sweet baby boy.

Interestingly enough, we later learned that both Martin Luther Kings (Senior and Junior) were apparently originally named Michael, until a trip to Germany inspired MLK Senior to change both of their names in honor of the leader of the reformation. Who knew?

If you ever get a chance to read the book, we highly recommended it. Although he was a sinner just like the rest of us, Hudson Taylor possessed so many qualities that we are praying that we will see in our son. He was a man of incredible faith, humility, and purpose- so much so that my husband suggests reading the book if you want to feel like you’re doing nothing with your life. ;)

We are praying that our Hudson Taylor will be inspired not to live up to the legacy of his namesake, but to bring glory to the One who created him and loves him better than we will ever be able to!