Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Kitchen

We've been renovating our kitchen for what seems like years. Really, it's been about 9 months. So as long as it takes to cook a human being, it has taken us to (mostly) complete our kitchen. I've been posting little snap shots intermittently on Instagram, but have failed to update anything around here.

So, now, I'm going to chronicle this journey with a photo dump of epic proportions. It is not for the faint of heart, or anyone uninterested in in the interior of our home. You can't say I did not warm you.

When we moved in our kitchen looked like this. Also, apparently I was unfamiliar with what white balance was on my camera.

Kitchen Renovation


Kitchen Renovation
The first thing we did to our house was paint the kitchen. While an aesthetic improvement, it still just wasn't an ideal for cooking or hanging out with friends. We couldn't see from the dining area into the kitchen for the cabinets hanging from the ceiling. It felt small for being such a big room.

Kitchen Renovation


Kitchen Renovation

One afternoon while Joel away, I felt ready to start knocking some cabinets out, so I just did. I had been tossing this idea around but hadn't completely convinced Joel. I figured if he came home and saw how open the kitchen felt sans cabinets, he would be convinced that I was right and ready to start a major kitchen renovation.

I only busted one cabinet and completely terrified the dog. Not bad if I do say so myself. I am sure this was very dangerous and I shouldn't have done it alone. HOWEVER, I think I convinced Joel, so it's a total win in my book.

I'm going to go ahead and apologize for the quality of the photos in this post. It's bad, people.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Our plan was to move the hanging cabinets I didn't break to the wall they were perpendicular to and reconfigure that whole setup. We would cut out the top half of the cabinet J is checking out below to make room for more countertop. The microwave would go live in the laundry nook, out of sight but still conveniently located.

We would knock the hanging ledge out, patch the ceiling, pull the canned light up to the ceiling, get new countertops, a new sink, new backspash and floors. The pictures will make more sense, I am sure.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Next came some legit drywall knocking. Once we established that these beams hanging down weren't bearing any kind of load, we went to town. 

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Then we had this super awesome hole in our ceiling...

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

...that we promptly started patching.

Kitchen Renovation

I'm going to rewind for a hot second to remind you that a canned light resided in this weird little nook above the sink. See the two capped wires above? They're from that.

Kitchen Renovation

So once we knocked everything out, we had to drill a new canned light to the beam in the ceiling. We discovered the original was a fire waiting to happen. So yay for that. And because it was late at night and we had to cut the electricity to install it, here I am in a headlamp putting some wires together while I avoid inhaling insulation.

Kitchen Renovation

I don't have much to say about patching the giant hole in the ceiling because Joel took care of most of it and said it was really, really difficult. Since we would texture the whole ceiling, smoothness was not a concern. PHEW.

Kitchen Renovation

One of the trickiest things to do was reconfiguring the layout of our cabinets. We had to make sure things looked good, but also that the cabinets lined up perfectly along that ledge. Since it was a set length, the cabinets had to take that length up. We were about 4 inches short on cabinet width, so we used wooden spaces to even things out.

Kitchen Renovation

We marked all of our studs with chalk on the backsplash and did a lot of googling to make sure we were hanging these cabinets correctly. They are solid. Joel is that good.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

We would paint the wood white to match the cabinets eventually. You'll see.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Next we ripped out the counter tops, evened out the awkward corner, and paid someone to install white corian countertops and an undercount sink. We are happy this was the only labor we had to pay for.  Maybe happy isn't the word - writing a fat check isn't really that fun.

Kitchen Renovation

But coming home to this new countertop was amazing. It felt like we had doubled our countertop space. The sink is bigger, but takes up less space and it's much more our style.

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

The next phase was backsplash. We found a pretty inexpensive marble subway tile at Home Depot that we fell in love with. We had no experience working with tile before, and were probably in way over our heads. I have no pictures of this process because of that. When you are scared you forget about chronicling these things. Since every single tile had to be laid and spaced individually, it took a while. The last photos I have are pre-grouting. So here you go. 

Kitchen Renovation

Kitchen Renovation

We've since textured and painted the kitchen (the same color - what? we love it.), installed new floors, added new light fixtures, and are in the process of installing the quarter-round to finish out the baseboards. I promise I won't wait an entire year to post another update, and won't write another this long. 

If you're still reading this, awesome. I feel like the length of this post is a reflection of how long this kitchen remodel has taken. Luckily, we will be done in time for Thanksgiving and it is going to be so great to cook in this space this year.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eureka Springs Vacay

This year, Joel and I managed to snag two full weeks off work for Christmas together. After being snowed in for a couple of days at my parents' house then catching up with all our Oklahoma City family, we booked a last-minute trip to Eureka Springs. We made the 5 hour drive on New Year's Day and even scored an extra night free in the Oak Crest Treehouse Cottages.


Warm tootsies.
View from our deck

Ready for some zzz's in our treehouse.
View from being tucked in bed


The treehouse was fantastic. It sat about a story high and had a kitchenette, fireplace, jacuzzi and a beautiful forest view from the back deck. The first morning as I sipped my coffee, I spotted several deer just hanging out below our cabin. While it was a little too cold to enjoy the outdoors, we still felt happy to be away from the city and were able to really relax.


Eurea Springs 2012

Eurea Springs 2012

Untitled


A major goal of this trip was to recharge. We took the Apple TV and watched way too many movies as well as the entire second season of Portlandia, caught up on reading, and napped to our hearts' content. We also took several long drives and just enjoyed some non-flat scenery. Really, it was perfect.

Fat tire on tap. Not in ok city anymore.
Enjoying some live music, Fat Tire, and burgers

On our second night, we found a cute little Indian restaurant (that served hamburgers and soup) with some live bluegrass music and an open mic night. It was a cultural juxtaposition and a lot of fun. After downing a few beers there, we made the creepy drive up the mountain for the ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel.

I don't know if I even believe in ghosts, but that tour was creepy. We didn't see any apparitions or capture any orbs in our photographs, but we were ready to get out of there. Since our cabin was basically on stilts, it creaked and made noises in the night. After leaving the Crescent and going to bed, we both woke around 2 a.m. and were scared. Because we're ridiculous. It was the wind. Anyway, moving on.

Crescent hotel up the stairs. Think there are any ghosts?
Looking up the haunted stairs

While the hotel had quite a sordid history, the most scandalous owner was Norman Baker, who claimed he could cure cancer. Despite the fact that he wasn't a doctor, he turned the hotel into a hospital and charged patients tons of money for bogus, painful treatments. This resulted in a lot of bad juju up in that hotel. The creepiest part of the tour was no doubt the trip to the basement, AKA Baker's morgue.

Eurea Springs 2012Eurea Springs 2012
A Shining-esque hallway and our theatrical tour guide

Eurea Springs 2012
In Baker's basement checking out the walk-in freezer where he kept the bodies

Eurea Springs 2012
And a proper cutesy picture outside the hotel

On our last full day, we explored downtown Eureka Springs. Because we were there during the winter off season, many attractions, shops, and restaurants were closed. We still enjoyed the cobblestone walkways and kitschy stores though. I told Joel it felt like we were in Diagon Alley, only without all the awesome magic.

Eurea Springs 2012

Eurea Springs 2012
Stocking up on candy for the drive home

Eurea Springs 2012
Civil War action figures in a toy shop...do people actually buy this crap?

Eurea Springs 2012
And the creepiest old dolls I have ever seen

This little trip was kicked off the new year in a great way. It was refreshing to unplug and relax, just Joel and I, especially after the craziness that was December. Throw in that it was only 5 hours away and inexpensive and you've got the perfect last-minute trip. I know we live in a relatively big city, full of green grass and big skies, but there's just something about mountains, vast views and lots of stars in the sky that you just can't beat.