Sunday, October 14, 2012


For the last few weeks Handsome Hubby (HH) and I have been meeting with architects to discuss our big renovation project.  We have lots to think about and more homework to do before we pick a team but on the plus side, no one fled the premises when we we finally got down to talking budget - even after seeing the basement.

Going into the talks, the kitchen was my biggest concern.  The current kitchen is big, which is great, but the big footprint means the cost of gut renovating it could easily break the bank.  We want to open up the floor plan to all allow for a better flow between the mudroom and adjoining dining room and family room.  We could easily spend our entire budget on the kitchen with all of that and new floors, counters, fixtures, etc., but that's not because mama needs a new closet!  Aside from the kitchen, we've got a huge upstairs master bath/closet addition planned (among other things) so we have to find a team that's creative and willing to re-purpose as much as possible.

The big takeaway from our preliminary meetings is that our wishlist is pretty steep but in the kitchen it looks like we'll be able to get more than enough to make us happy by refinishing the exiting hardwood floors and some of the cabinets, and reusing a few of the appliances that Little Debbie recently upgraded.  So our kitchen dreams live on and I finally have a legitimate excuse for oogling kitchinspiration pictures so the architects and contractors can get a better sense of our style.  

LOVE everything about this kitchen from the white, shaker style cabinets, marble counters with contrasting walnut (?) island to the subway tile backsplash and hardwood floors.  Oh, and the windows.    Sigh.

Logan's Hammer Building & Renovation
If I could, I'd put a window next to every cabinet just like this.  And the vaulted tongue and groove ceiling?! Yes, please.
At first I thought I would die without Cararra marble counters like these, but after weighing the pros and cons (and cost!), I quickly changed my mind.  HH would KILL me if we spent all of that money on nice and shiny marble only to have it etched up and stained a few months later.  Fortunately there are lots of pretty marble look-a-likes out there in granite and quartzite that I would be more happy with and that won't require me to maintain an acid and red-wine free kitchen.

Vengas & Company
With this "supreme white" granite, I'd get the look of marble without the housekeeping headaches. I'm also really liking the idea of breaking up all of the white with a contrasting island - maybe with a contrasting island or a bar built-in like this?

Vengas and Company
Kashmir white granite seems like another good white marble alternative.  

Shuffle Interiors
More Kashmir White via Rambling Renovators
I think granite is our best bet because of it's toughness, but this Bianco Macabus quartzite is a dead ringer for Cararra marble.  Thanks to Erin from Elements of Style for the tip!

I'm leaning towards a white subway tile backsplash since it's classic and clean (and cheap) but how cool is this?!

I always over research the hell out of things, so here's even more pretty kitchenspiration :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Ever since returning from our honeymoon I've felt this slow creep of anxiety building.  The kind that makes your eye twitch at random for no apparent reason. All of a sudden I've become OBSESSED with homemaking and organization and crossing things off lists.  Lists that I haven't even made, mind you.  It's crazy.  In reality, I have absolutely no innate homemaking abilities, and I'm only organized at work - and even there it's only in short and sporadic bursts.  For weeks all I could see at home was disorder everywhere - like I'd been living in crazytown all these years and never realized it. 

This organizational/homemaker maven alter ego has absolutely no relationship to how I am in real life.  Usually I'm the girl who makes a list and promptly forgets about the fact that I ever made a list to begin with (let alone where I put it). I've even been known to hide my lists so no one ever knows what I failed to accomplish (let's ignore the fact that no one really cares either).  And yet, here I am reading magazines like Real Simple and googling tips for home organization, child rearing, and personal filing?  Right.  I just about lost my mind recently when I accidentally dropped my blackberry on the subway tracks while trying to walk and type one of these new aspirational to do lists.  Like full on freak out - and not even because I lost my phone or my contacts or access to work - but because I lost access to lists I made like five minutes beforehand!  Seriously?!

So after a week or so of the persistent eye twitch that was slowly starting to spread to my thumbs (my essential-for-blackberry-list-making thumbs!) and my subsequent meltdown on the Q train, I decided it was time kick crazy to the curb.  There is clearly no magical organizational stick that I can whack myself my house with and trying to keep up with crazy the old fashioned way is expensive (and potentially life threatening if you're a headcase like me!)! The cute little color coordinated totes and binders and filers and labels and whatnot are not cheap.

So in thinking though all of this, I keep coming back to a question people ask newlyweds a lot - does marriage feel any different?  I've generally assumed that they mean different as between the two of us, in which case, I'd say not really.  Thankfully HH and I seem to have pretty reasonable expectations of one another as husband and wife (or spouse as HH likes to say).  Other than getting a kick out of hearing our new monikers out loud and the slight queasiness about merging finances and changing last names (which I'm told is normal), marriage to each other doesn't feel much different. It feels natural.  What I have gathered though, is that I apparently have some pretty unrealistic, and heretofore unknown, expectations for myself as a wife.  Phew.  I feel better already just putting that out there.

For some reason when I pictured myself as a wife, I imagined an overnight organizational and housekeeping sensation.  Like a brown Martha Stewart, only younger and funkier.  Our house would always be perfectly perfect and HH would be greeted nightly (ok at least weekly) with a piping hot homemade dinner.  What was I smoking?!  I've never been that girl, and honestly, I usually judge that girl.  I thrive amidst a little bit of crazy.  And I actually think HH gets a kick out of my crazy too.  As with most things, putting my finger on the problem went a long way towards relief.  For me and for HH who I'm sure is thrilled that my twice weekly binge trips to the Container Store have ceased.  For now at least. 

As a type-a-only child with an uber-competitive spirit, this is certainly not my first (or last) bout with way-to-high self-expectations.  Although it's definitely time for me to put my big girl pants on and set some new goals and make a few lists that I actually keep track of (AND maybe figure out where my tax returns are!) - I am henceforth cutting myself some slack.  Until such time as Ms. Stewart decides to inhabit my body, I'm going to just have to keep reminding myself that who I actually am is who got me here, and thankfully, here is pretty darn great.  :)