Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art For a French Country Inspired Breakfast Room

Last week I popped by one of my favorite antique malls and came across 4 matted and framed companion prints that really caught my eye.  

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For some reason, I’m always  drawn to topiaries anyway but the blues and greens seemed perfect for the breakfast room at the house in Hooterville.

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In addition, they are 16 inches  x 18 inches and grouping the 4 of them  together would nicely fill the large wall over the breakfast room table.  

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The price was right too; $20 each (marked down from $45).

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But in my typical fashion, I hem-hawed over whether to buy them.  I walked around the store, came back and looked at them again.  Walked around the store more.  Came back and studied the prints once again.  (No one can ever accuse me of being impulsive.  lol.) 

I was trying to visualize them with the other things I have been picking up for the breakfast room during the past year…

the French Country table and chairs from Craigslist…


the bench from Marshalls…

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the blue & white pieces I’m starting to collect…

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to go in the Craigslist hutch…

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the large wall clock from HomeGoods…

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the iron chandelier from eBay…

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the A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. blue and green bunny tassel sweet Gloria made for me.

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and the “Abigail” rug from Ballard Designs 

Ballard abigail photo source: Ballard Designs


In fact, this photo of the Abigail rug …

ballard abigail rugphoto source: Ballard Designs

and this photo were my inspiration for the breakfast room.

decoratinggallery.bhgphoto source: BHG 

Ultimately, I decided the prints  just seemed a little too “light and fluffy” so I left the store without  them.

Then,  in my oh-so-typical fashion, I continued to think about them for the next 2 days…which is usually a sign I should have bought the very thing(s) I can’t stop thinking about!

Back across town I went, hoping the prints were still there.

Fortunately, they were!

Using  a bottle of acrylic craft paint I already had on hand, I painted the frames black.  But rather than paint them completely,  I was painstakingly careful (with the aid of an itty bitty, teeny, tiny art brush) to leave just a little of the original gold detail so they still had some dimension and interest.


To my eyes (which are probably permanently crossed now),  painting the frames black made a huge difference.

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before collage


after collage

Now that the frames have had a  little makeover, I think these prints are going to make a great addition to my French Country inspired breakfast room.


Linking up to the 43rd Power of Paint Party @ Domestically Speaking

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Roving Rudolph Mystery

Several months ago…it might have been sometime in July…I was driving  through my neighborhood when I spotted a large white wooden reindeer peeking out from behind a tree in someone’s yard. 

I’m sure you know the kind.  This is not the actual reindeer but it looked sort of like this…

Plain.  And white.


At the time, I assumed someone was getting a jump on their Christmas decorating, albeit a bit early, but hey, some people leave their Christmas lights up all year so why not put a Christmas reindeer out in the heat of summer?  Whatever floats your boat, right?

The next time I drove down that street, I noticed the reindeer was in a different  yard.  “Hmmm…that’s odd,” I thought. 

A few days later, the reindeer had moved again and was  in yet another yard…several blocks down the street from where I had seen him last!

Then I noticed “Rudolph” had a red nose.  And then at some point, he started wearing clothes!  It would appear that every time he moves to a different yard, he is adorned with some type of apparel or “fashionable accessory.” 

Finally, a few weeks ago I decided to start taking pictures of Rudolph when I see him in a new location.

Here he is wearing a straw hat, a colorful tropical shirt, and a Tampa Bay Rays (our baseball team) bandana.  (Doesn’t he look like he’s on vacation?  But what better place to vacation than Florida before it’s time to head back to the North Pole to help Santa in a couple months?)


Here he is in another yard wearing furry white slippers (or gloves?) on his hind feet, pink and white striped socks on his front feet, “Groucho” glasses, and someone has added a Tampa Bay Rays flag.

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Here he seems to have lost the furry slippers and the Tampa Bay Rays flag but he gained a red feather in his hat, a black Halloween flag (or cape?), orange garland, and a  University of Florida gator mascot sticker or decal on his side.

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Last week, Rudolph appeared to be missing for a few days…or at least I wasn’t able to  spot him.  Perhaps he had traveled to one of the yards on one of the adjacent streets, I don’t know. 

But today he was back, wearing something blue and yellow and feathery on his head.  He’s starting to look a bit scary, don’t you think?

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This Roving Rudolph is a mystery and certainly leaves me wondering several things like…

Who is the person with the sense of humor who started this? 

Who moves him?  When he has a layover in someone’s yard, does the homeowner move him to a different yard of their choice?

Or… does some unknown person come in the cover of darkness and move him from yard to yard? 

And will Rudolph disappear on Christmas Eve, never to be seen again?

If that happens, I’ll be sort of sad to see him go.  I’ve started to look forward to seeing if I can  find Rudolph  and spot his newest accessory every time I drive down this particular street.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Metamorphosis of a Kitchen: From “Heartburn” to “Heart of the Home”

The kitchen renovation at the house in Hooterville is almost done.  (Day 1 can be seen here.  Days 2, 3, 4 & 5 can be seen in this post.)

On Day 6, my kitchen guy laid my wood laminate floor and finished up some little details and then his role in the project was complete.

Hubby and I are  still  working on the new  lighting,  backsplash and the painting. 

I wish everything was  finished and all prettified  but  nevertheless,  I’m going to join the “Heart of the Home” kitchen party Shelia @ Note Songs is hosting and reveal what has been accomplished.  I’ll also be linking up to the 92nd Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch, and Saturday Nite Special #57 (The White Edition) @ Funky Junk Interiors.

WARNING:  Picture laden post ahead.

If you are new to my blog,  this is the  “before” photo of the kitchen at the house in Hooterville.  Trust me, it looks a whole lot better in this picture than it actually did in person.

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My hubby really didn’t see anything particularly wrong with the old kitchen.   “Orange” and very rustic aren’t really my favorite color or style,  but my issues with the kitchen went far deeper than its appearance.  The layout was terribly inefficient and the cabinets were poorly constructed so let’s just say I might have stomped my foot and told Hubby I wasn’t cooking in this kitchen everyday for the rest of my life.  ::wink wink::  

End result:    the whole kitchen was gutted so the appliances could be relocated to make the efficient and pretty, light, bright kitchen I longed for.

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And here it is,  just one week after it was gutted.

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Remember, our new lighting is not in yet so please ignore the ugly homemade light fixture which is still hanging around from the old kitchen.  It really sticks out like a sore thumb now and unfortunately, it managed to find its way into most every  photo I tried to take of the new kitchen.   When that fixture comes down, I told my hubby I want to throw it on the burn pile and rejoice as it is reduced to nothing but ashes.  Burn baby, burn!

Allow me give you a little tour of each side of the kitchen.  I didn’t opt to have a lot of fancy features built in the new kitchen but I will point out a few special customizations I asked my cabinet guy to incorporate. 

The sink wall “before”…

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and the sink wall “after.”  

Not replacing the island really opened up the kitchen and made it feel so much more spacious.  I’ve always wanted a kitchen with an island but it just didn’t work in here.  I know I won’t miss walking circles around it every time I move from one side of the kitchen to another.

(See what I mean about the hanging light getting in the new photos?)

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Psssst…do you see that darn hanging light again?

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Here’s just one example of how poorly constructed the old kitchen was.  Unfinished plywood bottom in the pantry and ooops, I think somebody mis-measured because look at that gapping hole between the dishwasher and the pantry.  Or maybe that was suppose to be for cookie sheets?

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I think I’m going to love the  pretty new pantry with fully adjustable shelves and a place on the right to store my broom, mop, and electric broom.  There’s even an electrical plug in the cabinet for the electric broom charger.

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I was fighting the sun shining in  my naked window when I was trying to photograph the new Moen faucet with a pull down sprayer so this picture does not do this lovely faucet justice.   Since we have “righties” and “lefties” in our family, my cabinet guy suggested installing the handle toward the front, instead of to the side. 

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I do a lot of cutting, chopping and food prep right next to the sink so I had a black surface saver cutting board  with a black stainless steel frame mounted into the LG Hi-Macs solid surface countertop.  I have two of these surface savers in my kitchen at the house we are in the process of moving from  and LOVE them.   It’s a great convenience not having to pull out a cutting board every time I want to cut something but these surface savers also do double duty because you can set hot pots and pans on them too.



Second wall…“Before”

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Second wall…“After”

The refrigerator will be relocated from its previous location on the sink wall to the  open space on the left side of the cabinets .  A trash compactor will slide into that open space on the right end of the lower cabinet.  I’ve had a trash compactor for 30 years and it’s a “absolutely must have”  convenience for me.  I think I’d give up my dishwasher before I’d give up my trash compactor.  :)

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Third wall…“Before”

Did you notice?  Whoever installed these upper cabinets didn’t even get them centered on the wall.

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Third wall…“After”

Built-in wall oven at eye level.  No more stooping to check on food and no more hot air rising up to blast me in the face every time I bend over to take something out of the oven.

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Below the built-in wall oven is a cabinet with 4 pull out drawers.

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4th side (open to family room)… “Before”

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4th side…”After”

A smooth surface cook top was inserted into the countertop and a raised half wall was built on the back side of this bank of cabinets to help keep any cooking spills or splatters in the kitchen.

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Under the cook top, there are three pull-out drawers of varying depths for pots, pans and lids.

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To the right of the cook top is a corner carousel to maximize storage in what would be an otherwise dead space.

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The photo below is the view standing in the doorway to the breakfast room, looking back through the kitchen.  I mentioned in my last post that once the cabinets were installed, I didn’t like the way that far  wall between the kitchen and family room stuck out into the pathway.  I don’t know why I didn’t notice the wall before with the old cabinets.

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A little hacking, sawing, relocating the light switch to the family room side of the wall, a little dry wall and…

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Voila!   Cutting the wall back 8 inches ended up being much better!  In a perfect world, I would have liked the wall cut back even a few inches more  but that would have opened up a can of worms with potential structural issues.

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So there you have it…my almost done kitchen remodel.  I think I’m really going to enjoy cooking in here for many years to come. 

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Okay, so now I want to give a shameless plug for my AWESOME cabinet guy, Rodney Ford of Ford Refacing.  If any of my readers in the Tampa Bay area of Florida are contemplating kitchen or bathroom cabinet refacing, new cabinets, countertops etc., I HIGHLY recommend Rodney (813-659-0124).

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He’s fast.  He won’t leave your kitchen  in an unusable state for weeks.    He demo’d the old kitchen on a Friday and the following Friday, I was putting food, dishes, etc., back in the new kitchen cabinets.    It went quickly because he  had already built all of the cabinets,  countertops, and the frame for the half wall in his shop  before he came to tear out my old kitchen.  He (and one helper) worked steady from 8:00 a.m until after 5:00 p.m. every day with only a 10 or 15 minute lunch break.

He’s meticulous.  Super meticulous.  I saw absolutely no evidence of shoddy work or shortcuts anywhere.

His prices are extremely reasonable.  More like dirt cheap.  From Rodney I  got custom made cabinets with extra features like the pull-out shelves under the oven  and the corner carousel,  crown moldings, solid surface countertops, an extra deep stainless steel sink, the half-wall, and he installed the wood laminate floor, all for $8,000 less than another company was going to charge  just for cabinets and countertops alone!   

You will be seeing more of Rodney’s work on my blog in the coming weeks because he’ll be building cabinets for two of the bathrooms at the house in Hooterville.