If I’m being honest, we haven’t gotten as far as we would’ve liked on the garage – for good reason! – but it’s coming along. A couple weeks ago, we laid out the configuration, but it’s far from complete. Looking at the photo above, we still need to trim the length of countertop, add a kick plate, finish up the trim where the pegboard stops, and we haven’t yet mounted the upper cabinet.
We picked up that length of unfinished butcher block counter for a steal, thanks to an imperfection on the side; no matter, we’ll just put that side down. The cabinets were painted using the same deep blue from our front and closet doors, and you might remember that they’re the same cabinets we pulled from the second floor kitchen, which is now our master bedroom. (On a side note, I have to laugh at master, as it’s still simply a kitchen without cabinets and a bed plunked in the middle!) To the right of those cabinets is our DIY kitchen island of yore, which has been perfect for the garage! Wheel it into the middle? Sure! Wheel it outside to make a dusty mess? Why not!
And to the right of that is a big rack of Colossal Shelving from Ace Hardware! Ace is lending us a hand to complete all the to-dos on our garage checklist, and as soon as we saw this hunk on their website, we knew we’d put it to good use out here. Hidden storage is great, no doubt, but open storage will pull the load for big bins and easy access items (think: gardening care and smaller power tools). The whole thing was assembled in about 20 minutes and clicks together easily. The only tool we used was a rubber mallet to snug the cross bars in place:
We wanted the only upper cabinet to conceal all those small, ugly necessities – bug spray, weed killer and the dozens of car cleaning chemicals that all do the same thing (I mean, right?) – but we wanted it to blend into the wall. We painted it the same color as the rest of the garage, Valspar’s Zen Pebble (lightened to 75%), but in an effort to keep things a little interesting, we opted for navy lowers, Hague Blue color matched to Sherwin Williams, to help hide the inevitable garage grime!
Below, this tiny rolling tool cart lived in our workshop before the facelift, but we knew it’d be better suited out here. It tucks right alongside the cabinets while corralling clamps and, of course, tool miscellany.
We’ve talked about adding a floating shelf above the old island for our boombox (do people still say that?), but aside from that, we can start figuring out what goes where! We’ll hang hooks into the pegboard and organize rakes, brooms and the like, and we’ll continue to chug along on the rest in the coming month:
Fix the leaky roof
• Bike Storage – got it!
Open metal shelving for bins + occasional use items
Wall treatment for cabinet wall (close up exposed studs)
Paint everything – no more bare plywood!
Reconfigure and paint cabinets
• Install a countertop – purchased!
Epoxy/paint the unlevel/cracked garage floor – not this year, womp.
• Cabinet kick plate and finish baseboards – new
• Wall of hooks/hanging storage
• New side door – purchased!
• Paint exterior trim
Re-caulk exterior siding
• Repair/new garage door
• Replace lighting with LEDs
What you can’t see behind me in all of these photos is the stuff that’s waiting for its home, lest you think our garage is so clean and tidy! August is going to be a month of catch up and project completion – fingers crossed!
We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. See all the blogger projects on the Ace Pinterest page.
During the last handful of months, we’ve spent time piecing together some of the ever-evolving rooms in the house – the rooms that are done, but not really done. They need something here or there, but it’s not a rush, and so, we move slow. Very slow. Our funny little nook has acted as our One Tail staging room for the better part of three months, the living room has seen some pillow swaps, but it’s the home studio that has seen the most amount of change!
Our home’s office space is one of the reasons why we felt this house was right for us. The second floor closely mimics the first (as is common with two-flat buildings in Chicago), and working from home, it felt like a dream come true to have a spacious, well, space! That feeling hasn’t faded, but for a while, the room remained stagnant. I have my desk, a computer and a pretty wall of photos (definitely important!), but I also had a tripping hazard for a computer cord, a cold floor in the winter and not much to block the harsh afternoon light. All of these things were tolerable, and I put those minor issues on the back burner while we worked on the kitchen, the workshop, and most recently, the garage.
The Woolly Pocket was the last big change to the studio – last year! – but since then, we’ve finally made some decisions and pulled together the finishing touches. Hooray!
I’m often asked about our Woolly Pocket; how’s it holding up? Do you still like it? Do the PLANTS like it? The answer to all these things is great! yes! and they do now! We love our Woolly, but I do think we crowded the pouches with too many plants in the first round, and slowly, they began to wilt. No amount of water, singing or pleading could revive them, and so, we began swapping them out with plants that are black thumb friendly.
By the start of this year, our pocket made its full transition to Pothos, Philodendron and ZZs, while the snake plants (Sansevieria) continue to grow and grow (and grow!). All of them have nearly doubled in size since their first planting, and they seem receptive to our sing-songy love. I sometimes forget how large our Woolly is – 10′ wide! – and friends are always shocked when they walk up the stairs and see it. It really is a showstopper:
Early this summer, we added long custom curtain panels from Bali Blinds, and as soon as we saw the option to add black fringe, Scott said, you know you have to do that, right? I’ve always loved a plain white panel for simplicity’s sake, but the fringe is what makes these curtains! They feel so glam and quirky all at once, which, yes, please.
Finally, we got a rug! I was stuck on the rug decision for the longest time, not knowing if I wanted color or neutral, vintage or new. Rugs are notoriously hard to pinpoint, but after seeing and loving the Sierra Paddle Rug in this living room, that was it. I showed Scott, he approved, and I snatched up an 8×10 during one of the ubiquitous Rugs USA 70% off sales. We placed a rug pad underneath, and it’s still thin enough for my chair to roll easily, which would have been a deal breaker otherwise.
With the rug in place, I took the time to run a cord management system along the baseboards. The plug is directly behind that curtain panel, and I have a 12′ extension cord running along the baseboards, which is then (somewhat) concealed, mostly for safety, beneath a floor cover. The cable to my external monitor runs along my desk leg and plugs into the extension. Phew. Oh, the simple things!
We’ve had the rug for a few weeks, and it’s held up really well! There’s no shedding at all, and the times that our kitties have used it as their personal scratching pad (thankfully, this isn’t often), only a couple strings have pulled. A quick clipping does the trick, with no unraveling after the fact.
As you can see, it’s pet approved, which is really all that matters in this house! We’re so happy with how this room has rounded out, and it really has made all the difference in my work flow. Happy home = happy Kim, clearly.
Sources: Wall color is Pale Bud, Behr // Vintage desk // Vintage office chair // Sierra Paddle Rug (ivory), Rugs USA // Wally Five living wall, Woolly Pocket // Curtains, Bali Blinds // Oversized metal curtain rod, West Elm // File cabinet, Home Decorators Collection // Vintage plant stand // DIY live edge bench
PS: While we wait on that back door, we’re working on the kitchen details. Check out our DIY photo booth magnets on the Bali Blinds blog this week! It’s all about the college flashbacks, but they make us all smiley.
This post is in collaboration with Pella Windows & Doors.
We haven’t talked about the kitchen since April, but for good reason. Simply put, nothing has been happening. It’s in a standstill. Well, I should say, it was in a standstill, as this story has a happy ending with a resolution(!).
For a couple months at the start of this year, it was all action, every weekend and most weeknights, too. We ran a lot of electrical, hung a pocket door, put in wall-to-wall cabinets, shopped and installed counters, DIYed an island, gave new life to an old hutch and tiled a backsplash. There was a lot of touching-up in between – painting walls, repairing poor drywall, adding trim and baseboards – but everything came to a screeching halt when it came to this back wall. That door leads to our yard and garage, and the plan was to add a glass paneled door with sidelights and a transom:
You might remember the not-so-hilarious story (delirious, more like it) of our contractor who initially ordered the wrong door configuration, only for us to find out after it had fallen into backorder for several months. We found this error to be odd – you know, taking into consideration our drawings, conversations and emails – but as a GC who came recommended from a friend, we thought it must have been a fluke. While we were pretty upset at the time, we ended up changing course and decided that, perhaps, a sliding patio door would be best. We thought, well, maybe this is a blessing disguise! A sliding patio door will make more sense anyway! This would allow for even more natural light, plus we’d have the convenience of not having swinging doors taking up precious kitchen or patio space.
He promised us a 3-4 week turnaround on the new configuration from his supplier – a 5′ sliding door in a French style (meaning, a thicker wood frame for a more traditional feel; this old house asked for such) with a 5′ transom window above. The door was ordered in the last week of February, and then that door also fell into back order.
And that, you guys, is where we left off.
Since then, he had been increasingly difficult to reach. To be honest, he was consistently vague on details, and we felt very out of the loop on such a large part of our renovation. (This was definitely a warning sign, but never having renovated a kitchen before, we thought, this must be normal, I mean, I guess?) Days would go by without any response to our phone calls and emails, and then – thank goodness! – he sent us a simple text around mid-May that our door had arrived! It was here!
We were thrilled because this not only meant that we might have a door by Memorial Day weekend (spoiler: it didn’t happen) – 5 months after our first order was placed, mind you – but we have been itching to hang art and additional shelving, plus I’ve been eager to pretty up the kitchen with plants. As I began pulling out our cute, framed prints from under the bed (safe keeping, you know?), we also started the process of getting him here for installation.
At first, he started by saying he was busy on other jobs, but he would put us in his calendar soon. After a week of no communication, we would call to say just checking in!, but he became non-responsive. Like, nothing. In fact, we never heard from him again. For a while afterwards, it became commonplace to say, I mean, seriously, what the hell? (Plus, bleep! Bleep!) We were confused, supremely frustrated and, naturally, mad. Really mad. As of today, almost 2 months have passed since we we were last told he had our door, and our anger has finally subsided; it’s time to move forward. He wasn’t coming back, and to be honest, we didn’t want him back.
So! As promised, this story does have a happy ending – an ending that we’re still trying to believe ourselves. (Are you still with me?) I do have to quickly step back to last fall, when Pella Windows & Doors reached out to us with a new program they were launching, Insynctive. The Insynctive technology allows you to control windows and doors with sensors that, get this, sync to deadbolts and motorized blinds and shades as an addition to your home’s security. At the time, we were about to dive into kitchen plans, but their goals for the product launch and our needs for a door didn’t mesh effectively for us or them. This happens frequently with collaborations, and while it was a great conversation to have with the Pella team, if it’s not the right fit, we don’t proceed. Checking in with our guts and being honest with you is important to us.
Fast forward to right now. Pella is doing amazing things to help create a safe and efficient Innovation Home with Better Homes and Gardens, and as a part of that journey, they circled back to revisit our own kitchen project. Timing is a funny thing, and it was as if every road block to completing our renovation led us right back to where we started. Pella wants to dive in and help us by putting a fat checkmark next to that last big to-do, and we’ll be working with them to cross it off our list once and for all! They are providing us with a door and transom, however, we’ll be covering the cost of construction through a Pella certified contractor. It’s an opportunity that we don’t take lightly or for granted, and we’re beyond grateful that it has been presented to us.
That being said, our hope is to receive the full Pella experience, so we asked them to take us through every step of the process. We’ve since met with local representatives, asked them hundreds of questions and selected finishes for outside, inside and every imaginable moving door part:
Our kitchen will receive a Designer Series sliding patio door in the French style, with a transom above. (Sounds familiar by now, doesn’t it?) The exterior will be black, and we’ve decided on a primed white interior until we can decide on a color. We’ll also have between-the-glass motorized cellular shades in Linen, as part of the Insynctive technology. Once all of these decisions were made, we had a home meeting with our Pella contractor, Brian of LaPelusa Home Improvement, and wow. What a breath of fresh air, truly! He was amazingly thorough, explained every detail of the construction process and put us completely at ease.
In fact, he even nudged us in a slightly different direction from our initial thoughts of a 5′ door. The door opening on a 5′ sliding door is just under 2′ wide, due in part to not being able to slide any wider than the handle will allow. We were hesitant about the 6′ door being too wide, but to see, we taped it out:
The outer most tape lines are representative of our trim, which is why it’s heftier along the top, and the space directly above the “door” is our transom window. It’s large, yes, but just imagine all the light the kitchen will receive! Because it will fill most of that back wall, you’ll see it from our living and dining rooms as well.
We had to rethink a few plans we originally had for the dogs’ food station, since you can see it will no longer fit (new ideas are in the works – spoiled pups, we say), but the flow from the dining room to the kitchen to the patio will be spot on.
The door and transom are expected to arrive mid-August, and installation will begin immediately by the LaPelusa team! We cannot wait to bid farewell to our current sad door and drafty window; the countdown begins – now!
This is a sponsored project written by us on behalf of Pella Windows and Doors, and you can learn more about Pella’s Insynctive technology right here.
Pella is providing us with a Designer Series sliding patio door with transom, and all text, opinions and storyline drama (what’s a renovation without one?) are our own. Thank you, as always, for supporting those that so graciously support us.
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