An exciting thing happened the day we went to buy our butcher block countertops – they were on sale! Marked down to $109 from $159, we hauled away two slabs (one for each side of our little galley kitchen) before they could tell us it was a mistake. And that – that price! – is one of the…
  • Eric - July 20, 2017 - 6:49 AM

    Love the butcher block countertops. This is going to look amazing. Your tenants are going to have a more stylish place than me!ReplyCancel

    • Kathy - July 21, 2017 - 7:56 AM

      IKR? I want to live there. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Katy DeBardelaben - July 20, 2017 - 7:16 AM

    Butcherblock is awesome and a great choice for a rental. I would never hesitate to use it. We installed it in our last kitchen and loved it. It’s so cheap, holds up well if you seal it properly and like you said, can be sanded down over and over and over again for decades if necessary. Which it probably won’t. But seriously it will be the countertop that won’t die. And for so cheap!ReplyCancel

  • Toni - July 20, 2017 - 8:48 AM

    Hi there! I absolutely love how the counter tops turned out.
    Would you please share your process? Which product did you apply first, and how many coats?

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2017 - 8:57 AM

      There’s a bullet point list in the post of exactly my process, but it’s wood conditioner, stain, and 5 coats of Waterlox.ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen - July 20, 2017 - 11:20 AM

    These are GORGEOUS!

    This a little off the topic of the counters, but you mentioned that they might be seen as a risk in a rental… were there any of the same concerns with your wood tile floor? I had suggested wood look tile to a friend who is renovating a rental property and her contractor (who is a “tile guy”) was really discouraging of doing it throughout the living space. I did a fair amount of research and read mixed pros and cons. Thanks for any input!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2017 - 11:51 AM

      Thanks, Gretchen!

      I have NO idea why her contractor would discourage the use of tile, unless it’s simply because it’s a lot more work (because it is). Porcelain tile is going to be extremely durable, and we weighed a lot of pros and cons ourselves. We dive into it a lot more in this post:

  • ~B - July 20, 2017 - 12:02 PM

    “Finally, it was time to condition, stain and steal!” I think you meant to say “seal”, although at that price, it was quite the steal :)

    Love your work and I’m really enjoying watching the rental apartment come together!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2017 - 12:09 PM

      Haha, you’re right on both counts! Updated.ReplyCancel

  • Pat - July 20, 2017 - 1:32 PM

    I have butcherblock counters, that I seal on occasion with mineral oil. Love them. Love how these look too. Did you seal the underside where the dishwasher is? Steam pouring into unsealed wood sounds like a problem waiting to happen.ReplyCancel

  • Jeremy - July 21, 2017 - 12:08 PM

    Finish underside of counter-top under the dishwasher. It may get humid with the dishwasher runningReplyCancel

  • Jess - July 21, 2017 - 2:20 PM

    I love the look of butcher block but don’t care for joints with L-shaped countertops or longer lengths. Do you have any tips for dealing with joints?ReplyCancel

  • Katie Crowther - July 22, 2017 - 1:24 AM

    What is the name of the ikea butcher block you used? The website has several options but none that appear to be solid wood and stainable. We used the Karlby in a project at out house and it is just a particle board with a thin wood veneer.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - July 22, 2017 - 1:26 AM

    Ok now I’m realizing it never says they are from Ikea🤦🏼‍♀️. In that case where did you get yours from;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 22, 2017 - 8:43 AM

      Ha, that’s ok! In the first paragraph, we say we got them from Menard’s. :)ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - July 22, 2017 - 9:53 AM

    Those counters look great! I’m jealous of the future tenants :)ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - July 22, 2017 - 3:28 PM

    Three cheers for butcher block + Waterlox! Beautiful, sustainable, durable, affordable (look at all my rhyming words!).

    I’ll be really interested to see how this holds up in a rental: will you come back in a year and give us an update? I’m curious because we have this combo in our kitchen and adore it, but we’re there to take care of it, wipe up standing water at the end of the day, etc.: not a huge amount of love, but some. We want to do the same thing in our boys’ bathroom but are not sure how it will do with zero love. Keep us posted?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 24, 2017 - 9:48 AM

      We would love to keep you posted! Once our tenant(s) moves in, we do like to give them privacy (so no more photoshoots down here!), but assuming they move out after a year, we agree that it would be a great idea to discuss how things are holding up!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - July 24, 2017 - 3:08 PM

    First of all, the garden apartment is looking great!

    You may want to specifically ask that your tenants not cut directly on the countertops (i.e. use cutting boards) and take care to clean up spills immediately, particularly around the sink—give them pointers rather than just hoping they’ll treat the counters with respect. Some people are pretty clueless unfortunately.

    I lived briefly in an apartment that had butcher block counters. When my now-husband and I moved in they were disgusting: stained, scratched. The area around the sink in particular was really, really bad. We sanded and sanded, then oiled, and with a lot of work most of the counters looked good again, except the area around the sink—the water damage was really deep there and we never could get out the black staining. I don’t know how long they were bad before we moved in (three young guys lived there before us and my only memory of touring the place was all the dried ketchup on the counters)…blah blah anyway…a few words of prevention might help you to avoid some work between tenants. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 24, 2017 - 8:13 PM

      You’re so right! We’ll definitely say something and hope that they take our advice to heart. We do realize it’s a bit of a gamble.ReplyCancel

  • Slate - August 4, 2017 - 8:41 PM

    Looking good! The butcher block countertops are beautiful!ReplyCancel


If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself tripped up over the details (also known as losing All the Sleep). You fret over upcoming dinner plans, your grocery list or, in this case (and for us, most cases), your current project du jour. The garden apartment has come leaps and bounds since we first shared…
  • Sarah - July 18, 2017 - 8:06 AM

    It is looking so so good in there and I can’t believe how quickly it’s coming togather! You guys are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine - July 18, 2017 - 10:57 AM

    This looks so good! Watching you guys do this has made me want to use Ikea cabinets in our own kitchen but go with the custom cabinet fronts from Semihandmade!

    Quick question–we actually just bought a Pax closet to go inside our current, deep, reach-in closet. According to the direction, we totally had enough space to clear the ceiling…but in a *d’oh* moment…we don’t and should’ve built the cabinet in the closet. Have you guys ever disassembled a pax or other ikea cabinet? I assume the kitchen cabinets go together in a similar way. How do you get that little locking thing out? (NO idea what you call that thing that basically secures that the pieces are fit together)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 18, 2017 - 12:10 PM

      Thanks, Katherine! Semihandmade has so many good door options!

      Hmmm, we haven’t taken a cabinet apart after we’ve put it together. Is it something that can be twisted out with pliers? I’m having a hard time imagining exactly which locking part you’re talking about – I feel like all IKEA parts lock together in a magical way!

      Anyone else?ReplyCancel

    • Marjory - July 18, 2017 - 2:46 PM

      Do you mean these things?

      I messed up when I was putting a Malm dresser together and used the plastic one when I should have used the metal one. I tried everything I could to get it out and ended up breaking it. I could almost get it with pliers, but I couldn’t get it that last little bit. Can you turn the piece on its side or something one you’ve pulled it with the pliers and try to shake it out? I found this youtube video that you might could try:

      • Kim - July 18, 2017 - 2:59 PM

        You’re the best, Marjory!ReplyCancel

  • AmandaKB - July 18, 2017 - 2:47 PM

    I’m a details person, so I love posts like this. Thanks for not skipping over it! The progress on the apartment is exciting :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 18, 2017 - 2:59 PM

      The details are everything.ReplyCancel

  • Eric - July 19, 2017 - 2:45 PM

    It’s all these little details that make the house a home. Looks great. And don’t those folks at IKEA think of everything?ReplyCancel

  • Lacey - July 20, 2017 - 5:24 AM

    Do think you should have gotten a 36″ cabinet for next to the range hood so you wouldn’t have needed a filler? I’m designing my own IKEA kitchen right now, and they recommended getting a 30″ to me as well.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2017 - 8:58 AM

      I fought them at the store on it, but she INSISTED we go with a 30″. I honestly don’t think it would have been a big deal to go with a 36″, but we trusted their judgement in the end!ReplyCancel


A few months ago, we shared the tips and tricks we do every day around our home to make this a happy, healthy pet friendly place to live. It’s no secret that Jack, CC and Libby rule this roost, and we try our best to set them up for success. Nothing in our home is…
  • Ryan - July 13, 2017 - 7:46 AM

    I love this post from you all! I am the opposite of you in that I hate buying throw pillows for myself, mostly because I know my black lab (Dugan) has a knack for making my pillows look less than glamorous in no time. This is very helpful and it looks like I’ll be doing some shopping!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 10:26 AM

      Libby makes little beds from every one of our pillows – it’s a daily struggle (but also really cute when we see every pillow on the couch with a perfect nest)!ReplyCancel

  • anna - July 13, 2017 - 1:09 PM

    Hi Kim! Such a helpful post! I was just coming over here to ask you for advice about buying used furniture, in Chicago in particular – do you have any ideas? We are looking for a sectional similar to yours, or a sofa similar to yours (ha, I evidently love your style) but can’t afford to pay retail at the minute. Any ideas gratefully received. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 1:16 PM

      Hi Anna! Have you checked out the Brown Elephant in Andersonville (or even the one in Lakeview)? They always have such a big furniture selection, but the item might just need reupholstered. Also, Jubilee Furniture in Carol Stream is worth the drive. It’s where we got our blue sofa for $75 and then reupholstered it! They update their blog weekly, but only with their newest inventory. Definitely worth it, as their selection is MASSIVE:

      • Anna - July 14, 2017 - 9:10 AM

        Thanks so much! I haven’t heard of those, will try to check them out soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - July 13, 2017 - 1:21 PM

    Love this! I got totally frustrated years ago with the lack of options on affordable, removable and good looking covers that I started making my own. I love many of these!! I can’t wait for our new sofa and chairs so I can add some pillows! My husband is not a fan of them, but me and the kitties loooove them!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah H - July 13, 2017 - 2:21 PM

    Libby has her claws, right? How do your couches still look so amazing? We’ve been able to find rugs that are kitty claw proof but every once in a while they got an itch to pull at the couches. They don’t do it often, but have done it enough that the arms on our couches look terrible now! I’m wondering if we are staring down a life of microsuede couches? Does your fabric hold up better or is libby just not the type to claw the couches? We have two kitties and a dog. One kitty goes for the couches and the other sticks to her cardboard tree we have for them. Our animals have definitely have made our house their home :) Wouldn’t have it any other way, though.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 2:27 PM

      The material on our Dryden couch (seen in the first photo) has held up REALLY well to Libby’s claws. Our velvet couch is probably at 95%, but that’s because Maddie like to scratch on just one arm. She did it rarely, but some of the threads have been pulled, although luckily, it’s barely noticeable. We actually really like velvet for that reason; if it has a really tight weave, it’s almost self healing.

      Even still, Libby (and even Maddie) aren’t really scratchers. Libby has razor talons (despite her trims!), and she doesn’t intentionally pull on fabric, but sometimes her claws get stuck. I think we’re lucky that she doesn’t purposely try to destroy anything, otherwise, it would be a different story!ReplyCancel

      • Megan - July 13, 2017 - 4:02 PM

        What fabric did you get on the Dryden couch?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 4:10 PM

          We have the Diamond FogReplyCancel

          • Hannah h - July 13, 2017 - 7:29 PM

            Super helpful – thank you! I think I just need to do some fabric samples ordering and try the needle trick you mentioned in an earlier post and see what holds up. Good thing they are so cute!

            I never would have thought of velvet!

    • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 9:41 PM

      100% be sure to grab samples! Also, they have swatches you can check out in store and pick up the samples in person as well. We love doing the push pin trick to see what snags and what holds up well. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - July 13, 2017 - 2:39 PM

    I really like the Xbase pillow from CB2 but decided not to purchase it because the item description said “spot clean.” I might try it anyway, since it’s 100% cotton and yours seemed to hold up well to machine washing?

    I recently purchased a couple of machine washable pillow covers and inserts from Pottery Barn. It’s too soon to tell how well they will hold up, though. When I was browsing their site, I noticed that most of their pillow covers are machine washable.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2017 - 3:00 PM

      We wash our Xbase pillow all the time, and we even pop it in the dryer! It holds up perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Tori Mistick - July 14, 2017 - 8:21 AM

    Lucy hangs out on the day bed in my office pretty much all day every day, so the pillows on there get a lot of hair. Some are from target and the covers don’t come off so I actually vacuum them every couple of weeks, or if I’m in a rush I run a lint roller over them. But after seeing this post I want to buy all new pillows!! Definitely have a lot of tabs open now!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2017 - 9:16 AM

      Sadly, it’s the #1 reason we can’t give in to Target pillows! If only they made their covers removable!ReplyCancel

  • Meg - July 14, 2017 - 9:25 AM

    Awesome post! I just got our CB2 xbase pillow cover back from the green cleaners but next time I might try washing it since it is cotton. I’ve just noticed some of the weaving come loose on the edges (which I handsewed to repair) so I’ve wondered how it would hold up in the washing machine. Sounds like you guys have tested those waters! Thx for the great tips.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2017 - 9:36 AM

      We haven’t needed to make any repairs, so next time I would think your safe to throw it in the delicate cycle! We put ours through the dryer, too.ReplyCancel

  • ellen - July 15, 2017 - 1:40 AM

    Hi, new reader! I have been frustrated by this EXACT search criteria for the past year! My couch has been pillow-less because there are so few washable cover options I feel good about. I tried a wool UO option last year and ended up hand washing in warm/hot water (mistake) and the colors started bleeding. Ugh! Love all these options and am literally about to pull the trigger on some Stitched by Grace NY pillows from your Etsy links. Have you specifically tried washing those covers? The listing says Spot Clean Only, so I’m curious if you’ve personally “vetted” them, or just suspect they’d be safe! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 16, 2017 - 5:38 PM

      Hi, Ellen, happy to have you! We can’t speak from personal experience, but I have washed similar mudcloth pillows with no issues. I would recommend washing them by themselves the first time or two to prevent any bleed, but most sellers will pre-wash the fabrics anyway. I’d double check with the seller, but if it were us, I’d totally wash them. :)ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen - July 17, 2017 - 9:25 AM

    Hi Kim!

    This post is so great! No pets of my own yet but I have an unhealthy relationship with, so it’s only a matter of time…

    Pro Tip: If you are ordering CB2 online and use the “can we help you?” chat thingy that pops up, they will sell you the covers without the insert for a little bit less! I assume the same can be done in person (just like in any Crate & Barrel) but we don’t have a CB2 in our area.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 17, 2017 - 4:49 PM

      Wow, that is such a GREAT tip! I know you can ask for the cover without the filler in store, but it’s cool to hear they’ll honor the same via the chat function. Thank you, Gretchen!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - July 18, 2017 - 9:54 AM

    I love these pillows! I’ve been slowly trying to update our throw pillows, but having trouble. I bought the xbase pillow and love how bold it is. I am liking the Etsy #4 option, do you think those would look good together, or both too bold? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 18, 2017 - 10:01 AM

      It would be bold, but great! The lines are clean enough to not feel overwhelming. Maybe layer with a few solid color pillows as well. Go for it!ReplyCancel


We think it might be safe to say that we’re at the garden kitchen’s halfway point. Yeah! The walls have been rearranged, layout planned and, as of last week, the IKEA cabinets are in! This is the first IKEA kitchen that we’ve put together, but luckily, there’s a good amount of knowledge floating around the internet…
  • Eric - July 11, 2017 - 7:09 AM

    That looks amazing! You guys always do such detailed and great posts.

    We’ve been in our house for 7 years and I’ve been on the fence about using an IKEA kitchen. With the high use and potentially low maintenance of a rental kitchen, what made you decide to go with instead of a more “traditional” build?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 8:55 AM

      Thanks, Eric!

      We considered a lot of options, everything from a traditional and/or custom build, off-the-shelf from the hardware store, R-T-A cabinets and IKEA. We’ve used R-T-A in our laundry room and love them, and we have a more custom build in our kitchen. If we were to do the cabinets in our kitchen all over again, we probably would have incorporated more base cabinet drawers, and we would have definitely upgraded to all soft close hinges. When weighing everything we’ve done in the past, we decided to take this opportunity to use IKEA cabinets, since we know people that use and love them! IKEA’s standard – such as soft close hinges – isn’t an up charge in any way, and it’s definitely one of those things that they seem to do really, really well. Of course, time will tell, but we liked their variety in drawers and organizational systems, soft close and door options.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - July 11, 2017 - 7:31 AM

    I am loving following along with the garden apartment renovation! The kitchen looks amazing so far. I can’t wait to see the halfwall with finishing details!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 8:56 AM

      We’re happy to hear this, Karen! We can’t wait either! :DReplyCancel

  • Haley - July 11, 2017 - 9:13 AM

    This is going to look so great! I can’t wait to see the finished product. Also, this is something I’ve never thought of, but how do you paint walls the sides of cabinets are against? Also, are you putting in a tile back splash? I sure hope so!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 9:40 AM

      I’m not sure what you mean about painting… you can just tape off the cabinet and paint the wall! And yes, definitely tiling everywhere you see the exposed cement board.ReplyCancel

      • Haley - July 11, 2017 - 11:19 AM

        I guess I mean places where there is spaces between the wall and the cabinet/appliance like down the left side of the fridge.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 11:36 AM

          Ah, I see! That’s the only place where we’ll need to pull the fridge away from the wall to get that. Everything else will have filler pieces all the way up to the wall, so taping off the cabinets/fillers should be just fine.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - July 11, 2017 - 10:21 AM

    Oh this post came at the perfect time. We spent 3 hours at IKEA last night looking at the kitchens. We’re set to order this week! Your pictures and detailed post are great! Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - July 11, 2017 - 11:33 AM

    Looking great so far!!

    My husband and I are also doing an Ikea kitchen and are going with the Bodbyn door style in gray. Is that what you have used? And on a stylistic note, we are doing gray cabinets and have purchased all new white appliances. Thoughts? Will the color difference be too stark in person? It’s hard to tell with only a small door sample and a rendering to compare!


    • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 11:38 AM

      Hi Katie, yup, these are the BODBYN gray doors! We actually chose to use stainless appliances here to keep a more uniform appearance with the gray doors – especially since it’s a smaller space. In our kitchen, we used white appliances to keep things looking uniform with our white cabinets. It’s definitely personal preference, but you can see how we used stainless/gray above, and white/white here:

      • Katie - July 11, 2017 - 11:49 AM

        Hi Kim, I certainly agree with your thinking! I love the look of the Bodbyn but don’t like the off-white door option, especially with how most appliances are more of an “ice-white” color. When we chose the appliances we did not think we would have gray cabinets because a kitchen reno was not in the plan and we have off-white cabinets now. I guess I will just cross my fingers that the white and gray work! Thoughts on a tuxedo look to help balance it out?
        Thank you!

        • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 12:13 PM

          A tuxedo look could certainly help to keep things cohesive! Perhaps the uppers can be the BODBYN white, and you can give them a coat of paint. Should be relatively painless since it will just be a handful of doors! It’s something to consider. We’re actually doing the white BODBYN for the pantry doors, but we had our friend paint them bright white to match our trim and lacquer them. We asked her because she’s a pro furniture refinisher, so thank goodness for talented friends. But! I bet you could just as easily use a foam roller and apply Polycrylic to protect them further.ReplyCancel

          • Katie - July 11, 2017 - 2:52 PM

            Thanks again for letting me bounce a few ideas around! I may consider painting them, plus I could always test it with one small door or something and see how the process works. : ) Decisions, decisions!

        • Bernadette - July 11, 2017 - 2:51 PM

          Hi Katie – saw your question and wanted to jump in with an opinion :) I prefer white appliances as they are easier to keep clean and free of fingerprints than stainless. I think they’d look awesome with the grey cabinets, but perhaps to tie things in more intentionally, you could do white countertops and/or white pendant lights? Just thinking something to really relate to the white. Or maybe even pretty white cabinet knobs and pulls? I see lots of beautiful possibilities!ReplyCancel

          • Kim - July 11, 2017 - 4:09 PM

            Love these suggestions, Bernadette!

          • Katie - July 12, 2017 - 1:19 PM

            I love this online community – thank you Kim for letting the conversation flow!

            Bernadette – good idea! We plan on doing a white countertop, and white floor tile, but I like the idea of white lighting! Yes! I was looking for white cabinet pulls too, but there are not too many options out there.

            Thanks for the comment. :)

          • Kathy - July 13, 2017 - 6:53 AM

            I agree w/Bernadette – white appliances are easier to clean and they are cheaper too!

            Bonus is I think they are coming back in style again. I see more kitchens being designed w/white and black appliances.

  • Paige Flamm - July 11, 2017 - 2:04 PM

    This kitchen looks amazing! You did an awesome job!


  • Caitlin - July 12, 2017 - 7:21 AM

    It looks so good!! I think this is DEFINITELY the best layout for the space – of course leave it to Daniel to figure it out. I love the grey finish on the cabinets and the drawers look super functional, you guys definitely made all the right choices.

    One question though, does the cabinet above the fridge open all the way? In the last photo, it looks like there is a small jog in the ceiling right in front of the cabinet. I would hate for you to put in all that work, only for the door not to open all the way!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2017 - 10:06 AM

      Thanks, Caitlin! And good question about that above-fridge cabinet. We had a moment of panic ourselves when we were installing it and realized it was awfully close to that weird jut in the ceiling. Luckily (and we were holding our breath the whole time), it opens all the way, it just doesn’t STAY open like the one above the sink area. It actually opens up, as opposed to a traditional door, which was our saving grace!ReplyCancel

  • Jon - July 12, 2017 - 11:03 AM

    The garden kitchen looks amazing. The lucky renters will love it. We did an IKEA kitchen and for the life of me I couldn’t get a couple of doors to lay flat against the cabinet front. But… the blind corner cabinet is the bee’s knees.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2017 - 11:08 AM

      We haven’t yet taken the time to straighten all the cabinets yet, hopefully we don’t run into the same issue!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - July 13, 2017 - 6:56 AM

    I am LOVING all the work and detail you are doing to the apartment!

    Is it weird that I wish I were single so I could live there when it’s done? LOL!ReplyCancel

  • Delaney - July 14, 2017 - 9:29 AM

    I love the finishes in your kitchen! I am so thankful for this post-we just bought a home with a small, very dated kitchen and are trying to decide how to update our cabinets and counters. Getting to see such a detailed post helps me feel like I could tackle this successfully but also gave me realistic expectations of the challenges and time commitment. Thanks for such great content!ReplyCancel

  • Marcella - July 15, 2017 - 6:00 PM

    Our kitchen is IKEA! My parents did the renovation about 8 years ago. The cabinets are still functional, but we have horizontal ones that lift up to open instead of swing left. The hydraulics on one of them don’t work anymore which I’m sure is an easy fix though, and considering it’s been a long while since they were installed I think that’s not too bad for IKEA.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 16, 2017 - 5:39 PM

      Oh, that’s great to hear! We have 2 cabinets that flip up, so good to know they’ve lasted as long as they have.ReplyCancel

  • Sammy - July 17, 2017 - 2:14 PM

    We did our kitchen in IKEA and love the look of it but our kitchen looked the same with all of those boxes! The hardest part for us was our floors not being level and adjusting the legs to it but those legs made it all the more easier, it was more our house that was the difficult part haha.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 17, 2017 - 2:27 PM

      Boy, do we hear that! Even though our floors were leveled as much as possible with the new tile installation, this 130 year old house just has a lot of quirks. Those adjustable legs were our saving grace!ReplyCancel


This post is in partnership with Lowe’s. When we nixed the crumbling white tile in favor of a warmer wood-look tile for the floors throughout the garden unit, we knew we’d want to complement that massive overhaul with fresh paint on every last surface, too. The current wall colors, while fine, feel a little too cool –…
  • Molly - July 5, 2017 - 8:24 AM

    Hey Kim and Scott! It’s kind of funny, but I think I’m just as excited as you two to see how it turns out! Thanks for sharing :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 5, 2017 - 10:21 AM

      Haha, happy to have you along for this crazy ride!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley@Ashley Uhl Interiors - July 5, 2017 - 9:35 AM

    Picking out a paint color, always one of the hardest and longest tasks of decorating a room! I have more paint samples in my basement than you can shake a stick at. Glad you got it pinned down!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 5, 2017 - 10:02 AM

      Once we choose a color, we immediately donate all the samples – the last thing we want to do is second guess ourselves, ha!ReplyCancel

      • Loryn - July 5, 2017 - 3:05 PM

        I dump all of my samples into a gallon paint can. It ends up a medium grey that I use as primer for smaller projects.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 5, 2017 - 3:10 PM

          That’s such a great idea, Loryn!ReplyCancel

  • Paige Flamm - July 5, 2017 - 10:23 AM

    We painted our entire house a shade of grey that I loved in one room, that I basically hate every where else. Such a good lesson learned in the power of paint swatching.


  • christina - July 5, 2017 - 11:24 AM

    I live in a walk-out basement apartment and when we moved in it was painted WHITE, like un-tinted white paint haha and it looked so blue and horrible! we ended up going with plaster of paris by benjamin moore which i was worried would come across as yellow but it’s the perfect creamy white :) crazy how lighting works!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 5, 2017 - 12:21 PM

      Lighting is everything with paint! Had we not added so much recessed lighting to the ceilings, there’s no way we’d go as light as we are. Instead of being bright and warm, it would have looked dingy and dirty.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - July 5, 2017 - 2:43 PM

    Thank you so much for this! While I’ve been following your blog forever, I’m especially interested in the garden apt. rehab. I currently live in a garden unit in Bucktown which until new owners took over a few months back, I was not permitted to paint! Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to renew my lease within the next few weeks and be able to get a refresh (after 8 years!) If not, let me know if you’re on the lookout for a quiet and responsible, mid 30’s renter with a mini schnauzer!ReplyCancel

  • Eric - July 6, 2017 - 4:15 AM

    I would have bet You were gonna go with the Oragsmi White. All three are amazing colors and I can’t wait to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2017 - 8:47 AM

      Right?! We like how light Origami White is, but like the tone of Basalt Powder the best. I think that’s why we might tone down Basalt just a bit and only get it tinted at 50-75% instead of full strength. Can’t wait to see this go up on these walls!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - July 6, 2017 - 10:08 AM

    I just want to thank you for pointing out the trick of tinting paints at a lower percentage – I had no idea that was an option until you mentioned it (I think I first read it in the garage posts?) but it’s helped me SO MUCH with painting my house. Because the lighter colors on the swatch aren’t always right! I recommend this to everyone now if they’re having trouble, so thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2017 - 10:13 AM

      So happy to have helped! Yup, we did that in the garage, and our hallway paint color was done the same way. But you’re so right – the next color down on the swatch isn’t always the right tone, so better to choose the right tone and have it mixed at a lower percentage.ReplyCancel

  • Summer - July 7, 2017 - 10:37 AM

    This kind of process is so helpful to see! Thanks for documenting it all. I’m looking forward to this reveal!

    Question: what size are the pot lights in the garden apartment? We’re about to put some in our basement, and are debating between 5″ and 6″. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 7, 2017 - 10:59 AM

      They’re 6″ LEDs in soft white (2700k), and we couldn’t be happier.ReplyCancel

      • Summer - July 7, 2017 - 11:37 AM

        Perfect! Thanks!

        And do you have 6″ upstairs too? What do you think the difference is with 5″?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 7, 2017 - 11:59 AM

          Yup, 6″ upstairs in our home as well! To be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is, but the 6″ seemed to be a readily available standard at our local hardware stores.ReplyCancel

          • Summer - July 7, 2017 - 2:19 PM

            Gotcha. Yours all look great, so that seems simple enough. Thanks!

  • Jenny - July 10, 2017 - 10:41 PM

    THANK YOU for posting about Lowe’s (grey) paints! I’ve been searching for the perfect “light grey” for about four months. Who knew how hard it was to find the perfect grey?! I went to both Home Depot and Sherwin Williams, tested SEVEN colors in about ten spots (my walls currently look like a grey patchwork quilt), and almost settled for “Site White” by SW. When I read your blog I thought, “Why not give Lowe’s a try? Yellow Brick House had some pretty good paint chips on the wall.” I stopped in the other day and grabbed two more samples, bringing my grand total to nine.

    I’m extremely happy to say I found my perfect “white grey” with Glacial Stream at 50%. No purple tones, no blue tones, no tan tones, just perfectly grey. Thank you again for posting such a simple reminder! It saved me from settling for a wall color that I didn’t love!ReplyCancel