This post is in collaboration with Pella Windows & Doors.
I feel as though this update couldn’t possibly come to you with more enthusiasm, so just imagine this: as we tell the story, we’re shouting! We’re grinning non-stop, and we’re jumping up and down. I’m feeling flustered just trying to find words at all (a rarity, for sure), so simply put, we have our kitchen door!
This story – as with all of our stories, it seems! – goes way back to this past winter, when our first door turned into a comedy of errors. When that contractor went M.I.A. (I like to speculate what happened, mostly out of curiosity but also because I was in denial, no doubt), Pella Windows & Doors came to the rescue. Working with the Pella team and their certified contractor, from the very beginning, has felt so easy. Everything from options and colors to measurements and feedback were handed out willingly and freely. They patiently listened when we asked many (many) questions, and they followed up with phone calls, emails and advice when asked. Imagine that! To say it was a breath of fresh air would be the understatement of the year. We’ve been singing their praises, and we’ll continue to do so.
A quick recap: After waffling on the merits of a 5′ vs. a 6′ door, we landed on the 6′ wide Designer Series door in the French style, a 1′ transom window above and between-the-glass shades with Insynctive technology (more on that in a minute). The French style has a thicker wood frame surrounding the glass, lending a more traditional vibe – perfect for the age of our old house. The door arrived last Monday, and the Pella certified team, LaPelusa Home Improvement, began installation the next morning. We never imagined we’d be so happy to see a hole in the side of our home!
My biggest concern when working with a construction team is the presence they have while I’m in the home. We’ve worked with a wide range of contractors since moving in, some we’ve loved, and some we’ve agreed to never call again. Our prior experience with the first GC from our kitchen renovation left us a little anxious, but the LaPelusa team immediately put us at ease. The entire job took three and a half days, and often times, I would forget they were here! They were clean and courteous, masking off their work area in the morning and vacuuming up the debris every afternoon.
I was worried that the work we’d put into the kitchen so far would get grimy from the new construction dust, but those fears were tossed aside when I saw how carefully they masked off their work area:
At the completion of day one, the door was roughed in. By day two, we had electrical run for a new exterior light fixture. Scott and I spent most of the first evening with a drink in hand staring at the back wall. It. Was. Beautiful. There was so much light!
For the first several days, if I caught a kitchen glimpse from the corner of my eye, I’d think, who left the back door open?, only to remember that our new door was here! For a while, it seemed as though we were running in circles – we’d say, did we imagine the plans for a door all along? – but now that it’s here, well, it feels good. It feels right, like it’s always been there.
We’ve always loved the look of a dark door against lighter siding, and although there was a bit of a debate at first, we chose a black exterior finish. It’s so striking; we couldn’t love it more:
Our exterior light was a bit of a gamble, especially because the plans for our current deck and yard are up in the air. We have a jumble of ideas – big ones, for sure! – but they won’t happen until next summer (hopefully). Although our original intent was to center the fixture above the door, the upper deck placement had other plans. We shifted it to the side, which we’re still very happy with! The raw wood mount and white trim still need paint, which I’m looking to tackle this week:
Last but not least, our between-the-glass shades are a game changer! We chose white fabric shades in Linen as a part of Pella’s Insynctive Technology. With the touch of a button, the shades rise and fall, and they do so quietly. Because they snap in between two panes of glass, they stay dust (and fuss) free!
The shades still allow for light to pass through (above), although we prefer to leave them open during the day. (We’d been missing the light!) Jack and CC aren’t quite used to the screen door, and after a few silly instances of trying to run through the screen and failing, Jack will tenderly touch his nose to the screen. It’s a testament to how clear the screen looks!
Our backyard isn’t the most stunning, but we’re thinking long term. The stairs on the back are no longer necessary since we turned our house into a single family home (by tearing those down, we’ll completely eliminate the less-than-attractive transom view), and one day, we’ll have a (nicer) walk out porch. But for the short term, our door is in need of a little paint! We chose a primed white interior so we could relinquish all control on the final color – ha! I’ve got my paintbrush laid out; it’s going to change everything.
With any luck, we’ll have a completed kitchen within the week! I want to laugh like a maniac just typing those words. We’re thisclose, you guys.
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 provided 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.
This post is in collaboration with Mohawk.
Our little globe, er, plant stand is looking much nicer these days! What started as a $5 thrifty find at a yard sale turned out to be a pretty spectacular Jens Risom illuminated globe stand – sans globe. (Womp.) When we picked it up, we assumed it was a plant stand, and although a bit of research proved us wrong, we stuck with it.
To start, we needed a planter that was large enough to fill the stand without looking too teeny. It would allow for something up to 18″, and we weren’t surprised to find that options in this size were upwards of $200 or (way) more. The hope was to find a simple round planter with a diameter of 18″ from top to bottom, but wouldn’t you know, that added to the cost!
After a bit of digging, we found these round planters at Restoration Hardware with a measurement of 18″ x 18″. Although it wasn’t a perfect cylinder, it was the closest we could find, and with a final sale price of $50, we went for it! It came in two colors, slate and limestone (ours). While the slate was gorgeous, the same size in that shade was almost three times the cost, so we said, eh, big deal – we’ll just paint it any color we want! (It looks like this size has since gone up in price.)
But first, we wondered, how would it look if it was just a bit shorter? It’s sort of top heavy, don’t you think? We picked up a blade made for cutting concrete for our angle grinder, and after I used a pencil to mark the new height, it took Scott less than ten minutes to zip off the top. Using a file, he quickly took off any sharp edges, too:
Later that night, I gave our newly sized pot two coats of Ben Moore’s Morristown Cream (a super soft pink), leftover from our Varde makeover. If anything, this further proves that we like things how we like them (read: type A much?), and it’s never out of the question to make those few modifications to make our hearts sing. I promise you this: It’ll always be worth it to get it just right.
Next, the stand was in need of a refresh, and this time, we gave a few new products to try from Mohawk. The team behind the name had reached out to us earlier this year, letting us know that they were a strong contender in the wood refinishing market, and would you like to give it a try? We sent them a photo of our stand, and they told us we’d be happy using their Wax Wash Remover (to rid the grime) and Scratch Off (to darken, protect and finish in one!). We were surprised that their how-to was so incredibly simple, one step easier than our typical wood refreshing methods, as it takes the sanding step away completely! Side note: These products will be reaching their store soon, and you can see their other products right here.
Using a piece of #4/0 steel wool, I went over the entire surface with the Wash Wax – a prep step that would remove any lingering dirt and oils. Because the stand was covered in gunk, I did this a few times. Afterwards, the wood took on a slightly haze look, but any remaining sheen disappeared. It’s a strong solvent, so being outdoors or near a window helps, and a pair of gloves will keep your hands clean!
I followed up with the Scratch Off made for dark finishes, using a clean piece of #4/0 steel wool. The Scratch Off had the consistency of a thick stain – a small amount goes a very long way! – and it penetrated the wood quickly while eliminating scratches and dents. On the left, the wood has been Wax Washed, and on the right, the wood has one application of Scratch Off:
The initial coat soaked in quickly, so I applied one more to darken the finish further. Finally, I buffed the stand with a clean, soft cloth, and I was done! The entire refreshing process took a whole fifteen minutes out of my day, and I was super impressed with how well it worked. (I started eyeing my big vintage desk, but I’ll save that excitement for another day! No, really.)
To keep things a bit more lightweight – the stand wasn’t meant to hold a ton of weight, after all – I filled the bottom third of our planter with packing peanuts, and I potted a couple of rubber plants in soil as usual. She’s so pretty! The studio is turning into quite the little jungle!
Well played, Mohawk. A heavyweight champion for sure!
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mohawk, and these opinions are our own. Wax Wash and Scratch Off will hit their online store soon, and in the meantime, you can shop right here. Thank you, as always, for supporting those that so graciously support us.
A-hem, first, an announcement: Chicago friends! We hope to see you tomorrow night at the West Elm store opening party in Skokie! Let’s eat desserts, drink Prosecco and hang out. We’ll be there from 6-8 pm wearing our sparkly shoes (well, I might be on my own with that one). See the details and RSVP right here!
Yes, we’re totally the people that put curtains in their garage, and I realize how silly that must sound! To be fair, one) they’re inexpensive drop cloths and two) our projects get really, really messy. This’ll help. We’ll get back to the curtain in a minute, because there’s so much else that we’ve been knocking off of our garage to do list!
We painted trim. Such a small task, but what a world of difference. Add that to the new roof and proper gutters, and the exterior of our garage looks a lot better! (We don’t love the siding, but at least it’s inoffensive.) The photos below were taken from the back door of our kitchen, so getting this view polished up was important to us – especially once our glass sliders are in place. The yard and back patio, on the other hand, need help; next year!
We installed a door and painted it. Look at us, making strides! We now have a proper door threshold and jamb. It’s all new, as the old door wasn’t salvageable. For the color, I used an oops! can of Benjamin Moore’s Swept Away paint leftover from our pocket door. When the salesman first mixed our quart, it was accidentally done at a gallon’s strength. In turn, this color is a bit deeper and more saturated than our pocket door, but it works great out here! We painted both sides, giving the exterior a minty splash, too. The trim was painted using Clark+Kensington’s Designer White, color matched to Valspar Aspire leftover from our front porch railings. (The question begging to be asked: Do we like to make mixing paint difficult, or do we like to make it difficult?)
We finished the cabinet kick plate, baseboards and butcher block top. We tossed around the idea of a hot pink kick plate, but in the end, I (yes, I) chickened out and convinced Scott we should stick to navy. It’s nice and cohesive, and I’m happy I’m such a chicken! The “baseboards” and kick plate were made from our piles of scrap wood, and it helped to streamline our whole set-up. To complete the cabinets, Scott trimmed the extra-long butcher block, and I darkened it up with oil.
And, oh yeah, we hung curtains. We take on a lot of the dirty work in the garage, using the messiest tools we have on hand – the table saw, orbital sander and spray paint. Even in the cold Chicago winter, we bundle up, stuff hand warmers in our gloves, and we tough it out. That said – especially in the winter! – we easily slip into the Comfort Zone. We leave those messes behind, turn a blind eye and say, we’ll clean it up later! To prevent this, we hung curtains to close off the cabinets, open shelving and tool area to keep them clean. We purchased inexpensive drop cloths and hung them from a 2×4 support beam using Ikea’s KVARTAL track system. Of course this won’t protect all dust (we’ll still have lawn equipment on Side Messy), but it’s a good start. Also, note to self: I promise to not get comfortable.
All that’s left is putting the rest of our storage systems in place! Hooks for tools, tubs for containing and getting our bikes up off the floor are on the agenda. The garage door – which is missing a few parts and needs a good cleaning – is a wish list item, so we will see.
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
Epoxy/paint the unlevel/cracked garage floor – not this year, womp.
Cabinet kick plate and finish baseboards
• Wall of hooks/hanging storage
New side door
Paint exterior trim•
Re-caulk exterior siding
• Repair/new garage door
• Replace lighting with LEDs
Garage, we never thought you’d be finished before the kitchen, but hey, you can’t plan everything. (Another note to self: Kim, you really can’t plan everything.)
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