We picked up this giant elk photo alongside the hutch at The Brown Elephant, and although I was originally going to share it as a score earlier this week, I ultimately broke it into a separate post because 1) it’s not for the kitchen (we don’t think?) and 2) once I did a little Googling around, we were all whoa!
Let me explain.
It’s a 20″ x 30″ signed photographic print, and it was hung all very nonchalant-like by the restrooms. It caught my eye because it was cute, it was an actual signed photo (not an art print) and it was huge! We didn’t take it off the wall, but not able to find a price, we asked a sales associate, and after a quick hmm, he replied with $25.
The last thing we need is more art, but Scott was on board, and I thought, would I buy this for $25 if I saw this at an art fair? Yes! And so it came home with us. The frame, while nice, is more traditional than we’d lean, but with a clean white mat and an equally clean white frame, this print would really shine! You know we’re complete suckers for animal art in general, so really, no one should be surprised that we’ve added more animals to our repertoire. See that stud in the bottom left corner licking his lips? I love that guy.
The surprise came the next day, however, when we took a look at the back of the frame and saw an artist statement from Thomas D. Mangelsen, a well respected nature photographer (and all around good guy, really!). Our photo, titled Winter Herd – Elk, is edition 32/950, and, um, you can buy it right here for the price of one month’s rent (maybe a small box in Chicago, but still).
I had a flashback to this movie (if you’re an art lover, it’s a fun flick) and then I thought, hmm. Why would someone give this away? I’m an overly nostalgic person, and it always makes me feel a bit weepy to see discarded artwork (I just think of those long nights I spent cooped up with classmates in our college-day drawing studio). Regardless of what the photo is worth, we love it, and we just feel so lucky that we totally scored.
Has anyone else found art while thrifting and come home with something that was worth much (much) more? Art, furniture or otherwise? (And on a side note, I swear I had a poster of Mangelsen’s snugglefest polar bears as a child. Didn’t we all?)
PS… We’re sharing a round-up of kitchen ideas on Bali Blinds today – with a lot of them coming straight from your own experience and input over the last month! You can check it out right here.
It’s mid-January, and we thought we were going to be eyeballs deep in kitchen renovations and drywall dust – but nope. We’re not surprised (eh, it’s to be expected and there have already been a few minor setbacks), but we are off to a slower start than we would have liked. The contractors will actually begin their work at the end of this week – moving electrical, gas lines and installing a pocket door! – which means that this coming weekend, Scott and I will begin our drywall patch and repair work! I can’t say we’re excited about that, exactly, but we are excited to move forward. Onward!
While we had hoped work would begin last week, we took it as a sign to relish every minute of this past weekend and relax (somewhat), you know, before this kitchen takes over our lives. Instead of our usual monumental to-do list, we did normal, everyday things – cleaned the house, watched a movie, and slept in – but we also spent a day tile shopping and thrifting (the best way to spend a day, we think!).
We came home feeling inspired and excited for what’s to come, and better yet, our wagon was loaded up with this:
Our new kitchen layout will allow for a skinny island in the center of the room, and to the right of our soon-to-be wall of windows, we’ll have space for a small hutch! We’ve been on the online hunt for a while now, but a sporadic stop into The Brown Elephant (during a 50% off sale, no less!) had us hauling home this tiny cutie for all of $62. $62! It’s super petite at 34″ wide and maybe 5′ tall; in other words, it was made for our kitchen.
Now, it’s going to need work. The finish is too orange for our tastes, but we want to warm things up by keeping the wood alive with a really thorough refinishing job. Up close, we can tell that it was already someone’s project at one point, as there are telltale drips of polyurethane and door pulls that are just ever-so-slightly crooked. This will be a test in patience, for sure, but I’m going to attempt to strip the poly and re-stain.
The inside of the hutch is a bizarre two-toned finish, the glass panels are chipped and the drawer knobs look as though they were installed a half inch above the original knobs (what?). If we don’t forgo the glass altogether, we’ll have new panels cut, and we’re thinking of smoothing out those zebra stripes with paint – but only on the inside shelving! The whole thing will get finished off with new hardware, and whew!, are we excited to see what a difference that’ll make.
In other ‘Things’ news, we got ourselves a kitchen runner! With a lot of our finishes being white and gray, we wanted to bring in saturated color with a vintage rug, and after making the eBay rounds (like, every day) for months, we fell in love with this beauty. She was so, so pretty online, but my goodness. In person? She is drop. Dead.
It’s 2’x10′, which will run perfectly along our sink wall, and while we know that there are two sides to the whole rug-in-a-kitchen thing, well, we’re willing to take that chance. Plus – it’s red! It’ll hide our two favorite foods: pasta sauce and wine. (I mean, right?) It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep her folded up in storage, but the day she sees the light will be a happy one.
As for our tile shopping, we have fallen in love with matte white subway tile, and although we like the look of a classic install, I may or may not be trying to convince Scott to throw in a framed pattern above the sink. We will see! We have time to noodle on that, but it was thrilling nonetheless to land on a look we’ll love for the long haul. And about that countertop debate? We’ve collected a few more estimates on other options, but at the very least, we are now leaning towards a white/gray stone, so, we consider that huge progress.
Baby steps, people. That is, until it all starts crashing down. Yeah, kitchen!
Aside from the pocket door, one of the things we really wanted to hash out over the holiday break was deciding on paint colors for the kitchen walls and cabinets – and sticking to them! When it comes to paint, I’m truly a waffler, never really trusting my own gut and changing my mind daily. I spent an embarrassing amount of time cutting out swatches, holding them against our current walls, squinting at them at arm’s length and nixing those that were too blue, too green or too pink.
We’ve mentioned that our intention with the kitchen is too keep things feeling classic and clean, and we really want to brighten things up with the big back door and all white cabinetry. The walls will be painted in a super pale shade of warm gray (I think we’ve got a winner picked out!), and we’ll continue that same color into the living room – finally repainting the walls that have consistently felt too cold. (We always say, it’s just paint! You can do it again!, and while it’s a pain to ‘fess up, it’ll really be worth it.)
But back to those white cabinets! Our cabinet maker has already taken down our existing uppers to begin the refacing process, and everything else will be rebuilt. We thought we could salvage one or two of the lowers, but as he began to take them apart, they were in sad shape; we’ve been watching the budget go up (as is par for the course), but for a long haul kitchen, we want to do it right. After deciding on simple shaker style cabinets, pull out lowers and all those nit picky upgrades, our only job was to choose the white. I mean, we don’t even have to paint them ourselves! This is the easiest cabinet upgrade ever!
Well, that is, until we hunkered down and really started sifting through whites. It’s no secret that choosing white paint is an art form, and we began by looking at swatches that are consistently the most popular for cabinets and trim (Simply White and White Dove, and moving forward, all colors are Ben Moore). It wasn’t long before we spiraled, and found ourselves considering everything from Decorators White to Vanilla Milkshake, Cotton Balls and Chantilly Lace. To name a very select few.
BUT. Our white appliances are ever-so-slightly cool, and they’ll dictate the direction we go so that the room palette stays cohesive. In the end, we picked up four samples to test: White Dove, Distant Gray, Super White and White. (Which, by the way, did you know that such a color existed? It quite literally is named White!)
We brought these colors home, and using Julia’s tip, painted them on foam core. This would give us the mobility to move the whites around the room, hold them up against our appliances and watch them change in the natural light throughout the course of the day, as well as note the changes under artificial ceiling lights.
Above, from left to right, we have Distant Gray, Super White and White. Immediately, White Dove was nixed for being incredibly yellow against the appliances, and White was removed for being a little too flat. (On a side note, I do think that had we gone with stainless appliances, our paint options would’ve opened up.) And now, 2 weeks into swatch hell? We have a winner, and it’s Distant Gray! It’s never felt too cold, and against any of our stone counter options, it just works.
We’ve since taken down the foam boards, in the off chance I’ll waffle. You know, I can see myself now – stirring pasta sauce on the stove, a glass of wine in hand, thinking, come to think of it, maybe we should go with Super White after all. Scott, what do you think? (Silence.) Scott?
Distant Gray, it’s a go!
« Older posts