Kitchen Island Lights

I had a couple of things on my wish list for kitchen island lights: unique, black metal, black cord and less than $100. It took me forever to find something, mainly because I’ve got champagne taste on a beer budget. But! But! I finally came across these Pikesville pendants from Lamps Plus’ outlet site, Open Box (I’ve posted before about that secret resource). The kitchen in the stock photo is horrific though, so it completely messed with my mind: Are the lights too 90’s? Too weird? I held my breath and clicked purchase.

And drum roll… I like them!

Kitchen Island Lights

Kitchen Island Lights
The reason these lights initially caught my eye was for two reasons: 1.) I needed something of the oak-color variety (a yellowish/tan/orange) to tie in with my roller shades and 2.) Something dark was needed to tie in with the floors. And bonus! They also look real nice with the new color of the front door. I totally planned that…
Kitchen Island Lights
They also look really great next to the yellow chairs around our dining room table. Happy, happy, happy.  
Kitchen Island Lights
And now if we can only get the rest of the room to shape up, I’ll feel even better. I mention this in my 2016 house goals post, but my biggest task this year will be to get this kitchen painted.

I do love the gray color (it’s Phoenix Fossil by Sherwin Williams), but the dark color, with all the white doors (three on one wall within 15 ft of each other), all the windows, the big bumpout in the ceiling (which you can see in the photo below), etc., makes everything look so chaotic! It makes my eyes/brain hurt. 

Kitchen Island Lights

Painting everything the same color as the trim and doors will make everything feel continuous and calm. By calming down the walls, it will let me get a little funky with the cabinets (painting!) and decor, which I have been dying to do!

And of course, maybe it feels chaotic because it IS chaotic. Here’s an IRL photo of the kitchen as I was taking the photos. Confession: I just move the crap from corner to corner as I shoot to get it out of the way. Can’t escape it in this wide angle shot. :)

Kitchen Island Lights

Yay for progress! It feels good.

xo,

emily

Living Big After Years of Living Small

I was asked to write about this topic quite a while ago, but I didn’t feel like I had any information/experience at the time to write a detailed post. Now, at over a year of living in our “big” house after living in our 900 sq. ft. home for the last 7 years… well I’ve got some thoughts.

Before we begin, some caveats on my usage of the words “big” and “small.” Everyone quantifies these words differently so here’s my definition. For me, “living big” refers to our 1600 square foot home we live in now, with three floors, three bathrooms as well as a basement. And “small” refers to our previous home, which was an 900 square foot home with two bedrooms and one bath.

So here are my observations:

I STILL CRAVE SMALL

Living Big After Living Small
This is perhaps my biggest “ah-ha” over the last year. With lots of space and rooms in our current house, I find myself gravitating towards the smallest spaces in the house. It’s soothing and it makes it feel more like home. After the boys go to bed and I need a little time to unwind, I’m often in the guest room, which is our smallest bedroom. When I’m in the kitchen, I tend to still stick to the small corner nook between the fridge and the oven, despite the big island for prep. Close walls are comforting, likely because it’s what I’ve been used to for much of my adult life!

EVERYTHING IS SO FAR AWAY

Living Big After Living Small
Before, if I needed Chapstick or some lotion while in the living room, I could reach back from my spot on the couch and grab it off my bedroom dresser. I’m laughing as I’m writing this because this may just turn into a Confessions of a Lazy Person post ha. In this new house, I’m constantly at battle with the stairs… up/down, up/down… as I make my way through the house grabbing what I need. And in the morning, when I’m late trying to get out the door with work, there’s always something upstairs that I’ve forgotten.

OUR GUESTS CAN GET COMFORTABLE

Freshly Painted Guest Bedroom
In our old house, having people over could get awkward. There wasn’t much space to mingle (my living room furniture set-up was also at fault) and most of the time we’d all end up huddled together in the kitchen. Which would have been fine, but there was only seating for 3-4 comfortably. And overnight guests? Forget it. We had a few, but the tight sleeping arrangements plus the bathroom situation (jack and jill between the guest bedroom and our “master”) was always really tough. Now, they’ve got their own space, their own bathroom, etc.

MORE TIME, MORE MONEY, MORE EFFORT

Living Big After Living Small
Time, money and effort all saw a huge increase when we moved to the bigger place. Before, I could deep clean our little house in about two hours. Now? Well first, there is no deep cleaning happening these days (no way!) but a standard cleaning takes days! Floors one day, bathrooms the next, etc. It’s just a lot of work.

Dealing with the size of our home really hit me in the Fall when the leaves had finally fell off the trees. This is usually the time where we’re up on a ladder cleaning gutters. At our old place, which was just one level, this was an easy task I could do myself with a standard ladder. But now? I would have to have a death wish to clean out our gutters. We had to pay someone to do it! To the tune of $200. Yeesh.

I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS

Living Big After Living Small
In the smaller house, we did not have the luxury of storage. Everything was designed and organized perfectly to fit a small space. For example, nearly all of the cords, markers, envelopes and typical oddball things had a home in the under-desk set of drawers in our office/bedroom. So obviously, it was easy to find everything. Today, our crap is all over the house in random storage spots. We’ve got the junk drawer in the kitchen (never had one of those before!), the drawers in the bathrooms, the shelves in the closets…. there is just random stuff everywhere. Getting organized, re-streamlining and defining spots for each thing is a big goal for 2016. I’d rather avoid going into a Hulk rage over an iPad charger again. Sigh.

WE GET TO STRETCH OUR LEGS

I’m not saying that literally, but you know what I mean. It has been so nice to have the flexibility of more space. If I want to work on some sewing, but I don’t want to muck up the kitchen table, I can set up a little workstation elsewhere. Just the other day I had a Skype interview and I needed a quiet spot to chat and focus, so I headed up to our third floor. In the old house, I would have had to leave or take the interview at a coffee shop. It’s been nice to spread out a bit.

THERE’S A PLACE FOR OUR COATS

Tricorn Black Door

I’m thinking back and I cannot for the life of me remember where we hung our winter coats and scarves every day at the old house. Certainly I did not allow them to lay around. But I know there was not a physical place for them to go. And granted, in the current house, some hooks over the basement stairs isn’t the perfect solution (fixing that in 2016!) but it’s so much better than having to look at coats and winter accessories out in the open. My mind cannot handle that visual chaos. Dramatic I know, but true.

What about you? Have you done a similar move? What do you like/dislike about moving to a bigger place?

I’m not sure if we’ll always live “big”. In fact, I can see us returning to our small roots when the kids are grown. Those shipping container houses look pretty cool. 😉

xo,

emily

p/s: My boys turned 10 months old yesterday. Eeeeeee!!! They are so fun and basically I’m having the time of my life (minus the teething part). 

Tricorn Black Front Door

The entryway was in need of a statement. Sure, the color-blocked wall helps, but it needed something bold and tall to add a little “oomph” to the space. To be honest, I’ve had dreams of adding a black modern cabinet to store coats and the like, but it hit me that painting the front door would have an equally dramatic effect.

Tricorn Black Door

If you recall, here was the same space with the white door. It’s good, it’s just a little flat.

Entryway Progress

And now, with the newly painted door.

Tricorn Black Door

Tricorn Black Door

Total cost? ZERO. We’ve got several leftover cans of paint in the basement thanks to the previous owner (so grateful for that!), including a very full can of Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. It’s exterior paint too, which means it should hold up nicely.

I’m not at all finished with the door. Next up: hardware. I’m going to swap out that pesky nickel/silver deadbolt for something a little more stylish, as well as polish up the antique brass doorknob, plate and hinges. As far as deadbolt options, I’ve been waffling between a couple of options:

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 9.12.19 PM

Who knew dead bolts could be so darn handsome? I found the third one on Walmart’s website, believe it or not.

And you can’t tell in the above photos, but I filled in a gaping hole in the door left from a long-defunct second deadbolt. You can sort of see it in the photo below—it’s that small hole between the deadbolt and the doorknob. I just stuffed the hole with wood filler, smoothed, sanded, painted and called it a day. The door is looking much less raggedy now. We’ll see how the wood filler holds up.  Tricorn Black Door The brass mail slot is looking much cuter now against the dark paint, too.

More coming soon!

xo,

emily