Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lauren Liess On HGTV

So.  Flash back to just a few days ago.

Remember when we were all psyched about designer Lauren Liess’ HGTV pilot?

They named it Best House On The Block.

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Her book is called HABITAT / A Field Guide To Decorating.

You can buy a signed copy (it’s good) on her website.

HABITAT COVER

I just went to her website, but there was no mention of whether HGTV

was going to pick them up for an entire season.

While we wait for good news, let’s look at + judge my bad photos of the TV screen!

Here are the lucky homeowners:

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Their 60’s brick ranch was in a neighborhood filled with identical brick ranches.

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They had $60 grand to spend on their re-do, + here’s what they were getting:

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I’m always surprised at the amount of money that’s allotted for painting on HGTV.

$5,000?  Really?

That’s why you do the painting YOURSELVES, you whippersnappers!

Seriously.  I am going to insist that you get off my lawn.

*****

But first, this, speaking of paint:

 

Raise your hand if you knew they were going to paint their brick.

That makes G.O. cross, but I’m usually on board.

More on this, later.

*****

I failed to take many before  or during snapshots, because who cares, really?

Ha!  I “kid”!

Here’s one before look at the back door + stairway to the basement.

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Lauren was able to level that area by reversing the basement steps!

Genius!

Here’s a good look at it in the after floor plan:

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In real life:

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You can also see that they removed the wall between the kitchen + family room.

How I love the black cabs with the warm wood counter tops!

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Everything’s so wonderfully staged!

THAT GINORMOUS WALL O’ WINDOWS!

Yes, it’s unconventional to put the stove under the windows,

but I think those are fixed + not made to open.

WOW, that’s a stunning stove, isn’t it?

The exhaust fan is probably along the back.

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Did all this black + warm wood remind you of this house boat from Fixer Upper?

If you’d like to see more of it, check out my blog post devoted to it.

fixer upper boat after

The island is custom made with old barn wood.

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Lauren + her husband, David, went to a reclaimed lumber business in Virginia.

The boards they chose came from an old barn that was built just after the Civil War.

Come ON, though!

Look at her!  How stylish is she?

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Back to the island:

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Wait.  What is that artwork in the family room?

Lauren foraged for botanicals in the homeowner’s wooded back yard,

gathering enough to press, frame + hang multiples in a grid.

This is one of her signature “looks”, + I love it!

 

Here is a view across that new basement staircase,

from the new dining room.

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Homeowner hubby, David, is inspecting the new shelves

Lauren designed for their daughter’s toys:

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The couple already owned the round Saarenin “tulip” table,

+ Lauren added a few pieces to make the dining room complete.

I’m glad to see that pairs of lamps are still a thing.

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Here’s a photo of the after front exterior.

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Some asbestos was discovered in the kitchen,

+ it cost $3000 to be removed.

As you can see, they took that amount from the furnish + style fund.

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I really loved the show, didn’t you?

Fingers crossed there will be more episodes!


Gotta Love Frenchie House Numbers

So.  Our front porch is almost finished.

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I blogged about said same earlier in the week.

We don’t have hand rails yet, but perhaps G.O. will work on them today.

fingers crossed

Anyway, methinks it’s now time for our house numbers.

Okay, I know this is goofy, but we already have 2 different sets of them.

We just don’t know where they are.

HA!  We’re such losers!

Whatever.

I may not even remember what our “lost” house numbers looked like (I don’t),

but who cares?

I found some that I like better, inside my favorite mag:

country living cover september 2017

I shan’t mince words:

It’s a good issue — go buy it.

Here’s what I found on CL page 85,

4″ x 6″ enamel steel number signs from Kaufman Mercantile!

They’re my favorite color!  — dark blue!

numbers for house

So Frenchie!  Literally.

From Kaufman Mercantile’s online shopping site:

The family-owned company that makes these enamel house plates started in 1905, but you can trace its heritage of enamel-making back to the 1830s. At the turn of the 20th-century, the founder opened a small factory on the north coast of France and began producing decorative enamel objects, signs, and kitchenware. His great grandson continues to offer these items using the same methods as over a century ago.

I know!!  How cool, right??

Also very cool is that the numbers are on sale right now:

Were: $20.40 each, Now: $12.24 each.

number 1 for house

 I actually did some math this morning,

+ for our house numbers (we have 3), our cost would be $37.72!

  • *****

You’ll have to trust me on this one, but that’s a real bargain,

considering the prices of these dark blue beauties, 

from a Danish company, Ramsign:

number blue oval

Engelshom 9″ x 5.5″ @ $79.00

I’ve been such a fan of these signs,

but just today I learned that they’re from Denmark, not France.

That’s still cool.

Anyway, here’s the Danish company founder, Nick Brandt:

ramsign owner

Here’s how he describes his business:

Our Metropolitan house numbers are the quintessential classic northern European porcelain enamel sign. The white and blue single-trimmed signs are imbued with a rich history, dating back to 19th century Europe. Today, we bring over 150 years of tradition to your doorstep.

number blue

Lilleborg 8.5″ x 4″ @$69.00

*****

But Kay!  you’re asking.

What about all the grays + blacks

you’ve chosen for that front porch of yours?

number house black

Havreholm 7.5″ x 5″ @$69.00

Okay.  I think I like this one better than the blue!

surprised baby

Perhaps G.O. will find those missing house numbers

while I continue ponderng the enamel ones.

Stay tuned!


A Waterfront Saltbox House For Sale

Our late, great mom used to hop up + do household chores

during the commercials on Wheel of Fortune.

Talk about multi-tasking!

Anyway, here she is, with our dad,

sitting on the deck of the riverfront farmhouse

that we built in or around the year 2000.

doris and bob on kay's deck

So.  I honor her multi-tasking legacy by looking at houses on the bozoputer

while watching Cardinals baseball games on TV!

clydesdales at ballpark

Sadly, all the local houses on realtor.com were a tad boring,

so I looked in Wilmington, IL, (where our riverfront house was located.)

You might not think I would dig this house (below), but I do.

I’ve always loved a house with the chimney in front.

Is that weird?

chimney house exterior

The asking price’s been lowered to $149,900.

That garage door needs to be more plain Jane

+ painted a color instead of white,

+ you just know Joanna Gaines would remove the 80’s arch window topper.

How about adding a more “now” transom, instead?

Omigosh, the pastels in that room!

Pass me the white paint + get out of my way!

But back to the porch.

I also want those posts to be fatter — + maybe in pairs on either side, like here.

porch posts 2

Yes, of course I’d also love a standing seam metal roof, too!

  • * * * * *

Now let’s discuss the interior, starting with this 2-story living room:

chimney house living room with fireplace

Okay.  I really like that stone, + the hardwood floor is good, too.

I super love the vaulted ceiling.

Can we put some wood planks up there + say goodbye to the track lighting?

 We really need to beef up the mantel + add tons of woodwork, too.

chimney house living room with fireplace

Most importantly, though — that bad (more 80’s!) deck stair railing must go!

I think I’m in the mood for something in wood + iron, instead.

Check out the wainscoting surrounding this beautiful staircase!

stairs with iron

Back to my house.  Here’s a view from the second story.

chimney house living room from above

Now let’s look at a house with a similar 2-story living room.

I’m loving the wood + iron stair railing combination again,

+ speaking of Joanna Gaines — look at that shiplap!

staircase of black with shiplap

The kitchen looks about like what you’d expect.

I don’t hate the cabinets, + there are plenty of them.

chimney house kitchen stove

Let’s say goodbye to the soffit, though, + move the refrigerator elsewhere.

Maybe here?

chimney house kitchen cabs

As far as the stove is concerned,

I want to make it more of a design focal point.

Exhibit A:

wall of stove statement

Man oh Manichewitz, do I love that custom range hood!

Also, I’m saying yes to the glass uppers flanking the hood,

+ I will never grow tired of subway tile back splashes

(although I think I said that once about early Americana*

+ eagle decor*, back in the 70’s!  HA!)

*Go ask your grandmother.

The bathrooms are, again, what I would expect.

chimney house bathroom

What the heck — let’s just go straight to some Fixer Upper bathrooms for ideas.

Since the vanity cabinet is perfectly fine, let’s slap a coat of gray paint on it

+ add a pretty gray + white marble vanity top, too.

bathroom of fixer upper gray

Don’t forget the crown molding!!!

Since I couldn’t possibly have a fiberglass shower surround in my dream world,

let’s choose white subway tiles — again.

bathroom of fixer upper shower

Ix-nay on the frilly shower curtain, but I never have been much of a girlie girl.

Out back, we have a nice, spacious deck, + look at all the trees!

chimney house deck

  Just say no to mold in a real estate photo, though!

Somebody needs some Clorox + a scrubby brush!

Anyway, surprise!

It looks as though there’s a pretty wonderful balcony upstairs!

chimney house deck with balconey

Let’s give the 80’s deck rails the heave-ho, shall we?

And look!

My new house is located right next to a body of water!

chimney house river

From the looks of that H20,

I think I’m going to need to stock up on the citronella candles,

but it is waterfront, which is usually a plus.

I did some research re: which waterfront we’re discussing,

+ I think that my house is located in a community called Shadow Lakes.

The “lakes” are actually former strip mines, believe it or not.

shadow lakes logo

In southern Illinois, there are still operational, underground coal mines,

but up north, they opted to just go in from the surface + dig out the coal.

Interesting.

Here’s one more photo of my house.

That roof line makes it look a little like a modern salt box house.

+ I’ve always liked fences like that, too!

chimney house yard

 

 

 

 


HGTV Bungalow Reno

Now that we have Xfinity On Demand,

I’ve been discovering all sorts of unknown, random shows on HGTV,

most recently, one called Bungalow Rehab.

Since I love bungalows, + our last house was a bungalow,

you can imagine how excited I was!

Ours:

bungalow front with flags

The before bungalow on Bungalow Reno:

bungalow before

The women who did the reno — Susannah Stoltz + Carolina Johnson:

bungalow girls

 Here’s the show description from HGTV’s website:

Friends and business partners Susannah Stoltz and Carolina Johnson are taking old, forgotten bungalows and giving them a total makeover in their Pacific Northwest city of Spokane, Washington. From wrought iron chandeliers to salvaged cabinets and old driftwood, these vintage hardware-loving ladies are salvaging anything they find, creating beautiful designs with reclaimed materials and giving these classic homes a brand-new life.

*****

So.  Let’s discuss!

First, the living room, before.

Our bungalow had an arch between the living + dining rooms, too.

bungalow living room before

The first thing I notice is that they’ve blown out the kitchen wall.

Love that there’s yet another arched doorway back there.

bungalow living room after

Not to kill anybody’s buzz right now,

but did you ever wonder if the open concept thing

is going to fall out of fashion?

Trends come + go in home decor, after all.

*****

When we’ve finished pondering that, let’s get back to the bungalow.

The dark + dingy staircase, before:

bungalow staircase before

A much brighter + fresher after:

bungalow staircase after

Have those stair risers been stenciled?

Perhaps I was powdering my nose + missed it.

(I’m thinking of stenciling our front porch floor, so stay tuned.)

*****

The before kitchen was downright nasty, as they often are:

bungalow kitchen before

The kitchen afters tend to be the stars of a renovation,

+ this one’s pretty stellar, wouldn’t you agree?

bungalow kitchen after

I love the 2 colors of the cabs, the stacked uppers + the slide-in range.

Is that the IKEA farmhouse sink?  It looks like ours.

Extra points to the ladies

for using a vintage piece of furniture as the kitchen island, too!

*****

Meanwhile, the bedrooms are charming enough.

Check out the black door!

That’s something we did in the Dutch colonial

+ about which I blogged, here.

bungalow bedroom small with black door

I love their painted floor + that sweet (navy blue!) painted bed, too.

*****

Hold on to something, though!

Things start getting exciting again in the upstairs bathroom:

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Haven’t we all seen + loved the old piece of furniture

that’s been repurposed into a vanity?

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Love it, love the chunky sink + the (barely visible) cross-handle brass faucet.

How cool is it when the bathroom faucet comes out of the wall?!

NEXT HOUSE TO-DO LIST!

*****

But wait.

What’s going on there, on the floor?

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Call it a Swiss cross, call it a plus sign, call it anything you want,

but I am calling this floor brilliant! . . .

. . . which leads us to yet another moment of pondering.

Will those poor homeowners suffer from tile remorse in 10 years,

 when the cross thing is no longer a thing?

*****

Anyway, as “floored” as I was when I spied that floor,

I went searching on for more cross tiles on Pinterest.

Here are 2:  (sorry, I don’t have the sources)

red cross shower wall

Well, what do you think?

red cross shower wall with box

I think I like that first one,

as you can tell it fits in with the industrial style of the bathroom.

*****

And finally, let’s take a look at the bungalow exterior’s after:

bungalow after

Good job!

Did you notice that the house next door is nearly identical?

Coincidentally, our house is nearly the same

as our neighbors to the west.

You see that a lot, actually.

It had to be cost effective for the builder to reuse 1 set of plans.

*****

Back to HGTV!

I don’t think we’re going to see more Bungalow Reno, sadly,

as the HGTV website showed only the 1 episode.  Sad!

 

 


COOL STUFF I WANT

I shan’t lie — I’m having way too much fun,

finding all sorts of cool stuff for our canned ham camper!

Exhibit A:

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You can read about some of my most recent ‘finds’ in this blog post.

Meanwhile, let’s have a quick look-see at what I’ve been coveting this week,

from Best Made Co.

canned ham best made logo

This business was started in 2009 by a guy who wanted a better ax.

That’s right.  An ax!  (Although they spell it ‘axe’.)

HA!  Who wants to bet he was the original hipster!!??

hipster with an ax

 I searched for ‘hipster with an ax’ just now,

+ the very first link was Best Made’s website!

Not kidding!

Anyway, fast forward to today, + the business has evolved

into kind of a 21st Century version of the old Eddie Bauer Home stores.

(LOVED Eddie Bauer Home stores!)

But I digress.  Back to Best Made.

Here’s a description of the business, from their website:

We equip customers with high quality products and dependable information they can use and pass down. We empower people to get outside, reconnect with their hands and nature, and in doing so, embark on a life of great adventure.

WELL, YEAH!  I’M IN!

I really like this enamel sign, $28:

canned ham camp is home sign $28

Enamel signs are cool, as are enamel key chains, $14:

canned ham camp key chain $14

We’re going to need a first aid kit,

+ why not get an awesomely-designed one, $58:

canned ham first aid kit $58

HELL-O!  They had me at red.

Here’s one that’s even cooler, $98:

canned ham first aid kit $98

It occurs to me that I could make us a First Aid kit,

using my own Thirst Aid stencil  (check it out!) + a metal box with a lid.

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All I’d have to do is change the ‘TH‘ in THIRST to an ‘F’ !

Stay tuned!

 


Yet More Canned Ham Progress

Yesterday I shared some exciting new progress in our canned ham’s interior.

Turns out our new bedding

is the reason why we painted our refrigerator black + red!

NOW it makes sense!

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Both G.O. + I really love those new arrow decals on the wall!

My thoughts are to repeat them on the opposite end wall of the ham,

which is way too plain Jane:

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Wow, what a yawn!

I’d like to see a single row of arrows on each side of the window,

 similar to this photo that the etsy shopkeeper posted:

decal of arrows single row

Not too much — just enough to “have a conversation” with the wall

on the opposite side of the ham.

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Oops! Please disregard the dusty stove top — somebody needs to fire the house keeper (me!)

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Hey!  What’s going on with those curtains?  You ask.

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I am sewing them with this fabric from Fabric.com.

It’s a very lightweight white cotton,

so our ham will be bright + light, even when the curtains are closed.

fabric for ham curtains

But that print!  I couldn’t love it more!

Turns out it’s “having its own conversation” with something in the ham,

but I’ll share that fun story tomorrow.

Back to the curtains.

Here’s Plan A for hanging them, with clip-on rings:

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I’ve gotta admit, I’m not in love.

Maybe they would look better if we just shirred them on that rod,

OR how awesome would they look with black grommets!?

I think I want grommets.

grommet

OF COURSE I DO.

G.O. has the job of grommet installation at our house,

wouldn’t you know it?

cats fighting

  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canned Ham Interior Updates

While we might not ever finish our Dutch colonial (sad!),

the good news is that when it comes to our canned ham,

we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!

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Sure, that exterior might look all vintage, retro + groovy,

but I worried that the plain Jane interior was more than a little blah.

The humanity!

I mulled over several options, like wallpaper,

but that seemed like such a huge project!

Besides, G.O. wasn’t having it.

cats fighting

We still needed some pattern in there, so I kept hunting.

Finally, after an exhaustive search,

I decided to order these arrow decals from etsy seller Danadecals:

Yay! — right?

The seller describes them as “arrows with a modern twist”,

+ I thought they would go with my proposed industrial/camp style.

Soon enough (but not before they arrived in our mailbox — oops),

I finally shared all of this happiness with G.O.

Frankly I’m drawing a blank re: what happened next,

but in a few days we decided to try + apply those arrow decals.

We timidly started with a wee small section above the bed.

Baby steps!!!

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I think we both shouted “omigosh!” in our heads.

We really loved the way the arrows transformed our ham,

 even though, initially, they were a tad difficult to apply.

Maybe not quite as difficult as those press-on tiles in our kitchen:

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I’m pretty sure that those scribbles mean G.O. was hating that project.

Poor guy.

But back to the arrows.

We persisted, + since practice usually makes perfect in our G.O.’s world —

within hours, he was putting them up all by himself.

TA DA!

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Oops! Please disregard the dusty stove top — somebody needs to fire the house keeper (me!)

Let’s have another look-see, shall we?

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Pretty exciting, no? — + how awesome is that buffalo check blanket?

It’s Martha Stewart, + I ordered it from Macy’s (no longer available).

Now, at long last, our wacky red refrigerator makes perfect sense!

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I love it when a plan finally comes together!

But wait.  There’s more!

 

 

I’ll force myself to wait until tomorrow to share, though.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 


Welcome To Hydrangea World!

Our relatively small yard is now home to a whopping 18 hydrangeas!

What I am now calling “Hydrangea World” began last fall,

with this informal hedge of oak leaf hydrangeas planted on our lot line:

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We bought 7 plants, 8′-10’T, @ $11 apiece, from Menards,

+ 4 of them are happily blooming already:

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Next up — the western foundation of our Dutch colonial:

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Once again, we planted a row of hydrangeas —

this time in mixed varieties.

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You guys.

Look at the gorgeous blue of that Twist ‘N Shout, 3’-5’T!

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Once I spied it (at Menards), there was no going home without it! —

which means that there are now 2 of them in our foundation bed:

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There are also 3 Pistachio hydrangeas, with beautiful pink blossoms, 3′-5’T:

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Aren’t the petals beautiful?

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At the window bay, we planted 3 Endless Summer hydrangeas, 3′-5’T:

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Wow oh wow — that blue!

In my last post, I spoke of this fertilizer for acid-loving plants.

hydrangea food

Turns out that hydrangeas love acid soil, + adding acid to said-same soil

results in blue Endless Summer hydrangea flowers.

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That means I will be regularly fertilizing my hydrangeas with it,

as nobody loves the blue flower more than I do!

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I would have happily added even more hydrangeas to our foundation,

but G.O. was insistent that we have a mixed-plant section.

Here ’tis

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Upper left: Stirfry hosta 20″T x 36″W — Upper right: Ostrich fern 3′-5’T — Lower left: Younique Pink astilbe 16″-20″ — Lower right: Firefly coral bells 30″T-12″W

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Coral bells

That’s going to look great, once the plants fill out, don’t you think?

And finally, in closing, here’s our climbing hydrangea (who knew?),

which was originally planted to grow up this trellis

on our garden shed . . .

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. . . but which has since been transplanted to here,

underneath our pretty maple tree:

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Wait.  What?

There’s an interesting story here; I’ll share soon.

As always, stay tuned!

 


Black Is Back

canned ham at arbys drive thru

When I last blogged, I’d bid a sad farewell

to my dream of groovy red appliances for our canned ham . . .

appliance -- igloo retro bar fridge

. . . but I bounced back by embracing the ham’s original black appliances.

I briefly flirted with the idea of painting our cabinets black,

because black is definitely a thing now, + I’m totally on board with it.

But please, though.

cats fighting

Black cabs were just not going to happen, not in my little world.

The good news is that I actually really like all the warm brown wood in our ham!

Let’s move on now + have a look-see at our counter tops:

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G.O. removed the sink (+ replaced the ugly faucet with this newer, cooler one!) . . .

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. . . + the stove top:

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And SURPRISE!  Our counter tops are now black!

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Yes, black!  Paint!  In a can!

Not the stuff that’s supposed to look like granite,

although I do kind of like that darker black at the far right:

rustoleum counter top kit

I wanted plain Jane black, instead:

rustoleum counter top paint

Dare I say that I am hoping for a soapstone counter vibe?

Anyway, the fumes are just nuts, so beware.

G.O. wore a half mask with charcoal chemical filters,

+ he didn’t smell a thing, not even inside our tiny canned ham!

IMG_0645

It’s best to paint in several light coats; these photos were taken after coat #1:

IMG_0647

But wait.  There’s more!

It’s not just our counter tops that are getting their paint/love . . .

. . . G.O. painted our walls Pittsburgh Paint’s Thin Ice!

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It’s a near-white with just a hint of gray,

+ has really brightened up the camper’s interior.

I LOVE IT!!!

Here you can see the difference between the original beige + the new light gray:

IMG_0638

That back splash area will soon be sporting some very cool press + stick subway tiles:

IMG_0640

L O V E !

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I can’t WAIT to see those tiles against the black counter tops!

So.  Lest you think that G.O. is doing all the heavy lifting, never fear!

I, too, have my own pet projects, about which I shall soon blog.

IMG_0615

Stay tuned!


Embracing Our Black Appliances

canned ham at arbys drive thru

In my most recent past post,

I mused about our canned ham camper’s appliances:

canned ham -- kitchen

After Plan A (replacing them with vintage-style red ones)

+ Plan B (spray painting them red) were quickly nixed by G.O,

 Plan C arrived — my embracing the black appliances.

Here’s what’s involved with Plan C:

IMG_0443

Let’s break it down, starting with the cabinets.

I want to paint them Pittsburgh Paint’s Black Magic:

IMG_0449

Black cabs are not only a ‘thing’ now,

but they will also make that black microwave disappear.

canned ham -- kitchen 2

Let’s also say goodbye to that bad beige kitchen wall,

+ hello to this peel + stick tile backsplash:

trailer -- tiles with grout

YUM!  That dark faux grout is pretty dreamy, isn’t it?

Next, we’ll change out the beige counter + table top

with this faux marble laminate:

canned ham formica sample with tabletop

The subtle veining adds just enough gray

to complement my mostly gray scheme — again, here:

IMG_0443

Our plans for edging the counters

are to go completely old school, with this product:

metal edging

One can find it online, from either Home Depot or Lowe’s;

sorry, I don’t have the link.

* * * *

Now, then.

Since I haven’t taken a photo of the ham’s existing vinyl flooring,

(it’s also beige — imagine that!),

you’ll have to trust me that I dislike it, too (imagine that!)

Here’s its replacement:

yet more peel + stick product — gray-ish oak vinyl planks!

IMG_0450

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Now for the worst ‘offender’ in the canned ham’s interior:

canned ham settee and fire extinguisher

How quickly can we say ‘bye bye’

to the dinette’s very, very bad Motel 6-ish upholstery fabric?

Just say NO, am I right?

Well, it should be ‘leaving’ very soon,

as I’ve already selected my replacement upholstery fabrics.

The seats will be covered (by ME!)

in this crazy good indoor-outdoor gray from Calico Corners:

IMG_0444

I use the words ‘crazy good’

because it looks just like linen + is as soft as velvet!

(Did I mention that it’s indoor-outdoor fabric?!)

It’s going to wear like iron + clean like a breeze!

IMG_0445

Amazing!

But wait.  Here’s where things get even more exciting.

The seat backs will be covered with this blanket fabric,

San Miguel, from Pendleton:

pendleton blanket fabric by the yard

(Please notice the small red crosses;

more on adding red accents later!  Yay!)

Meanwhile, I’ve sketched out my design hopes + dreams, here:

I ordered the fabric last week,

but it’s not yet landed in our mailbox.

When it arrives, who knows?

The scale of the crosses might be wrong,

the gray might not play nicely with my Calico Corner gray,

or who knows what?

Fingers crossed, however,

or I may find myself scrambling** to come up with Plan D!

(**Not really — I’ve got it cued up + ready, just in case,

’cause, people.  That’s what I do.)

Anyway, stay tuned while I wait for the mail to arrive;

I’ll keep you posted!

 


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