Kitchen Remodel Part 2

by Koko on October 6, 2014 · 1 comment

in Uncategorized

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We have made some MAJOR progress folks. We are officially day 30 into our renovation and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Since we last talked about the remodel (post here), we bought and started assembling all of our Ikea cabinets. And then we returned some of our cabinets after remeasuring some walls. And then we bought some more cabinets. And then some cabinet pieces were missing and broken. And we are still waiting on replacements. BUT we have 80% of our cabinets! And they are currently half assembled in every single room of the house. Personal space = ZERO.

ikea cabinets

We knocked a hole in our wall to create a pass through. And it is GLORIOUS. The natural light that now shines through is pretty damn amazing. I am already SO happy with this decision (even though it ended up being a tad bit pricey because of the beam we had to put over it).

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pass through

We took out the wall between the dining room and the old kitchen making this room feel enormous! This wall had to go. It created two small spaces instead of one big one. Honestly we do not use a formal dining room at all, so by knocking it down we are able to create our dream kitchen with a dining space on the side.

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We took out the soffets in the ceiling. Why, oh why, do people install soffets? Oh I will tell you- to minimize cabinet cost. With soffets, people don’t have to install cabinets to the ceilings and therefore save money. We couldn’t wait to knock these down. They make the room feel bigger already.

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We got rid of this weird step up we had between the kitchen and the rest of the house. For some reason, the people before us had the kitchen elevated by 5 inches. And by some reason I mean they were too lazy to take out old flooring before putting new flooring on top of it. So they just layered and layered and layered. So we got rid of this awkward step up and now we have a flat floor with just a small step up into the den.

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We finally painted. I cannot even being to understand why the previous owners painted the house khaki, but it made the house so dark and dirty looking. Q and I have slowly been painting room by room, but waited to do the kitchen until the renovation. It looks SO much bigger, brighter and cleaner (even though it is super dusty). Can you tell in the photo above how a different color of paint can change a room?

What’s next? Flooring (matching the hardwood to the rest of the house on the new non-elevated floor). Cabinet installation (YES!). Plumbing (a sink again!). Lighting (West Elm). Backsplash and countertops. We are SO darn close I can feel it!

before day 30

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Pinned This Week

by Koko on October 3, 2014 · 0 comments

in Baking, Cooking, Recipe

I read a LOT of food blogs. I’m talking 200-300 that I try and tackle every few days. I pin the best of the best recipes to my Pinterest page in order to keep track of what I want to make in the future! I thought it would be fun to show you a few of my pinned favorites each week to get you inspired! (Oh and if you want to follow me on Pinterest, you may do so here!)

Appetizers:

Lavash with Spinach Artichoke Dip: This seems fabulous for a football Sunday or weekend get together.

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Flatbread with Hummus & Tomatoes: Another good football Sunday quickie. And healthy too!

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Stuffed Mushroom Rolls: These are WAY too up my alley not to try. This weekend. Yes.

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Main Courses

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna: This was SO great for an easy weeknight meal. I added turkey meat to give it a little more substance (and for Q’s approval).

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Stuffed Bell Peppers: This looks like another easy and flavorful weeknight meal (and easily made vegetarian).

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Heirloom Tomato Tarte: It is quickly approaching the end of tomato season. I am dying to try this tart while I still can.

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Desserts

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Creme Pies: Nothing says “Back to School” like a little cookie sandwich.

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Glazed Apple Bundt Cake: Hello October, it’s apple season!

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Peanut Butter Cup Blondies: No words.

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Let’s Talk Bedding Take 2

by Koko on October 1, 2014 · 2 comments

in Home

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You guys know how much I love a good bed. (Proof here). Since my last post, Q and I decided to upgrade. Well it was mainly me asking Q every day when we were going to get a King as we once discussed. And finally, he said yes.

So the hunt was on. What mattress? What frame? What bedding (obviously my favorite part)?

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The mattress was the first order of business. We have been sleeping on a 10-year old Serta Temperpedic. And we had no issues with it except it started to show its age (a little sagging, not as firm as it once was). So we started to hunt. Q had heard of Tuft & Needle through all of his cool guy blogs and it sparked my interest. A fabulous mattress made in the US for $600 with a 30-day return policy. Oh and free shipping and fab reviews on Amazon. So we gave it a try. It arrived in a rectangular box and had all the air sucked out of it. Per the directions, we opened it up and let it breath for 4 hours before trying it out. The consensus? We LOVE it. Not only because it is a King (which is SO nice), but our sleep quality has increased tenfold. It is just firm enough, holds it shape well, and I can’t feel a thing when Carl or Q decide to move/get up in the middle of the night aka 5AM when he leaves for work. I HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you don’t want to go to the store and pay $100 for delivery.

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The bed frame was next on our checklist. For about 3 weeks we had an awesome mattress sitting on a box spring on the floor. It reminded me of the early Alaska days (those dark days when we slept on the floor for a month)

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We both have been fans of One Kings Lane for a while, so they were our first stop while looking for a frame. We wanted something gray since our walls will eventually be white. And I liked the nailed look of a few of them. This Anne model was very reasonable for a bed ($659) and was shipping in less than two weeks, so we got it. It definitely is assembly required, and I’m lucky enough to have a super handy husband otherwise I would have probably cried at all the pieces. I think it looks fabulous and will be even better once the walls are painted and we hang our artwork.

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All I wanted for my birthday was bedding. Mind you, my birthday is in a month, but I was a woman on a mission. I looked on Land’s End, Garnet Hill, One King’s Lane, Target, LL Bean, and Pottery Barn before settling. We decided on this dotted Pottery Barn duvet cover and shams. We loved the simple pattern on a crisp white background. Originally I thought I wanted a monogram, but since I go by Koko and not Alexandra, we decided our initials would be a cuter idea. We went with gray for the duvet and light blue for the euro shams to give a little contrast and I’m really glad we did. For our duvet, we were up in the air on what to get since Q sleeps very hot and I cool. We were also hesitant about paying $400 for a duvet that we weren’t sure we would love. In the end we went with this one from Amazon and have been extremely happy. For our euro pillows, I got them a little oversized (recommended) from Overstock.

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Every night when I get into bed I look at Q and tell him how happy I am. My dream bed!

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Cooking Without a Kitchen

by Koko on September 29, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking, Kitchen Remodel, Recipe

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Q and I don’t eat out. It’s just not our thing. We much prefer sitting in our own home with homecooked food. So when this kitchen renovation came around, I was worried. What would we eat? Would we have to order take out every night? Our solution: set up a make shift kitchen in the mud room. I’ve got a microwave, a hot plate, a toaster oven and a coffee maker. What don’t I have? A sink. This truly is the MOST annoying part of living without a kitchen. We try and eat on paper plates, but I still have dishes to clean each night. Picture me standing above a bucket and a hose outside scrubbing pots. Not so much fun. But we are doing it.

What is working for us:

-The slow cooker saves us most nights. I come home from work around 4ish, pop some chicken or ground turkey in the slow cooker along with a mixture of a yellow onion, beans, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and any veggies laying around and hope for the best.

-The rice cooker (we have this model and love it). Another incredible tool. Most nights I make 1.5 of brown rice to go along with whatever slow cooker concoction I came up with.

-Making enough for 6 servings. I make enough for dinner, lunch the next day, and two frozen servings for later. This is a lifesaver on nights where I get home too late or don’t think of anything in time. I started freezing dinners about a month before we went into our reno knowing that there would be many nights when I wouldn’t be able to pull anything together. We currently have a mix of roasted tomato soup, Asian fried rice, turkey chili, red beans and rice and an assortment of one-off meals that I stuffed in there.

-Not having a picky husband. Q is just happy to have something homecooked on the table. If I make turkey chili 5 nights in a row, he still says thanks. Gotta love him.

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The hardest parts of not having a kitchen:

-Not being able to bake anything. We had a wives’ function this past week and of course I immediately thought, “Oh, I’ll bring some cookies” and then I remembered I am kitchenless.

-No sink. It is seriously killer. Next time you use your sink or dishwasher, think of me and how jealous I am right now. We have those big drinking water tubs from the grocery store for drinking with and are using the Brita religiously. Washing plates outside in a bucket is my least favorite thing to do after dinner.

-No entertaining. We can’t even have people over to watch football because our house is a dust bowl and I have no food for anyone. We are super excited to have a big shindig once the kitchen is complete.

-Those nights when you think “OMG what are we having for dinner?” and can’t think of anything and end up getting pizza (it’s only happened twice folks). I always regret it and the pizza is never as good as homemade.

I have a question for you: what is your favorite slow cooker/one pot wonder meal I should incorporate into our lives during this remodel?

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