Featuring a Friends Amazing Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover….

My friend (Jamie) redesigned her kitchen and it is so gorgeous I just had to share it with y’all.  Jamie and her family live in my neighborhood and bought their house several years ago.  As I’ve mentioned before, most of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the 80’s and many have not been updated ever, or for a very long time.  Jamie is in the design business and has amazing taste and style.  She and her handy husband did a lot of the work themselves, and were able to complete their kitchen makeover without the huge price tag.

If you missed the post about my own kitchen reveal you can find it here.

The Before…

First, let’s take a look at the kitchen before pictures. She didn’t have a whole lot of them to share, but you get the idea.  Here was the kitchen when they bought the house.  Nice, but a little outdated, dark and just sort of blah.

The After… 

Pretty different, wouldn’t you say?

The Details…

They replaced all the cabinets and installed a classic subway tile backsplash.  The gorgeous countertop is a honed Calcutta Apuano marble with 3 waterfall edges.  The cabinetry hardware is from School House Electric, the pendant lighting is Kitchler, and the sconce above the sink is Hudson Valley lighting.  They put up custom shiplap from sheets of plywood that they ripped to size, painted, and installed. They handmade the gorgeous barn doors from Brazilian wood that were former car pallets.  So cool.  (I really wish we had installed some barn doors somewhere in the House house, but I digress.)

They installed French doors, where there used to be a window, that leads out to the back yard.  The beautiful and cozy banquette was also custom made by Jamie’s husband. The art above the banquette is a DIY that features a beautiful indigo textile covered by acrylic sheets.  The lantern above the dining table is from Visual Comfort.

Pretty nice job they did, huh?  I just love their style!  What do you guys think?

Jamie and family are moving away, unfortunately.  But, they were able to sell this house (not surprisingly) very quickly.  Who wouldn’t want to cook in this kitchen?

Refinishing a Dark Wood Table

Refinishing our dark wood table was something I’ve wanted to do since we moved into the House house, but I was a little afraid of ruining it.  I loved this table, and it’s color, when we first bought it over 12 years ago but it just didn’t look right in our new home.  We use it as a kitchen table for casual everyday meals when we are not sitting at our enormous kitchen island, or in our dining room.  It was a dark chocolate brown and I was unsure if I’d ever be able to lighten it up.  Well, thankfully I was, and I am so happy with the result.  Here is a step by step of how I did it.


Klean Strip paint stripper
Klean Strip after wash
paintbrush cleaner
hand sander with different paper grits
stain, I used Minwax Weathered Oak
polyurethane, I used Minwax Satin Polycrylic Protective Finish
chalk paint (to paint the legs)
wax sealer
safety glasses

Step 1:  Stripping the paint…

The first thing you need to do when refinishing a piece of furniture is strip off all the old paint using a paint stripper.  A very nice guy at Home Depot helped me pick one out.  He recommended Klean Strip, as shown below.  You just apply a coat of it, wait a few minutes, then scrape it off.  I had to do this several times as I was working outside and it was very hot and humid so some of the stripper dried too quickly.  I only did the top of this table since I planned to paint the legs white.  Once you are done stripping the paint off, you then need to apply some Paint Stripper After Wash.  I used Klean-Strip.  This product essentially removes any paint residue left from the stripping process.  To use, follow the instructions on the back of the can and make sure you wear gloves and safety googles.

Here is how it looked after using the stripper and after wash.  Again, I used several coats. It was still too dark for my liking, so I started sanding.

Refinishing a Dark wood table
Refinishing a Dark wood table

Step 2: Sanding…

Please make sure you wear a mask and safety googles if you attempt this. Thankfully, we have a hand sander and the thing is awesome.  Although it is very messy and very noisy.  I used a few different sand paper grits when doing this.  I started with 80 and then went up to 220 to finish it off.

I continued to sand until I liked how it looked.  I was going for a ‘farm house’ feel.  I could have kept sanding until all the colors were even but I was happy with the uneven, weathered look.

Step 3: Staining…

Once I was done sanding I had to decide what stain color to use so I went back to Home Depot to pick one out.  I suppose I could have just left it the way it was but I thought using some stain would enhance the color.  First I tried using some left over white pickling stain (as you can see on the far right part of the table) that I had in the garage, but I wasn’t happy with it.  I ended up choosing Weathered Oak by Minwax after searching Pinterest for ideas.

Before you begin applying the stain make sure to clean up all the dust. I used a damp rag, then a dry one to get rid of every last speck of dust.

I applied 2 thin coats of stain and was happy with the way it looked.  Here is a picture of the different stages of color.

Step 4: Apply Polyurethane and Paint the Legs…  

I waited overnight for the stain to dry thoroughly before applying the polyurethane.  The back of the can said to to apply at least 2 coats of poly, but I thought it needed at least 4.  This is a dining table after all,  and I wanted to protect it from getting water damage, scratches, etc.  This stage takes a while since you have to wait for it to dry for 3-4 hours in between coats.  You also need to sand lightly in between each coat.

Refinishing a dark wood table
Polyurethane Oak stain about to be applied

After I applied each coat of poly I started painting the legs white.  I used chalk paint that I mixed myself using this recipe that I found online, or can can purchase chalk paint at many hardware stores and online.

1/3 cup plaster of Paris
1/3 cup water
mix these 2 ingredients together first
then add 1 cup of paint
and stir until smooth and mixed thoroughly.

For those who don’t know, chalk paint is awesome.  It allows you to paint most furniture without having to sand or anything else. Since the wood was so dark the legs needed about 3-4 coats of paint. Once that was totally dry I brushed on a little wax sealer and I was done.

I love how it came out. This whole process took around 3 days since you have to wait for things to dry. There isn’t much you can do to speed up the process, but it is worth it in the end.

Before and after. Refinishing a dark dining table
Before and after. Refinishing a dark dining table

Finishing Touches…

I found this adorable settee at Tuesday Morning.  I had been eyeing the exact one online at Wayfair but a friend spotted this for me and I couldn’t believe it.  It is perfect.  The artwork is from Home Goods.  I wasn’t sure if I was crazy about the chairs, which are from West Elm, but I think it works, for now at least.  The last thing I would like to do is add some sort of light fixture above the table, but I’ve got to convince my husband first.  Adding things means $$$.

Here is one more look at the Before and After.  Much better don’t ya think?

I am so happy with how it came out and am now inspired to tackle our bar which is the same dark stain.  Stay tuned for that project!

What do you think?

My Kitchen!

Hey Y’all, Exciting News…

I can’t believe it!  A picture of my kitchen has been featured on the Shutterfly website on the 100 Kitchen Decoration Ideas page (which I never knew existed but I love!!!)!  Pretty cool huh?  Check it out! Look for this picture below.

Another angle of my kitchen island reveal
Another angle of my kitchen island reveal

Laundry Room…

I am working on a writing a blog post of my newly organized laundry room and hope to be able to publish it this week.  Laundry!  Exciting stuff I know.  haha!  Here is a little sneak peak.

That is it for now.  Just wanted to share my good news.  Have a great day!


Kitchen Reveal – Finally

A brand new kitchen…

I’m back from a little summer hiatus and finally I can unleash my kitchen reveal! I was waiting for our backsplash and oven hood to get installed first, and they are both DONE! Finally! Yippee! I was also waiting for the kids to go back to school and they started on Monday of this week.  I’m doing the back to school happy dance over here. Whoot whoot.  My boys are in 2nd and 4th grade now.  What?  How did that happen?  Time sure flies!  Anyway, now I will have way more time to decorate and blog.  🙂

Before I reveal how my new kitchen looks, I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and I’d show you how it looked when we first bought this house. Those of you who have been following me since the beginning might remember these.  For those that are new here, take a look at this 1980’s gem.

As you can see it was very outdated and quite small.  Everything was original including the formica cabinets and countertops, linoleum flooring, bad lighting, etc.  I had a vision to open it all up and add a HUGE island.  Here are the plans the kitchen designer and I came up with.

And this is how it looks today. It is pretty much unrecognizable.  I included ‘before’ pictures (all taken from the same angles) so you could see the dramatic results.

More details…

Our backsplash is from Lunada Bay Tiles.  They were on the pricey side but so worth it as I think the colors in them really tie everything together. We used white grout and it came out perfect. It is really pretty and these pictures don’t really do them justice.  It is much nicer in person.

Our counters are Pompeii Quartz and are called Cloud Nine.  I love them so much.  Easy clean up, no staining, they don’t scratch and are very durable….so far.

Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen Countertops

Our cabinets are custom made by Kitchens by Clay in Naples.  They are shaker style in bright white.  My husband thought the white would be hard to keep clean, but it isn’t.  Things just wipe right off of them. We selected mostly drawers for the lower cabinets and they are awesome!  I haven’t even come close to using up all the storage space yet. The island has four cabinets (where the barstools are) for even more storage.  Can I just talk a little more about my island for a sec? It is 11 feet by 5 1/2 feet which is HUGE and I love it.  They say everyone always gathers in the kitchen during parties and it’s true.  This island has plenty of room for everyone to hang out. We purchased the barstools from and they are nice quality and very solid and the best part is they are on sale now for only $84.99! That is cheaper than when we purchased them.  🙂  If anyone is looking for barstools, check these out.

Our appliances are all Jenn-Air which is Whirlpool’s top line, and we have been happy with them so far. We are loving the ice maker that my husband insisted we have.  We use it everyday and it has been great for when we have people over.  We weren’t sure if we’d like the under counter microwave, but we do.  We really do.  We also LOVE our wine fridge.

The paint color on the walls is Topsail by Sherwin Williams. It is a very pale blue.  Those that know my well know I love blue.  You’ll see a lot of it throughout the House house.

View from office door, kitchen reveal
View from office door and of the ice maker in the island.

(Side note – I have to say that my kitchen counters are usually never this clean.  I wish I could keep them this way all the time.)

the bar
the bar

We have had these wine and wine glass holders from Pottery Barn for years, so we decided to hang them in this little nook.  I might paint them white eventually but think the black looks ok for now. There is just never a good place to put the cat food dish and our Zephryhills water dispenser so they both reside in this area.  Hey, the cats gotta eat too, right?

Well, that is about it. I tried to cover everything about my kitchen reveal but I am sure I am missing some details.  Overall, I love my new kitchen.  It makes me happy everyday and it is a joy to cook in.

I hope you all enjoyed my first ‘room reveal’ in our new house!  Any questions? Comments?

Thanks for reading all about my kitchen reveal!  Like these updates?  Sign up to receive emails every time I post something (at the top of this page).

Weekly Move In Update – May 31, 2016

If you are new to my blog, welcome!   We have been renovating a house in Naples, Florida for the last year.  We finally moved in a few weeks ago, on Mother’s Day. It has been a very long, and sometimes hard and frustrating journey, but we are so happy and love our new house.  You can check out all my past updates here.

There is still a lot happening around here at the House house and we still don’t have a finished pool.  🙁  We were really hoping to have it finished for this weekend (Memorial Day) so we could have our first House house party.  We just have to be a little more patient. Here is what we’ve been up to.


I finally found a backsplash, thanks to this blog,  I had been searching and searching and happened to see this tile on her Instagram and knew it was ‘the one’.  The tiles are from Lunada Bay Tile and I heart them so much.  I got myself a sample from a local showroom and they are perfect. Now, I just need to get them ordered and installed. Once installed I can finally get my oven hood put up!  Please, if you have a moment, check out the Sand and Sisal blog and her Coastal Kitchen Makeover post.  It is awesome!

Lunada Bay Tile (picture courtesy of Sand and Sisal)
Lunada Bay Tile (picture courtesy of Sand and Sisal)

I mean, how perfect is this tile gonna look on this wall?  And then add the hood and it’ll be DONE!

Oh wait, that is not true.  I still need to get some lights for over the island.  My mom had given me some very nice pendant lights she has held onto for a long time. She got them when she worked in the Boston Design Center years ago.  They would have been perfect except for the voltage wasn’t right and the electrician said he couldn’t use them.  Stinks!  Anyway, I actually saw some nice pendant lights at Lowes that I think I will pick up.  My husband thinks they look like upside down wine glasses.  HA!  They kinda do and we love wine so……

pendant light from Lowes


It’s the little things.  We hung toilet paper holders, hand towel holders and mirrors in 3 of our bathrooms.  The kids bath still needs a cabinet for some more storage and the master needs to be finished too.  There are some holes in the walls in the master that need to be repaired before we can hang mirrors.  Still lots to do. Notice my DIY Dolphin and Seahorse hanging up in the kids bath?  I still feel like there needs a little more something in here.  In due time….

We did manage to hang some artwork over the tub in the master though.  I found these pictures at Marshall’s and think they look pretty darn good. They are so pretty. By the way, this tub is the bomb!  I’ve used it a few times and it is truly awesome.  It is so deep you could get lost in it.

Master bathroom
Master bathroom

Painting Furniture…

I spent the good part of 2 days chalk painting these old, beat up desks for my kids to use.  They came out pretty good.  They love them.  We also upcycled these old, flat, box springs from their old beds.  We had them in the boys rooms waiting to be taken down to the garage and disposed of.  2 different friends asked me what they were and both said you should put them up against the wall and let the kids use them as message boards… we did and we love it.

Other stuff…


Closets are getting installed as we speak.  Wahoooo!  I am anxious to see how they look.  Once these are done we will be able to get so much more organized!  Can’t stand looking at my clothes on the floor anymore.

I am sure there is so much more that I haven’t even mentioned.  I feel like we’ve been working non-stop and there is still so much to do.  Anyone relate?  Any questions, comments?  Feel free to drop me a line.

Wednesday Weekly House Remodel Update – April 27th, More progress


We’ve made lots more progress on the House house.  We are targeting a move in date for the first weekend in May.  That is less than 2 weeks away!  The house might not be totally done but it’ll be damn close.

I’ve been so busy I barely had time to write today’s post.  But here goes nothing….


Check out my new kitchen!  It is beautiful.  We are still waiting on counters (which will probably be installed early next week), appliances (which come this Friday) and faucets (which obviously need a sink and counters to install it on).

And here is another reminder of what it looked like before…



Check out my fabulous tub!  Pretty, right?  I likie!  Can’t wait to soak in this bad boy.

Master Bathroom Tub
Master Bathroom Tub

Plumbers also installed a toilet and one shower head too. Lots more to do but they’re getting there.

Upstairs Deck Tile…

We found this great porcelain tile that looks like wood at Home Depot for pretty cheap for the small deck that is off the master bedroom.  Once this is done we can install the spiral staircase that will go from this deck to the pool downstairs.  Can’t wait to see this installed.  The staircase is in our garage right now.

Master deck floor
Master deck floor

Office Floor…

My husband and I are going to attempt to install this floor tomorrow.  It is interlocking foam flooring used in gyms (and other places too), but it looks like travertine tile!  Half of the office if a gym so my husband wanted this type of flooring in there so we figured we would just install it throughout the room.  We cleaned out and cleared out this room today.  Wish us luck!

We are almost to the finish line.


Wednesday Weekly House Remodel Update – 4/20/16 – Floors, Cabinets and more

You guys, things are really moving along now!  It is awesome.  Check out my past updates here, in case you’ve missed anything.

Bathroom cabinets…

All the custom bathroom cabinets have been installed, except for the small powder bath which we decided to not go custom on.  We’ll purchase something ourselves for that.  I’m trying to find something a little different and not white for that bathroom.

Hardwood Floors… 

Our hardwood floors have been installed.  They did this pretty quick.  Only took them a day and a half.  Not bad.  They look freakin’ awesome and really lighten up the space.  Plus they fit into my idea of a beachy/coastal look.  You like? I dig em’!  They might not be your thang and thats okay with me.

Pool Pavers Done…

Our pool pavers are all done too.  Check them out.  Can’t wait to take a dip in this pool and to have our first House house pool party.

“We’ll have a house party, we don’t need nobody
Turn your TV off, break that boom-box out
We’ll wake up all the neighbours ’til the whole block hates us
And the cops will show up and try to shut us down”

Anyone know that song? That’ll be us soon.  Except we’ll probably invite the neighbors.  It’s the least we can do for putting up with this remodel for the past 8 months!

Kitchen Cabinets…

Our kitchen cabinets are getting delivered tomorrow.  So excited!!!  And we finally picked some Quartz for our counters.  This was tricky because of the size of our island.  It’s HUGE.  We will need to use 2 slabs of quartz on the island.  There will be a seam down the middle but they assure me it won’t be that visible.  They told us not to pick anything that had to much movement in it.  We picked Cloud Nine by Pompeii Quartz for the counters and are getting quotes for some recycled glass mosaic counters for the kids bath.

I can’t wait to see my gigantic island get installed.  Appliances are scheduled for Friday of next week.

Here is a reminder of what the kitchen looked like when we bought this house.

And here is what it will look like soon.


From Dumpster Diving to Upcycling…

Last week my husband and I went dumpster diving in our dumpster to rescue a ton of pool pavers that were thrown in there.  We’ll use them for something.  We also have so many left over pallets and other materials from this remodel.  Its cray-cray!  We want to do some upcycling with all this stuff.  There are a zillion different idea’s on Pinterest. Think we could make this porch swing out of all our pallets?



We need to pick out lighting for our house.  More decisions.  Yikes.  It gets so overwhelming.

Almost there now….lots more progress next week.  Hopefully!  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday Weekly House Remodel Update – 1/6/16 – Selling Houses, Inspections and Countertops

Happy New Year….

Hi!  What a year 2015 was.  Onto 2016 and finishing this project!

Guess what?  We sold our house!  Wahoo!  We are very happy.  What a relief.  We got the offer before New Years Eve and accepted it without countering.  It was a great offer so we took it! We had the home inspection this week and are waiting for feedback on that.  The buyers want to close at the end of March which works fine with us.  Now the pressure is really on to get the House house DONE once and for all.

House Remodel Updates…

Speaking of the house.  Things are moving along.  Electrical is almost finished. Now we are waiting for inspections on plumbing, electrical and roofing before we can move forward with drywall and shingles and installing the new AC system.  These inspections are supposed to happen this week.  Hopefully. They are also supposed to be doing the stucco on the addition this week, but so far we have not seen that happen.

We went over to the house yesterday to check things out.  It seems like we are still so far away from moving in there.  Check out these photos.

Future kitchen
Our future kitchen. Whaaaat?
Bay window in dining room
Future dining room
back view
Back view of house

Still a long way to go but getting there little by little.

Checking out countertops…

We finally went to look at countertops yesterday.  It was very overwhelming.  There were rows upon rows upon rows of all kinds of counters…..granite, quartz, quartzite, recycled glass, etc.  Thousands of different styles.  Those of you who have ever had to go though this know how overwhelming it can be.  Am I right??? I don’t want to pick something I later dislike or get sick of. This is a very big investment and something I will use and see every single day.  I don’t want to make a mistake.

Counters galore
Just a small sample of counters

I think we will be going with quartz since it is the most durable, doesn’t stain and is really low maintenance.  My husband and I each picked out three styles (from the wall of samples) then we eliminated two we both agreed were not great to make it four.  We were then able to go into the warehouse where this huge machine pulled out a slab of each so we could get a better look. Here is what we picked.  Top row – Milky Way (left) and Dolce Vita (right), bottom row –  Rock Salt (left) and Stonewashed (right).

Quartz styles we choose
Quartz styles we liked

And here is a closer look at three of them.  We weren’t able to get a good look, or a better photo of the one on the top right (Dolce Vita).  It was located outside of the warehouse and the machine was not available to pull it out for us, and at this point, the husband was ‘done’ looking, if you know what I mean. We’d been there a while!

We were able to bring home samples of each, except Dolce Vita.  Once we got home we realized both the Rock Salt and Stonewashed looked almost exactly like the Corian countertops we have in our current house! Although we like them, it is time for a change.  So that leaves us with the top 2.  Milky Way looks more granite-like to me and the other one looks almost marble-like.  I like them both, and of course both are on the pricier end of the spectrum. We will have to consider this when making our final selection since our kitchen island is HUGE, and will require a huge piece of material.  Our contractor told us to select several styles and send them to his fabricator, then we can take a look at what is in the fabricators yard and get good prices on his stock material.  Hopefully we will find something similar to the ones we chose.

Which is your favorite?  Or, do you have another style you love that you can recommend? I am not really ‘sold’ on any of these….yet.

We also checked out these cool recycled glass counters.  Aren’t they pretty?  I think they’d be great for the kids bathroom. We’ll see.  You are able to buy half slabs of this product which might be a a good solution for the kids bath and maybe the guest bath too?  We’ll have to figure that out with our contractor.

Any advice for me on materials?  I have had granite before and currently have Corian (which I actually like a lot, surprisingly).  Leave me a comment.

Tomorrow we have an appointment to order doors!  Fun stuff.  Will update you on that next week.

Thanks for reading!

Appliance shopping? Oh my!

Last week we got to pick out appliances for our new kitchen.  Yawn…, am I right?  Well, it actually wasn’t as boring as I thought and, dare I say, was sort of fun.  My husband and I have only had to pick out appliances when they needed replacing;  a new dishwasher and fridge when we bought our current house and once years ago a dishwasher for our Boston condo.  Never have we had to pick out an entire kitchen’s worth of appliances.  It seemed a little overwhelming.

Continue Reading…