kitchen update! still on phase 1 but man oh man, do we love it

* I'll be returning to add links to everything once I figure out how to do it on Chad's laptop haha!

Guys - phase 1 renovations? They're my best friend, mainly because if you know me, you know I can be one heck of a cheapo. Phase 1 endeavors - they're budget conscious, sign me up. 

Okay! So here is where I left the kitchen last time on this here recorder:

Oh we felt so dang cool taking down those upper cabinets! Just two humans knocking 1997 to the curb, living their best lives. 

So since that picture, we painted the whole house the super light gray, including that back wall. For several months, the whole kitchen was just one large, light gray nothing. We had a plastic bag over the exhaust hole thing, and that's how we lived! The idea behind it was that we wanted to "really" renovate the kitchen - new everything. Appliances, cabinets, countertops - you name it, we wanted it to be NEW!

But... we sort of felt like giant losers for tearing our kitchen apart without having saved a dime for that particular endeavor - I mean, kitchen renovations are things you hear about people preparing YEARS for. So to get us through, I suggested a phase 1 renovation.

I found these cheap peel-and-stick tiles online - WALMART, can you even believe it? we decided to go bold with the patterns and cabinet colors because, after all, it's a phase 1! You can't go wrong with paint and tiles that cost $10 a box! SOLD. 

So anyway, I'm going out of order here with these pictures so far. Here's how it went down:

  1. We put up the peel-and-stick tiles on the back wall, along with the IKEA shelves and Chad's amazingly constructed hood vent we got from Wayfair.
  2. We built a 10' long island to replace our janky, work bench-esque island we had made in the garage.
  3. It was time to get rid of the honey oak cabinets, so I took all the doors off and, over the span of 9 days, painted them this olive green - INSPIRED FROM THE QUEEN JENNY KOMENDA'S PHASE 1 KITCHEN IN HER HOME.
  4. We installed these champagne gold hardware straight from - wait for it - Amazon. CAN YOU SAY EASY PEASY? I'll say it again: PHASE 1 RENOVATIONS ARE THE DANG BEST.
This has got to be the laziest blog post of all time. There was so much that went into each of those endeavors, but I'm running short on time here, so details have been kicked to the curb baha! I just want to keep up to date up in here. Okay, here are a few pictures of each phase!

We got the back wall up, but hadn't tackled the island or the cabinets, here. I don't hate it, though! In fact, on Instagram, I got several comments and DM's of people complimenting a "cool space with oak cabinets" - can't say I didn't feel super awesome hearing that:

This breakfast nook situation had ALWAYS been awkward - it was too small for ANY table, but too large to keep open. So odd. It doesn't look particularly bad here, but in-person, it was weird:

Here's our 10' island, pre-cabinet-painting. Chad did such a great job:

Painting the cabinets:
Where the ol' girl sits now, curtains up:

We're still not done though! We still have this last wall to configure. It will require a new fridge (OBVIOUSLY), a new built-in pantry situation and probably a desk to go where that side table thing is right now. Again, it's all temporary until we feel ready to really rock and roll - but until that day, I'm proud of what we've done.

It's funny - my home bears a TON on my peace of mind. If I don't feel settled/aesthetically pleased, I truly don't share my house with loved ones. I know, I know - that's not the right way to go about life. But it's how I am! Giving this space some love has had such a huge bearing on my peace of mind, so I've noticed: WE'VE GOTTEN OUR ENTERTAINING MOJO BACK! We used to have people over ALL the time in our rentals, before we actually cared about the state of the abode. But in the homes we've owned, if we don't like what we're looking at, I've noticed we go into hiding a bit. Chad and I are social butterflies at our core, so I'm so thrilled to say we've gotten back to that point, all just through GIVING OUR HOMES LOVE. I mean, wow man!

Okay, that's deep, but for us it's true! 

when art costs 5 billion dollars

Felix Wallpaper

Welp, since a good ol' Jackson Pollock piece is out of the budget for the foreseeable future (more like the ENTIRE future hahaha), I've got to get creative up in here. Mama wants some art. In fact it's actually imperative, at this point. Ever since we painted the walls the lightest gray imaginable (we lightened the Toasty Gray 50%), and then painted a few accent walls a barely-discernable-from-the-light-gray warmish white, people now think our house is one of those feng-shui homes where minimalism rules the land - NOT our intention hahaha.

I just LOVE myself some HUMONGOUS, ALL-ENCOMPASSING, LIFE-GIVING AND DID I MENTION HUGE abstract art. While watching Million Dollar Listing LA last week, it struck me: I'm going to jimmy-rig a huge art installation that spans the front living room where the second story ceilings reign supreme.

I'm SO STOKED. Okay so I'm going to order this removable wallpaper from this amazingly adorable couple who's Instagram I love, then I'm going to have Chad build a giant 8.5x4.5 foot frame with some drywall to keep it light and flat for the application, THEN I'm going to put the wallpaper on that frame and hang the whole dang thing up - BAM!!!!!

It's going to be so sexy. I actually cannot even. And guess what? The whole thing is going to cost under $400 because this house of ours sucks up every dollar and, as mentioned, big mama can't be goin' out to buy any Pollock's any time soon, ya dig? 


temporary-kitchen, heck yes!

(Guys. This "before?" Literally doesn't even look that bad to me, save for the outdatedness - THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS! Chad and I think something's HORRIBLE, so we tear it apart, only for me to look at the "before" pictures and think, "hey, what was so wrong with that?" :D )

So I've noticed a pattern with Chad and I: we have very lofty, giant-sized ideas (with giant sized imaginary budgets), but then get knocked down to size once we start to really do some research on just how that project would play out. Such was the situation with our kitchen (as was with our floors... furniture... probably more things that I'm not thinking of right now). In 2018 we tore it apart with the intention of completely renovating later in the year. I'm talking a full-gut-level-HGTV-sledgehammer-I'm-pretending-to-be-a-designer type of deal. Well guess what? Apparently, if one wants to completely rip out every last tile, cabinet and island electrical do-dad, one should probably have been saving for that goal years ahead of time - BAHA! Oops. But at least it wasn't 1999 up in there after our on-the-fly demo day! #impulsivenicoleandchad

(Unedited photos because who has time for that?)

So anyway, we lived with our ripped-to-shreds-kitchen throughout 2018, even adding a nice coat of paint to the bareness of it all (feeble attempts to make it better hahaha!). Some people actually complimented us on the "minimalism" of the whole thing - thanks, friends, for being nice humans hahaha! The unspoken understanding between Chad and I was that we would tackle the space in 2019, giving us time to actually honor the whole thing, budget-wise. About a week ago, though, we decided that permanent-awesome-amazing-humongo-kitchen was going to need to wait until 2020 - waa waa. But I'm actually stoked. That way we can do it RIGHT, but in the meantime, something has to happen in that sad space!

Enter TEMPORARY-KITCHEN! Guys, I'm so stoked. Guess what we're going to do. GUESS! Okay so temporary-backsplash is happening. Then IKEA will be coming in hot with those cheaply-priced-but-pretty-and-very-wipable open shelves and good ol' Wayfair has our back in regards to a pretty-but-not-too-pricey range hood! All of these components are well priced - priority 1 was to make sure we went into the whole buying-of-things with the mindset that this is more of a "get us through" kitchen - not the big cahuna of materials and design. STOKED.

We've hit one snafu - as I went to get started on the whole install this last weekend, we found that the stick-to-the-wall vinyl tiles I got (I know - vinyl?! But seriously those things have come a long way since the 80's or whenever it was that they looked so tacky! I was referred to them via a few of my favorite designer's instagram posts) did not really stick to the wall. In fact they came falling OFF the wall. So I'm going to re-order another package along with some stronger adhesive and a few sheets of plywood to make the whole project actually STICK - get it?! Stick! Baha! But who cares about problems like that when you get pictures like this:

(I'm sexy and I know it.)

Then for the island who's size we love, I'm going to take a little stroll on down to State College to see if they have any leftover stone lying around - I mean, how pricey could that possibly be to just place a thing of stone over it? We love that island!

You know, in matters unrelated, it still blows my mind that some humans out there can just move into a house and instantly have the whole thing put together in a matter of weeks - some people even within the first day! We've been here for almost 2 years and we're STILL not even close. I'm not even talking about giant architectural elements like floors, kitchen and bath remodels - I'm talking DECORATIVE. Art. Side tables. Candle sticks. Frames. Throw blankets. The list goes on! Like this is wild! It is a WILLLLLLLLLLD FREAKING RIDE that requires a ridiculous amount of patience. I mean, sheesh man! I know I love this stuff so much so it's all good but man! Interior design gods, please show favor to us Cisneros', if even just on the level of patience! Okay, done!