Our kitchen’s major transformation

I was going to wait until the end of my posts to share pictures of my favorite part of the renovation, but I finally took after pictures today and am so excited to post them that I decided not to wait. :-) I have a bunch of in-progress pictures that I’ll share at a later date – I’m still sorting through them and trying to decide how much to post.

First, I will share pictures of our main level when we bought our house 6.5 years ago.

DSC_1136 DSC_1153 DSC_1157 DSC_1159

As you can see, it needed a bit of work. We did a bunch of painting when we first moved in, and then basically didn’t touch it for the next 6 years. I found it a very frustrating kitchen to work in – there was very little prep space, the cabinets were inefficient, and the portable dishwasher – while better than nothing! – was very annoying after a while. I did love the butcher block look of the laminate counter, but it was starting to come up in places and was not looking so great anymore.

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So basically, we gutted the whole kitchen. And the result is fabulous! I’m just going to inundate you with pictures now.

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

Kitchen Renovation: After!

As I said, the kitchen was gutted and basically everything is new. But, here is a list:
– removed 2 walls to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house
– replaced laminate peel & stick tile with porcelain tile on the floor
– window replaced with double-pane window
– sliding glass door replaced with French doors
– single light in the center of the kitchen replaced with 4 canned lights, 2 pendants over the island, and under cabinet lighting
– electrical updated (in the kitchen only) and proper GFI outlets installed
– HVAC vent moved to a toe-kick under the window
– appliances rearranged: fridge went where the stove was, stove moved to where the dishwasher was, and sink moved to the island and built-in dishwasher moved next to sink
– all new cabinets: white upper and espresso lower
– island installed in the area where the walls and fridge had been
– granite counters installed
– kitchen, dining room, living room, and foyer painted
– white glass subway tile installed as a backsplash
– new stainless steel appliances: refrigerator, gas stove, microwave, and dishwasher
– new sink and faucet
– hardwood floors refinished (sanded and sealed)

Whew! And that’s not even an exhaustive list of all the work that was done, period. I would like to go into more detail about the process and what I’ve learned about everything (ha!), but for now I will say I am so, so happy with how it turned out. I have really been enjoying cooking dinner every night, which is good because after eating out for 3.5 months straight I am ready for homecooked meals again! ;-)


unveiling… a new look for the living area!

I will do an official before and after later when I clean up and finish the decor, but I wanted to share initial pictures to show off our new paint color.

When we bought our house, we painted every wall and ceiling. The living/dining room was the last room to be done, and at the same time Atlanta had the “500 year flood” where it poured heavily for 8 days straight. We couldn’t get the paint to dry (if only we’d had a dehumidifier then!), and we ended up moving in without being able to finish painting. We predictably never put on the final coat. For four years the splotchy and unfinished paint job has annoyed me. Finally this weekend with the help of my parents we rectified that!

It took me a while to decide on a color. I am very happy with the blue we chose. On the exterior walls, we did a lighter shade that was Behr Flint Smoke. On the interior walls, we did an accent color of Behr Nature Retreat. (You can see the whole paint family here.)

Here are before pictures:
Living Room

Living Room

Dining room

New hooks in the foyer

And the after pictures! It’s definitely a lot darker, but I was wanting to go darker than the yellow with more of a contrast between the walls and the white trim. We have more to do – there is some of the trim left to be painted, and I still have a ways to go until all our “stuff” is cleaned up, and I hope to hang pictures.

Living room

Living room

We switched the green bookcase in the foyer with this secretary that was in the dining room.



Our dining room is a mess right now, so please pardon all the clutter. I am working on cleaning and purging, but we’re still far from being done. The green bookcase is only here temporarily… I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with the space. Also, you’ll see the white shoe rack… I realize I never blogged about that. Will have to do that. ;-)

Dining room

Dining room

One of the really awesome things we did was paint all the baseboards. I will have to find a “before” picture to show how awful they looked, and the fresh coat of paint really did a lot to finish things off. Also, another thing my dad did was to replace all the old off-white outlets with white ones, as well as the old light switches with new white switches. It looks sooo much better!

Painted baseboards

We still have a ways to go before I feel “done”, but having a new coat of paint really does make a difference.


trying to pick a new wall color

When we moved to this house, I chose a light yellow paint for the entire house (except the kitchen and bedrooms). We had to paint – the house reeked of curry – but I wasn’t at a point where I could think about the best color for each individual room. I wanted something mostly neutral that I could live with for a while, and planned to repaint later down the road when I had more of an idea of where I was headed with the room design. I’m pleased with the color we chose, but now I’m ready for a change.

I want to focus on the living room first, since that’s where we spend most of our time. We have done some work to it, but we have yet to add any pictures or other decor. My plan is to start with the wall color and work from there. Here is where our living room stands right now:
Living Room

Basically, we have browns going on here. I’m a little tired of the really light walls so I am hoping to go a bit darker, but still neutral. I went to the store and got samples of three browns, trying to match the rug. Here they are:


It was really difficult to get an accurate picture of the colors, especially trying to compare them to the space and the other items in the room. I also painted larger strips on the wall across from the couch.


I’ve been staring at them the past week and have decided I don’t like any of them, so I’m back at square one. I actually am not good at picking out paint colors (surprising since I have a degree in graphic design). Painting that wall has helped in that it’s made me realize I have to take into account some other colors, like our wood floors and our dining room table and secretary. Also, I don’t want to be too tied to the rug because while I like it okay, it has gotten damaged in a few areas and I’m not sure if it’s a long term item in our room.

The curtains in the picture above are not staying. I put them up because I had them already, but have since learned that my cats like to climb/sharpen their claws on them. So the curtains will stay until I figure out a solution that will work for everyone.

I am wondering if blue paint would be nice? I know you’re not supposed to do blue for dining rooms, but I could see it working in the living room.

I think I’ll run to Home Depot and see if I can find a new color. I’m hoping to paint this week!


Changes in the living room

I haven’t taken updated pictures of our house in a while, so I hope to do that in the near future! In the meantime, I wanted to talk about some changes to our living room. Last time I talked about it here was when we got our new rug, and the living room looked like this:

New rug

It’s a little hard to see since the picture is focusing on the rug, but we had a couch on the left perpendicular to the window, and a loveseat on the right parallel to the window. It closed in the living room into a nice little room, but I also felt it made the whole main level feel a bit tight, especially when the couches would get pushed back.

My parents were visiting at the time, and we brainstormed lots of room setups to make it more open. We were tied to keeping the tv along that wall because of the outlets. We finally decided to move our loveseat down to the den/family room, bring up the glider, and move the couch in front of the window. Here are the finished results:

Living Room

Living Room

I didn’t think to put the couch in front of the window until I saw my neighbor’s living room setup (they have the same floorplan as us). There is an HVAC vent there, but it’s actually been okay with keeping the couch pulled out from the wall a little. It also allowed us to use the bay window for decor where little hands could not reach. (Then we got two cats, and they kept knocking over the picture frames so we had to clear it again!)

We also put our TV on top of the coffee table, which has worked out pretty well. I am glad to have the glider back in a spot where I’m able to use it more, but I do need to recover it. We had the small child rocking chair there for a while, until the cats started to use it as a scratching post, so we rehomed it to our storage area until we figure out how to solve that problem. We keep a basket of toys in the corner which has made cleaning up really fast.

You probably also notice the window treatments… We hung a rod above the bay window, and some room darkening curtains that I had bought for the baby’s room but didn’t end up using (and waited too long to return them). They are much too dark, but I wanted to see how I liked the layout before shelling out money for curtains. I do like it, though I think this would be a good place for a rod where you can open/close the drapes with rope (not sure what it’s called). I don’t plan to replace them just yet – my cats, again, seem to think they are a great thing to climb so I don’t want to worry about them ruining ones I care about.

Overall, I like the changes and I think it accomplishes what I set out to achieve. The room’s not perfect by any means, but it’s getting a little closer!


Project Tuesdays and living room rug

I am going to try something new – we’ll see how long I am able to keep this up. I am going to try and update this blog every Tuesday with a house project that we did over the weekend. The purpose is twofold… one, it should keep this blog from getting too stagnant. Two, it should keep me doing things in the house. There are a lot of free or very inexpensive projects (as far as decorating, etc.) that I can do that will really help this house look better. I just tend to be very lazy!

This wasn’t something we did this weekend, but recently we did make a positive improvement to our living room: we got a new rug!

Here is a picture of our old rug:
Living room

When we moved into the house, we realized we needed something in the living room. Rugs are expensive, and to be honest I was not ready for that investment when I really had no clue about the decor of the room. So, we went to Home Depot where they were having a sale on 5×7 ft. rugs and picked out this blue one. I ended up really liking the color, but it was a little too small for the space. Also, I wanted something that was softer since we spend a lot of time on the floor. I decided to get something fairly neutral, matching our chocolate brown couches. We went to our nearby Rooms To Go Outlet and came home with this rug:

We got an 8×10 ft. which has helped somewhat keep our couches from sliding around everywhere. I looove the feel of this rug under my feet! We still need to figure out the perfect arrangement of our living room, but this is pretty functional for now.

New rug

New rug

I’ll have to use this rug to inspire me when I actually get around to decorating the house!


our living room

Originally posted at twentysixcats.com

With the anticipation of guests, I finally got the living room cleaned up! So before it got messy again, I decided to take some pictures. First, the before pictures:

The front door and "foyer"

Living room

Please note the floors and how disgusting they were! We could see that they were just dirty, so we had them professionally cleaned. They are in really good shape for a 50 year old house, and they’ve never been sanded before! Here’s a picture of the floor in the living room now:

Floors redone

Now for the picture of the living room furnished!

Our foyer

Foyer/living room

Living room

Besides the floors, this room didn’t need a whole lot of work. We removed the borderprint (which didn’t match the wall color at all!) and painted all the walls a light yellow, and actually still need to put on a final coat. When we painted the walls before we moved in, it was during all that rain and flooding Atlanta was getting. The house was SO humid we couldn’t get the paint to dry and it wasn’t even sticking to the wall! So we had to wait until the rain stopped, and then we moved and now there’s furniture. Actually in person you can see what a bad paint job it really is! I’ll get around to it someday – and hopefully sooner than later, because I’m waiting on that to put up all the pictures!

The other two things we did to this room were take down the curtains in front of the bay window and replace the front door. The bay window has blinds, so curtains were a little unnecessary, and I think taking them down just opens up the room that much more. The original front door was a hollow wooden door without even a deadbolt so we replaced it with a steel door and new locks & a deadbolt. We also replaced the storm door. We thought the original storm door was really ugly, it didn’t close right, and it didn’t have a screen. Since the bay window doesn’t open, I wanted something to allow for cross-breezes in our house without letting the cats out. Hence, a new storm door with a screen.

Because the living room is the most used room in our house, we decided to go ahead and get a rug. I was checking Craigslist for a good rug when I found this new blue one at Home Depot for only $20! It’s not “perfect” but since I don’t have a good conception of the style I want for this room, I am totally cool with functional and not clashing.

Ideally, in the future, my goal is to put the TV and the computer downstairs in the family room/den. I’d like to get a piano to put up here, and make this a nice visiting room. Neither of us really care for the current setup, but there really is no other way to arrange it with the furniture we own. So, at a future time, we’ll figure it out. In the meantime, it’s functional and that’s the most important, right?