Sunday, November 22, 2015

House-iversary and Our Coffee Bar

Do y'all ever use the TimeHop app or check on the "On This Day" feature on Facebook? Sometimes I'm reminded of sweet memories of my time on social media, but other times I'm left confused or cringing over the ridiculous stuff I've posted over the last ten years. Today turned out to be one of the sweeter days. As it turns out, five years ago today, my husband and I closed on our house and moved in that very night. We were so excited to be first-time homeowners; we piled in with some duffel bags and an air mattress. We ate pizza on the floor and stayed up late into the night painting our kitchen "JalapeƱo Green." I found this little gem in my TimeHop, and wanted to share it with you!

We have such sweet memories in this little house. This is where we've learned to be grown-ups (sort of. Adulting is weird). We brought both our babies home here, and we're having the time of our lives watching them grow up here. We've hosted dozens of parties and get-togethers with wonderful friends. We've painted every room at least twice. We've both fallen down the stairs at least twice. This house sat empty for a few years, no one ever living in it, before we bought it and made it our home. I'm so grateful for every square foot! Here's to many more years with you, little house! 

In honor of our Fifth House-iversary, I've updated our Home Tour here with new photos of the finished kitchen, as well as photos of my littlest girl's room, and a few others. Please go check it out! I am working hard to get other rooms in good shape so that I can photograph them and share them with you too. 

In other business, I have one more bitty kitchen update to share. I know I have talked a lot about this little kitchen lately, but all my efforts have been laser-focused on it for months! Plus, I felt like I couldn't start decorating for Christmas until I had these little piddly projects finished first, and Christmas is serious business! 

So a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to create a small coffee bar to house our Keurig and coffee-related accessories. For as long as I've been married, I've been using this old baker's rack as extra storage in my kitchen. 

It was a hand-me-down from my mom, and it's easily twenty years old. It's not a bad piece, but It's not exactly my style, and the wire shelving made it difficult to set anything small on them. Plus, do you see the light switch behind it?? We had to reach through the shelves to turn the lights on and off. Not functional. I had a narrow space to fill, because the door to the back deck opens directly to the right of the baker's rack. 

I'd searched antique stores and thrift stores and scoured websites for the perfect piece that I could either refinish or buy. I was having a hard time finding anything that fit my taste, space, and budget, and I seriously considered building my own. Then I saw that Target was having an online sale on their furniture, and this cabinet was on sale with positive reviews and free shipping! With my online coupon, I got it for almost 40% off, score! It fits the space perfectly, and I loved the color and doors. It was worth what I paid for it, since I didn't have to do any work to it whatsoever. 

Here it is right out of the box with our stuff just haphazardly arranged. It was very simple to put together, and is very sturdy. 

And here I added more rustic open shelving above it. I moved my Coffee and Jesus print from the other gallery wall to over here, and added a metal basket to hold our extra K-cups. There's plenty of space inside to hold extra coffee mugs, my cook books, and a crate full of random crap I don't want anyone to see  stuff. And we can reach the light switch! 

Look at these antique store goodies I found to hold our creamers! I've always loved the vintage syrup pitchers! 

We are really enjoying having all of our coffee supplies in an easy to reach place (maybe too easy to reach for the three year old!), especially since we drink coffee all day long. 

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Open Shelving in the Kitchen

I keep telling people that my kitchen is done, and then I keep doing things to it. Such is life for a homeowner, I guess. When I randomly decided to tile our backsplash I knew I was going to have to do something about the weird blank wall space above our sink. Our kitchen doesn't have the most functional layout, and it's fairly small. But it's all about working with what you've got! 

Here it is right after finishing the backsplash, old nails and all! In the past, we had a ton of stuff hanging here all willy-nilly. I know that I'm a busy decorator, but this wall always bugged me. It's easy to fall into the realm of visual clutter, and this wall was all kinds of cluttered. 

You can sort of see in this old picture. I had my farmhouse window, the control panel for the security system, a hinged box where we hang our keys, some random frames, and my Thirty-One hanging organizer on the door to the garage. The proportions were weird, and it just looked a mess. 

So I had the security panel moved to the laundry room, and I took the rest down. I looked at that empty wall for awhile, and it almost stumped me.

 All I knew is that I wanted to hang open shelving in the kitchen. I love a good shelf! They're perfect for adding vertical storage and a home for all my ceramic animals and snow globes and other old lady tchotchkes. I was drooling over this image for weeks.


 I kept sending it to my mom saying, "Gahhh it's so prettyyy!" Seriously, when you're done here, go look at this entire house. 

Anyway, I also knew that I wanted to use stained wood shelves to tie in the wood tones from the floor. So in true Callie fashion, I ran into Lowe's on the spur of the moment and had them cut some shelves for me. I got home and sanded and stained them with Minwax Early American. I decided to go with a 1x12 board in case I ever want to store larger dinner plates on them. 

I just went with plain pine because I like the knotty, rustic look it has. I also bought simple shelf brackets at Lowe's in black. 

And here they are! You'll have to forgive the extra terrible photos. It was monsoon season in Alabama the week I did this, and the lighting was terrible. 

We love having all of our drinking glasses right above the dishwasher, and it's the perfect place to display my lady planter that belonged to my great-grandmother. I also found the milk glass mixing bowls recently, and I'm in love! The tea towel is from The Handmade Home's new studio collection, and it's perfect in my kitchen. That one is sold out, but I'm a big fan of this one too. 

Is anyone else buying all the Pioneer Woman stuff from Walmart?? I've been scooping up those turquoise tumblers one at a time because that's all they usually have in stock. 

oh, the shadows! #notaphotographer

I like this so much better than before! It's functional and much less cluttered. I may still hang something directly over the sink, like a vintage style schoolhouse clock, but I'm going to live with it this way for a little while first. 

I have more little kitchen updates to share with you next week, plus Christmas!! It's been hard for me to wait this long! 

What do you think about open shelving in the kitchen? Did you notice my Heisenberg glass? Have you already put your tree up??

Saturday, November 14, 2015

KitchenAid Mixer Refresh

Have you ever stared at something for weeks, not loving the color and wishing you could replace it, but you can't because it costs $350, works perfectly fine, and is a KitchenAid mixer? Yeah, me too. I totally realize this is a first world problem. We got our mixer as a wedding gift eight and a half years ago when I was still deep in my Primary Colors Period. We registered for the red, and I was so excited when I unwrapped it. I've never been much of a baker, but I've made a million mashed potatoes in this thing. My friend Bethany uses hers for literally everything it can be used for, and I've been inspired to use mine more. But, shhhhh.... I don't love the red anymore. The original color  is not ugly at all, and I could have lived with out on my counter and been perfectly happy with it. It works great, and I know lots of people who would love to have one, no matter the color. I think it's just because I've put so many hours into updating the kitchen, and the bright red stuck out like a sore thumb out on my counters. 

So I did what I always do when I want to do a project, but I'm not sure if it's even possible. I checked Pinterest. I found this tutorial from Dwell Beautiful, and pretty much followed it. I posted this little teaser photo to my Facebook page after I had her all taped up. 

TIP: The metal strip that runs all the way around the sides and front is removable! The tutorial I used taped over it, but it is held on by two small screws that are located under the rounded back plate, which is also removable. 

After wiping it down, I unscrewed everything I could and taped over everything I didn't want painted, including the tiny screws there on the sides. I just used my X-acto knife to cut the tape around the edges of the screws. Then I lightly sanded to rough up the finish, and I got to painting! 

The hardest part was deciding what color to use. I counted, and I have 32 cans of spray paint in my garage at this moment!  I wanted a color that would complement our wall color, but pop also against all the white I have in the room. I considered a pinky/peachy/coral because I'm really into that right now, but I kept being drawn back to aqua, my first love. I used Valspar's Nautical. This is awesome spray paint! It goes on even and smooth, with no drips, and contains a primer too.

Here she is after the first couple coats. 

Looking pretty good! I had just a couple drips that I had to go back and sand over and repaint, but nothing too bad. I let each coat dry completely before moving on because I couldn't stand the idea of messing this thing up! That's why it took me almost five days to finish. I used Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel as my finish, and did two thin coats. 

And look how gorgeous! 

I get so excited every time I walk past it in the kitchen now! 


And it was seriously so easy and cost me no dollars! I had everything on hand, but the cost of the paint would only set you back $10 tops. 

I won't lie, I was nervous about this one, but I'm so pleased with how it turned out! Would you ever paint your mixer? What color would you choose? Tell me in the comments, or visit Facebook or Instagram and we'll chat! 

Have a great weekend! I'll be back soon to share some of my Christmas crafty projects I've been working on (yes, I'm that guy! I vote Christmas all year long!). 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Subway Tile Backsplash Reveal!

I'm back, and so excited to share my latest spur-of-the moment project with you! I shared a little tease on my Facebook page a couple weeks ago of the subway tile backsplash I started on a whim. See, it all started because I was out of hand soap in the kitchen. When I went to refill the cheap faux Mason jar dispenser I'd bought at Hobby Lobby a while ago, it basically fell apart in my hands from all the rust. Gross. I had been wanting to make my own soap dispenser from an extra Mason jar anyway, but I needed a soap pump and a waterproof adhesive. I thought to myself, "I can run over to Home Depot, grab some soap and glue, and just look at the tile. I don't have to buy any. Ok, I can buy one case just to have. I don't have to start on it today."


I think it's obvious that didn't go according to plan. I left there that day with not one, but TWO cases of white 3x6 subway tile and all the necessary supplies to tile my own backsplash. And did I even make a soap dispenser when I got home? Yes, actually I did. But not before throwing a bunch of tile on my wall first. 

This was my first tile project, and I had been putting it off out of intimidation. But I have a few friends who have recently done some backsplash work, and they assured me I could do it. 

First I did tons of research. I decided not to use thinset or mortar to apply my tiles. Instead, I chose to use the SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat. It is more expensive than mortar, but it was insanely easy to use and there was absolutely no mess. Since this was my first attempt, I really wanted it to be idiot-proof. It was so wonderful and easy to use! I would absolutely use this stuff again. 

The tile setting mat has two sticky sides, one for the wall and one to stick the tiles onto. First, I covered my whole wall and left the front sticky-side still covered by the paper. You can cut it to fit as needed around your outlets and underneath cabinets. It will get your scissors kind of gunky. It comes in boxes that cover 10 square feet, or in a roll that covers 30 square feet. They were out of the roll the day I went, so I ended up using three of the boxes. Not the most cost efficient way to do it, but whaddya gonna do when you're spontaneous and crazy? 

I also realized I never painted the sides of my cabinets where the stove lives. Should I?? I feel like I should just for completion's sake, but do I really want to create more work for myself?? Bless my heart. 
 Also, if you want to be grossed out, just pull your stove away from the wall. You'll discover dirt and garbage you had no idea was lurking in your kitchen. 

I digress. After I placed the mat, I started laying my tiles on. Most things I read said to start in the middle and work your way outward. 

I used 1/16" spacers between my tiles because I wanted the skinniest grout lines I could get. I don't have a tile saw, and I don't plan to buy one. I won't be doing much (if any) more tile work in this house, and it would've been a waste of money. Renting one was an option, but also pretty expensive. I did buy a tile cutter like this one for $20, and that was super helpful. It scores the tile then breaks it along that straight line. It was perfect for cutting the edge pieces. My issues began when I reached outlets and corners around my cabinets. 

I knew that my local Lowe's would cut tile for me (my Home Depot would not), and I took five, YES I SAID FIVE, trips down to Lowe's to have it cut. Mostly that was my fault. You kind of have to measure as you go so that you get the perfect measurement, and I couldn't really measure ahead. A couple times my measurements were off, and one time they didn't cut them very straight. Lowe's is 3o minutes from my house, so that was the worst part of the project. At least the tile guy there is my new bestie.

One late night, I made a trip down to Lowe's to have some skinny slivers cut to go right underneath my cabinets. As soon as I got home, I dropped one of the pieces on my countertop, and it broke into four little pieces!!! The despair was real,  y'all. I had already been back and forth so many times! So in my despair, I stuck those broken pieces back on the wall and grouted them in! The struggles of a DIY life. But I doubt anyone will notice unless I tell them to lean over and look in that corner. 

When I finally got all my cuts made, it was time to grout. I chose a medium gray grout color to tie in the dark hardware on my cabinets, and because I liked the contrast. The gray I chose was Delorean Gray (and I started this project on Back to the Future Day - 10/21/15! How fitting!). 

I mixed the grout according to the directions on the package and put in on using a grout float. I also used my hands a fair amount to get the grout into edges and corners where the float wouldn't reach. 

Don't worry about those exposed wires! I had the breaker off at that point.

Once all the spaces between the tiles were filled, I started wiping off the excess grout with a big fluffy, damp sponge. This part felt like it took a million years. I rinsed my sponge several times, and just kept wiping tile there was no grout left on top of my tiles. I also tried to scrub a little at my grout lines so they would be as skinny as possible. 

I let the grout dry until the next day, then I replaced my outlet covers, caulked around the seams, and voila! A finished backsplash! I actually had to replace all of my light switches, outlets, and GFCI outlets, as well as the outlet covers. They original ones were almond (builder's beige of course!), and I wanted white. 

And finally, the finished product! 

There are some areas where it's obvious it was a DIY job, but I'm so pleased with how it came out! I think it helped to brighten up the kitchen even more and give it some serious character. 

I still need to replace one more outlet cover, but I couldn't wait to share! 
I still have a few things in mind for this space, but it's mostly aesthetic touches now. I want to add some floating shelves to that random open area in the photo above. I need to find a new home for my key storage box, and I plan to create an actual coffee bar soon too. 

Most of all, I'm proud of myself for taking on a major project like this! It's really great for my confidence to know I can actually get it done, and on a budget! 

Please let me know what you think in the comments or you can visit my Facebook or Instagram to chat! Have a wonderful week! 
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