2015 – A New Year and a Fresh Start

 

new year

 

January 2015 is a new start for me.  My personal life has been very stressful for the last couple of years and it finally feels like I’ve gotten a handle on all of that.  This blog is also getting a fresh start.  You will see more posts from me as well as some aesthetic changes to the blog itself.  It has been a long time coming and the New Year is as good a time as any to implement some changes!

My blog is called, “A Whimsical Life” but for the last couple of years my life has felt a lot less than whimsical.  Instead of focusing on “woe is me” type feelings, I’m going to concentrate more on what makes me happy, what brings me joy, what makes me laugh, and by sharing those things with you maybe it will bring you happiness, joy, and laughter as well.  There are so many things I enjoy doing: sewing, knitting, reading, cooking, photography, decorating my home.  It will be fun to share all these things with you!  Especially because I’m not an expert at most of those which results in a lot of hilarious mistakes which I’m sure more than a few of you can relate to.

I invite you to come along and share this journey with me.  I promise we’ll have fun along the way!!

 

susan - January 8, 2015 - 12:43 am

I hope your 2015 is all things wonderful! I can’t wait for you to share all the things you love doing. I ,too, love to cook, read, crochet, etc and I find happiness in the smallest things. I’m wishing you lots of joy this coming year.

Natalie - January 14, 2015 - 3:08 pm

I’m ready to laugh with you girl! Great blog!

BellaKarma - February 5, 2015 - 5:08 pm

Hi Evie,

I just discovered your blog (by way of Posie Gets Cozy) and was immediately drawn in! I especially relate to what you wrote in this post. Looking forward to following the journey, as I have added you to my blog reader. Take care! :)

Evie - February 5, 2015 - 5:19 pm

Thank you so much for coming by and for leaving me a comment!! <3 I'm off to check out your site now, too!

Kitchen Remodel and Addition – We made it!

Back in 2000, we lived in a different house and had our kitchen there remodeled.  It took about 8 weeks and my oldest son was just about to turn one year old.  It was a very stressful experience and one I wasn’t ready to endure again anytime soon!  Good thing we waited 14 years before doing it again.  :)  When we moved into our current home in 2004 the kitchen was very small and dark and we knew at some point it was going to need to be changed.  We just didn’t have the resources to do it then and time marched on.  We made do and I kind of grew oddly attached to my quirky 1978 kitchen.  That said, when the opportunity to change our kitchen arose, I was not about to say no!   We met with an architect, got an estimate from our contractors and got started in April 2014.  4 months (and several gray hairs later) the work is complete and I am very excited to share it with you.

Here are pictures of our kitchen right before the remodel:

kitchen before 1

 

 

kitchen before 2

You can see from these pictures that the kitchen was galley style, which is an efficient layout for a kitchen, but I wanted to be able to hang out with my family while I cooked and cleaned up and there just wasn’t room for that.

Here are the pictures of our kitchen after!

kitchen remodel, marble island

 

 

dining view

 

 

family room view

 

island and pendants

 

view from back door

 

domsjo sink

 

NXR 36 gas range

 

view towards family room

 

tea and coffee station

 

refrigerator wall

 

 

We bumped out the back of the house about 8ft and we opened up an existing wall that was between our family room and our then-dining room.  It has completely changed the way we live in our home and how we interact with each other.  My children can come down and sit at the island with us, do their schoolwork there, have snacks while I’m tidying up, and so many more things.  It is AMAZING and I couldn’t love it more than I do!!

Any remodel is going to be stressful, it’s pretty much a given, but for the most part ours was fairly smooth sailing.  There were a few things that came up but we dealt with them in stride and everything turned out fine.  The things I personally found the most stressful were choosing our countertop material and the paint color for the walls.  What I wanted for the counter was marble.  Ooooh, marble was so intensely on my brain that it actually permeated my dreams!  We went time and time again to our local stone warehouses trying to find the perfect slab.  I found one that I fell in love with at first glance but the price was astronomical.  My husband looked at me when the quote came in and said, “You don’t seriously want that in the kitchen, do you?  It’s 3x the cost of the cabinets!”  It was tough because I knew he was right but man, that slab was beyond beautiful.  Back to the drawing board for me.  I agonized for months and decided to get a quartz counter because the right piece of marble was too elusive for me to find.  Well, right before we HAD to choose our countertop, my husband convinced me to go ONE more time to the marble place and look so I did.  Good thing I did because lo and behold I found a slab of white carrara marble that blew me away!  Every other piece we had seen was too gray for my taste and I wanted more white with gray veining.  I had found my piece at last!!  We chose to get it in a honed finish and I love, love, love it!  For the first few weeks that we had it, we were terrified about something happening to it.  You hear all these horror stories about having marble counters and they are pretty scary.  To date, we don’t have any stains or etches however we do have plenty of scratches.  These do not bother me at all because they’re just not visible unless you look for them.  Also, I have two teenage boys and they are not gentle or clean in the kitchen and yet, no major calamities have happened.  If you’re thinking about marble but are scared of it, I encourage you to go for it.  I do not regret it in the slightest.  It brings me so much joy and feels so good when I run my hand over it.  LOVE IT!

The marble was our big splurge as we were trying really hard to stay on budget.  We went over budget but that was labor-related and not really to do with our finishes and other choices.  We kept our refrigerator but did get a new dishwasher and range.  Our dishwasher is something else that we chose carefully because, with the kitchen being so open to the family room we needed it to run almost silently.  We got a Bosch and oh my word is that thing quiet!!  Each of us at one time or another have inadvertently opened the door mid-cycle because it’s so quiet that we didn’t realize it was running!!  Now we all know to look for the tell-tale red light shining on the floor to indicate that it is on.

If you have any questions about our remodel, please don’t hesitate to ask them.  I am an open book and will gladly answer any question about the remodel that you have!

Hope all is well in your world!

 

Sue Silva - January 8, 2015 - 1:39 am

It’s beautiful, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the paint colour!

Evie - January 8, 2015 - 2:44 am

Thank you, Sue!

My House Is a Wreck

Right now, my house is a wreck.  It has been a wreck since April but, I’m not complaining!  It’s a happy wreck and I’ll explain why shortly.  When we moved in our home 10 years ago, we were leaving one that we loved very much.  It was a 1920’s bungalow, cute as can be, and we had even updated the kitchen which made it even cuter.  Unfortunately, we were in a situation that required us to move so we sold that home and moved into the one we’re in now.  Even then, I wasn’t in love with this house.  The kitchen was truly terrible.  It had last been updated in 1978, if that gives you any indication and, we were not able to do anything about it and just moved in and made do.  I confess that after a while, the kitchen grew on me and it had a certain charm that I came to admire.  The range was an old Jenn-Aire and it was really nice when it was installed.  It had a griddle and grill elements that you could change out for the electric cooking eyes.  It was just old and starting to demonstrate its age.  My mom upgraded her stove a couple of years ago and gave me her “old” one so I was able to use something that was not close to my own age.  Also, I painted the cabinets white and we added a pretty backsplash and granite counters.  It was a good band-aid to tide me over until we could really do something major.  Finally, at the end of last year, we decided it was time to remodel our kitchen, so that’s what we’re doing!!  It’s very exciting and I think we are about 4-6 weeks from being complete.  It’s a bigger project than just redoing the kitchen though which is why it is taking so much time.  Real life is not like an episode of Property Brothers, where they come in and finish the project in 4-8 weeks.  Real life takes much longer than that.

So, here is our plan as drawn up by our architect.  You see the column that is in the kitchen island?  That is where my house ended.

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My kitchen was 11×7, basically, with a ceiling that was only about 7 ft high.  Maybe even 6.5′.  Well, we opened up the whole back wall and bumped the house out 7.5′!  It doesn’t sound like a lot but when you see it in person you can appreciate how much is gained even by such a short amount.  Our house was already that depth in the Family Room so, with the “breakfast room” and the Kitchen, we were just lining them up.  We have made some changes to this plan you see here.  There is no column in the island.  We were able to instead run substantial beams across key points in order to avoid that.  It made me very happy because I wanted as much of a clear sightline in there as we could manage.  Going into the Family Room, there is only one column, not two, for the same reason.  I thought I wanted two but, once the space was opened up, it became clear that one column actually looked best.  We have 3 large windows in the family room instead of 2 and it in incredible how much light is coming in the back of the house now!  I love how airy the space feels and am anxious for things to progress so I can take some good pictures in there.  We were planning to add on to the front and do a laundry room and casual entry point but, it just wasn’t in the budget so that part is on hold.  Here is my IKEA kitchen floor plan:

Curley Kitchen Plan Final

Currently, all of these cabinets are in boxes in my family room and dining room.  It is pretty crowded in here!  My contractor said though that they should start putting them together this week.  (EEEK!!)  I can’t wait for that!!  I chose the white Lidingo door style.  We really debated about going with the gray version but in the end, I wanted as much flexibility and lightness as possible.  I was worried that the gray would feel too heavy so, we went with the white instead.  My island is going to be huge!  8′ long and 4′ wide.  We should be able to seat 6 people there and that will be nice.  I’m still struggling to select my counters though, debating between Carrara marble and Frosty Carrina Caesarstone.  We have been well-informed on the cons of going with marble but, we are people who love things with imperfections so I think we would end up adoring marble counters.  My problem has been finding the right slab but I’m hoping to finalize that this week.

Here is the mess I am living with right now:

photo 1 (2)

 

That is my current “kitchen”, where our refrigerator is, where all of our food is, where our paper plates and plastic forks reside.  It’s a cramped mess and stresses me out a little bit but, when it’s all said and done, this will be a distant memory and a funny story to look back on.  Overall, our inconvenience has been minimal.  We can still use the sink and stove, (well with the exception of the last 4 days) so it hasn’t been all bad.  We are getting a bit tired of eating out though.  Even with the sink and stove still being available it isn’t exactly easy to cook in the kitchen.  At any rate, I’m not complaining in the least!!  It is a huge project and I am excited to show you some before and after pics very soon!