dining room elimination

just a little update on the state of the homestead…

a year or so ago we worked really hard to pull together this lovely dining room.

and very recently, we decided to eliminate it. oh yes, you heard me right… we moved the big dining table into the eat-in kitchen area. i know..  #mindblown
here’s why: we never, ever stepped foot in the dining room. the last time we sat down and ate around the big table was christmas.  when we’ve had people over for any other sort of sit-down-and-eat occasion, we have pulled chairs up to our round, white table in the kitchen area and squished. the closed-off-ish dining room was never very inviting or conducive to any sort of casual entertaining. in short- it was a waste of space.
this area in the kitchen has plenty of room for the big table and is so light and bright and open to the rest of the first floor.
we now can showcase our pottery barn table (hands down, the biggest furniture investment we have ever made!) as well as my beloved bar cart.
here is the kitchen (below) before the switch. i love open space and all, but this is a whole lot of space and a bit sparse.  to make more room for the table, i got rid of those cross-back stools. i’ll eventually replace them with more subtle, back-less stools.
the white table [for three] remains for now because dane eating on the pottery barn table over a rug is far too anxiety provoking (1/3 of his food hits the table and/or floor each meal). i tried sitting him at the end of the big table with a placemat, but it didn’t go over well. the wipeable surface over hardwood is ideal.
so far this arrangement has been working really well for us. i also think, as our family grows and we spill over to multiple tables during holidays, it will be really fun to eat together in the big, open kitchen area as opposed to the claustrophobic [former] dining space.
as for the dining room… its basically looking the same – sans the table – at the this point. we think it will slowly be converted into an office and activity/homework area for dane.
and you guys.. i have like a half-dozen little projects in the works right now. i swear. they are anywhere from 20-90% complete and i’m excited to share them so check back in soon!

severe eye sore to sweet silver circles

i’m not sure if you ever noticed this hideous track lighting in the kitchen…

awful. AW. FUL. one of the first things i mentally replaced when we moved in. it took me forever to actually do something about it because i was so indecisive about what pendants to replace it with. i finally ordered these silver circles pendants for just $99 each from shades of light (plus 10% off using the yhl discount code). they were back-ordered, so it was months before they were finally on our doorstep. happily, they came just in time to install before the birthday party.
oh and dane was adorable with the packaging. he was obsessed with the plastic stuff.

so our electrician came by and hung the two new pendants in place of the terrible track. it required two new holes in order to get them centered over the peninsula.

they are actually much bigger than i envisioned, but we absolutely love them.. maybe my favorite upgrade in this house to date.

check out the cool shadows they throw at night..

so much better. i’m glad we took our time with this… the right lighting can make a world of difference.

beach house updates: off-season madness

we neglected our cape house most of the winter. when we lived in our 800 square foot city apartment last year, we were down to brewster almost every weekend. now with the “real” house (and very real baby) we’ve had our hands full with everything this latest (short-sale) property had in store.

when we bought the cape house two years ago, the sea of laminate in the kitchen, ancient appliances, splintering deck and dated bathrooms weren’t a major concern. did i even know what laminate was? i’m not sure. all we saw was a big open layout where we could sit around and play drinking board games with a big fridge for cold drinks and bonus space downstairs to fill with bunk beds for all of our friends. a big (to us) yard where we planned to build fire and horseshoe pits before we even put in an offer… a house that was less than a mile from the beach and that we could actually afford. so we went for it. once the deal was done, i started devouring home improvement, diy, and decorating blogs and decided to start a blog of my own (it was 80 miles to brewster, after-all).

it takes some time to get to know a house. two years later, i know all too well what laminate and old, dirty berber are and i can’t stand them! do i have any regrets or “if i knew then what i know now” moments? absolutely not. quite the opposite. i think the reasons we bought this house are all the right reasons. i don’t ever want to buy a house for a granite counter or high-end appliances. in two short years we made so many priceless memories, laminate and all…

but the memories aren’t making the kitchen any easier to look at. so we decided to give it a face lift over the next few months and i’m so excited.

a little aggressive, yes. i don’t know if it will all come together this off-season, but we are going to chip away and see where we stand come spring.

so after we finished the doors last weekend, we dove right into the first order of business which will be the custom dining banquet. because we rent the house and advertise it to sleep 10, there really should be adequate dining space for 10. the bulky table and chairs we’ve been using are not a good use of space and only provide 8 spots at the table. since we’re not here year round, we don’t need tons of storage in the kitchen and don’t think we’ll miss the counter space the strip of cabinets across from the fridge provide. if we wrap a bench around this wall & move the table over to the side, we’ll open up tons of kitchen real-estate. i read through loads of tutorials from people who have built benches themselves, and i know we could have done it if we invested the time and effort, but as you can see, with everything else on the docket, we decided to leave this to an expert. in the off-season there are plenty of carpenters willing to give you a fair price for this sort of work. we met with two over the weekend and booked one of them to come make our bench mid-march (which will run us only a couple hundred bucks more than if we attempted a diy job).
mike started by ripping these puppies apart (it turns out demo is his specialty)..

 bye bye

check out the nasty tile we found underneath… and i thought the current floor was bad..

all ready for our bench arriving march 16th!

in case you can’t picture it, here’s the idea:

a tale of two desks

i have the sunday night blues. the patriots won, the baby is sleeping like an angel, i barely left the house all weekend, but i am craving just one more day of down time – unadulterated, do what i want, baby, house work, bulldog, stay in my sweats, winter weekend family time… i think i am a full blown home-body.

weekend highlights:

dane’s 3 solids a day schedule is underway. much to my delight, he will eat almost any finger food i put in front of him. while he rejects pureed peas, he gobbles down real peas. finger foods have been a lot of fun.

peas, chicken, blueberries…

we learned to use the ergo backpack-style. he was into it for a little while, but didn’t fall asleep like i hoped. i had to keep handing him toys/objects to hold to stay entertained. we’ll definitely use this method when we’re out & about, but i think the wearing-baby-while-he-naps days are over. tear.
the big accomplishment of the weekend was the conversion of the eat-in-kitchen area to part eat-in-kitchen, part office…
our house doesn’t have an office, but it has tons of space in the kitchen. we figured this area could mult-task to create a home for our laptop… (we are considering getting a desktop. the ibook’s days are numbered).
when i first decided to go this route, i had my eyes on the west elm parsons desk. i even came darn close to ordering it at one point when they had a “bonus points when you use your west elm card” promotion running. thankfully i shopped around and found the micke desk at ikea that i like just as much, if not better, for a fraction of the price. a FRACTION. i mean, i know ikea is what it is and they can sell stuff for so cheap because its low quality and comes in 5000 pieces and was probably manufactured by 12 year old swedish kids working 90 hour weeks – but i can’t imagine that west elm quality is far superior and i’m sure its not exactly made in the USA…. 
here they are. west elm “parsons” $349 and ikea “micke” $69.
no brainer.

this area is a perfect example mixing high-end with low-end… ikea desk, pottery barn table, walmart chairs, etsy custom cushions, and homegoods rug. 

its 9:15… bed time. hoping this week’s project will be wallpapering the music room!