Archive | January, 2013

Dining Dressings

31 Jan

Thank you guys so much for all your support of my Big News on Monday!

In addition to my new job, this transition will also mean great things for this blog!  The most obvious thing is that I’ll be able to blog about my flip house.  I don’t know how to tile a bathroom…yet…but you can rest assured that I’ll tell you all about it.  In more detail than you’d probably ever ask for.  The other blogging perks that come with my career shift is that I’ll have more flexibility to work on projects, take photos in the daylight (kind of hard when its dark by the time you get home from a 9to5), and generally blog the way I really want to blog.

Until we close on our first flip house on Valentine’s day, I’ve been naturally keeping my mind busy (much to Hubby’s dismay) planning a few projects here.  One design target is the dining room.  I’ve been thinking about curtains in the dining room for quite a while.  It’s felt pretty naked in there since it’s wall make-over, but I really wanted to step back and see what curtains, if any, the room wanted.

dining room updates

I had been thinking about one curtain per window to keep the space open and bright but still add some softness.  A few months ago, I saw this dining room on Pinterest and it confirmed my plans.

regal dining room

It wasn’t until I noticed today that West Elm is having an amazing curtain sale that I decided to finally pull the trigger.  The dining room’s been naked long enough.  Now I just have to decide what I really want (the hardest part!)

These have a nice, subtle pattern, but may be too beige for the room.

west elm curtain1

Simple and elegant.  Too simple?

west elm curtain3

Normally I’m not drawn to florals, but the watercolor feel to this one appeals to me in some way.

west elm curtain2

I’m not sure if any of these are quite right, but my design brain is on the job!  With you as my witnesses, I vow that the dining room will have curtains by the time I refocus my energies to the flip house.

West Elm curtains 1/2/3


Big News // Flipping Crazy

28 Jan

I have BIG NEWS!!! I’ve been absolutely dying to share this news with you, but I needed all the pieces to fall into place first.  Nope, not preggo- I’m not drinking that water just yet…

For years I’ve said that I studied interior design because the idea of sitting behind a desk all day made my skin crawl.  After 6+ years of doing just that, the effect is still the same.  I had a great job with great people and I love design, but finally admitted to myself that the corporate side of design is not what makes my heart sing.  Way to trust your instincts, Karen.

So I quit my job to start flipping houses.  (Holy cow, actually typing that sentence is surreal…)

inhale exhale

I just gave my 2 weeks notice at the 9to5 to start our new venture.  Hubby and I are flipping crazy (pun intended) and I think we’re just crazy enough to make it work.  We’ve been talking for years about how we’d love to get into house flipping, well, now’s the time!  We close on our first flip house on Valentine’s Day!!!!

Hubby’s staying at his job so we can fund this project and I’ll be doing the day-to-day project managing and as much manual labor I can handle.  As funny as it sounds, the scariest part of this for me isn’t the second house that we’re about to own, or the pressure to fix it fast, it was actually quitting my job.  Change is scary, and this one’s a BIG matza ball.  A very good and exciting matza ball!

those who do

So excited to get this adventure started!

 images via 1/2


24 Jan

I’ve got kitchens on the brain, have you noticed?

Our propane tank is getting delivered TODAY and we’ll be able to use our gas stove!

Even though we won’t be doing anything about the cabinets for a while, a girl can dream, right?  And I am.  The issues I have with the current cabinets are:

  • Poor quality-  falling apart drawers and cabinet boxes
  • Useless soffit wasting 8″ of usable space above the cabinets (covered with beautiful laminate)
  • Dated door style on uppers (at least more traditional than my taste)
  • Not a wood tone I would ever pick
  • Inconsistent finishes- wood doors, veneer sides, & laminate boxes.  Makes perfect sense, no?

New appliances

Hubby and I actually are partial to dark wood cabinets like this kitchen.  LOVE everything about this kitchen.

dark kitchen

But our kitchen isn’t spacious enough to pull it off sadly, and we aren’t white kitchen people.  I love looking at pretty white kitchens, but it doesn’t really fit us.  I’ve been drawn to beautiful 2 tone kitchens lately- dark on the bottom, but white on the top to brighten up the space.  I love this one so much, I pinned it twice apparently.

two tone kitchen

So I decided to have a bit of fun with photoshop and test out the theory on our kitchen.  I also tested a lone vent hood vs. cabinet with vent.

Kitchen 1 range hood

kitchen 2 vent

The lone vent hood doesn’t float my boat as much as I thought it would.  Being that the stove is tucked in the corner, the room feels a little off balance without the cabinets.  It definitely makes a difference to have the cabinets reach all the way to the ceiling, though.  Any added storage in a small house is a definite plus.  I do like the 2-tone a lot, but again, Hubby’s not convinced.  Silly boy, when will he decide to actually trust his designer wife?  Oh well, its a non-issue until we decide to do the cabinets.  I’m pulling for them this year, we’ll see how good my convincing skills are.

What’s your vote on the kitchen?

images: 1/2

Kitchen Love

22 Jan

I am solar powered.  This is the time of winter that always gets the best of me.  Especially when there’s a cold going around our household- Hubby had it last week, now it’s my turn.  Fuuuun. But I’m trying to stay motivated so I can have progress to show you.

If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw… we have new appliances!!

New appliances

A new fridge and a new stove are very pretty.  Yes, we need a new range hood still.  We’re really excited with the change, although the stove will be MUCH prettier once it’s working.  As I mentioned when we ordered the appliances, we’re getting a propane tank hooked up to power our new gas stove in our gas-less house.  We have the plumbing, and the stove…. but the plumbing inspector needs to approve the pipes before the propane can be delivered and the stove can be hooked up…  and we’re impatient… yay for a gas stove!!

I wanted to style the kitchen Sunday so I could take some good pics in the light to share, but I got a little side tracked and scrubbed every single surface in the room instead.  It had to be done.  After scrubbing, I did start to think about styling in the kitchen for the first time since we moved in. 2 years ago.  It’s about time, don’t you think?

kitchen tray

I found the perfect tray at target to organize a few useful things on the countertop and I LOVE how it looks there.  Awkward corner no more!  Hubby’s on the fence about it, but says he’ll defer to my judgement.  That boy can be so smart sometimes.

I’m really excited to start using the new stove and to finish beautifying the room that I’ve been ignoring for 2 years!

January Motivations

15 Jan

Sorry I’ve been neglecting you this past week.  It was a blur of a week and I’ve been struggling to get back in the swing of things after the holidays.  I finally took my decorations down over the weekend, though.

Today has been 2 years since we moved into our house & organization has been a HUGE challenge in this tiny house.  Some areas function flawlessly while others collect stuff we don’t need.  I’ve actually been spending quite a bit of time in the basement trying to organize my life house from the bottom up.  After pseudo-organizing the basement last winter, it got totally lost again when my parents started prepping for their move.  My basement ended up inheriting more than a few boxes of things saved from my childhood.  Can I interest you in over a dozen original Carebears?  I still am undecided about saving or selling.  But anyway, that’s not my point for this post.  I’ve been spending a bunch of time down there as opposed to tackling some more of the ‘pretty’ projects on my to do list.  I’ll spare you the “unorganized” to “slightly less unorganized” before and afters and wait until I have something a little more glamorous to show.  I have lots of basement ideas- we’ll see if I can actually keep up the motivation in the basement long enough to make it happen.

For now, I’ll play show and tell with a super cute love birds print that my sister got me from etsy for Christmas. (from here)

love birds print1

It found its place on our dresser.

love birds print 2

Don’t you love it?  I know I do.  Thanks Sis!

Accidential Appliances

8 Jan

So have you noticed that I never talk about my kitchen? It’s been a little bit of a thorn in my side for the past 2 years.  It’s a nice kitchen.  Nice.  It’s not bad enough or cheap enough of a fix for it to be at the top of my to do list, but it’s always there taunting me. (What, your kitchen never taunts you?  lucky).  On the surface, it doesn’t look too bad.

kitchen before

The last time I really showed you a picture of it was right after we moved when I showed how we added a dishwasher.  We’ve done no other work in there.  No paint, no lights, no real design whatsoever, and it doesn’t look bad.  The countertop is a nice composite stone that we’re really happy with, and the cabinets look nice if you don’t look too close or want to organize your items efficiently.  The key there is “if you don’t look too close.”  It’s when you look deeper that you find issues.

Ignoring my ongoing feud with the cabinets (solid wood, laminate and veneer all within 1 square inch? what were you thinking??), the 2 greatest offenders in the space are the fridge and the stove.  There’s only so many veggie-sickles you can pull out of the crisper drawer before you decide enough is enough.  After futzing with the temp for months, the final straw was a fully frozen head of cauliflower on Saturday night.  This last straw lead us to Sears the very next day.  Since we didn’t want the fridge to feel singled out, we decided it was time for a new stove too.  Goodbye electric stove that can’t cook or bake anything consistently!  Will it take twice as long as recommended to bake my cookies, or half as long as recommended?  Cooking roulette is not as fun as it sounds.

Hooray for after-holiday appliance sales!  In 2 weeks, our long-neglected kitchen is getting belated Christmas gifts.  It kind of feels like an impulse purchase since we weren’t planning to buy any new appliances this weekend, but in reality we’ve been planning these upgrades since day one.


Why yes, that IS a gas stove.  We heart gas stoves.  Too bad our house doesn’t have any gas line.  Solution? We’re getting a propane tank put in our yard that will fuel the stove.  AND we got $300 off this stove because it was the last of an in-stock clearance.  I loves me a good deal!

new stove

I can’t wait to get these in the space and start seeing a change in the only untouched room in the house.  AND as a bonus (for me), I’ll take some REAL pictures of the kitchen for the first time.

Fridge source, stove source

What I Did on my Winter Vacation

4 Jan

After a low key (in a good way) Christmas, Hubby and I took a long weekend to go visit his sister in NYC.  She lives right by Yankee Stadium in the charming apartment that I gave you a peak at here.

bronx sub

What was great about this little trip was that we had no real agenda (which is a bit out of character for my type A personality..).  We did a lot of wandering the city both with our resident tour guide/hostess and without.

nyc street

le pain feet

Aside from visiting his sister, Hubby decided that this mini-vacation’s priority was food.  The first night the 3 of us banned together to cook a delicious meal of NY strip steak, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts in a red wine reduction sauce.

chelsea market

cm spices

It was a great way to start the weekend, but paled in comparison to the following 2 evening’s meals. If you’re looking for good meals in NYC, you can’t go wrong with Iron Chef restaurants.  Y.U.M.

Iron Chef destination #1: Morimoto’s.  I don’t think I can accurately describe the amazingness.

morimoto wall

The design of the restaurant was dramatic, the food was dramatic, even the toilets were dramatic.  Yup, the toilets.  All I’ll tell you is that they’re Japanese toilets.  I’ll leave you to either visit the restaurant yourselves or google it.

morimoto cocktails

We were “those people” who took pictures of every plate.  Can you blame us??

morimoto montage

The following night’s dinner was spent taking in one of the newest Iron Chef’s food: The restaurant, Butter, features Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli as executive chef.


Definitely a much more chill vibe than Morimoto’s.  Forget the drama, this place is warm and rustic and the food definitely followed suit.  (Did I mention YUM?)

butter montage

We did do things other than eat too!  Hubby and I saw Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway (AAAAAMAZING) and checked out the Picasso exhibit at the Guggenheim.  As a designer’s first trip to the Guggenheim, I think I was studying the museum itself as much as I was the artwork.  Awe.


And there was much wandering.

nyc townhouses

Hubby and I visited Central Park for the first time and strolled through it as snow started to fall.  Very ethereal.

snowing nyc

Beautiful until it started to switch to rain… and we got wet.. and cranky… but that’s when we used the wonders of Broadway to uplift our spirits.

If you know anything about me, you can probably guess that sprinkled amongst our wanderings and eatings was shopping- mostly thrift.  We MAY have visited almost every Housing Works Thrift Store in Manhattan.  Hubby got some vintage records to add to his collection (and play on his Christmas gift), but the one thing I REALLY wanted to buy, I couldn’t.  <pout>.  This vintage cabinet needed a new paint job and a little bit of love, but I think it and my kitchen are soulmates.  Sadly the first day we went to this store it wasn’t yet priced and for sale… and naturally by the next day it was sold.

hw cabinet

And now I’m on a mission.  My kitchen NEEDS a fantastic statement piece (preferably one I can hide our recycling bins in).  Craig and his list are now my new best friends and I’m scouring the site daily for something that makes me dance like this one did.  Seriously even the picture of it makes me dance.  Darn you Housing Works for not wanting to sell it to me!  You think it’s possible to find it’s twin?  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Did you do anything fun over your holiday break?