7th House on the Left

We know, we’re long overdue for a kitchen “reinstall” update. Well, the kitchen is still “in limbo” so to speak. We’re sure some of you are wondering what in the world is taking us so long. Rest assured, we ask ourselves that same question pretty much everyday. I guess what it comes down to is with this being our first house, we’re just being super slow to make such a huge decision. We’re wanting to make sure it’s the right one and we’re going to be happy with is forty years down the road. Okay, maybe not forty, but you get what I mean.

From time to time, we have a slight glimmer of “maybe we should have kept the old cabinets…?”. But that thought goes right out the window when we think about making all of the “demo mess” now rather than before we moved in. On top of the dust and overall mess of ripping out the cabinets, there was also the flooring… remember, the kitchen used to be tile. We also closed in a window to make a new space for the fridge and ultimately make the layout much more convenient (more about the future layout here). Aaaaaand, if that wasn’t enough, when we ripped out the kitchen cabinets, we found at least two gallons of loose pieces of dog food under the “sealed” cabinets. Who knows how long that could have been there or what that could end up attracting. We wouldn’t have known it was there if we didn’t take out the cabinets. So, yeah. When we think about all that, all of the “maybe we should have” thoughts go bye-bye. No regrets here.

Living in our temporary kitchen has become second nature to us (read more about our current set up here). We’ve learned to use an electric skillet to cook just about anything (even boiled eggs!), storing dishes in moving boxes and super low “countertops” (aka folding tables) are the norm, and we don’t mind grilling out a lot. Come to think of it, we’d probably be grilling a lot even if we had a full kitchen. And the addition of the new refrigerator has been a major improvement on what we were working with the first few months. On top of all that, my parents live not far from here. So if I get an overwhelming urge to bake a cake, fortunately there’s a full functioning kitchen to my disposal 24/7 close by. Focusing on the positive.

As for where we are now in the process we like to call our “kitchen reinstall”, we’re in “extensive research” mode. As you know, we’ve talked about getting cabinets from Lowe’s and Ikea. We’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of both options – the pros and cons, the do’s and don’ts. We’re feeling highly educated in both cabinet options but we’re still not completely sold on either one. We know that probably sounds totally crazy and you’re like, “go ahead and make a decision already!”. We’re getting there. Slow and steady wins the race, right? We hope so.

Now that we’re educated in options one and two, we’re looking into a option number three: custom. Okay, no, not Bob the Builder – but maybe a guy named Bob. Who knows. A few months ago, I got an email from a reader, Megan – who, come to find out, was in my gym class in high school! – asking about our cabinet decision. She went on to say she was just wondering because her parents recently totally remodeled their kitchen (and added a mud room and sun room). They also had a consultation at Lowe’s (the same designer we had) but ultimately decided to go with a local cabinet guy who custom-built their entire kitchen for a fraction of the price they would have paid at Lowe’s and every aspect was customized to their wants and needs – shaker-style cabinets including lazy susans in the corner cabinets, an island, banquette area, microwave nook, etc. Basically, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Megan included a link to her blog with before and after photos of her parent’s kitchen reno overhaul and I must say, the difference is truly amazing!

Here’s the before…

reader reno kitchen

…and the after!

reader reno kitchen

I know, right?! And get this, both of the above photos were taken from the exact same spot! It doesn’t even look like the same house! The cabinets are great and the exact style of what we are looking to have in our kitchen – including the deep bottom drawers as opposed to regular cabinets and a few glass-front cabinets.

reader reno kitchen

Here’s the before and after of the old kitchen wall and their new entry to the mud room…

reader reno kitchen

I also love the thick molding around the windows and doors and who doesn’t love a good banquette area?!…

reader reno kitchen banquette

Needless to say, my response to Megan email included, “Would you mind giving me his contact information?”. We’ve already talked to the “cabinet guy” and we just need to get him our measurements/details in order to get a ballpark figure of how much it would cost. I’m excited to delve into the world of custom cabinets and learn more about the process and the ins and outs. And you never know, we just might make a decision. Ha!

Once we nail down the pros and cons of custom cabinets, we’ll be sure to fill you guys in on our thought process. That’s what this blog is all about, right?

So now time for you to dish the details… have you had experience with custom cabinets? What do you think the pros and cons are? Or how about any other avenues like Lowe’s Street or Ikea Boulevard? Tell us about it in the comments section. We’d love to hear your input…

Oh and by the way, if you happen to notice any weird things going on (broken links, missing images, etc), we’re currently working on publishing some of the upgrades we mentioned in our State of the Blog Address a while back. Thanks for your patience!

Bob the Builder image found here.


posted by Ashley  /  22 Comments

Growing up, if the TV was on you’d find one of two things: 1) the Disney channel or 2) an old black and white tv show. Eight times out of ten, that black and white tv show would be I Love Lucy. When I was little, I told my mom I wanted to live in a brownstone in New York City, marry a band leader, travel across country with my best friends, and raise chickens. When I was a teenager, Ethel was my definition of a true best friend and when I went off to college, my I Love Lucy dvds made the dorm room instantly feel a little more like home. To this day, the sound of the opening credits seems to make everything better. As corny as all this may sound, I Love Lucy is one of those things that will always be a part of my life.

Over the past three years of being married, luckily some of my love for I Love Lucy has even rubbed off on Greg. He says he sympathizes for Ricky. I wonder what that’s saying about me…? As for Bentley, he’s not the type of dog that reacts to things on the TV – except for the “ding ding ding” on the Pep Boys Commercial. He barks every time. But he tends to settle in for a nap whenever he hears the I Love Lucy theme song. No exaggeration. I think it’s because when Bentley was a puppy and it was just him and me (before Greg and I got married), I’d turn on I Love Lucy when I went to bed. So I guess he just associates the sounds with going to sleep. However, I like to think he just enjoys the show. Ha!

Apparently we’re not the only ones who love Lucy because according to the Nielsen ratings, I Love Lucy has never ranked under Number 3 and has never gone off the air since 1951. With that being the case, I’m sure a lot of you, if not all of you, have been “guests” in the Ricardo’s apartment at some point or another.

So, you’re probably wondering what’s with all of this Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel talk. Tomorrow marks the 60th anniversary of I Love Lucy and since this blog is all about the place we live and our lives in it, it seemed natural to dedicate a post to all things “Lucy living” in honor of their diamond anniversary. After all, we love Lucy.

i love lucy apartment

Over the course of the show, Ricky and Lucy lived in three spaces: 1) their first apartment, 2) their second apartment (in the same building but they switched to another apartment to make room for Little Ricky), and finally 3) their house in the country. There are only about four differences between the first and the second apartment but the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is their second apartment had a window over the piano in the living room. All in all, the Ricardo’s apartment (both of them) is the one fans know their way around the most and probably one of the most iconic TV residences of all time.

Lucy had her fair share of crazy experiences when it came to buying furniture. Like when Ricky told her she could spend $500 and she ended up spending $3,272.75 because she thought the stock numbers were the prices! Nevertheless, their apartment was always sporting the latest and greatest styles of the 50’s. Over the course of 6 seasons in their apartment, Lucy underwent at least five furniture changes. After the first “makeover”, all of the furniture had a distinct mid-century modern flair with ultra tailored lines – the “in” style for the 50’s. Just like fashion, furniture seems to go in full circle because I’m pretty sure I saw season three’s couch at Room & Board…

I love the apartment’s master bedroom. Actually, before we bought the bed for our guest room, we were on the lookout for two twin beds for a fun mid-century modern look. I also like the idea of having graphic floral wall paper on the focal wall.

Apparently, their furniture was so popular in the 50’s that a furniture company in Roanoke, Virginia came out with a “Live Like Lucy” bedroom suite. Can you imagine… two solid wood dressers and a bed for $198!

In the Ricardo’s second apartment, they had a small nursery right off the bedroom. Like the bedroom furniture, Little Ricky’s furniture was a big hit and ended up in furniture stores all across the country. Even the crib bedding! You can get a good look at the furniture and the bedding in this clip of Ricky telling Little Ricky his version of Little Red Riding Hood… “Caperucita Roja”:

The apartment was small (though I’m sure not as small as some actual New York City apartments), but it seemed to have everything needed to almost get by with her crazy stunts. Including an oven that magically held a giant loaf of bread:

I imagine with iconic black and white tv shows, everyone has their own idea of what color things are in “real life”. When it came to color on the set of I Love Lucy, the set designers were told to not use anything red that would compete with Lucy’s hair. Therefore, even on set, there wasn’t much color to be had. But that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine.

If the Ricardo’s apartment were recreated today, this is what I imagine it being like…

i love lucy mood board

1. Penthouse View Wall Art from ZGallerie 2. Eugene Sofa from Room & Board 3. Morse Table Lamp 4. Upright Piano from Yamaha 5. Desk Phone from Target 6. Cole Chair + Ottoman from Room & Board

If you aren’t already a Lucy fan, you must watch an episode or two! You can catch 77 episodes here on CBS.com!

Living room photos found here and here. Room and Board photo found here. Bedroom photo found here. Bedroom set ad found here.

Once in a while, Ash and I like to take random drives around the back roads of the Richmond area. Virginia is filled with so many interesting historical landmarks, battlefields, museums, and parks that you’re bound to find something that piques your interest no matter what direction you end up heading. Even though Ashley and I have lived in this neck of the woods for most of our lives (well, all of hers; most of mine), we still haven’t seen all of the attractions our area has to offer. So, it’s a lot of fun to take a drive every now and then just to see what we come up with.

Recently, while on one of our drives, we stumbled upon McLawhorn’s Red Barn Antiques. It’s right in the middle of a fork in the road, and looks like it’s been there forever. As it turns out, it was once a very popular general store, Borkey’s Store, back in the early 1900’s. The history alone makes this an interesting stop.

The items sitting outside gave us a preview of what we would find in the store. Everything out here was from an era where furniture was made from solid wood. I don’t think you could find a single scrap of particle board anywhere near this place.

Oh–Did I mention the reason all the furniture is sitting outside is because the inside is so packed with awesome stuff from bygone eras that we wouldn’t have had a place to walk otherwise? Yeah. This place is going to take several trips to even scratch the surface.

There are three huge aisles, lined with tons of great items – so packed you could barely walk through them. The left side of the store is stocked with tons of kitchen-oriented antiques and records.

While this part of the shop also has some kitchen items, it’s home to my favorite section: books. You can see a few of them peeking out of the bottom-right corner here.

I’m a big fan of solid wood, dark-stained desks. The detail work is simple and clean, but it adds that extra touch that makes this desk look special.

You’d think this was just a cool conversation piece in the middle of the store. Nope. It’s a real, honest-to-goodness, working(!) drink fridge from which the antique shop staff hands out free Cokes to its customers.

Ash and I have a fascination with antique trunks, so these certainly caught our eyes. They were a little out of our price range for the day (coming in around $250 a piece), but I hope someone gives these a good home. They’re truly amazing in person.

We found this small chest of drawers sitting outside and Ashley immediately fell in love. She said it would be perfect for the foyer.

It was very solid and had a little wear and tear but that could be fixed. Coming in at $75, it was worth a try. So we packed it up in Ashley’s parent’s SUV and took it home.

I have to admit, I was a tad skeptical whether or not it would be a good fit for the foyer. I trust Ashley’s “style judgment” most of the time, but for some reason, I just couldn’t see it. I guess it’s a “guy thing”. When we got it in the house, I had a change of heart. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect piece for the foyer. Like how I say “we” now that it looks good? haha…

For now, we’re going to hold off on painting it. Even though the worn paint looks pretty cool, we’re not sure this shade of green is quite right for our house. In some lighting, it looks a little dull and heavy so it could use a little brightening up. I don’t know about Ash, but if we do decide to paint it down the road, I’d love to find a way to emulate the “worn” look.

As for what’s going to go on, in, and above… Ash said she envisions a large mirror (like this one she found on Pinterest) and maybe a lamp to bounce some light around. We plan on sprucing up the inside of the drawers as well with some graphic wallpaper turned drawer liner. Once that’s done, we’ll probably use it to store miscellaneous items like extra candles and maybe a drawer for Bentley’s leash and his sweater collection… he’ll think he’s spoiled – even more than he already is!

So that’s the rundown on our latest find for the house! Have you had any cool finds lately? Share them with us by leaving a comment…