Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Window Dilemma

We are in midst of my kitchen/downstairs floor renovation at the moment.

I am already driving my contractor insane...

So maybe I take awhile to make decisions sometimes.  I just want to get things right!  Here is the dilemma of the day...(I am sure there will be many more to come!)

We ordered a new window to replace this freakishly high window in my kitchen.
Here is the window that will be going away...
Far away.

Right now the window is 3 feet high by 6 feet wide.  It has always been too high above the sink and I wanted it larger.  I had my contractor order a 4 foot high by 6 foot wide one - basically with the same look.

Yesterday, my contractor arrives and tells me his window guy ordered one with a transom instead.  He said that even though the new window is more expensive, he would give it to me for the same price.  The question is, do I want the transom window? 

I do love the look of transoms and all the extra light they give but in order to put a transom in and still be at the right height for my sink area, we would have to cut into the header above the window and make the window higher.  I am struggling with this for a couple reasons...

1.  Will a higher window look strange from the back of the house?

2.  Since the transom will bring the top up higher, would the window look too high compared to the windows in the family room?  (I am not as concerned about the door because that is lower anyway.)  Oh yes, did I mention we just ripped out the kitchen and floors on Monday?

3.  If I didn't want to go higher, should I just bring the window all the way down to the counter like in this picture...

CWP Cabinets

The above cabinets are very similar to the ones I ordered.

So like I said, my contractor asked me to make the decision by the end of day yesterday since he reordered the correct window to be installed on Thursday.  I just wanted to have the decision out of the way so I said I would take the transom.  He agreed it would look great so he cancelled the order for the original window and we decided to go with the transom.  He arranged for his window guys to show up at 7:00 am this morning to remove my window and cut the hole for the new one.  

But it can't be that easy when you are dealing with me...I woke up several times during the night worrying so when the guys arrived this morning, I had a million questions.  Luckily, they were SO nice about it and agreed that I should make sure I knew what I wanted.  So we decided to wait to install, they left for their second job and my contractor texted me that he would talk to me when he gets here this afternoon.  Poor guy, I am driving him nuts already...

I posted a few pictures on Instagram this morning and I think everyone agreed that I should go for the transom.  

So what do you think?
No transom?

Linking to:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Foyer and Stairs

About four years ago, I started thinking about changing my foyer -see HERE. that we are ripping out the tile and installing hardwood floors, the staircase is has now been added to the plans!  Hooray!

The oak has faded and the runner has seen better days (with kids and a dog!)

So the plan is to re-stain to match the new floor, change the spindles to white and replace the carpet runner.  The walls are currently Benjamin Moore Bone White but I might change the color.  Either way, the walls definitely need a new coat of paint.  Don't tell my husband though.  I haven't broken that news to him yet.  He is currently sweating in front of a calculator, figuring out how much my mid-life-crisis-house-remodel is going to cost him!

Here are some samples of the look I love:

If I didn't have a dog, the staircase above would be perfect!  But we definitely need that runner!

This runner and foyer are gorgeous!...
AMW Design Studio via Houzz

The runner and area rug above are from Coastline Collection of Stanton Carpet and I love the way they look with the hardwood floors!  I also love the idea of a patterned stair runner to hide the possible doggie footprints!

Although a textured carpet like the one above might be the way to go.

I do love sisal though...

I love the look of sisal but I think I need to go a bit softer for our precious little feet (paws included!)

I am going to start bringing home samples to decide but it's hard when the new floors aren't in yet.  Yeah, I am a bit overwhelmed with this remodel to say the least.   I think I need a vacation...Oh wait, we can't afford one now...

What kind of stair runners do you like?

Linking to:
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
Elizabeth and Co - Be Inspired
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Dixie Delights - Share Your Style

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where Did You Get Your Sense of Humor?

I swear my husband blames me for our younger son being the class clown.  Not that I was ever a "class clown" by any stretch of the imagination!  I was actually a shy, quiet child.  But I guess I have always been pretty silly and I can appreciate good humor when I see it.

So, when my sweet son showed signs of being very funny, maybe I encouraged him just a bit!  Honestly, the kid makes me laugh every single day - most of the time without even trying!  We even keep of list of funny things he says or does.  When he recognizes he has come up with another gem, he will say, "Mom, we should add that one to the list!"

When he was a baby, I dressed him up for Halloween as a spider.  But when I was changing him out of his costume that night, his little black turtleneck and leggings reminded me of the Saturday Night Live character, Dieter.  (Click HERE if you don't know the character.)  Needless to say, I slicked back his hair, grabbed a pair of glasses and a monkey... and Baby Dieter was created.!
Funny kid

Yeah, maybe my husband is right.  Maybe I did encourage him to be the class clown...

Well, I am proud to say (or embarrassed to admit) that my little one has now perfected the Dieter character with the dance moves, German accent and facial expressions to go along with it!  (He has only seen the one video because some of the Dieter material is a bit inappropriate for a child!)  I literally cry laughing when he does his Dieter dance!  If I can ever convince him to allow me to record him, I promise to share the video with you.  You will die laughing...

This is the kind of silliness that goes on in my house on a regular basis.  We go back and forth with lines from movies and TV shows all the time.

Lately, my son (yes the baby above who is now almost 9!!!) has been obsessed with the show, Henry Danger on Nick.  Since I always need to know what my kids are watching, I usually sit down with him to watch each episode.  Even I think the show is hilarious!  I wish they recorded the episodes in New York instead of Los Angeles because I would love to take him to a taping or something!  Either way, the show has given us plenty of material to add to our already silly repertoire!

Henry Danger

And as you might have seen on my blog, our dog, Rosie is not immune from our shenanigans!

Silly Golden Retriever
The time I tried to fit her in a too-small Wonder Woman costume!
(Could she look more annoyed?)

I think I inherited some of my silliness from my uncle.  He used to encourage my sister and I to do mischievous things like put a cup of water at the top of a door so it would fall on someone when they walked through.  I am sure my mom was not happy with our crazy antics.  She is the more serious fact, she never could understand the Far Side cartoons.  I always had to explain them to her and she still wouldn't laugh!  But I have to give her credit for being a Seinfeld fan!  A sign of a true sense of humor as far as I am concerned!

Besides seeing every single episode of Seinfeld (multiple times!), I was exposed to Saturday Night Live at an early age (my uncle's influence again).  No wonder I had such an early appreciation for those ridiculous characters like the ones played by Bill Murray.  The man can do no wrong.  Not only is he absolutely hilarious, but he is a brilliant actor as well.  He has also been known to crash parties.  In fact, figuring out a way to have Bill Murray crash a party at my house is on my bucket list!  You hear that Bill?!!  I am waiting for ya!

I also love David Spade!  How much fun would it be to hang out with him?  Such a crack up.  Loved him on Saturday Night Live, Rules of Engagement, Tommy Boy (loved Chris Farley too!).  Actually all of those Saturday Night Live alumni are hilarious!

In addition to the movies, TV and my crazy uncle, I think my sense of humor has been influenced by my friends.  There are always those few people who cause you to keel over laughing every time you see them.

I have been friends with this crazy girl since 4th grade and you can pretty much guarantee there will be some kind of ridiculousness going on if she is around!  Usually when we get together, there is trouble - not anything bad, just a good story to tell later on.  I am laughing right now as I recall the predicaments we have gotten ourselves into over the years...definitely some ideas for some future blog posts...with her permission of course!  Anyway, I am sure you have some of those friendships in your life.  Cherish them!

And last but not least, I must mention my husband.  He may not have been a major influence in the development of my sense of humor since I met him as an adult, but he does make me laugh on a regular basis.  He has been known to play some practical jokes on me over the years as well - (The Frankenbike Story)  He also is careful to keep his eye rolling to a minimum when I go overboard embellishing a story or retelling a tale he has heard a hundred times!

And he knows when to give up trying to restrain me when I insist something is funny...
Sightseeing in Charleston
One must always pose with statues...

And dogs!

(Except when you are in Germany and follow one into a pub kitchen to pet it and it bites you.  You then have your German friend write you a note to the owner the next day to ask if the dog has had rabies shots.  You then are not sure if you got the correct answer so you worry for about a year...good times.)

Now it's your turn:
Where did you get your sense of humor from?
What are some things that make you laugh?

Linking to:
The Kim Six Fix - Anything Goes

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fireplace Options

We are in the process of renovating our kitchen.  Since we are ripping out the floors in that room to replace them with hardwoods, we decided to also replace the flooring in most of the adjoining rooms.  And since the floors are coming out anyway, we also decided to change our fireplace.  It only made sense...yes, that is what I keep telling my husband.

Anyway, this is my existing fireplace (as decorated a couple years ago)...

My kitchen cabinets are currently about the same color as my mantel and I am just tired of this look.  I also would like a raised hearth instead of this slab that is even with the floor.  In the past, I have tried to find a pretty fireplace screen to sit in front, but since the hearth is so low, I couldn't find a screen tall enough.  I want to remove the glass doors - but if my opinionated husband objects, we will just paint the brass on them.'s all about compromise!  

Here is a current view from the kitchen.
Won't a new fireplace look beautiful with my new white cabinets?

At first, I thought about just redoing the surround 
in white with some beautiful molding.
Don't just LOVE this fireplace?...

But I have had my heart on stone for years.
Isn't this one absolutely gorgeous?...

While I love the above one, I think the fieldstone might be too overpowering for my space.  I really can't expand the size of my fireplace too much due to the window and doorway on either side.

In fact, I probably could only widen it by a couple inches!

So something like this might work...
(a great combination of the white mantel with stone!)
(Definitely one of my all time favorite fireplaces!)

But if we are going to do stone, my husband wants to do the whole thing.  I kind of agree with him so now I think this is the look I we going for in there...

The stacked stone feels like it would work in that space.

Now we just have to decide on the color tones
and we will get moving on this project!

What do you think would look best in that room?

And to catch you up, here are some links to some other decisions I have made along the way...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finding Neverland on Broadway

As I mentioned in my last post, I made two trips into New York last week.

On my first trip, my husband and I attended a movie screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.  The second trip was on all day girls trip to see Finding Neverland on Broadway!

Six of us headed into the city on one of the most beautiful Saturdays we've had all spring.  Our first stop was the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for the matinee.

We all feared that being at a matinee, we might end up with an understudy for one of the main roles.  I think I am permanently scarred from the time my mom and I arrived for Victor Victoria only to find that Julie Andrews' part would be played by her understudy!  So, when we noticed those little white pieces of paper dropping out of everyone's playbills, we couldn't open ours fast enough to check!  Luckily, the main roles were all in tact - whew!

We were then able to relax as we settled into our orchestra seats with our Neverland themed mixed drinks!

I mean, c'mon, how could we resist these?...
I had a Hook's Right Hook. - yum!
 Somehow the bottom of the menu got cut off,
(and we hadn't even had a drink when we took this picture!)

Let me start by saying that I went into this play knowing absolutely nothing about the story line.  (It is so out of character for me to not read up on something before I see it!)  All I knew was the play told the story of how Peter Pan was created.  I never even saw the Oscar winning film of the same name (with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet).  I think it came out around the time when I was just starting my family...those baby-fog years!  In a way, I am actually glad I didn't know the story line going in.  It made the show that much more exciting for me!

For those of you who don't know, Finding Neverland follows the story of how London playwright, J.M. Barrie meets a widow named Sylvia who has four young sons.  Barrie's playful demeanor makes it easy for him to develop a relationship with the family who later becomes the inspiration for Peter Pan.

Finding Neverland stars Matthew Morrison - (that cutie from Glee) and Kelsey Grammer who I have enjoyed watching most of my life!  Both of them gave incredible performances and had me smiling throughout the play...well except for the sad parts.  I really didn't expect it to be so moving but I honestly loved every minute of it!  Funny, sad, bittersweet and magical...what more could you want in a play?

What more could you want?  How about meeting some of the cast? After the show, we hung out by the stage door...just in case!

Matthew Morrison

One of the boys.

Carolee Carmello

Paul Slade Smith
Who I must say was a doll.  He took the time to chat and laugh with us.
(He played Mr. Henshaw and dressed up as Nana the dog for the "play" scene in the show.)

And speaking of Nana...

I caught up with the dog handlers as they were leaving the theater with these two cuties!  Apparently, they use twin dogs (like the Olsen twins!) to play the part of Nana.  How nice of them to pose for us!

I couldn't resist...

Rosie was jealous...

If you are in New York, I definitely recommend you see Finding Neverland!

We ended the day with an early dinner at Aquagrill down in SoHo.  LOVED it!  So many incredible choices on the menu and our waiter was a character!  We shared a bunch of appetizers and half the table sampled a variety of oysters.  I am not a big oyster fan but the three of them were in heaven!  If you are an oyster lover, this is the restaurant you need to visit in New York.   For dinner, I devoured the Halibut special which could not have been more delicious...and don't even get me started on the desserts!  Yes, we all managed to find room for them!  Which reminds me, I need to go for a walk!

Great day, great company
and a reminder that we have to plan more outings like this one!

Have you seen any plays lately?

Linking to:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tribeca Film Festival

Last week, my husband and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a private movie screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Of course I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of attending such an acclaimed event!

But my heart sank when I learned of the gut wrenching subject matter of the movie.  Could I really sit through a film centered around the lives of two parents who are struggling with the disappearance of their young son?

I just don't see movies like this.  They stay with me.  They haunt me.  I don't even read books covering this kind of material because they don't  fit in with "my reading requirements".  Maybe before I became a mom, I would have thought differently but the idea was just too frightening for me.

The movie was Meadowland.

And being the brave, adventurous person I am, (huge LOL), I agreed to attend the screening.  After all, maybe one of the cute actors (Luke Wilson or Mark Feuerstein) would be there.  Spoiler alert...they weren't!

We began the evening with drinks and dinner at the Tribeca Grill because after all, the restaurant is co-owned by Robert Di Niro, one of the founders of the Tribeca Film Festival!  

Not only was the food exceptional but the service was outstanding!

And after a glass of wine (or two),
the idea of the movie screening was more exciting than scary!

Once Meadowland began, we were immediately drawn into the tragic lives of the characters and could not break free from from their agonizing world until the very last second of the movie.  There was no lull where I would remind myself I needed to pick up a gallon of milk in the morning.  My only thoughts were the movie...and my own kids.  All I can say is...Wow.

I read a movie review this morning - The Guardian and realized that any recap that I may attempt to write cannot do it justice!  Check it out if you are interested in more details of the story line.

After the viewing, we had the opportunity to sit for a Q&A session.  Olivia Wilde (who played the main character, Sarah) expressed how greatly she desired to play the character when learning of the role.  Honestly, I don't think anyone else could have come close to capturing the raw, emotional state of that character.  The part was truly meant for her.  It was equally intriguing to get inside the head of director, Reed Morano to hear her thoughts and motivation for specific scenes.  With her background in cinematography, she was able to give the audience the full experience of assimilating into the world of the characters.  

The one in the spotlight whose face you cannot see is Olivia Wilde.

The making of the movie was obviously a very emotional ride for everyone involved in creating it as it was for those of us watching it!   As mentioned, I had my hesitations about even attending the viewing but I must say, I was completely blown away.  I will be shocked if the movie isn't nominated for several awards come Oscar season!

You can read more about this movie and other film festival events here - Tribeca Film Festival

And because one trip to New York last week was not enough, stop by tomorrow and I will fill you in on my girls day out on Broadway.  

From Meadowland to Finding Neverland!
What a week!

Can you recommend any new movies?

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Door Dilemma - Raised Panel or Shaker

Through all the craziness these past few weeks...
(I haven't even mentioned that my poor Rosie ate something bad two weeks ago and spent a day at the vet with an IV, xrays, blood work etc...She's okay now but so scary!)

As I was saying, I somehow managed to make all the necessary decisions and order my kitchen cabinets - yay!  They should be arriving in about 6 weeks.

The other night, I happened to leave a door sample sitting on my kitchen counter.  My husband looks at it and says, "Those aren't the cabinets we are getting, are they?"  (Shoot me now...)  "Yes, they are.  You don't like them?"...I asked.  "They look dirty.", he replied.  (The sample had a glazing on it, even though I don't think I am doing a glaze.) 

Why is it that someone around here is second guessing my decisions and has suddenly developed an interest in decorating?  This brought back a flashback to our wedding planning when suddenly he needed to be involved in choosing the china.  Yeah, my golfer, former college football player, doesn't care about clothes, man's man of a husband suddenly cares about making the kitchen pretty!  Ugh.  

So the next day, my very patient, saint-of-a-kitchen-designer dropped off a bunch of door samples to look over again.  I had to show my husband what a raised panel looked like without the glazing (and I had to reassure myself that I made the right decision because I still loved the shaker look as well!)  The cabinet order had already been placed at this point so I had to decide quickly!

Even though I had debated on shaker for a while, my 'decorator' husband was definitely against that one because he thought they looked too much like the Vermont ski house...
I guess he just can't envision these in white...

So I went back to focusing on raised panel, which I always loved anyway.  After all, many of my favorite kitchens have raised panel cabinets and it helped to show my husband these inspiration pictures.

Like I said, the cabinets will be White Dove (but not glazed like the above picture) the island will be stained and the floors will be wood (but a little lighter than the floors above.)

Here's another look I love:

I think I might even buy those lanterns above.  I love how the floor and beams make the kitchen less formal.  Too bad I won't be adding beams (or marble) to mine...

Here's another example of the white with the stained island.  My floors will never be that shiny though!  (Not with kids and a golden retriever!)
source unknown

And probably my favorite kitchen:

This is the view I envision when you look in the kitchen from my dining room.  

Just to refresh your memory - here is what the view looks like now...

And once again,
here is what it could look like...ahhh
As you can see, all the photos above have raised panel doors, yet most all white kitchens we see these days have shaker doors.  Up until this very moment I wonder if I made the right decision.  I am hoping that the raised panel will always be classic.

There are so many kitchens with shaker cabinets that I absolutely adore as well:

Love this...
via Houzz

Then there is another one of my favorites
that kind of looks shaker but is a simple raised panel. 
via Houzz

I keep going back to the look of a traditional raised panel door.
In fact, this was my inspiration picture (about 3 years ago) 
when we decided to renovate the kitchen...

I still love the look and needless to say I didn't change my order.  My husband feels a little more comfortable with my choice.  I am sure my kitchen designer is relieved even though I will probably second guess my upcoming decisions - counters, back splash, sink, lighting...

What are your thoughts on white kitchens?

Do you prefer a shaker or raised panel cabinet?
Is one more timeless than the other?
(Don't worry, you won't stress me out if you choose shaker!)