Country Living...Island Dreaming

September 25, 2015

The Foyer - Before and After (and Deciding on Paint Color)

During our recent kitchen renovation, we extended the wood floors into most of the downstairs including the foyer.  We couldn't just leave the stairs the same light oak color so we stained them the same color as the new floors - (Minwax-Provincial).  We also painted the risers white and replaced the spindles with new white ones.  And after 16 years, 2 kids and a dog, the runner needed to be ripped out in the process!

Foyer Stairs Before (and After)
 Goodbye yellowed oak and dingy runner...

Foyer Stairs After - Stained with painted risers and spindles
Hello dream staircase!

I cannot even express to you how much I love these stairs now!  I haven't decided on a new runner yet - but I am in no rush because I adore the way the stairs look now.  Unfortunately, it's more practical for our family to install a runner so I will be shopping for that soon.

In the meantime, I really need to decide on a new paint color.  With all the renovation mess and years of kids touching the walls, these babies need to be repainted!

The problem is, I just don't know which direction to go in here.  Currently, the walls are Benjamin Moore Bone White.  

The kitchen, family room and back hall are Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan.  The living room will stay Bone White for now at least, and the dining room will be painted something different.  Don't ask me what it will be painted because I can't go that far yet.  All I know is that I will be changing the dark red I have had in there for the past 12 years or so.  I feel like I need a change.

Foyer with new staircase
I love the warmer feel in here.

Here is the view of the foyer from above before we changed the floors...

Foyer Before with tile floor
The tile was very practical for a high traffic area
but felt a bit cold.

And here is what the foyer looks like after with the new wood floors...

Foyer After with Hardwood Floors and new staircase

I am not sure if it's the difference in lighting or the fact that the floor color has changed the look of the walls.  All I know is that the walls seem more yellow now.

Like I said, the walls in the foyer are Benjamin Moore Bone White.  My office and living room are painted Bone White and it works fine for me, especially since all those rooms are northwest facing.  But I kind of think I need to change the foyer.  After all, what fun is having a room painted if you don't pick a new color?!!

New Staircase with hardwood floors

But I can't decide!  Do I stay with something similar or do I go in a more gray-griege direction...

Hardwood Floors in Foyer

Since I haven't decided on the runner yet, I can be flexible.  The rug in front of the door will probably stay for now.  It has dark red, tan/gold and green in it.  It also doesn't show any dirt or dog hair so I am hesitant to change it for something else at this point.

So what do you think about color?  I don't want to go too dark, yet I want the white spindles to show up.  Any suggestions would be helpful!  We are sticking with Benjamin Moore so any suggestions in their colors would be helpful.

But for now, let's take one last look at the staircase transformation:

September 23, 2015

Happy National Dog Week (from Rosie the Golden Retriever)

Hello friends!
It's me, Rosie...
and I am taking over the blog again 
in honor of National Dog Week!

I know what you are thinking - wasn't it just National Dog Day last month?  Why yes, it was!  And what is wrong with celebrating your furry friends again!  This time we get a whole week dedicated to us!  Personally, I think we should plan one of these celebrations every week!  

After all, I got a nice trip to the spa out of it yesterday!...

Don't I look nice and relaxed?
I really need to do this more often!

So, when the kids went back to school recently, they probably had to report on their summer vacations.  You know, the usual drill - "What did you do this summer?"...

Well, nobody asked me what I did this summer!   

I am going to give you my report right here before Mommy catches me sitting at her desk.  She still hasn't caught on that I know how to type!  She's probably staring at her new kitchen anyway.  As you know, she can't stop babbling on about it.  I am sure you are sick of it by now...

Anyway, back to my summer vacation...

I spent lots of time laying around in the sun!  

And where do you think the term 
'Dog Days of Summer' came from?

I also did my share of swimming in the neighbor's pool!

You should see my back stroke!

Swimming can be exhausting!

Seriously, why doesn't our swim club allow me in their pool?

I also spent tons of time at the family's beach house.

I loved watching all my new doggie friends walk by each morning.

I joined them on many walks but unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the beach there!...

Who thought of this silly rule?

I had a wonderful time anyway...well except on the 4th of July.  Those fireworks and the sirens from the parade had me hiding under the covers.  Why do they have to be so LOUD?!!

Speaking of loud, earlier in the summer, our house was under a major renovation.  This is where I hid to escape the noise...

But once things starting coming together, I really enjoyed my new surroundings...

Although it was a little confusing in the kitchen when they kept moving my food bowls around.  But I got used to the changes.

I enjoyed all the open spaces so I could run around after all the afternoon shadows...

I also enjoyed getting my belly rubbed by all the construction workers in the house.  I even tried to show off one day by catching some sort of squeaking rodent and bringing it into the house.  Mommy was not happy!  But the guys talked about it for days!

 I am so entertaining at times.

I enjoyed my time on Mommy's office rug while the rest of the house was torn apart.

 My toys kept me company.

I always like to keep one close by in case someone new shows up.  I like to greet everyone at the door with a gift!...It's a golden thing...

Did I mention how HOT it was this summer?!!  Imagine what I felt like in this fur coat of mine!  Luckily I found a way to cool off when I couldn't get to the pool... nice and refreshing!  

Too bad I smelled terrible afterwards.  Apparently, no one likes a wet dog!

But when I am nice and dry, I get lots of attention.
What's wrong with being a little spoiled?!

So that pretty much wraps up my summer!
I hope you enjoyed my recent adventures!

But if you haven't gotten enough of me, feel free to read all about my puppy antics by clicking - Weekend Pupdates or on the above tab labeled the same.  You can also read about last year's summer vacation - HERE.

I hope you treat the doggies in your life extra special this week!

Happy National Dog Week!


September 21, 2015

My Kitchen on Houzz - Kitchen Designs by Debra

In my last post, I took you on a tour of my new kitchen.

But I am no photographer...

If you would like to see some professional photos of my kitchen, head over to Houzz and check out the pictures just posted on the page of my amazing kitchen designer - Kitchen Designs by Debra.

Here's a sneak peek...

And while you are over there, 
scroll though all the other beautiful kitchens Debra designed!

When I was looking for inspiration for my kitchen design, I practically lived on that website.  So many beautiful photos and such a great resource when planning a project.  A friend had recommended Debra to me but I found Houzz very helpful because I could view her previous projects and read her reviews as well.  Which reminds me, I still need to write my review on her page. Obviously, I have only wonderful things to say about her!  Head over and check out her page!  Houzz - Kitchen Designs by Debra.

How often do you use Houzz for inspiration?


September 17, 2015

My New White Kitchen Reveal

After years of thinking about it, 
months of planning and renovating,

I new white kitchen!

White Kitchen with Cherry Island

We've been in our home for 16 years and decided it was time for an update.

Here is what the kitchen looked like before:

Kitchen Before - My New White Kitchen Reveal

And that same angle now:

White Kitchen After

I am seriously still pinching myself each morning I walk in here!

Jenn Air Range and New White Kitchen Reveal
I will give you a before and after of each angle in my next post.  For now, I'll take you around the room starting with my big splurge, a 48 inch duel fuel range from Jenn Air.  Cooking on this thing has been a dream.  I haven't used the griddle on top yet because I am afraid it won't look shiny and new anymore.  My husband keeps telling everyone that I am never going to use it.  I'll break it in one of these days once the novelty wears off...

White Kitchen Reveal
After the stove splurge, we kept our old refrigerator to save on some money.  It's a Kitchen Aid counter depth so it doesn't stick out too much.  My contractor still has to add a  molding piece above it.  That should hide the small space and give it a more built in look.

Kitchen Lighting and full kitchen reveal
I updated the lighting to include two pendants from Circa Lighting over the island.  These are the small Darlana pendants by Visual Comfort E.F. Chapman Collection.  The chandelier is the Collins Chandelier from Pottery Barn.

Subway Tile Backsplash with Herringbone Design
The tile store suggested this herringbone pattern over the stove.  I was hesitant in the beginning but now it's one of my favorite things!

Kitchen Window over sink in new kitchen
Speaking of favorite things, enlarging this window was one of our best decisions!  We get so much more light in here and it is no longer 'freakishly' too high!

New White Kitchen Reveal
For now we are using temporary counter stools.  I haven't decided if I want backless or not so I am still shopping around.

White Ice Granite and undercabinet lighting
This photo shows a close up of the granite.  We chose White Ice after many agonizing trips to the granite suppliers.  I would have loved marble but had to be practical with 2 boys and a messy husband.  You can also see that we added under-cabinet of our best decisions.  I love having different lighting options in the evening and these light up the working space beautifully.

Kitchen Cabinet Lighting in new white kitchen
We also added lighting in the upper cabinets.

Kitchen Window view and new white kitchen
This is the view from the dining room.

Kitchen with White Stacked Cabinets
And the view from the family room.  I am also planning on replacing the kitchen table and chairs.  I don't think I mentioned that to my husband yet...

White Kitchen with Range Hood

Kitchen Island and view to family room
This is our new view into the family room with our new stone fireplace.  I still need to buy an area rug for that room.  Too many decisions to make lately...

Glass Cabinets and full reveal of new white kitchen
Although I loved the baker's rack that used to stand in this place, I am excited about using this new entertainment area.  We need to plan some parties!

Goldend Retriever in new white kitchen
Rosie always loves having guests!

Thanks for taking the tour with us!

UPDATE - Please be sure to stop by my newer post -  Before and After Pictures from Every Angle to see more!  And can also see that I finally purchased New Counter Stools!

And here is a breakdown of sources:

Cabinets:  New River Cabinetry - Bridgewater style raised panel door in maple, Color - Swan (matches Benjamin Moore White Dove), Island is cherry - Buckhorn stain
Granite:  White Ice
Stove, Dishwasher, Microwave:  Jenn Air
Refrigerator:  Kitchen Aid
Stainless Farm Sink:  Moen
Faucet:  Moen
Hardware:  Top Knobs
Hardwood Floor:  Red Oak stained in Minwax Provincial
Subway Tile:  White 3 x 6 purchased from Charles Tiles
Wall color:  Benjamin Moore - Manchester Tan

For details of the renovation, click any of the posts below:

For more inspiration, please follow along...
Joining these parties:

September 11, 2015

Never Forget

We live just over an hour from New York City.

I still remember every detail of watching the events unfold from the computer monitors at work that morning...that awful feeling of waiting to hear from the friends and family who worked in the city.  We didn't hear from some until very late in the day.  But we were lucky.  Everyone in our lives were accounted for.  While I didn't lose anyone close on September 11th, so many of our friends and family lost loved ones or co-workers.  Many will have tragic memories that will stay with them forever.  I don't think any of us will forget where we were that day.

My kids discussed September 11th at school yesterday.  My younger son told me that each child in his 4th grade class had a chance to share any story they might have.  Obviously, none of them were born yet...heck his teacher was only in high school at the time but still, many of them had stories to tell.  One child lost her grandmother whom she never had the chance to meet.  My son told the class the story of his aunt who happened to be meeting a client for breakfast on the first floor of the 1st Tower.  If she had been up in her office that morning, my son would have never met her.  How different our lives would have been.  She is such a huge part of his life and he adores her.  We all do.

Life can change in an instant and you never know what each day will bring.  Today is always a reminder for me to appreciate the people in my life.

And to Never Forget...

Time is passing.  Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th.  We will remember every rescuer who died in honor.  We will remember every family that lives in grief.  We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.
~ President George W. Bush


September 9, 2015

Catching Up Around Here

How is it the second week of September already?

I have always had mixed feelings about this time of year.  Part of me feels the excitement of a new season and the thrill of having time to myself again.  (Those boys of mine tried their best to drive me insane those last couple of weeks!)  The other part of me is suffering from summer withdrawal and I am already longing for those lazy beach days!

While we were hopping back and forth from the beach this summer, our house was undergoing some major renovations.  We are almost finished except for some painting and a few touch ups.  I haven't blogged too much lately due to all the family time and the spotty internet service at the beach, but I did share a few Instagram photos to keep you all up to date.

 I am still pinching myself that my husband ever agreed to a complete kitchen renovation!

 I am still working on some finishing touches and then I will show you a full before and after reveal!

While all this was going on, we enjoyed the spectacular weather at the Jersey Shore.  And because at times we were there for weeks, (while the our floors were being stained), we found some new activities to try this year!

The boys and I spent an entire afternoon splashing around in Barnegat Bay at Pedals and Paddles in Seaside Heights.  What a blast!  They loved "Jump Island", the floating water trampolines and slides shown above.

While they bounced around, I rented a kayak so I could take some pictures.  Why should they have all the fun?  I forgot how much I love kayaking.  It's been years since I've paddled around in one!

Meanwhile, back at home...
We had our contractor rip out our wire pantry shelves and add custom ones.  If you are doing a kitchen renovation, you might as well do everything, right?!!  I'll give you a pantry reveal as soon as they are complete.   

But like I said, we kept busy while the house was being worked on...
The kids always love crabbing in the bay.

And we spent one of the hottest days of the summer in the air-conditioned Jenkinsons Aquarium in  Point Pleasant Beach.

Of course, the second half of the hottest day of the summer was spent on rides at Point Pleasant Boardwalk.  Mostly this roller coaster...
I seriously almost passed out from the heat...
but the sweltering temperatures didn't bother the kids!

We managed to dash home for a few days here and there once the fumes from the wood floors started to become bearable.  We timed it right so the boys could build their cardboard boat for the annual boat race at our pool!
This year we went with a golf cart theme!
The boys came in 2nd for Best in Show and 2nd in their overall race time!

And back to the beach we went!  We always love gazing at the kites in Seaside Park...
Although I don't think we flew ours once this year!

I managed to squeeze in a little bit of shopping...
My new favorite store - The Beach Home in Lavalette.  I need my own beach house so I can decorate from this store.  And I think I need some more Dash and Albert rugs...

And we were blown away by the unbelievable sunsets!
I am going to miss this...

So that's my quick review of our summer.  We just got home Monday, the kids started school yesterday and now I am in major cleanup/organization mode!  You wouldn't believe how much I have to do around here....

I can't wait to get back into my regular blog reading
and my semi-regular blog writing schedule!
I've missed you guys!
I feel like I'm back to school!

How was your summer vacation?
What are you up to these days?

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