Progress Sneak Peek {Kitchen Renovation}

It's been quite the summer in our abode from a renovation standpoint.  It's been nearly two months since we have lived without a kitchen (and any common living areas for that matter).  The finish line is within sight, yet still a ways away.  There are a gazillion details that need to come together before everything is done!

Here's a progress peek of our new kitchen...

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design remodel

Kindly excuse the blurry cell phone photos.

This is where it started...

kitchen remodel interior design

Kitchen Before Photos

Among the many decisions made during the design/planning phase, we chose a white finish for the perimeter cabinets and a dark espresso finish for the island.  The island is actually more of a black with some dark brown wood tones showing through.  The photos below depict the true color better.

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design kitchen remodel

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design kitchen remodel espresso white shaker

I am so happy with the carpentry detail of the cabinets.  The drawers and doors are slowly going in, and then chunky molding will be installed (after the new hardwood floors go in) to finish off the base of the island and certain perimeter cabinets.  I'll dish on all the specific design details when I reveal the finished kitchen.

Crown molding has already been installed...

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design kitchen remodel transitional white shaker cabinets espresso island

... and they really elevate the look of the upper cabinets and overall kitchen!

Unfortunately, we did hit a snag with the countertops.  The stone we selected is backlogged about six weeks.  Unless we choose another option, the backsplash installation will also be delayed since backsplashes go in after countertops.  Go with a Plan B, or stick with Plan A?!  Decisions, decisions... so many of them!

Home Tour: A Mid-Century Bohemian Home

So much of this California home tour via Design Sponge inspired me...

mcm vintage bohemian home tour hmong african mud cloth pillows

mid century modern bohemian vintage interior design decorating

The eclectic mix of bohemian/vintage and mid-century modern is a favorite of mine - and this home has it to the nines.  The home looks effortlessly styled and collected over time.  It isn't perfectly tailored or refined; simply approachable, comfortable, and real.  I especially love all the natural light that floods the home!

bohemian mcm interior design decorating

interior styling decorating design eclectic vintage bohemian mid century modern
See those hats?  They are cleverly covering up electrical outlets and switches not in use!

mid century modern vintage eclectic mcm interior design decorating

I'm also currently crushing on mud cloth and Hmong pillows, which you could find throughout this home.

eclectic vintage mcm interior design decorating mud cloth hmong textiles fabrics

pillows textiles interior design decorating vintage mcm mid century modern mud cloth hmong pillows

Head on over to Design Sponge to see more of this fabulous California desert home.

*All images via Design Sponge

Design Trend: Mud Cloth & Hmong Textiles

African mud cloth hmong batik fabric pillow covers

You know I have a thing for swapping out pillows, right?!  So it should come as no surprise that I've been sourcing new options to use in our family room once this round of renovations are over.  Two particular fabrics, known as "mud cloth" and "hmong", have really caught my attention.  I absolutely love the texture and pattern of these textiles!

mud cloth fabric textiles
African Mud Cloth Pillows

In simple terms, mud cloth is a handmade cotton fabric that is traditionally dyed with fermented mud.  The technique comes from the African Mali culture.

hmong pillows home decor accessories
Examples of Hmong textiles

Hmong textile art, or "flower cloth", is a traditional art practiced by the Hmong people - an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.  The embroidered cloths have bold geometric designs that are often interwoven in bright, contrasting colors.

The popularity of both mud cloth and Hmong textiles has really surged in recent years, making a worldwide appearance in fashion, art, and home decor.

A Hmong-inspired bolster pillow was recommended in this recent bedroom design:

Hmong fabric textile bolster pillow interior design decorating west elm cb2 world market crate and barrel minted

I also incorporated the blue/white African mud cloth lumbar pillow in this design:

One Kings Lane African mud cloth fabric pillow e-design interior design decorating

Are you a fan of this "design trend"?!

Sharing with: The Shabby Nest; Home Stories A to Z, Inspire Me Monday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Share Your Style, Think & Make Thursday, Your Turn to Shine

The Kitchen Mood Board & Layout

Throughout our renovation process, we have tried to embrace our home's mid-century ranch/rambler architecture, but give it an updated, modern twist.  The kitchen design is no different.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed the kitchen aesthetic we are drawn to.

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design shaker cabinets pull out storage soft closing hinges appliance garage island

I want a classic white kitchen packed with function, durability, and warmth.  The design incorporates timeless materials, clean lines, simple detail, and architectural dimension - hopefully achieving a "Modern Farmhouse" look.


I kept our kitchen priorities in mind with the kitchen design.  Storage was a top priority.  To address our storage needs, we will have several full-extension drawers, an accessible corner cabinet with a lazy susan, a double set of pantry cabinets with full-extension slide-outs (5-feet wide total), and a 6-1/2 foot kitchen island with storage.  An "appliance garage" will be incorporated to house smaller appliances, and hopefully maintain clutter-free counters.  I also debated having open shelving instead of upper cabinets, but in the end, the total functionality of upper cabinets won out.

modern farmhouse kitchen design interior design quartzite quartz stone countertop subway tile backsplash pull down faucet delta shaker profile cabinet doors undermount cast iron single basin sink

Durability and simple maintenance are also top priorities in the kitchen design.  For the countertops, we are going with a slab stone that resembles "carrara marble", but without the inherent softer qualities that marble is known for.  The current plan for the backsplash will be a simple tile (maybe colored?) installed in a subway pattern, which really brings home the "farmhouse" feel.  But I am also considering a few other options...

For architectural dimension, some of the custom cabinetry, including the island, will be "base molded" (rather than toe kicks) for a more finished look.  Crown and trim molding will also be added to finish off the custom cabinets.  We are also doing a two-tone kitchen cabinet scheme for dimension and contrast.

CAD INTERIORS kitchen renovation interior design modern farmhouse kitchen design bronze bin pulls

The hardware is something that I am still debating.  Do we install pulls, knobs, or handles?  Brushed nickel, muted brass, aged bronze, polished chrome?  Right now, I'm leaning towards a combination of pulls and knobs with an aged bronze finish.  I think it adds warmth and texture against all the light surfaces.  We shall see...


Here's a general sketch of our kitchen layout...
layout floor plan kitchen design home improvement modern farmhouse kitchen

We are keeping the original L-shaped configuration, but extending the perimeter cabinetry into part of the adjacent dining room to accommodate pantry storage.  As I mentioned, we are also adding a freestanding 6-1/2 foot eat-in center island to maximize storage and function.

That's an overview of the general kitchen design in a nutshell.  I'm also planning the finishing touches, which includes light fixtures and a feature wall!  In case you missed the "before" photos of the space, you can find them here.  Check in soon for some progress shots.  It's starting to look like a kitchen again!

Black Exteriors?!

Happy Fri-yay!!!  I thought I'd take a break from chatting interior spaces, and turn the attention onto the exterior.  I favor the architectural charm of craftsman and farmhouse homes, but something about "modern" facades also strike me - especially those painted black or a deep charcoal!

black house
Smitten Studio

black exterior house
original source unknown

black exterior home
original source unknown

farmhouse black home white trim
Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects

I wouldn't dare paint our entire house black, as it would stick out like a sore thumb in our established and rather traditional neighborhood.  It's not the look we want anyway.  But I must say... there is just something that speaks to me about the power of black.  Maybe our courtyard walls could get a dose of black?!

Kitchen "Before" Photos

Our kitchen remodel has been on our renovation wishlist since we closed escrow in May 2013.  The remodel is finally here, and we couldn't be any more overwhelmed excited about it!

Before I share the new design, I wanted to show you some "before" photos of the old kitchen.  Here are a few pics that I snapped just hours before demolition.

home improvement classic white modern farmhouse transitional kitchen interior design kitchen remodel
We lived in our home for two full years before tackling the kitchen renovation.  Although frustrating at times, we made this time-capsule of a kitchen work while saving up and planning for the remodel.  During the initial renovation, some cabinets were demolished, the ceiling was smoothed, wallpaper was removed, and recessed lighting was installed.

If possible, I think it's important to live with your kitchen for some time in order to understand how you really use it, how it flows with the rest of the house, how to improve its function, and how to lay it out when it comes time to remodel.  Trust me, I understand it's tempting to just dive right in, but an extensive kitchen renovation is not something you should rush into.  It is a challenging and expensive process.  Obstacles may be inevitable, but with improper planning, it may prove costly.

When we purchased our home, we knew a full kitchen renovation would be required.  The original 1955 cabinets were on its last leg.  Refacing would have been much more economical, but unfortunately, the cabinet frames were in really rough shape.

I actually painted the side of this cabinet with black magnetic paint.  I used the area to put up our "family calendar".

Certain appliances, like the double ovens and dishwasher, were also not working.  We didn't bother to make any short-term fixes, like painting the cabinets or repairing the appliances - although I did change the knobs.  We got by with a $50 second-hand gas cooktop, a $40 toaster oven, and a hand-me-down refrigerator left by the previous owner.  We washed dishes by hand for two years, which was no big deal, except during the holidays!

Oh the floors...  This was probably the biggest eyesore for me.  The linoleum was always so dingy looking, despite how much I tried to clean them.  Since we demo'd the kitchen peninsula before we moved in (see photos below), we were also left with the "gap" in the flooring that you see above.  As a temporary fix to prevent tripping, my husband put down some plywood to fill the space between the hardwood floors and linoleum.

Here are some "before-before" pre-blog cell phone and MLS photos of the original kitchen!

Quite the project, huh?!  One thing this house has going for it is the floor plan.  We were able to see beyond the old dated finishes, and envision a kitchen that would work within the existing layout.  Two years later, we are finally on our way to executing our vision!

Sharing with: Inspire Me Monday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Think & Make Thursday, Your Turn to Shine, Share Your Style, The Shabby Nest

Bathroom Renovation Tips Part 1 {Budget, Layout, Function, Inspection}

CAD INTERIORS bathroom remodel interior design modern transitional bathroom

We have completed two bathroom renovations within a span of two years.  I'm talking down to the studs gut renovations!  There is nothing like actually going through the process twice now to learn a lesson or two.  In case you are considering a bathroom renovation yourself, I thought I'd share some practical tips that will hopefully benefit YOUR process.

Unless money isn't an issue (lucky you!), set a budget.  More importantly, set aside a "cushion" within your total budget for unforeseen costs.  Your budget should be realistic relative to the finishes you envision/want for your bathroom.  "Beer" budgets can't get you "champagne"!  #sadtruth

If your budget is quite restrictive, a recommendation would be to invest in one or two high-impact items (like lighting and fixtures), and be more economical and design-savvy with the rest.  For instance, use decorative tiles as an accent to compliment simple subway tiles.  In our guest bathroom, we paired classic white subway tile (<$2/sf) with a pricier marble hexagon mosaic (~$11/sf).

bathroom renovation transitional design interior design home improvement

You could also install plain tile in varied patterns for some interest and dimension...

ceramic porcelain tile installation pattern layout

classic modern bathroom design renovation interior design transitional
In our main bathroom, we used 4x16 porcelain tile and laid it in a vertical subway pattern rather than in the usual horizontal direction.

Keep in mind how the space will be used.  Consider sight lines as well.  For example, don't place the toilet within full view of the entry.

classic modern bathroom design renovation interior design transitional
Sight line from the doorway.  The commode is tucked away behind the pony wall so it is not immediately visible when you enter the room.

sight lines bathroom design interior design modern transitional bathroom herringbone marble porcelain tile

Once you've come up with your bathroom's layout, make sure you review it with your contractor BEFORE you do anything else.  Bathroom renovations involve various trades, including the plumber and electrician.  It is super important that the design layout will work from a "technical" standpoint.  There are codes that need to be followed.  Keep in mind that if you have an older home, you may need to address any "surprises" if you open up walls.  All the more reason to have a cushion in your budget!

Bathrooms need to function.  Period.  Consider how many people will be using the bathroom on a consistent basis, the amount of storage needed, etc.  A powder room functions much differently than a bathroom that's used by multiple family members on a daily basis.  Function and layout go hand in hand when space planning.

For example, our guest bathroom is sporadically used.  A sleek, single-sink vanity functions perfectly in there.  It offers enough storage to hold extra toiletry items or guest essentials.

transitional bathroom design interior design

floating vanity porcelain tile modern transitional interior design shutters bathroom design

In contrast, since our main bathroom is used daily by the four of us (until the master bath is done), adding plumbing for a second sink was worth the expense.  The vanity cabinet is a storage workhorse too!

all modern transitional bathroom design interior design renovation

The renovation of our guest bathroom in 2013 was our very first experience with a total bathroom overhaul.  A major "error" we made in that renovation was not recessing the existing plumbing lines under the vanity into the wall.

CAD INTERIORS guest bathroom renovation home improvement plumbing design tips interior design

This detail mattered since we installed a floating vanity in this bathroom.  We had just assumed the contractor would move the plumbing into the wall.  Since we were not living in the house at the time (this reno was done before we moved in), we didn't catch the error until it was too late.  It's not immediately noticeable, but I'm sure that it won't go unnoticed now that I pointed it out. :)

Make sure you carefully go through all the plumbing and electrical with your contractor BEFORE the drywall goes up.  Inspect every step of the way!

Fortunately, we were much wiser when it was time for our main bathroom remodel in 2014.  That's not to say we didn't have our fair share of obstacles in this renovation.  Our home was built in 1955, so the walls aren't perfectly straight!

bathroom design interior design modern classic contemporary transitional bathroom

Hope this post was handy and helpful for those of you who are planning major bathroom renovations.  I'll be sharing a few more bathroom renovation tips soon!

Sharing with: Inspire Me Monday, Home Stories A to Z, Wow Us Wednesdays, Share Your Style, Your Turn to Shine, Think & Make Thursday, The Shabby Nest, The Inspiration Gallery