Another kitchen update – Floors, counters and exterior

The kitchen renovation continues! I think we probably have about a week and half left at this point. Here is the current state:

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We are thrilled with it so far, and truly these pictures don’t do it justice. I told my mom this kitchen reno is very much like the half marathons I’ve run in. I am doing great the whole time, exhibiting mental strength, feeling good, and then I get to mile 11-12 and I start shutting down. I lose the mental energy and suddenly the race becomes a thousand times harder. Those last two miles are killer! That is exactly how this is. I’ve been fine up until this point. Now that the finish line is near, I am losing my mental strength and just want a kitchen! I want easily accessible ice and milk! I want a SINK! Oh, how I have missed a decent sink. The small bathroom sink in the playroom doesn’t cut it. πŸ™‚ I just want to be done and I want my house organized again. It’s incredibly difficult to come home after a long day of work, and the last crazy hours with children before bedtime (why are they the craziest before bedtime???) and never feel like you can relax in your own home! However, after my last half marathon, I told Brian I was pretty sure I could have kept going for another few miles. I am trying to remember the lessons running has taught me through this – the finish line will come and you won’t remember those last difficult miles!

Now for some details.


I will preface this by saying that Brian and I have never lived in a house/apartment with anything other than formica. I’ve never lived anywhere that had tile floor in the kitchen!!! Only linoleum, so I basically don’t know what to do with myself over all this stone and there has been a big learning curve for me.

In selecting the counters, we went with a two-tone look. Different slabs for the L-shape and for the island. For the L-shape, we chose absolute black granite from India. I liked this particular slab, because there were no purple tones, just a few white crystals that would coordinate nicely with the marble on the island. That was a pretty easy choice. We decided to go with a leathered finish, because I’m not a huge fan of shiny granite. I know, that’s weird, but I prefer a matte look. I am so happy with how they turned out!

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When you touch the black counters, it feels liked a honed countertop. It is still smooth, but feels matte. I am obsessed with it. I keep walking in there just to touch it. Oh, and we went with beveled edges, which ended up being a great choice.

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We chose a 60/40 sink because it is the most functional. We used to have one big sink, and I imagined it would probably be similar to having a farm sink and I absolutely hated the functionality of it. I like having two separate spaces. I would have preferred the look of a true farm sink in our colonial house, but chose function over form! We’ve got three holes waiting on a instant hot water dispenser, soap dispenser and the one piece faucet.

For the island, we chose carrera marble. We looked at a few slabs of Brazilian marble, but ultimately liked the carrera the best. It is one big piece and I promise to post better pictures in the final kitchen post. It’s hard taking pictures because there is no lighting in here at all, except all the sunlight. The veining in it is beautiful! So much movement in the stone. We will apply a special sealer on it that also gives us a 15 year warranty.

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The floors

We went with 12″ x 24″ slate tiles. We chose slate because of the texture and unevenness. Also, it feels like a natural, outdoor material which I like. The slate has caused us the most issues so far. We way over ordered because slate varies so much I wanted to hand choose each one. Well, my choosiness ended up in defeat when we ran out of slate and had to order more. We need 20 more pieces that meet my standards. I just didn’t want any that had purple or red tones. Some of them have minimal brown portions, but I was okay with it since we’ll tie in a little brown with wood barstools and accessories. I have no idea when the rest of the slate is coming in, but appliances are on their way, so we went ahead and grouted what we had installed! We went with a dark gray grout. These pics are WITHOUT the sealer applied. The sealer will enhance the colors.

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We installed a window seat under the bay window with drawers for added storage. This is already such a sweet little spot. I can’t wait to decorate it! This is the view from the sink. Perfect for seeing the kids in the backyard, now that everything is so open.

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Patio and walkway

Landscaping is on the list – I promise! One day it will happen.

A few weeks into the project, we decided since we would be using the french doors a lot more now that they are off the kitchen (bringing in groceries, kids running in and out) so we decided to extend the tiny patio that existed and put in a more functional walkway. Last fall, we had a big gumball tree removed from this area so we have a lot more light and space now.

So, we installed a new lantern by the back doors that had more light. Then widened the patio enough to add a grill and a couple chairs, and put in a flagstone walkway with pebbles. It looks so much nicer to have all that awful monkey grass gone. We still want to do some work to this bed – add an herb garden, put in some nicer landscaping. The guys that ripped out the monkey grass got poison ivy (sorry!) but it is everywhere in our backyard! So, Brian and I are scared to do anything ourselves.

All we had was a monkey grass lined walkway with a few stones leading up. They ripped out the grass and put the metal dividers down.Β Also, note the top right of this picture. Our next door neighbors are having major work done to their house and even hosted us for dinner one night while we had no kitchen! Happy to see all the progress in our neighborhood with home updates, but our street looks a little crazy right now with all the work trucks coming and going!

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Then they installed the stones and laid the concrete. It will be so nice having a grill off of the kitchen! We’ve had to walk through two rooms from the kitchen to grill the last five years, so this is exciting for Brian.

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Eventually, Brian wants to add a deck to the side off of this area. In a few years! I swear our house will never be done. No rush though, because we the screened porch that we enjoy so much. But the kitchen will be done SOON! πŸ™‚



Kitchen: Chapter 2

First, a sweet Mother’s Day pic of my little family! They showered me and it was a special day spending time with my mom and mother-in-law too!

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Well, now we are getting to the fun part of the kitchen renovation. Cabinets, granite, appliances, floor tile, back splash tile, trim work and lighting! So far, Brian and I have been in pretty much identical agreement on design options, which has made the process really fun for us!

First though, since our house is already completely out of control, we decided to mix it up even more and put new recessed lighting throughout the downstairs and replace the big fixture in the foyer. If you are in the Mid-South, I cannot recommend Magnolia Lighting in Hernando enough! They are the best lighting store and have semi-annual sales in April and November. Totally worth the drive! We had our fixture replaced. I am not the best at taking pictures of the inside of my house, but here is an iPhone pic of the new fixture!

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After passing framing, electrical and plumbing inspections and filing the permits needed in the kitchen, the patched up the walls and ceilings.

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Then, they painted the ceilings white throughout the downstairs and the kitchen walls Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. It is the prettiest color! Sometimes it looks gray, sometimes it looks blue, and sometimes it looks green all while being a neutral color.

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They also delivered and installed our cabinets! I am quite impressed with the speed of this remodel. We are planning to finish ahead of the original schedule. Part of that is because we have remained issue-free, and I am so thankful to find a contractor that is as good as ours.

For our cabinets, they are painted Benjamin Moore White Dove, the same color as the trim throughout our house. We went with mostly drawers, since there is nothing more annoying than getting on my hands and knees to dig through bottom cabinets. I’m still working on selecting the hardware.

It should look like this pretty soon!


The 8 ft island layout. Those are BIG drawers for pot and skillet storage, and then a cutting board/tray storage section in between them with double trash pull-outs for regular trash and recycling. I can’t tell you how fun it was to design these cabinets!




We still do not have a pantry in this kitchen, so Brian is rigging one up for us. We bought a solid wood TV cabinet with sliding doors on a local Facebook resale site for $100. Brian built shelving for the inside, sanded and whitewashed it. It will go on the other side of the kitchen and hold our microwave, canned goods and baking supplies.

For the flooring in the kitchen, we selected 12 x 24 dark gray slate tiles from Floor & Decor. They will be laid in a brick pattern. Still trying to determine the backsplash!

Appliances… Thanks to Memorial Day, we should get pretty good prices on these.Β We’re going with a Bosch dishwasher and an LG french door refrigerator. For the stove, we talked about running a gas line in, but it was going to be expensive and not easy, so we opted to keep the electric cooking. However, our contractor called us yesterday and said that while the cabinet guy was installing, he came across a capped off gas line very near the location of the range! We couldn’t believe it! So, we are going through the process of getting the permit to reconnect it, and we should be good to go on cooking with gas. I was so excited over this! We will be going with the LG double oven and convection gas range.

We still have to select granite this week and finalize the window seat we are putting in at the bay window – just across from the island. It will have large pull out drawers for storing small appliances, serveware, linens, etc. He is coming to build it Saturday, and I can’t wait to see all the cabinets with the window seat installed!

We’re making progress, and we’re scheduled to be complete on June 5. Woohoo!

P’s Big Boy Room

First, something funny he said last Friday night at the CBHS football game.

Announcer at the game: “CBHS calls a time out.”
Preston, loudly, for the surrounding fans to hear: “UH OH!!!” πŸ™‚

Onto his big boy room. It’s a good thing we have a baby coming into the nursery, because it was pretty bittersweet to move him into a big boy room. I think I really would have been sad. He absolutely loves his room and it is becoming one of our favorite rooms in the house.

The nursery is directly across from our bedroom, making middle of the night feedings much easier. P is now down the hall from us. It is actually the largest bedroom in our house. We don’t really know how big it is, but our guess is 22 x 17? We really thought about what we wanted to do, and while we are not one for “themes” we just put things in the room that P loves. We are so happy with how it turned out.

We are also not very gutsy when it comes to paint, but I think we went outside of our normal comfort zone on the trim. I have been loving Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Gray so much on the two spindle beds I thrifted, that we decided to paint the whole trim that color. It is masculine and modern and we love it. We went with Benjamin Moore’s White Diamond on the walls.

Here are the before pics of the room at the time we purchased our house (previous owners stuff! Eww on the window treatments!)


Left side of the room. Hard to tell from this picture, but the trim in here was mustard.


This is the right side of the room from the doorway.

Here is the room now…







Ikea hack for the nightstand. Google Ikea Rast and see all the cool things people have done with this basic nightstand. We totally copied an image we saw and bought some cute construction knobs on Etsy.


We put up a little bulletin board and I covered it with some fabric we had for P to display some of his artwork. We already have SO much from preschool last year and this year, so it was hard to choose a few of my favorites. πŸ™‚

We have his toddler bed in there for now, because he is happy sleeping in it. One transition at a time. πŸ™‚ We pile up on the spindle bed and read books before bed. It also serves as a good place to get him dressed in the morning and still put the nighttime diaper on.

The maps hanging on the wall were a little DIY project. We followed this tutorial and found the maps at an estate sale. I love them because they show all the countries where Preston’s family comes from – Italy, Eastern Europe, etc. – so that is kind of neat to us. Β There might also be a big brother gift in the works that will go in his room – Ana White’s Train Trundle. Georgia has a bye week this weekend, so that means I temporarily get my husband back for on Saturday this fall. πŸ™‚ He plans to finish it and it will go under the big bed. I’ll be watching the UT/Oregon game. πŸ™‚

The biggest victory with this room is that we officially have no more mustard trim in our house. WOO HOO! It only took almost 3 years to get rid of it all, but Brian and I will be perfectly happy if we never have to paint any trim again. πŸ™‚

We are waiting to finish the nursery until we know if it’s a boy or a girl, so that probably won’t happen for another month or two. We need a rug and window treatments mainly. I’ll share when we finish it!