12.17.2014

Tiny Tudor Kitchen Tour...


One of the things I love about our little town home community is that it was built in the English style with all of the houses facing in toward each other overlooking a shared courtyard.  Another vintage English feature is the oh so tiny kitchens.  This is not an open concept type home, instead the kitchen is closed off- a mere 9x12 room.  By Texas standards, that is a micro-kitchen, but I have to say it is my very favourite kitchen we've had so far.  It's simple utilitarian style makes it a breeze to cook in and clean up.

You begin by entering the door where the dishwasher is immediately on the left...


And the sink area...




 Travis built the open shelving.  What I use daily is on the lower shelf, and things I use occasionally are up top.  Yes, I dust it, no, it's not a pain to do...



The refrigerator is a fridge only counter-depth.  I like that we eat fresh food and nothing frozen.  I plan meals daily and visits to the grocer are about every other day.  This keeps me from buying more than we need for the week, and I am very strict about sticking to my list for that day...

This is where I keep pots, pans, knives, cutting boards and the microwave oven...



The stove is an electric drop-in.  There is not a gas hook up in our community- everything is electric. It was a bit of an adjustment at first with cooking, but I am getting used to the electric oven pretty well.  I designed the entire kitchen with a space in mind for the vintage butcher scale.  I love using it to keep all of my oil & spices as well as cooking utensils on...




This is our pantry that I designed to be tall and narrow in depth.  I didn't want to have a huge cavernous pantry, because I know from past experience that we tend to just shove things to the back and never use them.  This design keeps me accountable for anything that is in there...



As you can see to the right of the above picture, after turning around the room we are back at the doorway.   Small, but efficient- and simple in design.


Room Sources:
Wall Paint- White Duck by Sherwin Williams
Cabinets- Kraftmaid in Mushroom
Countertops- Honed Cararra Marble
Appliances- Dishwasher LG, Stove GE, Fridge Frigidaire
Open shelving- built by Travis (go here to read about how he made these)
Sink- Shaws purchased from Overstock
Faucet- Wayfair
Rangehood- Project Beautify
Wall Pot Rack and Knife Holder- Bed, Bath & Beyond
Rug- Dash & Albert
Dishes- Emma Bridgewater

12.16.2014

Keeping the holidays simple...

If you spend any time on FB or around other people you will constantly hear things like, "It's so hectic right now" or "I can't seem to get it together for Christmas" or my personal fav "Craptasticly Stressed".   The thing is, we are the ones who are making it this way.  We create our own ideas of what the holiday should look like.  Pinterest and endless holiday blogger home tours are of no help either.  Who doesn't spend a little time peruseing the internet only to find themselves in the middle of a craft store to pick up just a few more baubles for the house or just one more gift for one of the kids?

I've done it.  I used to do it- every.  damn.  year.

Until I decided not to.

We did the over the top decorating.  The excessive gift buying (I say excessive, but compared to some folks I've seen I realize that we have always done gift giving on the conservative side), holiday baking extravaganza, gingerbread house contests, holiday card mailing, and chasing every cliche holiday photo op with our kids.  That stuff is exhausting, and honestly, not the memories that stick out in one's mind after the years go by.

I remember one Christmas as a little kid.  I had a go-kart that my sister and I drove all the time on the empty lot next to our house.  All I wanted that year was a set of orange road cones.  My dad waited until we were asleep and then arranged the cones in a line from our bed to the tree.  I don't remember anything else I got that year, because honestly- the cones were all I wanted.  Sure, I listed a bunch of other stuff, but the cones were the golden goose egg for me.

Here is what I do to keep our holidays stress and debt free...


  • Gifts.  What's the number one thing on your list?  There.  Just that one thing- that is your gift.  We buy one thing for each of our kids.  The one thing they really, really want.  Simple, and it will be remembererd because it's not competitng with fifty other gifts.  The other thing we give them is books.  Books are the one thing I will buy all year long.  We don't buy our children anything else toy wise all year- but the books, yes to those.  



  • Stockings.  Years ago when Travis lost his job we had near to no money for the holidays.  So I started stuffing stockings with shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant and socks- things they needed.  They never missed having toys in there and opened those stockings with as much gusto and excitement as if it had been filled with candy.  This year we are not doing stockings.  The kids are all grown up enough to know there is no Santa, so I decided to put the extra money into more books ;)



  • Baking.  If you follow me on IG you know about my cookie dipping disaster this morning.  It was picture perfect- Sara and I in the kitchen with aprons on, Christmas music in the background, and then the chocolate glooped up in a cement hard mess that wasn't suitable for dipping anything into. Am I stressed about it?  Nope.  We laughed.  I still need to find something sweet for the kid's homeschool co-op teachers- but thankfully we live next door to a bakery, so problem solved.  



  • Family Christmas pictures- yeah.  I have teens, and would have better luck getting a dozen kittens to sit for a picture.  Thankfully, they are all together in one place every now and then and I can grab a quick picture.  This year's picture was from Halloween, and I had posted it to IG.   I grabbed it, put it on a Tiny Prints card and PRESTO!  Holiday cards.  I only purchased 25 of them- if someone sent me a card, I sent one back.   Ta da.  



  • Decorating.  This year every decoration we have came out of a box that I keep our stockings and vintage postcards in.  Since everything else is in storage, we just went with what we had along with some fresh greenery from the store.  Simple and I can clean it up in no time when the holiday is over. I may do a bit more next year, but for this year I am really enjoying the simplicity of it.  


So that's it.  My simple holiday guidelines.  Enjoy each other, focus on friendships and family.   Less stuff, and more simple.


Adding corbels...


Tudor style homes usually include corbels.  Our tiny tudor had them at one time, but must have been removed when all of the hardie board was replaced...


You can faintly see the imprint of where three corbels used to sit under the large jut out piece above the dining room window...



Today we decided to build some corbels to put under that eave and give it a bit more balance.

Then we realized that we were going to have to make some major purchases, like a band saw along with something to round out the wood, like a lathe.  It seemed a bit silly to purchase heavy tools just to make some simple corbels.  So we went shopping on line...

We found some lovely corbels at a reasonable price over at ProWoodMarket  These were our favorite...



They are a smooth cedar, so we are thinking we will stain them in the dark walnut to match our front door.  That way there is a bit of contrast between all the painted finishes up front.   They should be arriving this week and we hope to get them up on the house over the weekend.

Nothing like tackling a few home improvement projects over the holidays!

12.12.2014

Holiday windowbox...

Yesterday I decided to spruce up the little windowbox Travis built under the kitchen window.   I have all of our garden herbs in it, but it needed a little holiday cheer.  Our local hardware store had free branches from the Christmas trees, so I snagged a few of them along with some fake berry branches and jingle bells that I had in my holiday box...



 I love how it bulked up this little window box without spending a dime...

12.09.2014

An interior window awning...

I'm the vision on our diy team.  I could see this piece before it was built.  Sara's window needed a bit of visual interest, and I knew that adding this striped awning would give it just that.

Travis started out using 1/2 inch cabinet grade plywood.  He measured the window and decided to come out 8 inches from the wall for the lower part of the awning and 3 inches out from each side of the window.  We wanted it to hang out a bit, but not block a lot of light from her room.  The side pieces were cut four inches at the top and eight inches at the bottom to give it a slope.


Travis used a 2x4 on the top piece (brace) to give it a bit more support in hanging it.


Once the sides were attached to the front, he cut another piece of wood for the very bottom of the awning front.  Then used a template and his skillsaw to cut the scallops.


The entire piece got a good sanding...



Then it was time to tape and paint.  We wanted to give it black and white stripes, so Travis taped off each piece lined up with the 4 inch scallops...


And this is the result...


Travis used four inch screws to secure the awning to the rafters.  He wanted to be sure that this piece didn't come crashing down...


I may add a fun little rug to her room, but for now this room is "finished"...