Solid Surface Recap

In my last couple of posts I showed a lot of our countertops and I realized I never did a follow-up post to the installation.  We've lived with them now for a couple months, so I can also share my opinions on solid surface in the kitchen, (since we installed solidsurface ourselves in the bathroom upstairs and have been living with that for a year and a half).

For a reminder, after switching from our original plan for granite, we went with Corian Rain Cloud from Home Depot.  We couldn't be happier with our choice.  To be perfectly honest though, we've never had so much counter space, so we're probably still in the adjustment period of so much space to use, regardless of what it's made of!

I will say that I was a little concerned with the pattern, especially since it was a directional pattern.  Knowing I would have 2 corner cuts I was worried that it would look very obvious.  To add to my worries, the day of installation Mike was texting me throughout the process and informed me that the overhang for the peninsula would also have a seam since the width was wider than the sheets used.  I was beyond nervous coming home that day.

The base is white, with gray "veining", (not really sure what to call them), and some brownish spots as well.  I was worried the brown would look weird, or dirty, but it's actually great for picking up the brown accents throughout the space, as well as hiding dirt, go figure!

The corner seams are nearly invisiable, and since we have things in the corners, you really can't see them at all.

The overhang seam is a little more noticeable, but only if you're looking for it.

For the most part the gray veining blends, but there are a couple spots where the gray has a definite cut line exposing the seam.

I've highlighted the seam and pointed to one of the obvious spots that shows the cut more prominently.  

While I made the final decision on the pattern, (Mike signed off obviously), Mike was in charge of all the small details.  As I've mentioned before, he worked in a counter shop in high school, so he's aware of the more minute details that I didn't even know to address.

When he sent out our requirements for quotes, he knew to include the overhang information, eased edging, and the sink information of under-mounting.  He was present for the templating, and the installation.  I would have had no idea about the over hangs on the edge of the peninsula, or the other side where the counter is next to the door, but he knew these things and made sure to communicate to the installers.   

My only requirement was for the edge to be thick to give it a more "stone-like" look.  The edges are 1 1/2" thick and look very substantial, and with the simple eased edge profile, it looks more like a slab of stone.

The other concern was out of all the materials and patterns of solid surface, Rain Cloud was very soft.  It's kind of velvety to the touch almost.  I know this is weird, and I didn't even notice it until I did some research and found Lindsay from Little House Blog discussing Carrara Marble alternatives.  When I touched all the samples, I could see exactly what she meant.  I was worried that it would never feel clean.  We obviously went for it anyways, and I'm happy to report it I like the satin, almost velvet feel.  It doesn't have a shiny finish that I think I would prefer, but it's very nice, and different.

Being solid surface we haven't had any staining issues, or problems cleaning it.  I have found that liquid spills leave shiny spots which I can see if the light hits it a certain way.  For instance I recently found an area with a circle about 3 inches wide of very tiny shiny dots all around it.  I wiped it up with my new favorite go-to counter spray, Mrs. Meyers, (in basil scent), but I couldn't for the life of me figure out where it came from, or how it was made.  A couple days later I watched Mike pour some Sprite into a tumbler, and realized the tiny dots were the carbonation bubbles, which explained why there was a 3" spot in the middle where the glass sat.  Not a big deal at all, but I've gotten used seeing little shiny spots from where water or some liquid has dried.  I just wipe it up and move on.  Obviously, a shiny surface like granite wouldn't show this, but on the flip side, a different material would have different maintenance issues of it's own!     

Overall we're really happy with the counters, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I've been known to pet them from time to time.   

Pendants, Pendants, Everywhere!

I thought I'd zoom out on the photos of my last post and share the lighting situation over the peninsula.

Like I mentioned on my mood board, we wanted something a little modern/industrial, but still fit with the more historical aspects of our older home.  These clear globe pendants from Etsy fit the bill perfectly.  It might look like we hung them a little high from the above angle, but they sit right above eye level for both Mike and my 5'7" heights.

I love the simple architectural impact they make, while also visually letting the kitchen remain open to the dining room.

We bought Edison lights from Home Depot and they give off a nice warm glow when turned on.

Our favorite part is that the filaments get reflected inside the globe below the bulb, and look really neat in person.

We don't use them that often now that it's light outside again, but when we're eating dinner at the peninsula, which is mostly where we eat now, or have people over, we turn them on.  Mostly for the ambiance.  

Since we had such awesome lighting over the peninsula, we knew we had to have something equally great in the dining room.  I almost settled many times, but I finally found the winner at World Market one day.

Obviously, these were taken before the kitchen pictures, and yes, we are still getting snow in April.  Will it ever end?!  These are also the "before" pictures of our now installed curtains, thank goodness!

While it has a slightly funky shape, this pendant isn't that crazy, until you get a little closer.

That's right, gold!

I've been on a gold kick, (much to Mike's chagrin), and I loved the simplicity of this pendant, but especially the unexpected gold inside.  It looks nice turned off, but literally glows when it's on.

The gold, is a nice deep color too.  Very rich looking, not cheap like it'll flake off.

It's gives off a lot less light than our old fan/light, but with the two rooms, now one big one, we didn't need anything more than something to light up the table.  It's weird because it only uses one little 60 watt bulb, but gives off a lot of glow.

So, now I've shared the lighting over the peninsula and the dining room pendant.  We still have more lighting in the kitchen area, but nothing worth a whole post, so I'll save that for a different time.  Now that the weather is warming up, I'm finally able to finish the last couple of outstanding items, some the require spray painting.  I should be able to show more finished areas of the kitchen soon!

Not So Kitchy Kitchen Art

We have a ton more counter space in the new kitchen then we did before, and to make it feel less empty, (and less "morgue like" since that's Mike's favorite new way to describe it), I wanted to add some art.  I knew this space at the corner of the peninsula would be perfect since there is a lot of space, it would be less likely to be in the way.

I remember seeing this pin a couple months ago and thought how appropriate a recipe card would be.  


I already knew what recipe I would use too.  My grandmother, whom I call TwoMommy, (don't ask), makes a mean Salisbury Steak.  Something we always request when we're in town.  So, I knew I wanted that to be the framed recipe.  A couple years ago, my Aunt gave my sister and I one of my favorite Christmas presents to date, a recipe box of all my grandmother's recipes.  She printed them out on personalized cards with a silly picture of my grandmother.

While I loved the card, I was hoping to find a more "vintage" style recipe card.  So, I put the card back with all the other family recipes and searched google.  I hit the jackpot when I came across this free template from Love vs Design.

I used photoshop plus a "typewriter" font, (found here), to add the recipe and printed out my "vintage" recipe card.

Awhile ago on an unrelated art hunt, I had been looking for an Etsy artist to paint our house to have custom illustration.  I was getting discouraged because all the ones I really liked were more than I was willing to spend.  I thought I would save this for maybe an anniversary or Christmas gift idea for Mike and sort of forgot about it.

That's until the recent Waterlogue app craze.  I'm pretty cheap with apps and rarely buy the $0.99 ones, so dropping $2.99 on an app seemed crazy, but when I thought that I was willing to shell out over $100 for an Etsy painting, I figured $3 wasn't that much to lose to see if I could make something myself.  I bought the app and used the only exterior shot I have.

30 seconds of digital painting later:

I loved it.  Best $3 on art I've spent in a long time!

Sidenote: After all that internal dialogue over spending a couple bucks, my mom sent me this exact "painting" via text a couple days after I made this.  Turns out she bought the app and was having fun turning everything into a watercolor too!

So, I had my two pieces of art, and I have enough frames in the house to start a shop, the only problem was the matting from the frames, were 1.) two different colors and 2.) no where near the right size for the art I just made.  This is a big problem for me since I buy frames in bulk but then they sit empty because I can't find a photo/art to perfectly fit the matting opening.  That's when I figured out how to solve this on-going issue.  My own mat cutter.

via Amazon
I was at Joann's and had hoped to grab a couple uncut mat boards, but it turns out they do not sell them, (must have something to do with the entire department of custom framing), so I was told to get a large piece of illustration board and was reassured it's the same weight of traditional matting.

I'm not going to lie, it was really difficult cutting the mat while holding a straight edge in place, but I have a hundred more frames to fill so, I'll get it down.  Luckily, the mat and the edge of the paper is both white, so it's not that noticeable that my lines are wavy.

After the art, I added the tray I had bought awhile ago, which was part of my original mood board.

I didn't exactly style the tray, it just sat empty for a couple days, then Mike added some liqueur bottles, (he's on a mixology kick), and I saw the cutest mini orchard for $4 at Home Depot one day.

I'm also trying to use more candles, (weird that Mike's the bigger fan in the family), and really fell for this one at Target.  I'm pretty sure it's Black Orchard and Amber.  The little copper pot didn't hurt either!

You may also notice our little techy addition to the backsplash on the right.

We added a usb charger outlet!

Everyone comments on it when they come over, so I definitely wanted to mention it.  We knew we wanted a place to charge our phones in the new kitchen, and figured we should place it on the end of the peninsula so that we can use our phones while we're sitting there.  Mike bought a receptacle from Home Depot, but the usb ports replaced one of the outlets.  We found this bad boy at Menards, which still has two outlets, plus the two usb ports.

It's actually kind of overkill at this point since you can see there's an outlet 3' to the left, but it's still nice to have!  Also good to mention, is that this didn't require any special wiring, so you can replace any receptacle with this one for your own usb ports!

After I added the frames and everything else, I realized I can "hide" the cords by putting them behind the frames.

We charge our phones every night either on the counter or setting them in the tray.  It's nice to finally have a permanent solution.

It's such a little thing to style a whole 2 feet of countertop space, but I love the personal art as well as the cute factor.  Mike just loves that the whiskey is within reach at any given moment!

Our First Post-Kitchen-Remodel Party

Since our kitchen is at the state of completion, I wanted to throw a party.  That's a little weird for me, since Mike's always the one to suggest dinners and having groups of people over.  I think I've always felt our awkward little kitchen was not only ugly, but not conducive for entertaining.  Now that we have our dream kitchen, for this house at least, I was excited to have people over!

The only problem was, I couldn't think of an excuse.  I was itching for a real party, paper invites and all.  It just so happened that our very close friends were finding out the gender of their second child around the time I was hoping to have a party, and since there wouldn't be a baby shower, a gender reveal party it was!

It actually was really easy to throw together, so much so that I didn't freak out when I realized we would be in Canada for a long weekend the week before.  I found my inspiration in the form of this invite from Etsy.

I went back and forth on what clever phrase to use, you know "Bow or Beau", "Little Man or Little Lady", and decided on "Blue or Pink, What Do You think?".  Here's what the invite looked like, (names and address are obviously fake):

I kept the ombre color theme throughout my decorations.  My friend's husband thought I was crazy for actually using decorations, but it made the party in my opinion.  

Ps. How does one run around like crazy getting a party ready, and have time to take super styled photos?  I didn't even have half the food out in the photo above and took this photo about 7 minutes before everyone showed up. 

The background, (which unfortunately had to share the spotlight with our new dining room pendant light - which I'll share more details later), was a bunch of paper fans I bought and hotglued to 2 pieces of poster board taped together.  I first laid everything out on the floor, then starting gluing.  Don't forget to take a photo to look back on when gluing in case your cat decides to jump over and knock some fans off.  Just saying.

I trimmed the pieces of poster board that you can see in the edges and along the sides.

I also made the tissue paper tassel garland, probably my favorite decorating item, that I mastered back at my bridal shower.  They even made an appearance at the wedding

The dining room was the perfect place to decorate since it's still such a blank slate.  We have curtains to hang, but decided to hold off until after the party so it would be easier to decorate and hang things up.  The small table on the right used to sit in the living room, but has been displaced since we installed the fauzdenza and was used for a little guessing game.

I made a sign with a couple pregnancy facts for anyone that wanted to use the old wive's tales for their guesses.  I used a command strip, (my absolute favorite hanging system), to hang it above the table.

Everyone made their guess then wrote their name on a piece of paper, then placed it in the color coded bucket.  They also grabbed a little clothes pin with a blue or pink ribbon in it to wear.  After the reveal, we picked a name from the correct gender bucket and they got a gift card.  Really simple, but kept people involved in the fun.

Since the party started at 3pm, I had some heavy apps, including these buffalo chicken empanadas, (so good), smoked chicken spinach artichoke dip, (mike took lead on this since it's his fav), and some tomato and bacon cups, (my mom's recipe - cooked in biscuit "cups").  Also, some veggies, fruits, and chips and dip.  For dessert I made rice krispie treats, then dipped various items in chocolate, because anything tastes better dipped in chocolate.  It was also a way to carry the ombre color design into the food.

Pretzels, oreos, and marshmallows, oh my!

Everything turned out great, and it was so much fun showing off our new kitchen and getting to share in our friend's big reveal.  Oh, and for "main event" I made our godson a shirt to announce the new arrival.


He had the shirt under his regular shirt, then lifted it up for everyone to see!  It was so much fun to see everyone who had guessed a girl! 

The only thing I was concerned with was we are a house of two adults and don't have any toys, and I don't exactly decorate with kid-proofing in mind, (although I think cat-proofing might be very similar).  I had asked our friends to brings some toys since we had some toddlers and kids coming.  It turned out it wasn't needed since apparently all you need is a giant couch, some pillows and tons of blankets.  The aftermath:

I'll have to remember that for next time.  And, thank goodness for the kids section of Netflix because even though they could have jumped on the couch all night, it was for the adults sanity that all the kids crashed in front of the tv for a little bit to calm down!