Kitchen Renovation Phase 3 - benjamin moore white dove painted kitchen cabinets and absolute black honed granite counters

Kitchen Reno-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate-vate

It’s like I’ve got this music in my mind…

Happy Fall Ya’ll.  That’s what I would say if I were from here, but I’m not, so I would say Happy Fall You Guys, or if I was on my blog I would say nothing.  For two months.  Can someone be my accountability keeper?   I’ll speed up the kitchen stuff since who cares anymore about every little step. Unless they’re Cobalt’s little steps, then I care about them.  They’re cute and they go tick tick tick tick tick tick tick on the wood floors as he trots to you.  Hey, who’s still reading this? Here’s our white kitchen…

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

And here’s our new window!!

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

And here’s a mini dachshund!

kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

That’s Nick.
kitchen renovation benjamin moore white dove

I promise I’ll take better pictures, but these are all old and terrible. Things started moving pretty quickly once the kitchen was painted.  We went back and forth between Benjamin Moore White Dove and Benjamin Moore Simply White, but I ultimately liked the slight softer tone to White Dove.  It felt less stark.  What didn’t move quickly was my decision-making.  I’ll pause and let everyone be surprised and confused.

The counters made my brain freeze up the most because I envisioned white in my head all along – either marble or something that looked like that.  Well, guess what? Marble is expensive and high maintenance, and I guess between me and Cobalt there are enough high maintenance things in our house.  The most durable and cost-friendly option was granite, but all the white granite options had too many other colors speckled in them, or they just seemed more beige/grey than white.

I liked a couple of the white quartz options, but those were a lot more expensive than granite, and seemed almost too plain. Basically granite was too busy and quartz was too clean/modern looking for me.  So, I switched gears completely and considered black for a contrast against everything else white in our kitchen.  I didn’t like the shiny/sparkly factor to the black granite though, so I started considering soapstone…also more expensive.

Then, finally, after hours and hours of neglecting my loved ones and being a slave to houzz.com and pinterest.com on my ipad, I found a new option!  Honed granite. Basically the polishing process stops before the buffing stage and you get a matte finish instead of a slick shiny one.  So I went and looked at some slabs again, and loved it!

absolute black honed granite

Done. Phew. Then there was the hardware to choose.  Which meant there was a lot of this.

benjamin moore white dove subway tile and honed granite

But, what does it look like in the sunlight?

benjamin moore white dove subway tile absolute black honed granite

This went on for many hours. I had narrowed it down to black or brushed nickel.  Black to match the counters and brushed nickel to match the appliances. (I was also trying out a light blue wall color in that photo, and you can also see the quartz sample on the right.)

This seemingly small decision was by far the hardest to make.  I called my friend and got her husband, one-year-old, and lab-doxie involved, and we were basically split down the middle.  So naturally, I polled Cobalt and Miles.  You can see the results here:


Cobalt helped, and Miles was pretty pissed that I was clearly trying to feed him metal instead of food.

Ultimately, I chose…….

the brushed nickel!  Not what I originally thought I would choose.  Actually, my first pick was a more aged finish that didn’t even make the final two because it just didn’t work with the rest of the materials.  I thought the black hardware would pop out a little too much in the small space, and I liked how the nickel ones added some more shine and matched the appliances.

Our next challenge was to find a kitchen faucet.  We knew we wanted a pull down sprayer, but most of those come with the goose-neck style faucet which would impede our new kitchen window. It was actually fairly painless to find a shorter one at a decent price, and the good news is that Cobalt really liked it.

delta cassidy kitchen faucet

delta cassidy pull down kitchen faucetIt’s Delta’s Cassidy faucet if you’re curious.

delta cassidy kitchen faucet

Nick liked it too.

fireman likes delta cassidy kitchen faucet

Now that we have that covered, if you’re wondering where I’ve been for two months, the answer is all of the places. Beaufort, Orlando, Ocean City, Charlotte, and Folly Beach – where we looked at wedding spots!!  I’ll share that with you next time once I sort out how much of the wedding planning  I want to write about.  A. I don’t want to give it all away, but I do want to share the process.  B. It will be a small wedding so I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings who’s not invited, but I do want to share it with the people I love, all of whom we may not be able to invite.  and C. I hate to even mention it, because I don’t like to ever recognize or talk about it, but I know there are plenty of not nice people out there wanting to hate, hate, hate.  And I don’t want to share it with those people.  Any suggestions?  Please comment your advice so I can sort this out. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep cruisin…


In honor of Cobalt’s 6th bufday a couple days ago, here are all the toys, which are all his.  Not anyone else’s.

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his yellow long dog

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his pumpkin long dog

Cobalt mini dachshund loves toys especially his green long dog

Kitchen Renovation Phase 2

Kitchen Kitchen Ya Ya Da Da

Hey, hey, heeeey.  So, a lot has been going on this summer, but we are finally entering into a couple weeks of normalcy.  Perfect time to give a kitchen update!  This is the phase where we really saw what the overall layout of the kitchen come to life.  Let’s get visual shall we?  More pictures, less words.  Nobody has any time for that.

So here we go clockwise around the room.

Phase 2 Kitchen Renovation - Fridge cabinets


Phase 2 Kitchen Renovation - Sink and Cabinets

Phase 2 Kitchen Renovation - Custom Cabinets


Phase 2 Kitchen Renovation - Kitchen Breakfast Bench Nook

Got all that??  I threw in some pop-up video action for you too.

Anyone have any time left for an update on what’s been going on lately?  Don’t worry we’ll stick with the more pics less words thing.

Mom and dad came to visit right after the last time I posted…

South Carolina Lake Murray Mom & Dad Visit


South Carolina Lake Murray Mom & Dad Visit - Dad


South Carolina Lake Murray Mom & Dad Visit - Mom


South Carolina Lake Murray Mom & Dad Visit - Dad and Nick


South Carolina Lake Murray Mom & Dad Visit - Me and Mom

Nick had a birthday!!!  Mabel says “I’m yo pwesent”  “My mom made me”.

Nick Birthday - Mabel Bloodhound


And I made him this delicious Lemon cake from this recipe

Lemon Cake

Which we brought on the new sailboat and then went out on the lake to raft up with friends and watch the fireworks!

Nick and Emily on the sailboat 4th of July


4th of July Lake Murray Fireworks on Sailboat


4th of July Fireworks Lake Murray


Nick also opened his presents which he should have known were for Cobalt

The next weekend we went up to Rochester, NY for the actual 4th of July with my family.  Cobalt helped us get there.

Cobalt mini dachshund sleeps in the car

After he slept a lot.  Here he goes.

Rochester 4th of July roundup…

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The last picture was the trip home where Emily had to pee and Nick made her go at South of the Border.  Cobalt was not happy.

I think the dogs had the best time of anyone.  Mabel went fetching in the water for the first time…

And Cobalt stole bread from the coy fish, some of which were bigger than he is.  We’ll go ahead and call that your Complimentary Cobalt of the Day….




Kitchen Renovation Phase One

Ooops…and A Kitchen Update

Whoops. So May was a total FAIL on the ol blog….




I’m not sure what happened to Spring exactly.  Between conferences, a wedding, random other travels and illnesses, it flew the freak by. Let’s do a quick recap and then move on to phase one of the kitchen so we can do that big reveal already.


There was Easter, and dying brown easter eggs…
dying brown easter eggs


I went to Nashville for work…
Downtown Nashville


My friend Merideth came to visit and our friend’s dog sang the blues on a sailboat…
Emily and Merideth on sailboat



My BEST FRIEND got married!!!!!
efoc at theresa's wedding
mom and dad




emily and nick at theresa's wedding


We went to Myrtle Beach for Nick’s work…
Myrtle Beach


Nick got the gout…


My brother and sister-in-law Ben & Courtney, and our friend Naomi came to visit!  Fingers crossed that we got them hooked on moving here….
gang on sailboat


girls on sailboat


And today…we got a new boat!  More on that when we get it in the water.  But that does bring us up to today, and it’s actually the motivation for my post.  Nick and his friend, Andrew, went to Oriental, NC today to inspect and buy our new boat, and won’t be home until 9ish.  So I of course, think to myself the whole way home from work about all the productive things I’m going to do while he’s gone.  I’ll write my blog, I’ll work out, I’ll do laundry, I’ll clean, etc.  Well, fast forward an hour and it looked more like this:


couch fall

Followed by



and watching Gilmore Girls…


Gilmore Girls


Whoops. So I decided to do one load of laundry and start my post.  That’s something.
Back to the whole kitchen renovation thing.  We had the best contractor in the whole wide world, and we were actually sad when he left.  Nick said to me “Today is Glen’s last day.  That means he’s not coming over any more.”(insert adult man sadface here).


Glen and I worked on the kitchen design together, and between his squashing some of my dreams and replacing them with other neat ideas, we both agreed that we came up with a pretty great kitchen.   Here is a breakdown of what did and didn’t make the cut:


Island –  No. I wanted this so I could lean on it and drink wine have more counter space for cooking and gathering around, or even put the sink in it so I could be looking out the window instead of at a wall.  But, it just wouldn’t work well with the space.  It’d be too tight opening the oven door and trying to get around it.


Window cut-out – Yes.  It’s in the wall to the dining room – this was Glen’s solution to giving me a view to the outside (front yard instead of back) and a more open feeling standing at the sink.  We weren’t able to open up the whole wall but he cut out a nice sized window that I love.


Wine area – Yes. A glass rack and wine bottle holder – This couldn’t eat up too much valuable space in the kitchen so Glen and I found the perfect spot for it between the new fridge location and the…


Rachel Ray pantry! – Yes. This is what it was called the whole time, and how we now distinguish it from the bigger closet pantry in the dining room.  It is perfect.  It doesn’t take up too much room in the kitchen and it is so functional.  We can grab things we need while cooking without having to go into the dining room to get them.


Slow-close doors and drawers – Yes. I love these and now I assume all cabinets are slow close and end up slamming a lot that aren’t.


Farmhouse sink – Yes.  It’s as great as it sounds.


Marble countertops – No.  I thought the whole time we’d have marble or marble-like counter tops, but when that was no longer an option due to price and functionality, and I realized I didn’t like ANY of the white granite choices, I started exploring other options.  I actually did end up with a granite, but it is absolute black with a honed finish. It looks a little like soapstone, and I love the contrast it adds.


Subway tile – Yes.  With dark grout instead of light.


X Mullion glass cabinet doors – No.  Who knew it was so expensive to put wooden X’s on glass doors? So instead two hundred something a piece doors like this:
We went with the much less expensive classic mullion look like this:


There were a ton of other details and decisions to make, but I’ll go through those and point them out in the finished kitchen.


The first phase of the kitchen happened immediately after demo, and it was so exciting to see our new kitchen come to life!  First was demo, then opening up a wall…



opening kitchen wall


Then the first of the custom cabinets went in!!


custom cabinets phase one


Including the much anticipated Rachel Ray pantry.  Such a fun first step.


Rachel Ray pantry


As you can imagine, there have been a lot of Cobalt photos and videos taken over the last 2 months…so it’s a little hard to choose.


Your long awaited CCOTD:
mom and cobalt at jakes
Mom and nini at one of his favorite spots, Jake’s, where they have “Yappy Hour” and dogs are always allowed on the back deck area!  He says Mom, I want to go to da pwace wheyoh ev-wee-one pays attention to me and fwohs da ball fo me a wot.  


What? That could be a number of places but this time it was Jake’s.



baking glass paint mason jars

A Bachelorette Weekend and A Dachshund Date

In case you were expecting this post to show the next stage of the kitchen, don’t worry, I’m not going to just randomly leave that storyline never to return like some frustrating episode of The Sopranos.  I thought I’d go every other post with the kitchen renovation so I can still include what’s going on real-time.  Or as close to real-time as it gets with me.

I’m excited about this one because some of my favorite DIY projects are the small ones, which are really just arts and crafts, but when you’re a grown-up you get to call it DIY. Today’s project is one that makes me really happy, because simple crafts are reminders of how much I love creating, especially when it’s for someone else.  I always wonder why I don’t do more of it for myself when I’m done.  I think I need to set measurable goals (my friend Ashley taught me that) so that I stop letting things get in the way of accomplishing what I love most.  I tend to struggle with wanting perfection in my projects and my art, but the fact is, that doesn’t exist.   I think I’m starting to embrace that.  The strange thing is, I’ve done more projects, crafts, and decorating in this home than I ever did in the last one…and I’ve been here for less than 4 months.  Take that however you will, but I’m taking it as small proof that I’m finding my happy place.

So, wanna see?  The first thing I did was a banner.  You’ve got to have a banner at a bachelorette party, and when I saw this one at Home Goods I knew I could personalize it for Theresa’s bachelorette weekend.  Her wedding is a grey and yellow theme with all things rustic, burlappy, and shabby-chic meets casual barn style.  Or something like that.  I already had the stencils on hand from an old project idea that never came to life, and I have acrylic paints I use for…um, painting.  So, I mixed up a pretty yellow and stencilled away.

Bachelorette Party Banner painting

I didn’t use any adhesive, just held each stencil down with one hand and dabbed the paint on with a foam brush with the other. The stripes on the banner ended up being very handy to make sure the stencils were centered and straight on each one.

Bachelorette Party Banner stencils

When I first bought the banner, I made sure it had enough pennants to spell out “Bachelorette”, but when I sat down to actually spell it out, I realized I could also fit “Bride to Be” and then it could be used at her shower too. All about the multi-use! 20140318_201028

It also came out looking a little classier and a little more “girls weekend” which is more what Theresa wanted than “Wooo bachelorette penis parrtttyyyy!” Despite my and Danielle’s best efforts to skank it up with embarrassing gifts.

bride to be pennant banner
The next craft was just a simple wood centerpiece sign to put the favors around.  Very easy.  Go to Michaels.  Buy the pieces of wood you like.  Paint them how you like.  Wood glue the little pieces on the big piece.  I decided to do grey and white stripes on the main board, and yellow letters that said “M to O” since she was going from an M last name to an O last name.  I used the same paint method to mix up a pretty grey with my acrylic paints, and used pure white on the whole base board.

bachelorette party craft sign

Then I used painters tape to tape off stripes, and painted it grey:

painting bride to be sign

Then, I slowly removed the painters tape.  I painted the wooden letters yellow and then didn’t take a picture of them, and then I used wood-glue to glue them on.  Actually Danielle did that part for me when she came to Columbia the day before the bachelorette party.  She helped.

And voila!

bachelorette party decorations

bridal shower decorations

Which brings us to the last project – the favors.  I thought cups for everyone to use for their drink of choice over the weekend would be a cute and useful favor.  Naturally, going along with the rustic-burlappy-shabby-chic-grey-yellow-barn theme, mason jars made perfect sense.  I bought Martha Stewart glass paint and self-adhesive stencils which made it so much easier than using regular stencils.

martha stewart glass paint pason jars

Don’t mind the Christmas mug in the background, just a water cup for the paint brushes. I could never actually drink out of a Christmas mug at not-Christmas-time, way to weird and depressing. Plus, we all know I was drinking wine while I did this.
glass paint stenciled mason jarI used the same foam brush dabbing method as I did the banner stencilling.  This definitely took some time to carefully apply the stencils, paint, peel off, and then re-apply to the next mason jar x 12.

glass paint stenciled mason jar

These definitely gave me that “I can’t believe how good it came out and I didn’t mess them up too badly” feeling.

baking glass paint mason jars

In order to get the paint to cure you can wait forever and ever, or you can bake them for about 30 minutes on 350.

painting mason jars with glass paint

Cobalt helped.

And here are a few weekend snapshots, some I stole from fellow TFOC bacheloretters, because I obviously can’t be relied on to take pictures in the moment.


Bachelorette Party in Charleston, SC and Folly Beach













Ahhh these pictures make me want to go back!  Such a great weekend.  Now, moving on from girl best friends, to sweet angel best friend.  I couldn’t mention my fantastic day with Cobalt and not share it here.  He would be so furious.  We started our day with a long walk at the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park.

Cobalt mini dachshund mom date in Columbia, SC

Warning…..to the untrained eye, this may not seem like a very narrowed down selection of Cobalt photos.  But it is.  He was just so precious that day.  So, consider these your All The Complimentary Cobalt’s Of The Day.

cobalt the handsome mini dachshund

cobalt the handsome mini dachshund





cobalt the handsome mini dachshund

From here, we went to Lowe’s to pick up some flowers for the front of the house.  Cobalt said he wiked da wed ones.

front porch ferns and flowers

Cobalt mini dachshund front porch flowers

After Lowe’s we went to the pet store to get Cobalt tshirt to wear when he chases the ball in the yard.  His chest hangs low and he gets a rash from the ground, and I say poooorrr nini.

Poor Nana


Cobalt mini dachshund new shirt

They always look like muscle tees on him.  Oh, he also got to pick out a new toy.  Which he’s carried with him ever since.

Cobalt new toy

cobalt mini dachshund new toy

Finally, he got a mani-pedi and his ears cleaned, and then we ended the night with some girl time catching up on DVRed housewives with extra snuggles after a long day.

Cobalt and mom watching real housewives

Cobalt says it’s about time this became more about him.   And is now demanding I get off the computer and hold him.  Or maybe I just want to.  Anyone else love their dog this much?