The Secret to Kitchen Makeovers

Bet you thought we were wrapping up our kitchen makeover and just not telling you about it, didn’t you? Well, you’re wrong – we haven’t done much of anything since my last update. The secret to kitchen makeovers in our household is seeing how long we can go without one… until we finally crack and push stuff along because we just can’t take it any longer.

Or at least, that’s how I feel we’ve decided to handle it. Since my last post, we have finally gotten our contractor to come back out and look at some of the areas around the pantry door that need to be fixed (but they haven’t come out to actually fix them yet – hopefully this week). We also made the trek out to Ikea to buy our cabinets.

Both the husband and I had visions of going through the aisles in the self pick-up area trying to track down all the components of the kitchen cabinets one by one, but Ikea makes the process really easy and kitchen cabinets are part of the assisted pick-up! Which is a good thing, because there were more than 130 separate pieces and parts that we purchased to make our kitchen beautiful – toekicks, cabinets, shelves, the wonderful drawer and door closers that keep things from slamming and all of the other little pieces and parts.

We just double checked everything on our pre-designed online kitchen:

Printed out the full list, which an IKEA kitchen specialist triple-checked:
And then paid up in the kitchen area and waited for the IKEA folks to pull all of the items on the list. (We admit, we bought little tarts and had a glass of wine up in the kitchen area for part of that time). After about 30-40 minutes of exploring and dining, we headed to the assisted pick-up area, where they had everything waiting for us on four carts. (I wish I had thought to take a picture of them!)

We loaded everything up into the car we had rented and our own car (it would not have all fit in just one trip in our car), and then made the trek back into the city.

All-in-all, it took us several hours to get everything done, but since the prices of some of the more custom cabinets from the local hardware stores were nearly twice as much, and we liked the look of the IKEA cabinets, we were okay with putting in a little extra time and driving.

But those several hours were about all the progress we’ve made in the past month. Ridiculous. But hopefully the contractor will wrap up his part of the work this week, and we’ll get to laying the flooring this weekend so that we can finally get this moving along. One can only hope that we’ll finally have a kitchen again before our fourth anniversary at the end of August…please!?!


Cute Touches

Yesterday was an absolutely GORGEOUS day in Chicago. It was nearly the most beautiful day of the year, at least that I can remember. Hubby was stuck at work ALL day, so I decided to take a bike ride and do a little shopping along the way. 🙂

I stopped at some of my favorite stores along the way – World Market, which I wrote about yesterday in my Table Testing post. While I was poking around, I also ran across these:

For only $10, I picked up one in white to put on the hubby’s side of the bed for his phone since he doesn’t have a radio station like I do. It blends right in with the bed and fits perfectly in the bookshelf, so I’m hoping it will help keep him organized and also keep the cord from falling through the hole!

I also stopped at the new Pottery Barn and West Elm stores. At West Elm, I saw this capiz shell chandelier that was dark capiz shell (photo on the left),. I’ve been looking for something in this shape (long or wide, depending on how you look at it) for our dining room light fixture because I want it to light up over more of the table and echo the shape of the table and the room.

I found the chandelier on the right a few months ago in a lighting store, and I loved it, but it was quite a bit more expensive than I’d like, around $500! So I’m still looking. The capiz shell one for $269, is nice, and the darker version would go with the gray walls from the dining room (I’d looked at the lighter shell version before), but it doesn’t have the same modern feel to contrast with the traditional paint job and molding that we’ve done/plan to do in that room. But a fun piece, nonetheless!

I had hoped to find more of this fun fake coral at Pottery Barn, hopefully on sale since it’s out of season now, but they only had the larger pieces which were just a little too big and heavy for the bedroom and still quite a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. Guess I’ll keep searching for my fake coral and kicking myself for not buying a piece when I saw it in the store the first time!

My next stop was Restoration Hardware – which isn’t nearly as much fun to shop anymore, since they don’t have ANYTHING you can buy in the store (besides a few robes!) SO disappointing for shopping – there’s really no point in having the store any more unless you find something in the catalog you really just can’t decide on and need to see in the store. Otherwise, you can pretty much just shop online or in the catalog.

But as I was leaving Restoration Hardware, I noticed that the Z Gallerie store I didn’t think existed anymore was definitely still open – HOORAY! I made an immediate stop to check it out. Inside, I found these adorable lanterns on a HUGE clearance sale:

I picked up one yellow and one orange of the smaller ones, to put next to the similarly-shaped pieces I purchased from World market a few months ago (my photos on the right, ZGallerie photo on the left). My total spend? Less than $9!!!

While I was there, I also looked at their large gallery of artwork and found several pieces that were quite interesting, including this one (excuse the poor iPhone photo, I didn’t set it up properly):

They looked like they were real tiles that were mounted within the frame, or at least reproductions of the tiles. I think I could do something similar with coasters or fun one-of-a-kind tiles if I can find them. Definitely something to keep in the idea file!

After that, I rode my bike the rest of the way downtown, enjoyed more gorgeous weather, said hi to the husband at work and took the bus home! All-told, it was a fairly successful and fun trip!

Table Testing

I’m looking for a table to put on the back of the sofa between the two chairs (which still need to be recovered. I want the table to offer some storage, room for a lamp, and still go with the modern moroccan theme for the room. I found a few new options at World Market that I think might work well, but needed to bring home the photos and measurements to see what might really work.

The table on the left here is likely my favorite, though it’s a bit dark. It has a drawer for storage and it’s 29”w x 14.5”d x 29”h and is currently around $180. I do have a few coupons for World Market, because I just signed up for their mailing list, so I can get a little bit off.

The table on the left here has a bit more modern/craftsman type look. It’s 36”w x 11”d x 30”h, has a drawer and a lower shelf and is around $190. The one on the right has a rounded element that I like, no drawer, and just a shelf at the bottom. It’s 35”w x 12.5”d x 30”h and only $120.

The back of our sofa is 30” tall, so any of the tables would work as far as their height. And though I’d probably have room for a 35” or 36” wide table if I moved the chairs around, I think the narrower one will work better. Additionally, the dark color of the wood matches the wood elements of the chair a bit better.

So, the winner is….

…now I just have to convince the husband ;).

Beach Accessories

I promised my husband that the room would be beachy without putting shells and fish all over it. So, I’ve been on the hunt for touches of the beach that I can pull into our bedroom without getting too “cliche.” These are a few things I’ve spotted that I think could be cool, if done just right…

Photos (from top left) taken at HomeGoods, Michaels, Pottery Barn, and Michaels.
Title photo taken at HomeGoods.

Deck the Halls

Ho! Ho! Ho!

We got back from Jamaica last weekend and it was time to buy a Christmas tree and put up our holiday decorations. I had been waiting for this moment for a really long time, since last year we hadn’t been able to put up a tree or anything since we were in the process of moving.

So as soon as Christmas decor had started popping up in the stores, I had been collecting key pieces I knew would look great in our new place.

I spotted some fun glittery letters at Target during a late-night shopping spree, so I picked up ones that said Ho, Ho, Ho; Joy and Peace in different colors. Later I picked up some interesting and pretty stocking holders from HomeGoods. The stockings say Nice on one side and Naughty on the other – you know which side’s mine and which is my husband’s!- I picked those up from Target last year after the holidays.

Then it was time for the tree. We usually went to a parking lot of trees to buy ours, but this year we happened to be at Home Depot looking for fireplace tools and wood (neither of which they had, ironically enough), and stopped to look at their Christmas trees on the roof. (Yes, you read that correctly – the fun of living in a city is that space can be at a premium, which encourages creativity!) The prices on the trees ended up being slightly less expensive than what we had been paying, so we picked one out and brought it home!

A few hours later (including a trip to Menards for more/new lights), we had a beautiful tree standing in our living room. What do you think?

A Couch of Our Own

Yesterday, Nikki had the day off of work thanks to Presidents Day. So she set off in search of furniture with which to fill our apartment. After a long trip out ‘west’ to look at a bedroom set (in a catalog, since it turned out they didn’t have the set in stock), she headed back into the city to continue her quest for bedroom sets, couches, chairs, tables, well… you get the idea.

She stopped at several furniture stores, each one providing couches that seemed to be stuck in decades past or uncomfortable beyond belief, or bedroom furniture that would look lovely in a castle or some country inn. At long last, she stumbled upon a store that looked very promising from the windows – modern, clean lines and friendly “Sprechen sie deutsch, Mow nam Polski” signs beckoning on the glass. Not, that she actually spoke either German or Polish, but she figured the multiple European dialects might denote that the folks within might actually know something about European furniture.

She wandered around briefly before discovering a couch and loveseat set that seemed to be exactly what they had been searching for and not yet found. Clean lines, no cushions to get messy with crumbs or get pushed out over time, but still comfortable and inviting, the couch seemed to be perfect. So, after sending photos from her phone and promising the owner that she would be back with her husband, she looked at a few more stores and then made her way down to Dan’s office to pick him up and take him to see the couches.



After testing each and every seat of the couch (multiple times) Dan gave the “man of the condo” approval and we were making our second furniture purchase… ever. On Saturday, our TV will finally be accompanied by an honest-to-goodness couch! (The loveseat will follow sometime next month.) AND, to top it all off, the cable box has thawed out enough that we are expecting a visit from our friendly cable guy that morning as well. Hopefully this time it will be a successful installation, resulting in, well, actual cable!