Kitchen Reno – Demo & Mood Board

Welp! Demo has officially started on our kitchen reno, perhaps a little preemptively but after meeting with our contractor to talk him through the plan – we quickly realized there were a handful of hidden outliers that had B and I itching to uncover. So last Saturday, we just tried to rip up a few of the lament floor tiles to see if the hardwoods were wrecked or not… a few hours later – we had half the room ripped up and the floor was looking in pretty tip-top shape. Since then we’ve (mostly B) taken down the ceiling, layers of plaster walls to continue to uncover what we’re working with. I mean… we live in a 100+ year old home. So far, we’ve uncovered a ceiling leak (thanks rain) and a few other janky workings.

I say we preemptively started demo, because once we start something – we can’t stop (especially B) and also because, we don’t actually have any contractor confirmed for when work is going to get started. We have gotten a few different cabinet quotes and think we have that nailed down at least the company and general direction we want to move forward with. But now that demo has started – there is no way this kitchen isn’t happening this year. We’re hoping to get a few follow-ups from our slow contractor and then go from there. So until then, I’m working to finalize some of the design and details as we work through the demo — it’s funny, now that we’ve disrupted our currently living room and are starting to get a blank canvas, the design and finishing inspiration is finally coming to life for me.

So now what? We’re going to continue to move forward and get our kitchen cabinets and counter tops finalized – the company we’re most likely going to move forward with the in home field measurement and design consultation to make sure we’re optimizing the most out of our space. Yes, this is getting us more kitchen, but it’s still going to be relatively cozy (that’s the nice way of saying small) — compared to what we’d really want in a dream kitchen — and sadly that still includes moving walls to extend our footprint.

Having a design consultation will be exciting and then we’ll be able to make sure we’re closer to exact as we’ve learned a few hard ways how important accurate measurements are. For example, our first cabinet quote was through Home Depot, super fast, great way to get an initial price for cabinets — but we ended up having more space in one area than we actually do (we had guestimates of our measurements when we went to this apt.) — the reality is those couple inches significantly impacted the potential sink size (like 33″ down to 27″) and the corner cabinet solution, i.e. lazy susan or something a bit unconventional. Luckily, with this new company – it sounds like they have some fun solutions to get us space to have a larger sink while being able to best utilize that corner spot.

Now, with the demo and our kitchen footprint pretty open, we have been able to put a few pieces to “mock up” the spacing to get a better idea of our kitchen nook area and what we can fit comfortably in the space while still letting it feel big and open. I even sat and browsed for products while we had the nook set-up and it was perfect – I can’t wait to hang out and blog while B cooks dinner. I was even finally able to decide on a few design pieces. I might even be as far as to having an idea of the backsplash that will go counter to ceiling on either side of the kitchen above the stove and sink area. Here is a look at a few of the potential final picks, a bit of mood board for our kitchen – I’m still trying to find an affordable faucet!

Since I want to incorporate brass/gold – it’s going to be crucial to make sure the shades of everything match up closely. That is why I was excited to find the light fixtures as that look pretty similar in the brass color that they are. Our appliances – as of right now – are white and gold, so as long as the back order doesn’t lead us to cancelling, we’ll be having pops of white and gold! Here’s to making some actual progress towards getting this kitchen done!

Kitchen Renovation – The Plan

Pretty much since we bought our house, the kitchen was always the worst offender. In fact, B was sold on this house and had to convince me — the kitchen being one of my sticking points for the price of the house (which was over our budget). Also, the kitchen was green when we bought it, so that was another strike against it. So it’s very exciting to finally be in the process of planning out our kitchen renovation. Unfortunately our kitchen doesn’t have an ideal footprint where we would just be updating cabinets, countertops or flooring. In fact, we’re moving walls to extend the footprint to create an actual kitchen!

The Plan

As you can see above, we have a tiny little alcove with all of our cabinets, sink and stove… and then a larger room for our fridge and a bunch of other random pieces of furniture… our fridge used to be in a different spot when we got the house, but moved it to be less in the way… yeah it’s an odd configuration with a lot of wasted space in our “larger part” of the kitchen. Oh and did I mention, zero counter space?

The layout and our initial plan of what we thought we could do versus what is more practical have changed as we’ve worked through the logistics with my Uncle whose a contractor. He gave us some really good things that added space to our design, but also made us think through some practical and more functional design layouts which we took to heart and have incorporated into the final plans. One of my must-haves was quickly smashed with reality based on the space limitations we still have, so my kitchen sink will not be facing a window looking out into our backyard… 😢 Mainly because, we weren’t accounting on having a door still in our kitchen space, instead we would be putting a slider door out of our dinning room onto our patio. Unfortunately we quickly vetoed that because it would be about $5k, need HVAC reworking, and eat up about 2-feet or more of our patio for nice walk out steps. My uncle also felt from a functionality perspective, having a door in the kitchen to go in and out to grab stuff made more sense and the more we thought about it the more we agreed.

Another big part in this planning, is tempering expectations – we have a tiny footprint currently, so the updates and expansions we’re planning feel like we are going to be getting this massive and more open space… which we are, but not as much as we think. I’ve also been dreaming of a cozy little breakfast nook, but have even been doubting my initial vision for that, because I’m afraid we won’t have as much space as I’m thinking/hoping.

Also, don’t worry – we have actual cad plans of the space besides my poor measuring and rough sketch!

The inspiration

I must admit, I am usually one that has a vision and everything planned out – especially for our house projects, but this one is making me super indecisive and unconfident about what to choose. On one hand, I want to make some bold choices with flooring, or a cool backsplash… and on the other hand, I feel like I know I’ll end up keeping it pretty classic and timeless with simple and safer choices. But I want to push myself to picking at least one bold thing. The vibe I’m going for is glam, yet classic and cozy. We also will not be skimping on the finishes, from appliances (already half ordered🤞) to the hardware, lighting and faucets… oh! and heated floors.

I’m fairly confident we will end up going all white cabinets, although I do love a light blue/grey color – but I’m also in a green obsession (Thanks, Ashley Brooke!) so we shall see. Definitely going with gold finishes and maybe leaning towards a rich butcher block counter top and tile floors. But if we do end up picking a stone countertop, it sounds like Quartz is the resounding and durable choice.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Soooo many things to decide! B and I are planning to go do some window shopping at a few different spots to scope out flooring, backsplash and maybe even a direction on cabinets. For now, we are still working on finalizing the actual floor plans with our amazing friend and then we’ll be getting our contractor in here to talk numbers and timing. We’re hoping we won’t have to do anything structurally, but there is that chance still. We are also really hoping we can get this done in 2021 — but are also realistic that we may need to push to 2022. Here’s to hoping we have a brand new kitchen in time for Christmas!

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far – what do you love/hate with your kitchen remodel? What do you wish you would’ve done differently or can’t live without? Comment below, or shoot me a private message!


Before & After: A Glam Front Entry Makeover

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to do a ‘drastic’ decor upgrade to the main floor – either in the living room or dining room. I really wanted to add an accent wall somewhere with some bold wallpaper, but both rooms just don’t have a simple enough wall to be a true statement wall. Then I thought – what if we wallpaper our front entryway? It’s a small space, closed off from the rest of the living room and an opportunity to do something a bit bold – especially compared to it’s pretty basic current decor. Oh, and it’ll be easy and affordable!

The before

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the before except that we had painted her a grey-ish color along with the rest of the rooms on the main floor, added a rug and I did a fun little DIY with some souvenirs from our house – which I love, they’re in the process of being relocated as I type! We have the same original light fixture and that is about it. Take a look for yourself:

the makeover

Super boring, right?

I had two wallpapers picked out; (1) would be a safe option, that would allow us to reuse the current decor and (2) something a bit more fun, glam and daring especially compared to most of my design choices. After consulting with B on both, we decided to go with Glam Option #2! This meant we would be adding in other finishing touches to really pull this space together. Once we had our pattern picked out, we estimated how many rolls of wallpaper we would need based on our small entryway space… welp! The wallpaper added up quickly in rolls and in price, but that was another reason I decided to pick Target, because the peel and stick paper is fairly affordable and decent enough quality compared to other options. We ended up needing four rolls of wallpaper, and used almost every inch.

Wallpapering this space was tough and definitely tested our patiences. We were quickly reminded that our 100-year old house walls are not straight, in addition to having a hell of a time doing the puzzle of making sure the patterns lined up perfectly, while also trying to get maximum coverage from each roll. We got as much of it to line up in long straight pieces as possible, but still had a lot of patching and matching to do. I would definitely suggest sticking to a straight wall for any first time wallpapering projects, especially if you aren’t good at puzzles or have a lot of patiences. We even accounted for starting a few inches from the ceiling in order to be able to get two sheets from one roll (ideally) — starting lower, we planned to add custom ($$) crown molding around the top, as she didn’t have any molding to begin with!

Let me just preference, this glammed up project quickly added up! The wallpaper alone was over $100 and then we probably put in over $100 with just the ceiling updates from the double layered molding to the ceiling medallion that we bought and then spray painted so it would have a pop of gold at the top! Finishing this molding and painting the ceiling, really makes the room look so much taller and bigger. B really did an amazing job repairing some cracks, patching them and then getting her looking like new again.

The side table was also another pain in the butt project, long story short – I was trying to not spend too much on legs for the wood top that we already had (thanks f&d) – and after failing with my “cheap” option, I ended up ordering these hairpin legs, which was the original more expensive option I was trying to avoid and then spray painted these beauties to go with the rest of the room. We also spray painted an old silver outlet cover, that again just pulls all the accents together and pops again this romantic wallpaper.

Now let’s talk finishing touches! The round gold mirror, definitely is the cherry on top — I really was resisting falling on the round mirror trend, but she just does this space so good. I shopped around and ended up finding mine at Home Sense it was the same brass/gold finish I was looking for, same 28″ shape, but $10 cheaper than Target! So if you’re looking for your own, shop around at those home stores for a little better deal. I also snagged that adorable ‘Hello’ gold table top sign at Home Sense, which IMO is just the perfect welcoming accessory to add to this awesome table. Finally, finding a rug that fit this space and warmed it up a bit was key – I ended up buying a few before ending up on this 4′ round woven rug. I’m sure I’ll be adding a few other details to cozy up the space.

Shop My Pieces: Canary Floral Wallpaper from Target / Ivory Woven Rug from Target / 28″ Brass Mirror / 20″ Ceiling Medallion

Even with this project snowballing over budget (even though there wasn’t a budget) and taking a little longer to finish up with some roadblocks — the space is such a little treasure. We get to enjoy it especially now as the weather continues to shift, we ever catch glimpses of the fun wallpaper pop from the living room or even dining room. Now anyone that comes over, will need to come through the front door to soak in all her glam and glory.

House Anniversary Tour: Our 2020 Projects

We’re celebrating six years as homeowners! Homeowners may be one of the ultimate adulting moves (besides having kids), as it comes with a mixed bag of unknowns that can be really great and really horrible. This year’s house anniversary tour is going to be highlighting the updates we’ve made this year both fun and not so fun, as we definitely tackled a few while we’ve been quarantined at home!

But, before then — I wanted to share a few of our not so great house moments, since homeownership isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Before we even moved into our house, our refrigerator busted — that was an automatic couple hundred dollars right off that bat that we weren’t planning on! One of the first really cold winters, we came home to frozen pipes in our kitchen! Since then we’ve learned to run the water over night on those super cold days. Did I mention we live in a 100+ year old home?

Fireplace Hearth Makeover. This was a vanity project that we did pretty early on in quarantine, that was a quick weekend win, once we figured out what tile we wanted! We finally got rid of the original red tile and gave it a lighter update, see the fun before and after here.

New Furnace. This was a not so fun one, but something that B really wanted. The last two winter’s we’ve had to make significant finance repairs to our 25-year old furnace, and B had enough with it! He was able to take advantage of getting a more efficient unit for a decent price with the same company who installed our AC the summer of 2018.

Main Bathroom Budget Update. I loved this project — it was intended to be a temporary update on a space that we will most likely eventually gut and completely redo, so we wanted to make sure this was on a lower budget, while also taking care of a few of our pain points, which were a small, generic counter and sink and the yellowy tiles all over the room. My favorite transformation was painting the tile white, it completely transformed the space! Check out the full makeover here.

Sunroom Flat Roof. This was our least fun project, both from finding a company to do the work to the final price tag. But alas, it was definitely a necessity as we had a pretty decent and consistent leak from our flat roof into our sunroom. Long story short, apparently residential flat roofs are an anomaly and there is a variety of verbiage to describe how to fix these which is super confusing as a homeowner. Thank goodness for good friends with dad’s who are roofers 🎉. All in, we had about 6 different companies quote the project, and consumed about a month of our lives for approximately $2,450. But hey, no more leaks!

Backyard Makeover. Oh, I loved this project. It was definitely under estimated of how much of an impact this would actually make — I didn’t realize how much of a sad backyard we had until this project was complete! We added in some custom beds, edging and modern fences to help hide a few ugly things we don’t have control over. I love looking at our backyard now, it’s so pretty! Click to see the full makeover here.

Office Update. Since working from home has become permanent, my at home office definitely needed a little refresh to be a bit more functional for actually being a home office! This project was low budget, and quick which has made the space feel a bit more complete, even though it’s not pink. See my office update, here!

We’ve had six wonderful years at our house, and it’s always so fun to see how far we’ve come and improvements we’ve made along the way. It’s been a staple of fun memories, parties, milestones, late nights and early mornings, it’s been our home sweet home.

Before & After: Fireplace Hearth Makeover

We did a thing! We finally checked off another house project… that oooohhhh has been on the to-do list for the last few years. It wasn’t a huge project, but it was a little one that makes a bit of impact in one of the most lived in rooms. We retiled our fireplace hearth and completely refreshed the dated red tile!
Tile-beelifeblog(2)Honestly the toughest part and reason this has been on the to-do list for so long was just deciding on and figuring out the right tile.  So I finally got smart and figured out my newest project hack, especially when it comes to projects like this! What is my little secret you may ask? I bought a few tile samples from Lowe’s to put them into my space to help envision the whole look.

The Tile Dilemma. I definitely wanted to go with something a bit more modern and pull in white tile into the space. I was initially thinking larger marble, then wanted to do a bit more of a hexagon pattern — but I just wasn’t sure! Then another part of me wanted to do something with a pattern or a bit more Spanish style. I grabbed four different styles that I liked and brought them home and saw how they worked with the rest of our patterns and textures and colors in our living room.
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The Decision. We ended up going with a off-white blue patterned tile that had a little bigger footprint, similar to the original red tile square. B even ended up finding a blue herringbone pattern that we ended up cutting to make a boarder, which helped keep the large tiles full all the way across without having lots of little pieces for an awkward boarder.

The Project. Demo took B all of an hour to get up the old red tiles, from there he bought some cement board to get the surface level and prepped for our new tiles! He did this over the course of the week, so we were queued up and ready to work on it come the weekend. We even ordered the remaining tile for in-store pick-up and it was in and out to keep our project time low.

We ended up renting a tile cutter from Home Depot and completed the cuts and project within a few hours. I am the tile worker, and B is my tile cutter! It worked out well and came together after some trial and error. The boarder tile was much thinner than the main tile, so we had to really build up with mortar. We also ended up using pre-mixed mortar and grout that we had left over for previous projects, I think we only needed to purchase an additional pre-mixed mortar to finish the project. So within a few hours we had our tile laid and cut into place in it’s new home.
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The Result. After giving the mortar time to dry, we were able to grout! We used the same left over grout we had from our Basement Bathroom Makeover.  The cool grey color really complimented the tile color and style we picked to make it a cohesive space. We also had to be a little smart with tile positioning and organic since we were working with an un-even 100 year old space that certainly was not perfect or level, no matter how hard we tried!

Shop our products: Elida Ceramica Porcelain Tile from Lowes | Boarder Midnight Satin Herringbone Tile from Lowes | Warm Color MAPEI Flexcolor Grout 

I must admit — when it was first finished I didn’t completely love how this turned out. But I did like it and was happy to get rid of the old red tile and gross grout. It’s grown on me some, I like the boarder because it helps break it up and keep the larger tiles even but it also throws me off! What do you bees think?

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House Tour: Bathroom Remodel

Are you ready to see our bathroom remodel? It’s finally time to share a tour of the transformed space – which honestly came out amazing – especially for B and I doing 80% of the work! This was part of our basement makeover and gives our basement a completely new livable space.
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How To: Install Vinyl Flooring

As we were getting ready for our bathroom project and pricing out various materials and finishes, we quickly saw the dollar signs as we wanted a completely tiled shower stall and initially wanted a tiled floor.  In addition to the dollar signs, time, effort and labor came into account and as I found slightly more affordable vinyl adhesive flooring options – that also had great patterns – it quickly rose to the top as a realistic option for this space.
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In addition to being more affordable than ceramic tile, vinyl flooring has other benefits like it’s highly resistant, it’s easy to install and low maintenance. Which is exactly the perfect mix of things we needed for this bathroom floor space! It really ended up being a no brainer – so let’s breakdown what you’ll need and how to install your own vinyl floor!

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Mood Board – Basement Bath

Remember when I mentioned we were working through a mini basement remodel for additional living space? Yeah, I know it’s been a minute – don’t worry the reveal is going to be shared in the coming weeks!  Well, part two of this project is working on expanding and updating a bathroom to continue making more of our house livable!

Nailing down the style for this space was key and I did this with a mix of online shopping, Pinterest browsing while working through the function and flow of the room.  I landed on vintage and classic while the plan of resting on classic pieces like penny or octagon patterned tiles as the foundation with the floor, walls and shower.  From there it’ll be reinforcing this style through the color pallet, light fixtures and a classic yet modern vanity.
basement bath mood board - the bee life Shop My Mood Board: Vintage Gold Bath Light | Aberdeen 36″ Vanity in Dove Grey  | Montaigne Weathered Oak Vanity | Retro Octagon Mosaic Porcelain Tile | White Glossy Porcelain Penny Tile | Amberes Azul Ceramic Floor Tile 

Honestly – the vanity has been the toughest part to find, as we’re trying to stick within a reasonable budget yet not something that is completely generic or stock.  But I can’t seem to find a good happy medium, although Home Depot is the leader in variety of style for decent price.

White tile will be a must.  Although I’m tempted to figure out a fun, yet stylish way to incorporate a bold statement tile into the space either a backsplash or statement wall – but I think that is still TBD. I’m also tempted to work in some natural wood with shelving and/or the vanity – since it would be nice to pull in natural finishes like we did with our statement shiplap wall in the living space of our basement.
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Image Sources:  Left image | Right image

How do you plan your home projects?  I like to map out a direction, do my research and usually end up sticking to something pretty classic! We’re excited for this next project and will share the latest DIY’s and How-To’s along the way, all leading up to the grand reveal!

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Latest Obsessions 08.18

Surprise, surprise – this month’s latest obsessions are mostly house obsessed, as I’ve got my eyes on the next prize and the projects just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  Beyond the house project bug, weekend getaways and trips or seasonal parties also have me heart-eyed with excitement.
Latest Obsessions 08.18 - the bee life
Basement Projects.  This is a two part.  Part one has been talked about off and on with B, but seriously discussions and planning have started to take place to build out a full-bathroom.  A good friend is a plumber, so with his expertise and help it doesn’t seem so daunting, yay!  Plus, it will add value to our home, making it 2-baths vs. 1-bath. Part two, is making the other space a bit more livable – we have a decent amount of space for storage, so the configuring has been playing out in my head and I think we can make it work.  The livable space might just be a bit industrial chic vs. completely finished basement. I love this article for some inspiration on finishing touches for your unfinished basement.

Seasonal Parties.  I can’t help but get excited for upcoming season parties, whether we’ll be hosting or attending – from the calm bake, to dare I say it…. Christmas?! Yup! I’m just looking forward to creating new memories and fun with family and friends.  And the only reason I have these on my mind, is because schedules get so crazy – we have to plan that far ahead especially if we want any chance of getting on our family/friends schedules!

Getaways.  Whether it’s a quick two-hour drive or a flight across the country, the travel bug continues and I’m excited to get out of town for a bit in the coming months.  With that, I can’t help but want to find the best brunch spots, shop for a few new outfits, and figure out other fun details to weave into the trip.  I’m trying not to wish these to come too soon though, because time has certainly been flying lately!

What’ve you been obsessing over? New house project or fashion trend – leave a comment, I want to know!

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Image Sources: Bathroom Inspiration Party Decor Inspiration Unfinished Basement