Brickhouse Hipster

Our Hip Little Home

7:53 AM

Light My Fire

Posted by Leigh-Ann |

Well, between work and life and such, we are slowly getting things moved back into the kitchen. We've run a few loads through the new dishwasher (which we installed ourselves!! Go us!) and I can already feel my blood pressure dropping. Making dinner won't be such a chore anymore! YAY!

We are still, however, in need of a cool light fixture to put over our sink. Our electrician installed a bare light bulb for us the last time he was here, just so we could use the thing, and we've found ourselves kind of liking the austereness of it. Still, we need something a liiiittle bit prettier. Anyway, this wordy little post is really just so I can show you all something awesome I found during The Great Kitchen Lighting Hunt. I was trolling Etsy and discovered this little beauty in woofwoof's shop.

I am SO in love with this chandelier! It's just so perfect for the kitchen (though, tragically, not mine). We don't have a place for a chandelier, but I just had to share this with the world. I may have to snag one of the Colander Pendants for our window.

3:57 PM

Oh...My...Granite!

Posted by Leigh-Ann |

Well, we weren't expecting our countertops for another week or so, but the wonderful gang at Mountain Marble & Granite here in Asheville had an opening and they worked us in. And now.....

 Ta-Daaa! This is the first time I've ever had granite countertops before. I feel so fancy! Here's a closer look at the merchandise...
There are some yummy garnet flecks in there. Love it! Big thanks to the Mountain Marble & Granite folks who were SUPER nice and super speedy (yet thorough). *Sigh* We are so close to having a real kitchen again, I can almost taste it! Just some painting, wiring and backsplashing left. Oh, and our mystery hardware still needs to be installed...now where is that stuff???

3:06 PM

Survival of the Fittest

Posted by Leigh-Ann |

While we await the new countertops and figure out when our electrician can come hook us back up, I thought I'd keep the old blog a-goin' with a little background (and maybe some advice for any future remodelers out there) on how we've lived...er...survived this, I'll just say it, intense remodel.

Joni Mitchell and 80s hair band Cinderella sang it best with the words “don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Such is the case during the dark days of a kitchen remodel. Most of us take for granted the common convenience of a range, a well-stocked cupboard, even counter space. This is why, when planning a kitchen remodel, it’s equally important to plan out your temporary, or survival, kitchen.

The Space: Accessibility is key in the survival kitchen. Assuming you’ll still have refrigerator or mini-fridge access, you’ll also want a place to store dry goods. An old bookcase, stackable milk crates, or sturdy moving boxes make excellent temporary pantries. Another important thing to keep in mind is access to water for cooking and cleaning. Locating your survival kitchen near a bathroom or utility sink will save you from lugging dirty dishes across the house. We are lucky enough to have a little wet bar in the basement that has served us well as the perfect survival kitchen!
The old fridge will stay down here as part of a future project that we're REALLY looking forward to (no, really this time), the bar area!
My crafty mother-in-law found 2 hollow Styrofoam packing ends in our basement and viola, instant shelves. Reduce and reuse, folks!

The Appliances: Those of us who spend a good portion of our time in the kitchen naturally accumulate an army of small appliances. These specialty items are your life-savers in the survival kitchen. Microwaves are the obvious go-to appliance for frozen dinners, steam-in-bag rice and veggies, and the ubiquitous leftover pizza and Chinese takeout. A slow cooker is a lovely little device that can be plugged in anywhere--out of reach of pets and small children, of course. Fill it with some meat, veggies, and broth and in a matter of hours, dinner is done! Think you can’t enjoy a good pasta dish sans stove? Not if you have a rice cooker handy. Most rice cookers can be used to boil pasta and heat sauce, and some come complete with a steaming basket so you can steam your veggies while your noodles are cooking. And if you find yourself remodeling in the summer, there’s no better time to make use of that backyard grill. Since we don't yet have an outdoor grill, we relied heavily on my Cusinart Griddler for grilling fish, making paninis, etc. Worth every penny.
The coffee pot is also a must-have in the survival kitchen. Seriously!

The Dishes: Since most bathroom sinks (or even our tiny little bar sink) aren’t designed for a load of plates and glassware, you’ll want to keep your messiness to a minimum in the survival kitchen. Allowing each family member one plate, cup, bowl, fork, knife, and spoon a piece will encourage everyone to wash as they go. If dish washing space is extremely limited or you just want to take the super-convenient route of disposable dishes (like team Heuer did), opt for environment-conscious biodegradable paper plates and cups. Chinet offers a line of sturdy eco-friendly plates made from recycled paper that are also compostable.

Happy Homemaking!!!

3:01 PM

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!

Posted by Leigh-Ann |

A-team reference! If only I had a Hannibal-style cigar... Anyway, it's celebration time here at Casa de Heuer because the cabinets have been installed!!! My amazing woodworker of a father-in-law was the brains and installation engineer behind the whole thing, though the rest of us hoisted and un-packaged and generally assisted in our fair share. (I can now take off and reinstall a cabinet door like nobody's business!) It was a long 3 days, but I'm super pleased with the results!

Fridge side
If you recall, this side of the kitchen didn't previously have cabinets (just some awesome pink tile). Now we've got lots of storage! We went with deep drawers instead of door fronts on the base cabinets because I really hate searching through a bunch of jumbled up pots, pans, and mixing bowls in the dark recesses of bottom shelves.

We have a dishwasher!!!

We went with a natural finish on the cherry cabinets so there's lots of beautiful color variations. So pretty! And possibly my favorite new kitchen addition...the dishwasher! So pumped to soon be rid of my dishpan hands.
The granite guy is here templating the countertops, which we should have in a couple of weeks and we've still got to put on some hardware and some painting and backsplash installing to do, but it's aaall coming together! I pity the foo'! (cue theme song)

4:08 PM

Tile Style!

Posted by Leigh-Ann |

Wow gang, sorry it's taken me a few days to post. Let's just say, tiling a kitchen floor is no joke! I'm just now getting all the mortar out from under my fingernails, but the floor itself looks awesome!
Here's a super flattering pic of me layin' it down...

The kitchen started to seem much larger than we remembered as time went on. Here we are, almost finished. And because I have a supremely awesome husband, when we got down to an area large enough for only one of us to work, he re-read Catching Fire to me to keep me sane!

Right: Fat Max box cutter for mortar scraping and general cutting; Top Center: Sponge for cleaning said pesky mortar; Right: Catching Fire by: Suzanne Collins for reading and wife sanity maintaining.
It turned out to be a longer process than we anticipated, but we learned a great deal!! Our biggest tips? Invest in a good pair of knee pads!! Your precious joints will thank you! Also, get the mortar mix exactly right! I'm considering devoting an entire post to the science of mixing mortar because, as it turns out, the right mix is EVERYTHING! We found this out after a particularly grueling evening with a too-thin mixture and no dry material left to thicken it up. The result, floating tiles that refuse to stay in place, thus throwing off the rest of the row and generally being a pain. But, we persevered and here's how it looks all clean and grouted.
Lowes: Canyon Slate Ceramic Tile
I'd love to show you the whole floor, buuuuut.....
Our brand new cabinets arrived today and they're occupying most of it! The in-laws will be here in a few days to help with the install, so look forward to that!! (I know I am!)

Make no mistake, a kitchen remodel is the true test of a marriage! I think we've recovered well from this weekend's subflooring adventure, though we're still pretty sore and groan-y. There were several trips to Lowes, the untimely death of our brand new chalk line reel, and lots of grumpiness and "I can't do this!" declarations (mostly from me) as we worked late into Sunday night, but we managed to escape largely unscathed. Being the newbie fixer-uppers that we are, we were clueless as to just how involved laying cement backer board would be and Kevin now thinks that the backer board folks are in cahoots with the screw manufacturers! (We counted 49 screws per a full panel.) But, it looks pretty good so far. We have a little more taping and mortaring to do this evening and then we can lay the actual tile!!

Pretty professional looking, no? Check out the new drywall under the window...we did that too!
I have to admit, even though this experience was pretty overwhelming at times, I'm still really encouraged and looking forward to laying the tile ourselves. It's amazing the perspective you get with a day of rest. We've also put a deposit down on a couple slabs of beautiful granite for the countertops. Man, I can't wait to see it all come together. Mostly, I can't wait to show it off!

Let's be frank for a moment, I'm new to this whole design and decor game. Living in apartments and rented houses for the last decade, I never got the sense that my living space was actually mine. And who wants to sink a bunch of money into decorating a place you might not even be living in next year? So, I slogged along with bare white walls and left over college dorm decor (purple butterfly tapestries are still hot, right?) and never really got my feet wet with fabrics and color combination and style.

Now that we own a house I find myself wanting it to be as awesome as possible, which means I've been doing a lot of research on how to whip it into shape! During said research, I noticed that designers use these handy little things called mood boards to create a color scheme and an overall, well, mood for a room. (Yes, mood boards = new to me. As I said, I've been living in an undecorated cave for the last 10 years.) But how can I get my hands on the expensive design software to make mood boards of my own? Turns out, no need. MyDeco.com has a make-your-own-mood-board design tool. And that, my friends is what I've been playing with for the last several days. (When I'm not working and sanding kitchen walls, of course.) Here's a little color combo sampler for the kitchen.

Clockwise from left: Wall color Valspar Sag Harbor (as close a match as I could find); Back splash tile; Granite countertops (hopefully); Floor tile Canyon Slate Ceramic tile; Center: Natural Cherry cabinets

It's a pretty awesome and free tool. While I searched for and uploaded these on my own, the site also lets you choose from photos from their sponsor shops. I'm also playing around with these colors for the master bedroom.

Gotta love those never ending projects!