Yes. I have an unfinished kitchen. Only looongtime readers will remember my first admission of this problem. I’ll summarize for the rest of you.

We gutted and redid the kitchen ourselves. For a detailed before and after of the kitchen, click here and here. We moved in just as the new hardwoods had been laid throughout the main areas, replacing carpet, linoleum and parquet. It was the the second week of new schools, in a new city for the kids, and we moved into a kitchen-less house. I could see the look of concern on the teachers faces as I picked up the kids.

“So, (Thing Two) tells me you don’t have a kitchen right now! How’s it going?”

“Yes, that’s right, we’re managing, but I think it unsettles him a bit, (he was only 4) we’re just trying to sell it as an adventure!”

They stopped asking after a month. We really did manage pretty well out of the dining room, with camping tables set up as counters and a microwave, toaster and electric kettle. It was late summer so we had the grill as well. Without a downstairs bathtub, the washing up was much more difficult than the preparation of meals.

All that to say, when we finally got the kitchen fully functioning around 6-7 weeks later, we were exhausted and we looked over at the pantry wall and said..we’ll get to it in the Spring. Little did we know that actually meant in the Spring FOUR YEARS LATER.

pantry wall

We don’t have the cabinets, and the wall between the fridge and the shelving/makeshift pantry has to come out. It was a horrible realization that we have to undo some previous work. We had opened up this wall and reinforced it/shortened it because we had thought it was load bearing at the time. It used to extend further into the room and we brought it back flush with the fridge….we had it halfway down already! Arrrrgghhh!!!! We all make mistakes in these kinds of endeavors now and then, but it doesn’t make them sting any less.

wall to come out in kitchen

As much as we would LOVE to tackle the master bath, it is a much bigger job labor-wise and with the dog out of his crate the last few months, we figure it’s only a matter of time before he decides to get curious about the contents of these shelves while we’re out.

Also, I absolutely CRINGE having these open shelves for our pantry. Especially when people come over, it feels so exposed. Maybe not as bad as having an open medicine cabinet, but I have struggled with it and threatened to hang curtains over it and all sorts ever since it went up.

Ikea finally got with it and enabled the kitchen planner for Macs, which was not the case when we first did the kitchen, so we got to planning, and this is what we’ll have in its most basic form.

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 8.39.01 AM

The visuals on the new planner aren’t as good as the old ones! It’s really hard to tell what you’re looking at here. The bottom cabs are pull-out recycling and drawers. The space on the end is open because we have 2 cabinets already for those spaces that didn’t work in the main kitchen.

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 10.54.16 AM

The microwave will move out of the main kitchen to this area of upper cabinets as will the wine rack from above my desk. The fridge will move over to the left a bit to be surrounded by floor to ceiling cabinets.You don’t see handles either since we have several already, so it makes it hard to see the full picture as we cobble together leftovers.

Now to get our schedules sorted for a trip to Ikea…we think we can just do a day trip this time without spending the night in Atlanta. We haven’t measured the car yet, but I think our tallest cabinet will be just a few inches too tall to fit in the SUV and we’ll have to rent a truck or van. The shipping cost with Modernash will be too expensive.

We’ll have to move some electrics as well, so we’ll have to get that started before we install anything. Sheetrock dust and chaos, here we come.

To Do: Cure Table Woes

I have table woes. One of the only pieces of furniture in this whole entire house that was purchased new, has failed me.

Am I shocked? Not really.

Am I resentful? Absolutely.

Our dining room table was bought on sale at Pottery Barn, and I think I know why the clearance price was so good. The finish has the life span of a fly. It’s called Sandrift Gray and it started chipping only 6 months after we got it. Now, this is what we see all over…little nicks and chips.


I contacted Pottery Barn right away when the first nicks appeared to see if they sold a touch up kit or something that would match the finish…NO. So now I throw a canvas dropcloth over it if I have guests coming because it’s at the point now where it’s just looking…shabby.


I love the lines…I wanted a Parson’s table, and still do, plus it has a leaf, so that we can seat 10-12 for special occasions.  I want to fix the table finish, but how?  The “finish” is textured, as you might be able to tell in the photos. Because of that, an opaque paint color might highlight the chips in the texture. If I did some kind of overglaze, would that be enough to hide it? I don’t know that I have it in me to sand off the finish completely and start over…but it’s a last ditch option. I tried a silver paint pen on one spot that I promptly wiped off…sigh.

This will be a big project either way and I’m open to suggestions on how to hide these blemishes…I don’t want to have to live with tablecloths forever.

To Do: Chickens?

I know….some of you can excuse yourselves to go throw up while I discuss my metamorphosis into a Trendy Mindy.  Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

Still here?  OK, well last year’s CSA gave us fresh eggs on a weekly basis, and we desperately miss them.  We opted against the CSA this year after our 9th week in a row of zucchini exclusive boxes brought the entire family to tears.  The Things were begging for it to STOP.  “Can’t we just compost them?  I can’t eat them anymore!!!  I’m even sick of the fritters!!”  I digress….

Eggs. We can go to the farmers market and get them, but some weeks I just can’t get there.  We’ve got a few friends who have been keeping them and we are fascinated.  Replacing our beloved pooch doesn’t seem likely, and a pet with such a tasty habit might be nice?

My Pinterest followers will recognize some of these images from my growing collection of coop inspiration.


So many beautifully designed coops out there!  If money were no object and we weren’t planning to build it ourselves…then these might dot our landscape.

Via Dwell


This is one of my faves…and we could probably make something similar, but I think we might like a walk-in coop?  Dunno..details, details.

via gastronomista

So, if we are to build said structure, would it look more like these?

via my pet chickens

via star apple

via backyard poulty mag

And we have all loved and admired this couple’s super coop….

via Dwell

So why am I talking about chickens anyway?!  Don’t I have the interior of a treehouse to paint now that the temps are cooling?  Why, yes.  But finishing up pesky details isn’t nearly as much fun as planning something new, that may, or may not, ever happen.


August 24 UPDATE:  Oh my GAWD..I just saw Karen’s coop over at The Art of Doing Stuff…and that is the mac damn daddy of all coops…..go check it here!

To Do: Patio

Here’s what I think I want to do with the CC’s new cement mixer.  The area known in the past as the ugly poor man’s patio, will be an oasis of concrete circles, like Jenn Ski did here.

photos via Jenn Ski

Wexler House via Housepet via PSMod

Housepet’s patio, image by Housepet

I think a circular firepit should be worked into the plan as well, no?


What do we think Billy?



Will it Go Round in Circles?

To Do: Treehouse

The Minors have been very patient.  We thought we could get this going last summer, but the siding took so much longer than planned, and then the rains came, and came…..and next thing we knew, that window of opportunity had closed.

No worries though. The delay actually worked out well, because we saved all the good lumber when we rebuilt the front steps and back deck, so now we have a nice cache of salvaged materials to recycle.

We’ve been sketching out ideas for a year now…and we keep changing our minds/design!

We like the open feel of this house (think MUCH simpler) and the horizontal slats would tie in nicely with the new slats going in the front.

Photos via Inhabitat

Which will look much more like this budget version….

Photo via a Prefab Project

But, because it will be built on a slope, we plan to have 2 levels on the ground like this…but screened in with a roof, like above.

Photos by Laurie Stubbs via Dwell

My dad built me a treehouse when I was a kid…and spending the night out there with my friends, in our sleeping bags, with popcorn and flashlights was a seriously wonderful thing.  I want that for them!

The roof/screening aspect is important for being able to hang out for sleepovers.  The bugs here are too plentiful to sleep out in the open. (Remember Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?!)

We (currently) think the best spot is to the left of the trail we made last year.

The bottom level will be accessible from the bottom of the trail, and the top level will be entered at the top of the trail.

So now, we just need to finish with all that staining, dirt and gravel so we can get started. Phew.

To Do: G(uan)o Bats**t

Because you know what I’m like..I’m already planning another project before I’ve finished the ten I’m currently working on.  Today may be rainy and cold, but the glorious Saturday that had us all out and lovin’ life, also had mosquitoes.  ALREADY.  I thought the harsher than usual winter would give us more time….but NOOOOOOOOO.

We needs bats.  Last year, the bloodsuckers got so bad I had to take some (technically illegal) action on the adjacent parkland.  There is a spillway that fills up in spring and becomes a stagnant mother of all breeding grounds.  It’s about 100 yards back in the woods from the mailbox, and last spring, while getting the mail, I was seriously swarmed.  I trotted out to the Depot immediately and bought a supersize pack of those floaters that kill the mosquito larvae and hiked back through there and hurled all of them in the “pond”.  That seemed to help, and I replenished again before summer dried out the area. We can do better.

If we build it, will they come?  I’ve found some good info here and here, and I think we can make a good looking bat house or 2 in a weekend…no?  I wonder if it’s better to have many smaller houses or one Batmansion like this?

photo via

This pitifully plain looking thing can hold 300 bats and comes in a kit for $95.  Ouch!

If we really want to freak out the neighbors…and our own children for that matter….we can make one of these…..

photo via, via Gritty Kitty

A naval officer built this shrine to bats in Iraq.  Impressive.

Now this is what I call a wee bit extreme….

photo via ecotality

In the end…I envision a dark stained simple bat house…like so…

photo via bsdhome

If successful, we can build more.  Apparently there are about 15 species of bat living in this state, so which ones actually come will be interesting to see.  Their poo/guano can be used as fertilizer, but we’ll see about that.  They may be nasty looking things, but anything that can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour will be my new best friend.