Reasons why we hate our kitchen #9497392874

Before we decided to completely gut the kitchen and start over we decided to chronologue why the kitchen didn’t work for us (and most likely anyone). Here are the before pictures of the kitchen area and adjoining walls when we purchased the home: kitchen reno before kitchen reno before dining room / kitchen

dining room to front of house

Besides the dark hole in the center of the house, the first thing we noticed was that there was all of this light coming from the kitchen that was being blocked by that wall.

Here are the pictures of the kitchen as we lived for the last year and a half…sprinkled with our laundry list of complaints:

reasons why we hate our kitchen

  1. We NEVER USED the items on the top shelf.
  2. Un-functional Storage – No accessible storage for towels, oven mitts, and napkins.. (hence junk piled onto open shelves next to sink)
  3. Under Cabinet Radio – Cool idea, however this beauty and its plug took up the entire outlet rendering any capability of having a plug in there useless.
  4. Double Sink – Each basin was too small for trying to clean pot, pans or cutting boards. We realized we prefer a single basin, and while we’re at it we’ll add a garbage disposal.
  5. No Microwave – While Greg is anti-microwave to begin with, this wasn’t as issue, however we then rely heavily always used electric water kettle, so while we’re at it we’ll add a mini hot water tap.
  6. Nonfunctional Storage – the stove blocked access to a full bottom cabinet, including upper cabinet, counter top, bottom cabinet and pull out drawer on the right hand side.
  7. Cabinets – Being original the shelves are discintigrating daily leaving a nice layer of dust and particles over my clean pots & pans. {BOO}
  8. Lack of Counter top – Once we stored all of the items that were unable to be stored elsewhere, we were left with little to no usable counter space.

  1. AGAIN the nonfunctional cabinets – here is where you can actually see the <12 inches of space between the stove, cabinet upper, lower and counter top.. talk about crashes in the kitchen..
  2. No hood for stove {not cool for a gas stove} Even a charcoal filter is better than nothing.
  3. Poor  to non existent ceiling lighting.
  4. No light switch accessible at the doorway near the dining room for when you’re leaving the kitchen.. (think walking to bed in the dark..)
  5. Pantry has lots of wasted space. There is nonfunctional space between the shelves and the door, and the sqft of space the is unused between pantry opening and shelves.
  6. More Wasted Space – We turned this into Guinness little area, however the heating vent was here, and is just  more waste of space usually.

  1. Lighting
  2. Clausterphobic doorway opening
  3. The Fridge- huge barrier sticking out when walking into the kitchen from the side door. {BAM Hello fridge..}

While I could probably go on.. and on.. and on to end on a good note here are some examples of kitchen styling and function we love (or that I dream about)


*Tweak*ing our way to an updated living room

As you’ve noticed I’ve become a HUGE slacker in writing posts.

Anyways I started reading a blog called House*Tweaking , I fell in love with their blog (mainly because I like how she refers to her husband as HH (*Handy Husband*) but also because of the tag line of “because home doesn’t happen overnight”.

Now almost a Year into home ownership (<– Yes it’s really been 1 Year since I’ve been back in Buffalo and we looked and fell in love with our house). Anyways.. after a year now I realize while we both work full-time jobs, our home really is a continual series of small mini projects. We can’t typically dedicate solid days to a project but each of our *tweaks* really does add up.

Here is a great example of a series of *tweaks* we’ve done to the living room. This is a side-by-side *before* and *current*: (oh and don’t worry we have even more added tweaks up our sleeves).


I think it looks drastically different. The old space was small, dark, closed in and seemed very very tiny. The new space is large, big and bright.

However, since do work full-time,  this post documents a series of *tweaks*. Each tweak didn’t necessarily change the room drastically, but it does show how small tackled projects can help make a big difference. So without further ado, a series of living room tweaks up to now.

Upon Moving In:

Living room

Moving our existing furniture in.. - living room old style

A quick change of curtains [i love, love, love, love, love  ikea clearance bins!] ikea curtains

A little re-org, a new coat of paint, and removal of the old trim.

New trim mounted and painted…

Then came the fun part.. taking down the unusable bookcase. [It was seriously 7 inches deep… even the bottom cabinets.] Also Greg had fun doing this as you can see…

Only 1 casualty on the way.. Lesson learned: A crowbar will go right through the original plaster walls..

With the book-case out, we moved onto mounting Greg’s baby… *no not Guinness* his 55″ HD Fancy Schmancy TV. He hard-wired a mounting box behind the TV above the fireplace, with all the wires exiting down to the side next to fireplace for the to be new appliance cabinet.

After the TV went up we arrive where we were  just a few days ago. *Voila*

oh and of course: this is all guinness approved:

Next Up for the Living Room:

-Mount TV
-Remove Bookcase
-Paint Walls
-Update Trim & Molding
-Patch Water Damage in ceiling (Guess we could add replace roof onto this.. boo)

-Update closet door ( I want to replace all the doors in the house eventually.. and I have my eye on something like this or this but in white)
-Update window coverings (I love the no curtain look, but I would like the lady next door to not see me enjoying it)
-Wall accent pieces for both the walls
-Hall Entry Furniture, Table/Desk/Dresser?
-Accent Furniture chairs for additional seating
-Get light into the room! Ceiling light? New side lamps?
-Built in cabinets/storage for the side of the fireplace
-Fireplace Re-Fresh (To Paint the Brick or Not to Paint the Brick? and Re-Tile the front of the fireplace)
-To Accent Rug? Or to go bare beautiful floors?
-Coffee Tables/Ottoman (Without the L on the couch its hard to get comfy, and there’s  no place to put your drink or feet)

*side note.. yes we have taken down our Christmas tree.. although it did take awhile..*

Also I apologize in advance if the blog gets taken over by *how to* DIY wedding items.

Ikea Slipcovering a Non-Ikea Sofa

As college students who moved every 3 months for 5 years, it’s been hard for us to rationalize having items that didn’t fit in our car for [practical] reasons. One of our good friends even decided to give up on belongings all together and start an adventure living in a 1988 Lindy motor home (check him out here his story is awesome).

So one of our first projects in our first home were these jungle floral couches in our sun room. [Donated to our empty house from one of our amazing family members] We love hanging out in here, the room gets great natural light, a nice breeze and at night it has this dim mood lighting relaxing feel to it. We also loved these sofa’s, as in the evening Greg and I each would lay on a couch and tell one another about our day. So while they had great function they didn’t quite match our style ideas for the house (even though as a friend pointed out they match the original wall color in the room YUCK).

Our lovely solid pieces of furniture

So I set-off on a mission on how to re purpose these loveseats on a low low budget. I looked at slip covers from various stores, but they were all too big, were made for big round arms, or were hundreds of dollars a piece [boo]. But I stumbled upon the Karlstad loveseat from Ikea, and it dawned on me that my jungle floral couches are an almost match. Ikea has slipcovers for $39 – $200+. While I loved the $200 ones my budget just didn’t stretch that far for two slipcovers. So for $39 we invested in the white covers, and $39 well that was the cheapest cover I’ve found.

Karlstad Love Seat Cover in White from Ikea – $39.00

::screech:: Hold the Horses! A WHITE Sofa’s? Really?

I know, I know, White sofa in a sunroom and with a black-haired dog YIKES! So I did my research and found multiple blogs [here and here and here] of mom’s with kids, and after 2+ years still love their white sofas. I even debated dying them like The Handmade House. However “they” say to wash every week, and with an occasional bleaching as needed, they hold up beyond anyone’s initial expectations. With that we were sold!

At first glance when the slipcovers arrived it looked like a complete failure. It looked like a failed project and these were going to end up on Ebay. The cushion covers are too big, and the arms are slightly odd shaped comparatively. But Greg insisted I keep trying, and with a little bit of imagination I started in.

First, it required removal of the sofa skirt. Using my big strong arm muscle power, a pair of pliers, and my lovely Fiskars utility scissors, the skirt border came apart with removal with what felt like 100,000 staples.
And Ta da! Look at the beauty of a sofa that was unvailed just by removing the sofa skirt!

The next step involved a little bit of pushing and pulling with the Ikea slipcover. Our jungle sofa isn’t an exact dimensional match, but is so close… Therefore a seem ripper came in handy to remove the seems along the edges of the cover that typically fit the corners of the sofa.

Then came the fun part, there was a lot of tucking, pulling and sticking of of velcro hook tape and waiting 24 hours. So far I’ve only velcro attached the front of the sofa’s everything else is hanging freely temporarily. I would like to say at some point I will seem up a good fit, but as life gets in the way I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it. The cushions on our jungle sofa were also a lot smaller then the Karlstad, so for now they’re just folded over and tucked underthe cushions

Overall they have that kind of wrinkled Ikea sofa look (as there is slot of tucking) but so far I’m just in love with the transformation. Ta-Da! Our Completed Sofa!

Our Finished Sofa – Me= So Proud

The room in the daylight feels more polished and finished (until we can paint & decorate).

Sun Room 2

View of Sunroom For Now

Check back soon for more updates to the sunroom!

What do you think of our new sofa covers, anyone else have a better idea for <;$80 for two?