Category Archives: Around The House

Black is the new Black

If you haven’t noticed, I have a really hard time posting just for the sake of posting. I don’t like “fillers” and never have, so if nothing is inspiring me, I’m not going to post. Just an explanation if you’ve been wondering… Also, it’s officially summer here in Phoenix which means I feel sad. You know. Anyway.

The other day I saw an ad for a refrigerator with a black interior. WHAT. Did you have to go back and read that again? I did. It caught me off guard for a couple reasons: 1. A REFRIGERATOR WITH BLACK INTERIOR and 2. Why did it take until 2015 for someone to do this?

Jenn-Air recently announced the launch of The Obsidian. Aside from being amazingly black in the interior, LED lights illuminate your food and they say the food looks better. The lights are also placed throughout the interior to minimize shadows and reflect against the black lighting. They actually call it “theater lighting”. The temperature AND the humidity levels in the fridge can be adjusted and they included all of the technology to make the drawers soft-closing and smooth gliding. This fridge sounds more equipped than my car!

Obsidian Jenn-Air black interior refrigerator









Ok, so now we’ve established that it’s beautiful and that your food has a place to perform, so what about the cost? I had a hard time finding an actual price but read a comment saying that the New York Times had reported it to cost $8,499. For some people that may be affordable and if it is, good for them!

Now if you’re into black but not into that kind of pricing, there is also the option of black stainless appliances. Coming in at $1,599 it would probably be a lot more affordable for most. You will have to apologize to your apples for not showing them in their best light though. We all know how important lighting is, right?

black fridge


So all of this talk of black appliances and new finishes and new interiors has got me thinking; Is this just another gimmick to get people to buy new appliances, even when they don’t need them? Do you remember the Avocado appliance trend?

Avocado appliances


When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, I was so excited to be able to get all stainless appliances. We kept our fridge, which is white, because it worked just fine and fit in the space. I’m so happy that I didn’t get a new stainless fridge because the more I look at the kitchen, the more I feel like having white appliances! Is that crazy? I’m going to answer for you. No. It’s really not. The kitchen space is small, and with the white cabinets and counter tops, the current stainless dishwasher breaks up the run of white and stops your eye. In a small space, I feel like you want to keep your eyes going, to make the space feel larger than it is. If we had a huge kitchen with tons of room, appliances that broke up the cabinet runs might be helpful to give your eyes a place to rest.

Black and white kitchen mint green




See what I mean? With the fridge on the left, your eye doesn’t really stop and I feel like that’d be the case if the dishwasher was white too. The best part is that our dishwasher might need to be replaced soon, which would give me the perfect reason to put a white one in. I suppose I would put in a white double oven if I was able to find one, but with the amazing Craigslist deal I got on the current one, that probably won’t happen.

The bottom line in all of this craziness is this: don’t follow the trend because you feel like you have to (refer back to “Avocado Appliances” above). Trends die out and you’ll be left with something that looks dated. On the other hand, if you really love a trend and don’t care about it looking dated, then do it! I read a blog where someone said not to have multiple finishes on your appliances, but I think if you love it and it works in your space, you should do whatever you want! After all, you are the one footing the bill and you are the one looking at your space each day. Be creative and surround yourself with things you love that make you happy!

Laundry room re-do

How do you make a laundry room awesome and functional? This is something I’ve struggled with since we moved in years ago. Our laundry room was really a catch-all for anything we didn’t want seen, and also for the litter boxes, our cleaning supplies, half-used buckets of paint… well, you get the idea.

It didn’t feel like a room, it felt like storage and I didn’t like that feeling. I looked at photo after photo of beautiful laundry rooms on Pinterest and while some seemed achievable, most were either super large rooms (which our is not) or the materials that people used in their laundry rooms were high-end (which wasn’t an option for me).

Laundry room renovation

Laundry room renovation

Laundry room renovation


Yuck. Sad. Gross. Ew. RIGHT? There is just so much stuff and nowhere to put it.

I went to the drawing board to figure out how to make this room work. I wanted it to be well thought out, but still functional for what it was – a place to do laundry, store stuff, and have the cat boxes. The first step was to add base boards. I checked around to try to get someone to do this for us because it just seemed a little out of the realm of what I’m comfortable with. I didn’t get any responses in time, so I measured the linear feet of the walls and sent John to Home Depot to buy whatever white baseboard they already had that were able to be cut and were already painted. He came back with some beautiful white baseboards that I’m guessing are plastic of some sort. We set to work cutting and measuring.

We cleared everything out of the room and got a couple of samples of Jeff Lewis’ paint. I chose two grey colors (duh): Smoke and Dusk. The yellow we originally painted the room was cute, in theory, and I hoped it would make the room more cheery. Who am I kidding though? I’m not a cheery person and yellow doesn’t “fit” me at all.

Laundry room renovation

After the room was painted (I chose Dusk) we began installing the baseboards. We rented a finish nailer with an air compressor which was terrifying. As John was putting the nails into the baseboard, he made sure I wasn’t standing on the other side of the wall. (Old houses. You never know what might happen.)

Laundry room renovation

A tip if you’re installing baseboards; it’s good to have a good saw, and it’s good to have the tool that measures the angles of your walls, because I don’t care how new your house is, you probably don’t have 90 degree angles where the walls meet. We had neither a good saw, nor the measuring tool, so I did a lot of guessing. Not exactly perfect, but we got the job done and the room was starting to look more like a room.

I had an open shelving unit for storage, but because we store EVERYTHING in this room, it looked super cluttered all the time. I wanted something that contained everything behind doors, but possibly didn’t look like it belonged in a laundry room. I liked the idea of adding two Billy Bookcases from IKEA with full glass doors.

IKEA Billy Bookcase

They were super easy to put together, and super cheap compared to other storage units I was finding online. The knobs that came with them are pretty generic but fate brought me these gorgeous little things, and they couldn’t have worked more perfectly.

Vintage gold cabinet pulls

So once the bookcases were up, we were able to store everything behind closed doors, and while you can still see everything, it definitely makes the room seem more tidy.

IKEA Billy Bookcase

I also chose an Algot storage system from IKEA for the opposite wall. These are open shelves and are highly configurable to whatever room you are putting them in. Our hot and cold water supply valves, the dryer vent, a window, and the dryer outlet are all on this wall, so we definitely needed something that could be moved around to fit the existing space.

IKEA storage

Everything has a place! The laundry soap is stored above the washer! It’s the small things, really. I was trying the washer and dryer on the left side of the room so it felt different, but ended up moving them back to the right side.

IKEA Algot storage laundry

Look at all that toilet paper! Now I can buy it in bulk and we actually have a place for it. It’s pretty wonderful, really.  The room feels clean and not creepy, while being functional. Everything has its place and I’m so happy that it’s not embarrassing anymore! When people come over, we don’t have to close the door to hide the mess in there. All it took was some elbow grease, a little planning, and about $400. Not bad to change the mood and functionality of a room!

Now there is a not a “bad” room in the house. Sure, there are still things I want to change and ideas I have, but every room has been worked on and the house feels cohesive as you walk around it. It’s a nice feeling, although I worry what happens when it’s all done. That’s when we move, amiright? Anyone looking to rent a house? I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let this one go. We’ve put so much work into it, but it’s just a house… right? Has anyone else experienced this? It kind of makes me feel sad, but it’s also an exciting thought to have a whole other house to get ideas for. John might kill me.

On a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to share this little picture with you that I took today. This is the chair we had redone at the end of last year and it is just so regal and beautiful. Sitting there, I noticed how great it looks with the weird gold lamp (spray painted by yours truly) and next to our couch and with the carpet. It’s easy to feel like there is always more work to do, and easy to feel like there’s never enough time or money. Lately, I’ve had a hard time being inspired and motived to work on projects, but when I saw this today, I felt re-energized. There are beautiful things all around me when I take the time to notice! :)

Black and white living room

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!






Get Real

Do you ever look around on the internet at homes or lives or makeup or meals (etc, etc) and wonder how people keep it all together? How they can go to work all day, find the time to work out and look incredible, make amazing meals, work on Pinterest projects (and actually complete them), and just have it all together? I figured something out! No one really has it together. Everyone has their “junk drawer” and that is pretty awesome.

Anyone who has been to our house knows that it doesn’t quite look like what is posted online. When I say “doesn’t quite”, I mean not at all. There is typically dog and/or cat pee somewhere, hair balls rolling around, dusty books, dishes in the sink… It’s easy to want to portray a perfectly organized and beautiful life, and I think it’s similar to wanting to put your best foot forward in work or with relationships. It’s NORMAL. Moving things out of the picture to get that “glamour shot” is normal. But so is chaos. And clutter.

Here’s where I’m going with this: it’s easy for me to want to wait to post anything I’m doing until it’s completely done, organized, locked away, cleaned, dusted, mopped and polished. I like the before and after, and not so much the process in between. You know the story of the laundry room and how it’s basically the bane of my existence. This room haunts me. It is small and awkward and kind of gross to be honest. I just don’t get it. It doesn’t speak to me and doesn’t tell me what it wants to be. I don’t have a vision for it and that kind of drives me crazy. For a long time it’s just been easier to ignore it. Usually I can see pretty quickly how to change a room, make it better, make it beautiful and functional. But with this room I just can’t. And that frustrates me to no end.

I decided that instead of waiting to have a complete plan, I would just take a step. Maybe that will get the ball rolling. So this week, we had the laundry room painted. Baby steps, right? I have been wanting to use a Jeff Lewis color ever since I saw him developing his paint line on Flipping Out. Boy do I love that man. OCD, emotional, a little verbally abusive, hilarious, sarcastic… sometimes I believe we are kindred spirits. But back to the paint – I picked out the color Smoke. It was between that and Dusk, two beautiful grey colors (duh).

Laundry Room

Smoke is the top, darker color. The yellow was the color we painted it in an effort to be “cheery” and have a sunny outlook on life. Who am I kidding? Grey all the way, baby. And look at all that clutter. Doesn’t it feel good to be real?

Laundry new

Look at that! Modern, fresh, not sunny. Clean and beautiful, like a new start. I have no idea what shelving or organization I am going to do in here, but that’s OK. I’m working on not panicking. We have a lot of stuff to store, and this is kind of the only place we can do it, so I will make it work. Not putting pressure on myself is feeling pretty good right now, and making this a little bit exciting! Do you have a favorite organizational system that you use in your laundry or pantry? If so, let me know!

The second incomplete project in the house right now is the wall between the kitchen and laundry room. So I was at Target one Saturday alone (which is a big mistake) and picked up a roll of the Devine wallpaper. It was turquoise and gold so it took about .5 seconds to put it into my cart. I’d figure out what to do with it later. And while I am OK with committing to a project, and OK with putting in work, the thought of wallpapering makes me want to die a little inside. So I knew the wall needed to be fairly straightforward, with not a lot of cuts or measuring and all of the things that come along with doing a project correctly. I picked the wall between the kitchen and laundry room because it fit the criteria. I assumed that with two of us working on it, it wouldn’t take long at all.

The wallpaper is peel and stick, and you can reposition it, so really, it doesn’t take a wallpapering master to do it. I think the issue with our project is 1. no wall in our house is straight, on any side. Ever. And 2. we put this wall in when we remodeled our kitchen and it was never sanded down or truly completed. There are lots of little spackle bumps and weird inconsistencies. Knowing this now, I would have sanded the wall completely before we put the wallpaper on, but hindsight is 20/20 and honestly, I kind of never want to wallpaper again. I think there was an argument while wallpapering (that usually happens when we do house projects), and at one point I started laughing hysterically because I didn’t know what else to do. Then my eyes got watery and I felt like taking a bath and eating pretzels, so I knew this probably wasn’t ever going to happen again.

Kitchen before

So here’s the wall before. It’s cute. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but it’s not exciting.

Devine wallpaper Target

At this point, it looked kind of straight. Like we had somehow been magical enough to perfectly install wallpaper on our funhouse walls. Then things got weird. The rolls are only about 29 square feet so this was where we needed a new roll. There was the same print in the clearance bin at Target because it didn’t have packaging so I really thought I scored. We started to hang the second roll, but some of the pattern at the bottom didn’t match up, even though it did on the top. This still baffles me. The spackle bumps on the wall caused the wallpaper to stick out, and this caused the seams to be “off”. This drives me a little bit insane, but you know, it is what it is. If you don’t look too closely, I think the wall looks pretty great. I love the color and I love that it’s a bit gaudy.

Devine wallpaper Target


There’s a good 18″ gap between the end of this counter run and the wallpapered wall, and I think we could fill this wall with open shelving. Either stainless or even a reclaimed wood. Then store dishes, pots, pans or whatever else here. So this project is also not yet done, but like I mentioned before, I think the process is important, and I think it’s OK to not have everything completed.

Both in home renovation and in life!



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