Archive for 'personal'

August 03, 2017

A year later, it’s finally time to reveal our new {mostly} IKEA kitchen! I would love to spend hours on this blog post and include the hundreds of images of our DIY failures and successes, but I know all you REALLY want to see is the finished project! My friend Megan Lorenz, who is an amazing interiors photographer, came over last month to photograph the kitchen for us. I was thrilled with the kitchen before, but her photos made it even more stunning.

So…let’s begin. This was our garage after IKEA delivered 200 (yes, actually 202) boxes into our garage. The delivery guy actually said something along the lines of  “This is the biggest delivery we’ve made so far”. (IKEA St. Louis had only been open for a year at that point, but the statement still really surprised me). I spent an ENTIRE day organizing the boxes into piles (which would later become specific cabinets).

Looks like a perfect project for someone due with a baby in a couple of months!

Anyway, I feel like I have to throw in some background information to make this kitchen transformation a bit more dramatic. What you see below is what we started with…and below that is from when we first moved in…

We moved here in 2011 and I thought the kitchen would be immediately updated…didn’t happen.

The floors were a hideous Pergo-esque thing that butted right up against our original hardwoods in the living room. If you look closely at the next photo you can see where the two floors meet. We knew that had to go, but weren’t exactly sure if we would continue the hardwoods into the kitchen or go with tile.

Everything about the above photo makes me say “WOMP WOMP”. No storage, you could barely open the dishwasher door, the countertops were granite but didn’t fit with the kitchen,  and the backsplash was old and boring. Just yuck.

This photo shows where we came in through the garage, and had to squeeze by the refrigerator to get into the house. We had no drop-off space for our purses/diaper bags/computer bags/coats/mail. This left us feeling constantly bogged down with STUFF and nowhere to hide it. I pined after a mudroom but figured we just didn’t have the space.


Many of the homes in our area built in the late 1960s-early 70s had these little rooms which we assumed was supposed to be a  bar. When we first moved in we thought it could be a wine space–this lasted for a while until Grif’s tastes turned from wine to craft beer, and our dogs turned it into a luxury dog apartment. We knew this room had to go, and thought it might become our pantry.

That brings us to the dining room, which really, I kind of liked. I found some cool lights at CB2, we made some neat wood/gold shelves to collect junk on the wall, threw in lots of IKEA furniture, and called it a day. Problem was, the dining room took up a LOT of floor space that felt unused.

Fab view of the original paneling along the dining room walls **shudder shudder**…this ain’t no Joanna Gaines ship-lap.

So there’s the space we had to work with. When I found out I was pregnant with Gillian in November 2015, we decided we better redo the kitchen ASAP because after we had 2 children it would just be too hard to deal with. We (mostly I) went into crazy-town mode. We called IKEA and set up an appointment with their “kitchen designer” who comes to your home and helps you with the layout of your new kitchen, and what to buy so that you can DIY it. This meeting unfortunately did not go so hot. The designer was friendly, but wasn’t able to offer us the transformation we were looking for. It’s actually a much longer saga that I will not go into, but in the end it worked out because he referred us to an interior designer named Elizabeth Kavlock, of Dashing Designs. She was like our kitchen angel sent from heaven :)  You see, previously I had hunted for a designer who would come up with a design for us using IKEA cabinetry, but I couldn’t find a soul in the St. Louis area who was willing to do so. We met with several kitchen companies who gave us outrageous bids and essentially told us we were crazy for creating an IKEA kitchen. After one phone call with Elizabeth we knew we were headed down the right path.

This is the original idea she came up with to “flip” the kitchen and dining room. The thought had entered our head before but we couldn’t quite get our minds around the idea. Unlike what the other designers had come up with for us (which basically was an update of what we already had), she was able to fit a gigantic island, which was my dream come true. We were also able to avoid replacing one of the windows along our back wall which was a huge money savings.

After the layout was approved, the hard part started, which was the actual ordering/building of the kitchen. There were a few miscommunications when translating the design into IKEA cabinetry, because you can’t necessarily customize it. I don’t even want to tell you how many times we made trips down to the store to buy things, return parts, buy more parts, harass the kitchen helpers, but more crap, cry in the parking lot, use swear words, and curse IKEA for existing (but it all worked out in the end, right?)

The demolition and building started in March, and we were able to complete the basics by the time the baby arrived at the end of July. Below you can see some detail shots of the process.

After what you see above, we wasted a lot of precious time because THIS GIRL wanted clear grout. Yes, that’s a thing. Unfortunately, after testing it a million different ways on the backsplash, we admitted defeat as it wasn’t going to work on our pretty frosted glass. We went with white and I ended up loving it, so it’s all good. We also had to vacate the house for a week to get our floors refinished. We found an amazing guy to replace the Pergo with wood to match our existing hardwoods. He was also able to fix some other trouble spots that were created when the previous owner removed walls but cheaply filled in gaps between the wood. The floors  were a transformation all on their own.

If you’ve been reading for this long…wow..good for you! I’m finally going to reveal the new kitchen! Hurray! But I do of course want to thank my husband who worked his TAIL off building this kitchen. While I spent hours upon hours shopping for/researching/ordering light fixtures, backsplash tile, countertops, brass knobs and pulls, furniture, and appliances, he was tediously building every drawer, cabinet, shelf, and hinge you see. I followed him around checking every inch of tile work and double checking if objects were straight and and symmetrical. Drove him insane. But together we came up with our dream kitchen and I couldn’t be prouder!

Enough talk. Here are the photos that Megan took…woo hoo!

Dining room, After! Behind the black wall is the mudroom (former kitchen). The light is original to the house, but we spray painted it a prettier gold!

The banquette seating is also built from IKEA Bodbyn cabinets.

And the mudroom! I have lots of “favorite” parts of this renovation, but the mudroom is at the top of the list. I keep imagining all this stuff that used to be dispersed throughout the house, and how it now has a space! On the other side we have some calendars, bulletin boards for artwork, and a table for our keys and whatnot. The door was purchased at ReFab and came from a deconstructed building at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

And Now, the heart of our home! Since it’s been complete, we truly spend more time in here than anywhere else in the house. I love that we can eat breakfast together at the island, entertain guests in the dining room or living room while cooking, and have plenty of open space to fit our families! I think we created something a bit different than the ALL white kitchen with our splash of color with the tile. I feel that it’s beautiful but also really functional.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this tour of our new Kitchen/Dining/Mudroom! Below I’ll include lots of sources in case you’re curious where to purchase items that you see above :)

Kitchen Designer: Elizabeth Kavlock with Dashing Design. She is fabulous!

Cabinetry: IKEA Bodbyn, both white and gray

Quartz Countertops: LG Viatera, Hallmark Stone

Backsplash Tile: Loft Horizon Seafoam Green 2×16, TileBar

Farmhouse Sink: Kohler

Faucet: Delta Trinsic Touch 2.o, Champagne Bronze (It is much cheaper elsewhere)

Island Chairs: Target, Windsor Counter stool in mint (we scored an excellent deal on these when target was having a sale)

Island lights: Katie conical pendant, purchased at Ferguson

Flooring: Rob’s Flooring, Alton, IL. He does not have a website, but has a Facebook page. I recommend him 1000 times over!

“After” Photos: My dear friend,  Megan Lorenz Photo



December 22, 2014

This Christmas, one of my “gifts” to my husband, Griffin, was to show off some of his AMAZING work to everyone! It can be hard for me to put into words what he means to our family, but his dedication to making our house beautiful is just one of the many reasons why I love him. Starting back before Elliott was born, he started working on the basement bathroom. He hired someone to finish the plumbing, but everything else was done with his own two hands. We chose to paint the room Sherwin Williams “Softened Green”, which I think makes it feel very spa-like. The tile is just gorgeous, and I’m in love with our rustic-looking wood-tile floors. I think my favorite part of the bathroom is the oval-shaped mirror over the vanity back-splash.

The best view in the bathroom is from the jacuzzi tub. I’ve spent a few nights here with a glass of wine catching up on Project Runway :)

Next comes Griffin’s favorite room in the house. While he worked hard on the bathroom, he really put his heart into the bar. He is, after all, a craft-beer aficionado. We carried the wood tile from the bathroom out into the bar. Griff took the pre-finished cabinets from Home Depot and customized them. He’d been saving a slab of butcher block for years, hoping to find the right place for it. It looks perfect as the bar-top. The Schlafly bottle cap backsplash is a nod to his favorite local brewery. We look forward to spending many nights entertaining friends in our very own basement pub :)

Merry Christmas! Let us know if you ever want to come have a drink :)

May 20, 2012

This may be the fastest I’ve ever blogged something! Yesterday I hosted a baby shower, which was probably a crazy thing for me to do, because I tend to over-think the details (brings me back to when I planned my wedding-Griff swore to me he would NEVER step foot into Hobby Lobby ever, EVER again. Mary (mama to baby Kaitlyn who I just blogged about last week, was my partner in crime, and special thanks to Faith for fixin’ up our champagne bar, and Robin’s family for help with setting/cleaning up!  I think mom-to-be Robin enjoyed herself, and we can’t wait to meet her baby boy in just about a month!!

Here are some of the details from the shower!

December 23, 2011
December 23rd, 2011–
I hope my family, friends, and clients all have a beautiful holiday :) This was our Christmas card this year!

I will be “out of the office” from now until January 2nd. I will be checking email here and there. Happy Holidays!
January 21, 2011
Hi everyone! My apologies for the boring blog lately. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I have REALLY been taking advantage of winter off-season—meaning I haven’t done ANYTHING!
I’m starting to feel the itch to get shooting again, which is good, because this weekend is my first ever Boudoir Marathon, which I’m hosting with my friend Megan from Megan Thiele Studios! Hopefully some of the girls will be brave enough to let us show them off on our blogs..but until then, I thought I should at least put up something for you to read :)
When I was first starting out, I used to look at blog after blog after blog, wondering about shooting techniques and what lenses my favorite photographers used. Over the last few years I’ve slowly built up quite an arsenal of equipment, and thought it could be interesting to some people to see what I shoot with and why!
First off, my trusty Shootsac (with custom cover designed by Megan). I think after my little Canon Rebel and cheap-o 50 1.8 lens, this was my first purchase. I never go to a shoot without it. I typically keep 3 lenses + memory cards + water bottle + cell phone in here.

This is the 50mm 1.2 lens. Many folks use this lens as their go-to portrait lens. Some of my shooter friends keep this lens on most of the day. I prefer it for bridal portraits/close-ups, some shots of a bride and groom, and I will also use it for a processional in a really dark church, when I know my 70-200 can’t get the job done. It’s a beautiful lens. (PS…I started out with the 50 1.8, upgraded to the 50 1.4, and eventually had to get my hands on this one)
Next up is the 35 1.4 lens. I keep this lens on my camera for most of my family sessions, and it also stays on my camera for a big majority of a wedding day. It’s a great story telling lens, as you can get a wider look at a scene than you can with the 50 1.2. I use it for getting ready shots, family formals, bridal party portraits, and pretty much all of the dancing portion of a reception. It can also be a great portrait lens. ( I upgraded to this lens after using the 28mm 1.8, which is also a nice wide-angle lens)
The 70-200 2.8 IS was the very first “L” series lens that I ever purchased. It was EXPENSIVE but I knew I had to have it if I wanted experienced wedding photographers to let me come along and 2nd shoot with them! I use this lens for the majority of a wedding ceremony, so that I can stay back and out of sight. It works for most processional/recessional situations, and is a necessity to get close up if you are stuck in a church balcony. I also like using this lens during first dances at a reception, to get those up-close, intimate shots. It can take gorgeous outdoor portraits, but I often leave it in my bag because it’s too darn heavy :)
This little guy is just a novelty lens, the 15mm fisheye. I mainly bought it for those brides that want photos at the Arch! Only in St. Louis is this a necessary lens :) In the right situations it can create some really cool images, but it can definitely be over-utilized.
My only non-Canon lens is the Sigma 50mm macro lens. When I purchased this, I wanted something mainly to take ring-shots and some up-close details…and didn’t want to shell out 600+ for the former Canon 100mm Macro (ps the canon one is like $1000 now). This little guy has gotten the job done for me for the last few years…I love my ring shots!
And it is my pleasure to introduce to you the 24mm 1.4. I have been lusting after this lens for a while. While I love my 35, there are many situations where it is just not wide enough for me (for example, if a bride is getting married in a teeny-tiny room and I can’t back up far enough, or if there is a HUGE bridal party). And really, I just LOVE wide-angle lenses for story-telling on a wedding day. I can’t wait to start using it this upcoming season!
So, there you have it, all my lovely lenses. It’s probably too many, but they are so hard to give up :) If I had unlimited funds, I’d also buy the 135mm 2.0, the new Canon macro, and some sort of tilt-shift lens. Maybe some day!