Raindrops on roses and muddiness on construction sites

It’s hard to drive by our house and see little progress. The rain and the holiday season delayed our renovation by a couple of weeks. The concrete has been poured and the framing has begun, but we really hoped we’d be framing two weeks ago.

Everyone said there would be delays and we should be ready for them, but it still kinda pains us to watch the place sit still.

Our contractor swears that the delays are not major issues and that we will be able to move very quickly now. We’re taking him at his word because, well, what else can you do? So when we walked through the house this weekend, I snapped some pictures and tried to get myself into a more open and eager state of mind.

Kitchen before:

Laminate. Stick on tile. No insulation. But we have a very nice paper towel holder.

Kitchen current:


Our initial plans for the kitchen didn’t include a pantry. I don’t have a pantry currently and I greatly desperately urgently wanted one. After the drafts went back and forth with the architect, and an exit was shifted to another part of the house, it became apparent that we could include one in the corner.

Hallelujah and pass the oversized KitchenAid mixer!

So as you look at this picture – just imagine that the window is gone and there is a walk in pantry in the back corner instead. Then the kitchen wraps around the pantry wall, with an island in the middle.

There are so many gorgeous photos of carefully curated pantries with glass jars containing lentils and cinnamon sticks. I’m such a sucker for that stuff. But, realistically, the thing I look most forward to is being able to pull out my crockpot without walking into the basement.

Our shelving will likely be laminate. It’s more cost effective than wood and that seems like such an easy thing for Mike and I to do ourselves in a couple of years after we’ve used the pantry and get a feel for any changes we might want to make. I can’t be expected to know how I will want to store my cinnamon sticks at the moment, can I?

So I’ll throw out the question … what’s the best way to organize a pantry? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Raindrops on roses and muddiness on construction sites

Backsplash tile – are we done here?




When we started this renovation process, we thought we’d just redo our kitchen. (Insert laugh track here.) The house, though small and old and filled with little closed in rooms, had been updated by prior owners and wasn’t screaming for work. I actually found it quite cozy. However, the kitchen hadn’t been touched in years and definitely needed some updating.

Our plan was to gut the kitchen in five years. Simple. Straightforward. Well, five years, have come and gone and now we know that want to do a lot more work on the house. Moving into a home with a newborn and two-year-old is a very different scenario than living in a home with  8- and 6-year-old children. I could barely breathe, let alone think ahead to what our family would need in the long term.

So when we started contemplating renovation, it always centered around the kitchen. By now, you know that we’ve taken this renovation process waaaay farther than the kitchen. We’re adding on a second floor and a small addition out the back. With the help of a great architect, we’ve completely redesigned the home’s layout.

However, the kitchen is where I’ve spent the most time dreaming and plotting. Pinterest is so great for this. I know that it gets a bad rap for setting impossible standards, but Pinterest can also save your bacon when you’re trying to describe something and can’t quite make the point.

White kitchen cabinets were a must. I love the classic, clean look of white and because the house will still be on the small side, we need light and bright to help balance and open up the smaller spaces.

I also really wanted light or white countertops. There seems to be something inspiring about setting down fresh vegetables on a clean white surface and I just kept coming back to it. There are so many pretty surfaces out there, it can be overwhelming. Marble and granite felt too busy for my taste and so I’ve settled on a white quartz that I think is going to be really clean and simple.

The lighting wasn’t great in the store. But you get the idea!

These decisions were made rather quickly. I know what I like and I don’t waste too much time going through every option on earth. Some people love the debate back and forth, but I tend to want resolution so I can move on to other things.

Tile, however, was a different story. Subway tile is what I gravitate to, but in this case, it didn’t make sense to do more white in the kitchen. It would just be too much.

After logging some time at a tile shop, I finally settled on this one below. Thankfully, Mike was right on board with my choice.


We reached the final decision over Christmas when Mike had time to go and look at the surfaces in person. Yee-haw! The price was more than I wanted to spend, but we don’t need a huge quantity, so we can make it work with our budget. I’m going to use less expensive tile in other locations to balance out this cost increase.

Our overall progress is behind schedule due to rain. It’s hard watching the house just sit with no one working on it, but I’m trying to keep perspective. This is all piddly stuff in the grand scheme of things. We’re happy and content in our rental home right now, we’re all healthy and safe, and if construction runs long, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Backsplash tile – are we done here?