A Table with a View

The dining room in our house was originally located next to the kitchen (northwest corner), where we have now built a bar instead. The southwest corner of the main level has floor to ceiling windows on both exterior walls, creating an ambient setting for the new dining room.

The previous owner had filled this space with a smaller table and chairs, apparently using it more as a breakfast nook:

They took out their furniture; we took out their carpet:

We felt that this would be an excellent change; however, the new dining space lacked one major component: adequate lighting. We planned to hang the George Nelson Saucer Bubble Lamp, but there was no wiring for a fixture in the ceiling. Problem? Not when you are married to Matt. He thought ahead and wired the new switch when the room was gutted and ran the necessary wiring from the switch to the fixture when the roof was torn off. No more paper lantern temporarily plugged into a wall outlet!

Former Temporary Set-up:

As previously posted, we picked up the very well-designed Cross Extension Table (Matthew Hilton) at our local "Design Within Reach" store-closing sale. After a search for the perfect coordinating seats, we chose the Eames Molded Plastic Chair with the dowel-leg base. These classic chairs are durable, comfortable and even kind to the environment.

Our dining room is a space we hope will be filled with great food and friendly conversation for years to come.


Fall Fever

One of the great things about the first year of living in a new house is experiencing the seasons change in a new space. Our lot is mostly wooded and covered in ivy. It is a bit of a jungle and much of it is unusable, but it is beautiful. Our concrete patio, which is extremely usable and stretches around the back of the house, is the perfect setting for entertaining on warm evenings. Unfortunately, this past summer the patio became the "shop" for our roof project and was constantly occupied by ladders, tools and debris (and hard-working men).

Now that the roof replacement is finished (Matt will be posting about it soon), we have reclaimed this area for leisurely purposes, and our new T. Vac chairs have found their home. Designed by Ron Arad, this is the perfect indoor/outdoor chair if you are looking for great modern design and comfort.

Now we have a place to sit and enjoy the leaves changing this fall. Come on over! There is room for eight. :)


Now We're Cookin' with Electric!

I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to have our kitchen renovation complete! Our new kitchen is everything I envisioned, thanks to the talents of Matt, our carpenter Randy Ingraham, and my dad, who finished the cabinets.

The original kitchen was a small, closed-in, lighthouse-themed space, with dilapidated hunter green cabinets, stained carpet, fluorescent lighting and ancient appliances. It was so bad that we had to strip it down to the studs and start over.

The newness of everything in our renovated kitchen is a tremendous improvement of course, but opening up the space has had the biggest impact. Within a few weeks of closing on the house, Matt tore down two walls that divided the kitchen from the rest of the main living area. This not only made the kitchen feel bigger, but the entire first floor as well.

For flooring, we chose engineered hardwood in natural maple, which matches the flooring upstairs. The house utilizes radiant heat under concrete floors, which requires a glue-down application; nailing into the concrete would be nearly impossible and would also risk rupturing the iron pipes of the heating system. Solid hardwood flooring can also be installed with this glue-down method, but engineered hardwood is more capable of withstanding the constant temperature flux of radiant floor heating. Various styles of engineered flooring are available, but by choosing a product that features a 1/8" top layer of pre-finished maple, we did not have to sacrifice the rich appearance of real hardwood flooring to accommodate our unique situation.

I won't re-hash all the details of our kitchen journey in this post, but to get caught up, see these posts: Roadmap, Coming Together, Ready for Entertaining, Design Challenge.

Now, the moment I have been waiting for since we started this blog: the before and after comparison!

Original kitchen.
With the walls torn down.
Completely gutted.
Insulation in and bar wall framed.
Drywall up.
Cabinets installed.
Cabinets being finished.
Concrete countertops poured.
Countertops sealed.
White subway tile and appliances installed.
New sink and faucet installed.
Ready to move in.
Corian bar top with waterfall edge.
Last step completed: the floor is laid!