Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our New House: A Not So Whimsical Post


My last post had lots of pretty pictures of our old house.  Photos of our new house aren't quite so pretty.  Sadly, they look more like this . . .

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4 

Warning:  The following few paragraphs are overly detailed descriptions of boring home improvement projects.  Not whimsical at all.  Sorry.  Feel free to skip over this part.

Photo 1 is old insulation being removed from our attic.  It wasn't the right type of insulation anyway (we had a home energy assessment done shortly after we moved in), so we planned to eventually replace it to reduce our heating and cooling costs.  We were going to do this someday.  Like, a year or two down the road.  However, that project was quickly accelerated after we discovered a significant mouse problem in our attic.  Yuck!  Once the exterminators got rid of the mice (some of whom died in our walls and caused a horrible odor!), we had all the contaminated insulation removed, the attic sanitized, and new insulation installed.  Let's just hope the mice are gone for good.  I'm too traumatized to discuss this topic further.  On to the next catastrophe, our flooded basement . .

Photos 2 and 3 are of our flooded basement ordeal.  We had a major rain storm in April and woke up to 6-8 inches of water in our basement.  It wasn't just our house, tons of homes in our area flooded too.  In the grand scheme of things, a flooded basement isn't the worst home catastrophe.  But I'll admit, it was mildly traumatizing.  A lot of our belongings were ruined.  Plus, we were so worried about mold that we ripped out all our baseboards and some of our drywall.  Not only that, but the carpet and furniture were brand spankin' new.  The carpet was only a month old, and two new (overpriced) Crate & Barrel chairs were just delivered earlier that week.  Major bummer.  We were able to salvage the chairs, but not the carpet.  After the clean-up process, we ended up having a drain tile system installed to prevent future flooding.  It was costly and messy, but worth it.  Now I won't live in fear every time it rains.

Photo 4 is phase 1 of our kitchen project.  Before our unexpected basement and attic issues, we planned to do a mini kitchen upgrade which mostly involved new appliances. We put that project on hold for a couple months because of the flood, but it's now in full-swing.


Our current appliances look nice (modern and stainless steel) but the dishwasher leaks, the refrigerator hums, and the fire alarm goes off when we use the stovetop.  So, we do sort of need new appliances, but mostly my husband just wants them.  He's been coveting a 6-burner range for years.  The problem is, we will lose a lot of cabinet space once the new appliances are installed.  We had to make up for that lost storage space somewhere and decided to build this hutch behind the kitchen table . . .

Design and installation by Monarch Kitchen and Bath.

The inspiration came from this photo I found on Houzz:


The hutch started out as simply a storage solution.  Then we decided it should serve as a way tie our open-concept kitchen/family room together.  In order to do that, we had the cabinets match our existing kitchen cabinets and the brick match the fireplace brick in our family room.

Sidenote:  I know open-concept homes are all the rage, but I'm not a fan.  Mostly because you can't conceal a messy kitchen, but also because I like privacy and quiet.  Why does everyone love constant togetherness so much?!  Kidding (sort of).  If I'm reading a book, I don't want to hear someone watching TV.  If I'm watching TV, I don't want to hear someone cooking in the kitchen.  I would prefer to have dinner in one room, watch TV in another, and read a book in another.  I guess I like to compartmentalize.  I like doors and walls and hallways.  Anyway . . . 

Initially I panicked because the brick was too dark and did not match the fireplace.  Plus, the brick (and hutch in general) was WAY more expensive that we anticipated.  A lot more.  So the fact that it didn't look good was very disheartening.  I thought we made a big mistake and wasted too much money.  Luckily for us, our contractor is also an artist and handpainted/stained the brick to match.  We love how it turned out.  He did a great job.

Our contractor also suggested adding cabinet lighting which I love too.  It gives the room great ambiance at night.  I'm a HUGE fan of mood lighting.  I've been known to switch tables at restaurants simply because it is too bright.

Eventually we plan to install a new light fixture above the table, but we're iffy about our choice.  We bought this light fixture several months ago but now think it might be too big:

Source:  Ballard Designs

What do you think?  I'd welcome your opinion (that is, if anyone is actually even reading this).

So far, this is the only part of our mini kitchen remodel that's been completed.  Sometime in the next month the new appliances will be delivered.  The visual change will be minimal, but my husband will be thrilled to have new appliances.  Once he starts cooking, I might have to add some recipes to this blog.


  1. Fortunately, you were okay. Well, while a flooded basement isn’t the worst that can happen, it’s still a hassle dealing with. For one, it can cause structural damage. Also, molds may grow and this can cause health problems. Good thing you took measures to prevent flooding in the future.

    Veronica Newton @

    1. Thanks for your comment, Veronica. It was a big nuisance, but definitely worth the effort to try to prevent future issues. We were very worried about mold. Glad it is behind us now! Fingers crossed it doesn't happen again. :)