DIY: Kitchen Renovations – Part One

The bigger picture.

Our kitchen is finally coming together, its been a labour of love and planning, now just to add the finishing touches, we will be ready to move on to our next project.

Going back a while, when we viewed the house prior to purchasing it, this is what we walked in to.

The picture on the right shows the entrance from the garage into the kitchen. The floor tiles were having an effect on my eyesight!

The floor tiles were slate with rough grooves and totally unsuitable for a kitchen.

Wall and floor cabinets were the original units built in the 1980’s

Renovation underway. First, take up the floor tiles, then remove all the existing predated cabinets. The curtains had to go!

 

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The floor had to be leveled, popcorn ceiling re-boarded and skimmed. Temporary cabinets in place (garage shelves). Did you notice that there is no sink, dishwasher or range. We were literally camping.

Moving forward –

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We have cabinets

Thank goodness I measured the floor correctly, the pattern we designed fit perfectly

DSC00808DSC01690Slowly our kitchen renovation project is coming together. Under cabinet lighting installed. My husband tried his hand at tiling the backsplash. Tiles from Home Depot.

Floor tiles from Tile and Stone Express Douglasville

Appliances from Appliance Smart

The floor tiles we decided to take into the hallway as you enter from the garage and also into the downstairs half bath. More photographs in our next DI Y series.

Kitchen Renovations – Part One. More to come. The finale. Watch this space

 

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Always Another Project – Back to the Outdoors. Part 1

Garden Project Phase 1

Spring has definitely sprung!

Its time to “Get Stuck In,” literally. Which means in effect that we have some hard work to do. do as all the rain, sunshine and pollen have certainly made an impact, weeds, weeds, weeds! Where did they come from?

The creative part of me loves planting tubs and seeing the plants grow and blossom, but there is the other side to maintaining the garden which includes the endless task of weeding, replacing borders, topping up mulch, repairing the fencing and so the list goes on.

It’s heavy work that requires many hours of commitment and patience, plus, of course the right tools to work with.

In our case one thing definitely leads to another. As we work on the garden more ideas spring to mind, so now we now have another full on project that may take the rest of the year to complete or even beyond this year. More about that in another post.

Where to start?

Tidying up the front garden which means cutting the grass, weeding, planting flowers in pots for the front porch and replenishing the mulch. A landscaper we know mentioned that we could get natural and FREE Mulch from the tree felling companies who grind down the tree limbs and stumps. After trying a few companies we were lucky enough to find one working in our area, a couple of hours later the truck arrived.

OMG! a full truck load of fresh mulch delivered on our drive.

We now have a mulch mountain!

Thank you for the prompt delivery  Atlanta Arbor

Thank goodness our neighbour doesn’t mind us using his driveway to get our cars on to the road.

Lets get to work

Priority laying mulch and preparing the ground and flower tubs. Another visit to

Home Depot

The front beds require ‘Topping Up’

Not quite a mulch molehill just yet, but as you can see we are working on it.

Back breaking work but so worth it.

Next the back garden. I can assure you all that this may take some time.

Stay tuned for Part 2. The garden makeover continues.

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How to get that Glam Look by adding Metallics to a Room

Are you ready to get that Glam Look into you home by adding Metallics.

The beauty of metallics is that you can mix and match different metals, it doesn’t have to be “Matchy, Matchy.” So don’t be afraid. Challenge your inner Home Decor Guru. Be creative, be playful, reflect a little of your personality.

Accessories are the best way to introduce metallics in to a room. Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, these metals catch the light creating depth and dimension. Adding different textures will help balance out a room. Think leather, suede, velvet, or fur for throws and pillows, Wooden candle sticks or occasional tables.

When I looked around our home, I was surprised to see we already had embarked on our metallic journey.

Our dining room comprised Silver accessories and chrome lamps. The bling came in the form of  the mirror and a rectangular crystal chandelier (with built in dimmer) that enhanced glamour and opulent hues to the room plus, a romantic ambiance.

Our metallic theme continued into the hallway, this time a mix of Silver and Copper inspired by the stunning Copper Maple Mobile, that creates night time shadows on the walls as it delicately rotates under spotlights placed strategically for the best effect.

Accessories linked the rooms together.

Next, just adding a little luster to our family room with Gold starbursts mounted so they that catch the light.

Our next project?

An accent wall in the Family (TV Room) to carry on the metallic theme without going overboard. Remember I said be playful?

An accent wall.

Our living spaces are pretty much open plan with no internal doors downstairs so there should be some sort of flow, but accent walls I can play around with.

I am becoming obsessed with the grey and copper and the navy and gold wallpapers above

I dare you to expand your Home Decor horizons.

How to get that Glam Look by adding Metallics to a Room.

 

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Spring time Blooms and Gardens

Oh how I cant wait to see some colour in our garden, if only it would stop raining! Rain, rain go away, lets see something of that glowing yellow ball in the sky.Wet and damp conditions are demoralizing. Outdoor temperatures are all over the place. It feels like winter not pre-spring.

For a little inspiration I drove to Pikes Nursery, initially to buy bird seed to attract wild birds as they seem to like this particular mix. I am all for encouraging the wild life into our garden.

I digress, what a cheerful array of colour that inspired me to start thinking about planting more annuals, perennials and hardy shrubs.

Almost instantly I felt my mood lift.

Add a touch of colour to your garden with Mediterranean inspired pots and plaques. Fill garden tubs with pansies, daffodils, tulips, crocus and heather.

Looking for more inspiration. I found  A Christmas Tree Store called And That, loads of home and garden accessories to suit all pockets, from garden lights, to furniture, cushions, lanterns, pots and plaques, very affordable.

Walmart also had a variety of spring and summer bulbs, adding to my collection on a weekly basis! Check out other Garden Centres and Stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, TJMaxx, Tuesday Morning, Marshalls and Home Goods

Brightly coloured weatherproof pots, this one has a built in water tray too.

Our Tulip tree is in bloom, although the blooms are short lived, the stunning  pink tulip blooms are just beautiful.

We have a lot of work to do in our back garden this year, to create our own little Oasis. Can’t wait to get started again.

What plans do you have for your garden this year?

What flowers are your favourite?

 

 

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Spring Time – Planning – Outdoor Dining

I guess we shouldn’t complain about the weather, but, being English it seems to be a favourite pastime. It has been a bizarre winter here in Georgia. No snow – thankfully, no dangerous icy roads to contend with. Although we have had cold temperatures several days below freezing, lots of rain, dark mornings and evenings.

Today however, it is been a more spring like day, blue skies, wispy white clouds and warm.
I am itching to get out in the garden and plant some colour in tubs, in the ground and on our deck. But it is still February!

So time to plan, I took a stroll around Pikes Nursery (Garden Centre), to see what plants were already in bloom. Of course what you would expect, pansies, daffodils, hyacinths, beautiful Camellia shrubs in hues of creamy white, delicate pinks and bold reds. Next Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot for ideas.
We wanted to build on what we had achieved last year.

New seating , tables and colourful flower tubs were added last year after the new deck was built.

Time to replace the old dining set with something more modern. This Eucalyptus set really caught my eye. Stylish and reasonably priced from Home Depot! Some assembly required.

Dining Chairs assembled , with colourful seat cushions from Walmart and Home Sweet Home back cushions – great value for money.

We added string lights to the deck and an outdoor ceiling fan.

All we need now is some warm weather for Alfresco Dining.

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Redefining a Bonus Room – Office Space

I dont know about you but I can not work in clutter, no matter what room it is.

My office space is a bonus room over the garage, its quite a quirky layout. It was one of the reasons we bought this house. It reminds me of a space that may have been for a maid or a housekeepers room as its access through a small back hallway behind the attached garage and off the kitchen, kind of like “Upstairs Downstairs” era.

I do pride myself on a tidy and clean house. My nursing background coming out. When we were new trainees, the first thing we were taught was to clean! yes! patients beds, lockers, treatment areas had to be damp dusted, before our other duties began.

Our appearance also had to be tidy. No hair below the collar of your uniform, no nail varnish, jewelry 1 pair of earrings – studs only, 1 plain wedding band, dress below knee length. Very strict!

But I digress.

Initially we used the bonus room as a bedroom/office but it didn’t really work because of the shape of the room. It became my office space and to be frank a bit of a dumping ground. This time I was determined to get the best out of the room and move things round. We also want to buy a day bed so we have extra accommodation if we need it as we converted another bedroom into an office space for my husband.

Shopping now for window blinds. Then, mission accomplished.

Now if only I can persuade my husband to do the same with his office area? Seriously, this really needs some thought.

Next joint venture when the weather is a little warmer tackling The Garage.

 

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Summer Holiday Shopping

Its January and the weather here looks beautiful. Blue skies, wispy white clouds and the sun is shining. But, don’t be deceived as the overnight temperatures here fell to 20 degrees Fahrenheit! The highest it will climb to is in the 40’s range today, so its cozy up today and retrieve indoors with the heating on full blast. Call me chicken if you want but…..living most of my life in the UK I have weathered many a storm.

We are looking at organizing our summer holidays, why not cheer ourselves up. We have some special birthdays coming up so we are planning a family holiday later in the year. Destination possibly The Spanish Islands.

Warm sunny climate, relaxing by the pool or on the beach sipping cocktails.

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Once we have taken in the options, pricing, views and facilities. It is time to switch from January’s chilly weather and dream a little of Sun, Sand and Sangria.

Do I have spaces for a couple more summer outfits and accessories?

 

Beach Cover-ups – Amazon.com

 

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Bravissimo.com is my place to go for essential undergarments and beachwear.

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Sun protection with a classic sun hat and ritzy glitzy sandals.

 

And so ready for the beach. Beach accessories at Amazon.com

Anyone for cocktails?

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I am certainly getting into the holiday spirit.

Cheers everyone.

How are your holiday plans going?

 

 

 

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Our Trip to Northern Cyprus

We have been very fortunate this year to have traveled quite a  few places Las Vegas, New Jersey, New York, Anna Maria Island, Panama City Beach, New Orleans, The UK and Cyprus.

On our recent trip via the UK to Essentepe Northern Cyprus, we spent 6 nights in a lovely hilltop villa belonging to my husbands sister and brother-in-law.

 

The village of Essentepe was so quaint. I felt I had stepped back in time, unspoiled, original with a Greek influence and rustic charm. A mix of old and new.

Essentepe meaning Windy Hill is one of the many charming small villages nestling at the foot of the Kyrenia mountains.

The harbour  in Kyrenia was a surprise with a backdrop of ancient castle ruins. A vibrant and busy working harbour surrounded by a myriad of outdoor cafes and restaurants, Mediterranean style.

We toured the harbour area and had cocktails by the bay, after we toured the Bazaars and shops a short walk from the Harbour..

A little shopping, Maybe a souvenir or two.

I couldn’t resist a bargain. Seriously!

Michael Kors, Celine, Gucci and Chanel

They may be replicas but I was seriously shocked just how well made they were, very stylish, cute and functional.

I have had so many compliments since I have shown my booty off.

Something to remember our visit to Northern Cyprus.

The area has many quality restaurants, its an up and coming area with many new builds in progress.

You do need a car to get around though as some places are a little remote with limited amenities.

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Inexpensive or Luxury.

Who says looking good has to be expensive?

Are you a “Keep up with the Jones’s person”?, or maybe a bargain hunter? or somewhere in between?

Personally, I love a bargain but I also have some pieces in my closet that were expensive and that I am wearing season after season, it was worth paying that bit more for something special.

On our recent trip to the UK, I found a real bargain, too good to resist and easy on my pocket. I was browsing with friends of mine in Debenhams Department Store, not looking for anything in particular. However, you know what happens when you are not looking…….you find a bargain!

This lovely Navy Blue Lace Dress with bell sleeves. Reduced from £69 to £18!

It doesn’t look much on the hanger but it fits beautifully.

Very elegant and stylish. A dress for all occasions and one I will wear regularly, dress it up or keep it simple.

navy lace ddress

You can see here, the detail on the sleeves.

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Dining out at our favourite Indian Restaurant in The Radisson Blue Hotel on Bath Rd in London.

Out trip this year included a visit to Essentepe Northern Cyprus, via John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, complete outside the airport with A Yellow Submarine

More to come from Northern Cyprus and what I found there among the harbour and bazaars in Kyrenia.

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An Outdoor Project – A Pergola or An Arbor?

After lots of planning, choosing materials, revising our plans over again, the groundwork was in place ready to build our outdoor space.

We chose materials from Home Depot, a few delays in supplying the materials. As I write this we are still waiting for 1 item.

The build took a total of just over 4 weeks, a couple of weather delays, material delays and 1 day delay for tree removal.

deckDeck Pergola

We chose a composite decking boards in Amorguard Brazilian Walnut. No more painting!

The Pergola or Arbor. I am not sure what the correct terminology is, see below for more information.

The wood treated posts support cross beams and a lattice top for extra shade. The structure measures 12ft x 16ft. The overall deck measurements 20ft x 27ft.

This would then accommodate a seating area, storage for cushions, patio dining furniture and Ornamental pieces.

The Grill will have a new home in due course.

We also made a fire pit area opposite the deck in the back garden. There are some spare Pavers, that we can re-purpose elsewhere. Some plants are still waiting for a home too.morning garden

 

To make the composite deck stand out we chose a white rail kit with black metal balusters.

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Solar Powered Post Caps were added instead of basic caps.

There was just one set of steps instead of two sets.

Entrance

Outdoor space

You can see the pattern on the furniture with the sun shining directly overhead on the lattice top.

Seating furniture and tables from Wayfair

dusk on the deck

The Deck at Dusk with the umbrella lights over the original dining table (still waiting delivery of another dining set – out of stock)

According to an article by The Spruce The words pergola and arbor are often used interchangeably to describe two similar outdoor structures. Both are built with posts that support an open roof of beams or lattice. And both usually support vines or climbing plants..

In residential applications, an arbor, or arbour, is considered a freestanding structure that serves as an entrance to a part of a yard or garden. It can also act as a small shelter for a bench or seating area.

Often built over a patio or deck as a shade structure, a pergola is also based on a similar post-and-beam construction as an arbor. When attached to a house, a pergola will extend from the exterior side or roof, creating a shaded or semi-shaded space that links the interior of the house to the landscape. In other words, some sort of roof for a patio, deck, or outdoor room.

Arbors include two or four posts with a simple slatted roof (often arched, but not always). The sides of an arbor can be open over covered with lattice or trellis work for a more enclosed effect and to help vines better attach.

So call it what you will.

This is our new outdoor space. A beautiful deck for entertaining.

Our Garden Oasis.

An Outdoor Project – A Pergola or An Arbor?

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The Next Outdoor Project. Part 1.

So what are we up to now at the Looker household.
You may well ask!
This time we needed help as this project was definitely out of our capabilities.
We moved from the indoors to the outdoors.
Our deck area we thought we could renovate, however, after having 3 contractors look at it, we already knew there were some issues. We didn’t realize that we had a safety problem.
• The deck boards were pretty much beyond repair. We had painted them 3 times to try and make them look presentable, but to no avail, the paint peeled away. The house was built in the 80’s and the boards were the original boards.
• Both sets of stairs were not ‘to code,’ indeed 1 set although attached to the top of the deck, were basically floating at the bottom.
• The deck was not attached to the house properly so was unsafe! An accident waiting to happen.
• And more……
This was going to be expensive.
The whole structure had to be taken down.

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Bare boards with Gazebo and mosquito nets.

 

Our initial plan had to be revised. This gave us an opportunity to really think about what we wanted.

The back of the house gets really hot during the day. Shade comes from a huge tree that overhands the deck, but its roots are creeping under the house and possibly may cause foundation issues. Although, the tree as beautiful -a Water Oak, it, throws down acorns that contains seeds all over the old deck that creates such a mess, so down it has to come.

Our neighbor also is transforming their garden and is taking down 2 old pine trees near ours, so we need to find shade from somewhere.
What were the options?
• A covered deck – too expensive
• A Gazebo with roof? Still expensive
• A Pergola?

The more we thought about the design, the more we kept changing our minds. My husband and I had put up a gazebo on the deck a couple of years ago 12’ x 10’ with a tarpaulin top, when the furniture was put in it seemed crowded, we needed more space to accommodate outdoor furniture and dining table and chairs too, so we decided to extend the deck by 8ft.
Next, we wanted to look at easy maintenance, no more painting deck board and rails, that meant looking at a composite material for the deck base, wooden rails with protective sleeves and wrought iron spindles.
We chose Home Depot Veranda Composite colour, initially we were going for dark grey, but just having the sidings replaced and choosing a taupe paint colour – the grey didn’t work therefore, we chose Brazilian Walnut, a warm rich brown.
One set of stairs but double the width leading onto a concrete area that could provide extra seating and our grill, plus possibly a hot/cold tub.

Several designs later we came up with a template. Of course as we expected we had easily doubled the price of our deck extension with a Pergola.

And so the project began.

clearing the deck

Deck demolished, the struts holding up the deck were rotten and required completely replacing. It was more apparent that whoever built the original deck did not adhere to any regulations at all. Like I said an accident waiting to happen.

Prep work

Progress so far Frame

Project deck

No turning back now.

Cant wait to see our new deck .

Tune in again for part 2 to see how it all turned out.

The Next Outdoor Project. Part 1.

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