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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A little light packing for The Summer Holidays?

Here we go again.

Fitting a square peg into a round hole.

Holiday packing, what to take and what not to take.

Checked the weather and its scheduled to be hot.

It comes to something when your facial products and grooming products take more space than your clothes.

Shoes are a problem, yes I know I can only wear one pair at a time, but which ones do I take to go with my evening outfits?

My suitcase is always full and half the time I dont wear 50% of what I take.

We have traveled quite a lot over the years, but packing still eludes me. No matter how organised I am. The kitchen sink seems to go in at the last minute!

So my question is. How do you pack your suitcase and what are the essentials to take?

What tips can you share?

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Planning a Garden and Further Renovations

When we bought our current home, first sighting we fell in love with it. We could see the potential and we knew it would take time and money to turn it around.

The house had been empty for over two years, sadly a foreclosed property. We wanted to bring it back to life and restore a family home. Both the inside and the outside required “true grit,” “patience” and “perseverance.”

More about the inside of our home in another post or two.

The gardens had been sadly neglected for some time. Both the back garden and the front garden covered in at least 6 inches of pine straw. Huge pine trees obscured the view of the front of the house, that would have to be removed! Although an expensive task it had to be done.

I had a lovely English garden back in the UK, but we quickly realized that we couldn’t grow the same plants here. We needed some help! We needed a plan.

The first thing to do was to decide what kind of gardens would work for us. Did we want grass or paving, a rockery, maybe a feature?. What kind of perennials and annuals should be planted? In the end my husband and I decided to enlist the help of a Landscape Architect from Pikes Nursery.

It was a little expensive but worth the investment.

The front garden plans includes what plants and shrubs recommended.

The back garden has a dry creek at the bottom of the garden, hardly any shrubs just lots of trees. The plans gave so many options, plants native to Georgia and the type of soil here.

 

Before and after pictures of the front garden and our house. As you can see we repainted the exterior of our home. Gave it a face lift with new windows an a new garage doors.

Its all about “Curb Appeal”

More about the indoor and outdoor renovations in future posts

Planning a Garden and Further Renovations

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A Week of Fashion and Sport – World Cup – Royal Ascot

What a week or more it has been.

The Women’s World Cup is ongoing with wins for England and the USA, although not without controversy! Need I say more being English living in the USA, nail biting matches, superb football to keep us all on the edge of our seats. So proud of most of the teams who have conducted themselves with pride.

Royal Ascot 5 days of Horse Racing in East Berkshire which was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, it has maintained close ties with the Royal Family, indeed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has not missed a Royal Ascot meeting since 1945, located 6 miles south of Windsor and 25 miles from London England.

Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to complete for millions of pounds of prize money.

The highlight of each of the 5 days is The Queen arriving in the first of 4 carriages accompanied by various members of The Royal Household and friends. Her arrival always prompts speculation on what she will be wearing along with her carriage companions.

Certainly one of the highlights of the Race Meeting was when  Hayley Turner became only the second female jockey to ride a Royal Ascot winner.

High Stakes whether backing the winning horse or the stunning and fun outfits worn by both the Ladies and Gentlemen who have to adhere to strict dress codes. The Royal Enclosure being the most strict for those attending. The Queen Anne and Village enclosures are not as strict but dress codes still apply, while the Windsor enclosure has no official dress code although ladies are encouraged to dress smartly.

Ladies Day has to be the day to attend Royal Ascot. A chance to really ‘go to town’ on that special outfit sip ‘Champagne’ or that “Signature Cocktail’. Not forgetting the Gentlemen sporting their “Morning Suits” and top hats while studying the Racing Form.

Oh the decadence, flamboyance, sartorial elegance. A milliners dream!

Definitely on my bucket list to visit.

 

Ref: Photographs: News Media. Hello Magazine, Yahoo, Harpers Bazaar, Getty Images, Reuters, Wikipedia

 

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Visiting the UK. Wining, Dining and Shopping.

We returned to the UK to catch up with our family and friends and stocking up on a few essentials.

Landing in Manchester then via train to Leeds to meet up with my husband who had traveled on ahead of me due to the fact that his mother was seriously ill in hospital.

We had planned a get together with friends the following day, so hitting the ground running it was time to venture into the city for a little shopping and drinks, rounding off with Dinner at The Old Post Office Leeds. Highly recommended for the food service, ambiance, the restaurant was just buzzing!

The following day we met with friends for drinks at Friends of Ham then onto Dinner at The Craft House and cocktails at The Botanist. A full and enjoyable itinerary before visiting family in Doncaster then on to the sights and sounds of London.

We did manage a little shopping spree from a couple of our favourite stores whilst in Leeds.

Shopping Marks and Spencers – nightwear,

Pure Cotton Dobby Chemise

T Shirts

v neck striped T Shirt, also in White £8.50 each currently 3 for 2

 

Also shopped for underwear for both of us, not shown, use your imagination!

Shoes Charles Clinkard

 

Paula Urban Coastal Sandals in Kiwi £75 so comfortable and stylish

Parallel Womens Dress Sandals

Elegant and Chique HD Pewter Metallic Sandal £69 reduced to £49

 

Bugatti Benjy Mens Leather Boat Shoes

Bugatti Benji Leather Boat Shoe £85

 

Bugatti. Felix Colour Cognac £90

 

Next Stop London England, more shopping, sightseeing and family time.

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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.

wallup.net

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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