My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Monday, January 14, 2013

Holiday House Tour, Part 2 (the kitchen)

It feels like I posted Part 1 of our new house tour a year ago! ;-) Sorry for the delay on Part 2; I took these photos in December while the house was decorated and had hoped to post it by New Year's weekend, but things conspired to send my good intentions down the loo, and this post took even longer to put together than the last one despite being primarily limited to just one room! But it is, after all, the heart of the home so far be it from me to be a total slacker with this post. 

So, picking up pretty much where we left off, here are a couple of views from the kitchen into the living room/dining room area. We redesigned the kitchen island, in the foreground, from the small, odd and inefficient "space module" island in the original floor plan...


See Part 1 for info/links for the paint colors, hardwood floors, fireplace, art piece, windows, etc. As with that post, I'm sharing links to some of the products used in our house, and this time some links to a few favorite "accessories" as well! :-) (As I mentioned in part 1, we shopped around and hit a lot of great sales, special offers, or got items through our builder and/or subs, so the prices currently listed on these web sites are usually far higher than what we paid). 


The drawer beneath the sink is a tip-out, stainless-lined storage tray. I'd never had one before and I LOVE it! It's so nice to have sponges, etc off the counter and out of sight.

The dishwasher is so quiet, I usually have to look at the light panel to know if it's running!

Faucet: Delta "Leland" Single Handle Water Efficient Pull-Down
Dishwasher: Bosch Ascenta Series in stainless steel

This photo, though not my favorite since it looks like I took it on the deck of a listing ship, does the best job of showing the majority of the kitchen and nook. The pantry door is on the left, the door to the garage (which the floor plan lacked and we added) is straight ahead, and the French door to the patio on the right. The garage door leads to the "3rd car/storage area" portion of the garage, which in our family's case is our dogs' heated kennel with a dog door to the back yard.

A better, though smaller, photo of the same area...

Kitchen Island pendant light: Royce "Essex" mini pendant from Lighting Direct

You can just see Willow peeking through the patio door. The dogs love to peer at us, Snoopy Vulture-like, through that door and low awning windows when they're outside. :-)

The oak wardrobe is an antique from England, purchased from an antique dealer in Dallas right after we got married. Moving it is always a bit traumatic, and it always gets pride of place in our home. Here's a closeup of the basket of grape lights, which some of you may remember I bought as a housewarming present to myself when we sold our house and moved into Dragonfly Cottage. :-)

Wall color: Sherwin Williams "Kilim Beige" SW-6106
Ceiling Color: "Divine White" SW-6105
Trim color: "Pure White" SW-7005

We were able to get this tile less expensively at a local flooring store than at Home Depot. We used the same tile in our front entry, but in the 12x12" size.

We chose epoxy grout for all the tiled surfaces in the house except the kitchen backsplash and are very glad we went to the additional expense, especially in the kitchen. We just had no luck sealing and/or cleaning regular grout in our old house. Epoxy grout needs no sealing and wipes clean with water - even when it's taken a hit with pomegranate juice! :-) And since we had an excellent professional install all the tile, he had no trouble with the challenges of working with epoxy.


We had some difficulty choosing a kitchen countertop surface that worked with our budget and our criteria for looks, durability and ease of maintenance, sustainability, and future home resale. BW really liked soapstone (far too expensive, and I didn't want gray countertops), while my first choice was recycled glass - I had my heart set on Vetrazzo - but that proved difficult to find in our area, and cost-prohibitive when we finally located some in Montana. After researching and eliminating other possibilities, it came down to a choice between granite and quartz. After studying several articles and helpful tools, including these...


...and shopping around at our local building supply/design stores and comparing countertop samples to our chosen cabinet colors, we'd pretty much decided on quartz, preferring the look, available colors and ease of maintenance. Then the decision was virtually made for us when we learned that one of our two top quartz choices had been substantially marked down due to "inventory overstock" at one of the local countertop fabricators. The fabricator we'd chosen (he was far less expensive and came highly recommended by our builder) was willing to match the sale price, and the deal was done. We're happy with our choice with one exception: quartz slabs are smaller than most granite slabs, so we have an extra seam. And though our installer did a good job (well, not at first - we had him come back and vastly improve one of them), seams still show, especially when the sunlight hits them. I don't know that we would have made a different decision knowing this, but the deed is done, we love the look and ease of the quartz - and we more or less came within our builder's paltry countertop allowance for the entire house. (We did end up with granite in the guest bath when we got a killer deal on a beautiful remnant that went perfectly with our chosen tile and vanity colors!)



Here's a closeup of the plaque over the pantry door. Can't remember where we bought it years ago, but have seen them for sale in various places since.

Our kitchen cabinets were the first thing we chose, figuring we could more easily match flooring tile and countertops to the cabinets than vice versa. Given that this was one of the bigger expenses in the home, we once again did our homework first:


These were helpful, though once again our budget, product availability, looks and features were also key to our decision. And once again we shopped around - at Home Depot and two local kitchen design places, one of which dropped the ball and never bothered to give us a bid. In the end, Home Depot's prices and features on our choice of Kraftmaid cherry cabinets could not be beat (and then we ended up lucking into a great sale on top of the already better pricing and free features!) And we adored our designer, Rachel, who moved to Virginia when her fiance was transferred there just as our project finished! We were incredibly lucky to work with her, and she was as delightful as she was skilled. Kitchen design would have been pretty stressful otherwise.

The cabinet color and style were surprisingly easy choices since we knew we wanted a warm, rich color (we went with cherry with a stain color called "Chocolate," so I love to tell people I have a kitchen made with chocolate covered cherry!), and a simple Shaker style to go with our Craftsman home. 

Then the hard part started.* Veneer vs solid center panels (the awesome sale was for the veneer, so that decision was made for us), glaze (no, it costs 10-15% more and I don't like how it looks on Shaker style doors), drawer fronts (we went with slab, which we preferred and was standard so didn't cost extra at the time, but now it does), soft-close (oh yeah, on every cabinet door and drawer in this house! It was one of the free features with these cabinets), full extension drawers (highly recommended!), the Lazy Susan style (we chose an upgrade; "Easy Reach" with wood shelves, no center pole), full or partial overlay (ours our full), how many roll-outs (we have four, including two huge ones beside the range where we store our skillets, pots & pans and casserole dishes - and they're so handy we still wish we had a couple more... but there's always the after-market!), all the other available features like cutlery trays (we passed on most of them), and of course the cabinet sizing and placement. Rachel did a great job helping us with placement (and was invaluable in helping us redesign our island), and we love the layout of our kitchen, which is very efficient and user-friendly. Where we goofed a bit was in the cabinet height. We wanted the end and corner cabinets to reach the 9' ceiling (for complicated carpentry reasons, they don't quite reach it) and the others to be a foot shorter so I could put crocks and baskets up there. We even had the electrician install a couple of outlets above the cabinets so I could put little white lights among the greenery in the baskets. What we failed to take into account was the 4" tall crown molding - there'd be room for my baskets up there, but only if I could fold them flat first to squeeze them between the molding and the ceiling! Oh well, now we're thinking of putting LED rope lights and artificial grapevines up there instead - just haven't had time to make it happen yet.

*This is handy stuff to know when shopping for kitchen cabinets!

Kitchen cabinets: Kraftmaid "Layton" in Cherry with "Chocolate" stain, purchased through Home Depot.

See our pizza stone inside? :-) Can't live without that baby!
(I don't recall the brand of ours, but it's similar to this one)

We were also somewhat challenged by our decision on appliance colors. I'm fond of white appliances and love the fun, playful colors offered by companies like Big Chill, Smeg and Aga - but none of those were going to work in this Arts & Crafts, Tuscan-themed, earthy kitchen (or within our budget!) What would work was black or stainless steel. Not a big fan of stainless steel - I think it's an overdone trend that may be close to playing out, especially given the extra maintenance required to keep smudges at bay, and the "commercial kitchen" look is really not my style. But it's still considered high-end, and around here at least (Wyoming is usually about a decade behind any current fashion), it's still very popular. So again, with resale in mind, we felt compelled to consider it. I refused, however, to have a stainless fridge. Polishing the one in Dragonfly Cottage was a royal pain in the arse, but the real deal killer was the fact my magnet collection wouldn't stick to it! :-) So we chose a black fridge... and, hedging our bets, a combination of black and stainless for our other appliances. Again, we hit a great sale - the President's Day sale at Sears combined with additional savings on Bosch appliances. We wanted to get the microwave in black, but conditions of the sale required we buy the stainless one. I actually like our stainless dishwasher, which matches our sink and faucet nicely, but I really love our range. This was one of our splurges - we wanted dual fuel and were willing to pay the extra $ for it, and have no regrets. We love cooking on gas burners and having the consistent results and zero hassle of an electric oven. This range has been awesome, and we like its looks, too! (The microwave is just okay).

Microwave: Bosch Microhood


We ordered the corner cabinet doors without glass, since it was substantially cheaper to have our local glass place cut pieces of glass to fit them. We chose seeded glass for a vintage look you can easily see through. 

The backsplash appears to have a greenish tint to it on my computer monitor, but in real life it's a very neutral off-white that matches some of the quartz in the countertop. Nothing fancy, but we like the clean and simple look.

Here's a closeup of the stained glass rooster light; again, I can't remember where we bought it years ago, and unlike the "Vive Bene" plaque, I've never seen one exactly like it since!

LED Under Cabinet Lighting: Model UCB Double Row LED from Broadwax (top item in third section from top)
LED puck lights in corner cabinet: Maxim Light Disc Starter Kit from Lighting Direct

This guide was a very handy resource when buying LED lights, especially since we prefer "warm" light temperatures...


The kitchen viewed from the nook

Since there are just the two of us and we have an additional refrigerator in the garage (the original Jenn-Aire that came with our Big Horn house that we bought in 1991, can you believe that?), we bought a small fridge but had the space for it constructed so that with the easy removal of a spacer trim piece, a larger one can fit there.

Blender: Waring Professional Bar Blender in Chili Pepper Red from Amazon.com (purchased 10 years ago next month and still going strong!)

This photo is payback for Ellie C (aka Elephant's Child!) :-) Not the most focused photo, and the glare from the nook windows or flash is giving me fits - but I have an idea so will keep trying and will replace it if/when I get a better one...

The magnet collection: a big reason our fridge isn't stainless steel! :-)


And here is the nook viewed from the kitchen. The cupboard on the left is one of these 
(only we went with a single, since we have our recycling containers in the garage)

Bookstand: ORE International 3-tier metal book rack from Amazon

Since our pub table is taking the place of a dining room set for now, Willow has commandeered the nook with her bed and water bowl (Tess and Josie love their big garage kennel, but want nothing to do with coming in the house!) The nook is a strategic spot that's perfect for being first in line for handouts of her favorite from-the-kitchen treats: raw red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and carrots! 

Spoiled rotten? You betcha! Wouldn't have it any other way. :-)

Dog: One-in-a-million border colllie/collie mix adopted from local shelter. Highly recommended. :-)

These days she's also having to share "her" nook with two enormous house plants that we're babysitting for our next door neighbors while they're on a four month cruise. One of our benches had to go elsewhere to make room. (Now I just hope I don't kill the poor dears - one of them is 30 years old!)

Another photo I've shared before but that feels appropriate to share again here: our nook light. The one light fixture I intend to take with us when we move!...

"Maple Jewel" Tiffany-Style Pendant Light from Lighting Direct

The final part of the house tour (it certainly won't be a "holiday" one anymore, unless I don't get around to posting it till next December!) will be the upstairs, but I honestly don't know when that might be. Some of it is still a work in progress.

Thanks for coming over for another tour! As your reward, here's a treat...

Applesauce Ginger Cake with Maple Glaze

Or as we call it, Gingersnap Cake - because duh, it tastes just like gingersnaps!  :-) I made this for the first time this weekend and we devoured it (before I even thought to take photos, but no matter since Susan's pictures are better than any I'd have taken anyway). I made no changes to the recipe, just used sucanat for the sugar (as usual), which was a perfect sweetener for this cake. I intend to make it again soon, and this time will reduce the amount of sucanat to 3/4 cup, since the cake was sweeter than we're used to. But so moist and yummy! Bon app├ętit! :-) (Update: It's perfect with the sucanat reduced to 3/4 cup!)

18 comments:

  1. Love the tour and all the details! So many thoughts.

    I'm glad you went with quartz. I LOVE the ease of maintenance, especially in the kitchen!

    I'm also happy that you took advantage of remnants for your bathrooms. Best idea we had. And having the granite there makes me appreciate our quartz that much more. The granite is beautiful, but the quartz is so much easier to take care of. No sealing!

    We went with the Bosch dishwasher, too, and we are constantly asking ourselves if it's on!

    You did a beautiful job with your home. Our styles are a little different, but I can certainly appreciate the love and research than went into building such a fabulous home. Enjoy!

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  2. Holy schmoly....has Martha Stewart been there? Is your house always that clean and tidy? No stacks of mail, cast off shoes, paw prints, crumbs, coffee cup in the sink (OK I don't do that one), chair not pushed in under the table, wrinkled magazines in the LR? Geez. You are never invited to my house.
    Love seeing the tour. Having looked at a gazillion houses, I can easily gauge a sense of flow, but even a caveman can get this layout as you've done it so nicely. Sounds like it was a big job making all those choices (I know it is), but all your research and diligence paid off. I'm sure this is a comfortable home and if/when you are ready to re-sell, I think others will find it appealing.
    SS on that way out? Wyoming is just 1 or 2 years ahead of Maine on the "latest" style thing. If there was no HGTV we'd all still have oak cabinets, formica, and good ol' white "lady Kenmore" stoves. Blue toilets too? Well maybe not.
    I did go back and look at the previous post too. I love the wainscoting (kept white and light) and the entry with the pull to the rear of the house where you're comfortable....oh yes, forgot about Battlestar Mehibital Days which I likely just screwed up the spelling of but the sentiment is there.
    Enjoy your home as much as Willow is obviously doing.

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  3. Just posted a little love for you:
    http://dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com/2013/01/meet-meritable-days.html

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  4. It's just amazing how many choices go into designing a space. We got to remodel the kitchen in our Wis. house, but that was so long ago and much has changed since then. We inherited our present kitchen when we bought the house, but there are many things I would have done differently had I been in charge of the design — quartz instead of granite, pull out shelves, full-height cabinets, etc. BTW, our wood kitchen floor took a pomegranate juice hit today. :D

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  5. I love your kitchen! The location looks perfect, too. Gotta love that open concept. I immediately spotted that little plug in ceramic tree on the counter, too, because one of my aunts would always have that out when I was a kid. :)

    Your cabinets look a lot like ours and we have the same kind of black stools underneath our counter! I also spot a certain red mixer that looks familiar. ;)

    The seeded glass is really pretty and the backsplash really goes well with the counters. That can be so hard to match up, too!

    Willow is so adorable, all sleepy and innocent looking. She has the same great taste in veggies as our girls do.

    Everything is just gorgeous, Laurie (that Pendant light, oh my!), including Willow, of course. :)

    Now to go check out that delicious sounding cake recipe.

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  6. What a fabulous tour. The last time I saw your house was when it was being built. What a dramatic change to see it all finished and looking beautiful. You are a primo decorator -- enjoyed -- barbara

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  7. The undersink drawer is a brilliant idea. I want one. Next kitchen makeover.
    Your fridge magnets are much more orderly than mine. I will send you the Floriade ones I promised around September/October.
    I love your kitchen and quite see why Willow has commandeered her spot in the heart of it.
    A wonderful, wonderful tour - thank you.

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  8. Jen ~ Thank you, and thanks once again for your fun post about our place! That was a lovely surprise. :-)

    We're glad we went with the quartz too. I do love how easy it is to clean, and how the pretty quartz bits sometimes catch the light. I was also drawn to quartz's uniformity of pattern - it has plenty of texture and visual interest without being too busy and demanding all the attention! (I've seen some serious spotlight-hogging granite, lol) When we lucked into that granite remnant, we tried to get another for the little work counter in our laundry room, but couldn't find one we liked that would go with the floor tile we'd already ordered (we just went with laminate in there). Our master bath vanity was too large for a remnant, and again we needed a subtle countertop pattern, because it was the floor and shower tile we wanted to be the focus of the room. We ended up with a solid surface counter in there that went well with the room's "beachy" theme. So we covered a lot of countertop material bases, I'd say! (I was relieved to find the pedestal sink in our 1/2 bath - no countertop decisions necessary!)

    Ha, funny you guys have the same dishwasher! It's crazy-quiet, isn't it? Only time it makes a sound is when my husband puts a plastic container in the top rack and it gets tossed around. :-)

    Thank you for your nice compliment - right back atcha!

    Sue ~ LOL - fooled ya! No, we live in it, and it shows. :-) We try to keep it tidy (I detest clutter), and as clean as is reasonably possible without being a slave to it (I'd have to vacuum the hardwood floors twice a day and dust every other day for it to always be immaculate, and I have better things to do than that!) I did a bit of staging in the kitchen for these photos, namely removing things that are around the sink on a daily basis - soap dish, bag dryer, and a large dish drain that normally sits on the counter above the dishwasher (we still wash a lot of things by hand), the occasional dirty dishes. And stuff to go out in the garage recycling bins sometimes gathers on the countertop by the garage door. Also, I don't polish the stainless steel regularly! So the kitchen only looks like it does in these photos for a) photos and b) first-time house guests. (After you've been here once, on subsequent visits you get the privilege of seeing it the way it usually looks. LOL)

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed your tour and that your realtor's practiced eye liked what it saw! And while I know the jury is out on whether stainless will end up being replaced by "the next thing," I know I personally got pretty sick of seeing and hearing about it during all our house-hunting and HGTV watching, and got truly annoyed when our realtor told us we needed to "update" our white appliances, which all worked perfectly fine and weren't that old, i n order to sell our house. We refused, and it sold anyway. So there. I'm all for things being improved upon and replacing that which needs to be replaced, but I'm not a fan of trendy, faddish, wasteful B.S.

    I think you're right about the impact of HGTV! I actually really liked our oak beadboard cupboards we put in our Big Horn house, I'd forgotten about "Lady Kenmore," lol, and if HGTV helped rid us of blue (and avocado and harvest gold) toilets, then they're not all bad!

    Oh, and to ease your Martha-haunted mind, the command center of Starship Mehitable is the truly messy spot in the house! All the mail and other flotsam seems to accumulate around my computer, despite my best attempts!

    No one can enjoy this place like Willow - she's the only one with no chores or responsibilities!

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  9. Andrea ~ It truly boggles the mind. Even a simple thing like tile - I thought choosing a color that would go with everything was job enough. But nooo... had to pick the right material, a size, a shape, a matching or contrasting grout color (and grout material), and a layout pattern! And thus I learned the differences between porcelain and ceramic tile, epoxy and other grouts, and between stacked, diamond, brickwork, herringbone and basket weave tile patterns. Made me brain 'urt!

    It's not too late to get pull-out shelves. Robyn retrofitted her existing cabinets with some of these and loves them!

    Molly ~ Thank you, I'm so happy that you love it! LOL - my grandmother and mother both had those ceramic trees, and mom bought me this one many years ago. Funny that we have the same barstools (aren't they comfy?) and I thought your keen eye might spot that mixer even before I linked to it!

    I'd originally thought we'd do a fancier backsplash - love the beautiful glass tiles. But then we realized it would look too busy and be too costly. So then we were going to do a pretty design just over the range - but there wasn't room with the microhood there. So we just stuck with simple. But your'e right, it can be very hard to make all these various materials from various sources all look like they were made to go together! We have the same tile that's on our backsplash in our shower, but we were able to work in some pretty glass tile accents in there (too bad no one ever sees it but us! But I promise to get good photos to post one day!)

    I think Willow is the prettiest decoration in the house. :-) She's very content. Hope you enjoy that cake! I plan to bake another one this weekend.

    Barbara ~ Thank you! And yes, I believe the last photo I posted of our kitchen was this one, so this is a transformation! (I figured as soon as I could get all those sweaty men out of there, I'd have a fighting chance at making it clean and purty!) :-) I'm really glad you like it!

    Ellie C ~ Definitely. That drawer is one of those things that spoils you - I'll never want to be without one again. I found a web site that appeared to sell them for a retrofit (no need to wait for a total kitchen makeover) - maybe you can find such a critter there in Aus.

    I'm looking forward to the Floriade magnets! And will keep my beady eyes peeled for a nifty one for your collection, too. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour!

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  10. That was long post so I'm glad I waited until today to view it so I could read every word and click on many links.

    Alot of this I had the priveledge to hear about while you were making the decisions but some of it was new. I had forgotten about the dog door so I went back to part 1 to see what it looked like but it must be in the man door that wasn't pictured. I bet the girls love having access in and out at will.

    You shared so many photos, this is not in any way a complaint but I'd love to see the inside of your pantry some time.

    The wardrobe is gorgeous and you've got the perfect spot for it. I don't remember where it was in your old house but I love it here in this one.

    Thanks for the information on the epoxy grouting. It's something I want to research and look into. It might not be a "do-it-yourself" product but if it is, it sounds like the way we should go. We are going to have more tile than anything else. The part where we have to seal the tiles first and the quick setting sounds daunting though!

    I really like the cabinet with the glass you selected in it. It's so pretty and looks perfect with the shaker cabinets.

    I love Willow's spot and she certainly is a lucky girl to have a first class accomodation. I just want to reach into the photo and pet her!!

    Your home is so lovely - I can't wait to see it in person. It was a lot of hard work but you did a great job.

    The gingersnap cake looks awesome but I already have too many goodies left over from Christmas in my freezer. Sounds like something we'll have to make up while I'm there. You know I have a sweet tooth!!

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  11. Your kitchen is lovely. It looks like a nice manageable space - some that i have seen are just way too big and involve too many steps and too many places for clutter to land. And that under-the-sink-hideaway is a brilliant ideaI

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  12. You have a gorgeous kitchen! Love the dog too.

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  13. It's so fun to see your new home. It's absolutely lovely! It must be wonderful to have all new appliances. And the wardrobe is fab...reminds me of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe...I'm sure the one in the story was just like it.

    I love your kitchen island; I've always wanted one...someday in my dream kitchen I hope to have one. I love that people can sit on stools and chat while you're busy in the kitchen. And, that's quite an impressive magnet collection!

    Willow is cute.

    You've really done a fantastic job with your new home...looks very pretty and inviting.

    And, a 4-month cruise? Jeepers.

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  14. I was just thinking the same as Susan... I would feel shame if you ever came to my house, yours is immaculate! It does look gorgeous though, and so much attention to detail - I always fancied an open plane kitchen/living room but it was not to be. I just love all those wonderful windows, so much light (note to self: Laurie's kitchen very good for photography - take camera and all lenses if visiting) :O) I also wanted a dual fuel cooker but it was far too expensive - so we went for gas. I'm with you on the stainless steel too - I always think it's a bit of a misnomer as it seems to collect stains etc like nothing else!

    Ahhh, Willow is so adorable and although I applaud her taste in treats (and wish she would advise David on diet), the cats are aghast that she seems to be a vegetabalist :O)

    p.s. I still covet those grape lights

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  15. Jo ~ And you thought my POST had a lot of links and photos! Wait till you get a load of this comment! :-)

    I know, it was great that you're not only a veteran of house-building AND a civil engineer, but that you guys are building your own custom home so we could swap advice and commiserate! Especially since we were right in sync during our mutual kitchen cabinetry decisions!

    Yes, the dog door is in the exterior garage man door to the back yard. You can get a pretty good view of it in this photo, which I took after the corbels finally went up on the back of the house! And yes, the girls love being able to go in and out at will, especially Tessa, like they did at the Big Horn house.

    I already emailed these too you, but here they are again for anyone else who likes to peek into people's pantries! LOL I had to take two photos to fit it all in since the kitchen island was in my way...

    Pantry #1
    Pantry #2

    As though I doubt anyone else will ever pay attention to this comment or these links, I'll explain it here anyway - the rooster quilt above the spice rack was made by Willow Jeane Lyman (wife of "Mad Cowboy" Howard Lyman) as a gift to us when they stayed in our home a few years ago. As you may recall, Willow Jeane's daughter Laura Heine is a well-known quilter who owns a quilt shop up in Billings, MT (have I ever taken you there before, Jo?) And the box and the suitcase on the floor of the pantry hold our onions and potatoes, respectively. (What, doesn't everyone store their spuds in a suitcase???) :-)

    In the Big Horn house, the wardrobe was just around the corner from the living room fireplace, up against that stone wall that divided the living room from the front entry way. It has a much better spot in this house, you can see it from the front door, dining room, kitchen and living room. I was very relieved to discover it JUST fit there. If it were a gnat's ass wider, it wouldn't have!

    I don't remember Kirk sealing the tiles before grouting them, but then we were staying out of his way as much as possible! We are definitely fans of the epoxy grout!

    I'm glad you like the glass (that decision wasn't too hard, despite all the glass patterns available - I've always loved the look of seeded glass), and sweet, soft Willow looks forward to your in-person attention! (Remember how she'd insist you pet her while you were laying in the hammock on our patio in Big Horn?) :-)

    The minute I tasted that gingersnap cake, I knew I'd be making it for you when you came to visit! :-)

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  16. P.S. to Jo ~ I also linked to the two pantry photos from the two times I mentioned it in my post. :-)

    Lesley ~ Thank you! It is a manageable space and very ergonomic. I've had micro kitchens before and one kitchen that although not much bigger than this one, had a terrible layout with the house's main traffic pattern right through it and many steps from everything to everything. Kitchen layouts, good or bad, make such a difference to a home, don't they?

    ladyfi ~ Thank you! We love her too. :-)

    Rose ~ Thank you! Yes, it's nice to have new appliances, especially the stove - no prior owner's grease or unmentionables residue to clean up! :-) A grease-free, vegan kitchen from its inception is a beautiful thing.

    I haven't seen The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, but will have to find a picture of the wardrobe in it! I've never seen another wardrobe like this one; its narrow size is pretty unique, and it's got a brass plaque on the door of a man courting a woman on a fancy front porch, with his horse and a dog looking on. (It was the horse and dog that really sold me on it!) :-)

    I think a kitchen island can be fantastic. We needed one in Dragonfly Cottage (the kitchen I was complaining about in my reply above, whose little rollout cabinet was too small to be very useful). I hope you get your dream kitchen one day soon! Keep planning the details now, it's never too soon to start! :-)

    That magnet collection has been years (and miles) in the making, with contributions from several people. I enjoy it!

    I know, a 4-month cruise. Much as I love and want to travel, that would definitely not be my cup of tea AT ALL! (They leave today!)

    Barbara (UK) ~ Honestly, it's not always like it looks in these photos! Don't be intimidated, and please reissue your invitation! :-)

    Those wonderful windows (they face East) have a dark side, so to speak - that sun that pours in every morning shows up every speck of dust, every crumb, every smudge. It is utterly unforgiving, and is starting to make me appreciate cloudy days, which allow me to be lazier in my housekeeping. Trouble is, we get something like 348 days of sunshine here! (I know, I can always draw the blinds, but who wants to do that on a pretty day?) I spent a big chunk of yesterday washing those windows, which get filthy with the wind we get here. We're having some warm weather so I figured I'd better take advantage, but it's a time-consuming job. So yeah, all those beautiful windows are great, but sometimes not so much! Do bring your camera and all lenses, though. :-)

    Good point about the "stainless" steel! With all the post-new-construction dust and forced air heat system, I'm also being reminded why black appliances are not my favorite either... again, they show every speck of dust! Next kitchen: white appliances.

    All our dogs are vegan, and have been for years. Tell your kitties to put THAT in their catnip pouch and roll around on it! ;-) Willow wonders if she could possibly wield more influence over David's eating habits than you can, but she's willing to try. :-) ("Vegetablist" - cute!!)

    Then you should get yourself a set of grape lights, girl!

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  17. Never get tired of looking at these. You did such a great job! xoxo

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  18. Thanks, Spud, glad you like. :-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"