Our First Project- The Kitchen


It looks like we will be closing on our home Friday.  We now have a closing date and time at the title company.  The insurance guy has gone to take pictures, and he survey is completed.  Whew.  This has been a struggle.

Before Mr. Math has to return to work, we want to get the kitchen up and running.

Here is how the kitchen looks today:

I found this inspiration picture on TomKat Designs

There are a lot of elements in this picture.  

Here are the plans to get the kitchen spruced up that should be doable this summer:

1.  The carpet must go.  Vinyl plank floating floor is going in as soon as it comes in.  Currently it is back ordered until August 5th.

2.  The fluorescent light is coming down and pot lights are going in around the kitchen.

3.  The ceiling fan is coming out.  

4.  There is a huge pantry on the other side of the refrigerator that is coming out so that a walkway can be put in to open up the space.  We are going to put in a pantry in the laundry room.

5.  Pendant lights are going over the island.  I plan on working on some IKEA pendants to get the look I want.

6.  A farmhouse sink is going in.  I have decided that I wNt a double farmhouse sink.  I love the way it looks in the kitchen of House of Smiths.

 7.  The cabinet doors are getting a makeover.

8.  The laminate will be replaced with Quartz.  

9.  The cabinets will be painted two toned and hardware added.


We will be keeping white appliances because one day I hope to have a vintage stove…one day.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

I hope your summer is going well.



Interior Photos of the Soon to be New Home


I walked through the house this past weekend with a camera and also got a floor plan of the house we are buying.  It helps to have pictures to refer to now so I can come up with a plan for the house.

The house is a traditional ranch.  That is pretty fitting when it is on 15 acres and this is th view over our fence.

horses in pasture


The Kitchen

Friends, I swore, promised, pledged…you name it, that I would not have another galley kitchen.  I hate that cut off feeling.  This one is particularly odd in that it is right off the front door of the home.  Well, if the front door weren’t walled up it would be where the front door is.  The wall is going to have to move.  I plan on having an L shaped kitchen that opens to the dining space rather than the front entry with an island.




See the right side of the china cabinet? That is roughly where the front door is, except it is walled off.  The kitchen is to the right.

The Bedrooms

The guest rooms are nice sized, and have a decent, but not awesome closets.   I like that they have 36 inch doors.  The folks who built this home planned on aging in the home which is good for us.  We will be turning one room into my office so it will have a Murphy bed.  The other will be a traditional guest room.

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The master is too small and has a dinky closet.  It will be added on to before we move there permanently.




See those brown bifold doors?  That is the whole master closet.

The Bathrooms are fine for now, except he master doesn’t have a door.  I already have a barn door going in there.


No door on the master bathroom.  Ick.

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Wallpaper border, carpet and frilly curtains will go.  The counters, cabinets and tile are okay.

The Outdoor Kitchen is high on the list.  We will have to have a functioning outdoor kitchen before starting on the indoor kitchen.  It is going to be a rustic corrugated tin and cedar space with a stainless sink, a gas grill, a stainless island, and a free wall shelf.  Edison lights, our deck furniture, a misting system and a big fan will make this space a destination on the property.  Hubby has been given a huge smoker that will be near the decking.

outdoor kitchen

See that deck at the back of the workshop above?  I can’t wait to show you my workspace, but tonight it is about the house.  That covered deck is a short walk across our back yard.  It will make the perfect outdoor kitchen.  There is water near that will be easy to set up in the sink and we will be having propane run to the area, too, for the grill.


Powerwashing, paint and installing the counters will make this space great for cooking.

The first thing we have to do is work on the foundation of the house.  Another thing I said I would never do again.  We are moving where the dirt is clay based and it just moves.  It is not major, but needs to be addressed before we work on the floors.  The carpet in the kitchen, bathroom, den, dining room must go.  Immediately.

Selling Star Hill


Well, we are taking the plunge.  Star Hill, our near the lake cabin in Coldspring, Texas is going on the market. We planned to meet with a Realtor Sunday to discuss selling our near the lake house, Star Hill. She actually could not come because she broke her leg, but we will be putting the house on the market very soon. I decided to do all the research I could in her absence to make sure we are ready to sell this place and buy the property we are dreaming about near our lake house.

Having someone you don’t know walk through a place you poured blood, sweat, tears and time into when selling your home is hard. Being judged on your effort is hard. Loving the place and wanting whoever buys the house to love it, too is our hope.

After doing the research on getting a home sold quickly and trusting my gut I have composed a to do list.


Get concrete work completed on porch.


Paint porch rails. ( The dog is not for sale.  Every time I get out the camera she manages to jump into the shot. )

Clean out flower bed, trim bushes, get leaves up.

Fix deck boards and popped nails then paint deck with sprayer.

Star Hill in January


Clear porch of items except patio set.

Move cedar from my cedar windfall to boat storage.

Finish outstanding projects. I have three that need to get knocked out on the first dry-warmish day.

Clean, clean, clean.

inside the garagemahal


Continue to declutter. It will probably mean moving some furniture to storage. The cedar cabinet provides great storage but it makes the guest room feel small. The Western Dresser can go to storage, one of the night stands in the front bedroom. The shelving unit in the back closet along with the skis can go.

We have a large list but can get it knocked out if motivated-and we are motivated.

We plan to list the home with a realtor the first of March but we honestly hope it sells sooner by owner.

I would love your input on the list and suggestions from those of you who have sold second homes.

Here are some shots of the house this weekend.

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Master Bedroom

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Front Room



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An Unconventional Kitchen Island


When we reviewed the blueprints of new house I noticed that an island in the kitchen had been an option that the first owners did not choose to put in. I knew that I would want a space to use as a baking and prep area.


I also knew I wanted it to be something unique. In my Craig’s List searching I saw an oak dresser on sale that would fit the bill.

Serpentine oak dresser

We removed the top of the dresser and saved it in case I change my mind down the road. The mirror has been hung on the wall in case it ever goes back to being a dresser. This disclaimer was inserted for those of you who don’t love what I do to furniture. (Although I still am not sure why you read my blog.)  Man, I sound cranky,  Sorry folks.  I promise not to let the haters get me down again.

butcher block island dresser

The hardware was shot.  I did find some hardware that will work with the kitchen knobs which are oil rubbed bronze.

dove tailed drawer

veneer sides out of oak.

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We took a trip to Ikea for a butcher block to add to the top of my dresser island. After doing some research we found that they have least expensive butcher block . It still is not cheap but compared to the cost at other places it was a deal.  We used half of the length of the butcher block and we are selling the other half to a friend for their kitchen.

Ikea Butcher Block

Hubby cut the butcher block down to size and we used the brackets included to attach it.
You have to treat butcher block with mineral oil. This one has three coats rubbed in.


The back was really ugly so we covered it with beadboard that I painted Behr Innocence- an ivory color.  The back is  going to get hooks that are going to hold pot holders and dish towels.

dresser island

This is going to be a great spot for prepping food close to the stove.  I never claimed to be a chef, but this will help me to at least not be as unorganized.

IMG_3939  butcher block top dresser for baking station IMG_3945 IMG_3946 oil rubbed bronze hardwar

Project Weekend

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Whew!  We are back from Star Hill.  We had a VERY productive weekend.  Over the next few days I will show you the projects we got accomplished in spite of the rain and a sick hubby. Everything at Star Hill is green and beautiful right now.  We spent almost every minute outside under the porches.  There weren’t even any mosquitoes!  We only got an inch of rain all weekend but the skies were cloudy an it kept the temperature down.  It is hard to imagine that it is mid July with weather in the 80’s.

Our first project to begin and the last to finish was a cabinet that the love birds needed in their kitchen.  There is not any counter space beside the stove- just 36 inches of open space.  In a kitchen that is short on counter space we knew that a cabinet needed to be built to use all the available space for appliance storage and provide a place for the trashcan. We decided to challenge ourselves by only using materials we had on hand.  Our goal was to make this cabinet from scratch out of supplies left over from our kitchen remodel last summer and other projects.  I really thought it was going to be a two by four basic box but Hubby got busy going through the garage and found some colonial legs that were left by the previous owner and he pulled out the tile left from the kitchen floor. 

When Hubby and I start a project I have learned that he is a visual person.  If I can show him what I want it to look like he can probably build it. He measured the space and we went from there.

My rough drawing of the cabinet.

We started bright and early Friday morning and things moved along pretty quickly.

The top was cut to measure
The legs were cut to measure.  They were a little too long to start with.
The cement board was cut and attached to the top plywood.
Assembly of the legs, compartment, and top rails went well. 
We wrapped up about 4:00 pm and I thought that all was fine.  The next morning while making the bed I heard sawing and nailing in the garage.  I was so proud.  I just knew that Hubby was out in the garage finishing the cabinet so that we could get on with our other projects.
I could not have been more wrong!  When I got out to the garage, the entire cabinet was pretty much disassembled.  Hubby sheepishly told me that he did not like the original plan.  He wanted the cabinet to be better looking.  He had already cut more plywood from our left overs and had redesigned the cabinet. 
Here is the second draft of the cabinet.  2:00 pm Saturday.

 The dark brown is paint.  The wood he used was once used to cover a hole left in the house when we removed a door.

 I started working on the ceramic tile top.  Hubby and I both knew that we did not want to get out the tile saw so we designed the top to use six full one foot tiles.  I found the center tile on the bottom row and drew around the tile.  I applied adhesive to the cement backer board then laid out the tiles on the top. 

I wanted the smallest grout lines possible so I used pennies as spacers and unsanded grout that we used in tiling our backsplash.

 Hubby mixed the grout for me because I was nervous.  I got out wet sponges and a float.

  It only took a few minutes to get the grout into the spaces between the tiles.  I am used to the whole room all day ordeal so this was a treat.  The trick was the small spaces between the tiles.  I really had to push to get the grout all the way into the spaces and Hubby had to provide guidance.

After the grout was done, I painted the entire cabinet while Hubby drove into the city to help Baby Boy get more stuff moved in to the apartment.  The paint was the door and trim paint from when the Garagemahal was built.  Saturday 6:30 pm

The picture above was taken this morning.  The trim (reclaimed cedar from the house) was applied to the top edges.

Hubby woke up this morning running a fever and feeling awful, but like a trooper he got the cabinet all finished up then went back to bed.  I applied the second coat of paint, touched up the rough spots and waited for it to dry.  It was delivered this evening on our way home from Star Hill.

This is not a very glamorous picture but it looks great!  It fits perfectly and is going to really help the lovebirds use their kitchen more efficiently.  Total cost- 0