23 Apr 2014

Linoleum Kitchens

To say that over the past few months I have done a lot of research on kitchens is probably an understatement.  It seems like most days I'm trying to figure out one detail or another and my head is just spinning with all the options.  In all my research I stumbled across something I have not seen before:  linoleum door fronts.  I was instantly intrigued when I first came across a kitchen that had linoleum doors since we have Marmoleum flooring in our bathroom and we absolutely love it.  It is so easy to clean, it doesn't show dirt, most scratches heal on their own, it's all natural and it's naturally antimicrobial.  This stuff really does have a lot of pluses.  It has stood up to a lot of abuse from two adults, two small children and a large dog.  We only have one main bathroom at the moment so even Nalle uses this bathroom to have his muddy paws washed.  

Upon, a little more looking into the range of Marmoleum/linoleum products I discovered surface Marmoleum.  This is a linoleum that can be laminated for surface use.  I think back in the fifties linoleum counters were pretty popular and you may still find them in commercial applications (e.g., restaurants, workplaces, etc.).  I have been thinking of incorporating some black or dark cabinetry into my kitchen design and am highly considering linoleum for the door fronts.  One of my main concerns (and a reason for nixing the idea of going with dark cabinets altogether) with dark cabinetry is that all the spills and fingerprints show.  However, linoleum is resistant to fingerprints which makes dark cabinets an option again.  I'm definitely not brave enough to go with an all black kitchen.  It will have to have a lot of white to balance it out.

Here are a few images of linoleum kitchens:
This first kitchen has black linoleum fronts on the lower cabinets and countertops.  The light birch plywood that peeks through on the handles and countertop edge soften the dark cabinetry.

This kitchen also has linoleum doors, this time in a lighter tone.  I also had to show the dining area since it features one of my favourite Marimekko prints. :)  I have a make up bag in the same pattern and colour from several years ago and still love it.

A couple more black linoleum kitchens with light wood.

Love the hint of light wood framing the linoleum drawers in this kitchen.

I think this photo shows the really matte look of linoleum which I quite like the look of.

 I'm not sure that this last kitchen is linoleum.  The kitchen cabinets are culture by Tvis and came up in a search for linoleum cabinets, but on their website I got a little lost in translation. :)  Nonetheless it is such a pretty kitchen and, oh so, feminine.  I'm sure Tech Guy would NEVER let me go this pastel, especially since I, the lonely female in this house, am outnumbered by 4 males.  In addition, there really are so many different colours of linoleum available that you could totally do a pastel kitchen too. :)

I'm loving the idea of a linoleum kitchen.  I'm not 100% committed to it yet though.  Have you come across one or know someone with one?  I'd love to hear any feedback that might help me make up my mind. :)

image sources: 1, 2, 3 / 4, 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10, 11, 12, 13

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20 Apr 2014

Easter Around Here

Happy Easter / Hyvaa Paasiasta everyone!  I wanted to pop in today to share some of our Easter home and the fun the boys have been having this past week in anticipation of the big day.  So I'm combining a mini Easter tour along with this week's photos of the boys.  The biggest hit with boys this week are the crowns they made themselves at their Finnish parent and tot group.  They love them and have been wearing them all the time.  They'll make a few appearances throughout the rest of the post so I thought I should introduce your to them right off the bat. :)

In terms of decorating our home this year, it has been super simple. I've already shared the diy for these egg garlands.  I have been having trouble with the tape not holding them in place.  I probably should have used some sort of tack or hook, but I really didn't want to make holes in the plaster.  So up I go on one of my mint stools to hang them once they fall down.

Little Pilot and I have been, quite randomly, decorating wooden eggs.  We always seem to run out of time after doing a couple and I have purposely tried not to finish the projects for him so that he can feel proud of himself for completing the task.  One day we painted eggs in mint and gold (colours he picked).

Another day we made a washi tape egg.  I just cut some triangles out for Little Pilot to stick on.  Please don't mind my stacked votives on the mantel.  I thought they needed some height behind the eggs.  

I've also shared this modern Easter egg art that Little Pilot did.

 The dining room is ultra simple too.  I put some pink and purple tulips in an Aalto vase (I hope they will last through today).  There's also milk glass vase that is holding fruit which will hold some eggs later today and a bunnykins bank.

Here are a couple of pictures of the boys enjoying some muffins I made the other day.  They're wearing they're Easter crowns, which have really become decorations in our dining room and every other room in the house this week. :)

The boys' room also has a little Easter going on in there.   I made the eggs smaller from last year's Marimekko garland and hung it on a small wall.  I ordered the boys' a Brio kitchen, but we only have received the sink so far.  It's a little lonely without the stove, but the boys' have enjoyed playing with it so far.  I think I may have a fun little kitchen decorating project in addition to our renovation here!

I also got them these Easter nesting animals from Target.

The remaining eggs that didn't fit on the garland were taped to the wall between the beds.

I also took some pictures of the boys yesterday morning to hopefully get a nice Easter picture/photo for my 52 week project.  Here is just one of many outtakes.  Little Pilot is such a ham.  He has the best expressions.  Co-pilot is a little stunned. :)  

Here's the best photo I could get.  They're both smiling at least!

"a portrait of my children, every week, once a week, in 2014"

Happy Easter!  Hyvaa Paasiaista! He is Risen!

16 Apr 2014

Kitchen Reno Part One

We have decided to go ahead with our kitchen renovation!  I know I blogged about perhaps waiting to see what the new Ikea kitchen line will be next winter, but we found a cabinet solution that jives perfectly with our DIY mentality.  I am designing my own cabinets and having them made by a CNC manufacturer.  What this means is that I get a custom kitchen (plywood cabinets, dove tail drawers, Blum hardware and doors of my own design) for about the cost of Ikea.  Crazy, good deal!  So what we're basically doing is skipping the custom kitchen company and going directly to the person who makes the cabinets for the kitchen companies.  The only drawback is that I have to design everything myself (i.e., cabinet box sizes, drawer placement, fillers, kick plates, crown, etc.).  It has been very time consuming to do this and this explains my spotty blogging over the past little while.  Every evening I've been pouring over kitchen plans and options.  I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end!  

The other major factor in deciding to go ahead with the kitchen now is that we have to build our deck this spring and the new walkout from the kitchen impacts the placement of the deck.  We really can't live with a mud pit in the backyard with Nalle, our dog and the boys.  So the kitchen reno is on and today I'm going to show you what we have done so far.

First, let's look at the initial reno idea I had a couple of months ago:

Here is the plan we are going with now:

New Kitchen Plan

It really hasn't changed that much other than I decided not to go with an opening to the living room.  I decided that I really like having the kitchen in a separate area.

When we started to demo our kitchen a couple of weeks ago, we knew that our cabinets would still take several weeks before they would be ready and that our window would take a couple of months.  This meant that we had to plan the demo so that we could still use our kitchen while we wait for the new cabinets to be made.  We decided to relocate our old kitchen cabinets and counters into the new kitchen layout.  Everything went so well that we didn't lose our plumbing or gas for even a day!  Here are a few pictures of our kitchen before the demo.

Here is what we have done so far.  The cabinets that were under the window are now in the place where the new island will be.  The placement of the stove and fridge also changed. 

We had to open up one side of the opening to the dining room so that we would have enough clearance to get by the island to the walkout (which will be where the window is now) and to have enough space to walk through to our basement staircase.  Co-pilot is checking out the hole in the flooring where the wall use to be.  We will have to get the flooring patched here, but I would love to refinish all the floors in the house to something lighter and less orangey.  If we refinish the floors, the flooring boards across the opening could be feathered in making the transition seamless.

The window is where the new walkout will be.  We're planning to make the opening slightly wider as well.  I think it will be so nice to see the patio right through the walkout and it will really extend the living space.

Just another view of the opening and our messy dining room. :)

We scored this built-in fridge for a super deal.  It will hopefully look completely seamless on what will be the new pantry wall.  It's a Thermador (the current model) and we purchased it from an appliance repair guy who said it had been in someone's house for only a couple of days.  It was super clean when we brought it home and still had some of the packaging intact on the inside.  We also picked up a Miele panel ready dishwasher from the same guy.  It's working like a dream.  Love it!  So far so good with our new used appliances.  The savings were so good that we thought it was worth taking the risk with these used appliances.  I'll have to write an update at some point to let you know how they fare.

So that's where we are at with our kitchen reno.  Our kitchen is functioning, but definitely not pretty.  I'll be back with another post or two with the details on the kitchen design.  I have a few finishing ideas still swimming in my head that I'd love to share with you as well.  I can give you a hint of where I'm going…It'll have white, black and wood and be pretty minimal/simple in design.  Although, that's probably what most of you would expect from me anyway. :)

The new hall is being put to good use already:

Thanks to everyone who have been so patient with me while I have flip-flopped back and forth with this reno.  I really appreciate that you're following along!

9 Apr 2014

A Kids Easter Craft for Your Modern Home

I think spring is finally here!  I saw some crocuses blooming yesterday and the weather has warmed up quite a bit.  It has been so wonderful to get the boys outside more.  My oldest is also getting pretty excited for Easter.  I, on the other hand, have been all consumed with our renovations and am feeling like I'm dropping the ball on Easter.  He has been asking me to do an Easter craft with him and since our house is pretty much in chaos, I had to come up with something that was super simple to throw together.  We made modern easter egg art using the triangle pieces that I had used on our Valentine's Day geometric heart and some black and white card stock.  I think he did a pretty good job. 

I chose to frame his little masterpiece.  I was hoping to frame it in a white or black frame, but couldn't find our frames since everything is packed up so that it's out of the way during the renos.  The light wood farm will have to do for now.

This modern easter egg craft is really simple: 

1.  You will need to cut several triangles from assorted paper/ card stock and two sheets of card stock (one with an egg shape cut out of it).  In the photo I have two pieces with the egg cut out, but you only need one.  I was trying to decide if I wanted the background white or black.  I used this colouring page as my template (shrunk to 70% of the original size).

2.  Glue the triangle pieces to the solid pieces of card stock randomly to create a collage.

3.  Glue the piece of card stock with the egg shape cut out on top of your triangle collage.

4. Hang or frame your new modern Easter art.

I think this three year-old's art looks pretty darn good in our living room. :)

Did you notice that I took down the DIY floating shelves above these cabinets?  I was looking for a cleaner look in this space and am hoping to incorporate a spot for a record player somewhere.  It has to go higher than the top of the cabinet so that my curious boys can't get at it.  I still need to convince Pappa to hand over one of his turn tables though. :)  I really like the sound of a record player and would like my boys to grow up listening to music on one.

I was so glad that this Easter craft was super simple and quick to put together, which, in my opinion, is the best kind of kid's craft. :)  I also loved that Little Pilot was able to do the whole craft with very little help from me.  I hope you liked Little Pilot's modern Easter craft!

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