I’ve got wood!

Well, the kitchen’s got some wood. After doing the countertops, the next project to be done was the backsplash and tiled wall. It was a horrible tan floor tile and was long over due to be ripped down. The tiles came of relatively easily, but a few spots ripped up the drywall behind. leaving it patchy and large areas of thinset still on the wall. They weren’t in horrible shape, but not good either. To get the walls to the point of taking a new tile evenly would definitely be a project in itself.


Originally, I had planned on doing all subway tiles for the backsplash with a dark grout. Classic and clean, much like the kitchens below, which had always been the inspiration for mine, with the dark lower cabinets and the concrete countertop.tumblr_mv4rcwhtKR1qf82imo1_500

tumblr_mtoxkrsqtM1qf82imo1_500 tumblr_n2n5oyQUNF1qf82imo1_500 Since my concrete counters didn’t quiiiiiiiite turn out looking like these, and the whole kitchen was starting to feel a little industrial, which is not really the best fit for a cabin in the woods. The combo of the condition of the walls, and the industrial vibe made me think I needed to go a different direction, which is where the wood idea came in. I figured it would warm things up a bit and it would be easy to install. After some googling for inspiration, I found a few options that I thought would look good.

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My initial thought was salvaged wood. I figured it would be cheap, a bit grayed out to go with the rest of the kitchen, and I liked the varying lengths and widths. The trouble was, where to find all this. I know in upstate NY, there’s a ton of places to get old wood, but the trouble is taking the time to find and clean up enough of it to do the whole backsplash and wall, in total, about 40 sq feet. There’s actually a company called Excelsior just down the road from the Hill House that specializes in reclaimed wood, so I figured this would be perfect. They’re only open monday-friday, which is a bit of a bummer for a weekender, but it just happened to work out that I had a monday off, so I made an appointment to check out the wear house. I found tons of great options, and got an emailed quote the next day. Perhaps I’m totally naive, but I was kind of shocked at the quote I got, which was about $7.50 per square foot. It still would have been only about $300-350 to do the backsplash, but this seemed like a lot of money for what was basically trash. There are literally hundreds of falling down houses, barns, chicken coops, in the area that have tons of exactly what I needed, but again time = money, so I guess that’s why this would have cost that much. The people at Excelsior were super helpful and great to work with, but I’m too stubborn (cheap) to pay that rate for what I could have ripped off of my friends dilapidated garage.

BUT, I’m also lazy and was tired of having the kitchen in shambles and didn’t want to wait until I could source all this shit, so it was time to consider other approaches. I had read on other blogs that people did horizontal paneling, or floors with ripped down sheets of plywood just face nailed to the surface, and thought that this could look okay, it would be much more basic looking but would be easy to install and would add some textural interest at least. A quick trip to Home Depot later, I had my solution, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. In their lumber aisle, I found some really nice pieces of cedar. This cedar wasn’t red like most I had seen before and they all had a really nice grain pattern. They were less than $6 per 8′ 4″x2″ board, which meant it would be less than $90 to do the whole kitchen. I figured that even if I dint end up liking it, I could always paint it white like I had planned, or I could stain it darker or a different brown.

IMG_5017I borrowed a friend’s nail gun (best invention ever!) and used a circular saw to cut the boards into random lengths for a staggered pattern. They all look a bit rough and rustic, with holes from the finishing nails and some gaps where the boards or wall weren’t quite straight, but I don’t mind, it’s a little more like the reclaimed look than a polished finish. They totally give the kitchen a warmer feeling and add a bit of an organic element back in so it’s not industrial feeling. They even some how make the concrete counters look much better to the point where I’m not ready to rip them out and put in some kind of expensive marble. YAY!


For now, the wood is unfinished and I really like the color and matte finish on it. It being a kitchen and messes happening, I’ll probably need to put some kind of finish or sealant on it for protection, but I don’t want the wood turning reddish or going yellow like with a poly. So for now, here’s my naked wood. IMG_5031


Blogspiration part deux

Since my first blogspiration post, I’ve found a few new blogs that have quickly become my go-tos for all things house related. The more blogs I read, the more I’ve gravitated towards ones that are really all about home renovation. These three are some of my faves and have become great references. I’m basically going to steal all their ideas.

Manhattan Nest: Written by a young gentleman (like myself) who lives in Brooklyn (like myself) and just bought a fixer-upper in Kingston (like myself). Unlike myself, he does this general sort of thing for a living, and he has a much larger house and much more of a project. I never had the nerve or patience to take on a project like this, but I’ll eagerly read all about his experiences, and steal all his brilliant ideas.


Ugly Duckling House: I can totally relate to the name of the blog. This one is written by a young lady, who is upgrading and improving her first house. What I love about this blog is how blunt and honestly it’s written. Sometimes shit doesn’t work out perfectly, sometimes she fucks things up. She’s not a perfectionist, and that’s awesome. Here’s a picture of her sexy wood counter tops.ImageImage

Door Sixteen: Found this via Manhattan Nest. They’re buddy bloggers with similar stories and taste, so naturally, I would love this blog too. She’s got lots of great links to products and inspiration pieces too. I definitely need to step up my typography and photography game! I love her black tiled floor bathroom.



I read a ton of blogs. I’ve read the whole internet. I was devastated when Google Reader shut down (sorry, Feedly doesn’t cut it). There are a few blogs that stand out to me as total inspiration for starting this blog and for what I want it to become. They’re beautifully presented, well written, and have extremely creative content, hopefully this blog will develop into something of a similar caliber to these folks. Until then, it’s a work-in-progress as I commit more time to it and work on my wordpress skillz! This blog has a long way to go aesthetically before I’m happy with the layout.

Here are a few of my fave blogs, in no particular order.

Hommemaker: I want to rub this blog all over my face. It’s probably the best written, and funniest yet informative blog I read. I’ve even printed out a post and shared it with my therapist (true story). It also makes me think that I could possibly live in LA instead of NYC. I’d totally let this guy be my 1950’s housewife and live in a beautiful home that he decorated, but that I couldn’t afford to finance and would leave my clothes and shoes all over.


Smitten Studio: I read this blog 99% for the amazing do-it-yourself cabin renovation that this very stylish, pretty lady and her husband are doing. I’m planning on stealing every idea from their blog for when I eventually have a cabin of my own to renovate. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Her style section is well done too, if you’re into that, which I’m not really because 1.) I work in fashion and get enough of that at work and 2.) I’m not a lady…. If #1 and #2 don’t apply to you, you’d be stupid not to like 100% of this blog.


The William Brown Project: What’s not to like? The photography is great (the author is Matthew Hranek) it’s upstate NY, exactly where I’ve been house hunting. There’s MEAT and cooking and food. There are guns, vintage stuff, a cabin, a mid-century design house. It’s everything I wish my life was.

ImageImageChris Loves Julia: I discovered this blog, like, uh….12 hours ago and I’ve read the whole thing. It’s proof that at least someone has good taste that doesn’t live in NYC or LA (who knew!?). They’ve transformed, an otherwise characterless, basic, neighborhood home into something chic. No easy task, and it’s been done on a budget! They also write about cooking, and buying/selling houses, obviously up my alley.


There are a bazillion other really great blogs out there, and maybe I’ll post about more of them. If you don’t know about these 4, look at them right now, obsessively read them start to finish until your eyes bleed from their glowing beauty, just like I’ve done.