A Finished Kitchen

In all honesty, I have yet to take some professional quality photos of the finished kitchen, but here is a little sneak peek anyway...

More to come soon once the little details are all finished.

Steamboat Springs Adventures

Late last week, with a long weekend looming I was feeling a bit desperate to get out of dodge. With all of the kitchen renovations and other daily stresses of life, I decided to surprise Chris with a night away somewhere. There were all of our favorite places to consider, but in the end I decided to take us somewhere new. We love a good explore of a new town so I knew Chris would love the choice just as much as I did.  

We set off early Saturday morning, coffee in hand, for a three hour journey to Steamboat Springs. We only spent one night there, but I have already declared it my new favorite place in Colorado. It is a STUNNING place.

#StapKitchenReno - Update #5

Phew! What a busy few weeks it's been around here! Apologies for going dark around here, but we had a pretty big party to prepare for so it has been all eyes on the prize with this kitchen!

It's actually starting to be a functional space, which couldn't have happened fast enough!  Our party went off without a hitch and made us realize even more what a great entertaining space we have created!

We still have some small details left to do, like texture the ceiling from our drywall repair, and build small custom wine storage... as well as one or two bigger details, like getting rid of that archway over the entrance to the kitchen and the big back splash tiling job... but at least we have a usable kitchen again at long last!

Here's how our list is looking at the moment... (look at all of those items crossed off!!)
  • Remove partition wall between dining room and kitchen
  • Dismantle existing kitchen cabinets & island  
  • Remove dishwasher, range and microwave (and sell!)
  • Remove tile flooring in dining room 
  • Remove and/or reroute electrical from partition wall   (we still have some electrical to finish up, as well as some lighting design to decide on.)
  • Assemble new kitchen cabinets 
  • Have wood floors extended and refinished (hired out) 
  • Repair drywall on ceiling and wall from wall removal
  • Install new cabinets, hardware, drawers and doors  
  • Have new countertops installed  
  • Install new sink & cooktop
  • Install hood over new cooktop 
  • Tile wall above sink & cooktop 
  • Put toe kicks, moulding, and other finishing touches on the space 
  • Demo archway on dining room entrance, and replace with beautiful custom moulding!
Now, you'll have to excuse me while I go stare at my kitchen...

Kitchen Evolution

Last summer during a particularly creative spell, I found myself daydreaming about expanding our kitchen. I had no idea that one year later we would be doing just that.  

While the overall design has evolved, the concept remains the same: knock out a wall, move the formal dining room to the front room and make an enormous kitchen.  It has been just a few short weeks (7, to be exact) and our kitchen is coming along quite nicely.  

Just for fun, here is a little look at it before, after a cabinet paint job, and a few progress photos of our current renovation.  Enjoy!

#StapKitchenReno - Update #4

Well, it certainly took longer than I thought it would, but we officially have a kitchen island! I will save you the story of all the roadblocks we encountered while trying to place that island, and just tell you that we did it. :) You have no idea how proud we are of that beauty!

We are still without a sink, cooktop and oven but are starting to see real progress which helps keep us motivated for the time being.  We are hoping by late next week that we have a working kitchen again, which is - of course - dependent on the electrician coming through for us.Who knew electricians were so popular?!

Here's how our list is looking at the moment...
  • Remove partition wall between dining room and kitchen
  • Dismantle existing kitchen cabinets & island  
  • Remove dishwasher, range and microwave (and sell!)
  • Remove tile flooring in dining room 
  • Remove and/or reroute electrical from partition wall (hired out) 
  • Assemble new kitchen cabinets 
  • Have wood floors extended and refinished (hired out) 
  • Repair drywall on ceiling and wall from wall removal (after the electrical + inspection)
  • Install new cabinets, hardware, drawers and doors  (the island is done, hoping to get the rest done in the next few days!)
  • Have new countertops installed (hired out) - measuring this week, hopefully install next week!
  • Install new sink & cooktop (once countertops are in)
  • Install hood over new cooktop (once countertops are in)
  • Tile wall above sink & cooktop (this one will be delayed until we live with the space a bit and decide which type and color of tile to go with here.)
  • Put toe kicks, moulding, and other finishing touches on the space 
It is all starting to come together now, which is a huge relief!  When you convince your husband that demolishing a wall is a good idea, and you have measured and designed the kitchen without seeing the space opened up first, you cross your fingers and hope it all turns out okay!  I am happy to say that we are both very pleased with how it is turning out so far!

#StapKitchenReno - Update #3

Thought I would pop in and share a bit more progress that has been made on the kitchen.  What a transformation having these new floors in and having the existing ones refinished.  We love how the finish turned out!

A New 30-Day Challenge - Salad Style

One really interesting thing I have learned through all of my joint and inflammation issues (among so many interesting things!!) is to gear my diet to include a lot more alkaline foods and drinks. Apparently the sweet spot is to get 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.  This isn't just for those suffering from inflammation or joint pain, it's actually fascinating to learn all of the things that this type of diet can help with.  If you are interested, I highly suggest doing some research of your own, as I am certainly not an expert!

I have made so many changes with my diet over the past 4 or 5 years (removing meat, dairy, gluten,  & soda, reducing processed foods and sugar, increasing fresh, whole foods) but I have been feeling like I need to make more effort on this front. Switching up my diet to include more alkaline foods is likely to make a big difference in my health overall, including the dreaded inflammation I have suffered from for the past 3 years.  

Now, I love a good salad. Give me a big bed of spinach, kale, lettuce and I will happily pile it high with fresh chopped vegetables (sans dressing).  I am not, however, good at doing this regularly which is strange given how much I love it.  It just hasn't become a habit to include a salad into my daily diet for one reason or another.  Not to mention that it usually involves chopping whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge and throwing them on top of greens.  Not a whole lot of planning involved.

So I am going to do a little salad challenge (similar to my bikram yoga challenge) to jump start what I hope will result in us incorporating salads several times a week, if not daily.  So I have been trolling through Pinterest to find some new salad recipes just to mix things up and keep it interesting.

Here are some that top my list...

Southwestern Chopped Salad - courtesy of The Garden Grazer

#StapKitchenReno - Update #2

Well, it might not mean checking several items off the list, but we (Chris) did knock a pretty big one off the list!  We said adios to the partition wall between the kitchen and dining room and it is amazing how much bigger the space feels now!  It is also a lot brighter now that the big dining room window is a part of the new kitchen space.  Since the kitchen is on the East side of the house, any additional natural light come the afternoon is much appreciated!


As you may have gathered from the title of this post, our kitchen renovation is off and running!  We have a lot to do in a relatively short amount of time because we made the silly decision to finish it in time for a big veggie potluck group dinner we are hosting at the end of August!  Crazy?!  Probably, but it will also push us to get as much done as we possibly can before then!  Fingers crossed that our dinner guests don't have to wear hard hats when entering our house come August!

Since we all know renovation updates are not my forte (understatement of the year!), feel free to click on the Latest Adventures tab above for quick photo updates as we go through this renovation. #stapkitchenreno

Here's a little sneak peek into what we need to accomplish in this space...
  • Remove partition wall between dining room and kitchen
  • Dismantle existing kitchen cabinets & island
  • Remove dishwasher, range and microwave (and sell!)
  • Remove tile flooring in dining room
  • Remove and/or reroute electrical from partition wall
  • Assemble new kitchen cabinets (yay, one down!)
  • Have wood floors extended and refinished
  • Repair drywall on ceiling and wall from wall removal
  • Install new cabinets, hardware, drawers and doors
  • Have new countertops installed
  • Install new sink & appliances
  • Install hood over new cooktop
  • Tile wall above sink & cooktop
  • Put toe kicks, moulding, and other finishing touches on the space.
I love how simple it all sounds!  Ha!  I am sure we are in for some surprises on this renovation.  But I am so excited to see how it turns out!

The Power of Fresh Air Makes for A Lovely Weekend

This past weekend -- simple as it was -- really filled my bucket, as my niece would say. It started with a spontaneous call from Chris on my way home from work on Friday, asking if I fancied happy hour at local, authentic little British pub.  There was no arm twisting needed here, so we met up and sat in the pub garden in the sunshine, grateful for the consistent, cool breeze.

Can't We All Just Get Along?!

{ Disclaimer: this post is likely to turn into a rant halfway through. consider yourself warned. }

Over the past few years I have spent a fair amount of time in doctors offices.  Always wanting them to help me, trusting that they knew what they were doing, and not really questioning whether our individual visions for optimal health actually aligned.

I finally - on a whim - scheduled an appointment with a naturopathic physician who specialized in inflammation.  I figured it couldn't hurt anything (aside from my bank account!) to try it and see if she had a different take on my health.  My paranoia around prescription medication aside, she spent an hour and a half with me going over every detail of my health as far back as I could remember.

After she ordered a few additional tests, she smiled at me and told me that she had no doubt that she would be able to get to the bottom of what was ailing me.  A simple, kind sentence. But hearing those words were extremely encouraging, especially for someone who had only gotten "best guess" diagnoses for the past several years.

The results of those blood tests confirmed all three of her suspicions.  I was suffering from adrenal fatigue and I tested positive for both a gene mutation, known as MTHFR, and the least likely: Lyme Disease.

My Contribution

Every once in a while (okay, it's actually much more often than that), I stumble upon a source of inspiration that seems like it was made just for me to find.  And I have to admit, I love that.  I love finding things that speak to me, that get me thinking, push me out of my comfort zone or remind me to return to a more intentional life.

Meat-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Oh My!

As many of you know, my health has been a bit troubled the past few years due to severe inflammation in my joints.  I have spent countless hours going to doctor appointments, surgery, physical therapy and having a battery of tests done.  All of this resulted in a 'best guess' diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, with my rheumatologist saying that medication was the only way to ease my aching joints and all of the unpleasant side effect that came along with it. (I won't bore you with the details.)

Master Bathroom

Okay, so the bathroom hit a bit of a snag with finishing up, which is to be expected with any renovation of this size, I suppose.  There is an issue with the tub faucet (it leaks out of one of the posts where the manufacturer attached it to the top part of the faucet - ugh..) and the store was closed this weekend so we couldn't swap out our shower doors for the smaller ones that we need. 

We did, however, get the tub, toilet and baseboard installed, along with a few smaller details for the shower.  Baby steps, baby steps.  Here's a little sneak peek. 

I promise to use an actual camera for shooting the reveal photos, the iphone just isn't cutting it these days...

Here's hoping the universe is on our side for finishing this bathroom renovation before Chris' parents arrive next week!

Tiling Adventures, part two

Well, we are making progress... slowly but surely.  And by 'we,' I definitely mean Chris.  He has been working hard on this bathroom remodel and it is looking so good!  It's fun to see all of the finishes put into place, which is also a huge relief to see that everything coordinates well together!  My design skills aren't failing me on this big remodel, thank goodness!

Tiling Adventures, part one

Well, we finally jumped into the tiling phase in our bathroom, and were pleasantly surprised with how it is turning out!  It definitely takes longer than we expected to complete a small space, but having the shower done (not pictured!) feels like a huge accomplishment!  It is really nice to see the finishes being installed... makes it feel a bit more real!

Here's the wall that I did...

New Season, Fresh Look

Makes sense, right? I don't know about you, but anytime I am feeling restless and unfulfilled in some way, changing things up visually tends to give me the jump start I am looking for.  It can be anything from a freshly painted room, colorful new pillows on the sofa, or in this case, giving the blog a little face lift.  Doesn't it just make you happy?  Well, maybe it's just me then.  

Master Bathroom Progress

Well, we have made a bit more progress, though the photos don't really show much change since the progress was all under the floor boards with the plumbing!  Chris has been working hard to make sure all is watertight and meets all of the drainage requirements, etc., along with meeting my needs of where I want the fixtures placed!  It can't be easy, but he is doing a great job and both the shower and the tub have passed the leak test!  This is a major relief for us!

Demo Has Officially Begun!

Phew, it's been quite the blogging break, if I do say so myself.  I blame travel, birthdays and two very long spells of sickness.  But I'm back with a very small (but exciting!) sneak peek at the demolition that has finally begun in our bathroom!

Kitchen Makeover

Okay, so I am aware that my master bathroom reveal is long overdue (trust me, it will be good when it finally comes!), but in the meantime, I have started another project: our kitchen!  At long last!  We are not doing the major overhaul that I had originally wanted to do, but what we did decide on is painting the cabinets to brighten up the space and get rid of that builder-grade look, as well as new countertops, sink and backsplash!  

The cabinets are not completely finished, but here is a little sneak peek anyway...

The Art of Meeting Your Own Needs

Okay, so I started a 12-day cycle of medication last week to help ease my aching joints, and one thing my rheumatologist said has stuck in my head ever since: one side effect is that you will likely be crazy when you are on it. like crazy, crazy.  Um, okay.  Not the worst side effect I can think of, but certainly a mysterious and somewhat creepy one, if I'm honest.  But okay, I can handle this.  It's only 12 days.  Right?

Well, as far as I can tell, I haven't become crazy yet (or not any crazier than usual, ha!) and I am 7 days in, so that must be a positive sign.  What it has led me to do is get all up in my head in a different way.  A way that is related to my needs, or how to go about meeting them, to be more exact.

Over the years I have really honed in on exactly what it is that I need to be happy.  Body, mind, and spirit.  And though they are relatively easy-ish things to accomplish and incorporate into my daily life, they don't always happen.  Far less often than I care to admit actually. (anyone else?)

Mini Life Update

I realized after a few questions I received that I hadn't updated everyone on the latest with my knee, hips, etc. so for those asking, here is what we know.  For those that aren't asking, feel free to stop reading here. I won't be offended!

Last week I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, though which one still remains a mystery.  My rheumatologist's best guess?  Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.  I also have achilles tendinitis, which explains the painful situation going on in my right heel for the past 4 or 5 months.

My knee has been suffering quite badly with more cysts, so I have been put on a brief stint of medicine to kick that back into shape, and hopefully help my hip pain in the process.  Over the next several months we will try a few different medicines (that will only target RA for instance) to see if my body responds.  The hope is this will help us get a full, proper diagnosis.  Once I have that, I intend to try any (and all!) natural solutions I can find to keep things feeling good.  I have heard that these medications can be quite harsh on your body, and for someone who prefers to not take medicine in general, my hope is that I can find a natural solution that works for me!  Although all of our questions haven't been answered, we have ruled out the potential of any sort of mechanical problems, and just knowing that it is an autoimmune disorder is huge progress!