First of all – thank you so much for the kind words on my last post. It definitely feels good to be back to sewing again! In addition to sewing, I’m feeling happy that the dust has settled (literally and figuratively) at my house after a bunch of planned and unplanned home remodel projects last year. I thought you might like to see a peak at some of the projects as well as my sewing room update.
First, here’s a progress update on my growing Pemberley Economy blocks collection. They’re just so pretty. I’m going to make a few more for a small lap quilt and standing back to look at them, I think I’m going to add a few tone on tone prints that read solid to provide some contrast and a place for the eye to rest amidst all the pretty prints.
Also in the works – two other baby quilts. One that is a surprise that I’ve been keeping under wraps. I just picked it up from Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting and have the binding ready to go. I’ll be gifting it this week and excited to share next week, so stay tuned!
I also pulled my stack of denims, blues, and grays (many left over from this patchwork quilt) to make a quick baby gift this weekend. This one is for another friend, who just received her second grandbaby. I went with simple patchwork again for a quick finish. I’m going to quilt it this week and will share that next week too!
It feels so good to be back in my sewing groove again. Having the holidays wrapped up sure helps. It also helps to have my house back to a functional state again. (The mental bandwidth for house projects can be so taxing.)
We’ve made some nice updates this year – some planned and some unplanned – and I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures. Because, who doesn’t love a good Before and After contrast?
The part of the house I’ve most wanted to update for a while is our front entry hall. It’s a little bit of a ridiculous “Grand Foyer” – a huge waste of space, if you ask me, but it is what it is, and it’s the first thing people see when they come in our door. And it was way overdue for an update! We’ve lived in this house for 10 years and this is how it looked since the time we moved in until last fall.
A year ago we finally had the walls painted white and that alone made a HUGE difference to get rid of the poopy brown. I was ready to pull the trigger on the rest of the renovations this summer – then we had the Great Kitchen Disaster of 2019 (more on that in a minute) and things got put on hold because I just couldn’t do it all at once. Fortunately, later this fall, we were able to finish.
Here’s the updated version. Huzzah! It’s so pretty and makes me happy everytime I walk in the door. That herringbone carpet might be my favorite part. Our carpet was just nasty for way too long. (You can read about the quilt in this photo here.)
I’ve been looking at staircases on Pinterest for months and decided I wanted a Craftsman style banister. Hopefully it’ll also make a great backdrop for styled quilt photos, so you’ll probably be seeing more it in the future. 😉 (The quilt on the ladder is my Hopscotch quilt – pattern here. I got the black metal quilt ladder on Clearance from Magnolia a couple years ago. I think it is back in stock.)
Here’s the “Before”:
If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you may remember that back in June we discovered a slow-leak flood that had seeped into the walls and under the floors while we were out of town. This resulted in the bottom half of our kitchen being torn out down to the wall studs and a total kitchen renovation. This was NOT part of the plan this year. Various parts of my house are in need of updates after living here for 10 years. We updated the kitchen about 5 years ago, so it wasn’t anywhere near the top of the list.
But, our hand was forced when we had to rip up the floor and rip out the wall. 🙁 (By “we” I mean the guys from the restoration company. I’m very thankful we had insurance to cover costs of the repairs.) The renovation process took F O R E V E R – I about died when they initially told me it would take about 2 months to rebuild the kitchen. It ended up taking FOUR AND A HALF months. (Hindsight, I’ve learned that I would just hire a regular contractor rather than work with a restoration company on the rebuild.)
I know people redo kitchens all the time, and I’m sure it’s always a pain, but I’m going to indulge in a little bit of a pity party as it was totally unplanned. It just threw us out of all of our family routines. And of course during the months of the year that my kids were home all day. Fortunately we had a mini kitchenette with a stove and sink in our basement, so we weren’t forced to wash dishes in the bathtub, but it did get old having to go to the far corner of the basement anytime we wanted to eat. (I know, #firstworldproblems.)
Each step the theme was “hurry up and wait”. The floors would get done and then we’d wait a month for the cabinets to be installed. Then we’d wait another month for the countertops, etc. I think this could be an effective new form of mental torture. BUT – as you can see, we survived. (So I can officially stop whining. But I do have new sympathy for anyone else going through an unexpected renovation.)
Here’s the final finish:
They were able to repair the cabinets but we had to replace the countertops and backsplash and restore/refinish the floors. Since we had to make those changes, I decided it would be worth it to replace the sink (I got a large single basin sink and I’m in love). With all of the changes, we decided to update the walls too and painted them ourselves.
The paint color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore – same color we used in the front hall. It’s a warm white and I really like it. The floors had to be repaired and refinished. I’m still a little bitter at the floor guy since it was my big chance to update the floor color, and I’m convinced he didn’t use the right stain. But I was too emotionally burned out to make him come back and redo the whole process. So, while they’re not what I hoped, at least they look better than they did before.
I’m totally smitten with the white subway tile. And here’s a close up of some floating shelves we added ourselves. (I found them on Wayfair and they were the perfect size for this space. Nice.)
While I definitely wouldn’t have chose to go through that reno, now that it’s done I’m happy overall with the outcome. whew.
Sewing Room Update
Last thing to share is the current state of my sewing room (which was built as the dining room in this house, but since we never actually dined in the dining room, for the last 5 years it has been the perfect dedicated sewing space.)
Since the hardwood floor had to be replaced and repaired in the kitchen, it meant we had to have all of the continuous wood floors in our house refinished. Which also meant we had to move everything out of the majority of the main floor of our house. Including this room. (Again, not how I planned to spend my summer.) Here’s how it looked in August:
The one good aspect of having to take everything out of your sewing space is that it forces you to go through a lot of that
crap stuff and it was a good chance to purge as well as to only bring back the things I actually use. So there’s a good silver lining.
It was also a good chance to rethink more effective ways to use the space. One awesome sewing room update was getting rid of the china hutch in that room and replacing it with:
a giant Pax wardrobe from Ikea. Be still my heart. I love it so much. But my children may never help me assemble Ikea furniture again. I’ve decided assembling Ikea furniture is like having a baby. You remember it was hard, but you can handle it – and then once you’re in the middle of the process again, you think, “oh yeah, I forgot how bad this is…”
But this sucker holds SO MUCH stuff, it was worth it. (Just like the babies.) I can keep supplies or projects I’m working on close at hand, but they’re all contained neatly (kind of) behind closed doors. I also love that it’s easy to customize with shelves, drawers, etc according to your needs.
I still have things to do to feel fully settled back into this space, like rehang this pile of mini quilts. I also wanted to add a bulletin board and just last week found a good one 50% off at Hobby Lobby. What I need now is someone with an artistic eye/flair to come hang everything for me. lol. I have too much analysis paralysis when it comes to hanging stuff – especially gallery-type walls.
So there you go. A peek behind the scenes. It definitely wasn’t the way I planned last year to go, but we survived mostly unscathed. (Except for my finger, haha.)
You know how the song goes: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have 2019. Or something like that…