Sunday, January 30, 2011

Subject: Project Progress & Painting


So, I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Guess what today is...PAINTING DAY! I'm taking the plunge and painting my kitchen Dunmore Cream by Benjamin Moore - the same color as our living room. I'm hoping to get my hands on a laser level this week so I can do the stripes on the wall, but we'll see. I'm a little sad about saying goodbye to the green paint, but I'm excited about the new look and heading in a new direction with my aesthetic and my "mature walls." So, no more this:

I'll send you an 'after' picture once I get the kitchen put back together again. Right now the walls are bare and kind of sad-looking!

I'll send you an 'after' picture once I get the kitchen put back together again. Right now the walls are bare and kind of sad-looking!

This weekend I also finished my mother-in-law's office chair. You might remember how it was before here:

Ugh, right? I thought it was just a random chair, but then after doing some research I learned that the style is a Chinese Chippendale chair that it is actually an expensive, well-known chair among decorators. Who knew? Here is the after:

Ahh! Can you believe it? Here is a shot of the back, which I think looks really, really good:

The challenging thing about this project was that the seat cushion didn't come off, so we had to come up with a creative way to hide the staples. Some kind of cording or trim would have been an option, but I love the way these nailheads look! I got the idea of doing upholstery nails, but had never actually used them before. After browsing around on one of my favorite blogs (thanks for the recommendation) and reading this post, I ordered nailhead trim by the yard from Amazon. I ordered two yards and then also ordered a package of 50 nails. The way it works is you can pick your trim where you nail it in ever third or fifth hole, so it looks like a series of nailheads, but really you didn't have to nail in every last one. Smart, right? It only came in one finish, which was kind of disappointing, but I think it works with this chair so no big deal. They also recommend using a rubber mallet to hammer in the nails, which I did not own and did not want to purchase, so I just used a regular hammer with a sock over the end. My MIL came over to help me hold and pull the fabric because in a project like this, you really need one person to hold the fabric in place while the other person staples.

I was seriously amazed at how well this project turned out. I'm super proud of it and cannot wait to find another project where I can implement the nailhead trim. The only problem was that this chair had been re-upholstered a few other times, so there were lots of staples already in the chair, so nailing go tricky because sometimes I would hit against an already-existing staple, which would make the trim crooked or the nail not go in straight. Thankfully my MIL is not a perfectionist and the back* looks really good, so no worries!

Okay, off to get my painting clothes on!

*One thing to remember when re-doing a chair that is going to be pushed up under a table or desk: pay particular attention to the back, because that is what is going to be seen the most. People are always more worried about the front, but they don't realize the back is what will be seen immediately upon entering a dining room or office. So, conversely, if the chair is filling up space in a corner, you need to pay more attention to the front because that is what will be seen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Subject: My Latest Projects


So, here are my latest projects: this dresser and chair that I’m painting for my mother-in-law.

The dresser we found out an antique store over the weekend. It was in great shape (except for needing a paint job, obviously) and solid wood. Plus, the price was great – the asking price was $120, and then we were able to talk the seller down to $105…so basically she got the tax for free!

The chair she already had, but she is trying to re-vamp her office and the black lacquer didn’t exactly “go” with the calmer décor she was going for. This orange-y fabric was the original covering, and it most recently had a yellow fabric which she’s already removed. The cushion doesn’t come off, so putting the new fabric on will be interesting, but it’s going to give me my first shot at using upholstery tacks. I ordered them from Amazon here. You can order them by the yard and then you order the nail separately. I’m kind of excited about using them – I’ll let you know how it goes.

And finally, over the weekend I found this:

I’m going to paint it and replace the mirror in my guest bathroom with it. The morning we went I had just measured the mirror in that bathroom and stored it in my phone. That’s what I have been doing lately: keeping specific measurements for pieces that I am on the hunt for in the “notes” section of my phone. It’s so handy…I always have my phone.

I’ve decided to give up my idea of framing the current mirror in my master bath and instead I am on the lookout for a mirror like this. It's a Sarah's House special, which means I'll probably need to look for it in an obscure thrift shop in Canada. Awesome.

I’m not sure where I will find it, but I like that I have something in mind. So be on the lookout!
I can’t wait to send you my ‘after’ pictures. I’m at the mercy of my mother-in-law for the dresser because she still has to pick out the hardware, and I am waiting on the upholstery tacks to come in the mail to get started on the reupholstering the chair. I haven’t decided if I am going to spray paint the mirror or brush paint it…spray painting will delay the project until it’s warmer out. I am SO looking forward to spray painting weather – I have so many projects to do! But next week I am going to start painting the kitchen...I'm going to get as many indoor projects as I can done, so when the weather is nice again, I can concentrate on the exterior. Okay, that's all for now!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Subject: Baby Talk & Dinner

Hi and happy birth-day! That is so exciting about your cousin...and your baby itch :) I'm curious to see where it goes. So sorry I haven't posted in the past few days. I will send you pictures soon of what I have been busy at work on. Here's a hint: I went "hunting" this weekend with my mother-in-law to a few of my favorite antique shops and I am now working on updating my treasures. Well, her treasures. I am painting a few pieces of furniture for her. So, pictures to follow soon!

I love this conversation about dinners! Here are the current recipes in our household, divided into four categories: Regular Rotation, Weekends, Company and Rarely. Also, so far this year I have added three recipes to my repertoire! Those are at the end. So without further is what we're eating:

Regular Rotation (this makes up our main diet - quick & easy for weekdays):

  • Balsamic Chicken Salad (Basically chicken breasts beaten until flat and then seasoned generously with Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and then grilled, cut up and served on a bed of lettuce with other veggies and toasted pine nuts. This is one of our faves in the summer with avocado - yum!)
  • Parmesan Chicken with Arugula (served with Ina's lemon vinaigrette)
  • Rosemary Chicken (We do this with leg quarters using the same ingredients as Butterflied Chicken, below.)
  • Sticky Chicken (Who knew a crock pot was so great? Especially good in the summer so you don't have to run the oven and heat up the house.)
  • Roasted shrimp and orzo (Similar to this recipe here, but we add basil, feta and toasted pine nuts.)
  • Shrimp salad (Like the chicken salad at the top, only we use shrimp and roast it as in the recipe above.)
  • Shrimp tacos (Soft tacos with roasted shrimp. We like ours with salsa, avocado and lots of lime juice.)
  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Burgers (Again - Ina. So moist and juicy, but don't let them sit too long before cooking - the olive oil breaks the meat down and can make it difficult to grill.
  • Crab Cakes (So easy, fast and relatively healthy. We leave out the pepper and scallion...I use some garlic instead. So good with sweet potato fries and a salad.)
  • Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese (Delicious in the summer when I can walk outside and pick fresh basil off a pot in front of my house.)
  • Roasted chicken (Can you go wrong? Agreed - Ina's recipe is very good. I like to soak my chicken in salt water for a few hours before cooking; it keeps the meat tender and juicy!)



  • Shrimp scampi
  • Butterflied chicken
  • Burgers
  • Red Wine Vinegar chicken
  • Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese


New Recipes

These recipes all use similar ingredients: Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, lemons and a variety of fresh herbs. I like it when dinner just comes together based on what I have in the fridge or pantry and what's on sale at the grocery store, but I'm starting to find that having an idea for the week is a much better way to go and I'm not stuck on a week night missing a few key ingredients.

I can't wait to try some of your recipes soon. I'm so hungry now!

Happy cooking,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Subject: Goo Goo Ga Ga and What's for Dinner

Good morning Kara,

I have one really great reason why I haven't posted until now.  

My cousin gave birth to her third baby boy, Cooper Aiden, on January 20th at 11:58 a.m.  He is absolutely adorable and now I have baby on the brain.  I think Hubby is getting a very teeny tiny itch too because he suggested we give the baby thing a trial run by having my other cousins sleep over some weekends.  This weekend my cousin's 16 month old, Maddox, will have his first sleepover at our house.  Should be fun!!

So, back to one of our conversations from last week...what's cooking at The House of Peach.  I figured we could first focus on staples.

During the week, I like to have a mix of "easy" and "more time consuming" meals.  Here's a breakdown of our staples in the two categories.


Grilled Cheese - I like to make it on bread from the bakery with cheese from the deli.  Also, I could not eat a grilled cheese sandwich without mustard either, although Hubby is not into that!

Pigs in a Blanket - Childhood favorite?!?  It's the only other way I like a hot dog besides on the grill.

Sloppy Joes - The theme here is turning into, "What did you eat when you were 5?"  This one cooks up in no time and according to the commercial includes a full serving of veggies!

Pizza - Pillsbury dough + pizza sauce + whatever veggies you want

More Time Consuming

Spaghetti and Meatballs - This is probably my all-time FAVORITE.  I've been perfecting my meatballs for about two years now, but the recipe is based off of Ina Garten's.  I also buy a jar sauce to save time.  Recently, my favorite has been MIDs.

Shrimp Scampi - Another top recipe.  It's relatively easy to put together, as long as you have good time management in the kitchen and know when to put your pasta in the pot and start your shrimp.  It always tastes fresh and I think a lot of that is due to the lemon zest.  Thanks again to Ina!!

Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas - I came across this recipe years ago and Hubby really likes it.  I sometimes have a weird chicken thing though, where I'm not in the mood for it, so I make mine vegetarian style.

Roast Chicken - When I am in the mood for chicken, there is only one recipe I turn to.  I can't find the exact one I use online, although it's similar to this one.  The one I love can be found in her "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook."  Ina you are a G-D!!

Omelet For Two - Ina again!!  She really is amazing.  Love this recipe because you can add in every veggie you have left in the fridge.  I definitely mix it up and just follow this recipe for the baking instructions.  Yes, it's an omelet in the oven, which makes it super fluffy!  And no flipping required.  Oh, I don't do quite as much cheese as she does though, and I use about 1/2 egg whites and 1/2 whole egg.

French Onion Soup - I recently shared this one with you.  One word besides YUMMY...INA.

Tacos - We love to have a Mexican fiesta in our casa.  I prefer my tacos with ground beef in the hard shells.
Favorite Meatloaf - I've been making this Kraft recipe for years and it really is a favorite.  Minus the salad dressing and cheese on top though!  I just omit those ingredients completely.  But the addition of stuffing as opposed to breadcrumbs is what has kept me hooked.

So, what recipes are included on your list of staples?  Out of my 12 staples, 5 are Ina's.  I definitely have a crush!

By the way, where do you like to store your recipes?  The Anthropologie recipe book I bought isn't going to work out.  I need to get organized though.  I'm not loving my current set-up.

Hope all is well in Tally!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Subject: Family Room + The Couch Crisis

Good morning Kara!

I'm on a roll catching up with these posts.  I'm happy to report that my family room is coming together...FINALLY. 

I realized that I never shared with you the couch crisis.  If you recall, late last year I wrote about the custom couch that Hubby and I purchased.  It was from a leather store in Georgia and we were able to choose the leather color, if we wanted to add nail heads, etc.  All the fun customized touches that people love in furniture.  Well, needless to say the company stinks and because I don't want to dwell on the subject I will sum up the crisis by saying what arrived was not the Milky Way brown colored couch I hoped for, but a Cherry Cola colored couch leather with more red tones than brown.  My heart sank as I looked at it in the family room.  Thankfully, Hubby saw the unhappiness in my eyes and made them haul the couch away. 

Fast forward about a week later, we got our money back from the "custom" leather store and went on the couch hunt again.  We were pretty sure we wanted this Pottery Barn couch, and the only store that had it in stock was the outlet in North Georgia.  We took a ride to the outlet, sat in the couch and immediately knew it wasn't for us.  The price at the outlet was awesome, but it left a lot to be desired.  Right across the way from the PB outlet was the one and only Restoration Hardware Outlet.  We walked in, walked around and knew we had found a winner.  I present, straight from our family room showroom, our new couch.

This is the Maxwell, but last year's model.  The good thing is we like last year's model more than the 2011 version, because this year's model only has two cushions.  The color can best be described as an old bomber jacket.  It looks worn in and is absolutely delicious!!  There is a word Jewish people use to describe finding your husband or wife because it is believed that person is your destiny.  The word is beschert.  And while AJ is my beschert, I'm pretty sure this couch and I were also meant to be!!

I also picked up pillows from Target the other day and am trying them out every now and then.  They photograph a little Missoni-ish.  Pretty cool! 

I also ordered this pillow from Anthropologie on my little shopping spree.  I'm curious to see how it looks in person and works with the blue Target pillows.

Fireworks Pillow

On Sunday, our Crate and Barrel sideboard arrived too, really pulling the room together.  I can't get over how perfect the size is for the tv wall.

Isn't this wood gorgeous?  It's Peroba wood from Brazil.  I did some research and it's all reclaimed.  They take it from the floors and walls of old buildings.  Love being environmentally conscious! 

We are still in the market for some side tables and a lamp for the room, but it's all a process.  I also want one more chair for the room and have been eyeing this one.  I ordered a sample of the fabric to try and get a better feel for it. 

Indigo Ikat Slipper Chair

Wouldn't it look awesome with this pillow??? 

Jonathan Adler Lemon Pillow
I am OBSESSED with Jonathan Adler.  Hubby...if you are reading, forget bringing flowers home, just deliver this pillow! 

I'll be sure to report back on the Anthropologie pillow and if we end up ordering the Urban Outfitters chair.  Have you seen any cute side tables around?  That's my next hunt for this room.

Can't wait to hear what you think!  Maybe the readers have some thoughts, too??  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Subject: An Anthro-esq Bathroom Redo

For the time put into this project, I figured it warranted an e-mail all its own.  Is it weird that I designed the bathroom to look and feel like Anthropologie?  If Anthropologie were a girl, that would be semi-stalkerish.  Thankfully, its a store, and hopefully they are flattered.  Well, here it is.  The big reveal.  It's been complete for a couple weeks now, and each time I walk in the room I am in love.  Even Hubby said the other day how much he liked it.  (Shout out to Hubby and my awesome stepdad who we could not have done the renovations without.)

So, here's the only before picture I have because I am not smart enough to remember to take a before shot!  I can give you a good description though.  Latte walls (think of a cappuccino), gold everything (faucet, shower head, etc.) and the standard mirror over the sink.  There was also this light fixture which was pretty much the bain of my existence.  


And with the Anthropologie ruffled shower curtain as the source of inspiration, here's the the after!


A look from outside the bathroom

Does this faucet not scream Anthropologie?  It was love at first sight!!  Thanks Home Depot!

How fun is the mirror?!  $30 at Homegoods!  And then our matching Target soap pump and a little birdie from NC.

A full shot of the shower curtain.

I found this towel ring and the matching toilet paper holder at Lowes.  Doesn't it match the faucet so well??

Anthropologie-esq knobs from Hobby Lobby - the best craft store ever.  I think they were $2.50 each!!  Bargain!

A shot of all the knobs and Millie's tush.  (She loves getting in the frame when I take pictures.)

I figured you'd want to see her mug in addition to her tush.

The perfect finishing touch.  I could not believe how hard it was to pick out a light fixture.  I found this one at Lowes.
So, the bathroom is only missing one minor thing.  This hand towel from Anthropologie, which I ordered the other day and should arrive this week.   

Great Southern Butterfly Towels

This was also our first room that we used Martha Stewart paint in.  We chose Glass of Milk for the color.  It actually looks just like the name in person, and sometimes leaves me and Hubby feeling thirsty.  I'm really happy with the product, although we chose a semi-gloss, so you definitely had to wait in between coats because it was sticky.  We ended up taking the color up to the top of the ceiling which makes the whole space look really big. 

The one other addition not pictured is the new shower head, shower faucet and shower knob, which is all silver and nice and new.  Just not overly exciting to take a picture of.

Hope you enjoyed it!!  Hooray to both of us having new bathrooms!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Subject: Catching Up + Something Sweet

You win the prize for blogger of the week!  To get caught up, I figured I would combined your response to the French Onion soup post and your two new posts on painting the kitchen and chairs all in to one post.
Here are all my thoughts on everything:
1.      I don’t know if I 100% knew you didn’t like onions.  I thought you were just way in to hygiene and wanted to ensure your breath was always fresh!  Since they are sautéed though, the onion flavor isn’t ridiculously overpower, but I don’t want to talk you in to anything. 

2.      When it comes to dinner and recipes, we definitely have a rotation going on in this house!  We should swap our favorites and hopefully that will help add to our individual rotations.  Last year, I tried to make one new recipe a week, but I have to say, it didn’t last long.  Once a month is a bit more feasible.  I just bought this adorable Anthropologie recipe book that I’ve been admiring forever.  It got mixed reviews, but it was free shipping, so I figured what the heck?!?  Hopefully I will get it this week and can start organizing my recipes for a swap.  Also, on the subject of new, yumminess (I don’t think that’s a word) my mom recommended this DELISH quesadilla recipe by Pioneer Woman.  I tried it last week and as long as you love shrimp, it’s a winner!!  (Just omit the onions in your case!)  Plus, it cooks up in no time, which I love during the week. 

3.     Okay, so on to your project of the year…painting the kitchen!!  I think the green is such a fun pop, especially against the black and white tiles that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, but I could understand needing a change.  I think you need to plan the entire room out before making any decisions.  I do like the idea of a more neutral wall, but I think you need to decide on your chair fabric and any potential valence fabric before 100% committing to the stripes on the walls.  Have you come across any pictures with the black and white checkered floor and stripped walls?  Just in general?  Maybe that’s something to Google, as I myself definitely like seeing stuff first to confirm the final product is going to be exactly as I imagined.

4.      So, the dining chair re-do is on!  And thanks to you, I remembered I had those extra chairs I picked up in Tallahassee sitting in my attic, so I too spent some of my weekend painting away.  It’s taking SO long.  I have a lot of detail on my chairs and it’s hard getting into those crevices.  But with three different size craft brushes (I knew just what you were referring to in your post), I am making progress.  I would say I’m half way done, and already on two coats.  I chose the lacquered look, too, but in white.  Super glossy, it’s the new trend for Peach and Lass!

5.      The something sweet part of the e-mail…Due to the record amount of snowfall, and on account of everyone being cooped up inside, one of our super sweet neighbors invited Hubby and I along with two other families over for dinner.  She made a HUGE pot of Louisana Gumbo that was to die for!!  Of course, I couldn’t show up empty handed, and with Publix being closed I has only a few options.  I went with what I believe to be a fast, no fail dessert - Brownies.  Here is my recommendation for the number one thing I think everyone should keep in their pantry - a box of Ghiradelli Brownie Mix.  (They should be paying me for this plug!)  They are the most amazing boxed brownies!!  I think they made a nice presentation and one of the neighbor’s kids, adorable 2-year-old Rebecca, saw them and said, “Can I have a snow brownie?!?”  My heart melted and I was ready to let her eat the whole tray.

That’s it for now.  I have so much to write about though.  Here’s my e-mail blog to-do list:  Couch post, tv stand post, bathroom post, laundry room post.  Maybe I can turn everything into one big post called "The House of Peach renovation/furniture updates."
Hope Suz is better and that she’s allowed you to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear in addition to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.     
PS - The TJ Maxx lamp was a great find.  Love how you asked some unsuspecting shopper for their opinion. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Subject: Two-thirds!


Just a quick check-in to let you know that we are 2/3 through the weekend and I am 2/3 of the way through painting my chairs. I ended up doing three coats of a high-gloss black paint. I applied the paint using a craft sponge (I think that's what they're called - it has a wooden handle and a little black sponge thing on the end) because I like that it applies coats in thin layers and allows me to control the amount of paint I am applying. Some proof of my progress (sorry for the picture quality...I took it on my phone):

The one on the left has not been painted, while the one on the right has three coats. I know you can't tell a huge difference from the picture, but trust me - it's good. As I've been painting each chair, I have found drips of paint and spots that barely had any paint on them. I remember the first time I painted them I just wanted them done and clearly did not pay much attention to the quality of my work. That is one thing I am trying to do with each project I am doing these days: I just keep reminding myself to take my time. At some point - when it's not literally freezing outside - I may spray a clear coat on all of them just to protect the paint and give them all the same amount of shine. I am remembering now when I first painted these chairs that I sprayed some and handpainted others, so the paint going on now isn't giving an identical finish because the bases aren't the same. Awesome.

On another note - here is my entry table as it was yesterday morning:

Mostly focus on the boring, blah lamp that I bought when we first got married and I wasn't all that adventurous:

Are you asleep yet? And then here it is yesterday afternoon, after I decided to run into TJ Maxx en route to Publix:

So much better! And another close-up:

Not that this lamp is all that adventurous, but I have known for awhile that table needed a different lamp, but I just hadn't taken the time to look. I got this one for $29.99 at TJ Maxx and it came with the shade. The original shade was a shimmer-y silver - which I hated - so I switched it out for this one on another lamp. I'm not sure if you're allowed to do that, but no one stopped me so oh well! There were three college-y age girls on the lamp aisle too and I got their opinion to see if the proportion was still okay (the silver lamp was a little bit bigger than this white one), and they said yes. Sometimes I love asking - and giving! - advice from/to random strangers! My father-in-law suggested black ribbon around the top and bottom of the shade, so I might pick up some ribbon the next time I am at the craft store.

How is your weekend so far? A three-day weekend isn't all that exciting when you work from home!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Subject: Do I Paint My Kitchen?

Mel -

Ahh! Okay, here we go. So this is probably going to be the biggest project I do all year, so before I embark on it, let's make sure we've thought it all the way through. (I say 'we' like you're going to help me paint, but really, your input is so valuable! But if you want to grab a paint brush the next time you're in the area, be my guest :D) Also, my apologies for not posting this yesterday - I know you were on the edge of your seat! I finally understand why mommies look so exhausted when they say the words, "[Baby's name here] has been sick." I experienced it for the first time yesterday. It's one of those situations where nothing can make them happy, and then you feel terrible when you start to get annoyed, because you know they are uncomfortable but have no idea why. I guess I should embrace her being so snugly, but at some points during the day all I could think about was what I wanted to get done and what I could be doing, if I wasn't reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar...again. Which is why my dining chairs only have one coat of paint on them so far. Maybe today they will get a second??? We'll see.

Okay, so on to my kitchen.

Some background: The current color is Pressed Leaves by Martha Stewart (back when Martha Stewart was at Sherwinn-Williams) and I really do love it. I tried it out in the apartment we lived in before this house, and it is a color with a lot of depth to it. It's a very vivid green, but still seems sophisticated and changes depending on the amount of sunlight. It also goes with so much and I think wall accessories really "pop" against it. People always comment on it when they come to our house. (I'm assuming it's a genuine compliment and not just, "Wow...look at that green...") Also, it looks really good against the white cabinets and white trim. It looks kind of preppy and just really crisp. The walls have been their current color since we moved in in 2007, so you can understand why, after four years, I might be ready for a change.

Now for a few pictures. The kitchen is basically the entire back half of the house and it's a really long room, with two sections: the dining area and the cooking area where all the appliances are. On the dining area side there are two windows with a door in the middle with access to the backyard and a little covered patio. Here is the cooking area:

Basically I'm just sort of "over" the green, but I'm not sure what color I want. The living room, which connects to the kitchen with a big doorway, is currently Dunsmore Cream by Benjamin Moore, and I'm considering painting the kitchen the same color. I think it's a sophisticated color and it also looks good against white trim. Plus, I envision us moving out of this house in the next 2-3 years and we would probably need to paint the kitchen then anyway, but at least now I have the time and am in need of a change. (I'm not advocating living in a house that's for show only, but it is something I'm considering as our family is growing and we'll need to move a bigger place in a few years, so if I'm going to spend the time and money to paint, why not paint it a color that would aid in helping sell our house?)
Some more pictures, now of the dining area and how it connects to the living room:

You'll notice the black and white floors. I pretty much cannot stand them and in a perfect world we would rip them out and continue the wood from the living room, but that is not going to happen so I need to figure out a way to work with them. At this point I feel like the room is really "loud" with the green on the walls and the tile on the floor. (The phrase "Alice in Wonderland" keeps coming to mind!) So since I can only change one thing, why not change the walls? I've also realized that in the past I have been very heavy-handed with color because I like it a lot, but as my tastes change and evolve, I am finding that I want to be more deliberate with color and part of achieving that may be to paint the walls a neutral color and then bringing in pops of color through wall accessories and fabric, you know? So that's why we can start referring to my new kitchen as having "sophisticated" walls.
I'm considering doing this to the wall behind the table:

I think the stripes would give that wall some interest and keep the neutral color from seeming so dull. My other concern is the countertops. At some point we hope to replace them with black countertops and a new sink too, but until that happens, the countertops and walls will be almost the same color. Will I hate that? Will it motivate me to save up for new countertops?
A major 'pro' of this project is no longer having to consider the green in picking out accessories or fabric, either for the kitchen or the living room. That is the one nice thing about neutral walls. Plus it seems very Sarah's House of me, which is always a good thing!

Okay, tell me what you think!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Re: Why Onions Make Me Cry and Smile

Dear Snow Bunny!

First, your house looks gorgeous in snow! Second, no you did not tell me about the drama with your couch. Do share! I love good drama stories! And third, your soup looks totally delish. You'll remember from ordering for staff lunches that I always ask for my salads or sandwiches without onion, but I do actually like the flavor - just not the texture. Sometimes I make a black bean soup where I have let the onions sit and carmelize for hours before mixing in the beans and putting it through the blender. Soooo goooood...

I think this is also the perfect time to mention one of my goals for 2011 (a comprehensive list is coming soon...I promise!). The other day I listed out all my go-to recipes and I came up with 20. This is all for main courses (so, meat) and I even included the lamb chops I made for Jon's birthday, even though I have only made those once (because I would do it again for company or a special occasion). So then I went through and broke the list into four categories: Regular Rotation, Weekends (for meals that are a little more labor-intensive for a week night), Company and Rarely (lamb chops went into this category).

So, out of my 20 recipes (I think 18 are Ina's or some variation of hers), only 9 were labeled "Regular Rotation," which means we are eating the same things a lot. So, one of my goals will be to add a new recipe to "Regular Rotation" either once a week or every other week...I think it might end up being the latter, just because a new recipe every week might be a bit much. But there are a ton of recipes in my cookbooks that I have just dismissed because they were unfamiliar, and there are so many websites that I can use as a resource too.

What do you make for dinner? One of the hardest things for me is that since Jon doesn't eat vegetables, it's very limiting. Plus we don't eat red meat more than a few times a month, we really don't eat pork at that pretty much leaves chicken, fish and shellfish. And since Jon doesn't eat vegetables, some of the vegetarian dishes I would like to make (like Wild Mushroom Risotto - yum!) he just looks at and asks, "Where's the meat?" Ahh!

Speaking of dining, I am also going to work on re-painting my dining room chairs. Here they are, in their current state:

I don't love the style, but they were free from my father-in-law (and chairs are expensive!). They were originally a blonde wood, but I painted them black and put this upholstery on. But I'm kind of tired of the fabric, so I'm going to start with painting them first and then finding new fabric. There are six chairs total; only two have arms. I am going to keep them black, but I got a high-gloss paint so they'll almost look laquered. We can decide on fabric options at a later date. It will all depend on if I decide to paint my kitchen or not...which is a convesation for another day! Maybe tomorrow?!

Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Subject: Why Onions Make Me Cry and Smile

Have you heard the news, Kara??  We are basically in the middle of a Southern blizzard.  The 5 plus inches in my neighborhood, have resulted in Hubby being off from work yesterday AND today AND probably tomorrow.  

We ventured outside yesterday with the dogs in multiple layers of clothing.  It was nice to get some fresh air, but it was also REALLY cold!  Here's a shot of the front of the house.

Once we got home, Millie relaxed on our new couch.  (Did I tell you about the couch fiasco?  I can't remember??  Did I tell you we got a couch from Restoration Hardware now??)

And while Millie was relaxing, I cooked up one of my FAVORITE winter meals - French Onion Soup.  Ina Garten's recipe is TO DIE FOR.  It's easy and delicious.  A little time consuming to let the onions caramelize, but well worth the wait!  And, I make Hubby chop the onions because they really do make me cry.  

The only change I make to the recipe is I buy a baguette, cut a few slices and stick them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the toast up.  Do you have a favorite winter meal?  Something to warm you up during the cold, non-snow days in the Sunshine State?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Re: Chore Art

Melissa -

Hello and I love this post! My goal in decorating any space is unexpected details in unexpected places, so I love that you are considering artwork for your laundy room! First off, I love the color you selected. Seriously, can you go wrong with that inky gray-blue color? The answer is no, you cannot.

I have two thoughts on you art choice, with accessories to go with either decision (of course). I like the first option - the Keep Calm and Wash On - because it is a cheeky nod to the original poster that was Everywhere for a long time. And I agree - black background with white letters. And if you go with that option, here are some ideas for storage containers, both from Target.

The Target Trend Lab Versailles Fabric Storage Bin Set:
Or the Target Tote with Eyelet Handles:

I'm also torn because that limits you to only black, white and the wall color. You could always tie bright yellow ribbon to the handles on the second option or do some kind of colorful tags to label the contents of each container. I also like the idea of a washed-out photograph, especially something that's personal to you. If you go with that option, then I like the idea of some industrial-looking metal containers.

The Container Store Silver Mesh Handy Bin (great for a laundry room and sorting all your it has wheels!):

The Container Store Platinum Elfa Drawers (assuming there is shelving):
And, for whatever you choose, I love it when people use jars like these to hold their detergent or other laundry accessories. From Target, natch:

Obviously if you use liquid detergent this doesn't really work, but I use Borax in addition to my liquid detergent, and if I had the space (see below), I would totally store it in a pretty container.

And lastly, a picture of my laundry closet. The pails are from Ikea and I love them.

Happy washing!

Subject: Chore Art

So, one area of the house that we added The House of Peach touch to was the laundry room.  Although, modest in size, it is an actual room, which I like, and has enough room to store everything laundry room-related.  Before I send you all the pictures of the makeover, there is one key element I need to make a decision on.  The artwork!

The floor is black and white and we painted the walls Faded Ink by Martha Stewart.  I am kind of in love with her paints!

Faded Ink by Domestic Goddess Martha Stewart

So, now I need to choose the artwork for one of the walls.

Choice #1:  I would do this in a black background in a black frame.  I think it would work nicely with the black and white floor.

Etsy Keep Calm Shop Poster
Choice #2:  I would also do this in a black background.

Etsy Aldari's Shop
Or is a fun photograph the way to go??

Choice #3

Etsy Heather Evans Smith's Shop

Etsy has a ton of photographs of clothes on a clothesline.  I think there could be a good chance that I have some of my own photographs like that from my trip to Israel a few years ago.  I will have to go find the disk and look though all the pictures.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the laundry room art.  Seems like making that room pretty would make the chore of doing laundry a little less painful!  Also, send me a picture of your laundry room when you can.  I remember you had those silver buckets.  I wonder if there is anything else I'm forgetting?!