Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DIY - Wood Stove Hood

When I looked back at my idea book, nearly every kitchen in there had a wood stove hood with a built-in fan/ventilator. I loved the look but when I explored the price with my cabinet company, it was more than I wanted to spend. I considered giving up on the idea but ultimately decided that my husband, Jim, is hand enough so maybe he could build it. He agreed to give it a shot and our builder agreed to help install it and poke through the wall to the outside. I found a bunch of pictures of what I wanted and Jim built it out of 1/2" plywood. The angles gave him some serious headaches but he did a great job!

We color matched the cabinet paint at our local Benjamin Moore store and it blends nicely with the cabinets. We get a lot of complimnts on it and we saved about $1000 doing it this way!

For those who are wondering, that's a pot-filler over the stove. I love it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lighting Choices

For some reason when you are just visiting a house, lighting doesn't seem to be a big issue - unless it's really bad. If you don't notice it then it's working well. This is different from noticing a particular fixture because it's interesting. The light should set the mood for the room or area. Dimmers should be installed in areas where you may want to reduce the harshness of the light. Besides the obvious dining room example, in your master bedroom, you probably want some recessed lights on dimmers because as you are getting ready to go to bed, you don't need them on full blast but when you are trying to match your black and navy socks then you probably want as much as light as you can get!

I searched high and low for different lights to match the different rooms in our house. I stumbled on these through various web retailers (often on clearance) as well as outlet stores and big box home stores. For example, I found some Restoration Hardware sconces for our master bathroom but did not like the coordinating pieces but did find a Murray Feiss overhead light which worked perfectly with the sconces and which I love!

In our kitchen, I worked really hard to find the ideal pendant lights. Although some people may think they are too large to be called pendants, I chose some large school house style lights which really fit with the era of our home, as well as the casual elegant style that I strive for througout our home.

The most important thing is to pick what you love. Don't settle even under the time pressure of building a house or adding on. If you don't find what you are picturing, then keep looking until the right thing hits you. Be sure you leave yourself lots of time to make your decisions, but in general, you know what you're going to need even when you are only laying the foundation. So, make a list and start checking things off once you find them. This also gives you more to shop for bargains!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Window Treatments - Shades, Drapes, etc.

As much as we are enjoying all of the wonderful light in our house, we've realized the importance of window treatments. In hindsight, it would probably have been a good idea to have the master bathroom shades up before we moved in but live and learn!

I suggest looking for window treatments pretty much anywhere that sells them. For drapes and panels, I love the look of Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware but not the price. Instead I scour JC Penney, Target, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, etc. to find what I need but get the look I want. Generally these places are much less expensive than the others but without sacrificing quality in many cases. Some things are better quality than others. No one will guess that you got those great drapes at Lowes! Lined drapes generally look more expensive because they hang better. You can always lined unlined drapes if you get a deal. It's not hard or expensive.

For shades, we really like the cordless cellular shades from Lowes. They have 2 types - Levelor and their own brand which they sell under several names. The Levelor type are cut to size in about 5 minutes which is very handy. Both are very reasonably priced.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A month goes by...

A month goes by in a blink! Especially August. We spent a couple of weeks away and the rest of the time unpacking and getting settled. We've got a lot of window treatments and only a few boxes left to unpack.

We're really pleased with the final product. We still have some minor punchlist items to complete but those will be done over the course of the next few weeks. The only somewhat major thing is that the fireplace frame was bent so the front needs to be replaced. We're going to tile and finish the mantle ourselves in the next month or so.

Kaye and Jim did beautiful work for us and we are so thankful to them. We would highly recommend them so please call them if you are looking for an architect or general contractor in the Northern Virginia area.

Final pics posted at the left in the construction pictures. Before and after pictures coming soon.
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