Hello hello! Better late than never? Where has the time gone?? I CANNOT believe we are already wrapping up March. HOW? I was really really hoping 2023 was going to bring a breath of fresh air and some rest for the Bowser household but it has proven to be a challenging and busy year so far. It’s not all bad, we have done some traveling and work has been more consistent than it has been in the past year and a half. However, I bring sad and shocking news for anyone who follows all my cat sagas: A couple days after we got back from Sundance at the end of January, we found out our 7-year-old cat Puck had a large cancerous tumor in his intestine. He got on steroids and gave us another 4 weeks before we made the tough choice to help him transition to the next life. Our house feels more empty than we could have imagined and we all miss him very, very much. He was a challenging and adventurous cat who loved to play fetch, bring me dead (and sometimes alive) mice, fight neighborhood raccoons, had a crush on any woman who came to the house, and in the end, despite his tendency to be more of an independent spirit, made it clear how much he loved and trusted us in the last few weeks of his life. It is wild how much these little creatures affect our lives and I’m hoping our cat luck will take a turn for the positive because I’m not sure how much more heartache I can take. In good news, Puck spending his last days cuddling with us really taught Gremmy a thing or two. I think Gremmy and Daffy were aware something was wrong and they stayed close. During this time Gremmy would come up on the bed and lay close by, which is not something he would do before. This past week Gremmy has been getting on my lap and if you’re one of the few Gremmy super fans you know this is huge.
Now you may understand why I‘m a little slow in getting these reveals out. The good news is we have shot so much now I just have to write!
I wanted to start with the kitchen because honestly it was supposed to be finished in September! As always, I’m living proof that these things take time. So much time and money and time is money etc etc. You can read the intro to this post here. Cliff notes: It is the last room in the house to be “finished” because it’s been fine after the initial reno that made it safe (there was mold) and liveable. When initially renovating we were WAY out of money so I didn’t get to do what I wanted, I just kept it simple white subway tiles, white shaker cabinets, and black hex floors which felt like they would remain timeless because historically those are pretty timeless finishes but, you know, now it feels very 2015. I wanted to make it feel more “me” while gaining some storage but without doing any major reno, for waste and money reasons.
Enter my friend Rebecca (a designer, design producer, and entrepreneur) and her company Design By Numbers. We knew each other from working on HGTV’s Build Me Up (RIP) with host Orlando Soria (you may know him 🙂 ). We would all Marco Polo during the pandemic and be annoyed by the fact that my upper cabinets didn’t go to the ceiling (it was often my background and I would force them to look at them while I talked/screamed about the state of our country). It took a while to actually get to it, but I finally 3D scanned the space (more on this is in the process post) and she had a new cabinet box made to replace the one that didn’t go to the ceiling. Now I have more storage space, a working vent, and much prettier cabinets. I had the lower boxes painted and just replaced the doors and drawer fronts. Shall we get to the reveal??
And now with more interest and depth…
To say that photographing this galley kitchen was a challenge is an understatement. Poor Sara. This is the most pulled-back we could get without it getting too fish-eye-ish
As you can see through, the uppers on the left now reach the ceiling AND incorporate the fridge making it feel more integrated. The cabinet style is called “baby shaker” and the color is “Putty”. It’s a greenish, greyish taupe and adds the perfect amount of warmth without being overwhelming in this small space. The simple and modern pulls and knobs are by Rejuvenation. I wanted hits of black to make the floor feel more incorporated into the design, I didn’t want it to feel like I designed this kitchen over 7 years. It was all totally thought through and on purpose 🙂 I had the recessed light over the sink changed so that I could have this beautiful ceramic light by Rejuvenation. It’s both practical in that it gives off much nicer light than the recessed light (had a dimmer put on that switch as well) and obviously makes a much bigger statement than having nothing at all there.
One more time…
I love the way the doors are designed, they trick you into thinking they are frameless. These are good photos to talk about ADHD and design:). It’s funny, some would think that it would be easier to have less visual noise when you have ADHD. I think to some these photos may seem busy, but it all just makes sense to me. I use my kitchen a lot. We both work from home and one or both of us cook almost every meal every day in this tiny space. If things are visible in an organized way it helps me know not only where things are at all times and keep hoarding to a minimum, but it also feels like one less step when I go to cook. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t have the same hang-ups while trying to do basic tasks but maybe my fellow ADHD-ers will understand. I’m actually not a naturally organized or tidy person but I learned early that fewer choices and easy accessibility make my life easier. Liking my kitchen this way makes me think Julia Child may have had ADHD too :). It’s also important that everything that is out is also used often enough that it doesn’t get that weird oily dust from existing in a kitchen. Everything out I use almost daily, with the slight exception of the cutting boards although those are easier stored this way because with my job I often have to grab 5-10 of them as props often.
Rejuvenation’s Emery Pot Rack Bar and hooks hold all my everyday pots and pans and a few other commonly used tools. My shelving brackets on the other side of my sink are from IronAbode. They have so many amazing shelf bracket options and are very affordable. They offer the actual wood shelves as well but because of the cost of shipping it just made sense for me to drive over to our friends Ross Alan Reclaimed in the valley and have a few shelves made there. I also got the wood for the top of my DIY lower cabinet from them, which you can read about in the process post if you haven’t already. The counter under that open shelving is where I end up doing 99% of food prep because the space to the right of the sink (above) is generally where clean dishes are “drying” aka probably sitting there until I use them again :).
Why yes that’s an oil painting that is for some reason painted on a very old and used cookie pan. You can’t really know that without seeing it up close but I wanted the internet to know because it makes me so happy that it’s on theme. Fun fact, I found it at a flea market in Seattle. On the same trip, I found the string of vintage buoys that hang above my bed.
I switched out my faucet for an unlacquered brass one from an Italian-based company Francone Bespoke Taps. I bought it to research for a job. Unlacquered brass in America isn’t cheap and at the time I purchased this one it was only $363, which was more affordable than it is now, but I would still say it is a quality faucet and I’ve enjoyed it. I’m sure they realized they weren’t charging enough/could charge more because it is very nice.
I want to mention my paper towel/ towel holder. I love it because it keeps me from just reaching for a paper towel without thinking. Because of pet messes and cleaning out my iron skillets, I like to have them on hand but not too on hand, you know? Another product I want to shout out is my soap dispenser and sponge holder. I want to be a solid soap person but I’m sorry, I’m a Dawn girl until I die. It just works so much better and I use it in so many homemade cleaners so I’m going to buy the huge Costco tubs of them a couple of times a year and decant them into this dispenser.
In keeping with the “put everything on the wall” theme, this magnetic knife rack holds my favorite slicing and dicing knives by Shun. I own more knives than that but they must have been dirty? If you look carefully, above the knife rack and attached to the bottom shelf there is a wooden work light. I’m calling this out for anyone like me that prefers to have their house seem like modern electricity doesn’t exist. Both Andrew and I are very sensitive to harsh light and have dimmers on essentially every light in the house but when making dinner, candlelight-level lightning isn’t really safe when using a sharp knife. After Andrew cut off half his thumb while chopping veggies last year I researched and found this simple (and cuter than it needs to be) magnetic light that recharges with a USB cord. I don’t use the rotatable piece, it comes with a flat magnet sticker as well that I screwed into the bottom of the shelf so it wouldn’t fall off, as those stickers seem to do eventually. This way we can keep most of the lights chill but have a work light where prep is happening.
I’ve owned the Gold Oak Kaloh dishes from West Elm for years. They’re just simple and good. So good in fact that I actually own twice as many as are seen here for large parties/when I inevitably break one. The mixing and serving bowls on the top shelf are from that line as well. The pretty ceramic cups were a gift and the green dishes and black mugs are vintage Hearth and Hand 🙂 The onion and garlic bowl is a Jayson Home concrete shell. Is it food safe? Who knows. Tell me how I’m going to get cancer in the comments.
Peep my amazing hedge out the kitchen window. Would it even be a blog post from me if I didn’t somehow bring up the only thing in my life that has ever just worked the way it was supposed to, my glorious 20-foot tall hedge?? I used to need a curtain here because my window looked directly into my neighbors but now I can look out to a sea of green. Some people have children, other people have hedges. Truly my pride and joy.
I decided to embrace the fact that my kitchen was renovated in this decade so therefore I feel like I have 1 million plugs and switches in a tiny space. Instead of hiding them, I gave them some bling with Rejuvenation’s switch plates. Then the tea kettle is by Fellow and those are vintage Nissen Denmark salt and pepper grinders, you can find them pretty easily on Etsy. I’m fraid the pitcher is old from Target and unavail at the moment.
Welcome to the area where Gremmy essentially lives because this is where he gets fed and thinks if he sits there food will magically appear. Also ever since I put this Jean Palmer Home vintage rug here all the cats have loved hanging out with me when I’m in the kitchen.
This is my perfect-size IKEA hack cabinet with Ross Alan Reclaimed top that you’ve seen in the process post. It houses all my cookbooks and our pantry things. I bought a wine rack for this area because we buy natural biodynamic wine in bulk for, you know, savings…and drinkings, so it’s not unusual for us to have too many wine bottles at any given time. I moved this old West Elm lamp from my living room into here because it’s perfect for giving off ambient light and being easy to clean. They no longer sell it but the link is there if you want to try to find it used online. I’m not going to link all my cutting boards because that would be wild. A lot of them are vintage, but if you have a question about any of them, ask away below!
Did I say I was going to do my laundry room? Let’s pretend I didn’t 🙂 INSTEAD let’s talk about the whole original inspo for doing anything with this space. I talked about this in the intro but this weird shape at the end of the kitchen has been tricky. There’s about 12” of wall on each side of the doorway to the laundry room and the IKEA hack was great for the right side, but because you needed space to walk past the edge of the counter you see on the right here, I needed something slim and tall on the left. Enter the Hart Modular Walnut Shelving Unit from Rejuvenation. I was also so happy to have some more open shelving to keep some of my pretty things I use when we have company and also a drink station for our everyday coffee and/or matcha…addiction. It’s visually helpful that the shelving unit is floating, it *feels* lighter and I hung it so that it would be even with the counter across from it.
I loved the Brookeside Rail System, also from Rejuvenation, in Sara’s kitchen reveal and it very practically holds bar/coffee/tea accouterments so I don’t have to dig through drawers for tiny things. The bottom cabinet holds our fancy dishware. Head over to IG to see an up close and personal tour of this very hard-to-capture in photos corner :). The Cuzen matcha maker and Fellow coffee grinder (I bought mine refurbished) are everyday appliances so they stay on the counter, luckily they are as pretty as they are practical.
Look how pretty that walnut is! You can see here that the shelves are entirely adjustable.
If you are a French press person, I highly recommend this very inexpensive ($20!), extra large (34 oz!), double-walled (so it stays hot!), stainless steel (unbreakable!) french press. Save your money for a good grinder. I was shocked at how much that is a game changer. No need for expensive coffee makers in my opinion. Unless they are very fancy, and in that case, yeah probably buy those if you have the $$. Here’s a link for the simple canisters, but please don’t make me link everything on the rail system 🙂 if you have a question about something specific, ask away below!
If you are curious about the Cuzen matcha maker, it stores, grinds, and whisks whole matcha leaves. Apparently, this is the best way to consume matcha. They have a whole section of their website where they break it down. All I can say is it is convenient and delicious. I’ve taken to midday matcha with homemade cashew milk and have cut down our coffee consumption considerably.
Let’s turn around and look from the laundry room through to the new and improved dining nook. When you don’t have a lot of square footage, you have to go vertical. In the couple of inches between the IKEA cabinet and my kitchen cabinets I have a slim step ladder to reach my upper cabinets (now that they go all the way to the ceiling) and the top of the open shelving as well.
Let’s get into the dining space! As you may have seen, I revealed this space back in 2019. It’s a teeny tiny space, 7’5”x7’7”, that connects the living room to the kitchen. We needed to be able to fit a table but you also have to be able to walk past the chairs without tripping. Here’s a pic from that reveal:
Putting in an L-shaped bench helped a lot with being able to make the most of the space we had but here are the issues we still had: 1. The vintage table that I loved was just a bit too big. It was 48” wide and we had to cram it just a little too much into the corner to make it so that we could walk by. 2. I made a mistake and didn’t consider the fact that the vintage table had a lip, about 4 inches all the way around it, so in reality I should have lowered the bench a few inches to compensate for that. It wasn’t impossible to put your legs under the table or anything, but you couldn’t cross your legs for example, it was just a little too smooshed. 3. My vintage chairs also stuck out a little too much, as you can see the back has a sort of handle that would get caught on your hip as you walked by if you weren’t careful. Don’t worry. They live in my office now. I love those damn chairs. 4. The loose pillows were driving me crazy. They were always thrown around and messy looking 5. The banquette was getting scuffed to hell by our feet.
I looked and looked for a table that would be smaller but not *too* much smaller, I still needed it to be a proper dining table that could easily seat at least 4 people (this is also sometimes a workspace) so I couldn’t have it be a bistro table, for example. When working in small spaces I find that it’s hard because you need every inch but one inch too much is too much, you know??
I found this beautiful, high-quality white oak table by Sundays Furniture. It was perfect because it was 42”, so still big enough, but a 6” difference in a space that’s only 7’ is a lot! They had lovely, comfortable, durable chairs (with easy-to-clean seat pads!) as well so I reached out and the rest is history. And if you are interested in getting anything from them they are offering 10% off with code EMILYB10. Ok wanna see??
What a mood change huh?? I bought a cheap-ish runner off of Etsy. It was $300 and the perfect width where I could split it down the center and make 2 pieces out of it to attach to the sides of the banquette. Don’t worry, it was not vintage. I’ve attached it with Velcro under the cushions and along the side so I can take it off to clean it. Cushions are the same as before, custom, made of green canvas that has held up well. The new pillows along the back are two body pillow inserts with custom cases I had made from vintage wool army blankets. They stay in place much better and offer more support. As you can see, no need to change the window treatments from Barn & Willow, the amazing ribbon art of Angela Chrusciaki, or the understated but perfect Schoolhouse chandelier. The Round pillow is vintage West Elm, sorry!
As you can see, there’s a little more space for the chair to be pushed out, but still able to get around. The chairs can also push in a lot more than seen here if necessary. The cushion on the chair is a must for me. We love hosting dinners and there is nothing I hate more than being uncomfortable or being concerned that our guests are uncomfortable. So far no issues with the cats tearing up the cushions accidentally or on purpose. They are also completely removable and easy to wipe down. The table is super sturdy. It’s solid white oak with a steel base so it’s not going anywhere, not even if Daffy tries her hardest 🙂
The tulip style also gives us the most legroom, especially if we are squeezing in a bunch of people for game night. It also gives us the flexibility to be able to push the chairs around easily.
This vase is my favorite from CB2. It’s currently on sale and you should buy it, you won’t regret it. I’m sorry to report that the very good faux branches are from Target last year and I don’t think they carry them anymore, same for the candlestick holder. As always though, I will implore you not to waste your money on candlesticks that drip. I usually buy Yummi brand – they don’t drip and they come in a lot of sizes.
Don’t worry! The cat “hide-y hole”, as we call it, still exists. It now even has a camera so we can spy on them with motion-activated lights 🙂
This is where we did the lamp switcheroo, I’m using the Avena Table Lamp from Crate & Barrel here now. The tray on the vintage entry table is by Ferm and the pretty vase is from Jayson Home. The whole vibe change by bringing more depth over here kind of blows my mind. Of course, now I’m thinking of how the living room needs a little facelift in light of all this…someone stop me. Seriously. Next up…HOT TUB! See you all soon!
RIP Puck 🙁