Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blown Away

Back on the home front, things have been chugging along. We have finally moved out of dust heavy projects and right into projects that provide instant gratification, like painting! HALLELUJAH - I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Speaking of light, the living room didn't have one and that bugged us. Early on we decided adding a fan/light in the living room was a must.  Over the past few weeks we have been deliberating over what style of ceiling fan we wanted. There are a lot of options out there with varying styles and colors to choose from.

 Like I said, A LOT of choices....yikes!!

Because we had a completely clean slate/ceiling we knew we could literally choose anything, but as is the case with a lot of people, infinite options really paralyzed us. Like so many products, you don't really have a great depth of knowledge about things like ceiling fans until you are in the market to get one. So, we researched.

We knew we wanted a fixture that would not only serve as a functional component but would add another layer of interest to the space. I mean, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right. Right? The living room is long, so we were afraid a regular ceiling fan might get swallowed up by the ceiling, adding zero interest to the space.

One day, while cheating on Home Depot (browsing at Lowe's), we came upon this allen + roth twin breeze fan.
We really liked the unique design of this fan and thought the linear build would work nicely in the long living room, but before we pulled the trigger we decided to continue looking to ensure we covered all of our options.

While we chewed on the idea of the twin breeze, we decided to get the space ready for the fan, electrically speaking. Since we didn't want to do any patch work to the plaster walls, we had to use the existing switches that were in the room. Originally one of the switches was wired up to some of the outlets in the room. With a little help from an expert (thanks Shawn & Sally) we bypassed the switch for the outlets in the room and used that switch to run our wire for the fan/light. As I have mentioned before, typically these older homes were built with no exterior insulation which worked in our favor in this case because it made it easier to snake the wire down the wall. We decided to run a 3-wire (black, white, red) from the switch to the fan. Although we decided to keep the fan and light on one switch, this will give us the option to break out each function on it's own switch if we choose to in the future.

Once we had the wire run the next step was to figure out exactly where we wanted the fan. Because we did not want to have to do any patch work in the ceiling we wanted to get this right the first time. We both agreed centering the fan/light would be best. To find the center, Brent first measured the room along the floor, width and then length. He marked the center of the space with a dime. Next, he tied a string to a weight to create a pendulum. He held the string to the ceiling to see where the weight fell.

When the weight hung directly over  the dime, he knew he was in the center. So he marked a small "x" on the ceiling.

We purchased a fan mounting kit from Home Depot. Note: if you are trying to mount a fan, the normal mounting brackets are too weak, don't meet code and won't support the fan. For pre-existing construction we were told the brace pictured below is the best option.

Brent then took the electrical box and traced it around his center point in the ceiling to determine how big of a hole was needed. Using a drywall saw, Brent cut the hole and inserted the mounting bracket between the ceiling joists and ran the wire into the electrical box.

With the hole cut and the electrical set up we were ready to move forward with buying and hanging our fixture. We both agreed, the twin breeze was our favorite option so we headed to Lowe's to pick it up.

Once we got the fan back to the house it took about an hour to put it together and get it hung.

TA-DA! We are are very pleased with the end result. The addition of the fan already makes this room look and feel more complete.

So, there you have it, another little piece of progress. We can't wait to finish the painting and start getting some furniture moved in. With each project we complete this house feels more and more like a home!

All photo are my own. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SINK Your Teeth into This

Before we dive into this weeks post I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who took the time to vote for The Cow Spot for apartment therapy's Homie award. TCS didn't win, but I was so excited/honored by how many people voted! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I play favorites a lot in my life. I have a favorite number (14), a favorite color (Blue), a favorite food (cheese dip of course), a favorite sister (Candace) and a favorite sink. Yes, you read that right - favorite SINK. While a plumbing fixture might seem like an odd thing to have strong feelings about, let me tell ya - this sink is different. It is not only aesthetically pleasing but it is extremely durable. I think we can all agree aesthetics and durability are uber relevant when it comes to one of the most used items in the kitchen.  So, let's get to it.... I'm watching the Grammy's while writing this post so we're going to play it like this.....

The award for Courtney's favorite sink goes to........

Blanco's Silgranit Sinks

Not only do Silgranit sinks come in a slew of different shapes, sizes and colors but they are near indestructible. When you think of all the abuse a kitchen sink takes on a daily basis, it's easy to see why a sink that is heat resistant, scratch resistant, acid resistant, and stain resistant would be desirable.

Silgranit is a quartz material made of 80% granite with the look and feel of real stone without the maintenance. Blanco's Silgranit sinks offer an advanced surface technology that ensures the sinks are easy-to-clean and extremely hygienic AND because these sinks are man-made they are non-porous which means staining is not an issue. It's a sad day when you've helped someone design their dream kitchen, see it all come together and then WHAM, as soon as they start actually living in the kitchen, things get scratched, stained, faded, etc...Blanco has gone to great lengths to ensure that their sinks hold up to even your toughest or dumbest sink interactions. I say dumbest because I've been known to pour some pretty ridiculous things down a kitchen sink (white oil based paint......OYYY.)

So many times "durable" options mean you sacrifice the pretty factor. I mean, you can cover your couch with a plastic slip cover to protect it but....GAG. The best part about the Silgranit line is not only do they have our best interest at heart regarding durability, but they understand we need our sinks to be beautiful and they understand one sink doesn't fit all so we need options. There are 23 different shapes to choose from, so whether you prefer a double bowl sink, a single bowl sink, a bar sink, etc...they've got ya covered.

Their sinks come in seven different colors including.....

Color - Anthracite

I used the exact sink pictured above in a kitchen remodel I did in Chattanooga. The curved back of the sink looks really cool when installed. The countertop (in this kitchen's case granite) follows the curve of the sink, creating a pop of interest. The anthracite color is really sharp and offers a nice contrast with lighter colored countertops.

Color - Metallic Gray

The metallic gray finish is a nice option if you like the stainless look. This color will be more matte than stainless steel, but tonally it's in the same family. The home owner's at my #Northcliff project are considering using this finish for their wet bar sink.

Color - Truffle 

This is the exact sink we are using at my #Stonemountain project. It's a nice deep sink, again with the slight curve at the back. The color is Silgranit's newest addition - truffle. It's such a warm sophisticated color.

Other colors include: White, Bisque, Cafe' Brown and Biscotti.

I was reminded of my sink love recently when I found myself specifying and advising some clients (#northcliff & #stonemountain) on their prospective kitchen sink purchases. As I was telling each of these clients about the benefits of Silgranit it occurred to me that I too will be needing a kitchen sink for my kitchen remodel. Would I be putting my money where my mouth is regarding my love for these sinks? After about 5 seconds of deliberation I decided the answer was YES! Brent and I will choose one of these sinks for our own space. I'm not sure what color or shape as of now, but I do know that a product this durable with a plethora of enticing shapes and colors is definitely the product for me and my kitchen!

For more info on Blanco Silgranit sinks check out their website here.

All photos are from google search.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spotted - 2013 Homie Award Nominee

Exciting news!

The Cow Spot Blog has been nominated for a Homie Award for Best Home Design and Inspiration Blog through apartment therapy.

If you have a minute please follow this link and vote!

If you already have an apartment therapy account: You can vote by scrolling down until you see the The Cow Spot Blog.

If you don't have an apartment therapy account: You can click here to sign up. It's easy and free and the site is full of all kinds of interesting info that you can enjoy. Once you've signed up, scroll down, find The Cow Spot Blog and vote!

As I've said many times before, this blog has become a part of me, one of the bright spots in my week and a true creative outlet for me. To be nominated for an award like this is an honor and I'm so grateful!

Voting ends this Friday, February 8th at midnight EST. I'm a bit behind since I just found out, so please VOTE, VOTE, VOTE - tell your friends and help The ol' Cow Spot WIN!

Thank you MOOcho!

photo from apartment therapy's website.

Monday, February 4, 2013

You May Get Dusty Just Reading This Post

Sheetrock dust is serious stuff. I would know because I've been covered in it for over a month. I find it everywhere; on my clothes, in my hair, it's even on the floor mats of my car. The one redeeming quality sheetrock dust has however, is that where there is dust, there is progress. It seems projects typically get really ugly before they get really pretty. Like most people, projects go through that "awkward stage"... the human equivalent of having braces, massive bangs, glasses, acne, etc...My house is no exception. For a few weeks our house was that kid who ate glue, a work in progress, but in shambles. To say we've been busy since my last new house post would be the understatement of the year. Truly, it's only February 4th so that's possible right?  Anyways, we've been busy and we are slowly but surely inching our way towards a finished product.

In true Brent & Courtney fashion a mere 5 days after closing on the house we began renovations.

Brent, his Dad and his brother Scott got things started with a little demolition. First thing on the agenda was to remove the wall that separated the kitchen and the dining room.

This wall ....


Things got messy real fast. The next day my parents and I showed up just in time to finish off the wall.

I even got in on the action. I figure there's no point in having huge muscles if you're not gonna put them to good use.

And finally: BOOM - wall demolished!

With the wall gone the space really opened up, but we had one more major change we wanted to make that would give us additional kitchen space.

Our new kitchen layout called for us to remove this exterior door. The door was kind of random and lead to a small concrete pad on the side of the house.

While the concrete pad was fine, it really offered nothing in terms of function and the door took up valuable real estate within the kitchen so it had to go.

Back inside the house we decided to remove the plaster walls inside the kitchen.

Removing the existing cabinetry had revealed holes in the wall that needed to be patched. Upon discussions of what would be best for the project we decided to go ahead and remove the interior walls for multiple reasons:

  1. To create a smooth surface.
  2. To replace the old cloth wiring. 
  3. To add insulation (which most houses built in this time do not have).
The issue with removing the walls was that the existing walls are plaster while the new walls would be sheetrock. The challenge we faced was the varying depths of the walls where sheetrock met plaster. To be honest if we had to blend the walls we may not of taken on this challenge, but since the transition between plaster and sheetrock would be covered with new cabinetry the varying depths became a non-issue.

Luke tried to help mop up the dust with his fur!

This is what he looked like when we left.....


The space looked something like this when we left it yesterday. We cleaned (massive dust piles) and got everything ready for the floor guys to begin re-finishing the downstairs hardwoods this morning!

All photos are my own.