Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DIY Pizza Oven - Part 2


Wow, it's been a minute since we last talked about our DIY Pizza Oven progress. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have started up our work again, but as I began writing this post I realized you guys aren't 100% caught up on the progress we had made before we took our winter hiatus. Let me catch you up... last time we talked (back in October) we had just finished forming the dome and were in the process of sanding the facade. It looked something like this....


After that we built-up the smokestack aka chimney, 28" high and it looked like this:


It was at this point that we retired our efforts for the year but during the winter months we tried out our pizza oven multiple times. The verdict? The pizzas were good and they were considerably better than the pizzas we were able to make in our 1st pizza oven, but they could be better.

The issue(s):
  1. It was difficult to to get fires to light which we figured out was because the smokestack was not drawing enough smoke because it was too short.
  2. The bottom of the pizza was not cooking as quickly as the top of the pizza. We think the reason is because the heat was being absorbed into the concrete instead of pushing out from it. 
  3. The heat from the fire caused some minor cracking and heat was escaping through the cracks.  
Brent did a lot of research, mostly on-line and a little bit by eating/observing local pizza joints with wood burning pizza ovens (I was especially helpful during this part of the research process)  and came up with a game plan. A few weekends ago while I was touring southern mansions in Eufala, Alabama and Croix was playing with his aunt and uncle, Brent got to work ironing out some of the kinks. To start he added more bricks to the chimney taking it from 28" to 48" high.


To address the cracking and heat escape, Brent filled the cracks with fire mortar and then rolled on a ceramic fiber blanket


This particular material had great reviews and is specifically intended for wood stoves, pizza ovens, kilns, etc. The Internet suggested 3" or 3 layers of the insulation, but he felt like 2" or 2 layers was sufficient. As a point of reference, our pizza oven is just under 5 feet wide and it took us just under 3 boxes to cover the whole thing twice.

After the two layers of the insulation Brent wrapped the dome with chicken wire in preparation of the mortar application. 



Once the insulation and chicken wire was installed he spread cast able, insulating refractory mortar around the entire shell.


This step/material is great for a few reasons: 

A.) It helps the dome hold it's shape (i.e. cast able). 
B.) It helps keep the heat in (i.e. insulating)  
C.) Refractory means it won't crack or break under high heat. 

So basically, this little jewel solves a lot of our problems in one foul swoop!

At the end of this stage we will be ready to pull the trigger on the finish work for the facade of the pizza oven. We are moving right along and I just know I will be writing the title " DIY Pizza Oven REVEAL" soon!

All photos are my own. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Junior League Of Kitchens Recap


This past weekend was the Junior League Tour of Kitchens and I got to hang out in this beautiful space all day.


Lucky me, right?

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I. love. this. house. It's just so good and so refreshing to see a space, so well thought out and considered in every single way. For those of you who didn't get a chance to stop by, I thought I'd share a few behind the scene shots I took throughout the day.


Charles Willis Atlanta styled the island with their beautiful china topped off by cute little bunnies in baskets. Also note the pewter countertop on the island by Francois & Co. it was a BIG hit all day long. 


Right off the kitchen/breakfast room sits this beautiful wet bar.


Giant steel doors sit directly across from the hood and open up to a screened in outdoor kitchen and eating area that overlooks the pool. However, with a kitchen like THIS, I'm not sure which view is better....kitchen or pool....hmhm...

It was a great day and Bell Cabinetry & Design was proud to have our name associated with this beautiful home! 

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Adding a Little Cracked Pepper to Our Outdoor Kitchen


We took a nice long break from our work on the patio project. It sounds so dramatic to say we got burned out, but I think we did. Not only is this project big, but it's messy, time consuming and expensive! Most free weekends last spring/summer were spent working on this project and by early fall we were TIRED. So, we took a long winters rest and now we are starting to feel motivated to get started up again. But before we crack into the heavy lifting we feel compelled to correct a mistake (ish) we made in terms of color. You may remember we opted to paint the back fence/wall the same color as the house (a light taupe) and the brick + front facing fence the same color as the trim (white).


While we liked the look, the white brick is not so white anymore from the smoke that comes from actually using the pizza oven. Yes, the pizza oven is functional even though it's not pretty and we have used it numerous times and each time we do the white brick gets less and less white.


It just looks dirty and it's obvious it's only going to get worse the more we use the outdoor kitchen. So, we decided painting the brick a dark color was the way to go. I wanted something dark, but not jet black. After bringing home a few samples we landed on Cracked Pepper by Behr. It's a deep charcoal with a hint of blue. While Croix napped on Sunday afternoon, I got busy and painted most of the brick. I left the meticulous painting (edges) to Brent, so you can still see bits of the white popping out but I think I like this direction....


What do you guys think? 

All photos are my own. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fake Plants and the People Who Love Them


I love plants but they can be tricky, tricky little beasts. I've gotten better at tending to my plants over the years but I still struggle to keep some of them alive. My two biggest areas of struggle are my succulent wall and any plant/flower I try to keep on our coffee table.


The succulent wall is hard because a.) succulents in general are just such divas, water them too often they die. Don't water them enough, they die. And b.) my succulents are housed way up high above the built-ins in my living room, so climbing up to them, water in hand and tiny boy child wanting to assist is a task all on it's own. As for the coffee table, the only issue here is Croix likes to touch, move, knock off, rearrange and play with any and all the things on the coffee table. So, putting anything with actual dirt and or fragile petals/leaves atop it is just a bad idea.

Lucky for me, I was recently contacted by Silk Plants Direct to try out one of their products. A fake plant that looks real, is not fragile and requires zero upkeep sounded like an idea I could get on board with. The website is full of great options in a range of sizes, price points and variety of plant. I finally I ended up choosing this plant with my coffee table in mind. When it came in the mail I was luke warm about it. The container was a little more country-eque than I prefer, but I fluffed up the leaves and arranged them to hang down around the planter like they do in the photo on the website. Once on the coffee table I was pretty happy with it.


While I was on the whole fake plant train I happened upon some great fake succulent options at Hill Street Warehouse here in Atlanta and at Scotts Antique!


Both had tons of options and you could buy them individually to create the fullness and arrangement you were looking for. I picked up a few and added them to my succulent wall.


Now, the wall is a nice blend of real and fake plants and I'm pretty happy with it.

Gone are the days when fake plants automatically equal tacky. There are and will always be cheap (looking) options out there, but there is a whole world of fake plants on the market that just make sense to incorporate sometimes. As is always the case, make selections for your home that works best for your lifestyle and maintain the overall vibe you are going for in your decor. In my season of life right now, faux plants are a lifesaver and I'm a fan!

All photos are my own. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Junior League Tour of Kitchens 2017


One of my very favorite projects is going to be on this year's Junior League Tour of Kitchens! 

Photo from Junior League Atlanta's website
For those of you unfamiliar, The Junior League of Atlanta hosts this event each spring. 14 kitchens are on display for self-guided tours throughout the Atlanta area. Bell Cabinetry & Design, the company I work for, has featured kitchens on this tour for years, and while we are always excited for our projects to be included, I am especially excited for everyone to get to see this year's house.  

As a designer, I see a lot of pretty spaces, and have a lot of fun clients, but this house and the family behind it are special. These homeowners have incredibly good taste and have been collecting pieces from all over the world to incorporate into their home. They wanted to create an environment that mixed old with new and they did so beautifully. Every single element was selected and collected with purpose and loads of consideration.  The house is layered with details and pieces that have heart and depth. Everywhere you turn there is a conversation waiting to happen; whether it's because of the age of an individual item, the story behind the find, or the fact that certain pieces from current stores like Restoration Hardware can sit alongside elements from centuries past and work so beautifully together.  The kitchen sits as the true heart of the home and is striking with white shaker cabinets, a pewter countertop on the island (!!!!), a Scagliola Stone hood and french limestone on the floors. 

Photo my own. 
It's a stunner for sure and a home you definitely want to check out while you have the chance. The event will be later this month - March 25th and 26th. You can buy tickets here or at the door the day of the event. Our kitchen will be open on Saturday from 10:00 - 4:00 and I will be hanging out all day so please stop by and say hi! 

The full write up and more pictures are in this month's Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine on stands now. 

Unless otherwise noted all images from Junior League of Atlanta.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bye Fan. Hi Chandelier


I hope you are not sick of hearing about our living room, because I'm back today to talk about it's newest addition...a chandelier!! 


The room started with a fan and while I like ceiling fans and certainly enjoy the cool breezes they create on a hot summer's day, sometimes a room just needs something a bit more special. You all have seen this space take shape over the last year, and with each layer we added the modern (ish?) inspired ceiling fan just felt more and more blah and out of place.


If you've ever worked at putting a room or a house together, you know that each element is like a piece of the puzzle and the more you force a fit, the more frustrating it can be.  I had a general idea of what I would love, but knew that I would know it when I saw it. And I was right....Last weekend we headed to Chattanooga for a little family hang-out and popped into one of my favorite spots - Southeastern Salvage, where I saw the light. A 36" wide x 36" high, 8 arm chandelier with a dusty putty finish.

Standing in the store we loved the finish and feel, but we questioned if the light was too big, specifically tall for the room. We have 10 foot ceilings in this space so we thought it would work but knew we would have to hold it up in the room to see for sure. So, the next day we did just that. Brent and his assistants got busy removing the fan...


And then he and my Dad attempted to hold the light up with all of the protective covering on it (for ease of returning if it didn't work out) so we could see if the scale felt right. Trouble was, with all of the extra wrapping around the light it did appear to hang too low. So, we bit the bullet and unwrapped the beast to get a true sense of what the light would look like in the room.


Thankfully once stripped down the height was fine and the light felt proportional and fitting for the room.


We are loving the finished look the chandelier gives to this room! 

There are two more items on this room's to-do list: Find/buy a leather chair (Brent wants recliner) and design/buy built ins for the back side of the room. Neither of these are at the tip top of our priority list so I truly feel like this will be the last time we talk about this room for a while. Insert all other rooms in our house saying a silent prayer that this is true.


All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chit-Chat ((feb 17'))


Every now and then I thought we could break up the normal design/house related posts of 2017 with a little chit-chat about nothing and everything. Sound good? Ok, great, let's start.

I found eucalyptus at Trader Joes and I'm addicted.


Not only does it smell amazing but each bundle is only $2.99 and has been lasting over 2 weeks with some water in the vase! You may have noticed some eucalyptus on my coffee table in this blog post and on the center piece of my breakfast table in this Instagram photo.

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Photo from Jack & Ella Paper

A few weeks ago I ordered this grocery list and now I actually look forward to meal planning and grocery shopping!
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I love ramen.


I've always loved the packs of ramen you get in the grocery store (terrible for you I know...) but after visiting Japan a few years ago my love for ramen went to the next level. Lucky for me, Brent stumbled upon Hajime - Homemade Noodle Bar and the ramen is SO good and reasonably priced too! Atlanta people - GO!

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s o c i a l     m e d i a     Favorites:

Instagram Design Account: namdangmitchell
Instagram Stories: LivingwithLandyn 
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About a month ago Brent and I started going to Passion City Church in Atlanta. Great music and relatable messages. We really like it.
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For year's I have been using NARS bronzer which is pretty pricey. But because I'm pretty makeup simple minded, I've never been brave enough to try something else. Well, lucky for me (?) I forgot my bronzer on my trip to Orlando last month and ended up borrowing bronzer from my friend Melissa. Welllllll, that bronzer I loved and guess what? It's $6.49 AND IT COMES WITH A BLUSH that I also love.


Do you guys like posts like this? Let me know......Happy Valentines Week! xoxo

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tree Swing


Croix is officially a walking member of society. He went from taking a few teeny tiny steps when bribed with an iPhone, to basically running! He loves to show off and practice his new skills pretty much constantly and his favorite place to do so is outside. Lucky us, winter 2017 has been pretty mild and most days it feels more like April than February, so in the afternoons you can find us in the driveway, the grass, the neighbors grass or even the street (holding my hand like the little cherub he is of course) (hahahaha).

As fun as it is to watch him explore, we thought he might enjoy a swing.  He loves to swing when we go to the playground and having his very own in our yard would be a way to take a fun break from all the walking falling and running while still enjoying the outdoors. We've talked about creating a whole play area in the side yard in the future, but in the interim a single tree swing sounded fun and charming, so we started researching and found this little swing on Etsy.


Can you even deal with the cuteness?

We installed the swing right into a magnolia branch (does it get more southern?) using these metal I-Hooks Brent picked up at Home Depot.


The swing came with everything else and the whole install process took about 5 minutes.


 Happy, charming and makes Croix laugh uncontrollably - check, check, check!

All photos are my own. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Living Room Updates // Coffee Table + Curtains


Before Christmas we checked off 2 more boxes on the living room front, making this space one giant step closer to D O N E.


At this point I'd say it's safe to assume the other rooms in our house are definitely starting to give the living room the side eye. Ok, on to the details....Up first....

A Coffee Table

A coffee table had been high up on our priority list from day one. The coffee table we had purchased from Scott's Antique for our last house was not big enough for the new living room set-up, so we sold it on Craigslist and kept our eyes open for a new one. Trouble was, with every option we saw, we became less and less inspired. We had either seen it a thousand times or it was too sharp (Croix), fragile (couldn't use it as a table when we eat our dinner in the den for fear of spills) or it was the wrong size. We know how we live and we didn't want to invest in a piece that would feel too fancy or too dangerous or too run of the mill.  In addition, with a new tiny, mobile family member to consider now we wanted to be mindful of a selection that would be pretty, functional and safe-ish. So, as is typical right around the time we stopped talking/looking for a coffee table we found one without even trying.

One Saturday afternoon before a UGA game we ran over to Publix to grab some homemade pizza ingredients (yes, the pizza oven is up and running...more on that later....) and popped into Nadeau, a furniture store in the same strip. We were casually perusing around when we came upon the coffee table.


I'm not going to say it was definitely the donut detailing that stopped me in my tracks, but this detail didn't hurt. Not only did we like the color and details but it was the right size and the right price so we bought it, loaded it and Croix has been walking around it, knocking anything and everything off of it from that day forward.

Curtains

There are a lot of windows in our living room. Two high ones on either side of the fireplace and then an entire wall of windows/doors with glass that looks out to the patio. We love all of the natural light but in the late afternoon the sun that streams through is so intense that it makes it uncomfortable to sit in there, especially to watch TV. So, curtains have also been high up on the priority list for sometime. Trouble is, it's real hard to pick curtain fabric when you don't have much direction for the overall vibe of the space. I didn't want to commit to curtains and then box myself in to bringing the rest of the room together around them. So, we kind of sat back and let the room organically evolve and then by late Fall the room was really starting to come together with our new built-in doors + succulent wall and giant art for over the couch so I felt comfortable moving forward with curtains. 

We headed to several fabric stores and hung up our favorite swatches on the walls around the windows to see which one would be the winner. 


In true "us" fashion those swatches hung there for um....months. Ugh, yes months. BUT finally we narrowed down our favorite and our in-family seamstress  (Brent's Mom, Cindy) got busy making them for us. 


We planned to use the metal rod hardware we had used for our living room curtains at our first house, however when we went to install them we quickly figured out that wouldn't work. The span was too long and the weight of the curtains was literally pulling the brackets out of the wall! Oooooh the joys of home improvement projects. At the end of the day it was the fact that 3-4 smaller rods had to be screwed together to achieve the length we needed. We ended up finding a wood rod that is a lot more sturdy because it's broken up into only two pieces that meet in the middle.

We ended up going with a nubby rough cotton weave. The color is very similar to that of the walls so the curtains add layers of texture and interest without overwhelming the room with another statement.   The ceilings in this room are 10' high so in order accentuate the height we hung the curtains right under the crown moulding for a little drama. We also ordered enough fabric so the curtains could actually close all the way. This is especially nice in the late afternoon when that sun is pouring into the room.


Slowly but surely this 2nd house of ours is coming together. As much as I sometimes wish I could just blink and it would be all done it's pretty fun watching it take shape, layer by layer, piece by piece.

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Marble Fireplace Surround


GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We got a new marble surround for our dining room fireplace! To recap, we inherited this beautiful 100 year old beauty a few months ago.


Immediately upon getting the new fireplace in the house Brent went to town tearing the old one out.

And we were left with this:


And like this it sat and sat......

We knew the first step to getting this ball rolling was to figure out the fireplace surround before we could put the new mantle in place. So late last fall, we made our way over to Construction Resources where we picked out the most beautiful remnant piece of white marble. They had a LOT to choose from so we had them pull several contenders.....


And after a little deliberation we made our selection.   


We loved this slab because of the beautiful color and movement in the veining, plus the size was right for our particular application. Once the slab was picked out we were ready for the Construction Resources' crew to come out and measure, but we knew this would not be your typical, measure/template/fabricate/install situation. Because of the integration with the antique wood mantle, our fireplace surround would have to be done in 3 phases.

Phase #1 - The Hearth 


Once the hearth was in place Brent moved the wood mantle into place and nailed it to the wall, so the guys could come back out for template round 2.

Phase #2 - Legs & Back


This was definitely the most visually exciting phase, what with all the exposed bricks finally getting covered up. However, because the wood mantle doesn't sit flush with the walls we were left with holes that bridged the new marble backing and the back of the mantle leg.


So the guys came out for a 3rd and final trip to template and a week later the last few pieces were added....


And we had ourselves a beautiful, finished marble fireplace surround.


We are so so so happy with the finished look. The elegance of the marble goes so well with the decorative grandness of the mantle. Basically this whole side of the room is just so fancy now and I love it. 

Now that the there is (finally) a check mark next to this item on the to-do list, what's the next step? Figuring out how we want to finish the wood mantle....dun, dun, dun......

So.Many.Options.

We are currently stewing on this one and hope to make a decision soon so we can keep this room chugging along. 

PSA: If you are an Atlanta local, do yourself a favor and visit Construction Resources if you are in the market for anything countertop related. I've been to a lot of countertops companies and in my opinion, Construction Resources is always the best. Not only do they have a ton for you to look at in all different genres - granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, etc...but they are so nice and accommodating. Every single experience I've ever had with them has been great. From the showroom to the install and every piece of coordination in-between they make the whole process fun and easy. 

#notsponsored #justfacts #:)

All photos are my own. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

KBIS 2017 Recap


Last week I was in Orlando for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. I hadn't been to the show in 2 years so I was excited to go and see what was new!


Fellow Bell Designer Melissa Ahrens and I hit the show early on opening day and boy we were glad we did - the show was huge and there was SO much to see. My feet are still recovering. I have my favorite finds of course, but before we jump into that I thought we could talk trends. After walking the show for a day and a half it became glaringly obvious what the big trends for this year were going to be on the Kitchen & Bath front... Let's dig in....




T     R     E     N     D     S



Matte Black

Matte Black EVERYTHING. This finish was everywhere from faucets and hardware to appliances and cabinets. The finish reads as sleek and sophisticated and really looked beautiful on every single item.

Rose Gold


Photo via Kohler's website
We saw a decent amount of Rose Gold finishes, specifically in plumbing, and I really really loved it. The design world has loved on brass, copper and now it's rose gold's turn to steal the show. For me personally, I like how soft it comes across, it's bold without being so in your face which I think may give it the opportunity to feel a bit more timeless than other "it" selections. 

Marble Look-A-Like Countertop Options


Photo via Neolith's website
The world loves marble but as we all know, a lot of people in the world really don't want to worry with it's diva-like qualities (etching, staining, etc.). For years companies have been trying their hand at man-made options that look like marble, without the upkeep. And while they have been successful, the bar continues to rise higher and higher and the options continue to get closer and closer to the real thing. There were a lot of countertop companies at the show and every single one of them showed their best attempt at the natural stone look, specifically marble. 


Light it Up!

Lighting Integration was everywhere! Every time I turned around a simple item like a hanging rod for the laundry room had a light in it. We saw faucets and sinks that light up in addition to the ever popular drawer that illuminates when opened. It's clear that lighting will continue to play a big roll in kitchens and baths. 

Finish Mixing 

Photo via Brizo's website

There was a lot of finish mixing, specifically with the matte black look. This faucet from Brizo was just one of the many faucets, specifically from Brizo that was mixing and matching like crazy and I loved almost every single combination.



F     A     V     O     R     I     T     E     S


Ok, now that we've covered trends let's talk about my favorite finds from the show. Up first....

Formica's Writeable Surfaces

Photo via Formica's website 
I would typically breeze right past the Formica booth but as we walked by I saw all of these people gathered around writing ON THE COUNTERTOPS. This collection is so cool and I could see an option like the grid version pictured above being used in a craft room, a play room or even on a conference room table! 

Kohler's Choreograph Collection


Photo via Pinterest
The marble shower walls in the picture above are not marble. Nay they are made from Serica, a super durable composite material by Kohler. This material comes in a slew of decorative options and can be installed over existing tile! You can even get the look of the classic subway tile without the grout. If you are thinking of re-doing your bathroom this is definitely an option to consider to save some money and cut down on maintenance! Read all about this collection here

Coastal Shower Doors' Gridscape Collection 

Photo via Coastal Shower Door's website
If you are a fan of the steel window/door look then you are going to love the new Gridscape Collection offered by Coastal Shower Doors. Now you can incorporate this sleek vibe into your bathroom  through your shower doors. The doors come in a variety of grid patterns and you can opt for a sliding configuration as well as a swing. Love, love, love. 

All in all it was a good show and we truly did leave feeling inspired and excited about so many of the things we saw. The kitchen and bath industry is ever changing and it's fun to be along for the ride!