Wednesday, November 27, 2013

100th Post - Ask & You Shall Receive


Today marks my 100th post! To celebrate I will be answering YOUR questions as promised. I figured a question or two may have come up over the course of 99 posts and boy was I right.  I was so stoked to receive so many questions over the past few weeks and I've done my best to answer them, so without further adieu, let's dive in:

Question: I enjoy your blog and notice that your husband, Brent, is often working with you on design projects. You make a great team, Beauty and Brawn! Have you ever come up with a design idea for your own home that he hated and you had to talk him into it? If so, can you tell us about it.


Who us? Disagree? NEVER!

...


OK, OK, fine.....The answer is YES, but before I elaborate let me explain a few things:

I'm always thinking about design, even when I don't mean to be, and I have a tendency to obsess over things. 

With that being said, because my world is so consumed with all things design, I'm often inspired by random things which cause me to think up ideas. Some of these ideas are good and some are wacky. Often times Brent does require some coaxing on certain ideas and sometimes he flat out squashes them. But there are other times when he wants to squash them but it's too late. I've already decided on it in my mind and begun the process of obsessing. Once that happens it's hard to talk me back off the ledge. 

A few examples of this: 

1. Painting the chair rail and paneling in our dining room black. 



After it was all said and done I think Brent is pretty happy with the outcome and we are both pleased with how the space has come together. 

2. Painting the brass chandelier blue



Brent was NOT on board with this but I talked him into it and....he was right. Gosh, that was even hard to write. But alas, he was, the blue was all wrong for the space. 

3. We have a three piece octopus painting hanging over our couch in our living room. Now, I know I haven't posted about our living room yet, so you are going to have to trust me here but this picture works. It's the perfect mix of weird and cool. I knew it the first time I laid eyes on it while shopping in Chattanooga. Brent literally laughed in my face, dead against the octopus. He now hangs in our living room and I'm pretty sure Brent likes him more than me. 

These are just a few examples, but the important thing here is the fact that Brent and I are truly a pretty good team. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes Brent's right. We both have our strengths and weakness and we both bring good qualities, ideas and expertise to the table. We balance each other out and, together we have completed some pretty great projects. The easier question might be how many projects do we start out completely in agreement? The answer: very few...but we aways end up on the same page by the time it's all said and done. 

Question: What was the final resting place of the turquoise chandelier? Have not seen it in recent posts?

Who, this guy? 



After the blue chandelier was replaced with our new chandelier in the dining room the blue one went to the basement where it resides to this day. It's final resting place is still TBD. 

Question: I have beige tiles around my fireplace (including the floor that connect to the carpet). I want to have a more cohesive look with the white mantle and trim. What are my options for painting the tiles white? The grout is an off-white color. 

Great question! I think a lot of people can relate to this issue. I know I had a similar situation at my house, except our tile was peach (yack) and connected to hardwood floors... 




To improve the look of the tile surround we simply painted the tiles white. Before painting we primed the tiles and then gave the entire fireplace including the mantle a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore's White Dove, OC-17. Our tiles were ceramic, so before we painted them we sanded the surface so the paint would easily adhere. 



The entire process was quick and easy and drastically improved the look of the space.

Question: So I love our Kitchen, but I feel like it is so builder grade and plain! What would you recommend to spice it up a bit and make it a little more unique? We have black appliances, dark granite counter tops, and oil rubbed bronze hardware on our light brown cabinets. You have seen it before, but I can send you another pic :) HELP please!

Another great question I think a lot of people can relate to!  To get everyone on the same page here is a shot of the kitchen in question:



When I look at this kitchen I don't think builder grade. The space feels warm and layered thanks to the contrasting colors and textures from the cabinets to the countertops to the hardwood flooring. To add another layer of interest you might consider adding a tile backsplash. Because the cabinets are a warm brown tone they will go with pretty much anything, so my suggestion would be to find a backsplash that compliments the granite countertops. Tile comes in so many different forms (travertine, ceramic, glass, metal, etc..) making it a great avenue to really add your own spin and personality to your space. I would also suggest looking into adding crown moulding to the top of the cabinets. You can buy crown moulding from Home Depot or Lowes and have it cut to the length you prefer and install it yourself. You would have to stain it to match the cabinets which might get tricky. If you can't find a stain that matches or  task of installing crown moulding seems daunting, then you might consider getting in touch with a local cabinet company to see if they could install crown moulding and color match it so it blends seamlessly with the stained cabinets. 


Question: You have mentioned the large Christmas tree in your front yard in several posts- what are the plans for decorating the tree this Christmas?

OH, we have plans, big plans. Decorating the tree for our first Christmas has been the only thing standing between the Christmas Tree and a big ol' axe. We wanted at least one holiday season so we could decorate it. Stay tuned for the final results of that! 

Question: Courtney, I love reading your blog and am fascinated by the way that you make seemingly-daunting home improvements seem relatively easy (though I know a lot of sweat - and maybe some tears - have gone into some of your projects!). My question is in regards to the outdoor kitchen. I know your post mentioned that you had to add some additional supports underneath the deck to support the weight of the concrete and the stone. How did you and Brent do that? And, how did you know how much extra support was needed? I'm curious to know if you built additional concrete supports or what!!

Great question and a popular one! During the process of the Outdoor Kitchen I was asked multiple times about the support under the deck. Now, to be fair, about 75% of the time my Mom was the one asking as she had this vision of the entire deck crashing to the ground due to the extra weight of the outdoor kitchen, but she wasn't the only one. As the posts started detailing the stacked stone for the pizza oven, the questioning became more frequent. I mentioned in this post that structural support was added but to ease EVERYONE's mind below is a shot of the supports under our deck. 




We started with 3 posts, but ended up adding 4 more as the process continued.  The 4 far posts are directly below the pizza oven and are connected at the top with (2) 2"x10" boards on either side.  The near posts provide additional support for the rest of the deck. As far as knowing how many supports to add, we kind of just guessed (welcome to Brent's process), but aired on the side of more is better. To install these columns Brent and Mark (Mark = major player in project outdoor kitchen, he helped with supports, stacked stone and concrete counters. It takes an army, folks) dug holes in the ground, placed the posts in the hole and then poured concrete in the hole to set the posts. So, FEAR NOT, our deck, outdoor kitchen, and the people enjoying them will NOT be falling to the ground anytime soon. 

Question: What is your favorite flooring for the kitchen?
Regardless of the specific type of flooring, my favorite look is when the flooring in surrounding areas matches that of the kitchen. There are so many finishes and surfaces throughout a kitchen. I like the idea of the flooring being a backdrop, instead of a focal point. Looks wise, I prefer hardwoods in the kitchen. I like the warmth they add aesthetically and the ease of maintenance. 

QuestionWhat are some creative options for storing spices so they are out of sight, yet easily and readily accessible to the chef?


This is a great question with all kinds of options! Today, I find myself placing spice storage in a variety of locations per the specific clients needs. A popular option for a lot of clients is pullouts to the side of the cooktop as shown in Chattanooga Project below: 


Photo by Gentle Giant Photography
This option keeps spices within reach and provides adjustable shelves for customization depending on the height of your various jars and containers. For those people turned off by the concept of bending down to retrieve spices, I also have some options for storing spices up higher. Another bonus, word on the street is it's not good for your spices to be too close to heat. So, with that in mind the next two options might be more appealing:

Photo from Rev-A-Shelf website. 
Spice storage installed to the back of wall cabinets is a great option for easy access storage. The model shown above is from Rev-A-Shelf and offers adjustability as well for various sized containers. Another plus, because this unit is installed on the door you still have usability inside the cabinet as well.

Photo from Rev-A-Shelf website. 
Spice storage inside a drawer is another great option. Again, the unit above is from Rev-A-Shelf and is tiered so you can see all of the spices you are storing in this space. Obviously, the number of spices you can store would be limited to the space allotted, but this is a great option for everyday spices you want on hand. 

Well, there you have it, answers to some of the most popular questions. This was such a fun post to write and I'm so thankful to all of my readers and everyone that submitted a question!  It was fun hearing from you all and I enjoyed answering your questions. THANK YOU for tuning in each week, you've made these past 100 posts a joy to write!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are my own. 

3 Appreciated Comments :

Anonymous said...

What color is the wall next to the fireplace?

Courtney Foster Shearer said...

The wall color is Benjamin Moore's Sea Haze. Thanks for stopping by!

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