By Lauren Kolazas
By Lauren Kolazas
By Lauren Kolazas
We bought our home 3.5 years ago and I thought we would renovate the kitchen within 6 months of moving in. Well, that was 3.5 years ago and for a variety of reasons we are just now getting to the renovation. I am so glad that we weren’t able to do the kitchen right away because the plan is completely different from what I wanted initially. The kitchen is the biggest problem area of our house though, so I’m thrilled that things are finally happening.
When we first moved in my kids were 1.5 and 3.5 and the home was twice the size of our previous townhouse. So it felt huge initially! But the kitchen, as you can see, was always lacking. Obviously, it needs a cosmetic face lift but in addition there is very little counter space, especially when cooking a large meal or putting food out when entertaining. The space is cramped and there is not an easy way to access the back yard. At first I was thrilled with all of the space and thought that just creating a peninsula between the kitchen and dining room and removing the wall separating the two would be sufficient to make it feel more spacious and open. Over time I began to realize that there were other problems that a peninsula could not solve.
So what changed? So many things. First, my kids got bigger and I could envision things being really tight in there as they get even bigger. Second, we like to have people over a lot. We have out of town family and so it’s great when they can come and visit but having just one or two more people in our kitchen makes it unbearable. Third, we love our neighborhood more than we expected to. I thought this would be a 5 year house initially but we really lucked out in the neighbor department. Our whole street has turned over in the last 5 years with 12 (YES TWELVE!!!!) young families on the block. Our kids have about 20 kids to play with right in our little cul-de-sac and we love all of the parents too. So, thinking about staying here longer than the original 5 years seems really appealing.
The end result was, if we needed a bigger kitchen, more counter space and want to stay in the home long term we need to add on to the house. Just doing the peninsula and taking down a wall would still cost a lot of money and eventually we knew it would feel too small and we would have to do it again or move. We wanted to give ourselves the option to stay here long term. So ultimately, we scrapped our original plans to just take down the wall between the dining room and kitchen and decided to add 8 feet onto the back.
This allows us to have many of the things we REALLY wanted in a home but just couldn’t make happen with the original foot print of our house. We wanted an island where the boys can eat and do homework. A BIG ISLAND. We wanted the space between the dining room and kitchen to be completely open so we can easily entertain in those spaces. We wanted a large window looking out onto the back yard with a big sink. I really wanted some built in cabinets that gave me a china cabinet feel in the kitchen. We also wanted a door to the back yard from the kitchen so dirty little feet are not trecking through our living room and we can easily get out to our patio & grill directly from the kitchen.
With the addition we are able to have everything we want! Yes, it has ended up being much more expensive (about twice as much) as the original kitchen plan would have been. But it’s going to increase the value of our home by at least what we will pay for the kitchen, give us many more options regarding whether we stay here or move down the road and we are going to really really enjoy it.
We took out a home equity line of credit to pay for the additional expense. This is a line of credit that is based upon how much equity you have in your home. Luckily for us the home values in our area have sky rocketed since we moved in so we were able to get a line of credit very easily. Also, the interest you pay is tax deductible if you use the money for home improvements which is all we will use it for. Yes, there are some who would wait and save cash to pay for the whole thing but that was too far off for us and this is the next best option.
The next step was finalizing the plan with an architect and then the really fun part - picking out the cabinets, countertops, flooring etc!! This whole process has been a dream come true for me! Stay tuned for more details on how the whole plan came together and what we did to survive a kitchen reno with kids.
By Lauren Kolazas
What are wool dryer balls and why do you need them?!
So what are they?! Dryer balls are about the size of a tennis ball and are made of 100% wool. They serve many purposes. Dryer balls help your clothes dry more quickly by separating your laundry in the dryer, creating more space and therefore more air between the clothes. This saves time, energy and money over time.
By parrylane Admin
This room was quite possibly one of the most important to get organized but required digging through a HUGE pile of paperwork. This pile was actually packed up and moved from our old house where it sat on my desk for 18 months. Nothing is more discouraging than walking into your office and facing unorganized paperwork. It was on my to do list for over a year and I just couldn't seem to motivate myself to deal with it.
We have also been using this as our guest room so all of our family and friends had to put their things on the floor because there was NO room for anything on the desk. Only my crazy pile of paper. Unpaid parking tickets, utility bills, unframed family photos - oh and taxes. Yeah, talk about the perfect recipe for procrastination.
I was having a lot of trouble finding inspiration. I had the main pieces of furniture in place but was lost as far as where to go with decor. If you've been reading my blog you already know I love to start by incorporating what I already own. I'm not someone who is going to go out and buy everything brand new. So we had the Ikea day bed, my old desk/file cabinet from the townhouse and my parents 1970's media cabinet that has now become my desk.
Then lightening struck. And it all started with this awesome rug. It's the Navy Geometric Woven Are Rug from PoshRug.com and it gave me the inspiration I had been looking for. I love the simple, modern, organic design and it made me think of California and that cool Bohemian style I love so much. This is my office and where i spend a great deal of time as well as where i meditate and spend time dreaming, planning and creating. So, I ordered the rug, it came super fast, perfectly packaged and exactly what I had expected from the pics online. So I was off and running......to Home Goods and Target.
Once I had the rug in place I focused on the day bed. Previously I had a comforter and pillows so it looked like an actual bed. But I wanted a place to sit and read and that didn't look so much like a bed in my office. I pinned a million pictures of bohemian-style day beds and went out to find pillows. The nice part when looking to create this style is that the pillows without partners are substantially less expensive than those that come in pairs. I got all of these at HomeGoods, mostly in the clearance section over the course of a month. I was looking for organic patterns and woven textures.
Next was the cover for the day bed. I looked all over and finally found this one at World Market which is another one of my favorites for home decor. It ended up being perfect and exactly what I was going for. Now the day bed looks like a cool bohemian sofa but easily transitions into a kind sized bed for guests!
The art. I have my Aunt's print that I believe she did in college, my good friend Margo's photography of the Fairy Godmother, one of my favorite calligraphy prints from Etsy, a painting done by my GG and a cute modern art piece ordered online of our cat George Michael. Over the bed is a piece of Marimekko fabric from Crate & Barrel.
The chair is the Eames Eiffel chair that I've been wanting for so long. The lamp and document storage containers are from Target. I dip dyed the Ikea curtains about a year ago and they look MUCH better in this room than they did in our bedroom which is a bit more traditional.
I'm so thrilled with my new little creative sanctuary/napping spot. If you want more info about the rug check out PoshRug.com and please use the code parrylane at check out to receive a 20% discount. Happy shopping!!
By parrylane Admin
Stellan's room was slightly more difficult to decorate than Ollie's for the simple fact that he had an opinion. Stellan was 3.5 when we moved and expressed his desire for a transformer room in red, white and blue. When your cute little baby asks for something so adorable your only choice is to oblige but, I aimed to do so in a non-cheesy way.
The hardest part is starting. And you have to start with something. The easiest thing to start with is what you already have. Originally we had his toddler bed, an ikea dresser and an Ikea toy bin. The blinds were left behind by the previous owners and knowing how much custom blinds cost we left them in place.
WHAT WE DID:
ART: My husband was all over the transformer theme and was able to find and print the artsy transformer prints at his office. I grabbed the gray Ribba frames from Ikea. They are not perfectly hung because I don't measure when hanging art work but, they are perfect enough. We also hung a sketch we had done of Stellan at a Nationals game and then I picked up a vintage world map at the beach. Only later did I realize vintage maps are not the best option when teaching your son about geography. They are pretty though. Priorities.
RUG: The acquisition of this rug was a serendipitous moment. My sister had come to visit and we were doing a little late night shopping at Target. I was checking out prices on some others when she approached me with this rug. No price tag. It was Nate Berkus and I didn't want to go through the trouble of finding out it was still full price. But, Robin always goes the extra mile and came back bright eyed, mouthing $37!! Say what?! Aside from the fact it's a goreous 5x8 rug in a cool modern/organic pattern in blue and white the pattern almost creates the transformer symbol. See how the stars aligned here?? SOLD. (below is a great alternative to the rug we bought which is no longer in Target stores)
FURNITURE: We were discussing the fact that Stellan was getting kind of big for his toddler bed and more importantly, that the little crib looked kind of funny in his new big room with my parents one weekend. I should have known what was coming next since my parents keep EVERYTHING. My stepdad still had his childhood bed in the attic. He brought it down, wiped it off and voila! It was a perfect simple mid-century style I love and was in great condition.
Now my little man needed a side table. I trekked back to Ikea for this and was about to purchase a subpar white side table when I saw this one in the as-is section. Now, I am always drawn to this section and usually find it to be a disappointment. But this table was in perfect condition and half it's usual price.
Next, my kiddos need a place to read their night time story with Daddy. I had a yellow Ikea chair that I had acquired in highschool. It had been to college with me and several more apartments and townhomes before arriving here. It was faded yellow. Picked up the bright red slip cover for $30 at Ikea and we were back in business. The legs are a little wobbly but, my kids are going to destroy it so its' all good.
We included our Ikea Trofast storage for lego storage and this past Christmas made his Ikea play table into a Lego table by gluing Lego pads to the surface. He loves it and spends much more quiet time playing in his room than before.
BEDDING: I found these adorable twin-bed flannel sheets before we even moved to this house or had room for a single bed. But, they were $7 a set on sale and I knew we would need them eventually. The rest of the bedding, which I alternate is from Ikea. We have the alphabet pattern and white bedding with a simple gray stripe for our more refined days.
WINDOW TREATMENTS: I was able to find the curtains and curtain rods at Target. The rods gave a similar look to the DIY galvanized pipe curtain rods I hoped to make but, realistically would never have time for. Our babysitter found the curtains, also from Target after I had brought home 6 different options that did NOT work. I think I had seen them there on 10 different occasions but, didn't realize how well they would work until they were in our space.
Stellan loves his big boy room and I've got to say I absolutely love it too. I stand in there sometimes just taking in how cute it is and how we managed to capture all of his interests and personality. He loves taking his friends and family up to see his room and have a little lego building sesh.
By parrylane Admin
Ollie's room! We were so happy to have a room for Oliver in the new place. AND, this was the easiest room to decorate because this was Stellan's nursery decor. In addition the room was small so there wasn't too much to do. So, once we ripped out the closet, drywalled the opening to our bedroom and painted it was time for the fun stuff.
One of my favorite things about Ollie's room is the artwork. Andreas and I purchased canvases from Michael's while I was pregnant with Stellan and created these three pieces of art. I am obsessed with Dwell nursery decor and was able to get a few things but, most was not within our budget. So for $15 or so we created some really cute pieces of art. We stenciled the designs on canvases and then painted. Voila.
Another item I will probably hold onto until the end of time is this book bin decorated by my little sister and given to me at my baby shower. She literally found an old box in my parents basement and painted it with the Dwell images I liked. It's really versatile. We are currently using it for books and it's great because Ollie can access his books and they are easy for him to put away too.
Speaking of my sister Becca, this was the rocker my Mom had when she was born (12 years after me!). I knew I wanted the rocker and ottoman as soon as I started thinking about nursery decor. But the fabric was a real 90's pattern and color so we picked up this fabric at Ikea and had it reupholstered for $80. The side table is Target. The lamp is a gem that I found in a client's garage. I was able to purchase the pair for $50 and update them with white pleated Threshold by Target lamp shades.
Here is Ollie's cozy crib! Another Ikea item. We purchased it second hand on craigs list when we had TWO KIDS IN CRIBS! But, it went by fast and since Ollie is climbing out of his crib at least once a day I think we will soon have no cribs :( I love the gray and white chevron bedding. This was a cheap purchase on Amazon. The comforter was something my Mom picked up and it's accented with our favorite Pottery Barn Kids cozy stroller blanket.
One of my favorite things about Oliver's room is the vintage school house light fixture. When we bought the home it had a HUGE brass chandelier and I could barely sleep knowing it was in there. I found this beauty on Etsy. It is much smaller than I thought it would be but, goes great with the room and provides enough light given that the room itself is pretty small. I may relocate into a hallway eventually but for now it's perfect. I also found the window valance on my favorite Groopdealz website.
Last but not least is the baby art I created for Oliver while pregnant. I did the same for Stellan as well as my niece using their 12 week ultrasound photos. I blew up the photos, printed them and then used them as a stencil. Then created the collage with origami mesh. I LOVE these and hope my kids will love them one day too. I still owe my nephew one - it's coming Niels!
SHOP OLLIE'S ROOM: