Archives For Emily

Excuse the iPhone pics.  Once things are finished I’ll get some better ones! :)em


Our living room has been quite the conundrum for me.  It looks big because of the vaulted ceilings and the windows, but when you cut out the walkways and the barstool area and the dead space on either side of the fireplace it’s smaller than it looks.

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like when we moved in.  These pictures are from the MLS listing.  unnamed


And here’s the room as of today:


Never mind that I’m missing a curtain panel on the left window.  Sometimes you have to do these things one panel at a time as your budget allows.  I got the 3 panels for Christmas and will hopefully be buying the last one soon! curtain source


A year ago we traded our coffee table for storage ottomans temporarily until Kennedy was a better walker and was less proned to falling into the steel lets or sharp wood corners of our old coffee table.  Now we still have the coffee table in storage for the same reason but with Cohen.  I’m itching to get it back down here!  But for now, ottomans work and keep the toys hidden.

Nothing in this room is settled.  We still need another side table and I’d like matching lamps.  The lamp in the back corner is just temporary until we get more lighting beside the sofa. Some new pillows and some wall art are also on the to-do list.


Why there are no built-ins beside the fireplace already is beyond my reasoning.  The dead space there is just blah.  And wouldn’t it look great if the fireplace wall going up to the ceiling was trimmed out with some wainscoting?  Yeah, that’s gotta happen someday.


My uncle is in the process of building us some and I am THRILLED!!! Custom cabinets?  Yes please!  Here is a sketch my aunt drew on tracing paper so you see what I’m talking about.  The shelves are going to be really tall.  9 feet, to be exact.  The room needs some verticality and once these are in I think the room will feel much cozier and finished.


The walls are a very, very light blue called First Star by Sherwin Williams.  If there’s ever a testament to painting samples, it’s this color in my house.  Here’s the swatch from the Sherwin Williams website:


first star

It looks gray.  A light gray, sure.  But gray none the less. However,  in my living room that doesn’t get much light…it’s BLUE.  Legit, pale blue.  My kitchen too because it reads off the blue cabinets some.  Either way, I love the subtle color and it has me dreaming about what color to do the built in cabinetry.  I figure since I already have a colorful kitchen I should just keep it exciting and do something fun with the builtins as well.  I may be crazy, but I’m dreaming of a gorgeous army/olive green.  It makes me equal parts nervous and excited when I think about it!!!  I can’t find any great inspiration pictures for what I’m envisioning in my head, but here are a couple that come kind of close to the color I’m thinking about:







 Hopefully I’ll be back with some progress pics with the built-ins soon!

Kitchen: Before and After

February 3, 2016 — 1 Comment

Pardon the poor iPhone photos.  Once everything is REALLY finished I hope to take some staged, good quality, pinterest worthy photos!  But for now, this mama ain’t got time for that! :)em


Our kitchen was my least favorite space in this house before we moved in, and I’m a kitchen lover so it was a little hard to envision loving the kitchen in this house.  It was dark, long, and narrow.  The complete opposite of our last kitchen that was bigger and more open.


I know the world is all about an open concept floor plan in homes lately, but Alex and I both really liked the layout of our last house where each room was divided.  I think it just felt more cozy that way, and I loved being able to walk out of my kitchen with dishes in the sink and forget the mess until later.  You can’t do that when your kitchen and living room are practically one room!  HOWEVER, this house needed to be open concept.  Given our budget and goals with this house (this is not a forever house, just a financial stepping stone), relocating the kitchen wasn’t an option so we worked with the current layout and made it the best it could be within our means.


Keeping a tight budget in mind, we kept the cabinetry and had them sprayed with a laquer, which I highly encourage over painting them yourself if you’re looking for longterm durability. 100% worth the money. I have an aversion to upper cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling, unless it’s a vaulted kitchen, so since we couldn’t purchase new uppers I had our contractor just build them up to the ceiling and trim them out to give the effect of taller upper cabinets.  The truth is, I’ve never been a fan of faux tall upper cabinets, but again, it’s the best we could do and for the neighborhood we’re in it was a wise choice in order to avoid putting too much money into the house that we’d not get in return whenever we decide to sell.


One thing I wanted to try out this time was a range hood cabinet instead of an exposed hood or under cabinet hood.  This wasn’t something I was extremely familiar with when I was planning the design and I just gave my contractor a few pictures and he built one out for me.  After living with it for a while I would change the was the moulding is, but I still really like the built-in look of it.  It feels kind of fancy…and I like fancy.


Removing the upper cabinets from the sink side of the kitchen and tearing out the wall was most definitely the right move for this space.  The kitchen doesn’t feel dark and narrow anymore even though it didn’t actually get any bigger.  Having the countertops extended out was also a very good choice because I love having so much counter space to work with.  Our last kitchen had a pretty big peninsula and I couldn’t imagine having less counter space. I’m countertop spoiled for sure.  In the picture below, imagine a cute brass towel bar to the on the blank space which is the bookshelf.  Anyone have a good source for one that’s about 12 inches?


Another thing I love to do in kitchens is to build in the refrigerator.  If you have a bigger budget it’s awesome to TRULY build in your refrigerator and freezer with matching cabinet fronts on them.  Here’s a great example:  06-redesign-kitchen


If you’re like me, though, and don’t have quite as much to spend, having a cabinet built around the refrigerator is perfect!  It is one custom cabinetry piece that goes a long way in giving a higher end, more polished look to your kitchen.



Let’s talk color.  Okay.  I ooohhed and aaaaaahhhed over the SAMPLE of the color for my cabinets.  Shortly after we moved in I went from wahooo!!! to booohooo:(  It’s not that it’s an awful color, it’s just not what I was wanting and I didn’t take the time to test my samples thoroughly before deciding.  I take ownership of that fail, but I also blame postpartum exhaustion a little too.  I’m allowed to do that, right?  Needless to say I’ve had to learn to like the color and work it in with the rest of the house because it’s not in our budget to have them resprayed anytime soon, if ever.  We’ll see.  They’re kind of growing on me now.

So that’s about it for our new open concept kitchen!  I will admit that washing bottles is a little less daunting when I can watch HGTV or Food Network while doing it.

I’ll write about the other side of the open concept, the living room, next!

I snuck by the house this morning to take a peak at the cabinets and, to my delight, the countertops were being installed right when we got there!  They are BEAUTIFUL and look so luxurious!  We had quartz (Cambria Torquay) countertops in our last home, and while I loved them, they just aren’t as beautiful as real stone.  These countertops are marble called Shadow Storm. This particular marble is supposedly one of the most durable marbles that exists.  It’s much less porous than Carrara and is comparable in durability to granite, according to the saleswoman at the stoneyard.  How can something so beautiful be less expensive (by $800!!!) than a manufactured stone?  Craziness.


So, remember when I mentioned before that I was nervous about the cabinet color coming out right?  Well…*gulp*.  I’m a little shaky in the chest writing this.  There’s nothing more I’d like than to write how perfect everything turns out, but not everything is always perfect in a renovation…or anything in life, right?  Despite the color looking “perfect” on the sample, it just looks different when it’s painted all over.  This isn’t necessarily a BAD thing, it’s just different than my expectations, so I’m having to get used to the color.




It’s more of a robin’s egg blue, and not as gray as I thought it would be.  The word that keeps coming to my mind when I see it is “pretty”.  Since when is “pretty” a bad thing, Emily?  It’s not! …it’s just not completely my style.  I’d gladly pick it out for someone else who may be a little fancier than myself, but us Morrison’s are a laid back crew.  We wear jeans to church, we don’t dress up all that much in general, we rarely have an occasion for fine China, and we drink beer and two buck chuck from Trader Joe’s!  But this kitchen…this kitchen calls for fine wine and at least 4″ heels at all times of the day!  Sorry, kitchen, you may be a bit disappointed with your owners.  lol.  Okay, enough personifying a kitchen.  I’m still a little “I have an infant” crazy.

I was more nervous than anything to show Alex.  He already told me he wanted more gray, less blue, when I showed him my original paint samples, and this was waaaaaaaay more blue than those were. I text him these pictures and, thankfully, he’s been really positive about it. Although it is bluer than he’d want, he can see it looking more our taste once the dark floors are showing, the tile backsplash is in, lighting is hung, and the runner is on the floor.  Gosh I love that guy!  He really knows how to bring my mind to a good place when I start to panic.



I’ve yet to decide wall color for any space in the house.  It’ll be something I do myself after we move in.  I’m leaning towards a gray (even thought I swore I was over gray!), or a creamy white. We’ll see…my brain isn’t that far ahead yet.

I also got a peek at the tile going in around the bathtub and I looooooooove it.  This bathroom started out as mediocre at best.  I’m honestly a bit shocked at how good it’s looking considering the layout.  I love being surprised by things turning out better than expected!



The vanity is being painted today (Sherwin Williams “denim”) and moulding around the mirror is being built and installed, and hopefully the vanity lights will get installed too.  This space is just such a pleasant surprise.  Mixing high end (marble tile around tub and marble countertops) with low end (subway tile and ceramic tile floors, re-using old vanity and mirror, $20 vanity sconces) is my favorite part of designing.  I could make a killer room given a massive budget, but doing a complete (NON-DIY) renovation of a master bathroom for around $8k?  That’s a challenge to tackle.  Most master bathrooms run between $15-$20k.  The small square footage is saving my butt big time in here.

Two more days before everything is supposed to be completed!!  I can’t imagine it all being done by then…we’ll see!