Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home


All For Naught

So… remember when I spent hours, nay, days painting our refrigerator white along with the rest of the kitchen? Click here to refresh your memory.  It couldn’t have been more than two months ago, but that all means nothing now, because the fates are just laughing at us now.


You see, last week when we had clear all the appliances out of the kitchen (read about that here) for our new flooring to be installed  (photos here), we had to take the doors off our shiny white fridge to get it through the door.  The process seemed simple enough, and it was — that is until we went to put the doors back on.  I won’t get into the frustrating details, so I’ll just tell you this: no matter how hard we tried, those doors weren’t going back on.  Our only guess is that we mistakenly unscrewed some intentionally permanent screws (but how were we supposed to know that on a 3o+ year old fridge with no manual?).


So, yeah.  Now we’re stuck with yet another beige beauty.  Our one saving grace is that our pervious owners kept a kosher kitchen and, as such, we inherited two refrigerators with our home purchase.  This dirty, moldy, ugly step-sister of our previous fridge (which was only slightly less dirty and ugly and moldy) has been sitting shunned in the garage since we moved in, but at least she came through for us when we needed her.

Hopefully, though, we won’t need her for long.  We’re crossing our fingers she makes it long enough for us to take advantage of Memorial Day appliance sales.

One day we’ll laugh about this.  Today is not that day.



One Hurdle Down: The Floors in Real Time

Well, the floors are in.  If I don’t sound excited I think it’s because I’m still processing it all.  It’s been a highly stressful week and the set backs just keep on coming, but the end is in sight!  Some parts of the final product I absolutely love, others I don’t love at all, and some elements may just take some getting used to because they’re so different from before.  One thing I do know is that I love is this tile.  It’s so crisp clean.  Perhaps little too clean — I may spend the rest of my days trying to keep a nearly white floor pristine, but we shall see!


A brief run-down of my lessons learned if you will:

1) Know how long it will take your flooring to set.  I thought our floors would be good to go in a few hours, but when I went to double check to see if it was safe to apply the sealant, I found conflicting information.  It was 8pm and the manufacturer was closed, but we really needed to get it done so we took the advice of the installer and waited 4 hours before applying two very light applications (trying to reduce the occurrence of seepage that may effect adhesion).  We’re still crossing our fingers and our toes on that one because some literature said to wait 5 days which was not going to happen!   Which leads me to….

2) We haven’t had hot water for 4 days and it’s looking to be at least another 1 or 2 before it’s up and running again.  Some valve broke.  I don’t know.  I don’t ask questions of the husband when he’s looking furious and freezing.   From what I understand, as soon as we can hook up the washing machine we should be good to go.  Oh, and we still can’t get the doors back on our refrigerator.  We’ve never been so thankful that our previous owner’s kept a kosher kitchen — that second refrigerator we stashed in the garage has come in handy this week!  Which leads me to…

3) Know how long you need to wait before moving furniture and appliances in.  We installed commercial tile, not residential tile, so the specs don’t really touch on this.  I need to call Armstrong today to determine when we can move appliances back in and get life back to normal, but it’s looking like 72 hours (which means we’ll be hosting a large party on Saturday without the benefit of a fully functioning kitchen).  At least the fridge is already on a dolly so maybe we’ll just wheel it around to the backyard and plug it in next to the bbq.  Wouldn’t that be classy?

4) Understand your finishes.  This is my biggest shame.  After our discussions I (poorly) assumed that our installers would be replacing our base moldings with like materials, but when our order arrived this was not the case.  I later learned that there were various options that our materials dealer was supposed to review with us but had failed to do so.  I’m so mad at myself for not catching this!  I can’t say for certain I would have chosen anything different, but I might have! I scrambled in the last few days before the installation to get things right, but one thing I didn’t notice was the heft of the quarter round.  I thought quarter round was, well, quarter round, but no, not really.  The moldings they installed are substantially thicker than what was there previously. I’m still trying to determine if I hate them or if it’s just something that will take a couple days to adjust to.  (I think I hate them) I’m particularly against the white QR around the kitchen cabinets (the walls don’t particularly bother me or at least I don’t think they will once the walls and baseboards get a nice coat of paint — then they’ll all blend in together nicely).  I may try and paint those along the cabinets to better match the wood or even swap them out for walnut quarter round so they’re less in-your-face.  Given the clean lines of our home I’d prefer not to have quarter round at all, but something needs to cover those gaps.


Carefully placed “weights” to encourage adhesion.  Also note crazy quarter round (not that you could miss it).




Damn, those walls look yellow now!  They’re screaming, “Paint me, paint meeeee!”


I love the floors, it’s just that the crisp newness of them highlights everything else that needs attention.  This project is starting to wear on me…maybe I just need a good BBQ (and a beer or two) with friends and family to get me back in the celebratory spirit.  Come one, come all — just don’t judge this disaster we call home. :)

We got the white quarter round replaced with matching maple hardwood and it looks amazing.  Check it out here!

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Wait For It.

I know things have been quiet on the blog front lately, so let me explain.   In preparation for our new flooring installation, which is happening Wednesday, our kitchen currently looks like this:


Our laundry room looks like this:


And our half bath looks like this:



And if that weren’t enough to keep us busy, spring has finally sprung in Baltimore and, as a result, our backyard is looking like this:


And we have 30+ people coming over for a birthday barbeque on Saturday.  Yikes!

So if you’ll excuse us, we have a few things to take care of (an active water leak notwithstanding), but I promise a full report is to come.  We have so, so, so many projects to share!


Little Updates That Make Me Smile

Sometimes it’s the little things, right?

Last weekend — in between birthday party chaos — Kirk and I made a few little updates to our kitchen.  It’s funny how, now that the new flooring has been scheduled for installation (t-minus two weeks!), we’re getting excited about the smaller details, too.

I was at TJ Maxx last week and picked up this cute little rug for $12 to place in front of the sink.  I love the punch of colors and how they play off the navy wall.  (I also love that my husband cooks and buys me sweet flowers).


Our previous rug was blah and it had seen better days — no number of trips through the washing machine seemed to help.  You can spy it here when we talked about our adventure painting the paneled wall.  I can’t wait to see this colorful rug against the new light gray floor tiles we picked out, too!  I also grabbed a cute set of three mixing bowls because they have a fun atomic motif — you can spy  them on the counters in a few of these photos since I snapped them amid party prep activities.

In the photo above you will also see our paper towel holder in front of the window.  It’s gone now.  The way our counter wraps around with all those windows makes us try and keep the corner free of unnecessary clutter.  When large objects land there and block the window for too long it really bothers me.  Makes me twitch.  That’s also why I mentioned my desire to move the coffee maker in this post, something I promptly did — it’s over on the grill now.  I also wish we could find a better place for the spoons and spatulas — sadly, there are no drawers to stow them in conveniently near the stove.

To remedy the paper towel holder at least, I snagged a sleek chrome wall-mount paper towel holder (also at TJ Maxx — I need to stop shopping on my lunch hour!) for $7.   We mounted it above the microwave.  Much less obtrusive, yes?


We also tackled something that’s been bothering us from Day One.  The trash can.  There is no place for a trash can in our kitchen. It won’t fit under the sink due to the plumbing and there’s no out of the way nook to stash it in.  For eight months it’s sat in this corner — inhibiting us from really using those two lower cabinets and making it difficult for me to reach the upper ones since I have to awkwardly reach over it.


Side note: I love that I’m talking about de-cluttering while showing you some very cluttered photos.  I trust you understand that we live here and life doesn’t stop for blog photos — especially not when there is birthday cake involved!  Besides, I’m almost never home when the sun is up so I must multi-task.

For $34 I picked up a slide-out trash can system at The Home Depot and Kirk mounted it inside a cabinet.  It’s a little smaller than our old can, but we think it will be worth it to have the can out of sight.  There was only one type available in-store, but now that I’m looking at them online I see that you can buy kits that mount two cans — how perfect would that be for trash and recycling?  We may have to upgrade already.

No you see it…


And now you don’t! Muhaha!


On the other side of the room you may remember that below our charcoal grill (you can read about that here) we have two large cabinets.  They open up to a space the same size as the grill opening above it and right now we have a bunch of small appliances and serving platters thrown in there (including all the baking sheets displaced by our new trash can install).


It’s completely non-functional since it seems that no matter what we’re after it’s always at the bottom of the pile and we have to pull everything out to get to it.  Adding built-in shelving is difficult since the walls are solid brick, so, to solve this I’m ordering two of these stacking shelves, one for each cabinet:


Hopefully once these arrive we can store things below and on top of the shelves and bring some sense of order to those spaces.

And. last but not least, we’ve started to paint.  In the photo of the old trash can above you may notice we’ve painted some color swatches on the wall.  Do not adjust your monitor, they all look the same in real life, too.  In the end we went with the bottom color (Glidden’s Stone White) for the kitchen walls.  It’s not so cool a gray that it reads institutional and not so warm that it leans toward beige — it’s somewhere in the middle which is perfect for us.


We are doing a satin finish on the drywall and a semi-gloss on the brick wall to hopefully highlight the irregularities of the brick (it’s been painted several times so the texture isn’t as obvious as it once would have been).  Below you can see my painstakingly slow progress. It reads almost white next to the high-contrast black, but I promise it’s not! When we tried a true white on the wall is was absolutely blinding and we knew we needed to soften it up.  Eventually, we’ll paint the doors and trim in a semi-gloss bright white which will make the wall color pop off a bit more.


For now, we plan to paint those laminate sliding doors to match — they don’t get too much use so I think the latex paint  will hold up well enough.  I think the laminate of the desk area across the way will go white along with the counter tops.   I painted the brick wall behind it Stone White, too, and now the laminate looks really yellow!


I haven’t shown this angle on the blog much before so to orient you, when I took the photos of the trash can, this desk was to my back.  Directly opposite is our kitchen table — older photo below (see why I needed to move the coffee maker and the paper towel holder?  Please say yes).


Did I mention we’re getting new floors?!

Can’t. Wait.


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The Creepy-Crawly Heebie-Jeebies

There are spiders in the house.
And hundreds of ants too, but really, I could care less about the ants. The spiders are my main concern here.  With ants it’s pretty easy to see where they’re coming from and where they’re going.  Not so much with spiders.  These spiders are big, they’re furry, and if I find one in my bed it just might drive me over the edge.

I think it’s all this rain we’ve been getting — especially since none of our pests have been spotted near food sources.  The snow is finally, begrudgingly giving way to its warmer, wetter cousin and all our outdoor friends are trying to flee the flood zones and join us indoors.

The ants started in the half bathroom off the laundry room.  I squished them with my fingers and flushed their carcasses down the toilet.  They came back.  I sprayed.  I know that’s not the greenest way to go about things (there are probably a dozen or more holistic remedies like these for ants out there) but poison is quick and effective and these ants were limited to a room where I could close the door and keep it away from my kid.

But that was all before we found ourselves living in a real life reenactment of Arachnophobia.  Welcome to the neighborhood.  We’re not in the City anymore…

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The first spiders we found were in the living room.  They were curiosities.  Logan gleefully inspected them through glass jars before we returned them to the outdoors.  They didn’t take the hint, however, and soon we saw them in the kitchen.  Then the laundry room.  One or two a day, occasionally more.  The worst part is we have no idea how they’re getting in.  It’s come to the point where I’m freaked out that I’m going to find one in my sheets (or worse, Logan’s crib!) and I’m frantically Googling exterminators.   The previous owners had an in-ground pest deterrent system that we’re beginning to think may not be such a bad idea.

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When I see one of these pests, I immediately react and I don’t always stop to think about the safest, most holistic extermination approach for myself and my family. We had a birthday party on Saturday and maybe it was the cake crumbs we neglected to sweep up, or maybe it was the rain that never ceased, but when we woke on Sunday morning there were ants in the laundry room.  There were ants in the kitchen.  There was an army of ants marching around our dining room table like it was the last occupied city in the Ant Revolution and they were closing in for the attack.  Ants were wandering aimlessly — one here, one there — and it was no time to sprinkle the corners with coffee grounds or bait them with sugar cubes.  Most of those remedies wouldn’t work with a curious toddler running around anyway — no, it wouldn’t kill him if he played with more natural bug baits, but it could get very messy very quickly.


Once again, I just reacted.  I sprayed them with an aerosol can  of Terro which promises to repel bugs for 6 weeks.   I don’t like using bug sprays in the house, but it seemed to work in the bathroom — at least there have been no more sightings in there even with yesterday’s surprise ant onslaught in neighboring rooms.  I did my due diligence and checked out Terro’s website later.  The spray is vet-approved so I suppose anything safe for Fido is safe for the kiddo, right?  He’s past the floor licking stage anyway.

But the spiders.  The spiders are freaking me out.