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Look to Love: Painted Window Frames

July 14, 2014

 

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I did a lot of traveling in June and as an admitted magazine junkie/addict I bought lots of mags along the way. Paging through one of my faves, House Beautiful, I loved this gorgeous (and uniquely designed) beach home, which got me thinking about painted window frames. Personally, I love the look, provided it is done in a sophisticated way and doesn’t look overly country or kitschy. Home Depot has a great how-to if you are thinking about replicating this look in your home.

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Tips for Bathroom Remodeling

July 9, 2014

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Don’t you just love a beautiful bathroom? I could spend all day looking at bathrooms. Being a long-time city dweller (and renter!) I know exactly what I want and don’t want. This is another area were having an expert in the family is also very helpful.

What most people don’t know is that remodeling a bathroom can be very pricey, and can even rival a kitchen remodel in terms of costs, for a space that’s a quarter of the size. Here are some things to consider if you are remodeling a bathroom:

  • There are SIX different elements that go into a bathroom remodel, no matter what the size of the room is. You need a contractor, a plumber, an electrician, a tile installer, a cabinet installer, and someone to paint and wallpaper. This is often overlooked from a cost perspective, so when creating a budget make sure the labor is factored in.
  • Once you start a remodel all electrical, plumbing, etc. needs to be up to the latest Code Requirements. Outlets and lighting fixtures often need to be upgraded and replaced to meet these requirements so be sure to factor that in, as well.
  • Removing a tub and replacing with a shower can add significant costs to a remodel. Adding an additional sink will also add to the costs (more plumbing!).
  • As with a kitchen lifestyle should be considered as well. As  gorgeous as a large stand up shower looks, if you have (or plan to have) little ones, you need a tub.
  • Love the idea of heated floors? The good news here is that they are worth the money, with nominal costs to your electricity bill.

If you need some inspiration, I loved these ideas via House Beautiful…Happy remodeling!

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Countertops Cheat Sheet

July 7, 2014

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I believe my love of kitchens is well documented on this blog, but what may not be as well-known is that my Dad actually builds kitchens for a living! Hopefully one of these days we get to build my dream kitchen together. But today I wanted to talk countertops. Whenever I am paging through magazine and Pinterest I always see different types of counters: granite is an obvious favorite, but there is also soapstone, quartz, and marble.

But when I share pics and my grand plans with my Dad he often shares the downsides to different materials and kitchen trends. (Quick tip: all that lovely open shelving out there on the interwebs?? Very impractical for the average family. Just imagine trying to keep it neat and organized, and it’s often pretty shallow and can’t hold very much.)

So I decided to have a quick chat with him about the pros and cons of some of the countertops on the market. Maybe it will help  if you happen to be in the market for a kitchen upgrade or remodel.

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Soapstone: Soapstone is definitely on trend these days, because the look is sleek and sophisticated, not glossy and the stone’s finish is more consistent than granite (see below). It’s softer than granite, so it will scratch, but won’t stain which is a good thing. If you go with soapstone you must keep up with oiling it with mineral oil twice a year to keep it looking new.

Granite: Granite is really the gold standard in kitchen counters that looks great and can go the distance in terms of wear and tear. It’s easy to clean and requires no real maintenance, but best practice is to re-seal them twice a year. The biggest challenge for buyers is that the color and pattern can be erratic which is why the sample can look very different from the actual slab for your kitchen. If possible try to look at the slab before it is installed.

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Marble: The look is gorgeous but marble is very soft and scratches and stains very easily. It wouldn’t necessarily need to be replaced too often, however you would likely lose the beautiful ascetic more quickly and want to replace it, if that’s in your budget-great, if not, beware. It might be better to use marble in a bathroom where it will not experience as much wear and tear.

Quartz: Quartz has become more popular recently, but there are a few things consumers should be aware of. It is often thought to be less expensive than granite, when it’s not. It is more consistent with its color and pattern, but it does scratch. The biggest downsides are scratching and cracking, and you will likely get a better bang for your buck with granite.

So there you have it, 30 years of kitchen experience in a nutshell!

 

Happy 4th!

July 4, 2014

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Hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday with friends and family. We are truly blessed to live in such a great country. If you need a reminder of how it all began you can read the Declaration of Independence here. Happy 4th!

Coveting Pendants

July 2, 2014

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Lighting really is one of the most important things in any room, and for the kitchen I love the look of pendant lights. There are so many great options out there, no matter what your taste. Ultra modern, with really clean lines and minimalist looks to bohemian and more traditional styles. These Robert Abbey pendants (in gold!) would be part of my dream kitchen, but there are so many great options. Do you like pendant lights?

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Pool Season

June 25, 2014

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When I was growing up we had a pool, which provided endless amounts of fun during the summer. Every year I had an end-of-school pool party for my classmates, which kicked off a season of days spent in and lying by the pool, night swimming and pool volleyball. The only thing missing was a pool house! We didn’t need one, the pool was right off the house with a big deck, but I have always loved a good pool house. Here are some pretty ones I found around on Pinterest and some decor inspiration as well.

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Let’s Talk About Hydration

June 23, 2014

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Do you drink enough water? It’s one of the things that I am trying to do better this season. It was a spring goal too, but I still find myself falling short. Not sure why since the benefits are enormous!

I don’t drink soda or sugary drinks and outside of 2 cups of coffee each morning (that’s my vice-and my morning coffee MAKES my day so you won’t see me giving it up anytime soon!), I drink water all day, I just don’t think I drink enough of it. And sometimes I will get to mid-afternoon and realize I haven’t had any. Not good.

Last week Katie and Regan announced they were taking a hydration challenge and  I am going to do the same. They say women should drink at least 2 liters a day and men 3 liters. I am going to aim for 3 daily, getting in a least 2 no matter what. The healthy habit I HAVE been able to keep is starting my day with lemon and water, which has tons of benefits (see below!).

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And if you are like me and need to spruce your water up a little, below are a couple of ways to up the flavor without unwanted calories. So will you join the hydration challenge? There really is no better time of year!

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Summer Dinner

June 13, 2014

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I love to cook, and my Boston kitchen is TINY which takes some of the fun out of it. So when I spend time in the Cape, I really enjoy having a much bigger space to work with. My Mom is a great cook and makes us amazing meals, but I like to take the pressure off when I can.

Over the winter I saw this recipe on Half Baked Harvest, and I thought it would be an awesome summer dinner. Pasta, lobster, bacon, kale, tomatoes and a little parmesan is right up my alley!  And let me tell you the recipe did not disappoint. Even my Dad loved it and he is a very tough customer.

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One of the perks of cooking at the Cape is access to my Dad’s fresh kale. I have been going home weekly with a bag of fresh lettuce and kale for the week!

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We paired dinner with a yummy Rosé and dined al fresco. I highly suggest trying this recipe if you are looking for a tasty dinner. You could always substitute the lobster for another seafood or some chicken.

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Summertime 2014

June 11, 2014

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I am so excited that it is finally summertime in New England, we have certainly earned it after this winter. Summer has always been one of m favorite seasons, I love fall too, but there is something so special about summer. Things just feel more relaxed and laid back, fresh air and sunshine are plentiful, veggies are fresh and ice cream daily sounds like a great idea since calories don’t even count as much in the summer….right??

Here is what I am looking forward to this summer: Drive-in movies (we have a theatre right by our beach house), paddle boarding, lots of sunsets and a few sunrises, bonfires (and s’mores), beach-time, seafood-seafood-and more seafood, hammock time, and slushes.

Do you make a summertime bucket list? Some of my summer bucket list items include:

  • A trip to the Vineyard or Nantucket, I haven’t been to either in many years, and it’s an easy day trip, but could also be fun to spend the night.
  • Outdoor concerts, I live right next to the Hatch Shell, so would like to see some music there this summer, and I want to check out these free performances in the Cape.
  • Swimming in the kettle ponds of Wellfleet.
  • Taking in a concert in the courtyard at the MFA.

Have a great day!

Back Bay Living

June 9, 2014

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I have mentioned it before, but I live in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, probably the best place to live in the city. Its gorgeous brownstones, proximity to the shopping and the river and parks, as well as its overall accessibility are what make it such a coveted spot, and the real estate prices only go to prove its desirability. I consider myself very lucky to be able to live here for now.

Anyway, I am forever walking around my neighborhood, looking at the gorgeous brownstone’s and wishing for a peek inside. And last week, I got the opportunity via Boston Magazine. I walk by the house they featured this month all the time. It is owned by Jay and  Christy Scott Cashman and the inside did not disappoint. My only complaint was they didn’t show the kitchen! What I would not give to live there, check out the full article here.

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