Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Criticizing my own kitchen

Ok, so you guys know that I'm up for a renovation this summer.
Here is what we're working with....

Not really the worse space in the world right?

As you can see, the former owners wanted a very modern/contemporary kind of kitchen.
The countertops are quartz natural stone and cabinets are sleek maple colored laminate.
Floors are vinyl tiles in the same color. So what am I complaining about??


As you can probably tell, the color is the SAME Light brown color from the floors, cabinet and countertops - too monotonous & not a very relaxing color combo for me. To top is all off, they painted the walls brown too! I personally do not like the cabinet style since it REALLY reminds me of OFFICE CABINETS. Am I right or not?! The style is also too modern for me, I like contemporary but the kitchen of my dreams is more 'modern traditional'.

You can clearly see my point here
 I do love the hardware and definitely for sure, keeping them all.
The counter tops are really hard to let go of, but for the type of kitchen I want, I think this counter top won't work at all for the design.
Do not fret  though, I HATE WASTE, and we will be re-using the countertops for our basement kitchen which is currently laminate. The cabinets will also not be thrown out, they will head to the garage for storage use.
The dishwasher has to go since it's showing some problems already and I would want the appliance there to match the refrigerator (which we bought).


I think that the former owners didn't cook much... How can I say this you ask? Well, Just take a look at the work space. The Island is very small,  and the closest big workspace is 5 feet away!! I'm no chef, but I think this is TOO MUCH space. I know for a fact none of the former owners where disabled or in a wheel chair, so I don't know WHY there was so much space here.. for some dancing perhaps?! Maybe they were romantics and needed some dancing space while they cook, who knows. You can read my other criticisms in the picture above.

The small island
If the cooktop  & drop-down vent wasn't on the island, I'd say it's a pretty decent size island. However....

... this island does not have any storage space for spices, oil and other  cooking paraphernalia.


As you can see all my 'stuff' are on top of the island for easier access. The knives and other cooking utensils are in the 2 drawers, underneath, I have some produce basket and my big pots in the cabinets. My everyday pots are on another side of the kitchen. This island is just too small for the room and not very cook-friendly.

The only complaint I have about this side is that it has a trash compactor we never used.  Also, you can see, I added a make-shift breakfast nook on the side closer to our eating area.

Office Area
 The lay out of this area is ok, again, I just don't like all that useless space above the upper cabinets.

Pantry Cabinet

Yup, you've read it right, this is a pantry cabinet, not a refrigerator, but a cabinet. It is 15 inches deep, so no need for drawer inserts inside and the reason why it has a shiny door is actually our fault.

When we bought the house, one pantry door was missing, we tried hard to find a replacement but we couldn't find the right shade or size, etc. If we had one custom-built it would cost as about $300 for A DOOR!!!!! No way!

So my husband built a door! However, he left the door outside, it warped and we had some silver paint left from another project, so we just painted it all silver to match the refrigerator! :-) Since we knew we were going to renovate this space eventually, we just left it this way. Looking back, I should have painted it with chalkboard paint instead since a lot of people open this door up thinking it too was a refrigerator!

Breakfast area

Probably my favorite part of the kitchen. Would love to have a bench seating close to the window and see the pool better during the summer. We're lucky that the sun never goes directly thru the windows so it's a great space to sit and read and just hang out.

Huge blank wall

I never hung any art here. And again, this was because, I knew that I would be renovating.  
I have plans for this wall.  Nothing dramatic, just wait and see.

Make-shift breakfast nook

I would love to have a breakfast nook for my new kitchen, and this would be the perfect spot for that.
There you have it our current Kitchen.
I will show you the first design here soon and take you along every step of the way on how we make the choices we make and other things to consider.

How about you?
Is there any room in your house that you have a lot of criticisms about?
Go ahead, let it out,  a good objective criticism is 'healthy' just don't dwell on these criticisms too much and just find a way around it like I will try to do in the next weeks or so!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tiles for our Kitchen & upcoming Renovation

As you may have guessed by now, we are on the verge of a Kitchen renovation for this coming summer    (that is, if our re-financing pushes thru.. :-) Fingers crossed ladies...)

I started my Kitchen question by asking you guys Which tile would you choose with this countertop...

quartz countertop

I truly appreciate all the inputs on this. But in the end, I decided to just start with a new countertop all together and choose the tile first. So I chose this...

Oyster White

I was completely torn between this one and the marble...

carrera marble

Both are beautiful, marble being very elegant, timeless and also can go with any type of kitchen design I could think of!

But in the end I chose the Oyster white tile because I love that it is unique, pearlescent, and reminds me of 'home". Yes, home, the Philippines, since it is like capiz and pearls abound in my home country! So I wanted to pay homage to the Philippines in this kitchen as well, even if it's just the backsplash! I think it will make a huge statement and heartfelt sentiment for me!

This is a sample of what it will look like applied to the wall..

source - all shimmery and shiny :-)
source - bigger version of the tile
The Shaker style cabinets in the second picture is what I will also be using for our kitchen too. I am working with a Design Coordinator, Heather Lapham  of E.A. Knight Construction Company on this project,  and she's come up with some designs I'll be sharing with you in the next couple of days or so.

I never thought space planning for kitchen cabinet was a whole other 'monster', as my contractor told me. Lay out and design will be entirely up to me, but Heather will help me out and give me a fresh perspective on wether my design is feasible or practical.

I know renovating the kitchen is one of the toughest types of renovation, and for us, a huge FIRST, since we never really renovated anything in this house ( or our other houses for that matter). I also believe it will be a good 'first' for us since, it is a much used space, and truly, the heart of any home.

Have you done any major renovation in your home? Any valuable tips or lessons you've learned that you can share?

Wish us luck!!!! And hope you follow along with our progress!

Have  a Lovely Spring Day!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Master bedroom Changes and more!

Actually, just the curtains and bedding! 

But the big change is THIS BLOG! Its by Designer blogs using their Jefferson Template! 
I also changed the name for easier recall.
"Buhay at Bahay" is in Tagalog or Filipino, it literally translates to "Life & home" in English.

Our home
I also added this picture of our house - 
the "Life" falls exactly on top of my favorite tree and the "Home" falls near the roof of our house, isn't that a great coincidence?! I think so, I Hope you like it as much as I do!

Anyway, back to the bedroom...

Spring Greens and Greys

Martha Stewart Bedding and some other pillows

Velvet  Grey Curtains from Ikea

How about you, any major changes lately? Have you changed something this dramatic to your blog recently too?

Hope you Have a Great Weekend!

Linking back to...
Show and Tell Friday - My Romantic Home
Frugal Friday - The Shabby Nest
Simple & Sweet Fridays - Rooted in Thyme
Weekend Bloggy Reading - Serenity Now
Inspire me please #8 - Liz Marie Blog
Fabulously Creative Link Party - Jennifer Rizzo
Serenity Saturday#84 - Serenity You

Sunday Show off Link Party - Twigg Studios
Ready Set Pin Party #2 - The Girl Creative
Make the Scene Monday #72 - Alderberry hill
Creative Bloggers Party Hop - Homemaker on a Dime
Market Yoursslef Monday - Sumos Sweet Stuff
NIfty Thrifty Sunday #106 - Nifty Thrifty Things
Think Pink Sunday - Flamingo Toes
Sunday Showcase #192 - Under the table and dreaming
Time to Sparkle #7 - The Gunny Sack

Make It Pretty Monday Week 47 - The Dedicate House
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday - Coastal charm
Terrific Tuesday #61 - Adventures of a DIY MOM
Tuesdays at our Home #8 - Our home away from home
162nd Inspire me Tuesday - A Stroll thru life
Tweak it Tuesday #38- Cozy Little House

Share it Link Party #60 - The Winthrop Chronicles
Made by Me #78 - Jaqs Studio
Wow us Wednesday -Savvy Southern Style
Transformation Thursday 202 - The Shabby Creek Cottage
Tuesday Treasure 132 - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Using my Thrift Store Finds at Home

I've been showing off all the bargains I've acquired. But I realized I never show you how I use them in my home! So here's what I did with my latest acquisitions...

4 Nate Berkus boxes for TARGET from GOODWILL!
Check out the price - that's down from an original $20++  for each!!

Even if I don't use these decoratively, it would make great gift boxes don't you think?

And here's where they are now...

Actually have my shades inside

Good enough as risers too!

Or just simply as a decorative object

Here's another one from GOODWILL

$4.99 brand new table runner
Now sits on our buffet table!

My last find has no spot yet. But I grabbed it anyway, a cute Ikat print blue pillow for $4.99!

And remember these?

Currently in my Dining room 

Hope you got some ideas!

Have a Nice day!

Pardon my Blog's appearance, I've been doing some tweaking and it's not been going so well as you can see... expect changes soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


We recently spent our Spring break in the beautiful East Tennessee. It was about a 6 hour drive from our home but it was all so worth it!

Here is my TOP 10 for this part of the country...

10) Shopping

Sevierville, TN Outlet mall
Yup, you pass by 2 outlet malls on the way to the Smoky mountains. First is in Lebanon ,TN, about 20 miles past Nashville and the 2nd is in Sevierville!

9) Sevierville, TN

One I actually went to
Flea market
We didn't get to spend much time here but this is the place to go for antiquing and flea-ing! They have a lot along the main highway and on top of that they have some of the biggest waterparks in the area. This is also the place to rent out a chopper for site-seeing tours.

8) Pigeon Forge, TN

My son aptly named this a "Tourist Trap". From restaurants to shows to all sorts of rides, this place is a lot of fun to go to especially if you have kids with you!

7) Three Bears General Store

This place has all the souvenirs you can imagine! Their Christmas section is not too shabby either. but the main reason to go here, is to see and feed real Bears!!!!

Aren't they cute?

We're feeding them apples and grapes. :-)

6) Wonders of Flight & Wonderworks

We had a real fun time riding this ginormous helium ballon. The view of  Pigeon Forge was spectacular.

Ready to fly!

Wonderworks is a fun amuement/science lab that the kids had a blast in.

Some bubble fun

Thrill from above

5) Terry Envaswood Magic Show

Truly worth watching, this show. It is fun, family and kid friendly and we get to meet the man after show! In fact, so cool , our son wanted to be a magician afterwards!

Make sure to come early, no seat numbers, so if you wan to participate, you better sit closer to the stage!

4) Dixie Stampede

Dolly Parton's very own Musical Extravaganza! One of the funnest thing to do if your ever in this town. We love, love, love this show. It has a pre-show of some awesome live  bluegrass music...

And the real show is a delight. Amazing stunts, all sorts of animals and of course lots of food! A whole chicken + chops + corn + soup + bread + pie!

We've seen Medieval times, but I think Dixie Stampede is way fun-ner! Yeee-haaah!

3) Food & Taffy

All sorts of restos abound in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and all the places we went did not dissapoint. Bubba Gump and Callhouns topped my list!

At Bubba Gumps


Yummy ribs at Calhuons

2) Gatlinburg, TN

This is place is a gem. It has almost a European feel because of the surrounding mountains and all the small shops. I love this small town.

Fantastic view from above

1) Smoky Mountains and the rest of Mother Nature

Of course, nothing beats the majestic Smoky mountains. Wish we could have stayed longer and all the roads were open. Some ice still around that made us unable to go to the highest viewing peak. We went only 5,500++ above sea-level instead of 6,500++!

We would definitely be back again and for sure, and next time, we'll be renting a cabin in the mountains to enjoy more of #1!

Hope your Spring Break was awesome too!