When we renovated our kitchen last year, I made the decision to reduce our usage of paper towels as much as possible, and that meant making the switch to cloth napkins and towels for cleaning. Beyond reducing our environmental footprint (which is always a plus!), I have really enjoyed how cloth napkins elevate a simple weeknight dinner and allow you to have some fun with different patterns and textures. Even if we’re just ordering in pizza, there’s something special about having nice, heavy weight napkins that make you feel like you’re having more than takeout. Over the past year, through some trial and error I’ve discovered some of my fave napkins, and I’ve rounded them up below. Some of the features I consider the most are the weight of the fabric, the softness, and how much interest they bring to the table, as well as how they have held up in the wash.
Typically, when I think of natural jute rugs, I think of them as being great neutral bases for a room, especially in a space that sees a lot of foot-traffic. But, there’s a whole category of natural jute rugs that feature more interesting designs and colours, which is what really attracted me to Annie Selke’s jute collection. When designing my dining room, I knew that finding the right rug was going to be tricky, as it’s a big open concept room that features multiple vintage rugs in one view, and I wanted a rug that could hold it’s own and look cohesive, but not compete with the other rugs. The rug also needed to be large at 9×12 in size and hold up to a lot of foot traffic, not to mention that it had to be low pile, in order to avoid dining chairs from catching on it. As always, my list of needs were long!
About five years ago, I scoured Craigslist in search of two vintage swivel club chairs I could have reupholstered to suit my tastes. I found the perfect pair of chairs and then set out in search of a fabric. At our local fabric store, I fell head over heels in love with a remnant bolt of blush Ralph Lauren silk velvet fabric. The fabric was expensive, but a steal for what it was, and as I was checking out I asked the staff at the store “will it hold up as an upholstery fabric?” I was told yes, and that was the primary intention for this fabric. So I felt confident in my decision, spent my several hundreds of dollars on the fabric and didn’t think twice about it. We dropped the chairs and fabric off at the upholsterer and were eager to see the finished product. A month later, when we went to pick them up, the upholsterer told us offhand that that fabric was a little tricky to work with. That was my first indicator that maybe, I hadn’t done my homework on the fabric.
One of my favourite new discoveries on Etsy has been blockprint fabrics direct from India. A few weeks ago, I shared some of the fabrics I recently ordered, and since then I’ve placed orders for many, many more. These fabrics are hand-made, feature gorgeous colours, and can bring a great, eclectic and layered vibe to any space.
One caveat, these fabrics are mostly cotton-based and tend to be quite thin, so without backing them, they’re great for lampshades, tablecloths and (lined) draperies. If you back them, they can be great for pillows too. Oh, and did I mention how affordable this fabric is? Most below range between $8-$12/yard… for hand-printed fabric!
Let’s jump into my favourites (most of which I’ve already purchased):
And as for some ideas for your new fabric, you could DIY a ball pillow or sew a throw pillow with a zipper, or even make no sew cafe curtains or diy no sew placemats. Tell me, which one of these fabrics is your favourite and how would you use it in your home?
Those of you who have been long-time followers are probably aware that this is the second time we’re refreshing our main floor bathroom. Let me take you through the journey of this bathroom.
When we moved in, this bathroom was a buttery yellow and white scheme with black and white tile.
One of our very first projects in this house three years ago was giving this bathroom a cosmetic makeover. We gave the beadboard, walls, vanity and radiator a fresh coat of paint. We replaced the medicine cabinet, sconce, faucet (a Craigslist score!) overhead light fixture and vanity hardware. And we brought in some new accessories, shower rod and shower curtain to pull it all together. To say that this bathroom made the rounds on the internet would be an understatement, and we were so happy with how it turned out.
Over the years, I’ve come to really care about the quality of the textiles we use throughout our home, and the organic texture and softness that linen brings is my absolute favourite. Not to mention that it’s such a versatile and hardworking fabric.
Linen kitchen towels are my absolute favourite for styling photos in the kitchen, and are also our go-to for day to day. Whenever I’m shooting a kitchen, I always include a linen kitchen towel, as it brings a soft texture to a typically purely functional and cold space. I love how this striped kitchen towel from MagicLinen brings a graphic pattern to the space, yet still feels organic. I actually purchased this linen tea towel, loved it, and then coincidentally, MagicLinen reached out to collaborate, unrelated. I was elated, because I truly love their products.
Linen tea towels are also some of my favourite items to gift to people who take pride in their homes, since they’re the easiest way to add some luxury to your kitchen at a super affordable cost. Even if they’re just the towels you set out when you host guests in your home, they’re an easy way to elevate your space.
I’m sourcing sconces for a few projects currently and came across so many chic, yet affordable sconces that I had to share. All these sconces are under the $200 mark, but many are far lower than that. I’m loving all the mixed materials and interesting shapes that push the envelope a little bit further and could pack a punch of style in any space.
I’ve never had a more requested blog topic before. Like many of you, I wasn’t totally sure how much a kitchen renovation would cost before we 100% wrapped this one up, so I understand the curiosity. My husband and I were chatting about this recently, and I think we figured out why there’s so little common knowledge around kitchen budgets: we’re all so much more likely to renovate a bathroom, but you may realistically only completely renovate one to two kitchens in your lifetime. Plus, the budget for kitchens can differ vastly across the spectrum based on a number of factors.
We spent at least a year debating our countertop material for our new kitchen (as you do), where it was between quartz, quartzite, and marble. I’ll dig in to our argument for each now and what were the final deciding factors in choosing to move forward with marble.
I want to stress that this is a personal and lifestyle choice. None of these are bad options by any means, it’s all about what you prioritize for your home and needs.
If you’re new around here, three years ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house.
Today’s the day! After years of dreaming of transforming our kitchen from a dark, brown-all-over cave to a light-filled warm, timeless kitchen, we’ve finally brought our dreams to life. Five weeks ago, we started with an empty space – our contractor had gutted our kitchen, opened up some walls, redone the electrical and plumbing, and laid and finished the hardwoods – setting the stage for us to install the kitchen on our own. This was our first kitchen renovation and we spent the entire season of the One Room Challenge running at 100% in order to complete this kitchen during our nights and weekends. We’re so very tired, but also so proud of where we ended up!
Before I jump into the photos you’ve been waiting for, I wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who made this massive project happen: Linda, the One Room Challenge founder and organizer who masterfully organized this entire challenge, the generous brand sponsors who helped to bring our vision to life (getting to work with such incredible brands have created an even more beautiful kitchen than we could have done otherwise), my husband, Cory, who has been working around the clock with me to get this space done (this meant giving up every one of his weekends and evenings over the past 5-weeks in order to get this done, making over 30 trips to Home Depot, and staying up until 3A to install our faucets), and all of you, who kept me motivated to keep going, even after weeks of working late into the night.
Before we jump into the photos, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on where we started.
As I’ve mentioned before, our kitchen before was fine but in no way met its potential. These images make it look much brighter than it truly was (I couldn’t help myself when shooting the before photos). The finishes and layout just weren’t working for us, so we donated all the cabinetry, appliances, and countertops and started from scratch.
The biggest changes
In reflecting on this kitchen, there are three major changes that we made that completely transformed this space:
- We expanded the opening between the kitchen and the dining room from 3 feet wide to over 9 feet in width. That allowed for a huge increase in both the sunlight reaching the kitchen, and in connecting the kitchen to the rest of our main floor (without being fully open concept).
- We pushed one section of one of our walls (where the fridge is above) backwards by 16” into our front entry, which allowed us to sink a full height wall of cabinetry and our fridge into this wall, which allowed for the walkways required to add a big (but narrow) island down the center of the kitchen.
- While in the construction phase, we pivoted and decided to add a new window where our former pantry lived just outside the kitchen, and to add a small built-in mudroom bench with shoe storage. The new natural light from this window brings sunlight to a former dark spot in our house, and also allows for us to see out to our frequently used flagstone patio. As a bonus, out of the window, during the evenings we get to see the string lights that hang over our patio. It’s magical.