Many of you have been on the journey with us throughout our own renovation over the past 2+ years. We’ve shared a lot on Instagram (@peachandpinehome) in our stories and posts and have appreciated all your love and feedback throughout the process! Surprisingly (at least to us) our blog post Our Kitchen Cabinets: An honest review of IKEA and Semihandmade has become one of our most visited web pages of all time. Crazy! But since that is the case, we wanted to do a little 1 year(ish) update here.Read More
Every once in a while, a client comes along who becomes a friend. The Hellmanns feel more like family. This precious family hired me to help them with their main floor remodel, but I feel like more than that, they invited me into their lives and home. I'm so excited to share these before-and-afters!
This client lives on a beautiful piece of property north of Nashville where they have five therapy horses and a beautiful, picturesque view out every window. They bought the house for the land, however, and the house itself needed a little work.
We updated nearly every surface in the main floor. All new hardwood floors, new kitchen layout (using existing cabinets with a fresh coat of paint), new trim, shiplap in the living room, new furniture, and paint on every surface.
They love a French country, cottage feel but they also like pops of color and spunk. One of my favorite things is the use of pieces that are memories from family passed down. We used some of the client's existing furniture pieces and mixed them in with new things.
For starters, here is the kitchen. We started with a very poorly constructed kitchen. Builder basic cabinets that were hung off-centered, with gaps in between cabinets, and mismatched from top to bottom. The floors were linoleum, and the overwhelming amount of wood tones made the room feel dark and small.
Fresh paint, new floors, a new sink, and gorgeous quartz countertops all came together to give this room an entirely new look and feel.
One of my favorite things is that table in the center of the room that belonged to the client's late mother. What a beautiful legacy of family togetherness that will continue to serve as a gathering place! We were looking for an island for that spot, and I said that it needed to be 25 inches wide by roughly 6 feet long. When we went to the barn and measured the table, it was a perfect fit!
In the dining space, we left all the original furniture, but it's amazing what some new paint, lighting, and window treatments can do!
The green paint wasn't doing the room any favors!
But now, a pretty blue-gray feels like a breath of fresh air!
The Living Room is where we brought in the pops of color with a bold rug and sofa.
Here is the before...
And the bright, shiplap-y after! That tobacco basket belonged to the client's Dad. We found it in the barn with the tobacco still hanging from it!
Their cute poodle, Garrison, insisted on getting in on the action!
Thank you to the Hellmanns for letting me be part of the transformation of your beautiful home!
Our kitchen updates that we started around a year ago are finally done! We started by painting the cabinets. Then when we realized that we probably weren't gonna spend the money for new countertops anytime in the immediate future, we decided to give Ardex Concrete Countertops a shot. Here was the reasoning behind my decision:
1. I love the look of concrete counters.
2. It's an inexpensive option (we spent less than $150 on materials and supplies)
3. We weren't attached to our laminate counters, so I didn't feel worried about messing them up.
I first decided I wanted to try it after seeing the folks at Young House Love give it a try. There are so many tutorials on applying concrete counters, but they always do such a good job with tutorials.
We started this process over a year ago with orange cabinets and beige walls. Those were not our glory days.
We made a MAJOR improvement last year by painting the cabinets cloud white by Benjamin Moore and adding hardware (see more details here).
Our countertops remained "faux stone" laminate. They weren't offensive. They could have been worse. But they also weren't doing our kitchen any favors.
Step 1: Prep
We started by collecting all of our supplies:
- Ardex Concrete (purchase here)
- Large drywall taping knife (like this one) and putty knife
- Orbital sander and sanding pads
- A plastic paint bucket for mixing concrete
- Something to stir the concrete (aka paint stir stick)
- Plastic dropcloths to section off our living room from the kitchen
- Dust masks
- 511 Impregnator Sealer
- Acrylaq Safecoat in Satin
As you can see in the above photo on the right, we hung a dropcloth from the ceiling (via thumbtacks) to try to protect our living area from the dust flying around once we started the sanding process. This project is nothing if not messy, so be prepared.
We then prepped the surface by sanding everything down with a medium grit sandpaper and our orbital sander...just to remove some of the shiny finish from the laminate. Then, we wiped them down to remove any dust.
Step 2: Layers of Concrete
We did three layers of Ardex concrete. You can find a lot more detailed descriptions of how to spread the concrete over at Young House Love (and lots of other places), but the moral of the story is this:
Mix the concrete according to instructions...in small batches to keep from drying out. Use a drywall knife to spread it over the large surfaces of the counters...as smooth as possible. Then use a smaller putty knife for edges, corners, and backsplash.
Let dry according to instructions (I think we waited about six hours between coats) and then apply another coat.
We did some light sanding between coats but waited for heavy sanding until the end.
Here is how it looked during the process:
After 3 coats of concrete, it was time to sand those surfaces down.
Step 3: Sand
This is where some of your personal preferences come in. John & Sherry from Young House love wanted their surfaces as smooth as possible, so they were much more particular about making everything perfect and even. We, on the other hand, wanted imperfection (which is a much easier goal to achieve).
I wanted the surfaces to look worn and rustic and a bit imperfect. We sanded it with that in mind. We wanted everything as level as possible, but I was ok with slight variations in color and texture.
We started by sanding with a heavy 60 grit. Then we moved our way to a 120 grit and a 220 grit to get it smooth and glasslike.
As soon as we finished this process, I was in love. I LOVED the matte finish and wished we didn't have to seal it at all, but alas.
As you can see, there is a lot of color variation in the surface. We loved that and wanted that. Also, we made kind of a mess of the top edges, but we were still planning on installing a backsplash, so we weren't as careful.
Before you seal, be prepared to clean up piles and piles of concrete dust. Our walls, floors, ceiling, light fixtures, and cabinets all needed a very thorough wipe down.
Step 4: Seal
Here comes the trickiest part of it all. There are SO MANY options for sealers, and after lots of research, we ended up, once again, following the Young House Love method (511 Impregnator Sealer followed by Acrylaq in Satin) for a couple of reasons.
1. Everything they used was food safe. Because these are counters, I really didn't want to use anything toxic.
2. They reported after a year that it was still going strong!
3. It was a fairly affordable option compared to what I saw other bloggers using which would have increased the cost of our countertops significantly.
But here is where I mainly went wrong. I didn't order anything in advance, and once we got to the end of the project, I ran to Home Depot for the 511 Impregnator Sealer, but I had to order the Acrylaq, and it took over a week to arrive. So for a week, we had to baby our counters because I learned quickly that concrete absorbs everything. Sealer is IMPERATIVE. Trust me on this one.
Because we waited a week, I then had to use muscle power to scrub out oil stains that bled into the concrete (even after applying the 511 sealer and despite us trying our best to cover the counters and be careful).
Honestly...I'm not certain that the 511 sealer did much of anything. That was a little discouraging. But then once the Acrylaq came in, we applied 3-4 coats according to instructions and then went on vacation for four days and let it cure completely!
We came back to FINISHED COUNTERS! *The crowd goes wild*
I will do another post at some point about our review of the sealer and the counters...and I will link to it then. We love the way they look, but we haven't been 100% happy with the durability already. I feel like I need to live with them a little longer, however, to fully form an opinion. And this post is already a mile long.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
In addition to the countertop update, we made a couple of other slight updates to our kitchen. We installed a shiplap backsplash (using the plywood method), and we finally got a rug for the sink area that I absolutely ADORE.
So, without further ado...the reveal!
The rug is from Rejuvenation, and I simply love it. These floors would not be my first choice for a kitchen, but both the countertops and the rug make the floors look more intentional. I love the subtle color that the woven rug adds.
And for a couple final before and afters...
I've said it before, and I will say it again. Lighting matters.
It just does.
We are lights of the world. Light conquers darkness. Light makes us less afraid. Light reveals flaws.
And lighting does a lot for a room.
Here is where we were with the lighting in the breakfast nook.
Not offensive. Just a simple and functional ceiling fan. But it wasn't centered over the table, and it definitely didn't look intentional. So, I wanted to find something to make a statement.
I fell in love with this light from a Young House Love house crash of Kristin at Restored Style. (In fact, I fell in love with pretty much everything about this house crash). The fixture is from Ballard Design, but it was just a little bit out of my price range. Not outrageous, but I love to do things at a bargain.
Then, one day in my regular internet searching, I came across this light from World Market. And I did a little dance. At least my fingers did a little dance across the keys and pressed purchase. Because it was only $99. On sale for $70. With free shipping. And it was on backorder for just 2 weeks (I think it is on backorder until October now), but it came eventually and yesterday we hung it up.
I know, right?
I'm so happy with the way it transformed this area from just being a table and a banquette to more of a defined dining space. I also have some Roman Shades on order from JC Penney to replace the mini blinds on the surrounding windows.
Also, we just used a swag hook from Lowe's to drape the light directly over the kitchen table. It's a simple way to put a light in the right spot without having to move the electrical box.
While we're talking dining...there is another small change to the room. The barstools we had sitting at the peninsula were borrowed from a table and chair set that we are selling, so we needed to replace those barstools. I brainstormed all kinds of ways to make cheap barstools look higher end because I didn't want to spend much money, but then I stumbled across the perfect fit on Craigslist for $20 a piece.
Sometimes Craigslist is a royal pain, and things fall through and people are weird and you have to wait and search for ages, but sometimes you find the right thing for the right price and pick it up the next day from some nice people at a beautiful house in the country on a perfect Sunday evening with your husband before a nice date.
And that's what happened.
I like how the wicker fits in with several other design elements in our room. And I like the industrial look of the metal legs that ties into our industrial kitchen table. They are deceitfully heavy. I feel good about the quality and sturdiness.
Just a reminder with some terrible photos of where we started (tip: bad pictures make the reveal better)
And what it looked like this morning... (Ignore the cleaning products on the kitchen table. Although I do recommend Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation. For the record)
I'm not thrilled with the way the Morning Light was messing with my photo. I will try to replace with a better picture soon :-)
I love you all! And I can't wait to share Jeremy's antique piano turned desk later this week.