Tag Archives: white

Kitchen Remodel Progress

Hello folks! I wanted to do a quick post on our kitchen remodel progress. We started six weeks ago and the contractor finally finished last Saturday.  We MADE IT (!!) through the stress of going through a major remodel and eating out of a make-shift kitchen and wondering when the contractor will be done. I will share more about the remodel experience and about installing IKEA cabinets in the next few posts. And for those who’ve been waiting to see the “before” pictures, I want to save them for the final reveal, so that you will have a good side by side comparison. For now, here’s how our gross, UgLY, 1970’s kitchen transformed in the last 6 weeks!

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Obviously, the last few pictures are not the final reveal. I’ll have much better pictures taken with my DSLR for the final post in way better lighting. We started moving into the new kitchen and figuring out the window treatment, picking out the fabric for the banquette seating, shopping for decorations, etc. You know, the real fun part of remodeling! There is no set deadline for everything to be done but we desperately need some window covering so that the whole neighborhood stops driving by and peeking into our lives! (We like our neighbors, but still…)

In my last remodel post, I mentioned about sharing a design board of all the components. Well, sorry, I didn’t get around to making a design board but I made a list of the materials we used:

  • Cabinets: IKEA Bodbyn doors in gray (island) and off-white (the rest)
  • Quartz Countertop: LG Viatera in Cirrus
  • Vinyl Floors: RC Vinyl in Walnut
  • Backsplash Tiles: Jeffrey Court 3×12 in Allegro White from Home Depot
  • Farmhouse Sink: IKEA Domsjo double bowl sink
  • Faucet: IKEA Glittran
  • Over the sink lighting: Style Selections 5.52-in Polished Chrome Mini Crystal Pendant from Lowes
  • Dining area lighting: Possini Euro Metairie 20″W Silver Fabric Crystal Chandelier from Lamps Plus
  • Island Hood: Frigidaire
  • Dishwasher: Whirlpool
  • Refrigerator: LG
  • Cooktop and Oven: Kenmore Pro
  • White paint: Valspar’s “Soft Wool” in semi-gloss finish from Lowes for the ceiling/trims/doors & Behr’s color match in the off-white cabinet color. The Soft Wool color did NOT match the cabinets all that well. It is on the whiter/lighter side. So, I got some color matched paint and repainted the upper cabinet’s crown molding. Much better now!
  • Grey wall paint: Benjamin Moore’s “Stonington Gray” in semi-gloss finish

My favorite element in the kitchen is the ~~beautiful~~ over the sink lighting from Lowes. It is absolutely gorgeous in person with all the crystals glowing and sparkling in the light. Second is the gray wall paint color (Stonington Gray) by Benjamin Moore. We’ve had a wall color change once, which went from Behr’s “Historical Ruins” greige color to this one. Our front door is painted with Historical Ruins and it looks very nice against the blue exterior of our house. But in the kitchen, this greige ended up looking too green unfortunately. BM’s Stonington Gray has a blue tint to the grey but not in the slightest bad way.  It is clean, soothing and sophisticated, which is what we wanted for the kitchen.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Feel free to leave a comment or question below and I will do my best to get back to you soon!

Quartz Countertop Shopping

Shopping for quartz countertops can be overwhelming due to all the wonderful options out there! We’re skipping all the major brand names (Ceasarstone, Silestone, Cambria) and going for the lesser-known ones to make our selection for our new kitchen! We found that the generic ones (that usually “copy” the major brands’ designs) are cheaper in price and slightly lesser in quality (90% quartz versus 93%).  But the 3% difference is not a big deal according to all the quartz vendors we’ve been talking to. So far, our top choice is from LG Viatera quartz in Cirrus.

LG Viatera Quartz in Cirrus
Cirrus

When you look at it in person (which I recommend that you do for any countertops/flooring/back splash tiles, etc.), it’s grayer than what the website describes it to be (“White with subtle hints of gray”). Since we’re going with white cabinets and a gray island (IKEA BODBYN), we wanted the countertop to be in the gray family but nothing too dark or crazy. There were many contenders in the last few weeks but so far, this is the winner.

IKEA Bodbyn Kitchen

IKEA Bobdyn Kitchen

Ideally, we would love to have a Carrara marble countertop. But the maintenance seems too daunting for all the Korean food we’re going to be cooking! Can you imagine spilling kimchee jigae all over your beautiful marble top and having red stains all over your expensive investment?! But we do LOVE the look of Carrara marble… It was funny how we were immediately drawn to it every time we went to a showroom. One time, we saw a sample of it with a bunch of quartz samples and thought, ‘OMG! We finally found THE ONE quartz manufacturer that got it right!! They made their quartz look exactly like Carrara marble!’ Ha! We were promptly told that it was marble with a chuckle.  Wishful thinking…

So we had no choice but to resort to quartz stone that resembled marble (we didn’t want to deal with the maintenance of granite either.) Most of the marble-like quartz we’ve seen were too blue-cheesy for our taste. Or the veining was too dark or pronounced against the light background. But close contenders were: PentalQuartz’s Onixaa, Silestone’s Lagoon, Silestone’s Ariel, MSI Q quartz’s Cashmere Carrara and a few others. I’ve been Pinteresting like crazy to my kitchen board of all of these options. Feel free to check it out here!

We’re starting our kitchen remodel planning waaaaay early, like several months before.  But we wouldn’t be the Lee Sisters if we didn’t start this early! Last year’s remodel was getting rid of our carpet throughout the house and re-flooring with laminate, painting the house inside and out, replacing our central AC/heating, updating our electrical, and refurnishing a few rooms from scratch. This year’s going to be gutting out the kitchen, combining the current kitchen space with the adjoining dining room to make one big kitchen with an island. In the last few weeks, we’ve measured, drew up our own blueprint, shopped and researched countless hours online (Google image search to the rescue!), drove over to the Anaheim stone and tile district, Home Depot/Lowe’s trips, Floor and Decor (which we just got in our town a few weeks ago), and talked to as many pros in the industry for estimates and tips.  It feels so much better now that I have a ballpark of what things are going to cost. We’re hoping to meet our budget and I think we will if we balance our splurges with economic options. But we’re also being realistic and setting aside some contingency fund (for possible mold, asbestos, termite – the three monster problems I really wish we have none of!)  This planning stage is exciting but also could be anxiety-producing, as there seems so much to do and go through to reach the end. But I’m just imagining a pristine white kitchen with just the right accents to be the reward and that would be worth all the trouble.

My next post will include a design board of all of our kitchen remodel components. Stay tuned!

Wedding Decoration Photos

My super talented photographer friend, Sandra (of Shoebox Stories Photography/Loveland Photography), had asked me to help her take some photos at her family’s wedding. I was quite surprised when she asked since I’m still just starting out. But she assured me that I could do a good job. (I sure hope I did. hahaha!) So I agreed with some bridled excitement. My task was to photograph the wedding decorations, while she was to take care of the rest. Here are her photos from the wedding. And below are mine. Some of the reception photos were challenging to edit since they were taken under bright fluorescent lighting. But I picked out the ones I liked the most. Feel free to tell me how they turned out!

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Fall Pumpkin Centerpiece

Hello folks!

Long time no write on blog! I don’t know if I should be sad or happy about it. Sad because I have so much to write about but “life” took over and blogging had to take a back seat for about a month. Happy because I was able to enjoy the break even in the midst of more pressing responsibilities. Aaah, life… Why can’t it be all about play? 🙂

Anywho, I had these awesome pumpkins** painted and ready to go about a month ago. They were all orange when I received them. I’ll skip the step-by-step how-to’s. But I’ve included some of the in-process shots at the bottom. First, here are some pictures of the finished products. Enjoy!

**I received the pumpkins and acrylic paints from Oriental Trading Company for this review. All opinions are my own.

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I LOooooOOooooove~ these china from Lenox!! It’s the French Perle collection.
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Here are the some of the before shots. Sorry, these were taken with my point and shoot so the quality isn’t great.
Painted pumpkins

The pumpkins were painted with white acrylic paint first, then I added a layer of “Fine Crackle Effect” medium by Martha Stewart. I may have put it on too generously. You can see it dripping on the pumpkins. Please learn from my mistake. 😉 For the white paint, I mixed plain white with some cream colored paint to make it an off-white for a more natural look.
Pumpkins painted with white acrylic paint

Here’s a close-up of the fine crackle effect.
Fine Crackle white pumpkin

And lastly, some of the paint colors I chose from the Martha Stewart’s Pearl and Metallic acrylic paint collection. I did end up going to Michael’s a couple of times to get more acrylic paint (of different colors.) I didn’t take photos for the coloring part but you can see in the final products above of the variation I made. ‘Tis was lots of fun!
Martha Stewart pearl metallic acrylic paint

Outdoor Wedding Altar – Hawaiian Style

The next series of posts will be on the decorations I designed for my friends’ wedding last month. I had the privilege of transforming someone’s spacious backyard into an outdoor Hawaiian wedding venue! The theme was Hawaiian but more specifically incorporating the elements of earth-water-fire (sand, water, candlelights) with accents of blues and purple.

Back in April, I visited the wedding site and did a rough sketch of what the place should look like:
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And here’s how it turned out!
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Rough sketch of the altar design:
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And how it actually looked:
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It was really neat how the sketches came to life one by one. Like someone said, I had an overload of creative inspirations from all over the internet and frankly driving myself crazy. hahaha. (My Pinterest wedding boards were exploding with images during the month before.) It was very difficult to narrow down my ideas to a few, because I wanted to try so many things! But the original sketches kept me grounded and helped me stay on course, maintaining the simplicity the couple wanted.

The altar being the focal embellishment of the wedding, I wanted to create an airy and celestial feel. I got about 6 yards of white curtain fabric at $2/yard (found it in the clearance section but further bargained with the owner and shaved off 50 cents/yard) that would hang down in the shape of a steeple. I looked around for a super long curtain rod but couldn’t find one at the local stores and the ones online were way too pricey for our budget. I even thought about getting a PVC pipe and cutting it down to size. But I found a better solution at the 99 cents store of all places – Bamboo sticks!! They came in a bundle of 5-6 long skinny sticks and man, did I get so much use out of them! I grouped about three of them together and tied them up with some jute twine to create one strong “rod”. Then I connected the rods with more twine to make one super long pole.
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The location of the altar were flanked by two magnificent pine trees and the challenge was to figure out how to hang the curtains between them. There were branches hanging down between the tree trunks but they were too high up and dangerous for us to reach even with a ladder. So we had no choice but to tie the ends to the trunks and hoped that the weight of the curtains wouldn’t cause the rod to snap overnight! The rod was slightly bending in the middle when we were done setting up but thank God, everything stayed intact well after the ceremony! The resilience of bamboo and jute twine…
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The flower backdrop was made out of cheap plastic leis from Oriental Trading Company that looked rather elegant when put together (if I may say so!) 🙂 And we hung a glass lantern down the middle of the curtains as an accent piece.
Flower Leis Backdrop

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I’m SO GLAD we set up the altar and other labor-intensive items like the paper lanterns the night before. It was a lot of work and I had lots of help! My first outdoor wedding decoration was a blast!
Altar

Happy July 4th by the way!! Have a safe and fun celebration everyone!! Up next, tablescape…