Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kitchen Conundrum

This is what my kitchen looks like now:

It's... fine. The island rocks but the rest is kind of boring. Maple cabinets and white appliances aren't really my cuppa tea (and a corner sink is never the right answer). But it's in pretty good shape so we're going to stick to cosmetic (read: CHEAP) changes. Painting the cabinets, maybe putting glass in the upper doors, adding molding on top so they don't look so stubby. New counters and an actual backsplash.  Deep-sixing the ceiling fan in favor of a pendant light. And a hutch for extra storage.

First step though is painting the walls and cabinets. But - say it with me - WHAT COLOR? Moodboard time, baby!
White is classic; a bright accent color keeps it from being boring
Grey is totally on trend, sophisticated and elegant
Grey-blue cabinets with white walls could be refreshing and unexpected
White + wood + a blast of saturated color on the walls = yummy

*I realize I should credit the source of these gorgeous room photos, however most I have pulled from various blogs over the years and I have no idea from whence they came. Sorry.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Olivia's Room

We need to take better pics, when it's not 7PM and we're totally wiped out, but here's a glimpse at Olivia's new (and very pink) room - the color is a really rich, bright pink called Benjamin Moore Peony that's not showing up quite right in this photo.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Crib notes

Look what I did, all by myself!

Well, Josh put in the bottom since it was super heavy and I'm a delicate preggo. Baby needs a mattress, but organic mattress are dang expensive, so that will have to wait a bit. Unless the Organic Mattress Fairy pays us a little visit.

I am undecided on the skirt, but we're doing mix and match instead of buying a bedding set. We won't use bumpers, so why bother. Plus, you probably know how I feel about matchy-match by now.

On the down low

Today is the last day our bed will look like this.

Note Ozzy Bear waiting patiently for me to leave so he can climb aboard

Tomorrow, Room and Board will be delivering this gorgeous piece heaven.

When we walked away from closing with an extra $5K in our pockets (don't ask me how THAT happened), we decided to pop for a new king size bed, since the mattress we had was older than Olivia and just slightly better than sleeping on a pile of rusty tacks. New mattress is the Sonno Versa from DWR and possibly the most wonderful thing that has ever existed. I don't wake up all creaky and cranky anymore. Okay, the cranky part is a lie, but that's mostly because I have to roll off the mattress onto all fours and heave myself into an upright position without making peepee at 3AM every morning. Being pregnant and sleeping on the floor is fun! It's like camping!

You're probably like, What's up with the plaid dog blanket, Kar? I did buy some fancy new bedding from Anthro but I'm having a big fight right now with the post office about forwarding our mail. It's a pretty one-sided fight. I'm shaking my fist and making threats; they're keeping all my stuff. Perhaps the spirit will move them to bring it next week. Let's pray to the postal gods, since I bought the duvet on ebay and it's not insured.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kitchen Island: Before and After

Josh took a sander and some industrial-strength cleaner to Buddy Guy's island last night, and it went from looking like this:

to looking like this:

It's still got that patina I like - there's a dip where someone liked to stand and chop, and the stainless is worn under the pots. But I'd rather have a little character than brand new Ikea. For our house it's gonna be about mixing it up, new with vintage. An island with a bit of history is the perfect centerpiece for the kitchen.

Now there's just the small job of painting the walls and those cabinets... volunteers?

Friday, August 20, 2010

An island in the rough

Our new kitchen is Counterspace Challenged, so we bought an island tonight on Craigslist for $150. I know, it looks a little tore up from the floor up, but I think some attention from a belt sander will turn it gorgeous. Plus, it came from Buddy Guy's Legends, a super famous blues club in Chicago. Loves me some Craigslist!

[I will leave out the part of the story where my lovely husband gave me bad directions and we took a 20 minute detour the wrong way through a majorly scary neighborhood.


Name That Baby

If you thought picking a paint color was a problem, let me tell you about choosing a name. We know we're having a boy, so that rules out all 50% of the potentials... and that's where the indecision begins.

Girls names were no problem. My number one contender was Cleo Catherine, after the place we had our first date (Cleo's) and my Grandma (Kathryn Jean). It was personal, had meaning for us, and was a perfect blend of original and classic.

But for boys, we got nothin'. Stoner is a whole lot of last name to work with, and it creates a whole new set of rules:

1. No names that end with "s" or "x." It runs right into Stoner withnoseparation. That rules out some of my favorite names: Silas, Felix and Rhys.
2. No names that end with "er." RIP Sawyer Stoner or Dexter Stoner. The double "er" sounds dumb(er).
3. No names that don't go with Stoner. This is a rule that involves thinking about a name from a lot of angles. On the surface, Holden Stoner looks like a nice name. But then you get to holding stoner and it falls to pot (sorry). Same with Hugh Stoner. Huge Stoner? No. Truman is a sweet name. Tru Stoner is not. Flynn is adorable. Flynn Stoner is a cartoon from the 80's. WILLLLMA!
4. No place names. Dallas Stoner sounds like a 30 year old cowboy who still lives in his mom's basement and delivers pizzas.
5. No names in the top 100. This is my own personal rule, since I screwed it up so royally the first time, picking names that are currently #3 (Olivia) and #25 (Dylan). Everyone and their brother has a little girl named Olivia now, so I'm looking for a little more Standing Out power this time around
6. No naming him after Rhett Miller. Even though it's tempting.

So here is a list of the survivors. Some of these we've already ruled out, and I think it's fair to say we've got our Top 5 serious contenders, but we're keeping those under wraps for now.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nursery sneak peek

The first color was too minty, but the second paint was the charm. It's Benjamin Moore Rainforest Dew and it's a luminous, light greenish-yellow, brighter than it reads here onscreen. Despite what Olivia says, it is NOT the color of snot. I think it looks like a ripe delicious honeydew. Mmm, honeydew. Note to shopping list: melons.

Moving on up

It's official. Moving has kicked my butt. Between painting almost every room and most of the trim, cleaning, packing and unpacking, we're one tired bunch of Stoners.

The good news: 100% of the house is unpacked after 1 day.

The bad news: the basement looks like this.

I guess that's what happens when you go from having a huge family room to having no family room. Also, why do we own so much crap?

More bad news:
• I have approximately 1/2 the cabinet space in my new kitchen
• the microwave doesn't work
• there's mold in the washer

But the master bathroom pretty much makes up for all of it. You could park a Cadillac in that shower.

Painting was the biggest pain, but the most rewarding, immediate-gratification-wise. I'm really happy with all the colors we ended up with, but the kitchen and the entry are still in their original non-glory. Note the sad entry below, with a range of not-right color samples on the wall. Josh leaves the room whenever I bring it up. Man that is a boring light fixture. Free to anyone who wants to come pick it up!

Yay for my brother and Josh's dad, our painting crew! Here B is putting the 22nd coat of primer on the Red Room.

Layla has been generally unfazed by the move. Here she is lolling on our new mattress (not cool) because it's on the floor, because our bed is still on order, because someone (me) had to have custom fabric on the upholstered headboard. No amount of cajoling (or yelling) can convince her that this is not a fancy dog bed. Bad!

Ozzy isn't taking it so well. He paced and whined and made gurgling stomach noises all night before giving up and sleeping in the closet. Poor old Bear.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just close your eyes and point

I have 10 paint samples up on the walls of the nursery and I still can't pick a color. This is getting ridiculous. If I ask Josh one more time to weigh in on the virtues of cream versus off white, he may move to Mexico.

I think they call this Pregnancy Brain. I blame the fetus.

But, other than that, look how cute!

Rainforest Dew, don't you think? Or maybe Distant Star. But definitely not Patriotic White. 

I don't think.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm still standing

Taking public transportation while 7 months pregnant is an eye-opening experience. Some people are nice and offer me a seat right away. But at least 50% of the time, I’m left standing. It’s almost amusing, the lengths some people will go to so they can pretend not to see my giant belly swaying a few inches from their faces.

There’s Suddenly Sleeping Guy who goes from wide-awake to dead asleep in .5 seconds. There’s Ms. I’m Reading Here, who is so engrossed in her novel that she bends over it until her nose is mere inches from the page, thereby ensuring she can’t see you.

Then there’s Looking The Other Way Dude, who is totally absorbed in something Over There, in the opposite direction from where I’m standing. He doesn’t even know I’m standing here! His neck doesn’t even bend this way!

One of my favorites is the hippie chic with all the peace & love crap on her bag and dreads in her hair. I guess peace and love doesn’t extend to the tired-ass pregnant chick standing in front of you for ½ hour, rubbing her belly and heaving giant sighs.

I also love the people who don’t offer you a seat but get off the train 5 minutes later. I guess standing up for those five minutes would just be too taxing.

I was on the bus with Dylan the other night, going to the Cubs game, when an elderly couple got on. I didn’t even have to say anything to him, he just popped right up and offered the lady his seat.

Looks like someone's mama raised him right.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white bedroom

Some people might find an all-white bedroom too boring, but I think it's super serene. We (read: Josh) painted the master suite BM Swiss Coffee last weekend, and I'm totally in with love it. It's warm and bright but not blinding to the retinas. Hopefully I feel the same way when we wake up there every morning with the sun streaming into through the skylights. Please pretend the white shag carpet is hardwood flooring. Next year it should be.

Bye-bye boring beige...

... hello, light and lovely.

Countdown til the move: 11 days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Once there was a girl named Kari, who met a boy named Josh Stoner.

 They fell in love.

She had 2 kids.

He had a giant TV.

They got married...

moved it all into an adorable apartment ...

and adopted two big black dogs who shed like crazy.

Then, this happened. 

So they started looking for a house.

They searched and searched and searched. The first deal fell through. Sads! But finally they found it.

The House. 

This is the story of transforming that house into Home Sweet Stoner.

Come on in.