My latest before and after project was salvaging this old, dilapidated Victrola.  It was really in rough shape – deep cracks, missing a door, broken hinges. But, the label on the bottom said it was made in 1924, so I could not resist trying to salvage it!

victrola before


Step one was cleaning the entire piece (it had many, many years of “I’ve been sitting in a garage” grime).

My good carpenter friend helped make a new right door and found a vintage hinge online that would fit.  Once the new door was in place, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to just sand a restain it – the cracks on the body of the piece were too deep, and I wouldn’t be able to easily color match a new door.  So, I opted for paint and moved forward with priming the piece. I chose a gorgeous gray paint and accented with bronze metallic paint (from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot). Added new hardware, reconnected the crank, and voila! A gorgeous record cabinet!  Plus, as a bonus, the turntable actually still works. I imagine some industrious person could find a new needle and actually make it play.  Currently, I am selling this piece for $375. More information at

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Nora and Manny are a pair of pugs who have been together since birth. I adopted them about 3 years ago. I am 100% in love. And you will be too.

1. They cuddle as close as pugly possible.

2. The look as upset as you feel when it gets cold outside and you aren’t wearing a coat.

3. Sometimes they form a pug stack.


5. They actually form a pug stack ALL the time.


7. They understand your need to see pugs in costumes around Halloween.

8. They are great listeners.

9. Manny’s under-bite is out of control.

10. Almost as out of control as Nora’s tongue.

11. They just want to sleep in with you on Sunday mornings.

12.  And protect you from dangerous pigeons.

13. And be everything you ever needed in a pair of best friends.

14. The end.

Oh my, I have been neglecting the blog. But, all for good reason: My kitchen renovation is FINALLY complete and I have finished applied to graduate schools.  In other words, I am BACK!

As you remember, this was my kitchen BEFORE the renovation:


Giant peninsula taking up half the room, mismatched cabinets and counters. Not ideal.

So, after many, many months… is the result!


Ah, finally!  Let me know your thoughts!


So, we’ve worked hard this week and added the cabinet doors AND took up all the Ram Board so we can finally see the gorgeous floors!! (FREAK OUT!)


Are you just dying? I’m dying. And, let me show you a little secret on the other side of the cabinet: a built-in wine rack.  This was just a spur of the moment decision – we had a skinny opening that we were planning to just close off and not use for any purpose at all. And, well, that sort of waste of space just does not fly in a small older house like mine! So, I went into my closet and grabbed an empty bottle of wine (I’m not a wino who has empty wine bottles everywhere, I promise. I just use wine bottles to stuff my tall boots so they don’t fall over in the closet).  The empty cupboard was the perfect size for a wine cabinet – truly meant to be.  What do you think? Adorable, right?


Next post I will show you the new counter tops –  We are getting there!


We started the cabinet installs this week!  We chose to have our wonderful carpenters Ben and Ken build the cabinets for us, which honestly ended up being on par cost-wise with buying already done cabinets. And, this way, we were able to perfectly fit the cabinets into my unusually shaped kitchen. Next week – granite!

And, as far as the colors…Last weekend, my mom and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday painting the walls in Martha Stewart’s Endive – very pale green.


Then, we will paint the lower cabinets in Behr’s Arabian Veil:


And the top cabinets in Behr’s Moonrise:


I am pretty excited about the two-toned cabinet look – I think it will be modern and fresh, and I think that the dark lower cabinets will bring in some depth of color without making the entire room dark or closed-off.  The light walls and white upper cabinets will create that breezy, open feel we all want!

We ended up having to totally restructure the fireplace, which was sad but has led to two good developments in the project:

1) We are going to repurpose the old mantel and use it as a decorative piece on the front porch – so excited.

2) We are going to use an unfinished-edge piece of vintage lumber as the new mantel!!

We started thinking about the possibility of using a vintage piece last week, and my brilliant mother knew exactly where to go: Woodstock Vintage Lumber. After wandering through the yard without any pieces really speaking to us, the owner Brent got a funny look on his face and disappeared. He then came back with the most unbelievably gorgeous piece of Tennessee Red Cedar. It was the perfect size, shape and color for the mantel! Here is what it looked like before sanding and planing:


It was love at first sight, so we purchased the piece. Billy, one of the Vintage Lumber geniuses, took the piece and planed one side so it would fit against the wall and sanded the whole thing. Here he is showing off his handywork:

And a closer look at the finished mantel:


And my cute mom (who hid from the camera), holding the piece over the unfinished fireplace:


So thrilled about this find!!

We installed the Acacia wood floors this week from Lumber Liquidators and promptly covered them up with Ram Board!  But, I managed to sneak a few photos of the floors before they disappeared.



Sadly, we weren’t able to save much of the old fireplace – once we pulled the mantle off, the rest started to crumble right before our eyes. But, our trusty carpenters are busily working on the new fireplace mantle as we speak! The plan is to use subway tile around the fireplace and have an unfinished-edge mantel above.


And we keep marching on!

Oh, you guys, it is happening. Today was demolition day in my kitchen!  You can see in the before pictures, it wasn’t a bad kitchen. But we really wanted the island to be an actual island rather than a peninsula, and I’m dying to have two-tone cabinets. So all of this had to go:

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And after demolition today…

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Look at those stunning vintage tiles we found beneath the old fireplace hearth!  Not sure if we can salvage them yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Ah, book club.  For centuries women have been using “Book Club” as an excuse to get together, drink wine, eat cheese and gossip about men. My book club is no different.  This month, it was my turn to host and I tried to create a warm environment that would encourage the gossip…er, book discussion.


See you next month!