The Big Kitchen Before and After Reveal

After almost 3 months of constructions, our kitchen is finally complete.
And we couldn't be happier with the results.

Take a peek!



New window and pendent above the double bowl, apron fronted sink.

36" range and custom hood.


Custom panel fronted built-in fridge and pantry.


Built-in buffet area.


Wet bar.

Well, there you have it. 
The new and improved kitchen. 

There's a lot to take in...I hope you enjoy!

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Until next time, 
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Saturday's Kitchen: Green Gazpacho

With the type of weather we've been having around here, cool foods are a must. 
I tried this green gazpacho for a week night meal, and it was quick, easy and refreshing! 
Even my 3 year old enjoyed it.

1 cucumber , halved lengthways, deseeded and roughly chopped
yellow pepper , deseeded and roughly chopped
garlic cloves , crushed
1 small avocado , chopped
bunch green onions  , chopped
small bunch mint , chopped
150ml pot fat-free natural yogurt
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
few shakes green Tabasco sauce
snipped chives , to serve

In a food processor or blender, blitz all the ingredients, reserving half the mint and yogurt, until smooth. 

Add a little extra vinegar, Tabasco and seasoning to taste, then add a splash of water if you like it thinner.
    Chill until very cold, then serve with a dollop more yogurt, mint, chives and a few ice cubes if you like. 

    The soup will keep in the fridge for 2 days - just give it a good stir before serving.

    Cook's Note
    This is my kind of recipe - a little bit of this, a little bit of that, etc. Perfect for summer cooking!

    I did think that this soup benefited from a good drizzle of fruity olive oil before serving.

    I hope you enjoy! 

    And as always, if you do try it and like it, please do let me know!

    Until next time, 
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    Summer Mantel

    Last I left you, I had completed my mirror makeover and was in search of a final home for her to reside. 

    Did you guess where she would end up?

    Over the mantel, of course!

    And now she is accompanied by her summer friends. 

    Let's move in for a closer look.

    This painting was actually the original reason for the mirror. 
    I love this little painting on it's own stand, but I really struggled with where to use it. 
    Layered with other artwork, always seemed to be too much. 

    But it needed a support partner on the wall - enter the mirror.
    Obviously the painting was the first item to be placed on the mantel once the mirror was in place!

    My orchid just finished blooming, but I still love the shape so decided to include it set against the black backdrop of the mirror. 

    And of course, no mantel is complete without candles - ambiance is everything in my book!

    Now I know everyone loves a good before and after...

    And after - Summer Mantel

    Definitely a lighter look for a summer. 

    Until next time, 
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    PB Inspired Mirror Makeover

    I've long coveted this lovely mirror from my good friend's over at Pottery Barn, 
    but the price has held me back.

    So I sourced (from Lowe's) a similar mirror, but at a much lower price,  and put it on my birthday list 
    (yes, back in May!).

    Lucky me, I received it - thanks Linda and Dave!

    The plan: paint, antique and distress.

    Here it is after one coat of primer and two coats of Francesca by Martha Stewart Living Paint from Home Depot.

    Next up: hitting the high point with my favorite, Rub n' Buff in Antique Gold.

    Quite a bit of elbow grease later and the antique gold has been buffed to a subtle finish.

    Close up for your viewing pleasure!

    Now it's just a matter of finding a place for our newly refinished mirror.

    Mr. DD likes it in the corner of the living room over a vintage painted chest.

    I quite like it over the mantel.

    Check back later in the week to see where it ends up - it'll take us that long to hash it all out!

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    Decisions - I may actually be making progress!

    This is now my 3rd post on the search for fabric for the new color scheme in the living room. 

    Last I left you, I was considering this lovely stripe for the window panels. 

    Remember that wise woman's (my Mom) comment on just ordering a bit of the fabric to see if I really like it? 

    Well, I took her advice and ordered enough for one panel.

    For the last week, it's been hanging on various windows in our living room, waiting for me to make a decision. 

    Although I have plans to recover this chair, it's not happening anytime soon, and I needed to make sure the fabric worked with the floral.

    And I think it does.

    Taking decent pictures where windows are concerned is no easy feat, but I think that this shows how well the yellow in the fabric ties in with the walls.

    And this one shows how the red in the fabric ties in with our couch.

    So what are your thoughts?

    I am thinking I am going to go with it. 
    It's the first fabric that Mr. DD and I actually agree on, it works with everything in the room while still lightening up the pallet and offers tons of options for any changes in decor in the future.

    Ding, ding, ding - I think we have a winner!

    Until next time,

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    A subtle update to a wicker chest

    It's all about subtlety these days, right? 
    At least that is what I am telling myself after a revamp that didn't really meet my expectations.

    Let me start from the beginning...

    I've been looking for a piece to add to our screened-in porch that would not only add more surface space but also storage.

    I first fell in love with this blue cabinet that I came across while thrifting on our road trip, but alas, there was no way it was fitting into our car so it had to stay in Michigan. 

    Back home, I remembered this wicker (ok, not this one, per say, I forgot to take a before picture!) 4 drawer chest that I purchased as extra storage for the nursery when we lived in London.


    One coat of primer, two coats of Sherwin Williams Timid Blue (left over from the BGR project), and a coat of clear protective enamel later.

    She has a new look.
    Subtle, yes, but against a white backdrop I hope she will shine.

    Tell me what you think?

    Perhaps not the pop I was looking for, but still a change I'm liking. 
    (Next time I guess I should pony up for some new paint.)

    Accessorized with a vintage glass jug, iron and glass hurricane candle holder and a ball jar filled with fresh's a lovely addition to our almost completed screened-in porch.

    Here's a peek as the porch comes together.

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    Until next time,
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    Thrifty Finds: Iron Wall Planter

    As the kitchen details continue to drag on, I'm tackling some lower stress projects to keep the momentum going.

    I picked up this beauty while we were on our road trip, in Holland, MI.

    Lovely iron wall planter.

    When I first laid eyes on this lady, I knew she'd be perfect for our screened-in porch.
    A brief negotiation later and she was settled into the back of our car.

    Time to get planting.

    As with my patio topiary, I started by adding a coconut husk liner. 
    This time I also lined it with a plastic bag to keep water drips at bay.

    Then it was just a matter of selecting and adding plants.

    You know I love a little green and white, but this time I decided to add a touch of color to tie in with my scheme in our screened-in porch.

    I choose: a lady fern, flanked by red and green variegated coleus, white impatiens and white bacopa.

    Here she is in her new home.

    Just a couple more changes, and of course more painting and the screened-in porch will be back up and running.

    I can't wait.

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    Until next time,
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    Saturday's Kitchen: Mocha Icebox Cake

    As I mentioned earlier this week, we had guests in town for a couple of nights - all the way from New Zealand!

    It was great visiting with old friends, and it was also a great opportunity to try out a couple new recipes. 
    Definitely the highlight of Sunday's dinner was the Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.
    It was quick, simple and delicious.

    2 cups cold heavy cream
    12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
    ½ cup sugar
    ¼ cup KahlĂșa liqueur
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    3 (8-ounce) packages Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies
    Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish 

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, KahlĂșa, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.

    To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

    Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.

    Cook's Note
    I left out both the Kahlua and the espresso powder. Why? Because I didn't have either on hand and really couldn't be bothered. I didn't miss them, but Mr. DD said they would of set the whole thing 'over the top'. Hmmm...maybe next time then!

    I used a 9" springform pan and only had 3 layers. I don't think it made a bit of difference.

    I was in a bit of a pinch when I made this and only had about 6 hours to let it set. I put it in the freezer for  3 hours and the fridge for 3 hours.  Admittedly, I was nervous when it was time to slice and serve, but she held together beautifully and no one was the wiser. 

    Again, I really don't think I could encourage you enough to make this recipe. 
    I am literally already attempting to come up with an excuse to make another one. 

    Until next time, 
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    Breakfast Room Reveal

    We're back from our family holiday and work has started up again on the breakfast room and kitchen. 
    Back to life, back to reality...

    I'm pleased to say, all our hard work has paid off and we are officially moved back into our newly remodeled breakfast room. 

    Looking through to the kitchen, you can see there is still a bit of work to be done in there.
    But enough about that, let's concentrate on the breakfast room for now!

    How about a tour?

    Looking from the living room into the breakfast room.
    These shelves can only really be seen in this room, so I went a bit heavy on the kitchen-y items. 
    Cookbooks, kitchen scales, wire roosters, and of course plenty of room for toy storage.
    To see more about the shelves, check out the sneak peek post.

    Still looking from the living room into the breakfast room, these shelves CAN be seen from the main living space in the living room. 

    In this space I went a bit more neutral in terms of the kitchen materials, instead concentrating on books, shells, pineapple finial (you know I love them), birdies, European inspired artwork, and a moss arrangement. 

    Here's a glimpse at the new window seat. 

    I really debated about the pillows and white curtains - this is the primary seat of a 3 year old after all! 
    Fortunately, I already had these pillows so figured I would just give it a try. 

    The curtains are awaiting some final fabric trim, but alas, it has been back ordered - more about that later.

    And now because everyone loves a good before and after, here is the before.
    Sorry about the obviously seasonal photo! 
    Guess I hadn't taken any in awhile. 

    And after. 
    A lot lighter and brighter, but still homey and cozy!
    Just what I wanted.

    Last but not least, the rarely seen view from the breakfast room into the living room.
    Ah, open plan living in an older home - a great achievement.

    I'm so excited that this room is done! 
    And just in time for us to welcome out of town guests who arrive this afternoon.

    For a reminder of everything this room has been through, click here.

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    Until next time,
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