A Love Affair with Bridge Faucets

I love the look of a bridge faucet with a classic apron front farmhouse sink.
The problem is, there are just so many to choose from.

Can you help me choose one?

Please?

Ok, great, here are some of the contenders.


I definitely want a side sprayer and am leaning toward lever handles.




In a polished nickel finish.




Do I want something more sleek, like the first two options or more substantial like the last two options?



So, let me know your thoughts?

Which one do you prefer?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Until next time,





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Update Your Front Door - on the cheap

Last week, when I arrived in Florida, I was surprised to find a new door on my parents' house!


Here's what it looked like before, well kind of, this is actually the inside of the door as I don't have an original before picture.


As you can see it's your standard door with an aluminum screen insert. 


Truth be told, it's just been painted. Then she added shutters to cover the old aluminum screen. Genius!


A complete makeover for under $20. 
Wish I had thought of that!

Until next time,



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Saturday's Kitchen: Honey Mustard and Creme Fraiche Baked Chicken

It feels a little silly to be posting this from warm and sunny Florida, but I made it just before I left cold and rainy Chicago and it was a quick, easy, and comforting one pot. I just couldn't let this one slide without recommending it. I hope you enjoy it!



Ingredients
4 Tbs creme fraiche
2 Tbs grainy mustard
2 garlic cloves crushed
150 mls chicken stock
8 skin on chicken drumsticks and thighs
500 g baby potatoes
200 g green beans
2 Tbs clear honey
1/2 small bunch tarragon, roughly chopped

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix together the crème fraîche, mustard, garlic and stock with some seasoning. Arrange the chicken, skin-side up, in a roasting tray just large enough for the chicken and vegetables.
  2. Tuck the potatoes and beans in between the chicken pieces. Pour over the stock mixture then season the chicken and drizzle with honey. Cook for 40-45 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes tender. Scatter over the tarragon before serving
Cooks Note:
I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche and asparagus for the green beans because I had both on hand.

As always, if you try it and like it, please do let me know.


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In search of the perfect farmhouse sink

I've been searching for the perfect farmhouse sink for what feels like forever! Debating between the standard one big bowl and the often hard to find two bowl option.

As you know, the space we have isn't really all that big, so we are trying to keep it in the 30" range. 

For a refresher on the layout, click here.

Here are a couple of options that I've been considering:


I love the classic lines of the Shaw's
But a two bowl sink only comes in the 42" option.





I like the modern edging on this model, but tend to prefer the more rounded edges of the Shaw's.



What about this fluted option?






Here is a 2 bowl sink, 33", but the bowls are not equal in size.




And finally a Kohler version, 33", equal double bowls.


Your opinion is wanted and needed! 

If you have one big bowl, do you ever miss two?

I'd love to hear what you think.

Until next time,


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Saurday's Kitchen: Jambalaya

This past weekend, we made this hearty and meaty jambalaya for our visiting family.
Although is does require a fair bit of chopping, the rest of the preparation is pretty easy.
You know how I love one pot cooking!
And it was so yummy!!!


Ingredients:
12 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced
1 1/2 pounds smoked fully cooked sausage (such as linguiça), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles
1 pound andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound tasso or smoked ham (such as Black Forest), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped (4 to 5 cups)
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 8-to 10-ounce red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 8-to 10-ounce green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 11/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
2 1/2 cups beef broth
3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice
8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions:
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and tasso. Sauté until meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.
Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 10.

Cook's Note:
We halved this recipe and it fed 5 adults very comfortably with loads left over. Left overs heated well. In the second go around, I added shrimp, which I felt really lightened the meal and helped my daughter to polish off a whole bowl! We did not add any additional spices and felt the heat level was fine as is - not too hot, but definitely not mild. Probably has a lot to do with you andouille sausage.

I hope you enjoy and as always, if you try it and like it, please do let me know!

Until next time,

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Spring is in the Air

We've been enjoying some ridiculously nice weather here in Chicagoland over the last couple of days. Full days spent outside - playing in the park and in our own backyard. Threw in a wee bit of yard work to balance out all the fun!

I have to say, it really does feel like Spring is on it's way.

Which, of course, just means we better start getting the plans ready for our raised bed gardens.


I picked up some easy reading for while I'm on holiday and a couple of seed packets to get planted just as soon as we get back.

Open to suggestions of reading material for the eager, but novice gardener.
Send them my way, if you have any.

Planter plans are in there as well - Mr. DD got the play-by-play by his Dad last weekend.
Can't wait to get started on those!

I've also made some preliminary plans to remove more of the overgrowth in our backyard - I need as much light as I can get.

Lots more to come on this one!

Until next time,

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Kitchen Floor Options

By now you probably know that we are in line for a new kitchen. 

We've settled on a layout and you've seen my inspirational images, but now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

One of the first decisions that needs to be made is the kitchen floor.

In order to make the new layout work, we plan to remove our existing radiators and install under floor heating. Although under floor heating does work with an engineered wood floor, we thought that installing an engineered floor next to our existing hardwood floors wouldn't look consistent.

For this reason, we have decided to go with a tile floor.

Tile - just one of a host of decisions to be made...we could go natural stone, porcelain made to look like stone, neutral porcelain, ceramic tile - like I said, the options are endless.



We considered this marble tile, but decided that it was a bit too modern for the look we were going for.



We also liked this 4 piece old-world tumbled travertine style.


This is how the whole scheme would unfold - counter top, cabinet, floor.
But we are concerned that the floor is too light.

 

Same style 4 piece pattern but in a darker hue.


Cheap and cheerful larger format tiles, also in travetine.
(top right and bottom left)



We also considered a hand thrown, glazed ceramic in a large format.
Here it is shown against counter top options.

Now it's time for you to weigh in.

What do you think?

Preferences on tile floor?
Like any of the schemes laid out above?
Do tell!

Until next time,
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Remember this guy?

A couple of weeks ago, I put together a welcoming entry piece for our February cocktail party.
You can check it out here.

Since then it has been relocated to our dining room for a long-term centerpiece.


I switched out the hyacinth for some longer lasting primrose.


I also added one of my homemade moss decor balls for some contrast.




Speaking of flowers, my mother-in-law picked up some lovely yellow tulips for me at the weekend.


Aren't they gorgeous? And just perfect for this room?

Spring is definitely on it's way!

Until next time,
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Do you layer?

What are your thoughts on layered rugs?
I've seen it with wall to wall carpeting and an area rug, but not too often do you see an area rug layered with another area rug.

Our living room is quite a good size, about 20'x 14', but the rug we have in there is not. It's about a 5'x9'.
Take a look...


I've never really drawn attention to it, so perhaps you've never noticed (she says, hoping!).
But clearly, it's not the right size for this room.

Of course, I'd love to run out an buy a huge 9x12 oriental rug to replace the one we have, but let's face it - that's pricey and it's definitely not in the budge with our new kitchen happening in a couple of weeks.

So while perusing one of my favorite sites, Overstock, the other day, I ran across a great deal on a 9 x 12 natural jute rug for a ridiculously good price. Coupled with their bargain basement shipping, it was definitely in the budget.

A wee bit of convincing later...



It's here!

Here's why I love it:

No more floating furniture or furniture coasters to keep everything from sliding all over the place!



I can finally utilize more of the room now that I don't have to crowd the furniture up to the edges of the too small carpet!



And I love the added dimension and interest it gives to the room.

So what do you think?

Would you consider layering two area rugs in your room?

Clearly, I am a convert!

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

We've had family in town, so not a lot of work was accomplished, but I still have a couple of things planned out for the week. Come back and check it out.

Until next time,



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Kitchen Inspiration

A new kitchen is in our foreseeable future (to check out all the details thus far, click here), which means I have been collecting inspirational images for quite some time!

Wanna see some?

I thought so.

Get comfy - there is a lot to go through.

These first couple images are from my personal archive. Photos I've torn from various magazines over the years - so old I can't even begin to remember where they came from.



Love the neutral pallet. And the mantel-like range hood.



Love the warm wood accents in the range hood and the cabinetry.



Love the skirted farmhouse sink as well as the warm wood accents!

Kitchen Range Hoods eclectic kitchen

I love everything about this image - warm, yet neutral cabinetry, floor and counters.
Not to mention that stove! Wish I had the guts to pull something like that off.
And don't even get me started with those beams!



The Old Painted Cottage traditional kitchen
Houzz

Love the farmhouse sink coupled with the butcher block counters. Although I wonder about all that wood next to the water. I'd like to incorporate butcher block counters in my kitchen, but not next to the sink or stove.

Marina Residence contemporary kitchen

Love the floors in this image.

kitchen 2 traditional kitchen

Love the built-in appliances in this one. They give it a really seamless look.

Kitchen Shelves traditional kitchen

I'd love to incorporate some open shelving for display and storage into my kitchen.


The Green Kitchen traditional kitchen

I'd also like to incorporate corbels, either as shelf or cabinetry support - I think it would really reinforce the farmhouse look.

Well, I think that about covers it for now. I feel inspired and I hope you do too.

Joining in with:
Modern Country Style

Until next time,
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Kitchen Layout, take 2

Yesterday, I shared a bit about our kitchen layout, but it left me wanting more. So, I figured, what the heck - let's drag it out into two posts.

This way you're lucky enough to be treated to yet another one of my wonderful hand-drawn renderings of our new kitchen layout.


We've already purchased our 36" range, which you can read about here.
We're leaning toward deep drawers for pots and pans on either side of the range.
The range will also be flanked by small upper cabinets which we plan to use for spices and everyday cooking oils, etc.
We've also planned for a 30" apron fronted farmhouse sink, although I do really like the 36" sink.

What are your thoughts - is a 36" sink too big?


A commenter suggested moving the fridge more toward the center of the kitchen, which I am happy to report we can do now that we have sourced a french door style built-in fridge. Originally we had placed it closer to the wall so the massive 36" door didn't swing out into the middle of the kitchen.

We're also debating the layout of the microwave.
First, I wish I could say we didn't need one, but I think we do. Plus, if we do the convection microwave it's kind of like having a double oven. Kind of.

So, what do you think - microwave toward the center of the kitchen or against the wall (as shown above)?

Can't wait to hear what you think.

Until next time,
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New Kitchen Layout

Yesterday I announced our big news - our kitchen renovation is finally scheduled and due to begin in mid April. I really couldn't be more excited.

Here are a couple photos from before we bought the house - so you can get a true understanding of what we are dealing with!

Dated wallpaper, laminate counter tops, a corroded and rusted sink, cabinets that don't close properly.


An old-school fridge sticking out into the middle of an already small kitchen space.


Limited counter and prep space due to an ill-placed door and window.


A cute and very functional eat-in nook, but the space could be used more wisely.

I'm hoping these photos give you are real sense of the awkwardness of this space as well the lack of functionality.

Here's a quick aerial drawing that will also, hopefully, add to your understanding.



And now for the wordy part - stay with me here!

Our kitchen is not a big space, measuring about 9.5' x 14.5'.

Some of the major architectural flaws are the placement of the backdoor, the back window, both radiators, a lowered ceiling in the addition (everything to the left of the stove and the nook area), a beam that can not be removed or hidden separating the original kitchen from the addition.

The list could probably go on, but again, I did say major!

So, here is what we are thinking for the new layout...
(again, just a quick drawing to hopefully help you understand what I am talking about)
Along the side wall exiting to the back porch, we'll be centering the door in the space and removing the back window. The wall with the range and sink will become a straight run instead of the L shape shown previously. This will maximize the counter space and in turn the prep space.

The area with the fridge actually bumps into the dining room about 10 inches (you can kind of see it in photo 4), which will allow for a counter depth built in fridge and pantry to be placed in this space.

On the wall to the right of the door to the dining room, the counter depth will only be 18". Again, this is all in an effort to maximize space. 

So, what do you think about our new layout?

Like I said, we didn't come to any of these decisions overnight. We had plans and then we changed them and then we did it all over again. We've definitely had to compromise on a couple of things (perhaps I'll share those in another post).

I'd love to know your thoughts - do you think we are headed in the right direction?

Until next time,
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