My Kitchen Inspirations

I have had kitchens on my mind lately! This may be partly because I’ve been home a lot lately and I have had design on the brain. When we moved into our house, we knew the kitchen was the room in need of the most updating. Our plan has always been to do this on a pretty low budget. We love the original details than come with the vintage of the house, but also want to stay up to date with a look that will last us for a long time to come. We tend to lean toward a craftsman or farmhouse style, but with modern elements to keep it looking fresh and new. So I have been keeping my eyes open for inspiration, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you!

I tend to be drawn toward a very whitewashed look. It feels fresh and clean, and something about it just inspires baking homemade bread and making jam.

We were certain about painting the dated original wood cabinets and the wood siding in the eat-in area of the kitchen white, which we did before the holidays (and that was no small feat!). We also found a wonderful gray color for the walls, not too blue and not to cold. Originally thought we’d like to have butcher-block countertops. But while that may look beautiful, in practicality I became worried about water damage to the wood around the sink over the long term.

Then I came across the idea of concrete countertops. We got pretty excited about this idea! I even found these instructions on how to do it yourself.

Too much work, you say? Yes, I agree. And again, in practicality, I started hearing about how easily it stains. Plus, concrete is very porous so the germaphobe in me started getting a little squeamish about what that means!

Enter quartz. I found a quartz option (called Pewter at the local family run kitchen and tile shop in the neighborhood) that looks a heck of a lot like a dark concrete. But the great thing is that quartz is not porous at all, is completely stain resistant, and does not have the marbling seen in granite. Quartz is even more durable than granite, so I will happily lean in this direction for our new countertops. Plus, when you see a beautiful remodeled craftsman style kitchen like the one above, it seems like the perfect combination of traditional vintage style and modern elements like the countertops and stainless appliances. This is very much like what we hope to accomplish in our own kitchen, including the white subway tile backsplash.

A look like this is still clean and modern, with a vintage feel fitting for our 1925 house.

We also plan to put in a single basin farmhouse style apron front sink, like one of these. I love the way these look! For our kitchen, we’ll choose an undermount sink, so that the countertops overlap the sink basin making it super easy to wipe food particles or the throw-away bits of chopped vegetables right into the sink and garbage disposal.

As for the floors, I’m thinking maybe something like this, so that it almost resembles slate. We have a bit of a challenge with the flooring since the house is so old. Currently the floor is layer upon layer of linoleum, mostly to do with the fact that the bottom layers were put in when asbestos glue was the standard. We’ve been told the best thing to do in this case is to tile over the existing linoleum. They essentially lay wood over the existing floor to create a new subfloor and then tile over that. The unfortunate thing is that it will add about an inch to the floor, causing a little step-up into the kitchen. What we’re hoping to do is to remove some of the existing linoleum (the newer stuff, of course) to minimize the additional rise as much as possible. (Ahh, the joys of owning an old home!)

I’ll be sure to keep you all posted as we finish our kitchen over the coming months (including before and after pictures!). I’m super anxious to get it all done! This is where I get to learn patience… it always pays off to take your time with these sort of things, to be absolutely sure it’s done right and that you’re getting what you want in the end.

What types of kitchens inspire you?

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Wonderful Wood Antiques at The Snivling Sibbling

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The Snivling Sibbling storefront

Last weekend while wondering around Eagle Rock, I discovered a wonderful antique store called The Snivling Sibbling.  The hubby and I were out and about, and decided to head down to Eagle Rock to find a little lunch joint. When we were done we did a little exploring by foot. Of course I have driven by The Snivling Sibbling many times and have been curious, so I was excited to walk in and see what this shop was all about. Low and behold, it was filled with treasures!

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an overall view of the shop inside

When we first arrived, we were greeted by small sampling of what the store has to offer, lining the sidewalk out front. Something about the entrance also reminded me of the charming old antique stores you might find on a road trip through the small towns of West Virginia.

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The Snivling Sibbling entrance

The shop is not big in size, but it is packed with wonderful antique and vintage furniture, all very reasonably priced and in fantastic condition.

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some treasures at the front of the store

You can find everything from chairs, to tables, dressers, mirrors, and bookshelves. There is even this beautiful art deco bed headboard and foot board (which I definitely would have snatched up if we had had a full sized bed in the house anywhere).

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art deco headboard and foot board

Delightful accessories have homes all around the shop, peppered over the furniture until someone joyfully takes them home.

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accessories are scattered throughout the store

And when you go, don’t forget to look up! Hanging from the ceiling are accessories, furniture, and art, all worthy of snatching up.

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more treasures hanging from the ceiling

In fact we took this chair home, which we found hanging up above. It is the perfect antique addition to balance out some of the more modern aspects of our living room, and looks great in front of our Bachelder fireplace. This chair is probably more similar to the age of our home than most of the furniture we’ve decorated with, and I feel like it brings a bit of nostalgia into our sitting area.

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one of the treasures we were happy to take home with us

The shop was also filled with beautiful mirrors. Some were hanging on the wall, others on the floor propped up against something else. I fully plan to go back for one as we continue decorating our home.

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one of several beautiful mirrors for sale

Jeff, the store’s owner and operator who we met while we were there, had just gotten a few new antiques in and I found his team out back polishing and preparing them for sale.

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a recent arrival, being prepared for sale

I fell in love with this chair, being polished up out back.

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gorgeous chair, probably Victorian, just arrived and being polished up

Before we left, we decided to also pick up this end table. By its original design, it was probably meant for a sitting room. (The little door on the front has a small cigar rack built into the inside.) But I decided to use it in the bedroom. It has a beautiful femininity to it in the wood carving design and the top border, but the rich warm wood makes it elegant and mature.

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another treasure we delightful snagged, now our bedside table

And again, much like the chair, this end table is about the same vintage as the house, so it keeps with the charm of all the lovely vintage details we love so much about our house.

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a beautiful addition to our work-in-progress bedroom decor

What’s your favorite antique store find? Do you have a favorite antique store in the LA area that I should go check out?

Why I Love… The Ginkgo Leaf

Ginkgo has all sorts of significance. It’s a health supplement that boosts blood flow, improves memory, and acts as an antioxidant. The ginkgo tree is a symbol of longevity in Japanese culture. Ginkgo can be a vessel for storytelling in the written word and in art. What I love the most is it’s use in interior design.

The ginkgo leaf appears frequently in creations of and inspired by the arts and crafts movement, one of my favorite design movements to ogle at because of its connection to nature and use of materials from nature. (If you haven’t been to the Gamble House in Pasadena, you MUST go! The Greene brothers’ use of wood and natural imagery in the house is overwhelmingly beautiful, and a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement!) Since the late 19th and early 20th centuries also brought with them more accessible travel to Asian countries, it makes sense that the symbolism of the ginkgo tree would have traveled back to the Western world along with some of the Japanese design sensibilities evident in the style. And wouldn’t we all want to be surrounded daily by the symbol for long life!

The unique thing about the ginkgo tree is the shape of its leaves. They have curves, angles, and straight lines alike, and are distinguishable against any other leaf shape that I’ve ever seen. That makes them great elements in design that uses straight lines and geometric shapes as well as more whimsical designs heavy with curves and organic shapes.

When we moved into our house, the previous owners had kept the home true to the Craftsman style in every way they could, which we loved. It made us feel like we belonged there! But in practice, I quickly realized I needed a space to live in that was a bit more modern than that. However, I do try to keep nature and the Arts and Crafts movement in mind, even as I’m scouring through mid-century or farmhouse style furniture looking for the right piece to bring home. I try to bring organic shapes and natural materials into every room. When I discovered this rug, I knew it would be perfect in our living room.

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The colors were right (grey with a splash of gold), the shapes were right (organic shapes but with clean lines), AND the pattern was conceived out of ginkgo leaves! I love this rug because it helps me bring together the radial shapes and warm colors from our dining room while complimenting the straight lines and light grey color from our sofa. And as a bonus, the ginkgo shapes tie in our “Welcome” sign (which we picked up last time we were at the Gamble House) as well as our real life young ginkgo tree that lives in our front yard. Perfection!

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Do you have a symbol or shape that you love to see used in art or design? What other symbols should I keep my eye out for?