I Didn’t DIY This New Ceiling Fixture

When we moved in, we made a lot of changes that you can see here. But we also left a lot to be done down the road, mainly replacing bath/light fixtures, painting remaining rooms, and carpet. One of the biggest eye sores was this ceiling fan/fluorescent light in what was essentially an undefined space/hallway:

I’ve hated it since we first looked at the house, and we have RARELY even turned it on in the 2 years we’ve lived here. So this year for my birthday, my mom bought me this light fixture from World Market: 

So I had planned to replace it myself with just the helping hands or someone to hold it up, hand me tools, etc. But when my dad came to help and just started doing everything for me, I obliged, and was the helping hand instead.

Things got a little hairy when the + and – wires were both white and we weren’t sure which was which, but my dad being my dad, he just guessed and tested and thankfully was correct and there was no explosion.

We then had problems getting the screws into the plate, followed by an issue with the threading on the bottom piece that secures the ceiling cover to the mounting in the ceiling. But we finally got it, although it felt a bit less secure than we would have liked. Not sure there is anything we could have done though, because it was just a matter of manufacturing as far as I could tell.

This left us here:

I didn’t have anything to shorten/tie up the chain so had to leave it like this until I could get to the hardware store.

And, while I realized eventually I’d need to uninstall, trim wire, remove chain, I didn’t feel like doing it…. So an S hook later, we have this:



Kitchen Remodel

Last year we bought our first home… 400 miles away from our Orange County home of 5 years. I was pregnant with our first child and itching to get back to the family friendly bubble of a town I was raised in in Northern California. So my loving husband obliged and we embarked on a crazy journey. We bought this adorable house that needed some TLC and all around general upgrading.


Here’s what we were working with in the kitchen…

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Don’t mind my dad standing in the middle of my picture.

On the other side of that back wall is the entry hall containing 2 small closets. We decided to enlarge the kitchen space by removing those closets and pushing the wall back, leaving the entry hall the same size, but gaining a little over a foot in the kitchen. Also, notice it’s galley- boo. I wanted to be able to see and interact with people in the living room from the kitchen, and also bring a bit more light into it because it’s in the middle of the house instead of on an exterior wall so there are no windows. Dark and dumb, am I right??? So we also wanted to take down the wall to the living room.

At the time we remodeled, we were 9 months pregnant, living in Orange County, unable to travel back up to deal with any renovations in person. So all the design and materials decisions were made from down south based only on seeing the house when we bought it, looking at materials and ideas online, and getting pictures and FaceTiming my parents and contractor. I picked everything out without seeing anything but the flooring in person, and without seeing any of it together. It was a challenge and I was terrified I would make one or many mistakes. A lot of the ideas came from my imagination as well, so I usually didn’t have a picture or example to send my contractor or parents to convey what I was talking about unless I drew it myself, haha! Which I totally did on a few occasions, by the way.

I trusted all this madness to my parents and my oldest childhood friend, Jacob, who was our contractor. He’s an absolute perfectionist, so I knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong!

Let’s take a look at the progression of the remodel from Demo to Done!!

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Turned out the ceiling in the kitchen had a different texture than the rest of the house, so our contractor re-did it for us. Also, the wall we removed was load bearing, so we had to leave a post- which initially I wasn’t stoked about, but we ended up wrapping it in reclaimed wood (as you’ll see pictured below) and I am completely obsessed with it now!

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How great is it looking??! So spacious. The floors were a no-brainer. We went with a hand scraped textured laminate called Saratoga by Hampton Bay, I believe? It’s amazing- Looks so great. We painted all the main parts of the house in Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. I cannot express how much I love this color. I might just use it forever in every house I own. It’s a soft, warm gray, and it’s basically to die for.

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Alright, let’s talk cabinets… I was pretty stressed about this part because it’s easily the most expensive part of any kitchen renovation. I went to Home Depot- the stock stuff was atrociously cheap, and the stuff you sit down for hours picking with a “designer” was so outrageously expensive- and the process of getting a quick general estimate was such a turn off- it took an appointment booked ahead of time, and then an hour to find out that it’s nowhere NEAR the advertised 10×10 price on the pamphlets. I looked at Ikea over and over, but the price was still high and assembly was rumored to be a nightmare. Enter Google. My mom saw this random site and told me it looked affordable and decent. So I checked it out for myself… if you are redoing a kitchen or thinking of it, RUN to Lily Ann Cabinets!! They’re based out of Ohio so I did it all over the phone and online, but shipping is free and the product is absolutely superior to even custom kitchens I’ve seen. Soft/self close drawers and cabinets are STANDARD! They come in so many gorgeous and current styles, I cannot recommend this place enough. I feel like I got a steal too, but they’re just that awesomely priced! We got ALL OF THESE CABINETS for just over $3,000. I know, it’s unheard of. They didn’t have a farmhouse sink cabinet, so we had to MacGyver one out of a refrigerator cabinet and some trim, but it worked out.

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And now it’s time for countertops! I have always wanted marble counters- I love white with white, so marble is what we got- it’s not Carrera, our countertops guy said it yellowed and wasn’t the best for counters, so we went with this stunning slab of some other kind of marble:

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I never did get the name of the Marble we used, but it’s gorgeous. BTW, the sink we had picked was out of stock and not due to be restocked for MONTHS (huge bummer) so we had to go with a different one that is quite a bit smaller and much pricier, but it does the trick. It just meant we had a little more trim showing on the front of the cabinet than originally planned for. I’m thinking of tiling it with the backsplash tile (that I have yet to pick out) and/or putting a cool pipe/industrial looking towel rod on it. The Faucet is Moen- I love it. The pulls are some random non-brand I found on amazon- super inexpensive, but beautiful. The light fixtures are West Elm. Another design choice I made was to install open shelving made from reclaimed wood above the sink- I always feel like a cabinet there is awkward and invasive. You spend a lot of time at the sink, it doesn’t need to feel more claustrophobic than it already is. I love how this turned out- I really didn’t know if it was going to be awesome or miss the mark.


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And there you have it! All finished and moved in. We still need to do the backsplash and address the sink area, but all in good time. I’d like the counters to be less cluttered- eventually I’ll move stuff around, but for now, I’m happy with it. I think it’s just stunning. Would I have made some different choices were I to see it all in person as it was happening? Sure. I’d have either done a different cabinet style in pure white to go better with the counters, or chosen a different countertop to go with the cabinets, I’d have waited for the bigger sink to become available (were that an option)…. But really, that’s it. I’m so happy with it. It turned out amazing, and came in under budget. All in all I think we wound up with it totaling less than $15,000 including labor (which also includes labor and materials for all the flooring throughout the living areas, tearing out a huge built in, painting all the living areas, and a few smaller labor items elsewhere in the house).

I wasn’t sure it would all come together and look like a cohesive design, but it did, and we are so happy with it.

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Basically, I’m the Greatest

Yesterday I was perusing Facebook as I rarely do, when I came across this link to an article on New Kitchen Trends. And as I was rolling down the list, I realized that my recently re-done kitchen boasts 3- soon to be 4- out of 5 of these top kitchen trends. Now mind you, I designed our kitchen this last winter from Southern California as it was congruently being renovated in Northern California. Read more about the reno here.

White with Wood: CHECK.


Marble Countertops: CHECK.


Open Shelving: CHECK.


Subway Tile: We’ll be adding a grey glass subway tile soon, I hope.

Two Tone Cabinets: Maybe in my next kitchen 🙂

I guess what I’m trying to say is…… I’m the best. I have impeccable style and design instincts- you might even go so far as to say that my style is prophetic. Ok, you might not, but I’ll say it (we’re all thinking it).