I’d love to introduce you to a special little space in our home today: the pantry. I know, I know, not nearly as exciting as a nursery remodel or tearing down a bathroom, but wait until you see what we have in store for this 4×4′ space!
That’s an in-progress photo for you from the middle of last year.
We actually framed it out back when we built our guest bathroom from the original three hallway closets that used to take up this space. It was Kevin’s idea to save a bit of that room for storage in the kitchen. I wanted it all for the bathroom and now I’m SO happy that we marked off more space for storage (especially since we are three closets lighter in the house).
The pantry has made much improvement since then! I haven’t wanted to blog about it all since I had no ‘after’ picture to share (and that’s no fun), so now I can catch you all up and hopefully, very soon, share the finished pantry! The cans and boxes smashed into our kitchen cupboards will rejoice.
But let’s start at the beginning… here’s the layout of the three closets that were in the very center of our house.
Here’s an overhead shot of the floor plan of our house the day we moved in:
And how the house looks now, note the three closets at the very center that no longer exist:
We began work on the new bathroom in 2011 and finished up just about a year ago. There’s the spot of the future pantry as we were just beginning to demo.
Then slowly the space transformed from a bathroom closet into a kitchen pantry when we decided to move the access door to face the kitchen.
And so a wall was added so that on the opposite side of the closet there was just enough room for a new bathtub/shower.
And when I say it was a tight squeeze…
But slowly the pantry began to take shape and visions of super organized shelves with alphabetical labeling and perfectly partitioned baskets and drawers began filling my dreams (ha!).
The pantry has turned into the man cave of the house (not to be confused with the one that’s in our garage…). Kevin drew up plans, researched like crazy, tracked down salvaged wood, an industrial pendant, rope lighting (yes, you read that right), a bag of wine corks and even a wine fridge. We bought that guy last spring (even though it is being hooked up for the first time as we speak) and on sale, I believe, pre Europe and all of the big remodeling we finished last fall. We must have been feeling very very giddy about the transformation because I can’t believe that squeezed itself into the budget .
Being the home brewer that he is, I expect the little fridge will more frequently be filled up with local San Diegan and home brew bottles.
And so this:
Slowly transformed into this:
Kevin really wanted a clear door. Now we must be a super organized family – every guest can actually see inside our pantry (gasp).
But we did stain, frame and install the door ourselves to save a little $. And to stain in the exact same color our kitchen sliding doors.
I’m on a mission to update every door knob in our home to oil rubbed bronze. Even back when the rest of the world was on their silver kick I have always loved the look of ORB in old homes and installed a deeply discounted kitchen faucet in our island (maybe that’s why it was so discounted?? Just not cool enough at the time). So clean, so simple and looks great with the stain.
Soon the outside of door was patched and painted a matching Buzz Brown to the rest of the kitchen, and the light switch covers were added back to their appropriate outlets.
And here she is today!
I can’t wait to show you the inside as soon as Kevin finishes up his pallet salvaging…
PS We’ve been on a kitchen kick! All kitchen remodel posts sorted on the blog right here.
PPS Today is my Mom’s birthday!! To the greatest mother on the planet, I love you so very much. Happy, happy birthday and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!!
Love you, Mom & Nana!
Tags: DIY, Home, Kitchen
Posted in Construction, DIY, Home, Our Kitchen Remodel, Project Lowe's, Renovating Adventures | 5 Comments »
This wax paper project is a really fun way to spice up a simple dessert, and perfect for Valentine’s Day with a heart shaped cut out like the one I made for this chocolatey gooey treat.
Brownies look so much fancier in a tart pan, no?
Liv and I used wax paper, scissors and powdered sugar to create a little design, and it took us just a few minutes to make these ordinary sheet brownies a little prettier. A heart shape is easy to cut out and perfect for the upcoming holiday, but wax paper is such an easy medium to work with that you could cut out just about any shape, set of initials, numbers for a birthday cake… you name it. And no need to stick to just powdered sugar, colored sprinkles or sugar would make for colorful designs!
I’m thinking this would be especially pretty on a flourless chocolate cake, individual cupcakes, or now that the imagination is spinning, really any dessert with a flat top.
The reverse of the template is equally special, an entirely different effect.
Soooo simple, but let’s break it down just for fun .
Wax Paper Dessert Template
Materials: wax paper, scissors, dessert, powdered sugar
Bake up your most delicious dessert of choice and let cool (the wax paper will stick to any warm dessert, so completely cool is a must to avoid pulling the top up and off of your baked good).
I chose a heart shape because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! And it’s super simple to snip out of wax paper (fold the paper in half for an even easier cut).
Liv thought the heart shape was cool, too.
I ended up making several different shapes and sizes for my powdered sugar topping, the more the merrier.
I added my hearts to my dessert in a somewhat random pattern, and filled bits of wax paper into gaping holes that I thought might let powdered sugar through (and where I didn’t want it to be).
The beauty of wax paper over any other template material (cardstock, vellum, sheet protectors, etc) is that with a little body heat (aka the touch of your fingers), it will lightly adhere to the dessert to create a nice little barrier, but not enough to tear the top.
Then sprinkle away!
I don’t have a fancy powdered sugar dispenser so I just used my good ole tea steeper (what is this called? a tea ball? a tea spoon?), filled it up with powdered sugar and shook. It’s nice because it’s small and you can control exactly where that sugar ends up.
Slowwwwllly peel away your template and voila!
Or use the reverse of your cut outs to create an entirely different look.
Here’s the process in one nice little collage:
So pretty! Ready for a candlelit dinner and a Valentine’s date night…
Tags: Decorating, Desserts, DIY, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes, Tutorial, Valentine's Day
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Holidays, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes | 6 Comments »
Oh man it’s been too long since I’ve shared stories from our family trip last year (which was four whole months ago, I can’t believe it), but I didn’t ever really finish sharing our adventures and I wanted to take a few posts to do so.
I can feel the memories slowly slip away… and I know that if I don’t capture them in writing right now that soon they will be gone. The little memories – like where we stayed, our favorite foods and what we loved about various towns – not so much the big ones which are definitely there to stay. The second reason is that I’ve received some emails from readers who are planning their own upcoming adventures to Ireland, Spain or Morocco and it’s high time I be as helpful as I can.
For those of you needing a quick catch up, you can check out this post. Our little family of three – contrary to popular believe, 20-month-olds can be great travelers! – embarked on a four week getaway (read about how we managed our small budget here) and have already shared our travel adventures in Ireland - complete with Liv jigs (here’s a round up of where we visited, where we stayed, etc) and half of our Spanish road trip as well. I’ll try to sprinkle in these last few posts on Spain and Morocco throughout the usual going ons around here, and I thought that today would be an excellent day to start.
Last we left off we had celebrated with Festival La Merce in Barcelona and were road tripping down the coast of Spain through a Paradores and Valencia. Let’s jump back on track with our trip to Granada.
We were fortunate enough to book the very sweet B&B Solar Montes Claros in the heart of old Granada. The courtyard (despite the rain) was beautiful, the rooms inviting, the style very authentic. Granada rooms are hard to come by last minute (this stop was part of our ‘go with the flow’ road trip portion of the trip) and I might give myself a few weeks for a reservation the next time around.
Nevermind the snack stains, Liv’s photoshoot as she checked the place out for herself was priceless.
We had only one night in this beautiful (but crazy) city of winding roads, industry and white washed walls. I recommend keeping it all in El Albayzín – the original Granada – and of course a visit to the Alhambra shouldn’t be missed.
There are three well known dinner-dance shows in the old town, one of which lined up with our schedule and arrival into the city perfectly. Ahhh what beautiful dance Flamenco is! You can’t miss out on the stomping and passion and melodic guitar strings.
Torre del Oro is a show that came highly recommended to us. Jardines de Zoraya ended up being ideal for a family though with plenty of room near the back for Liv to dance her own passionate number to the music.
The singers were also incredible.
Walking the old city was wonderful. There’s hardly room for cars (though they manage) and much of the shops are accessible only by climbing the steep cobblestone streets.
By the time we arrived at the Alhambra we were greeted with buckets of rain! I think maybe the one full day of rain in Spain, but we made the best of it.
The rain turned off and on and off again as we weaved through the incredible gardens and Moorish architecture of this 10th century palace. The fortress-turned-castle was conquered and reconquered many times over its long and lengthy life, but the original Berber Islamic architecture is ever present (and became even more recognizable after our trip down to Morocco where we found similar structures).
Liv, the photographer. The girl LOVES to shoot photos, the iPhone being her camera of choice.
A view of Granada from up high on the hill at the Alhambra.
If you plan a visit, make sure that you reserve your tickets several days (or even weeks in the high season) in advance as they sell out quickly each day. I was able to secure next day tickets by calling the box office directly even when the website said sold out (we ended up being able to change our visit date thanks to this little fluke, though we had to purchase two sets of tickets since they are non refundable).
Once you arrive, you’ll have to pick up your tickets from Will Call which may be on the other side of the huge palace. We entered on the west end and didn’t realize that our tickets were on the east end (and a 20 minute walk away) until we were there, thankfully we were about 45 minutes early. Arrive as early as possible .
Beautiful! Also worth a trip while visiting the Albambra is Generalife, if you don’t have a toddler and it’s not raining, that is.
Shortly after, we hopped back into our little speed wagon and headed for Sevilla. One day was far too short to truly enjoy Granada, but hopefully we’ll be back.
Next up on the travel list? Sevilla and then Marrakesh, Morocco.
PS More on our Ireland + Spain + Morocco trip right here.
Posted in Family & Friends, Ireland + Spain + Morocco, Travel Adventures | 4 Comments »