The kitchen in our 1979 split level was, hands down, the first space to renovate. It was dark, dated, and smelly. There was a musty odor emanating from the cabinets complete with cobwebs, rat droppings, and creepy-crawlies.; the tiny island wasn't locked down and would move every time we accidentally hit it; and the garbage disposal seemed to emit an old raw chicken smell every time we turned it on (BARF).
I hated using the kitchen and honestly felt sick to my stomach every time I had to use it. So, it was time to start transforming our home into something fabulous!
RENOVATION #1: KITCHEN
Contractor: Brighten Construction
Here is the BEFORE:
Now for the AFTER:
We added moss green glass tile from Pental in a subway pattern on the walls, striated 12 x 24 ceramic tiles on the floor, white quartz counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, and light cherry cabinets. We opened up the kitchen into the dining room and created a more open flow so that entertaining guests wouldn't be so closed off.
RENOVATION #2: HALLWAY BATH
Contractor: Vu Construction
We basically wanted to redo all the spaces that were more accessible to guests so that it was inviting. Growing up, I lived in a dark and dated home that most people thought was haunted (which, I swear, it was) and this home felt somewhat like that. Why subject our guests to that kind of environment, right?
GUTTING OUT THE BATHROOM!
Rendering / Design Concept:
Any time we move forward with our renovations, I render designs on Google SketchUp (I'm self-taught, thank you very much!) My husband's a very visual person and he wants to see what our rooms could look like. Many times, our actual rooms won't look exactly like the renderings but that's okay! Like weddings, you don't always get things exactly how you first see them. Though, I'll say it's pretty darn close...
All tile was picked up from Home Depot and lighting from Seattle Lighting.
RENOVATION #3: LIVING/DINING
Contractor: Underwood Revisions
One thing that we loved about the living and dining areas were the big windows and high ceilings. It gave the place dimension and didn't feel like a "box"...our 1st home had very square spaces and seemed so "blah" that we appreciate any kind of interior detail that gives a home personality. We saw a lot of potential here.
The layout in each room stayed the same but we updated some of the finishes - we installed hand-scraped hardwoods, white 4" base trim, refinished the walls into a light orange peel finish, new wall paint, replaced the old wobbly ceiling fan, added recessed lights and re-faced the fireplace.
And the magic begins...
Rendering / Design Concept:
Our finished space isn't exact to the drawings due to each of the following: budget, structure, or simply changing our minds. Again, pretty damn close!
The wall colors in the photo below looks a lot darker than in reality. It's actually the same gray color as the dining room and the accent wall to the right (with gallery picture wall) is a slate-blue color.
RENOVATION #4: ENTRY/STAIRS
Contractor: Underwood Revisions
The landing and stairway area didn't look too bad but it seemed plain compared to the rest of the reno. I had this vision in my mind to mix materials on the stairs (mosaic tile on the risers and hardwood on the treads).
The finished entry in its updated form...
The chandelier was the finishing touch in the space and was (originally) supposed to be in the dining room. But I wanted to add a conversational piece and oomph to the entryway to pique people's interest. It totally works for the space. Slate tile and mosaics are from Home Depot.
I gotta tell you seeing my thoughts come into fruition makes all the mess and stress worth it! Would you agree?
Alas, comes the end of Phase I of our upstairs reno. Coming soon is Mi Casa Renovations - UPSTAIRS (PART 2 of 2: Bedrooms and Master Bath).
Entryway Chandelier from Ballard Designs www.ballarddesigns.com/
Counter-tops & cabinetry from Evergreen Granite in Kent, WA www.evergreengranite.com/
Kitchen tile (flooring and wall tile) purchased from Pental www.pentalonline.com/
Hardwood flooring purchased from DeMar in Tukwila, WA www.demarfloor.com/
I'm sure we've all had visits from those unexpected guests...the in-laws, next-door neighbor, etc. Or maybe you forgot you were going to get a visit from an old friend! Let's face it - with everyone's busy lives nowadays, we don't have a lot of time to spend cleaning all hours of the day. Working full-time (and, in my case, having a side job as a makeup artist), 3 kids, running errands, and getting meals ready on a daily takes a lot of our time!
Blessed with busy weekends [enter sarcasm here], and being the neat-freak I am, I want to at least appear that we've got our act together! I constantly have people coming in and out of my house for makeup application so I can honestly say I am now an expert.
So here it is...my tips on how to get your place spruced up when you have an hour or less...BONUS if you have children that can help!
ONLY PICK UP AREAS PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE (OR POSSIBLY SEE).
This means areas like the entry way, living room, kitchen and dining room (if you have an open concept living situation) and guest bathroom. You don't have to do everything I say here especially if you don't think you'll have time so pick and choose what's most important. Do what works for you! And if you have tips for me, leave me a comment - I'd love to know your secrets as well!
1. Entry Way
2. Living Room:
4. Dining Room:
5. Guest Bathroom (wear gloves if you have them):
If you have time, light some candles or pop in a wax warmer, scented plug-in, or whatever it is you have to quickly scent your room(s) - preferably something not too overpowering and pleasing to most.
Now don't get me wrong - I sometimes can't do all this myself especially if I have less than a half hour or I'm home alone, for example. But my 3 children are all trained in what to do and such a huge help when the time calls for it! ; -) When they're done, they'll go back to playing in their rooms or out with friends.
So there...these are my secret tips on how I appear organized and put-together. Everything I've mentioned above looks like a lot of work but, trust me, once you spring into action, it goes super fast. Just have a system down and do what works for you.
~ XOXO Mari
Now some of you may have missed this in a previous post but I actually graduated with an Interior Design degree at the International Design Academy of Technology (IADT) - Seattle. I graduated in 2010...also right about the time the job market was at an all-time low. Awesome timing because I was told by one of my Architect buddies that the first of the jobs to disappear was anything art or design-related. WHY, OF COURSE..
I was about 25 when we owned our first home - a new development in a corner lot and we were the house everyone went to - poker and karaoke almost every weekend with our 3 year old and 1 year old boys. Guests frequently commented "Wow, you did a great job decorating!" I was so proud then but when I think back, there was no real cohesion and most of the decor was traditional with some global and contemporary elements mixed in. Each room was painted a different color because I couldn't bare looking at white walls...I grew up only knowing white walls with one gold, glittered wall (in our suh-weet 1970s entryway that was popcorn-textured which my brothers and I frequently picked at...I wouldn't be surprised now if it contained asbestos!).
It was when we moved into our 1st home that I decided to go back to college (and did I mention I had 2 little boys?!) Photos below were taken by a selling agent...sadly, we've lost our original photos:
The location of our home was beginning to take a toll on us being that we worked in Downtown Seattle - about 30-40 minutes away. We then moved into another new "cookie-cutter" home in the Kent Valley. I wanted to stand out from the rest of our neighbors but we could only do so much since the HOA was very particular about "home improvements."
Again, we used a lot of warmer colors and still had the traditional and global thing going on but then I started to learn more and more at school. It was at this house I had my 3rd child - a girl - and her nursery consisted of bright, fresh colors (a very light sage-mint green) and lots of natural light. It was then that I realized that cooler colors were more my "cup-of-tea," But, the rest of the home had copper, red, or tan tones!
Shortly after our daughter turned 1, we ended up moving to our current home - a 1970s split-level in the upper Renton area. We moved because we wanted to get the boys into a good school. We found our home in the same neighborhood as the elementary school my boys would eventually attend. By this time, I had already graduated from school but I was in design heaven! The house needed work and, with the real estate market being down, we got it for a good deal. The possibilities were endless in our new home and I could finally put my design chops to the test...BTW, the following photos are BEFORE shots and taken by the selling agent's team:
It is at this house my design sense started coming together. I finally was honing in on what I liked, style-wise. So, my friends, this is a good way to end my blog here and hope you stay tuned for my entry coming soon on our home remodel!
~ XOXO, Mari
I was in my mid-20s with 2 little boys in tow and I decided to go back to school for interior design. Crazy, right?! People were telling me that I wouldn't be able to finish because it would be too hard or questioned "why interior design??" But I was determined. I wanted to show people that I was going to get my degree in something I loved. I attended the University of Washington back in 1999 - 2001, majoring in Communications because I thought it seemed like a good compromise with what I thought I'd like to do and what my family would be proud of me for. Funny...I wanted to be a doctor as a little girl but when I saw my 1st t.v. operation, I felt sick to my stomach. Then I thought I wanted to be a singer but lost my interest as I got older because it came with a growing sense of stage fright.
I didn't finish school because I found out I was pregnant with my 1st child. I thought, for sure, I threw my life away - I was unmarried, still living at home, and just...LOST. Maybe a bit dramatic but I was young and very naive. I tried to be positive during this difficult time so I decided to stop throwing myself a pitty party and get serious. Eventually I married my baby daddy (we were already engaged) and moved out to an apartment against my parents' will. But, c'mon now, it was located down the street. Literally about 3 blocks down.
Out of the blue (and after a few years in), I had an epiphany. I realized how much I loved design - I used to rearrange my bedroom multiple times to see what the best layout was. Plus I loved decorating the apartment we lived in. All were budget items because we were pretty much young and broke but wanted to "adult." Or had to, really.
We moved into our first home when our son was about 2-3 years old. I loved decorating our house. We still had a limited budget so I shopped discount, bought furniture on a payment plan (all paid off within a couple years), and did a lot of DIY. One day, i discussed with my husband the possibility of studying Interior Design and decided to go for it.
I attended the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT) Seattle because it was near home and offered night school. We agreed that, if the first quarter proved to be too difficult, I would pull out. Right before I attended, I ended up having our 2nd child but, in a strange way, I didn't feel stress. It only further fueled my creative juices...how can I decorate the 2nd bedroom so that the baby could share with our toddler?! What colors would we use? What furniture would we buy?
I went full-time, most quarters, but I loved it. Homework didn't feel like "homework" and was actually - dare I say it - FUN. Sure, I had some of your typical homework like Math and English but all final projects had to tie in creatively with our major. For example, I had an Art History class where I created art with one of the Hindu gods. This project ended up being used for display the following quarter (all the best projects were put on display in the school hallways for aspiring students to view while touring the school). HELL to the YEAH.
Anyway, after years of hard work I graduated in July 2010 (Cum Laude), earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. By this time, I also had my 3rd child - a baby girl (I finally got my girl!) who had just turned 1. It felt good to get my degree and showing my naysayers that I could do it because I had drive. I truly felt unstoppable. Now I know it sounds cliche, but anything really is possible if you love something and keep at it. Any obstacles and trials you face are all a part of the journey and you will grow because of it.
Welcome to my blog where I share my inner thoughts on life and all things I love - beauty, home decor and design, amazing food, our family travels, and fashion!