Fountain of Youth

Or was it hooked to a tank of Vodka to rescue me in time of kitchen crisis? 🙂 I wish.

Nah, this is the drinking water faucet that we just installed. We used to have a faucet-mounted water filter prior to the kitchen makeover, but we don’t have that option any more with the pull-out spray. I don’t recall when was the last time we ever drank or boiled tap water (call me germphobic you may), so having a second faucet installed was the only choice. I picked up the Rainfresh Twist System from Canadian Tire which comes with a chrome faucet. Rainfresh is a proud Canadian company based in Richmond Hill, and their undersink filter system is affordable but not any less effective. Their replacement filter costs no more than a faucet-mounted cartridge or a fridge filter. The company is offering a $10 rebate now if you buy any easy-twist-replacement filter system. The Restoration Water Filter Faucet in Satin Nickel is from Overstock to match the kitchen faucet finish.

I am just finishing up our Guest Ensuite Bath facelift so will post some pictures later.

Now I am off to make some snow angels.

It’s All About the Fabrics

I always felt the job was half done after we painted our kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud. Why? The beige drapes attracted unnecessary attention, and didn’t complement the fabulous grey wall color. I was debating really hard against spending another few hundred $$$ to replace those drapes, and there’s no guarantee I would like the new ones so that would be a risky move.

I truly believe everything has a “silver” lining. Just as I was in such a dilemma, my mom came to visit. She suggested only changing the “headers” of the drapes with silver sateen and the best part is, she would help me sew them! So here we go, after a few hours of her work I now have like brand new drapes in Silver Sateen. I love love them! (I love my mom even more!)

I took the opportunity to ask her opinion about the chairpads for the bamboo chairs I picked up last month for $40. We went to the Fabricland together where they had tons of Christmas sales and everything else at 40% off. I picked up this blue floral outdoor fabric for $4/m (original price tag was $14/m). Altogether, the four custom-made chairpads/cushions cost me $33! Plus free labour and craftsmanship courtesy of my dearest mom! I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can put these chairs outside of my patio door under the pergola.
While I was at the Fabricland, I also picked up this cheerful Richloom Cornwall Garden
medallion fabric. I didn’t know what I wanted to use it for at the time but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the patterns! They are so detailed and intriguing!

Well, here is a sneak peak of what I used the medallion fabric for. I’ve always wanted a round box cushion (call me old-fashioned — I am an old soul trapped in a young body), but they can cost an upward of $200. This is yet another master piece of my mom’s — I started to wonder if she regretted visiting me so often — I don’t seem to be shy of asking her for anything. 😀

Happy new year everyone!

Kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud Paint

It is now common knowledge that grey is the new beige. Looking back, from my first few condos with builder white walls, to my last house in a vibrant Tweety yellow, to the current house in neutral color palettes, I have come a loong way when it comes to picking the right paint colors for different rooms. I’ve learnt to take my time and research to death before I commit to any paint color. So after much needed consideration and debate over tens of grey colors, I went ahead with ICI Silver Cloud for my kitchen.

Here is the kitchen now in ICI Dulux Silver Cloud. I used their VOC-free Dulux Lifemaster line. The coverage was amazing and it was virtually odorless. ICI Dulux gave me a free membership with 25% discount entitlement off every order, so I think I am going to stick with this brand for a while. The Silver Cloud color is so elegant and sophisticated (my camera doesn’t do the justice), and echos a certain shade of the Bianco Carrara backsplash. Here is the dining area inside the kitchen. The pedestal table is from Anne-Quinn Custom Furniture, and the “O” chairs are from InVu/BB Bargoons. I still think the drapes and blinds look too plain so I may switch to roman shades and darker color drapery. Any suggestions?
Oh, and here’s the Alessi Michael Graves Kettle I got in the mail today. Anthony is still getting used to the bird whistle but he will get there.
And here are the Paderno Pepper/Salt Mills I ordered. Together they cost me over 100 stones! In hindsight they are not smart buys. Oh well.

That’s it for today. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Year 2011!

Picking a Grey Paint Color for My Kitchen

After the recent kitchen reno, I’ve decided it’s time to get rid of the blah cream wall color that comes with the house. I’ve also decided to give the stinky Behr a rest, and investigate some other brands that I’ve never used before such as Para. And yes, you guess right, it is the Sarah Richardson’s Paint Collection that I am after.

As hubby was busy saving lives over the weekend, I picked out a deck of paint chips from Lowes trying to save our kitchen from the eternal boredom. When Anthony got home I couldn’t wait to show him how much I had accomplished by narrowing down to six colors. “So, what do you think of these colors?”, I asked. Grey, grey, grey, grey, grey, and grey. He replied, looking darn serious. Okay, it’d appear that I am talking to a guy with the creative part of his brain suppressed and overpowered by his analytical hemisphere. This looks like yet another me and moi’s decision.

So here are the six grey colors I picked for my kitchen wall. I want the hue to echo the Bianco Carrara marble backsplash and Kashmire White granite countertop. It can’t be too blue or purple otherwise it’s too spa-like; it also can’t be too taupe or beige otherwise I might as well use the Revere Pewter again.

I am deciding between Powder SR1 and Vintage SR4. What do you think?

And then there is another grey paint used by Sarah Richardson in her own house — the ICI Dulux Silver Cloud. I can’t tell you how much I love this color! The only concern is that I haven’t seen it in person yet, and it might just look fantastico in Sarah’s house with the pictures taken by a professional photographer.

The Reveal – Kitchen Dining Set

It’s funny how tipping point always works: it took me months in search of a perfect dining chair to go with the San Montego round table; yet it took one comment from Janice at Life Begins at Thirty (thank you Janice!) to help lock down my choice. Here I present you the “O” chair from InVu Drapery, upholstered in sateen available in cocoa, bronze (what I picked) and fog. The fog color from the web site can be very misleading since it looks nothing like silver in real thing but a dingy greenish grey. Here are some pictures:

The “O” Chair with Back Cutout in Bronze Sateen
Look how big the “O” cutout is in the back: I felt my ribcage could fit through the hole if I shed another pound or two. 😀
The “O” chair from the back. The chair is nicely constructed with elegant piping wrapped around.

And this is how the kitchen dining set looks like now. They are good-sized chairs and comfortable enough for a long chat over afternoon tea with buds.

Must…Choose…A…Dining…Chair

Earlier in the summer I was thrilled to find some fixer-upper Napoleon chairs and painted them in the grey color I’ve always wanted. Truth be told, the Napoleon chairs look awesome especially paired with Anne Quinn Furniture’s San Montego round pedestal dining table featured below, but they are not at all comfortable. Lesson learnt is that always try to buy the dining set at the same time, or buy the table first and then chairs that fit the height and size of the major piece.

That said, I had to part with those Napoleon chairs and my hunt for new dining chairs continues.

It all started with this San Montego dining table that will go in our kitchen dining nook. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to limit my choices by buying the table first, it is because I know I wouldn’t be able to find another custom made solid mahogany dining table at the quality and price Anne Quinn Furniture offers. Therefore, at the end of the day it’s still worth all the hassle and dazzle.

(Picture courtesy of Anne Quinn Furniture)

Choice #1: Anne Quinn Furniture’s Martini Dining Chair
Lush, comfortable and stylish, this chair would be perfect for any dining table. The tufted button details, barrel back, aged bronze nail heads, and solid mahogany frame all add plus points to this well-made cozy chair. The only downside is that since every piece is custom made, I will need to wait until January 2011 to get them. I wish I didn’t waste my time on those fixer-uppers and order from Anne Quinn a few months ago — I would have been sipping my morning tea on it right now (sniff). I heard Anne Quinn has been stocking up some popular items going forward, so there is light at the end of the tunnel for those impatient shoppers like me that will be able to pick up their custom furniture whenever we want. (Picture courtesy of Anne Quinn Furniture)

Here’s what the kitchen dining set would look like with Martini chairs.
(Source: Decorpad)

Choice #2: Sunpan’s Hollywood Vintage Cream Leather Dining Chair
Comfortable, clean-lined with a dash of Hollywood shimmer, this chair fits my desire to introduce some modern and airy elements into the kitchen.
Here’s a similar pairing of round table with modern dining chairs.

(Source: Decorpad)

Choice #3: Hollywood Regency Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chair
This chair belongs in my wildest dream: I would design my entire kitchen around it! But that boat has sailed after our recent kitchen makeover, so perhaps it’s the best that it continues to live in my fantasy.

Love, love the painted chair and color punches!
(Source: Decorpad)
Choice #4: Flare Barrel Back Dining Chair
At the risk of repeating myself, this chair looks similar to Choice #1 except for the flare shoulder detail. The nice thing about this one is that it accentuates a round table by hugging the curves. And this is what the dining set would turn out with this chair.
(Source: Decorpad)

So, which one shall I choose? With overseas guests arriving this coming weekend, if you know how much of an organized freak I am, you would know I will be making a call soon. Stay tune for the reveal…

My Kitchen Makeover

After another $6,500 bank poorer (or house richer), mixed with sweat and tears (okay okay I am a drama queen), we’ve finally wrapped up our kitchen renovation Phase II. The Phase I was through our builder which cost us an arm and a leg.

This picture pretty much sums up what we did this time. We’ve settled for a mainstream granite like Kashmir White as it lightens up our espresso maple cabinets. I am still adapting to the super deep sink…so spacious that Anthony joked we could bathe a baby (or two) in it!
And this is the part that I wish never to look back. Bianco carrara mini brick backplash looks fantastic, but the installation and clean-up process was extremely painful. The Keracolour Unsanded Grout dried before we had time to wipe the excessive off the stone. We tried Dupont Haze Grout Cleaner but it did very little to remove the dry residual. The rest became nightmare as we had to manually scrape it off from these mini tiles — there must be thousands of them as our backplash occupies 40 square feet!
Anyhow, for those DIY warriors, here is a list of tools we used to put up our kitchen backsplash.

Here is the kitchen after being upgraded twice that I can finally enjoy. I would like to see this as an inspiration to improve my culinary skills — oh, did I mention that I don’t even cook that well or much? 🙂
Bianco Carrara Mini Brick Subway Tile Close-up