Saturday, December 22, 2012


The kitchen has officially been gutted.
We kind of started demo-ing on a whim but it was probably the best decision we made. Hurricane Sandy was on her way and we were bored and stuck in the house. We figured we would start tackling that lovely faux stone wall since we couldn't really go anywhere anyway. This made a much bigger mess than we initially thought it would because we didn't realize there was wire lath and cement behind the stone. Here's Greg at the very start of this endeavor, so unknowing and innocent- 

About an hour or two into this project we lost power. But we persevered, Greg smashing while I bagged it up, figuring we would have power back soon. Well, we didn't get power back that day, or the next, or even that week...actually, it would be 12 days before we got power back. So maybe not the best idea to start a kitchen renovation in the midst of a super storm, but it did give us that extra little push to take the demo all the way. Plus it made a much bigger mess than anticipated, dust and faux brick were everywhere. We figured since we couldn't use the kitchen, or really stay at our house at all, we might as well just rip it all out. So we did. With work closed for 2 days Greg was able to get most of the demo done fairly quickly and we ended up with the room looking like this within the first couple days-

Crazytown. Can't say I was sad to see it go. I even got to chuck a few cabinets in the dumpster myself and I have to say, it felt pretty damn good. We've been moving at a steady pace ever since- electric, plumbing, framing, sheetrocking...and of course the fun stuff that I get to do- picking out cabinets, countertops, tile, sink, etc...We are about a month and half in now and probably a week out from the floor going down and two weeks out from actually installing the cabinets. Not too bad. It is a little slow moving because Greg is doing all the work himself (except for electric and some plumbing) and obviously he still has his own full time job to go to, so he has been spending every spare minute of his nights and weekends to get it done. He is really doing an amazing job of making my vision come true. 
And actually not having kitchen isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.The mess that has been created is bothering me more than anything. We haven't been able to use our living room this whole time because it has to be plastic-ed off since it is open to the kitchen. With that our dining room has become the main dumping ground for the entire contents of our kitchen as well as our makeshift cooking/eating area. Eek. 
In the end my excitement for a new kitchen is far outweighing any of the inconveniences this renovation has caused. By the end of this weekend- so just in time for Christmas- all of the spackle and sanding should be done which is super exciting because that means we can get back into our livingroom and start living a little more normally again. 
I can't wait to share more of our plans and details. I feel really happy with all of the choices we have made so far and I'm psyched to see it all come together. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just a little update

I've been formulating on a little mini-makeover for the dining room. This is actually the first room we did in the house...could've been due to the fact that there was a full on moonscape taking up one whole wall when we moved in (yes, a moonscape.
Way back when we first moved in to our house I saw a picture of a room with super dark blue walls and all white furniture and I was totally inspired by it. It's total drama and I love it. Clearly I am not a white wall kind of gal.  It has evolved over the past 4 years but that is still pretty much the main color scheme of the room. I have added a dark wood buffet (which is really a dresser) because I like to have a mix of furniture. Here's a pretty recent pic to get the general idea of the room-
*Please don't mind the too high chandelier- this used to be in my bedroom and the wires were cut short so it could hang over my bed. This has since been fixed.

I love my white table- I think it was the first piece of furniture I bought on my own when I moved into my first apartment in Queens- it moved with me and the room has kind of been designed and decorated around it. Here's a pic from when that was the only thing in the cute that we only had a table in there for like 2 years. I actually kind of like the openness of it, there is more room to breathe.

I've been pinning away on Pinterest for a couple of months now and I am loving contrasting chairs and tables. I decided this would be a great little update (one that I can even do on my own. Without Greg's help...maybe)  

Here are my inspirations...
 I'm all sorts of obsessed with this dining room- rustic wood table, white legs, black chairs from Restored Style.

Rustic wood table with white chairs- also awesome. I love love love the idea of a rustic wood plank table- and so does Greg which makes it even more awesome. I love when he loves things that I love without me even having to mention it 1302 times.
One day when we're ready for a new table we would love to build a table just like this-


Here is a more modern take on it (a la Rachel Zoe's house). 
I love this- it's totally different from everything in our house but I think it's awesomeness. Yes, that's a word. 

 This one is closest to what we will actually end up with- white table, colored chairs.

While I am painting the chairs I figured I might as well go ahead and reupholster them as well. Why not? Plus, I knew my mom would help me with this one as she has actually done this before. So my mom and I set out last week to find a fabric at The Fabric Mill in Plainview- they had so many beautiful fabrics to choose from and we ended up finding a really great blue and ivory print that I think we will look great in the room. Here it is just laying on the chair-

The hardest part was finding something that would go with our table runner- one of my most prized possessions. We bought this from a small stand on the side of the road in Costa Rica. This woman and her family spend months making these embroidered items by hand. Amazing. It's so absolutely beautiful and it is such a great reminder from one of the most memorable trips we've ever taken.
Now I had to figure out a paint color- first I was going to do a really pale aqua but once I brought the fabric home I realized that wasn't going to work. The blue in the fabric is more of a light periwinkle type of blue so I felt it needed something darker. Off to the paint store I went and brought home swatches of just about every blue/aqua/teal that Benjamin Moore makes. Then I just held them to the chair and the fabric and kept eliminating until I was left with this.
I ended up leaning more towards the teals and even some colors that are reading more green. Could be interesting. We'll see. I'll leave it there for a few days while I think it over. I have to get Greg to weigh in as well. I think I already know what my favorite is though. Hopefully I'll keep the momentum going and get this done in the next week or two.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Frame Wall

We finally got around to putting up the frame wall that I have been working on for awhile now. I wasn't sure how to get started- should we somehow plan it out? Measure the space, lay it out on the floor?  Should we put up templates first (as seen on my favorite blog Young House Love)? In the end we decided to just dive in and start nailing way. We started with a big picture in the middle and just kind of built off of that. And thankfully it worked out. I still have one frame to fill and a tiny frame to add (the one sitting on the cabinet now- It's a picture of my grandparents from right around the time they got engaged) but for the most part it's good to go...

I definitely think I will end up changing a few of them over time but for now I think it's a good mix of pictures, art and memories. 
Starting from top left going clockwise- Napkin from our wedding (says Eat Drink and be Married), picture from our honeymoon in Mexico, "You are my Sunshine" print purchased on Etsy, the next 2 small ones are from pages of interior design magazines (just prints that I liked), the picture on the bottom is a drawing I bought in Prague (of Prague) from a local artist on the street (back in 2003), the wedding cake is a card that was given to us at our wedding, then a black and white picture from our wedding. 

 Front and center- one of my favorite wedding pictures, below that is a card I gave to Greg for Valentine's Day a couple years ago.

Starting from the top- the green and white flowers is a piece of wrapping paper, the #3 is a table number from our wedding- 3 being a very symbolic number for us- Our wedding date (as well as my grandparents married for 58+ years), Greg's baseball number and it also has significant meaning in the Greek Orthodox religion and the wedding ceremony (everything is done 3 times). Below that is a post card from Oahu, Hawaii (our most recent vacation just last month) and then the menu from our wedding. The black and white pictures are engagement, wedding and honeymoon respectively. Then another favorite wedding shot.
Obviously there are lots of items from our wedding since it was just last year- I had these mementos in a box and I figured why not put them where we can see them? I'm sure most of these will be replaced eventually- especially once we start a family in the future (lots of baby pictures I'm sure). But for now they are where we can enjoy them and remember that special time. 

I think this space will end up being a great place to showcase those happy moments that help shape our life together. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kitchen Inspirations

This is the fun part. I have tons of pics saved but here are some of my favorites...
image via here

image via here

Clearly loving white cabinets- very simple, classic, timeless. I definitely want open shelving- specifically rustic wood shelves to counteract the bright white cabinets. I want the floor to be dark since there will be so much white. There are wood floors on either side of the kitchen so I want to do some kind of tile to break up the wood. We plan to take down the cabinets that are over the island now in order to open the room up even more. In their place we will hang pendant lights. We are really lucky that the kitchen is already completely open to the huge family room in the back of the house. I think I've said before that this is totally what sold us on the house. 
The 'faux brick' by the kitchen table is coming down and we will be adding an entire wall of cabinets on that side. There is a 2 seater table there now but with the diningroom and the barstools at the island it just doesn't seem necessary to have so many eating/seating areas. We will also (hopefully) move the stove to that wall and the open shelves will be above that. The fridge will stay where it is now but will be centered with pantries built all around it. The sink and dishwasher will also stay where they are.

image via here 

I have wanted Carrera marble countertops for awhile- unfortunately, I heard they are high maintenance and after researching it more we decided they are not the right option for us. I love to cook and I don't want to always be worried that I will stain the counter. I am really set on having some kind of white countertops because I love the white on white look. Right now I'm thinking it might end up being some type of Corian, quartz or quartzite. This is something we have to do more research on and go look at all the different options in person. Since I can't have my Carrera counters I think we might do Carrera marble subway tiles for the backsplash. We went to The Tile Shop last weekend and found some really awesome options- and surprisingly not that expensive. 

image via here

image via here

image via here

We also found a floor tile that we fell in love with. It's so not what I set out wanting so I was actually really surprised that I ended up liking it so much. I thought I wanted a very natural looking dark gray/brown porcelain or ceramic tile- something almost slate-like.  We also looked at natural slate while we were there and after seeing it on a bigger scale I realized it was not what I pictured at all. So we concentrated on the porcelain and ceramics and it quickly became clear that I do not like the classic square-shape tile. I was really drawn to the rectangular shapes. The salesman who was helping us (really awesome btw) totally got the look we were going for and when he showed us this one I think we both thought it was 'the one'. We took a sample home (along with one other very classic gray rectangular tile which we ended up hating once we put it on the floor at home) and we love it. It's very dark gray with shades of brown and it actually has a shimmer to it- that's the part that surprised me. I'm not so much a shimmer/sparkle fan but something about this is just awesome. It has this metallic kind of quality which I think will look so cool with the white cabinets. And the browns in it go with our dark wood floors.

So little by little we are getting closer to making decisions. It has actually worked out really well so far because Greg and I have been agreeing on most things- hopefully that will last throughout this whole process. Next on the list are countertops and the actual layout of the kitchen and cabinet selection.

Meantime I am still putting some finishing touches on my mini livingroom makeover- pics to come soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And it begins...

There has been lots of work going on at The Hotzoglou house (as usual...) TV's being mounted (yes, Greg got a new TV), new furniture being delivered and old furniture sold, and the best part- a new fridge. The kitchen renovation has officially begun. A couple weeks ago we started researching appliances figuring that was the best place to start since everything would be built around them. So of course on a "let's just go look" trip to PC Richards we left with a new fridge. But it was exactly what I wanted so of course we just had to get it. Stainless steel, counter depth, no water/ice dispenser on the outside. Love it.
Greg had to take the cabinet down that was above the fridge to make room for the new one (and of course, spackle/sand/paint)- here it is in all it's stainless steel glory.

It's so exciting to get started- the kitchen is really our last BIG inside project for the house which is even more exciting. I have been saving and pinning pictures for awhile now and we are pretty set on what we want- white cabinets, some kind of white counter top, dark tile floors, some open shelving and a whole added wall of cabinetry. I get so giddy just typing about it. It has been our plan for awhile to tackle the kitchen this year and originally we thought we could do it during the Spring but now it is upon us and we far from ready. It's definitely a process and I want us to take our time and make sure we find exactly what we want- while also staying on budget. So the new plan is to spend the next couple months picking out all of our materials and then start in the Fall so we can enjoy our summer. Greg is going to being doing a bulk of the reno himself and this baby is getting demo-ed down to the studs and subfloor so the plan is to have everything in house before we actually start the demo- that way there is minimal time without a kitchen (a girl can hope, right?)

We did give the kitchen a face lift our second year in the house- here is our kitchen on move in day-

It's so weird looking at it now. Within the first couple weeks the (very old) oven in the wall and cooktop came out replaced by a stainless steel stove my mom found on Craigslist for a steal. Greg built cubbies for the microwave and my cookbooks where the oven used to be. It stayed like that for awhile until we were ready to paint the cabinets (white) and walls (super dark gray)- just to hold us over until we were ready for the big reno. Of course painting the cabinets was a much bigger job than I anticipated (isn't that always the case?) but Greg did an awesome job as always. Notice how I say Greg and not 'we'. Not sure if I mentioned it  but I'm not really 'allowed' to help on such projects. We are both much happier that way.

Some during pics, oh the fun...

And how our kitchen looks today...

 The white cabinets brightened the room by leaps and bounds and it has definitely made it more livable the past couple years while we worked on the other rooms. We've been talking about it for almost 4 years now so it's exciting to start seeing it come to life.  More to come on our plans and inspirations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Livingroom Mood Board

I've been playing around with a mood board for the living room- which is how I figured out that although I love yellow, it was just not going to work in the room. It's still a work in progress but here is where it's at right now...
Some of these pieces we already own (love seat, coffee table, RECLINER!, dark wood floors...). Some of them we just got/are getting (white console and bookshelves, entertainment unit...) And some I want but haven't found/bought yet (mirror cabinet, silver lamp, mirrors, green rug...) The green rug and the small white side table are from West Elm and I'm really hoping they will go on sale soon so I've been waiting it out while also keeping my eye out for other options at a good price (via online sites like Joss and Main, One Kings Lane, etc as well as Home Goods, Target and Pier One).
That is our actual wall color- Jamaican Aqua from Benjamin Moore which I still really love, especially with our existing white trim and our new white furniture additions. That was our second paint color though- originally we bought a color 2 shades darker (without testing it first, big mistake) and as soon as Greg starting cutting in we both realized we hated it. Lesson learned about always testing paint colors first - except we didn't actually learn our lesson because we made the same mistake with our bedroom.
We received the bookshelves and console this past weekend but we haven't put them in place yet. The bookshelves need to be assembled so hopefully we get to that this week. Stay tuned for updates...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Green in, yellow out

OK- I'm still obsessed with all things yellow- but after playing around with a mood board for the living room I decided I didn't so like the yellow with our pale aqua wall color as much as I thought I would. In theory aqua and yellow seemed like a good idea but in reality it was a little too bright for me. I decided to keep with the green accents I already have going on and kick out the few orange accessories I added some months back.
I had just ordered green pillows that I had planned for the bedroom but actually look much better in the living room. I also picked up a faux fur pillow from Target that I was oddly drawn to. I decided to take a chance and see how it looked at home on the couch. I think it's a keeper. It's a nice off white which balances out the green and aqua pillows and adds some great texture.
After rearranging the living room a few days after Christmas (our tree made an early exit this year because I was really itching to get that recliner in place and out of the way) I realized that I really love the new furniture placement. And as Greg pointed out- it's all thanks to the new recliner. Spending so much time in our 'new living room' I also realized that it's feeling really dark with all the black furniture, black picture frames, dark chocolate I have plans to lighten it up. I'm super excited for our new entertainment center (we bought one at Crate and Barrel) to come in a couple weeks which will go a long way towards freshening up the space and making it feel more airy. I also decided I want to change out the black picture frames and I have some ideas for new artwork above the TV. Greg also has some ideas of getting a new TV since he somehow thinks getting a new TV stand means we need a new TV, hmmm....
Finally, I'm feeling like I want to switch out the heavy brown curtains with some nice airy white panels to brighten up the space even more. I love the contrast of the white and aqua and the white with the dark floor- we will also be adding some white furniture accents. More to come when our new furniture arrives.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You are my sunshine...

I've been collecting artwork, mementos, pictures, etc. the past week or so to start putting together my frame wall. I think I came up with some cute ideas and I was able to get some great inspiration from other blogs. While I was scouring Etsy for some new throw pillows I also took a look at some of the artwork on there and I came across this-

This was pretty much my favorite song when I was little and I would sing it all the time. I'm pretty sure there are home movies of me holding my blankie over my face while singing this so that you can't actually hear anything I'm saying.

On a random side note we also incorporated a house version of this song into our wedding- It was our big entrance song. Yes, believe it or not there is a house version of You Are My Sunshine. 

Anyway, I'm totally buying this- In fact I'm buying it right now.

My goal is to have the wall ready to go in the next week or 2 so I will definitely share the final product and all the thought that went into it.