Space Planning – Momma’s New Kitchen

Space planning is my favorite part of a new design.  I think it’s great to be able to take a space that is poorly organized or ill-conceived and make it work (Tim Gunn moment!).  I’m working on a few new projects that are still in the beginning stages, as well as tackling the last few untouched rooms in my house, and that has me dealing a ton with space planning.  So for this week, let’s look at a few of the space plans, I’ve recently drawn up.  

First up,  I’m helping my grandma redesign her kitchen.  This is the kitchen I grew up with and hasn’t been really touched since the early 80s.  

Photo Sep 23, 9 47 17 AM Photo Sep 23, 9 47 30 AM

We’re hoping to create an entirely new space but the biggest issue was trying to rework the floorplan. 

Brewer Kitchen - Original

As you can see, the refrigerator is just in a horrible spot when you walk in.  It doesn’t look as bad on paper but in reality it closes off the room and makes it feel much tighter than it actually is.

Photo Sep 23, 9 47 58 AM


So I’ve come up with a few cost-effective options of moving the refrigerator along the same wall and not really messing with any other wires/plumbing/etc.  

Option 1: Keep the same footprint of the room including the L-shaped peninsula (there is a radiator behind the cabinets so there will have to be some sort of half-wall there) but move the refrigerator to the center of the wall with cabinets/countertops flanking it.  It allows the entry to fill more open and to keep as much storage space as possible.  I’m concerned about the doors of the refrigerators and the peninsula making you feel boxed in.

Brewer Kitchen Renovation 2 Brewer Kitchen Renovation2-Elevation1

Option 2:  In this option, we move the refrigerator to the other end of the wall while also creating a small pantry area.  Now, when you walk in, you won’t be slapped in the face with the refrigerator and it’ll feel like a bigger room.  Without the L-shaped peninsula, the room also just feel simple and updated.

Brewer Kitchen Renovation 2 Brewer Kitchen Renovation2-Elevation1I’ve sent the plans and we’ll see which one she likes.  Hopefully the kitchen will be renovated early next year!



Planning a Bar Closet

Our former furnace lived in a closet in the family room.  When we installed the new HVAC system, we moved the system to the garage and now there is an empty closet in the family room.  I’ve removed the door and have decided to make this closet into a dry bar.  We had the closet wired for electricity and the bottom will definitely house a wine fridge with a countertop.  But for the rest, I’m trying to figure out which direction I want to go in.

Do we go for a true bar feel with a mirror backsplash and glass shelves housing our extensive collection of liquors:

Clay Street transitional-home-bar

Pierce Street transitional-kitchen


Or a more kitchen-like bar setup with gorgeous tiles as the backsplash, a few shelves that house glassware or other beautiful pieces with the liquor hidden in a cabinet.

Hoboken, NJ contemporary-kitchen



Or do we maximize storage and just have a ton of shit everywhere:


Eclectic Hall contemporary-home-bar

Kitchen with Bold Sophistication eclectic-kitchen

Closet makeover by Eddie Ross.

Closet makeover by Eddie Ross.

What do you think?  Should we not publicize our excessive drinking habits or just keep it real…:D

Nursery Inspiration

As promised, I’ve completed an initial draft of the nursery design inspiration board and wanted to share.  The initial color idea for the room was fuchsia and tangerine with the emphasis on fuchsia and pops of tangerine to just break up the space.  Here are the inspiration pictures:

Eva B. Style: Pinterest Obsession- Baby Nursery Ideas * fuschia, marigold, teal, tangerine - fun pallette

via pinterest. I love how saturated the colors are and the feeling that the room evokes.

Suzie: Modern Declaration - Sweet orange & pink girl's nursery design with two tone walls paint ...

via pinterest.  Much calmer and serene but still punchy with color.

So that is the color scheme I chose and now I’m attempting to combine that with my love for the Petal Pusher Wallpaper mentioned earlier.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Design Board

The room is a large bedroom, clocking in around 18′ x 11′.  So there is a ton of space to use and (my understanding is that) babies don’t really need that much space. 🙂  So I’ve decided to turn the full-size guest bed that’s been living in the room into a daybed with built-in storage on the back wall.  The day bed will get the lovely fuchsia linen headboard (and sides) and the cabinetry will be white. The rest of the room consists of the traditional nursery furnishings.

I’ll share the process as I go along but I’m most excited about the wallpaper and the pink ceiling!  Just to give you an idea of how far we have to go…here is the room when we moved in:

Nursery - staged for the sale

Nursery – staged for the sale

Since then, the painted wallpaper has been removed, the walls and popcorn ceiling skim coated, and the floors are currently being installed.  By the end of the weekend, I hope that the floors will be finished, trim installed, and wallpaper ordered and scheduled to be installed.  Wish me luck!  If you wish to follow along, feel free to check out my Nursery board on Pinterest.

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Before and (Almost) After: Guest Bathrooms

I’m going to call this before and (almost) after the story of how money runs out and things don’t progress.

Powder Room

As mentioned yesterday, we made the kitchen smaller to allow space for a guest powder room.

Final Kitchen Floor Plan

I’m a big believer in powder rooms as I don’t want to have to clean my bathroom every time I have a dinner guests.  It’s a small room that really allows you to keep people out of your business.  Anyway, here is the floorplan for the room:

Powder Room Floorplan

Powder Room Floorplan

As you can see it’s not a terribly large room – approximately 5′ x 5′-6″.  The bones of the room have been done since before we moved in (and it was our only working bathroom for almost a week after moving in).  But we have yet to do anything but put in the hardwood floors and put up a coat of primer (and a leftover light fixture from pre-renovation).  So here she is in all her glory:

Powder Bathroom

Powder Bathroom

Powder Bathroom Pic 2It’s terribly difficult to get a good picture of the small space (and I didn’t try that hard since it’s really just a white box).  But these are the things that are still left to be done:

  • Install trim around door and baseboards
  • Figure out design scheme (including wallpaper, etc.)
  • Purchase mirror
  • Purchase light fixture
  • Install bars and other fixtures
  • Buy accessories

I have no idea where I want to go with this bathroom and it honestly isn’t that high of a priority right now.  I’m just happy we have a working bathroom and increase the overall number of bathrooms in the house fairly inexpensively.

Guest Bathroom

The second guest bathroom is a full bathroom connected to the larger guest room.  We referred to it as our yellow submarine bathroom for quite some time.  This is how it looked before:

Yellow Bathroom

Yellow Bathroom

You can barely see it but there is a teeny tiny shower in the right corner of the bottom picture that is also covered in yellow tile.  And of course this was another room that had two access points.  I hate the access into the guest bedroom and think the door makes it feel much smaller than it really is.  However, we decided to just reverse the swing of the door (so that it didn’t go into the bathroom) and see how it works in practice.  If it’s not really needed, we could always just drywall the opening later.

After the home inspection, we learned that all the tile (in the entire house) contained lead and needed to be properly removed by a specialist ($$$).  So while this bathroom wasn’t a huge priority for us in this phase of the project, and we had plans to simply spray the current tile white to save money, it just made sense to gut it while the other tile was being removed.



It looked like that for weeks until a cat decided to walk into our house from the hole left from removing the tub (from the crawl space under the house).  At that point, we realized we at least needed to get the bathroom to the drywall phase.  So today it’s a white box that serves as storage for a variety of items.

Storage galore - dog food and bowl, extra hardwood flooring :)

Storage galore – dog food and bowl, extra hardwood flooring 🙂

The only things we have accomplished in the room are adding a new window and updating all the plumbing.  There is still much to be done to this room including:

  • Figure out a damn design plan
  • Buy tile, vanity, and fixtures (lighting and plumbing)
  • Frame mirror
  • Find someone to do the work!

I would venture to say that these rooms (along with the guest bedroom) are the most “undone” rooms in the house and have received the least amount of attention.  These aren’t the rooms that keep me up at night because I can close the door and (sort of) forget about them.  (I say “sort of” because none of the doors in this house actually have handles so they can’t really be closed or stay closed :-)).

Anyhoo, let’s catch up tomorrow with a view of the den and living room!


Renovation Update: Flooring

The last time I mentioned flooring, I was planning on going with this lovely acacia floors:

I decided that I didn’t want the floors to steal the show. With that much pattern and movement, I was concerned that it would overwhelm the space.  Essentially, I chickened-out and decided to go with a more uniform dark white oak floor.

 As I mentioned before, our good friends helped us get started with the install.  

My day laborers hard at work.

Unfortunately, because I chose the 2 1/4″ width, this install is taking FOREVER.  We’ve finished the living room, dining room, and kitchen but still have the rest of the house to do.  Wish us luck since we’re really only working on the weekend now.

Here’s a before and after to give us motivation:

Before: Carpeted loveliness

After: Sable White Oak (in the dark)

Have a happy turkey day!

Crazy Week Ahead

Happy Monday!

I’ll likely be MIA this week as I’m packing and moving into the unfinished house on Wednesday. I thought I had a good start on packing but with the trip to Chicago and Detroit, I’m super screwed with the amount that needs to be done before the movers arrive (or I’ll pay them to pack which makes no financial sense).

Anyway, I came back from my trip to find that my contractor had completed everything I asked and the house looks AH-mazing. I have a kitchen, pantry, powder room, and master bathroom with proper plumbing, electrical and a little bit of drywall! Inspections are tomorrow and then the pretty stuff comes in!


I’m so happy about the progress! I’ll leave you with a pic of how Nala spent her weekend.


Tough Decisions: Wood Floors

If you follow me on Instagram (joystreetdesign) or Twitter, you likely know that we have a gorgeous chocolate labrador retriever named Nala.

She’s awesome in many ways but like all labs, she sheds like a beast.  She also has a tendency to vomit and it appears that she looks for any carpeted area (bypassing wood floors) when she does it.  All that being said, we (meaning the hubby) doesn’t want to have carpet in the new house.  So we’re looking for affordable solutions for putting hardwood floors in over 2000 square feet.

I’ve been dying for walnut floors in the new house.  However, walnut floors are terribly expensive ($8-$10/square foot) and evidently not very hard (a softer wood than most).  But aren’t they gorgeous.

So I could get a different type of wood (oak, hickory) that is stained in a walnut finish:

Hickory stained in a walnut finish

But recently, I came across a new-to-me type of wood that has similar variations and tones to walnut called Acacia.

It’s a little busier than walnut but I think it looks gorgeous once all down.  The price point is good ($4-5/square foot) and it’s a super hard-wearing wood.
What do you think?  It’s a big chunk of change and essentially no take-backs (:-)) once it’s down.  It’s on sale for the next four days so I’ll have to make a decision!
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Obsess Much: Professional Packers and Movers

I’m in the middle of packing up our house for the move at the end of the month and I’m obsessing right now about professional packers and movers.  We’ve had the service in the past and it is amazing – they pack everything in your house, drive it to where it needs to be, and if you’re lucky (and pay for it) they will unpack a few boxes when you arrive at your new location.  Unfortunately, we can’t justify the expense in the middle of an overbudget renovation but a girl can dream.

Seeking Motivation/Inspiration

Do you ever have times where you’re slammed with things to do (work, home, etc.) and feeling super unmotivated or inspired?  Well I’m in one of those “funks.”  I have a ton of stuff to do for the renovation (which is actually moving along!!) and some new client work but have been unable to get motivated to really get on top of these things.

So I decided to try to get a little creative and sketched the exterior of the new house.  Here she is in all her glory:

And here she is as a quick sketch:

Spending a little time sketching was actually fun and I realize I haven’t been doing much of anything creative away from the computer.  I took this sketch and came up with three rough ideas of a color scheme for the house exterior:

Idea 1 – White house with colorful door and black garage door to match the new windows.

Idea 2 – Light blue/gray house with colorful door. Garage to remain white. New black aluminum windows.

Idea 3 – Dark gray exterior with a colorful door and the garage remains white.

I’m partial to the 3rd option but think the dark gray in the drawing is too dark.  I’m thinking more of a medium gray with a hint of blue.  The yellow is a little acid/neon but those were the markers that I had to work with :).  The hubby thinks we should have a black door but I think he’s been overruled.  What do you think?  I have time to make this decision (which makes me taking time to do this even more ridiculous) but would love some input.

I’m off to run errands and buy exterior and fire rated doors.  Good times!