Dresser Makeover

Last week I finished my favorite home project to date, my dresser makeover. You see for the last 6 years of marriage, Eric and I have shared an Ikea dresser that Eric purchased back when he was single and living alone. The dresser worked great for a while but then, as most Ikea furniture, it started to fall apart. The drawers had the thick cardboard bottoms and one by one the bottoms began to break. One was help up with duct tape and one of my drawers even lived on the floor for about a year because neither of us cared enough to take the time to fix it properly. I’ve always wanted a long, low dresser for us to share, one with more drawers and whose height allowed for a nice lamp and some accessories to be placed on it. About 6 months ago, I began trolling Craig’s list for inexpensive dressers that fit the style I was hoping for. Last month, I succeeded in landing this baby:

This dresser was almost all solid wood, the top was coated in laminate strips which was strange, but the drawers and sides were all wood, it was long and low and had 9 drawers, that means 3 more drawers that our old dresser! I loved the simplicity of it and knew immediately I wanted to sand and re-stain it and I wanted to paint the top white (since I couldn’t re-stain laminate).

I got to work and over the course of last week, sanded all the drawer fronts  and then I started on the sides and all the smaller areas of the dresser. I found that the way the dresser was designed, I was having a really hard time getting some of the places sanded at all. I went back to the drawing board and decided to paint the entire frame and top of the dresser white. Next, I stained the drawer fronts a pretty red mahogany. After waiting 24 hours for the stain and paint to dry, I coated everything with 3 coats of water based polyacrylic and then let everything dry for 3 days before touching it.

In the end I was left with this beautiful dresser:

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but you can see the subtle wood grain in on the drawers and they hand a bit more red tint in them in person. You may also notice that the walls in this picture are blue, we did re-paint the room 2 weeks ago as well. I keep going into the room just to look at it and then I’ll run my hand over it to feel how smooth it is. It’s amazing to me how much more you like a piece of furniture or a room when you put hard work into making it look good. I’m still amazed at myself for finishing this project, this is the first piece of furniture I have ever stained!

Yesterday, we went through all of our clothes and filled 3 bags to donate and then put all the keepers into the new dresser. The old shabby dresser is now living in the garage until we decide what to do with it.

What have you all been up to lately? Any furniture makeovers? Rooms painted? I’d love to hear about it!

Pork Chops & Green Beans

It’s Tuesday morning at the end of August and it feels like its about 65 degrees outside! I couldn’t believe it when I took the dog for a walk this morning. I’m sad that this Summer seems to have flown by but I’ll be honest, I detected a bit of an Autumn chill in the air this morning and it got me thinking about hot apple cider, pumpkin cookies, hearty comfort food and cozy sweaters. Fall is my favorite time of year and I am looking forward to it but yes, I know, its still Summer and I have some easy and delicious recipes for you today.

Some of my favorite meals come together when I’m looking for something new and easy and this is what happened last week. I had just picked a large bowl of fresh green beans from our little garden and had picked up some beautiful pork chops at Central Market that day. I found a simple recipe for the pork chops, using fresh rosemary and garlic and was planning to steam the green beans as the side dish however I found myself wishing for a more exciting green bean recipe. I pulled out my phone and started searching on my Epicurious App and a I found a recipe for green beans that included bacon and garlic. Sold.

To make the pork chops, combine the minced garlic, chopped rosemary, salt and olive oil. Rub the mixture all over both side of the pork chops and allow them to sit while you prepare the rest of the meal.

After cleaning and trimming the green beans, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes to get them to start cooking. While they’re cooking, heat up a saute pan on low and cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and it is crisp. The recipe calls for turkey bacon, to make it healthier, however I only had regular bacon and used that. Either one will work just fine, its up to your preference. Once the bacon is crisp, add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the blanched green beans to the pan. Toss to allow the flavors to combine, sprinkle with fresh oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Also, while the green beans are cooking, cook the pork chops. You can choose to either cook them under the broiler or on the grill. We didn’t feel like firing up the grill so we chose the broiler, however next time I think I’ll choose the grill; everything just tastes better on the grill.

Plate it up and voila! You’ve got a healthy, fresh and delicious dinner!

The pork chops had a lot of flavor and tasted great and check out a close up of those green beans, the bacon just calls to me… I may not make green beans without bacon ever again.

Both recipes came from Epicurious here are the links to both:

Green Beans with Oregano and Bacon

Rosemary Pork Chops

Let There Be Light!

Our newly found motivation with household projects continues, which means my cooking has been made up of quick and easy meals and lots of leftovers. It’s a little sad for our bellies these past few weeks but so many things are getting accomplished in the house that I can hardly be upset. I promise to get back to cooking and sharing my recipes with you all soon but for now, let me show you our latest project and by our I really mean Eric’s because he did all the work while I handed him thing he asked for and paced around the kitchen.

Here’s the back story to this project. When we moved into our house four years ago, I liked the kitchen a lot. I was large, had a big island work space , a decent stove/oven with a flat top and a huge beautiful pantry, what more could a girl ask for? Unfortunately, my tastes were not the same as the previous owners and I quickly got to work painting the walls and trim. A few years later, painting the cabinets white followed and for the last year we’ve been searching for a new light fixture. I wanted something that would open the space up and something that emulated the style of the kitchen I was hoping for and not the previous owners’ kitchen. We found a really nice glass jar chandelier from West Elm around Christmas time and I began stalking West Elm for it to go on sale. Of course when you’re waiting for a sale, it seems to take forever and I think every other category on their website went on sale except for lighting. Finally, in May I got the email that they were offering 20% off all lighting and made my move. I ordered one chandelier for the kitchen and one pedant light for over the sink.

The chandelier was back ordered and didn’t arrive until the end of June. Eric was traveling for work for 3 weeks and we finally got some time 2 weeks ago to put up the large chandelier. It ended up being a pretty simple switcheroo, the old light fixture for the new one. After some aggravated words, turning on and off the power several times and a trip to the hardware store, things were looking nice and bright in our kitchen. We went from this:

Don’t you feel like that one is really heavy and large for the space? I also feel like it should be over a pool table, not a kitchen island. Here is the new light:

I love it so much more! It makes the whole kitchen feel lighter and brighter.

Next, Eric started on the area above the sink, you can see it in the above photo with the wood over top of the curtain. Eric took down the wood, went into the wall, moved the electrical wiring and the light box into the ceiling, installed the new light, re-hung the trim on the cabinets, patched the wall and then painted everything. Now it looks like this:

Didn’t he do an amazing job? It looks like it was always like this. Here’s the full effect in the kitchen with both new lights:

And just for fun, lets take a look at the kitchen when we moved in:

And now:

We keep hanging out in the kitchen now because we love it so much and I just go and and flick the lights on an off sometimes to gaze upon their beauty. What do you guys think, is this an improvement? Have you replaced lighting in your house and loved the results?