rental house: kitchen & dining room

if you are new here, we moved out of what i might have called our “dream home” last month and into a rental house.  after 9 years of living in a beautiful home we built and raised our 3 kids in, we decided to sell with the end goal of building again and having more land to run wild on.  there are definitely still days when i wonder, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!” but for the most part i feel great about our decision.

we’ve been living in our rental house for about 5 weeks now, and have been feeling settled for about the last 3 weeks at least.  thankfully, we were able to get settled quickly into this home, due mostly to the fact that this home is really big!  it really is such a blessing to move into a house that feels luxurious (space-wise).  we were used to 3 bedrooms in our main home (not including the loft) and this house has 4 bedrooms.  the kids were so so excited to have their own rooms, and we have a second living space/playroom/game room/workout space that is gigantic.

while we have been settled for a bit now, i have been hesitant to take any pictures for my blog because it just doesn’t photograph well.  my old house i could shoot a pile of dirty dishes in my sink and it could look pretty because of the white subway tile, the pretty faucet, and the grey caesarstone counters.  but i have decided that this can actually be a fun challenge:  to love the house i’m in, make it a home for my family, and be content.  the last part is the hardest for me, if i’m being honest.

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here is the “before” of the dining room.  not bad – decent floors, french doors opening to a big deck outside, good light.

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here is the “before” of the kitchen.  it has obviously been redone in recent years.  the cabinets are nice, and they could be oh so much worse!  the counters… i am so so so happy that they are a solid surface!  no grout or tiles to battle!  i have yet to find a color that looks good with both the cabinets and the countertop, so i have limited my kitchen decor/supplies to the colorless realm: black, white, grey, wood.

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except my stools.  they are green, because i am not changing their color and they are just so cute!  we used the island in our last home so often and i knew we needed to keep stools here, even though it makes the passage a bit tighter.  the kids sit here more often than at the table for breakfast and lunch.  and snacks.  and to chat. and to draw.  and to watch me wipe down the counters for the 20th time that day.

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here is where we are currently at.  i really wanted to wait to post until i had the kitchen finished like i really want it, but i haven’t quite figured that out, and i am fan of keeping things real.  while i love the red letter words canvas on the wall, the color there bugs me, so i may swap out something a bit more neutral.

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lily gets her baking station here as well.  she bakes something nearly every day and these cabinets are a little higher here, making it harder for her to get her main ingredients out so often.  sugar and flour are pretty neutral, so they made the cut ;)  we have also missed our butcher block island, but my dad gave me this old breadboard that was in my childhood kitchen (they just did a major remodel), and it works great!

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i do have little pops of color on those corner shelves, which i’m still undecided on.

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there is actually a good amount of counter space for food prep, and the storage in the cabinets is good.  i didn’t even bother unpacking my mismatched floral china plates or my in-law’s wedding china, or most of our bigger serving platters and dishes.  those will have to wait until the next home.  there’s no pantry in the kitchen (we use the lazy susan in the corner under the counter for snacks/cereal/tea) but there’s a closet in the hall just around the corner where we have our basic party items, liked canned goods and brownie mix.  you know, the essentials.

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the appliances are relatively new (fridge is brand new as we had to buy it).  i’m not used to having small appliances out in the open, like the microwave and the coffee maker, as we had tucked away storage for them, but the deep unusable corner works perfectly for the microwave.  and that hood vent is awesome!  funny thing: we never installed a vent over the stove in our last house.  it was one of those “we need to do this” things that always got pushed to the end of the list.  having a vent is so nice to suck away cooking smells and steam.  and smoke when food drips in the oven *ahem*.

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the landlord just replaced the sink faucet for us.  the water here is much harder than it was in our house across town, and it causes fixtures to corrode much faster.  the hard water buildup was so thick around the faucet base that the counters were solid grey – no speckles.  after several applications of vinegar/baking soda/dawn solutions, it finally softened enough for me to scrape most of it off with a pastry scraper – yuck!  i still need to do the bathroom sinks next, but i don’t look at them nearly as much as i do in the kitchen.  and i am so thankful we have a dishwasher!  we have lived in a few places without and its rough!

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this room gets great light and has a really pretty view from the kitchen sink.  it looks way out over farmland and is the dreamiest when the train is rolling through and winding out of the hills and along the farms.  i would just like to thin out the neighbor’s trees a bit to widen the view ;)   { 3-tier wire basket }

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we use these little colanders all the time, usually filled with cherry tomatoes or berries.  i just added a white one to cut out the color, and at $2 each from world market, its an easily justifiable purchase.

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i love having a coffee station.  while our coffee maker had a little garage it lived in in our last kitchen, we still had a tray of our goodies on it, so we weren’t digging in cabinets every day.  our coffee cups and travel mugs and whole beans are stored in the cabinet just above.

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on to the dining room.  this room is a work in progress.  i am mostly happy with the wall collage, but then again, it just feels really, really busy.  i am finding that in my mind i am craving more simplicity in my home, but when i go to decorate, i grab the same usual items and put them back up.  i have lots of fun treasures that i have collected over the years and i am finding a desire lately to let them go, simplify my wall decor a bit, and give the eye a place to rest.  i’m pretty sure i am going to take this all down and put up a gigantic old pull down school map that i was given.  we’ll see…

the table is also quite large.  we have to push it against the wall in order to walk past it.  when we have other families over for dinner its so awkward and funny how hard it is to function in there!  i am hoping my dad and i can start soon on building a new table for this space that would eventually become the homeschool room table in our next house.  we’d keep this behemoth in the playroom and add a pingpong net (its just shy of regulation size!).  i just added that runner from world market and am not sure on it yet.  without anything there its just a huge black box.  maybe just adding a vase of flowers, a plant, something… would help fill it up a bit, while still trying to keep things clean and simple.  see how easy it is to fall into old habits of displaying all the cute things!

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this is my mini command center/office.  we have our calendar and chore charts here, all from paperworks.  we also regularly use the shopping lists and notes from paperworks, but they are in another spot.  {sidetone: that is an affiliate link for paperworks – you get a $5 discount, i get $5 credit.  but i do use their products everyday and love that they make daily tasks more beautiful!}  i have one (very full) hanging file holder with all my bills, etc to be filed.  the file cabinet is in the opposite corner of the room, on the same wall as the collage, with the printer on top.  in my silly attempt to hide all that, i stuck a plant on top.  good enough!  { trash can  //  curtains }

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rather than homeschooling downstairs in the playroom, i am trying to do it up here where the light is better.  can you tell i have a thing for light?  i hate being in poorly lit spaces – they make me sad and i feel like i can’t see well.  bright light all the time for me!  we have been using this “homeschool cart” for awhile (cart from ikea) and its working out pretty well.  it holds lots of our basic art and writing supplies on top, like markers, colored pencils, scissors, erasers, pencils, glue, rulers and pencil sharpeners.  the middle shelf holds 2 plastic containers – one for basic craft supplies like wash tape, hot glue gun, wire, string… and the other hold basic office supplies like tape, envelopes, stamps, stapler, white out, etc.  the bottom shelf hold a variety of papers mostly for school: printer paper, card stock, college ruled lined paper, wide ruled lined paper, and graph paper.

so there’s the first bit of a house tour!  i’m hoping to show more as i can squeeze in the time and have good lighting (its hard to photograph when its gloomy and raining out).  each of these spaces are still a work in progress and we’ll fiddle and wiggle things here and there to adjust them to work best for how our family really uses these spaces.  moving has always been something i love (i know, i’m weird), and i enjoy the challenge of a home that is not how i’d think to design it.  i love problem solving and making things work as best as possible!

what i wore

welcome to “what i wore” at the pleated poppy!  share with me your fashion posts and we can inspire each other!  i started this originally as motivation to get out of my daily uniform of jammies or sweats, but now i am encouraged and held accountable to put a few extra minutes aside for myself and try new things.  i’d love for you to join me!

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yep, you’ve seen this outfit before.  and i’m pretty darn sure you’ll see it again.  its one of those outfits where its just so stinking’ comfortable, but i still feel cute in it.  cute + comfy = winning!

sweater – forever 21 {similar} //  v-neck – forever 21 //  jeans – forever 21 //  boots – steve madden

pinterest inspiration

there are some days when i just need a little outfit inspiration, even really casual days.  my go-to source is always my What I Wore pinterest board.  its filled with my own outfits that i like and lots of outfits that i love.  i’ve been loving cozy neutral outfits that border on lazy but are pulled together just enough.

inspiration pic //  beanie – roxy //  cardigan – forever 21 //  white v-neck – forever 21 //  black skinnies – stitch fix //  rainboots – old navy (super old – sorry!) {similar}

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do you wanna join me for “what i wore“?  yay!  just follow the rules:

1. link to your specific blog post, not your blog’s main page. ex: http://thepleatedpoppy.com/2011/09/what-i-wore-wednesday-fall-inspiration/ not http://thepleatedpoppy.com/blog/.

2. please only link outfit related posts. your craft project may be adorable, or that may be a great giveaway, but this linky is for outfit related posts only – thank you!

3. please please please link back here to me so all this wiww stuff makes sense to your readers. and its just nice to do ;) grab a button from my sidebar (see the code box?).

4. check out as many links as possible! i am constantly inspired by so many outfits each week! and you will definitely find some new blogs that you’ve never stumbled upon before – so fun!

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