Category Archives: kitchen remodel

Budget Kitchen Remodel : Ikea Birch Kitchen

My first Ikea Kitchen post in the Budget Remodel series is up over at Horton Brasses Blog. Check out the great ideas and bold color schemes after the jump.

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My Sink on Attic Mag!


My M. Teixeira custom Belvedere Soapstone Sink on Attic Mag

Now this was fun. I was finishing up my blog work for the day, making the rounds to my usual online haunts. Over at Attic Mag I was enjoying the post titled “Kitchen Contrasts: 1920-2010” by Jane F. (There are a couple of Janes over there).

I’m reading. I’m scrolling. I’m liking what I see and planning to bookmark the post.

And then I come to my own sink! Whaaaa! What fun.

To read the entire post @ Attic Mag click here.


Filed under kitchen, kitchen design, kitchen remodel

Copper Kitchen Hardware

When I did my Horton Brasses blog post on strap hinges, I mentioned my mother-in-law’s kitchen as that post’s muse. One commenter asked for pics. Here they are. Enjoy the old world charm of copper details in the kitchen! I think my mother-in-law’s style mixes mid-mod and traditional floweriness quite well.


These cabinets and copper strap hinges were in place when my in-law's bought their colonial house in Washington, DC in the early 60's.


They built an addition, expanding the back side of the house. What is now the pantry area (not pictured) was the original, tiny galley kitchen. My in-laws were able to get the same oak slab front cabs and copper strap hinges installed in the addition, allowing them to re-use the cabinetry and hardware from the pantry. And thus, save money!

The copper functional strap hinges and knobs have been well cared for over the years; my mother-in-law is a meticulous woman. However, they still show a lovely patina that comes with age.



In other mother-in-law news, she sent me these pictures from the school she works at. Hooks! Old hooks to be exact. Apparently, they remind her of me. Awwww!

These hooks are so what Anthropologie is going after.

The beauty of these hooks speaks to the fact that you don't need to replace everything old with something new styled on the look of something old. Keep the real stuff, save the earth from more junk in your rubbish bin and find the beauty in the worn patina. Better start now before someone thinks YOU deserve a toss in the rubbish!


Filed under kitchen, kitchen design, kitchen remodel, kitchen tips, sabjimata

Cabinet Jewelry Bling Bling!


Scottish architect Charles Rennie Macintosh…

…inspired these pulls!


Another post up at the Horton Brasses Blog. This one is in the “budget remodel” series, giving you ideas how to vamp up your tired kitchen with a quick and shiny fix: new cabinet hardware! To visit the link, click here.

Make sure you share the love and pass this link on to any of  your friends with ugly kitchens. Sometimes a little hint goes a long way…

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Fall Stresstival

Lots going on. Kids had a soccer game yesterday at the ungodly hour of 5:30 pm. Am cooking the “vegan fare” for my kids’ school Fall Festival today. I sure hope there are some vegans attending! Spent too much time trying to figure out how to attach a bulbous styrofoam bodied bat to the back of a black t-shirt. And life. Let’s recap.

Okay. I was proud of this. Dinner from cutting board to table in 35 minutes. Vegetables/tofu/pasta, deeeeeep fried plantains in tomato sauce and glazed carrots. GLAZED CARROTS! Like rice pudding, i LOVED glazed carrots as a kid. So, I thought I would introduce my own spawn to the yum. "It tastes weird." "Can we just have them not cooked." Why do I bother?

Fry Shack! I am making kebabs for sale at the Fall Festival food court so the past 24 hours have involved a lot of high heat and coconut oil. The last time I made a big quantity of kebabs, the 2" stainless steel backsplash on the range got all ickity and commercial kitchen looking. I wasn't totally clueless that this would happen, which is why I went tile behind the cooktop. We had to use heavy duty oven cleaner to get the ick off and still, there are faint little rainbow puddle stains behind that oiled up burner. Of course, I find them charming. Anyway, Easy Off oven cleaner is not charming. So here's my little kitchen tip that I'm passing on to you: foil behind your fryer! Non-flammable and totally protects your stainless steel from tough to clean heat baked grease stains.

Birthday season is upon us and the baked goodies have been making an appearance at parties and in their classrooms. My kids gladly practice gastronomical abstinence in the face of such egged out treats, but I don't blame them for dropping a mention that they couldn't have any. So for the in school Halloween/Fall Festival today, I cranked out 50+ cupcakes for distribution in their classrooms. My daughter's teacher is very strict about no frosting and healthy eating, so I hope it all flies. The frosting is a super airy, light buttercream, slightly sweetened. Madhumati insisted on white frosting but I wanted to make it autumn-y so I did some extra frosting colored with turmeric. Originally I was going to use saffron, but to be honest, didn't want to spend my precious imported threads on kids that might just dump their cupcake in the trash. So, turmeric. Stinky, earthy turmeric. I mixed in some pure maple extract and cinnamon--that totally covered up the taste. But the smell? Well, it is Halloween!


Filed under baking, barbecue, kitchen, kitchen design, kitchen remodel, kitchen tips, sabjimata, seitan, vegan

High Style Budget Kitchen Remodel How To’s


High Style on a budget!

New post up over at Horton Brasses. Please check it out! Leave a comment! Tell my employer you love me!

Conveniently, the post is linked RIGHT HERE!


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Strap It On!

Cross posted @ Horton Brasses Blog (under a different title 😉 ).

My mother-in-law just left after a weekend visit, returning to her DC home. While staying with us, she and her husband admitted to feeling some kitchen envy for our new remodel. That being said, she is hesitant to tear out her 40 year old kitchen and trade up to something more contemporary. One of the things she doesn’t want to part with: the copper functional strap hinges adorning her cabinets. They have definitely retained their classic beauty, despite the years.

Now, I know most people are not running to the hardware store and clearing out the bins of strap hinges when it comes to updating their kitchen hardware. The majority of strap hinges tend to end up on barn doors and hope chests, bought by men who wear their Wrangler dungarees and plaid flannel shirts in a not so ironic way.

But does that mean you shouldn’t consider these bands of hand forged stylishness for your remodel? Of course not! You are not a kitchen trend follower but rather a style setter. How many European bar pulls must be tolerated to spite the expression of individual personality in the kitchen?

Sure, not every application may suit the strap hinge. You may feel that a complete kitchen outfitted in strap hinges….or even the strap hinge’s less lean cousin, the butterfly hinge….may be a bit too period for you. Still, you can use these traditionally styled, hand forged iron hinges to quirk up the joint–adding some visual interest to an otherwise standard and un-noteworthy space.

photo courtesy

This vintage Kohler sink photo should be added to the inspiration file of anyone contemplating a period kitchen remodel for an American farmhouse kitchen. The cast iron apron front sink is just one aspect of perfecting that early American look. Iron strap hinges decorate the cabinets and add beauty to the pared down decor of this functional kitchen.

An updated take on that same traditional style can be seen in this photo from Morgan Creek Cabinetry. All modern conveniences are on hand with a high end range and new fireclay apron front sink while keeping period inspired details like a beadboard ceiling and functional strap hinges mounted on the custom cabinetry.

The clean and modest kitchen of this British cottage rental has a neutral palette and limited cabinets. However, the pantry door adds charm to this otherwise staid space. The large strap hinges and iron knob elevates this cottage kitchen to the expectations of patrons by infusing it with a shot of authenticity amidst the contemporary utilitarian design.

This kitchen by Karin Blake, as it appeared in Architectural Digest, is a  tableau of simplicity, classic Americana and modern design. A mix of inset slab front drawers and wainscot doors, the vintage style lab stools, farm table and windsor chairs all add to the smooth, seamless allure of a style indicating New England old money when, in fact, this home is Malibu new construction. One of the key details that makes this look work are the barn-style cabinet doors finished with forged iron strap hinges.

While a Karin Blake kitchen may not be in your budget, such a look is definitely attainable with stock cabinetry and the right hinges, of course! Whether your cabinets are inset, overlay or frameless, you can rock this designer look by either using real functional strap hinges or dummy hinges. And don’t forget the other hardware to compliment your look. There are a variety of handles sized to create the perfect drama in your kitchen. At Horton Brasses, there are the oversized Suffolk Grips as well as the modestly sized Iron Grips.

And check out these matching knobs from Horton Brasses. Honestly, this stuff is not just for period kitchens! Imagine how appropriate these would look in some kind of industrial modern space. Like I said at the start of this post, ditch the European bar pulls, people! Nothing screams modern more than industrial. Just think lab coats and beakers and all that mad science that went on, marking a new era. Forged iron is not just barn. Below is a pic of a  kitchen from 1966 that merges the suburban colonial look with modern stylings. This should definitely get you thinking outside of your forged iron box!

photo courtesy

The above picture is a great find for anyone with an older home and a budget. There are many ways to update a kitchen, but if you cabinets are in good shape, the most cost effective way involves soap and water and maybe a fresh coat of paint. Strap hinges were definitely more popular in decades past, but hopefully this post will have you embracing your older hardware with a style savvy gaze. Or, even better, taking on that full remodel with courage to add some spark to your kitchen with some well chosen accent pieces. Karin Blake would be impressed!

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