3 Tips for Selecting Kitchen Cabinets

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through your Pinterest feed pinning inspiration pictures that you like left and right?  Many of them don’t have anything in common but yes, that pic of gorgeous pendants is amazing…

and if you were designing your dream kitchen you would have to have a hidden dry erase board in it.

On Pinterest it’s fun to dream that you CAN HAVE IT ALL. Pinning and dreaming are free and your boards have all the space in the world to build your dreams.

But what happens when it’s time to take a good look at your Pinterest board actually make these dreams come to life? Within your budget, your square footage, and without looking like a hodgepodge of individual good ideas.  You may find yourself feeling much like how Esther does about selecting a theme for her sixth birthday party… overwhelmed.

Use these 3 Tips for Selecting Kitchen Cabinets to help avoid that feeling.

Think Long Term

Cabinetry and flooring are two of the harder and more expensive finishes to replace in a house.  So just like we did with our flooring we wanted to select a cabinet style and finish that wouldn’t date itself in five years or that might not be great for resale value.  So while I do love colorful kitchens like this one…

I plan to bright spots of color in barstools, flowers, and artwork like this kitchen.

But you know if yellow is your favorite color and it has been for twenty years and your pretty sure it will be for twenty mores years go ahead and use yellow cabinets.

For this reason I also stayed away from selecting gray cabinets.

I love them but grays have so many different undertones like red, blue, and green that i didn’t want to be restrained to using only accent colors that worked with the undertone of the gray.  I do however love gray cabinets and still think it looks beautiful in our townhouse kitchen.

Think Cohesively

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is making sure the style and color of your finish work with everything else you have selected for the kitchen.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted a white subway tile backsplash like in our townhouse kitchen.  It adds a clean and classic look to any kitchen and is also inexpensive. You may remember from one of our earlier posts that we are reusing the black granite counters that were in the kitchen.

These counters are really what the entire kitchen design revolves around.

So while I love the white on white on white look…

I needed to know how white cabinets and a white subway tile backsplash looked with black granite.

I liked what I saw. So now the decision remained… which type of cabinets to use.

Think Budget Wise

We have a set budget for the entire Whistle Haven project.  After working five years as an interior designer in healthcare design I learned a thing or two about making spaces look beautiful on a budget.  It’s easy to create a beautiful space with endless amounts of money but good design happens when you stick to and work within a budget AND create a beautiful space at the same time.  That’s been my goal with Whistle Haven.

So while we could afford to have custom cabinets made and installed I really felt like we would have missed out on some of the bells and whistles that I wanted in our kitchen. Like soft-closing cabinets, huge pull-out drawers, and under cabinet lighting.  Michael Luke and I are also a couple that loves tackling a good DIY project.  After reading several reviews on the quality of their modular cabinets and with the opening of their store here in Memphis in December we just couldn’t resist going with IKEA cabinets.

We chose the Bodbyn style in off-white… which really reads more as a white.  I’m absolutely in love with the detailing on the doors and look forward to seeing my kitchen surrounded by beautiful white cabinets.  IKEA offers so many options that there are virtually limitless ways you can customize your kitchen design to fit your lifestyle. If you haven’t ever visited an IKEA showroom before you are really missing out on all the fun of walking through living space after living space and testing out all the drawers and doors and finding neat storage solutions hidden within.

All the parts to our kitchen cabinets were delivered almost two weeks ago and are waiting on ML and me to tackle them once our flooring gets installed.  By choosing IKEA cabinets with their 25 year warranty… which we are really excited about, we are saving thousands of dollars vs. custom and semi-custom cabinets from other brands! Plus, I get all the bells and whistles I wanted with my cabinets.

I promise another post soon with all the details on how we designed on our IKEA kitchen and what the whole process looks like from the first sketches to cabinet delivery. In the meantime, what is your one board that you pin the most to?

For me it’s my crochet board.  I’m always looking for cute crochet patterns and stylish ways to incorporate crochet into my home design.

 

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Can We Make It Work

Umm… so this post is long and very short on pictures and for that I’m sorry but there’s a lot of catching up to do.

It’s been a while since I shared an adoption update.  And like most big gaps in my adoption update posts it’s because there has been limited activity and progress.  Before I catch you up to speed let’s take a look at where we were in the process In mid-December.

  • Homestudy
  • Letter of Intent/ Pre-Approval
  • I800A sent/approval
  • Dossier to China
  • Letter of Action
  • I800 Sent
  • I800 Approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Article 5
  • Travel Approval from China
  • Consulate Appointment Date in China – Then entire trip revolves around this date!

Right after we received our Letter of Action (LOA) in December we sent our I800 to the U.S. government and just before the new year we got U.S. approval to adopt Judah specifically.  This step was really special to me because he was approved by immigration to become a U.S citizen.  And while I seriously doubted there was a chance he would be turned down it’s always nice to see everything in writing.

Immediately after getting the green light from the U.S. we sent everything off to China and began waiting on our Article 5.  Article 5 looks like this: a courier will pick up the Article 5 from the US Embassy and deliver it to Chinese Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (Chinese branch of government that oversees adoption).  The Article 5 lets CCCWA know that you are approved by the US government to adopt that specific child and have appropriately jumped through every hoop and paid every fee our two governments could think of.  After this step CCCWA issues TA.

While all this was going on we had to do something that wasn’t listed as one of the above steps.  We had to apply for an extension to our homestudy because our original homestudy was set to expire February 12.  This doesn’t typically happen to families while waiting but this adoption has taken us a while.  We are currently over two and half years into the process since we started.  If you are considering adoption please don’t let this scare you.  This is no where near the typical length of time it takes to adopt from China… or Hong Kong.  Some countries can take much longer but agencies are really good at having guestimated times for each country that you can look at before beginning the process. Our process has been slow because we moved in the beginning, Michael Luke switched jobs, and we switched countries.  Things like that can really slow an adoption down.  So moral of the story… try to avoid that if possible.

We applied for our extension in late December and honestly felt like we would have it approved by mid-January.  Essentially leaving no room for conflict with travel.  That was not the case.

Last Wednesday we got an email from our social worker at Lifeline letting us know that we had received Article 5 from China.  Michael Luke and I were beyond excited because we knew that travel approval was just beyond the corner.  Later that night I hopped on the China Adoption group that I’m a part of on Facebook to see how quick people receive travel approval after Article 5.  It looked like anywhere from three to ten days.

“We are going to have Travel Approval by the end of the week.”, I told Michael Luke.  Then I started praying that God would give us travel approval by the end of the week.  I prayed and prayed.  Thursday morning after I dropped the girls off at their Mother’s Day Out for Homeschoolers I received a call.  I almost didn’t answer it because the number wasn’t saved in my phone.  It was Logan with Lifeline letting me know that we had just received Travel Approval!!!  I could not believe it.  It had not even been 24 hours since we got Article 5.  Overjoyed doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt… especially when our passports with stamped visas arrived at my door shortly after.

But that wasn’t all.  Logan shared with me that the orphanage Judah was in wanted to know if we could be in China by February 20th to pick him up because they were already traveling to the capital city to bring two other kids and felt it would be easy to make the 3-4 hour journey one time with all three.  I could not believe it.  The 20th?  So soon!

Could we make it work?  That would mean we would need to leave by February 15th at the latest because we plan to spend a few days in Hong Kong before traveling into China.  Talk about running around like a mad women… a mamma on a mission. I knew we could do it.  It would be frantic and I’m sure items would be left behind. We would probably make a mad dash to the airport with all our stuff we haphazardly threwn in a suitcase… hoping it was enough, and then crash exhausted in our seats Wednesday morning. We could do it.

Except for one little problem… it’s the middle of February and our homestudy extension has still not been approved!  So we had to turn down the offer to come much quicker than most families are normally allowed to after receiving Travel Approval because we technically don’t have the green light from the U.S. yet.

What do we lack to get the green light?  Well our social worker talked to our immigration officer and she is going to approve our request for an extension… once she get our updated fingerprints so they can check our criminal record again.  You know, just in case I’ve committed any notorious crimes you might have heard about in the news over the past few months.  And unfortunately the need for fingerprints has been in demand lately so the government has been bogged down trying to get everyone’s processed. Go figure.

We had already been told weeks earlier that our letter for our fingerprint appointment should be in the mail.  So where was it?!  Turns out it really wasn’t.  They don’t mail them until about two weeks before your appointment and after checking with our immigration officer our social worker shared with us that our appointment wasn’t until the 22nd. Two days after the day China wanted us to get Judah.

So the only thing standing between us and Judah was getting our fingerprints scanned. Ironically, this same thing happened with Esther.  Only in that case our fingerprints weren’t set to expire until two months after we got back home but the U.S government requested updated ones before we traveled.  That’s when we had them scanned the day before we left.  Mine then failed because they couldn’t read my pinkies. So we had to visit the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong to have mine scanned again. Then they failed again but thankfully we had a Plan B that worked to get me back home. That’s how we ended up staying an extra week in Hong Kong.

For that reason we will not be booking any travel until we hear from the U.S. government that my fingers have been clearly scanned.  Adoptive parents with only one final step standing between them and their son don’t just sit around and do nothing though.  Nope.  Friday we finally received our letter in the mail letting us know that we did indeed have an appointment on the 22nd.

So yesterday morning I met Michael Luke at the fingerprint office and we requested to have our fingers scanned early.  We talked to the lady in charge and shared with her that this was the ONLY thing standing in the way of our travel to China.  She wasn’t easily swung by emotions though and told us that she knew this was important and that the government understood and that’s why we had an appointment date of the 22nd.  Come back then. I really had to rely on the Holy Spirit for self-control at this point.  “Can we just wait and take someone’s place if they don’t show up?”, I asked.  There were 61 names on the list for that day and she didn’t sound hopeful but she said if we wanted to wait we could.

I had come prepared with an entire bag full of activities for the girls and I wasn’t about to give up that easily and just wait until the 22nd.  So Michael Luke and I took a seat and waited…  and prayed. We waited and waited some more.  After only an hour and half of waiting with no cell phone or television we were BOTH called back to have our fingerprints scanned.  It was an answer to so many people’s prayers and for that I’m thankful.

What’s Remains

  • Homestudy
  • Letter of Intent/ Pre-Approval
  • I800A sent/approval
  • Dossier to China
  • Letter of Action
  • I800 Sent
  • I800 Approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Article 5 
  • Travel Approval from China
  • Consulate Appointment Date in China – Then entire trip revolves around this date!

So now we wait again.  It should take a few of days for our fingerprints to be checked and then once the approval is mailed to our agency we can contact the U.S. Consulate in China to ask for an appointment. Typically that date runs about a month out from Travel Approval or in our case when we have fingerprint approval.  So, I’m a little bummed that we missed out on the opportunity to travel early and skip the month long wait but at the same time I’m thankful.

I’m thankful because I have a little girl turning six at the beginning of March and we plan to have her party before travel. Even if it’s a spur of the moment party on a random weeknight she will have her party because once we return home we really won’t be getting out much as we go through the bonding process.  There’s also this little house project we have going on and preparing to move once we get back from China.  I’m also a huge fan of consignment sales and have been busy listing the girls old clothes for one of the sales coming up that I also plan to volunteer and shop at.  I love being able to knock out almost all my shopping for them in one trip so I really hate to miss out on that.  So even though we won’t be traveling this month we’ve got plenty to do to keep us busy until it’s time to travel.  Through all this God has been reminding me that he is never a day early or a day late but always on time.  For me to have it or wish for it any other way would be against his plans. I can rest in that.

For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. – Habukkuk 2:3

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Champagne It Is

Once we got the floor busted up we realized that it was time to make a decision on flooring.  I’m normally a pretty quick decision maker.  ML is one of those people who like to exhaust all their resources and not make any decisions until he has done thorough research. So we make quite a combo.  I do the initial sample pulling, pinning of ideas, and share my ideas with him and then he challenges me to keep going while he gathers all the technical information and pricing details.  Normally by the end of this process it’s usually pretty evident what our best choice is. With our flooring it really wasn’t any different.

So let’s talk about it.

 

The first decision we had to make was what type of flooring did we want to use throughout the downstairs.  With soon to be three kids, two pets, and hopefully lots of friends in the house we knew it needed to be durable and practical.   Before I dive into the three types of flooring we considered let me just share that as popular and practical as ceramic “wood” tile is it just isn’t for us. I don’t know why and I can’t explain it but my feet are very picky about the type of flooring they walk on barefooted and cold, gritty ceramic tile just isn’t one of them. Plus, since we live so close to the train tracks I really want a floor that will work to absorb some of the sound.


Originally we through we wanted hardwood flooring because it could be sanded and refinished down the road if we ever wanted to change the stain color.  The more we looked at our options the more we realized this might not be the best choice.

For one thing laminate and engineered flooring was sometimes half the cost.  Meaning that later down the road if we ever wanted to change flooring it would be just as affordable to replace it.   Laminate flooring has really come in a long way and in terms of durability it is probably one of the best choices of the three types of flooring.


It’s also a great way to get the look of expensive flooring for a fraction of the cost. I mean look at some of these beautiful options available. It was certainly enticing but in the end we ended up choosing engineered hardwood flooring.


Engineered hardwood is made of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface.  It’s more resistant to moisture and heat compared to solid hardwood. Since it’s actually made of wood it sounds like wood when you walk on it instead of the sometimes hollow sound you get when you walk on laminate flooring. Since less hardwood is used in the construction of each flooring plank the cost of the material is less. Once again broadening our choices of flooring to choose from because some of those expensive hardwoods get on up there in price!

The hardest part wasn’t choosing the type of flooring though it was choosing the type of wood, finish, and stain that we wanted in our flooring.

So if you’ve been on Pinterest any at all lately you may have noticed that gray floors are the flooring to have right now.  

They are absolutely beautiful but flooring is not as easy to swap out as paint or pillows on the sofa.  Flooring selection is a long-term commitment and as beautiful as the gray flooring we didn’t want to choose something trendy that we might regret five or ten years down the road.  So gray flooring was out.

Our initial serious favorite was a flooring with a dark almost chocolate/coffee stain.

This beautiful dark flooring really contrasts with white trim and cabinets and gives off a subtle clean and contemporary feeling.  It’s as if it’s saying, “I’m stylish and know what i’m doing here. I’m bold and beautiful!” But then I talked to my sister who is in her second house with dark flooring and she shared with me how hard it is to keep looking clean and that the dark flooring shows every little pieces of dirt.  Ok, remember the part of the story where I’m a mom to almost three kids and two pets.  I’m also a mom who is NOT good at cleaning and certainly  not used to cleaning the floor daily.  So the chocolate/coffee flooring was out.

Before  I move onto where we actually landed with our flooring choice let me just say that for some reason I didn’t want a super light or yellow finish flooring. So the typical look of the lighter oak flooring wasn’t really something we considered.

To help us nail down a flooring stain finish we turned to our fire place. The brick in it has some beautiful reds and blues that we wanted the flooring to pull from.  We laid out samples against the fireplace and finally began to narrow down the stain color for the floor.  

We chose the second flooring from the left. It is a medium color wood finish with hints of red in it that highlights the natural grain of the wood. And you know… I has totally won me over and I get the feeling I’m going to love it more than the dark chocolate flooring that first caught my eye.

 

We pulled sample pieces from several vendors here in the Memphis area before finally deciding but in the end chose the Mullican Lincolnshire Hickory Champagne.  I can already envision the planks bringing a feeling of warmth to the rooms. We are crazy about the slight color variations throughout the flooring. From the beginning we were pretty sold on using hickory.  It’s one of the harder woods used for flooring meaning that it won’t scratch as easily as birch, walnut, or oak.  Because we want the floor to be durable and because we love the look we chose a hand scraped finish with some distressing.

I love the look of distressed flooring because my vision is to have a wood flooring that looks like it could have been there since the house was built in 1979.  Of course the 5″ wide planks may give away the fact that it hasn’t been but don’t you just love the look of wide planks?

So there you have it.  That’s all the thinking that went behind our flooring choice. Well really not all the thinking because I left the more boring  parts out. But if you are considering including engineered flooring in your home renovation project or in your new home take some time and research the wear layer on top of the wood finish, the thickness of the wood veneer, the warranty on the product you are looking at, and if your flooring choice can be re-sanded and finished in the future.

Our hickory flooring will run throughout the downstairs except for the laundry room and half bath off of the kitchen and in our master bathroom.

So as we keep moving forward in our decision making process of selecting finishes, how do you choose to incorporate trendy fashions in your house?  Interchangeable artwork, pillows, bold colors on the walls?

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