Stone Fireplace

The Fireplace.  It is the centerpiece of our great room.  We knew that we wanted it to make a statement.  In early house discussions, I asked Jonathan what he wanted the most in our new house and he said “a big, stone fireplace” (my answer was a big kitchen island!). When we were in the process of drawing up our house plans, he had the idea of making the fireplace double-sided. We love that it can be enjoyed from the Great Room and the Dining Room.  We looked at many options for the gas unit and decided on the 42″ Escape model from Heat & Glo.  We liked this model because there are no louvers (borders, grates) around the edges, making the viewing and see-through area larger. We purchased this and had it installed by Warsaw Masonry.

We knew that we wanted to use cultured stone to save on cost.  We wanted to take the stone all the way up to our ceiling (18′) so we knew it would cost quite a bit less than real stone.  We had a hard time finding the style and color that we wanted.  We finally decided to check out J & N Stone in Wakarusa, IN.  We walked in and saw a model in their showroom.  It was exactly what we wanted.  It took me about 5 seconds to say “that’s it!” The color and style we chose is called “Price Quartz”.  J&N installed this for us and we were very happy with how it turned out!

2015-10-28 19.32.13

Oct. 30

A little later with our barn beam mantle (and the kids testing out our new cowhide rug) :)… Also, you’ll notice that the look is a lot lighter when the grout dries!

Dec. 13 fireplace

2016-01-13 20.32.28

Here is where I like to enjoy the fireplace these days…

2016-01-18 14.59.08

Cabinet Day!

This has been our favorite day so far!! Praise Jesus – our cabinets are going in!  I have been “can’t sleep, think about it all the time, giddy in a dorky way” excited about this day for some time now. 🙂 I think it’s because when you get cabinets, it actually feels like a house.  Until now, there hasn’t been anything defining the space like this.  Cabinets make our home feel so “homey”!

We have been so impressed with our cabinet makers.  My friend Paula (who is also an interior designer) connected me with Lee and Jerry Bontrager of Country Furniture Restoration in Nappanee, IN.  They worked with me from the beginning designing a completely custom kitchen, pantry, laundry and bathrooms.  They are meticulous and the quality of their work is outstanding.  They gave me a little preview back in August before painting and installation.  This was at their workshop…

And this was on installation day…

One of the things I debated about, but really wanted was inset doors.  When we looked at floor models, we were always bothered by how the doors didn’t line up or there were large gaps between the cabinet and the door.  With Lee and Jerry, I had no concerns about this.  They made sure that everything fit right and it turned out beautifully.  If we had gone with a boxed cabinet I wouldn’t have felt “safe” with this option.  I am so glad we were able to do it!  We originally made the stove top area and mantle above a standard 36″.  I made the decision to widen it to about 42″ so that it would look more substantial and I’m so glad I did.  I think the wider space made a big difference.  Our doors and drawers are soft-close.  It was an add-on and cost a little extra, but I love how they function.  When we eventually put our appliances in, everything fit like a glove.

My dreams of a white kitchen are coming true and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

Most of our cabinetry and trim is painted in SW Snowbound.  It is a pearly white that works beautifully throughout the house.  We decided to have our island and great room cabinets painted in the same SW Iron Ore gray as our doors and great room beams.  This provides a good contrast in the kitchen.  The rest of our island is getting installed a little later.  Because of the size of our counter top (112″x 74″), we had to build another set of cabinets in the island to support the weight of the top.  (I guess this is a good example of things you learn along the way…when you have a hard surface countertop, typically they will only let about 12″ go unsupported.) We have legs on our island, but there was too much space between the original cabinet base and the legs.  Even though it is an added expense, more storage is always a good thing.

Here is the laundry room (with a clothes chute from Lainey’s room!) and the mudroom lockers:


1-28-16: Here’s a more recent picture of the kitchen (before the backsplash was installed).  You can see the contrast of the gray and white and also where the extra cabinet was added.  Originally we had the cabinet with the microwave, but nothing to the right of it.  We added the extra row of cabinets underneath flush with that cabinet, in front of the barstools.  They have cabinet doors so I can store seasonal dishes and serving pieces.  

2016-01-28 21.38.42

My Vintage Loft Love Affair

The majority of our main level flooring is wood, so I wanted to pick something that I really loved and knew I would love for a long time.  Our style is modern farmhouse (I’m more farmhouse, Jonathan is more modern).  I looked around for awhile and most of the floors I looked at I found to be either too formal or a little too rustic for what we wanted. When I finally found the Vintage Loft flooring that we chose, I knew it was the one!  It was a little more expensive than some of the others we were looking at, but the style was exactly what I wanted. We wanted a wide plank (7-8″) with some distressing.  We wanted it to be durable and not easily scratched.  The Vintage Loft flooring has an oiled finish, which is different from typical hardwood.  I had to read up on the care and maintenance of this type of flooring.  It takes a special kind of cleaner meant only for oiled floors.  (The cleaner we like is Bona for oiled floors).  It is also helpful to polish the floors every few months. What I love about our floor is that it really looks like an old farmhouse.  It has natural knots and grain, as well as wire scraping. The color we chose is called “Bricktown”.  It is a little hard to tell from the pictures, but you can see more on their website here.


They also look really great with a sleeping puppy on them. 🙂 (This picture was added later…a few months after we moved in.)

2016-04-07 15.17.35-1

Jonathan decided to install the flooring himself to save money (about $4,000!).  It was a really long week…I think he questioned his decision a few times. 😉  But in the end it was sooo worth it!  They look great and we feel really good about the money saved.  He borrowed some tools from friends and had the help of family.  I love how proud he looks in this picture.

2015-10-25 19.20.53-1

We LOVE these floors!  They look great and seem to work really well with an active family.

Insider Tip:  If you decide to install these floors on your own (or any wide plank flooring), it is best to glue the floor down as well as nail it.  We only nailed the floor and regret not gluing it.  We have quite a few places that are creaky.  Oh well…it just adds to the old farmhouse feel, right?! 😉




X Marks the Spot

I’ve always loved coffered ceilings.  I think they add a lot of visual interest.  When we were framing the house, we remembered that we liked this  (we had forgotten to add this into the house plans).  Thankfully, our Amish framers are the bomb and could add this on the fly.  Because of where our fireplace is located in the great room, we had a hard time centering the squares that would be typical of a ceiling like this.  So, since I spend about 75 hours each night on Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz…I found a picture and got the idea of doing our ceiling beams in an “X”.

The shape works really well with our design and I love that it’s a little different from the norm.  The next challenge was how to paint.  I assumed we would paint the beams white and do a crown molding, then paint the flat part of the ceiling a darker color.  That is what I am used to seeing and what I thought would look best.  But my HUSBAND who has amazing ideas, thought we should paint the beams in our darker gray (SW Iron Ore) that we are using throughout the house.  It felt super risky and I was really nervous, but in the end I LOVE how it turned out! I think he made the right choice and I love it that he thinks outside of the box. At certain angles, when I am sitting in the great room looking up, it looks like a cross.