Home Office Ideas

Photo of me by my lovely friend Amanda 

I have a ton of books.  Like, a TON.  In the photo above, what you don’t see is the top row of books on the super tall book shelf, another overflowing book shelf next to it, or the other two book exploding shelves across (you can see the side of one on the left of the picture).  Add to that a growing sample library, project files, and notebook collection.  My office, which is half library, half museum, is becoming just a tiny bit out of control.    Continue reading “Home Office Ideas”

At Home: Kitchen Update

When MJ and I first moved into our apartment over 3 years ago, we saw it as a HUGE fixer upper.  We even started a blog to document our updates, and proudly shared the little things we did to make the place our home.  At that time, I was working full-time and going to school at night.  All of the juicy bits of progress happened while I was out of the apartment, making it difficult to document and blog about our experience.  The same thing happened when we got a puppy, and now I suddenly have a dog.

So when we moved in, we had a list of improvements we wanted to make, and first on my list was figuring out the kitchen.  From the very first post on our defunct blog:

The kitchen is huge, but has about 12 inches of usable counter space, 50% of which is being taken up by the coffee machine, and the cabinet placement makes using the sink nearly impossible.

Kitchen Counter

Yeah, WOAH.  It’s crazy to me to think that I saw this photo on craigslist and thought “I want to live there!”.  We didn’t have a plan for how we would address the kitchen but we just knew we had to.  That summer, we started hosting on AirBNB for extra income, and by the fall we had enough money to do a big overhaul.  We turned the kitchen into this:


We tore all the old stuff out and replaced it wth Ikea cabinets and added a backsplash of 2×4 subway tiles behind the sink.  We added infinitely more storage and increased the quality of our lives in the kitchen by 10,000%.  The old sink cabinet literally disintegrated and fell to pieces as we carried it down the back stairs. So gross.

What’s also gross is that for the last 3 years, we have been cooking in a kitchen without a hood fan.  At a recent lunch presentation at SubZero, I learned that every month, you create 1 pound of airborne lard from cooking, and when you don’t have a fan to filter it out, it lands on all of your cabinets, pots, pans, the top of your refrigerator… the list goes on.


Combine that with floating pet hair from 2 cats and a dog and you can now imagine what we’ve been dealing with.  (Read: My life is a nightmare and I’m being only a little bit dramatic.)


The wall that the stove was on held all of our spices, pots, and pans, and was positioned directly above the lard factory.  Every time we wanted to use a pot that wasn’t in regular rotation it had to be scrubbed first.   I have to say I honestly never really looked at this wall before, but holy cow, it is full of visual clutter!  We also had very poor lighting above the cooking area, so we snaked a plug-in pendant through all of that and hung it above the stove.

After making the decision to stay in our apartment for another 2 years, we decided that enough is enough and a fan needed to come into our lives.  We picked up a chimney style range hood (on sale at Ikea for $199!), and immediately set to tearing everything down.

Then we opened the wall, ran the electric, patched, painted, and installed the fan.  (Yes, we rent.  No, we aren’t worried about getting in trouble.) Since we weren’t going to deal with ductwork, we have the fan set to recirculating through a filter.  It’s less than ideal, but since what we had before was worse, the decision sort of made itself.


And voila!  Pots and pans live elsewhere, making the whole space a lot cleaner and less terrifying.  We still have to figure out what to do with the other spice rack we took down but for now, we can deal knowing that we are no longer spewing grease all over our kitchen.   Hooray!

Note:  I sometimes get shy about sharing bits and pieces around my home because it isn’t magazine beautiful.  It’s my home.  The place where I live.  I take not so great photos of it with my iPhone.  In a way that seems more personal than if I were to post photos of myself because of how imperfect it all is.   But anyhow, I’m trying to get over that, and I hope you can, too.