Welcome to Our Home – Kitchen & Dining

It’s easily the most important room in the house and it’s historically the first room (and the hardest room and the one that changes the most) that we have set up every time we move…the Kitchen. I’ll say this much, when we accepted this house, the kitchen was easily the room that I was initially excited about. Not only is it spacious, with loads of counter space, it’s got a great center island, AND the cooktop/oven is gas! Yes, gas! I was so excited to be able to cook on gas again, although it’s been a little bit of a learning/reminding curve. 

The initial view into this half of the downstairs is the view of the three windows in the opposite walls. These provide some of the best natural light in the house and let us achieve that natural light all day (I do not care for overhead lighting as I’ve learned over the years). On the first wall we have our “command center” which as the calendar for appts and meal plans, the S was a wedding decoration, and any current photo or invitation to the clipboard. 

From there you open into the kitchen proper. I try to keep our island as clear and open as I can as we have the stools for seating for the boys or for friends. The stools are the Threshold Halifax Farmhouse Counter Stools from Target (linked HERE) and were mistakenly shipped to our old address…in Germany and ended up taking double the time to get to us (fail). Our dish rack tends to just live on the counter, though I try otherwise, unless we are baking or hosting (as we are normal people, not glamorous at all) and inevitably, things end up piled here despite my best efforts. Moving into the actual kitchen, we try to keep only the necessary kitchen gadgets on the counters, so the kitchen aid, toaster, cooking utensils, and recipe book tend to be the only regular things on the counter. The cabinets are topped with more memorabilia. We have a built-in pantry cabinet (which is SO NICE) that leads to the dining room. 

Across from the island and kitchen proper is our coffee station and deep freezer. We received the Ninja Coffee Maker (THIS one) as a gift a year ago and have absolutely loved it. I always make a rich coffee with the Ghirardelli chocolate syrup. We’ve also got our Almatrieb cowbell here to “ring for dinner” should the boys not hear us telling them. 

The dining room is the same as it always has been, with the addition of new seat covers (we got washable ones from Amazon to help save the chairs until the boys are out of the messiest of messy eating phase) and two small “café” style prints, the top from Rome, the bottom from Switzerland. Both large prints were taken in Fussen.  

There you have it, the next installation in the Welcome to Our Home: New York Edition. I hope you enjoyed seeing this little bit of our home. If you have any specific questions, please let me know in the comments below!

Welcome to Our House: Entry and Kitchen!

While the library/office may be one of my favorite areas of our home, the Kitchen is the heart of our house. It’s the first room that I fully unpacked and put together, the room where I probably spend the most amount of my time, and it is an area that brings me a lot of joy (and practical utility). Our kitchen is a pretty fair size here in Europe and I have found different ways of maximizing our space and trying to keep the counters as clear as possible.

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I am attaching our little front entryway to this as it is the second thing you see when you walk into our home (the first being a welcome sign) and I really like how it came together. Also, I will put where things came from if I know, or where you could find something similar in parenthesis after.

So, we’ve got a tall wardrobe right when you come in which holds handbags and coats, as well as cleaning supplies and some kitchen linens. Spinning around you see our “home” sign which changes out seasonally (given to us as a gift), and then our storage cabinet (Target). The top drawer is a sort of “junk drawer” and the bottom cabinet portion is full of cookbooks and such. On top of the cabinet will rotate seasonally, in the spring/summer I’ll typically have fresh flowers, then in Autumn/Winter I’ll have a candle burning. This is also where any mail or papers that need to be handled will congregate.

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The pictures on the wall were all taken by me. From Left to Right: Stream at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, Cherries from our Backyard, Taco Night, Tea in Northern Virginia, Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.

Now, to the kitchen…

Before I get really far into this- I think my favorite part is that our kitchen has its own door to the backyard. It’s a benefit not only for hosting in our backyard, but with keeping the kitchen cool. We don’t really have too many wall decorations in our actual kitchen, aside from a little bit here and there and I don’t know if that will really change as time goes on. We will see.

So, now getting into the actual kitchen. It’s a fairly basic set up, the first two drawers being our cutlery, the bottom cabinet being baking dishes and pie pans. The first top cabinet is my little tea and mug heaven at the front of our kitchen. On the counter we have our produce basket (I would recommend looking at Home sense/Home goods for one), toaster, and cookbook stand (Amazon). All of our cookbooks are stored just outside the kitchen except this one, which holds the recipes I use the most often.

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The next cabinet holds our spices and baking things (flour, sugar, brown sugar, etc.) and as you can see, the shelf above that holds various drink items. The drawers hold all of the cooking/baking utilities and measuring cups. The cabinet underneath holds pots, pans, and bowls. We’ve also got our most used cooking items, knife set, kitchen aid, and cutting boards on the counter. I feel like our counters are right at the cusp of being too cluttered, but I feel like it still works out well and the kitchen is able to be used without much complaint this way.

IMG_2986Before we get to the next rounds of counters, you can see our meal board and recycling station. I’m a big meal planner and found that having a board that lists the dinners for the week for everyone to see really helped eliminate the “what’s for dinner” conversation I seem to have daily with my family. Recycling is very big here in Europe and we have a total of 4 of these containers to separate out almost all of our things. The three you see here are for plastic, mixed, and glass. The basket on top is for paper recycling and our metal bin is above the fridge. Bins are from IKEA.

 

The second side upper cabinets holds all of our plates, bowls, and drinking glasses. We’ve also got the smaller cabinet for to go cups and water bottles and a portion of another larger cabinet is for my husband’s work meals/snacks. The bottom cabinet holds our large collection of Tupperware.

We have a large cabinet at the end of the kitchen that serves as our food storage/pantry. We bought a shelving unit from IKEA to add some much-needed space and it’s been working out very well for us at this point. Honestly- our pantry never ends up being as organized as I would like it to be (never has been), so it is something that I am continuing to work on. Shelving unit was perfect though (IKEA).

Finally, one of our only décor pieces is this sign above the door. We purchased this at a Cracker Barrel right after we got married on our way to our Honeymoon. It’s just one of those phrases 🙂

And that’s our kitchen! I hope you enjoyed! We’ve got one more room to “unveil” and I’m just working on putting the last touches on it before showing you.

Welcome to Our House: Office and Library!

Good morning and Happy Monday!! I am really excited to be able to start sharing glimpses into our house. It’s a long time in the making as I’ve been wanting to make sure things are just perfect before I share them. Obviously things will come and go to an extent, but when I share these rooms with you they are pretty much settled and no further big changes will be happening to them. I’m not going to be sharing every room as some I would just like to keep private, but I am looking forward to sharing the more open spots in our home. For me, I want our home to warm, cozy, and inviting, without feeling cluttered I try to be very conscious of how a space comes together and how different items can compliment (or contrast) each other.

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The first space I am going to share with you is our Home Office and Library. I am going to be a bit of a disappointment and only share part of the room as I’ll be keeping my husbands portion of the room private. Rest assured, all your missing is one desk with his computer and such on it. When I think about what I wanted for my home office, natural light was an absolute must for me and I wanted to have minimal things on my actual desk. A couple bits here and there, but for the most part clear for me to clutter up while working.

I used to have a much much larger desk that would get cluttered up throughout the weeks getting cleared out only once in a while when it became unbearable (about once a month). My previous office was in the basement, wasn’t a spot that I really wanted it, and wasn’t set up the way I really wanted either. The piles made sense to me and I could easily access what I needed at any given time, but it quickly became kind of a source of frustration and it look horrible.

I knew that I wanted something a little bit different here, so when we moved, we split my big desk into two smaller desks and I chose to take the smaller of those two. This forces me to actively clear things away and sort what I have going on on a daily basis, rather than monthly.

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Now, I tend to pile books, paperwork, my planner, mugs of tea, and snacks all over my desk while I am actively working, BUT they are cleared out at the end of everyday and the entire look is much more simplistic (which I really love).

On my desk I’ve got my computer, a couple of pictures, a figurine, tea caddy, candle, display mug, and my planner (not pictured). My planner moves around with me throughout the day, but ultimately it makes it’s way back up here.

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I do have some low shelves next to my desk to just give a little extra space when I need it, and then I have an overflow tea shelving unit. I also have my memory boxes which contain all of our photos, photo albums, and other memory items. These are the only boxes left in my house and I do plan on finding a different, better way to store all of these items. It’s on my never ending list haha.

The desk is from IKEA, the planner notebook cover is from Chic Sparrow, the figurine is Willow Tree People, Display Mug is Churchill War Rooms, and the rest is various ETSY shops, Amazon or hand me downs. The pictures on my wall are my own photography from our travels.

So, swinging around, you have my little reading nook. This is the comfiest chair of them all and I like to come up here early in the morning, if I have time, or during naptime during Autumn/Winter and reading here. I use the little plushy almost like a pillow and the blanket is so warm and cozy. Colton will come up and read his books as well. I’ve got a little shelving table for the book that I am reading, a couple little books that are mostly for decoration (but I do read them), and my tea.

The chair is a baby glider from Baby’s R Us, the blanket is from Walmart many years ago, Plushy from Amazon, Books on the table from an Antique Store.

Finally, swing around again and you see what I like to call my piece de resistance, my pride, my joy, my wall of books. Haha…but no really, I am obsessed with this.

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I’ve always had a lot of books, I’m a big reader and it’s to be expected. I’ve also always wanted a home library. I grew up with one and it’s just something that I believe is a necessity in my own home. In our previous home all of my shelves and books ended up in our basement (which had it’s own wall of books, but no real natural light and no good reading set up) and I was so excited that I didn’t have to do that this time.

I’ve got quite the collection filling 4 bookcases full of books. I’ve got 3 bookcases of books that I’ve read or should be grouped together (such as classics) and one of books that I own and haven’t read. They are semi organized by bookcase and I could probably tell you the exact spot of any book in my collection in a second or two.

On top of the bookshelves I have a couple of décor items, and my Harry Potter collectibles. I decided this time around that I would continue with the “minimalist” look that I did on my desk and I am super pleased about it. I’ve found over the past couple of years that unnecessary clutter really stresses me out (any clutter really stresses me out), so to not have a lot of décor, and just letting the books speak for themselves really looks nice.

IMG_9343.jpgI do have a smaller little unit towards the end that has décor, a couple of toys for the kids, and a couple of overflow books (I have a problem) and then next to that is my box of notebooks (another problem I have). I’m hopeful to eliminate the overflow books by the end of this year, although I am probably going to need another bookcase in the very near future (husband is not too pleased about that…).

The bookshelves are from Target from a few years back, little shelving unit is from Amazon, décor is from various spots.

 

 

And that’s it for this first room in our home! I hope that you enjoyed this little peak and I look forward to sharing a couple other spots with you soon!