Holy shit, you guys! I did it. Well, I didn’t do it all by myself. I had help from my husband Kyle, my Home Depot credit card (thanks for the mid-project limit increase/enabling, guys!), and my new BFF Shawn — who really gets all the credit and came over on the weekends to do all the things I thought I could do but actually had no business (or tools) attempting myself. With all that help, we renovated my kitchen in just about three weeks. I mean, I hardly slept, and I did mildly electrocute myself early on, but other than that, it all went fairly smoothly.
I could write The World’s Longest Blog Post about this kitchen renovation, but considering this is technically my first home decor post since my name change, and I’m still tired AF from all the renovation sleep deprivation, this is just the highlight reel. I’ll break down details for you later on. But if you have a question (like “What shade of black is that basic black paint?”), ask it in the comments and it could inspire a future post.
Now, before we get to the after, we have to start with the before. And we’re going way back — to when we bought this 1916 bungalow in 2013. The kitchen was a total shithole (almost bad enough to make us not want to make an offer) but I saw its potential and decided I could at least put some lipstick on that pig for a while. Lipstick in the form of paint, that is. Because paint makes everything better. Or at least look better. Of course, I didn’t know I was going to have a home decor blog five years ago — hell, I didn’t know I was going to have a home decor blog five weeks ago — so I wasn’t great about taking before pictures. But I did capture a few mid-paint-job shots before we moved in.
I managed to make it okay enough. And after that initial mini makeover (removing some of the cabinet doors and painting the cabinets a dark gray, as well as painting the walls a cool gray color I immediately regretted), I made some additional improvements along the way, like swapping out the stainless cabinet hardware for brass, painting the walls a warm white, and putting black coin-dot rubber flooring over the most disgusting tile I’d ever seen (which you can see above). Stop-gap measures, you know?
Still, it wasn’t nice. It remained my least favorite room in the house. The countertops were old and cheap and gross, the almond sink was scratched and stained, and the bulky upper cabinets didn’t do anything to help the feel of the room — which doesn’t get a ton of natural light to begin with (okay, yeah, white might have been a better choice for the cabinets from the get-go).
Not content with anything ever (I mean, the first home decor piece I ever wrote was called “My Design ADD” — who knew I’d get diagnosed with real ADHD a decade later?! — actually, anyone who’s ever met me), I needed to make it better, and prettier. MORE INSTAGRAM WORTHY. Plus, I got an assignment from the DIY Network: How to replace your kitchen cabinets with open shelving (here it is, by the way). Which I might have begged them to give me so I could convince Kyle that I had to do this. FOR WORK.
Since my livelihood and future career prospects clearly depended upon this project, I DM’d Shawn and we hatched a plan! I should probably point out that four weeks ago, Shawn was just my high school friend’s husband. But 976 Instagram messages and three dust-filled weekends later, he’s basically the Jonathan Scott to my [whoever those blonde ladies are who boss around the construction dudes on HGTV]. I’m sure he’s about to get real sick of me and all my to-dos, but he’s launching his own renovation and restoration business, so at least I won’t be the only one telling him that my photo-worthy backsplash made of joint compound and paint will be JUST FINE.
Before I knew it, I was chiseling away at shitty white tiles and taking a ton of plaster with them. The plaster was so old it had horse hair in it! Horse hair! Obviously, repairs needed to be made, and Shawn taught me how to skim. When left to my own devices, I used an entire 5-gallon bucket (and then some) of joint compound to fix up the rather small area where the backsplash had been. I regret nothing.
So cabinets got ripped down, walls got repaired, the sink and faucet got replaced, and I painted more meticulously than I’ve ever painted in my life (more on that and my magnificent black half wall another day). By the third weekend, we were putting up shelves. I’m super impressed that we did it so quickly, and that it turned out so well.
To be honest, the sink feels a little small, and is smaller than the two-compartment sink we took out (I fucked up the measurement) but it’s nice to have the additional counter space. Plus, I can fit a sheet pan, stock pot, or baby in it. And the smaller the sink, the fewer dishes will pile up in it. I hope. We can always cut a bigger hole later.
Just when we thought we were finished, I decided that the spot where we do most of our prep was a bit too dark (black isn’t exactly the brightest color) and remembered I had this IKEA clamp light in a closet. I was worried about what to do with the super long cord, but I kind of dig my solution (though everyone else seems to hate it).
I made two snap decisions mid-renovation, and I’m so glad I did. One was spray-painting the shelf brackets a bronze-y gold (they were white to begin with). The other was getting a sexy black ductless hood to go over the stove — even if I can’t manage to get a sexy picture of it.
Here’s a little recap of what we did:
- Removed the upper cabinets and backsplash
- Patched and painted the walls
- Replaced the countertops (IKEA Karlby)
- Replaced the sink (Kohler Mayfield)
- Replaced the faucet (Delta Trinsic in Champagne Bronze)
- Replaced white outlets and switches with black ones
- Painted the ceiling (god, that fucking sucked)
- Replaced the light fixtures (Ceiling, Sink)
- Repainted and polyurethaned the lower (and only remaining) cabinets
- Installed a ductless hood (Winflo, 30-inch) which was the best decision ever!
- Painted and installed the shelving brackets (Closetmaid)
- Painted and installed the shelves (1″ x 12″ common boards)
Of course, there were lots of other little things, too but I’m trying to keep this from being The World’s Longest Blog Post. And remember: You can ask me anything in the comments, and I’ll write more about this soon. Just know that if you ask how much it all cost, I may curl up into the fetal position and put a blanket over my head like I do every time Kyle tries to talk to me about money. Honestly, I don’t even know how much I spent, but I’m guessing with all the overbuying I did (because who wants to rinse a fucking paint roller at 3 am) probably close to $2,500.
Totally worth it, right?! RIGHT.
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If you’ve been watching my Instagram stories, or even reading my captions, you know I’m changing my handle! Festive AF has been real, but to be honest, it’s fucking exhausting being festive as fuck all the damn time.
When I started this blog, I was all, “It’s my dream to get paid to craft and make cocktails and style photos and write snarky shit all day.” Except I didn’t get paid (I mean, I made a few bucks here and there, but I’ve lost a LOT of time and money on this thing). I put so much pressure on myself to do things on a schedule: weekly cocktails, monthly calendars, regular events (and then planning the events, and working to get people to actually show up to them). And that was all on top of a full-time job, a busy freelance writing side hustle, and being a mom and a wife — with a ton of projects I’ve been neglecting around my house. And don’t even get me started on having to pretend I actually like Valentine’s Day.
But speaking of my house, when I started giving little snippets of my kitchen renovation on my Instagram stories, you guys ate that shit up! And you know what? I love home decor even more than I love crafts. I’ve written about it for publications you’ve actually heard of (even ELLE DECOR, though it was ages ago) and since I have an entire 102-year-old Arts & Crafts bungalow that needs ALL THE WORK, it makes sense to shift my focus toward home decor.
So, if you loved Festive AF I think you’re going to love The Boozy Bungalow even more. I’ll still be the same awkward, drunk asshole you’ve come to know and love, but you’ll get more snippets of my house, along with the random shit I drink on a Tuesday night (and yes, still lots of cocktail recipes!). You’ll also come to learn all about my vintage rug obsession and throw pillow insecurity (I just made that up, but it’s a thing). You might even get some snippets of my beer-professional husband, Kyle. Maybe.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around this long.
You’ll see I’ve updated the name here and you should look out for the change on Instagram and Facebook sometime this weekend.
My friends over at Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur — one of my favorite little independent distillers, and not just because I’m obsessed with all things ginger — asked me to help get the word out about their INTENSE Gingerita cocktail competition. I was like, “Duh. Yes! But could you pretty please send me [yet another] bottle?” I mean, I go through this stuff like it’s water and to be honest, we were running low at The Boozy Bungalow, and I was getting antsy.
Anyway, they’re looking for creative recipes using Barrow’s and an agave spirit, and the contest runs through May 21. If you like booze swag and Instagram glory, you should head on over to their Instagram account to learn how to enter.
Since it would be totally unfair for me to win, I toned down the creativity on my own entry (you’re welcome), but my Triple Threat Gingerita it still really fucking good, and pretty damn easy. So even if you don’t enter, you should give this a try.
TRIPLE THREAT GINGERITA
1.5 ounces Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1.5 ounces tequila
1.5 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Pinch sea salt
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or wide-mouth mason jar with a handful of ice. Shake the shit out of it and strain into a ridiculously gorgeous vintage margarita glass. Garnish with a slice of lime or candied ginger. Enjoy.
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This Saturday happens to be Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. And really, what’s more festive than an excuse for Americans to get wasted on margaritas and a celebration of animal cruelty happening on the same damn day? Nothing, I say! But it’s totally not classy to have a julep in one hand and a margarita in the other — and I’m all about being fucking classy here, people — so I sort of just combined the two. I mean, not tequila and bourbon in the same drink (what kind of monster do you think I am?), just the essence of the two.
It was a happy little accident, really. Last week, when I made a small batch of jalapeño-basil syrup for my spicy marg, I also made a huge fucking batch of plain old jalapeño syrup, thinking I’d use it for an event. Then I put it in the freezer and forgot about it for a week. Oops. It was a nice surprise to find it in there, but even nicer to find it hadn’t totally exploded (just a little leakage). Since I needed simple syrup for a julep anyway, I decided to go with it, and then I figured if I was adding that, a little lime wouldn’t hurt, either. And that’s how this beautiful little Mexituckan fusion cocktail baby was born. If I didn’t call it a julep or a margarita, you wouldn’t even think twice about it. But I want you to think, like, 17 times about it, so here you fucking go.
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 fresh jalapeños
For the drink:
A shitton of fresh mint leaves, plus a fuckton for garnish
2 ounces jalapeño syrup
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice (approx. the juice of two limes)
2-3 slices fresh jalapeño, optional
2 ounces bourbon
To make the jalapeño syrup: Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Once it reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add 4 (more if you want it really spicy) fresh jalapeños (sliced however, with seeds). Cover, and let it steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discard the solid shit, then set the syrup aside (or refrigerate it) to cool. This will make about 1 cup and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks (and honestly, it will probably keep longer but I’m covering my ass here, okay?).
To make the drink: Muddle a light handful (or about 12-ish) fresh mint leaves with the jalapeño syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker or wide-mouth mason jar with a wooden spoon. I like to add a few slices of fresh jalapeño here for extra kick, but I’m a total freak and it’s absolutely not necessary. Add the bourbon along with a handful of ice, cover, and shake the shit out of it. Double strain (or just strain if you don’t mind mint and possibly jalapeño seeds) into a julep cup (or just a regular fucking cup) filled to the brim with crushed ice. Add a ridiculous amount of fresh mint leaves for garnish and enjoy!
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I barely got it done on time, but here’s your free printable May 2018 calendar! I’m keeping it simple this month with black and white dandelion seeds — BECAUSE LIFE IS FUCKING BANANAS RIGHT NOW. And I like dandelions; I have a tattoo of one on my arm. Anyway, whoever told me it was a good idea to renovate my kitchen over the course of a couple of weekends while also holding down 17 jobs and having a toddler is a real asshole. (Oh, wait, IT ME. I’m the asshole — the asshole who is turning 36 in eight days!).
As usual, the this pretty little calendar is free, and as you probably know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the file from my store before you can download and print it. And you have to deal with a printer — so ha ha, joke’s on you! You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. Nope, you just have to plug your information into some little boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you (unless you’re super cool and I want to be you), and if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time — as well as go back and re-download your previous purchases. Some people plug fake information into those boxes, and while it is slightly annoying, as long as you follow me on Instagram in return, I don’t really give a fuck. But if you do plug in firstname.lastname@example.org, you won’t get the email with your download links or my newsletter (you know — when I finally get my shit together enough to do it in, like, three years). So there.
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Honor system. Don’t be a dick.