August 21, 2007

I am experiencing seasonal disconnect lately. The calendar says it’s August, but surely it must lie—how else to explain the absence of sunshine, the wet stuff falling from the sky, the horrifying expanse outside my house where the torn-up yard and dirt from the remodel have combined with the crappy weather to create a massive muddy Bog capable of swallowing household pets, sports-utility vehicles, and at least five or six species of plant-eating dinosaurs?

At first I made a valiant attempt to keep the mud-tracking to a minimum in our house, but I guess it doesn’t really matter how many filth trails we create right now, because we have officially entered the most chaotic stage of the remodel. The kitchen is completely torn out—the fridge is in the living room (where its annoying little mechanical blurps and “errrrr” sounds, probably its drawn-out death moans, are disturbingly loud when we’re sitting on the nearby couches, and in fact nearly caused me to fearfully whizz my Old Navy sweats during a particularly harrowing scene in The Blair Witch Project the other night), the stove and dishwasher are stashed in the garage to be dealt with at a later date, and the sink is gone. The floor is being ripped up this week, revealing That Which Lurks Below Linoleum (my . . . my god, people), and every single surface in our house is covered with a fine layer of construction-related schmutz.

On the plus side, our inability to cook anything outside of the microwave has given me lots of excuses to insist on various craving-related takeout meals. Last night it was Carl’s Jr. chicken strips and curly fries. Sure, they say you should only gain 25-35 pounds in pregnancy, but I figure those numbers are for low performers.

I do have a remodel-related design challenge that maybe you guys can help me with: we’re going to have a small breakfast nook area just off the kitchen, and we’re going back and forth on whether to put in a built-in booth or not. I’ve been scouring the web trying to find a really great-looking booth (either to purchase readymade or to instruct our builders to copy) that will go with the modern-style kitchen we’re theoretically eventually maybe someday in the distant future going to have, but most of what I’ve seen has either a traditional/country feel, or it’s a puffy vinyl restaurant type thing. Any ideas are more than welcome, we can always just put in a small table and chairs but the booth seems like a better use of space.

Well, a better use of space once I’m no longer pregnant, that is. I guess booths aren’t a great option during those last several weeks, otherwise known as the Whale Shark Stage.

Lastly, a heartwarming family image (unless you don’t like dogs) (um, or children) (in which case I’m sorry I couldn’t lure Cat into the photo, but it would have been Extremely Problematic and also possibly Quite Painful for the parties involved):

1177667390_912306a5241.jpg

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hello insomnia
15 years ago

Maybe you could post it to Apartment Therapy. They always have great modern design ideas.

And also, at my last weigh-in before giving birth, I had gained close to 40 lbs because I am totally a top performer. And heifer.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

Oh my god…such a beautiful pic!

I love that you almost whizzed your pants…just moved into a new home and the icemaker noise almost made me do the same the other night!

Meg
Meg
15 years ago

That photo is SO adorable!!

JuJuBee
15 years ago

Great shot and god help you with all of that dirt. My cleanliness is next to godliness OCDness would be flipping out. Also? Who only gains 25 pounds with a baby? Evil magic witches, that’s who.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

The weather here in Mass has been weird lately, one day it’s hot the next day it’s cold.
I gained about 50 pounds when I was pregnant, and let me tell you I just LOVED everybody asking me “how many babies are in there!” and telling me I was HUGE! I think I realized how big I was and didn’t need co-workers pointing it out everyday.
As far as the kitchen goes, I would go with the built in booth, only because that is what I always wanted.
Cute picture, my dog also loves to lay on his back with that hairy wart thing on his chin exposed. Not sure why dogs have those.

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

I saw on one of those house remodel shows a bench for a breakfast nook that had hidden storage compartments/hinged-lids on the seat. Then they made cushions to put on top. Who couldn’t use some extra storage?

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

me again…try this:
http://tinyurl.com/2xbtnl

Marivic
Marivic
15 years ago

He even makes baby farmer’s tans cute!

Christina
15 years ago

I would decline the booth idea but that is just me – it just seems like in my unscientific mind that on HGTV they always yank those things out. Also did a little Google search and OMG unless you want 50s nook… ack run.

They have such cute little table and chair sets or you could do benches for
If you are really set on breakfast nook stuff, here are some none vinyl and less country looking designs:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=100430609&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&PID=500871&cm_mmc=CJ-_-nextag-_-D59X-_-100430609&cpncode=12-27174369-2&URL=http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BuildLinkToHomeDepot?linktype=product&id=100430609&cm_mmc=CJ-_-nextag-_-D59X-_-100430609&AID=10368321&cj=true&srccode=cii_9324560
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/602-0210615-0179865?asin=B000PAXWFK&AFID=Nextag&LNM=B000PAXWFK|Ardmoore_Nook_Set__White_Natural&ref=tgt_adv_XSN10001

I personally like the pub table thing – I have seen other people do that in their homes and it looks great.

You are very calm with this home remodel thing – I so would be a freak about on top of being pregnant!??! ACK!

Jan
Jan
15 years ago

It’s supposed to go up to almost 100 here in Kentucky on Friday. After school events and athletic practices have been cancelled or moved inside. Whoever says there is no such thing as global warming can just come on down here and warm their hands on the front seat of my truck before I get in it this afternoon. Or maybe their bare ass. And then they can try to unstick them. Or it.

The only bad thing about anything built-in your kitchen is that you have no flexibility in the future if you change your mind. But the space saving is a plus. What a quandry. I’m no help. Sorry.

Lynn
Lynn
15 years ago

I definitely saw a modern take on the built-in booth in a recent design show. For the life of me I can’t remember which one but I’ll ask my mom, who watches nothing but design tv and is SURE to remember seeing it.

Lynn
Lynn
15 years ago

Something like this could be made more modern based on the type of wood and color stain you use for the bottom. http://1352house.com/Gathering%20&%20Eating_files/Kitchen-Banquette.png

Junni
Junni
15 years ago

Your cute little family makes me want one.

And I like Lynn’s booth that she found!

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

We have one of those corner breakfast nooks you can have cheap. They are a major pain in the ass. Imagine sitting in a restaurant arched bench seat where someone in the middle always wants out. If I was to design a breakfast nook I would have octagon shaped table with built in benches on one half and three chairs on the other. That way a family of four can sit with easy access and in a pinch you can have room for six. You might want to pickup a roll of heavy paper to put down on the floor to minimize damage from dirt. Toaster Ovens are great too. Cheap and opens up a whole new realm of junk food you can ‘cook’.

Ingrid
Ingrid
15 years ago

I hear you on the weather. I think the PNW is suffering from extended spring. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have a summer. Maybe before the rain comes in the fall. Oh wait… the rain is already here. Sigh. Remember last month? When it was hot for like 3 days and everyone said, “YAY!”? Yeah, that was good. Maybe that was summer…

You make remodelling sound like so much fun! But I will match your swampy Bog with a few giant fir trees full of branches just fallen (taken down yesterday) on my front lawn. Looks like a couple feet of limbs and pine cones. Smells like Christmas so I guess it isn’t all bad.

Keri
15 years ago

I saw a ready-made booth set at Target. That would be an inexpensive option though I can’t say much for the style. You be the judge. Otherwise, you can always hold out the booth set for later when you have found the perfect one. No need to rush and then later regret your choice.

Andrea
Andrea
15 years ago

Adorable photo!

warcrygirl
15 years ago

LOVE the family pic! So, who likes having the belly rubbed more?

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

I second Pete’s argument that they can be a pain in the butt. I grew up with one and I was seated on the inside beside my Dad. If I had to get up to go to the bathroom or when I was finished, I always had to duck under the table and climb out, step behind him, or have him move. I usually stepped behind him and to my horror, did it once out of habit in a nice restaurant when I was 18. I was in a dress and heels. Classy.

Rene
Rene
15 years ago

I sent you an e-mail with a link to a couple of really great, modern, leather sets (for some reason I couldn’t paste it into my comments here).
Good luck.

Audrey
Audrey
15 years ago

I live in your neck of the woods and feel like, overall, summer has forgotten about the Pacific Northwest this year — and I don’t like it one bit! (pout) I definitely gained more than the “recommended amount” with my pregnancy — I had gained 5 pounds in one week at one of my last weigh-ins — but you know what? I had a healthy baby and that is all that matters.

Rene
Rene
15 years ago

Oh, and the leather sets would easly sit 4 without anyone having to get up for anyone else, and easily 6 if you have two people on each of the benches. I’ll try this stupid cut and paste again…

http://www.homedecorators.com/Furniture/Kitchen_%26_Dining_Room/

victoria
victoria
15 years ago

“Sure, they say you should only gain 25-35 pounds in pregnancy, but I figure those numbers are for low performers.” MWHAHAHAHA. Also the pic? Awwwww. Finally, on the breakfast nook? Just. Say. No. I lived with one for 5 years and HATED it every second. Also I grew to hate all the guests who came over and said “A breakfast nook? HOW CUTE!” They are horribly uncomfortable, inflexible, space-eating contraptions that will hurt your back, suck up space, and leave you NO OPTIONS once they’re installed. A breakfast nook is the furniture equivalent of a tattoo. If yor ever change your mind too bad because YOU’RE STUCK forever.

wn
wn
15 years ago

For your breakfast nook…how about a variation on this?

http://www.homedecorators.com/P/Soho_Delfino_Breakfast_Nook_Set/840/

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

I guess I am going to recall my comment about getting the built in booth, it actually sounds like they suck!

Andrea
Andrea
15 years ago

The New Zealand Pine set is kind of modern and chic…

http://www.wards.com/wards/page2All.asp?PID=694&NoCnt=Y&CMB=301&CP=00&pp=yes&afsrc=1

AndreAnna
15 years ago

I’ve decided it must be Armageddon, because surely it is not rainy and 58 degrees for three days in NEW JERSEY in AUGUST.

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

I’m afraid summer has passed us by- have you noticed that the trees here in Seattle are already starting to change their colors?

Philos
15 years ago

No built-in booth. Keep the space flexible, just get a bench/chairs and table.

Erin
Erin
15 years ago

Don’t worry — I gained close to a whopping 60 lbs with my pregnancy, and was also regularly told “Wow, you’re huge!” and “Are you SURE you’re not having twins??” Good times… However, the breastfeeding diet was good to me, and I was back down to my normal weight in no time at all.

Pickles & Dimes
15 years ago

One of the houses I almost bought years ago had an awesome built-in booth, but it was so uncomfortable getting in and out that its cuteness wasn’t worth it.

Gwen
15 years ago

Another vote for no built-in nook here. You could get a very modern-looking table and bench set, though, and it would look a lot less crowded than a bunch of chairs. DWR, CB2, and IKEA all have benches designed for the dining room.

jenn
jenn
15 years ago

I like the booth idea too… I saw it on a show on HGTV a while back. So I went looking for it, and they have cancelled the damn show! BOO! Oh well… they still have pictures online. The show was called Get Color, and it was fabulous. Here’s a picture of a kitchen with a booth… it’s way at the back of the picture, but maybe you can get the idea.
http://img.hgtv.com/HGTV/2005/05/26/hgcor112_1aft_redkitchen_e.jpg
The upholstery fabric was this really vibrant red and green and turquoise and yellow print with fish on it.

Oh, and such a cute picture!!!

Rebecca M.
Rebecca M.
15 years ago

Holy cow… the cuteness of that picture is overwhelming. I can almost feel the love, even through a computer screen.

Good luck surviving the remodel hell.

Audrey
15 years ago

Adorable picture!

You just reminded me of the awfulness that we discovered under our kitchen linoleum a couple of years ago — 2 more layers of linoleum, each shockingly uglier than the one before it. It was truly horrific.

Josh
15 years ago

I think you should skip the booth idea and install a giant metal throne. You could sit high atop it, almost invisible through the gleam of jewels and lasers. (yeah, it would have a laser show) And you could velcro kittens and ducklings onto the seats for padding. And there would be robotic arms to give you massages and pedicures, like some inspector gadget shit. And of course one of those gerbil drinking straw things. But instead of water, blamo, ice cream! And if you got tired of basking in your own glory, it would transform into one of those old people bathtubs that you sit in, and the door closes, then it fills with water. The ones with four million jets of bubbly comfort.

But that’s just my opinion. Ask JB if he can make you one of those. I know he built some chairs once. Or maybe planters, I can’t remember. The point is he seems handy. You never know, he suprised you when he vaulted over that fence.

Josh
15 years ago

And once again, I forgot my real point. That being, thank your lucky stars you aren’t getting summer. I wish you were, because summer decided to spend all of it’s time in the south this year. Last week we had three record high temps in a row. Three! And they are predicting another one this week.

It was 101 today. And that’s the bull shit weather service reading that is always at least four degrees cooler than the thermometer at my work. And I was putting up walls in an unheated trailer from six in the morning to five thiry at night. How much bull shit is that? A lot, that’s how much. I drank two gallons of gatorade, two energy drinks, two 12 oz. cans of soda, and a 32 oz. cup of Mountain Dew Baja Blast, all in twelve hours. And I didn’t pee a drop.

You should be glad it’s raining there, because that is probably the only thing stopping my stink from reaching your nostrils right now. It’s bad, I’m telling you. And our lakes are like eight feet below where they should be. Crops are dying. Heat advisories are being tossed about like frisbees. The news is advising people to take extreme care with their pets, so they don’t die. The ANIMALS are in dager from this heat. They are supposed to live outside. Not people. We belong in air conditioned pods with no humidity or sunlight. GraaaaaaaaaH! I hate summer. Where’s my snow? For the love of god, where?

Belle
Belle
15 years ago

I was waxing nostalgic over the booth we had in our house when I was small until I read all the comments. Guess I hadn’t thought of how it would be to s-l-i-d-e into one as an adult but probably not near as easy as it was when I was a child. And, now that I think of it, the vinyl/leather/whatever was always coated with stickiness from baby brother’s fingers and general messiness. Ugh.

Loved the picture. Can I borrow Riley once in awhile? I have a growing need for g’children and it ain’t happenin’. Damn, I need some little cuties around.

Alyson
15 years ago

The Picture, as usual is wonderful.

But as for the nook question. Kill two birds with one stone, use refrigerator top cabinets (ya know the ones you put over your fridge, or stove) on the floor (you will likely need to build a little “lift” for them, so they are seat height), top them with a finished board (nail that down, don’t want any Riley accidents) and then top it off with upholstered pads (I’m using leather for durability). There’s your bench. Then add a table that matches the cabinet decor, and you have a nook. You also have a butt-load of additional storage. We put all our big kitchen stuff in there (serving platters that only come out at the holidays, they HUGE crockpot, things like that). We stole this idea from Ikea a few years ago. It is our kids’ favorite place to sit!

k
k
15 years ago

hey, about the nook. whatever you do, get it with storage built in. our benches around the back and side have seats that lift up and we store all kinds of…well, crap, mostly, but it’s nice nevertheless. :)

Victoria
15 years ago

I think that photo might sum up what I want in life.

Alyce
Alyce
15 years ago

I have long voiced my opinion in favor of the banquette. I think a banquette could be modern and stylish depending on the fabric used on the seat cushions (and draperies if you’re using those – though definitely not the same fabric on the seats and the windows).

The lighting fixtures chosen could also make a difference in whether or not the built-in area seems more like a modern home, retro diner, or country kitchen. You could also consider painting the wood or staining the wood an unusual color – a slightly glossy black would be awesome, or so would grey. Probably the biggest factor aside from the fabric will be the chairs you pair it with. Especially viewed from behind they need to look modern.

Here are some websites with pics of more modern takes on the banquette:

http://tinyurl.com/26e6ce
http://tinyurl.com/2t62fw (click on the 2nd smallish pic to get a better sense of what it looks like)

an article on why you should choose a banquette and also hints on sizing and style http://tinyurl.com/2lrhzy

k
k
15 years ago

i can’t remember if you said you have space for a dining room table or whatever. we have both–a breakfast nook and a fancy dancy dining area. the nook has been great when the nieces and nephews come and we can keep them in the kitchen area (the dining is carpeted, which was NOT my idea) and also, when it’s just me and the kiddo for lunch or whatever. when my in-laws were in town, we sat all four of us around no problem. two on the unattached bench, one of us in one built-in corner and the other on the other built-in side. ?? i guess everyone to their own.

also, i was catching up with a friend yesterday who is seven weeks along. she’s LOST 10 lbs. so far. i hate her. i know that isn’t healthy or right or anything, but what the heck? i mean, i guess it would be one thing if she was a bigger chick, but she’s average, and…okay, i guess it’s not good at all to be losing weight when pregnant, but still. argh.

imstell
15 years ago

Ooooh! I have a GREAT contribution! That just never happens to me. Our neighbors – retired folks – remodeled their house and put in a little breakfast nook. The modeled it after a MOTOR HOME. It looks all custom and homey. But the table drops down and it makes a BED! How cool is that???

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

If you get a booth, like the old fashioned soda shoppe kind, you’ll be tempted to eat homefries and eggs over easy for breakfast and sundaes and banana splits in the afternoon. Nix that!

renmen
renmen
15 years ago

woohoo! i win – i gained 55 pounds this pregnancy. super achiever!
i blame the donuts i *had* to eat every day. (mmmmmmm, donuts)

try dwell magazine or else atomic ranch for ideas? i remember seeing something in sunset magazine too like you are talking about, but i’m no help cause of course cannot remember which issue.

Heather
Heather
15 years ago

As to the table/banquette question…when we renovated our apartment two years ago, we built in a banquette for the kitchen. Its a half circle. We use a round table in front of it and a few chairs on the other side. Its a nice compromise. There are times I like lying on the banquette and times I like using the chairs. The banquette is great for kids because it doesn’t move and its easy to kneel on. My one piece of advice (which we didn’t take the first time around) — any fabric can be laminated. We used Sunbrella indoor/outdoor fabric the first time and its just not as stain resistant as I would like (seems its not built to withstand rainstorms of tomato sauce). We then reupholstered with the same fabric that we had laminated. Its softer than vinyl with a muted sheen. And everything just wipes right up. Our upholsterer was able to do the laminating for us so you’d have to ask around. But it frees to you to choose any fabric you like and not limit you to the diner-issue patterns that come in vinyl.

Tracy Brothers
Tracy Brothers
15 years ago

Just passing by via google looking for the same thing! I found a great pic in Cooking with Paula Dean this month. It is an ad within the first few pages, hope it helps. Perhaps I will remember to come and post ours when finished.
Good luck!

A
A
15 years ago

I love the last comment because I was googling to try to find a design myself to get one made and happened upon your blog. I have kids and noticed your description of the “whale shark” stage – so now when I need to refer back to your blog for the breakfast nook – I do a google search:

“kitchen nook”+”whale shark” and it always comes up! : )

I too will try to send a picture if we end up designing our own.

thanks!