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My Kitchen Update!

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So, our old kitchen wasn’t terrible.
However, it was tired.
It was outdated.
It had been working hard for ten years, and it showed.
The family that owned the house before us raised teenage sons in it for five years. We have been raising three young daughters here for five years. Countless meals, lots of large gatherings, and endless craft projects have taken place in this kitchen for over a decade.
The construction of the ivory painted wood cabinets was sturdy, but the finish was worn.
The granite and hardware just weren’t my style/preference.
It had never really been a “finished” kitchen, to my eye, because there wasn’t a proper backsplash, just painted sheetrock between the countertop and upper cabinets.
We updated it according to MY style, MY preferences!
Bonus: We did it without breaking the bank, and because this is an open-concept floor plan, the WHOLE house feels updated! Love it!!

Want to see LOTS of photos of my newly updated kitchen?
Do you like “before/after” photos as much as I do?
If so, here you go:
(Click on photo to have it enlarge into a new window.)
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The detailed before/after photos:

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CABINET HARDWARE:
Before:
The ivory paint was chipped.
It was dirty.
It had been retouched.
It had chipped, again.
It got dirty, again.
I HATED the cabinet pulls.
Hated them soooooooo much.
The cup style constantly broke my fingernails.
The design was outdated.
The finish was rubbing away.

After:
Clean, fresh, satin enamel paint.
Two coats of said paint.
Simple, updated stainless pulls.
“Fingernail friendly” drawer handles, not cups!
Clean. Clean. Clean. Yay!!
What do you think of my bubble glass knobs?
I adore them!
To me, they’re like the jewelry of a kitchen!

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Next, the sink area:

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KITCHEN SINK:
Before:
Tired.
My patience had run out.
I was tired of dealing with the inefficiency of
removing crumbs and spills from counters.
The big lip on the top mount sink was
terribly impractical.
Every. Single. Scratch. Showed.
This black sink was showing its 10 year age.
The thin black granite had several stress
breaks and cracks around the sink.
It was a really dark work surface.
I’ll keep this stone on the island, where I
serve dinner buffet-style, but it was way
to dark for my work areas.

After:
New! Efficient!
It is so much simpler, now, to be able to
easily wipe crumbs directly into the sink!
Yay!!
The mottled color is stunningly gorgeous!
The granite is literally almost twice as thick!
The fabricator/installer did a perfect job
smoothing and polishing the edges!
I am so pleased with the transformation
to the quality of the functionality of our
kitchen since making this change!

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Next, let’s talk GRANITE:

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Specifics about our NEW Granite Countertops:
“Thank You!” to Kaufman By Design -West!
Our experience with Kaufman By Design was fantastic!
Their showroom is amazing! When designing for new construction, a remodel, or an update, like my project, it is amazing to be able to visit a well stocked showroom and be able to handle a spectrum of tile sample options ranging from earthy, tumbled natural stones to shiny, metallic dichroic glass and every option in between. Their sales rep and install team maintained perfect communication with us from day one through completion. The process was very straightforward:
1) I visited the showroom & selected a sample.
2) Their fabricator/installer came to my house to measure.
3) I gave approval for the specific slab to be used.
4) Two weeks later, their fabricator/installer team arrived with the pieces ready to install. They were able to remove the old counters and install the new ones on the same day. For me, a mother in a family of five that cooks most meals at home, that was a HUGE factor. Swapping countertops generally means being without a sink and cooktop during the swap, so the fact that they were able to remove the old and install the new in one day was exceptionally awesome! Sink= I need it! Cooktop= I need it! They made sure we weren’t without either overnight. Same day!! How cool is that? 😃 Their team kept the area neat as they worked, vacuumed and wiped the area before they left, and were pleasant to have in the house all day while I and my youngest daughter were also home.

If you see this post, and you’re in Central Arkansas, I highly recommend that you visit Kaufman By Design for any home maintenance project, repair, remodel, update, or new construction.
Find the Kaufman By Design website: click here
Find the Kaufman By Design Facebook page: click here

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Also, in our Kitchen, we lined the open upper cabinets:

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We purchased 4′ x 8′ sheets of a thermoplastic material in an antique bronze finish (looks Copper to me,) and then we cut the pieces to fit each cabinet! Easy!

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Last, but not least, we installed under cabinet l.e.d. lighting and completed the DIY tile glass backsplash! I love how they glitter in the light!

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There is another Fun detail I almost forgot to tell you about!! Lining the open shelves! I didn’t want to use the rolls of antiskid material sold at big box stores, because I really dislike the raw edges and how it slides around when casserole dishes are moved, but I did want a cushion to keep dishes from chipping and paint from getting scratched. Solution? We covered thin pieces of plastic with vinyl! Yes, it was a bit time intensive, but once it was done, it’s DONE. It’ll be durable forever!

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Yay! Here are some overall view of our finished space!

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Yay! That’s my kitchen update!
Whatcha think? 😃
~~AmberHH
PS Love Ya, but love you even more if you share this link! 💞😎

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Pie Crust Basics

We improved our pie crust making skills today at Eggshells Kitchen Co.!

Earlier this week, I would have told you that I was spending Saturday morning at an organic gardening seminar, but it has been re-scheduled until March. Not wanting to waste an opportunity to spend a Saturday morning learning to do something fun with my two oldest daughters, we jumped at the chance to attend a Pie Crust Basics class at Eggshells Kitchen Co., here in Little Rock. We’re so glad we did! It was a great class, our first time in the store, and we’ll definitely be back!

Want to know what we learned? I’ll do my best to tell you! See photos as well!

Recently, I had been using pre-made frozen pie crusts and refrigerated pie crust dough because I just wasn’t really happy with my crusts. Now, I see where I was going wrong!!

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For starters, in the past I was mixing my dough too dry and it was crumbling as I rolled it. Today, we started with a much moister dough, and because we were constantly adding flour to roll it, flip and add more flour to roll it, flip and add more flour to roll it, repeat 8-12 times, the finished dough was perfect!

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Mix ingredients.
Form hockey puck shape.
Roll on floured surface.
Flip, coat lightly with flour, roll. (Repeat 8-10x)
until it is translucent and large enough to cover pie pan.
Transfer into ungreased pie pan and press into the bottom crease.
Trim excess from top edge.
Using thumb of one hand and index finger of the other hand, create a decorative edge!
Poke holes with a fork to prevent air pocket bubbles when baking.

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After a demonstration, we were given an opportunity to try it! While other women attending the class jumped in to try, so did my oldest daughter! She’s only in 5th grade, but did a GREAT job. I’m confident we can repeat the process at home, now that we’ve had training by a culinary genius!

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Here is the recipe for the crust we made in class today:

DOUGH (makes up to 6 shells)

1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup cool water
3 cups all-purpose flour (scant)

*If you’re not baking 6 pies at once, the unbaked pie shells will freeze and keep well; just line with wax paper between each! 🙂

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Eggshells Kitchen Co. is hosting pie classes every Saturday during the month of February, 2013.
(10am and 2:30pm)
They also have lots of other classes scheduled on their board, a beautiful store stocked full of every gadget and utensil you could dream of for your kitchen, and a great selection of sauces, pickles, spice blends, and more!

Stop by there! Remember to shop local, the sense of well-being is free. But, if you’re not local, you’ll enjoy their online store as well! You’ll be glad you did! We loved the experience!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson