Cucina Construction: A Kitchen Remodeling Project

Oh my decorating & designing goodness, this kitchen remodeling project was a doozy!

Our home is my childhood home, and I realize I’ve gone full circle in my house to home life.  Familiarity and fabulous memories from the past, the nail & hammer present, and the next generation future offers a comfort we can, and are, easily living with.

Design tweaks, adjustments, and repurposes have been met and mastered.


Eight foot ceilings I love to hate have been embraced, especially when the architect gave us his bid on raising these puppies two feet.

Heavy, and I mean h-e-a-v-y five figures later, that’s a big negatory!

Please excuse the fact that I can’t help myself with the homage to the song Convoy from the 1970s.

Casey Kasam’s Classic American Top 40 is on the radio, and between the before pictures and the flashback tunes, I am swimming in 70s nostalgia.

The kitchen is a multipurpose high traffic area of the home, and ours is no different.

When my parents built the house in 1965, the kitchen was a design marvel among the ranch house set.  It underwent two decor remodels that simply did not stand up to the test of time or design.

outdated kitchen

When we took a real look at the kitchen as the present homeowners, we realized this space needed some space.

To give you some idea of what we were working with, I am posting before and way,way before pictures of the space in question.

kitchen remodel

The first order of demo was to take down the wall at the end of the kitchen as seen in the first picture of me with my paternal grandparents.

Immediately after the first demo we tore down the breakfast bar, broom closets, and cabinet built ins shown in top right  picture.

My thought process was to incorporate the formal dining room space into the kitchen.  I’m all about removing walls to open up a space.

We are picture deficient of the demo process. Just imagine dirt, dust, and chaos.

You get the picture.


Dave and crew salvaged, saved and strategically placed existing cabinets in with purchased solid wood prefabricated cabinets.

Dave removed the door and drawer fronts off both the old and new cabinets. He ordered sixty MDF cabinets doors and twenty-nine MDF drawer fronts.

He primed all with oil base KILZ interior oil stain block and primer, and finished out the cabinetry in Sherwin-Williams Pure White.


The wall color is (was) Sherwin-Williams Anjou Pear.

Counter tops were born from sheeting the new cabinet tops with 3/4 ” CDX plywood as the base.  I selected MS International 12″ square granite tiles for the counter tops.

For the backsplash, we went with 12 X 12 ceramic paired with 6″ copper half round rope metal molding wall tiles.



Slab granite was definitely a consideration, but the $$$ difference between the two is money we can spend elsewhere.

Dave won the “discussion” of bull nose vs. wood trim for the counter top front edging.


Dave dressed up the upper cabinets, existing fluorescent light fixture, and ceiling molding with decorative molding from Home Depot.

sub zero refrigerator

The Sub-Zero refrigerator was moved from our previous home and repainted to match the new cabinets on site.

A casing was built to house the refrigerator to match the new cabinets.  Dave repurposed the doors as side casing decoration, adding them to the refrigerator casing.

painted kitchen cabinets

We removed the original windows and installed Pella replacement windows from Lowe’s.

I knew from the get- go I wanted 13″ X 13″ ceramic floors with the tiles laid diagonally, and I am thrilled with the result.

I was adamant the original Baccarat crystal chandelier my mother selected forty years ago fit into the overall look.

The breakfast area chandelier is from Lamps Plus, and the pendant light from Home Depot.

decorative corbels

Amerock cabinet hardware was purchased on clearance from Lowe’s.

Let’s build something and save money while doing it together, Lowe’s!

Both corbels framing the window above the sink and the ceiling medallion were purchased from Wish I Had That.

And now, without further ado, may we present a preview picture of our new kitchen.



Click on the picture to begin the updated kitchen remodeling project tour

Show & Tell

One Pan And Two Bowls

I’ve been cheating this week.  Not at games, on my taxes, or on Dave the Builder.  I’ve “cheated” in a culinary sense for three excellent reasons, imo.

1.  My parents are on vacation in East Tennessee which cuts the diners by two.

2.  It is just too hot to cook, let alone eat heavy meals.

3.  I’m a one pan, two bowls kind of girl.

We have been busy worker bees this past week in and out of the house.  I get in the groove of my routine and before I realize it ten o’clock is staring back at me from my computer monitor.  Eight o’clock is about the latest I will push serving dinner,  and it’s a struggle to meet that deadline most nights.  Today was my pseudo secretary day for my brother (the family that works together…) and I was still typing contracts at eight o’clock.  The sounds of the seventies were cranked up in the background, and as some Southern rock anthem played it served as the catalyst in helping  me decide tonight’s menu. It’s amazing where your dinner ideas will come from.

Dave the Builder stirs the pot!

Grits are comfort food central for us. I bring about two cups water and one cup milk to a boil.  I don’t measure the grits but stop pouring them out of the box and into the pan when the whisk hits resistance.  I give them a constant whisk until desired thickness is reached.  The bowls, butter and pepper are standing ready.  You’ve got to move relatively quick with grits to avoid over thickening.  Tonight we dined on grits in their natural state (butter is a natural state, isn’t it?), but the add on options are many.  A few of our favorites are shrimp, green onions, bacon, cheese, fried or scrambled eggs.  I also substitute chicken broth for water on occasion.

With our Paula Deen proud pats of butter and a respectable Louisiana pepper content, we dined on quick, inexpensive and delicious hominy goodness.


Show & Tell

Remodels, Redos, And Renovations In Pictorial Preview

Remodels, redos, and renovations are the three R’s ruling the past two weeks at Casa de Places In The Home.  I’ve had a few things on the creative part of my brain, and there’s no time like the present so here we go.

Let me share a in progress preview pictures with you.


You can never have enough lighting in a kitchen.


Gone is the Anjou Pear paint color.


Are we having fun yet?

You bet we are!

More details and pictures to come.  I have added the Our Home page with pictures of the spaces recently completed.

Love your style!


Show & Tell

Company Peas Recipe

My Company Peas recipe continues to be one of my absolute favorites.  The first “company” meal I prepared as a new bride thirty one years ago marked the premier of this recipe.  It is still bringing in rave reviews from family, friends and company.




Company Peas


2 cans very young small sweet peas, drained

1 can cream of mushroom soup

8 oz. Kraft cheez whiz

½ – ¾ tsp. garlic powder (according to personal taste)

¼ – ½ tsp. black or white powder (according to personal preference)

salt to taste

1 can tiny shrimp, drained


In a large saucepan, mix peas and mushroom soup together over medium heat.  When heated through, add cheez whiz, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir well and reduce heat to medium low.  Once the Cheez Whiz is melted, add the drained shrimp.

Allow shrimp to completely heat through over medium low to low heat, stirring to prevent cream ingredients from scorching, sticking or burning.



Show & Tell

Home Office Ideas That Work!

It would be difficult for me to want to be out of this office.  Organized and ready for work, I have been considering home office ideas and what exactly a home office space should say about the person behind the desk.

home office ideasCountry Living

Benign decor and design has an appropriate place, but if we live in style shouldn’t we create and work in style?

home officeHouzz

Limitations and restrictions on office decor fit certain workplace spaces and environments, and it is safe to assume most of us got the memo on what is acceptable for the workplace.  Thank goodness the home office space is fair game.

country french decor

Taking all things into decorative consideration, I’m thinking an overall neutral color palette will suit my home office needs.  It is a wonderful foundation to build a color palette upon through home decor, accessories, lighting and office essentials.  Updating through color is an easy update, and a space touched by color is a space touched by personality.

The Home Office Ideas Decor List:


Sherwin- Williams Paint Colors

 Georgian Bay  ||  Roycroft Vellum  ||  Chop Sticks  ||  Downing Earth ||  Delft  ||  Colonial Revival Stone  ||  Copen Blue

mirror-deskSheridan Mirrored Desk


home office Everly 60" Desk - White

Everly 60″ Desk – White

Customize an office desk the look of luxe by updating the hardware.



Old Hickory Tannery Sperry Office Chair


Dimond Ceramic Gloss White Table Lamp


Old Hickory Tannery  Mint Tufted-Leather Chair



Camellia Ivory Area Rug

Maybe just for fun?


Clay Alder Home Osage Creek Hand-tufted Kingdom Zebra Shag Rug in Turquoise


Brookline Tan Pine Veneer Tall Etagere


Arteriors Home Rittenhouse 6-light Chandelier



Alligator Stapler

French Country Manor Basket - 24"

French Country Manor Basket – 24″

It works!

Show & Tell

This Chandelier Is For The Birds

The moments of tranquility we’ve enjoyed staring out our kitchen window at the hummingbird feeder waiting for the wonder of nature rank high on “the best things in life are free” meter.

We are experiencing oppressive heat and drought conditions here in the Deep South.  Birds of all kinds of feathers flock to the hummingbird feeder for water on a first come, first gets basis.

I got uncharacteristically quiet the other morning, that glazed look of decor inspiration came over my face, and Dave the Builder knew a wrought iron chandelier bird feeder DIY project was on the horizon.

A couple of years ago I purchased two ornate six light wrought iron chandeliers at auction sans wiring for $20.00 each.

I gave one to a friend as a housewarming gift, and the other one I have kept at the shop in “don’t put a price tag on that one, I might keep it” mode.

I lovingly refer to the shop as my personal climate controlled storage unit but, I digress.

I rang up Dave the Builder and asked him to drop by the shop and bring the fixture home, letting him in on my intentions for the fixture to which he assured me it was doable project.


I picked up a six pack of mini terracotta planters at Hobby Lobby.  The small drainage hole in the bottom of each planter was the right idea, but not large enough to fit the bolt.

Dave the Builder carefully drilled larger holes to accommodate.


We both agreed it would be better to leave the terracotta pots in their original finish vs. painting to eliminate any potential harm to the birds.

The modified pots fit perfectly into the candle cups, and we folded the leaves around the pots to further securing them.

You could have heard Dave the Builder all the way to Canada this morning when we had a hungry guest for breakfast.


Total Costs:

Wrought Iron Chandelier:  $20.00

6pk. Terracotta Mini Planters:  $1.24

Birdwatching enjoyment:  Priceless


Love your style!

Show & Tell

DIY Home Remodeling Projects: DIWhy Did I Think I Could Do This?

DIY home remodeling projects are here to stay.  Books, blogs, websites, and entire television networks are dedicated to the pursuit of teaching and sharing the inside scoop on how to face, tackle, complete, and master the DIY  home remodeling project.

keep calm and diy on

Reluctant contemplators may at first over think their qualifications and/or limitations.  The sources of information available helps to reinforce the I think I can into the I know I can project.

One slip back into negative territory and here comes the overthinking it stage which leads to regression, which ultimately brings us to the solid ground of “suck it up (insert name here), let’s do this!”

DIY home remodeling projects

Perfect doesn’t always make for realistic instruction or television.

Into every DIY project a mistake-disaster-foul up will fall.  The professionals on DIY programs know this and know it well.  Editing allows for the illusion of perfection.

Seasoned pros in the know are eager to share problem and time saving techniques.  Dave the Builder is a sharing fountain of how-to information.  Over the years people have asked how he came to be able do so much of everything?

Vision, drive, desire, attitude, and financial creativity make you learn real fast how to jump in with both feet.

The more you do, the more proficient and comfortable you become with your level of expertise.

Each remodel or new construction job is often an exercise in controlled chaos.  It is true of professionals and DIY amateurs alike.

When it all comes together, and the light of the DIY day can be seen, you”ll know exactly why you do this.

One completed and beautiful project, one renewed sense of  confidence, two consonants and an apostrophe later you’ll ask yourself the final question.

DIWhy did I think I couldn’t do this?

Love your style!



Show & Tell

No Rhyme And Strictly For The Look Of It Reason: Mixing China Patterns

Tea or coffee time is usually an on the go event where the most stylish aspect is the blend or bean. When time affords  the opportunity,  I bring down from the cupboard the “company” collection of antique and vintage sugar bowls, creamers, flatware and demitasse sets.

Kelly Harmon kitchenvia

Mixing china patterns is a great way to showcase vintage and eclectic items while keeping the accent on unique style.

mixing china patterns

vintage china patterns

It’s the perfect time to take decor liberties with “eclecticity.”  No rhyme and strictly for the look of it reason sets the table for what coffee and tea time are meant to be, a relaxing break from the routine.  Shabby chic boutiques, resale stores, grandmother’s china cabinet, online stores and antique shops are collection creating central.

vintage creamersJoss and Mainrigby & mac

The  pairing of a formal sterling silver with a whimsical white porcelain cow creamer works.  I refer to it as the decor Donny & Marie effect-I’m a little bit this and I’m a little bit that.   The potential “this is so out of place”  impression will be overruled by the pop of color principal.  A little something to shake things up promotes the fun factor,  and fun should be an integral part of  design and decor choices.

sterling silver coffee cupvia

At this very moment as I create and type, Dave the Builder announces it is coffee time.  The “eclecticity” of this moment will be unforgettable.  It is a work day for him, which means he looks the part (in need of coffee). It is also a work day for me, which means I’m decked out in frazzled chic (make mine strong!).  I believe I’ll go with a crystal sugar bowl, flow blue creamer, and dollar store gold rimmed porcelain coffee cups.  It’s the perfect service to set to help us celebrate the moments of our DIY life.

coffee breakvia







Show & Tell