Pinterest and Kitchen Inspiration

03/29/2012

Good news: Pinterest has some practical real life applications! Last week I was pinning pictures of kitchens for inspiration for our new home. Our architect emailed us and said, “I noticed you’ve been looking at soapstone countertops. Do you want us to get some prices together for soapstone counters in the kitchen?” Jason said, “How did he know that?!” Because he follows my boards on Pinterest, of course!

It’s true. We’ve been thinking about putting black soapstone countertops with high gloss white cabinets and stainless appliances in our new kitchen. We like the solid dark color, the soft feel, the heat resistance and the matte finish of soapstone. And supposedly it’s quite a bit cheaper than granite. Here are some inspiration pictures I pinned on Pinterest. Some are pinned because of the cabinets, some the counter tops, some the configuration.

Source: homedesigninterior.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: google.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: younghouselove.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: designsponge.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: theredbungalow.blogspot.com via Martina on Pinterest


New Home Update

03/22/2012

Our architect finished our construction documents last week and we have three general contractors putting together bids. Friday night we looked through the plans with our friends Leila and Jeremy who just built a house last year. We are getting so excited now, looking at all the drawings, elevations and schematics in PDF form. Hurry up, GCs! We’re ready to break ground!

On Sunday afternoon, Jason and I spent a little time on our land tree-chopping. We cut down three trees a few months ago… a huge one that had been burned by a house fire in the past, a dead cherry tree and a sickly dogwood tree. We neatly stacked all the wood at the back of the property, along the fence in anticipation of a wood burning fireplace in our new home. We were really bummed when the whole pile of firewood was stolen. Who does that?! So last weekend when we cut down huge maple tree that we decided would be too close to our back patio and house, we left the wood in large (10′ or so) pieces at the back of the yard to make it less appealing for thieves. We’ll cut it up later, maybe after the house is up.


Home-Free

02/29/2012

Home-Free. That’s what I’m calling this combination of being homeless and debt-free. Last week we moved the rest of our belongings out of our house into storage and we closed on the sale of our sweet little green mid-century ranch. (I just updated my blog header, sniff, sniff.) I miss that house already. I’ve been driving past it everyday, just because, and I consistently have an impulse to check the mail or stop at the end of the driveway to pick up the paper. I have to remind myself, it’s someone else’s home now. We’re not really homeless. We have a home at my parents’ house for now, but it feels funny after owning a home for 7 years to no longer have a mortgage. Which brings me to…

We’re debt-free! We made a little money off the sale of our house. We put the first bit towards paying off the last chunk of our school loans and the rest we’ll set aside for the new house we’re building. I’ve been hearing for years, “The borrower is slave to the lender” but it’s still surprising to me how freeing it feels to no longer have any debts! And we’re soaking up the feeling because we’ll be taking out a construction loan soon. But you know, for the moment, we can shout a good ol’ Dave Ramsey style, “WE”RE DEBT FREE!”

Fun fact: Jason was out of town so I had to sign for him at the closing. Instead of just signing “Martina Ahlbrandt” on every page, I had to sign, “Martina Ahlbrandt, Jason Ahlbrandt by Martina Ahlbrandt his Attorney in fact.” And anywhere I had to initial for him, it was “JA by MA his AIF.” Isn’t that nuts?! I think he owes me a hand massage or something.


Front Elevation Photoshop Mock Up

02/23/2012

We’re waiting for our architect to finish up the construction documents so we can find the perfect contractor and get started on our new house. In the meantime, I decided I’d take Ryan’s front elevation drawing into Photoshop and have some fun with it. I used a photo of the property from October (when the trees had leaves) and then added colors, textures and landscaping.

I don’t know how accurate this mock up will end up being but it sure does get Jason and me excited!


Ketchup

02/08/2012

er… catch up. It’s amazing how a couple of days without blogging gets me out of the groove and I don’t know where to start again. So how about a little bit or this and that.

Last week was miserably busy at work for me—the worst deadline week I’ve had in as long as I can remember. Long, tiring days in my cubicle, away from my husband and sweet baby girl. Jason was home for the week but we hardly crossed paths. It feels silly to even articulate those complaints because all I have to do is shift my perspective a little bit and I realize how much I have to be thankful for. I have a job. I have an awesome husband. We have a sweet baby girl.

The week was topped off with a weekend full of packing and moving. Mostly packing. We even skipped Super Bowl parties to work. Looking at the calendar with Jason’s tour schedule between now and the closing on March 1st and we realized we better get going on this moving out of our house business. Five years is long enough to forget how much work it is to move. And goodness, how did we end up with so much stuff?! It’s amazing how it multiplies when it starts getting put into boxes.

We have officially moved into my parents’ house and are getting settled in comfortably there. Our belongings will rest in storage until the new house is completed. As I mentioned before, leaving our mid-century ranch has been extremely bittersweet. We really love that place and planned to never move. Funny how dreams and goals can change so drastically in a short period of time. If we hadn’t felt called to become foster parents last spring, and to continue fostering after we complete our adoption of Precious, I really don’t think we’d be moving right now.

But again, a simple shift of perspective and I realize how much we have to be thankful for. We’re building a house—a dream we’ve always had but figured was a long way off. We have a great relationship with my parents and a place to stay right down the street from our new house. And the new house is going to be great—and most importantly have room for our family to grow.

As we were packing on Saturday Jason’s mom, Grandma K, spotted Precious’ first tooth finally poking through. She’s been working on that for a long time. Three days later my mom, Grandma L, spotted her second tooth coming through. I finally got a picture of them yesterday. Speaking of pictures, here are a bunch of random ones from the past few days:

I’m doing the February Photo A Day challenge on Instragram (#febphotoaday … I’m @mahlbrandt if you want to follow me). The one above was “your view today,” my cubicle…ugh! And below was day 2, “words.”

On Thursday night Jason played an industry showcase with Michael Dean Church at The Rutledge. It ended up being a fun double date night out with our friends Jeremy (who played drums) and Leila—without our babies for a change! We had dinner afterwards at a new burger place in East Nashville called The Pharmacy.

My first (unsuccessful) attempt at baby tooth photography.

Kitchen configuration… whatever spare creative juice I have has been going here lately…

Teeth! Caught them on camera with the help of Grandma L who got her smiling.


Pinterest December 2011 Additions: In My Dream House

12/21/2011

Are you on Pinterest? Since we’re in the process of planning our dream house, I’ve been trying to remember to pin images of features I love for our future home. Here are a few recent additions and what I loved about them.

I love the art and the fireplace here:

Source: apartmenttherapy.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Light airy living room with huge windows. Love it. Somewhere in the great room, if not in the living room:

Source: gallery.apartmenttherapy.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Super cute breakfast nook, though I may prefer an island or peninsula in the kitchen with stools instead:

Source: designsponge.com via Martina on Pinterest

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The next 3 images totally inspired me to rethink the “den” into more of a creative space, playroom, art room:

Source: designmom.com via Martina on Pinterest

Source: designmom.com via Martina on Pinterest

Source: designmom.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Craft supply storage:

Source: designsponge.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Remind me to make sure we create a space in the kitchen to store cookbooks. I love what they did here on the island. Also, I like the white cabinet doors and white subway tile backsplash:

Source: designsponge.com via Martina on Pinterest


Big Announcement: We’ve Got Land

11/30/2011

As if we don’t have enough going on with Precious and her pending adoption, Jason and I have also been working on another big project. We’re building a house! Well, we will be once we sell our little mid-century modern ranch. But, we have purchased a piece of land. It’s really rare for land to become available in our 1950s-70s developed neighborhood, but the house that originally sat here was removed after a fire. This lovely, treed, flat, half-acre lot is less than a mile from our current home and just 6 houses down from my parents house. That probably sounds too close to most people but we have a great relationship and I love that Precious and our other future kids will be able to walk to over to Grandma and Grandpa’s.

We found a local architect, Ryan Thewes, that we’re really excited to work with. He’s studied with students of Frank Lloyd Wright and he does a lot of modern design. We think he’s the perfect architect to bring the mix of mid-century and modern that we’re hoping for. Building a house is something we’ve been dreaming of for a long time but assumed it would be in our distant future. When the perfect lot opened up, we decide to take a leap of faith. God has blessed us with great friends and family who helped us work everything out.

Our biggest motivation for moving out of the home we absolutely love: more space and bedrooms for more kids. We tossed around the idea of building on but ultimately decided to move on. Our home is three bedroom but one of the rooms is Jason’s studio which leaves just one room for kids. That worked great for the past 5 years but we’ve moved into a new season. Now that we have Precious for good, with DCS regulations for foster homes we would only be able to take one more child and she’d have to be a girl close to Precious’ age. We have it in our hearts to continue fostering more kids so more bedrooms are a must.

Here are some pictures I took on the property back in October the day we met Ryan there with our friend and real estate agent Jeremy (and his dog Maggie.):

You can bet I’ll be blogging about our experience all along the way. We’re super excited!