Posted in Beginnings, Change, Dreams, Earth, Eastern Shore, Hiking, Home, Maryland, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Summer, Walking & Wandering, Woods

Around the house

Making choices
Making decisions

The kitchen really is the castle itself.  This is where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family.

~ Mario Batali

Back splash with cabinet, counter top, and floor samples.
Back splash sample with cabinet, counter top, and flooring samples.

Kitchen renovations require a lot of thought and decisions.  This is the third kitchen M and I have remodeled, and I’m still astounded by how many little details require us to make a selection of some kind.  Every time I think we’ve got it nailed down, something else crops up.  In fact, looking at the samples in the photos, I realized I needed to change the back splash because the first tiles we picked out won’t match some other changes we made.  (The slate tiles shown above are what we will be using.)

New pull on the ceiling fan in the Beach Bedroom.
New pull on the ceiling fan in the Beach Bedroom.

For me, the decisions usually start with one or two things I like and we go from there.  In the Bogs, it started with the character-grade hickory flooring.  Here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, it is the counter top.  I fell in love with a quartz counter top, and have compromised in other areas in order to get it.  As counter tops go, the price is comparable to most other materials.  The exception is laminate, something I just don’t like no matter how many times kitchen designers tell me that laminate has come a long way in 20 years.  It still looks like laminate to me.  (Sorry, laminate.  I know you do your job well and you keep the costs down.  I’m just not a fan.)

A glimpse.  I've finished painting this room.  I just need to add a few more touches before I take a photo of the finished room.
A glimpse. I’ve finished painting this room (the Beach Bedroom). I just need to add a few more touches before I take a photo of the finished room.

A good home must be made, not bought.  In the end, it’s not the track lighting or a sun room that brings light into a kitchen.

~ Joyce Maynard

From a hike in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.  (13 July 2013)
From a hike in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. (13 July 2013)

Mother Nature provides such a wonderful color palette that I’ve tried to borrow from her when it comes to the colors in the kitchen.  Greens, grays, hints of blue and purple, brown and bronze, and some big dashes of white.  I think the walls will be some shade of purple, but I’m still pondering and looking and trying out different colors with the samples I have of the counter and the cabinets.

Rock in the woods.  (Laurel Highlands, 13 July 2013)
Rock in the woods. (Laurel Highlands, 13 July 2013)

One of the things I’m going to have to attempt soon is the removal of the wallpaper border.  I’m not looking forward to it as it seems like it will be an arduous process.  If you have any suggestions on how to make it easier, please pass them along.  I’ve looked it up online and there appear to be three methods.  Soaking and scraping, heating (with a blow dryer) and scraping, or steaming and scraping.

Mountain Laurel.
Mountain Laurel

Scraping, it seems, cannot be avoided.

In the woods.  (Laurel Highlands.  13 July 2013)
In the woods. (Laurel Highlands. 13 July 2013)

Since the previous owners were fans of wallpaper and wallpaper borders, I will be an expert at removal by the time we finish all of our renovations.

July 2013 020a

Well, I think that’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today.  Thanks for stopping by.  You’re welcome to stay and give me a hand with that wallpaper border if you’ve nothing better to do.  It’s too hot to spend much time outdoors.  The weather people are promising a cool down soon.  It’ll be in the upper 80’s instead of the 90’s.  Funny how 80’s might actually feel cooler.

I took a lot of photos of ferns while hiking in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.  It just now occurs to me that we do not have ferns in our woods here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.
I took a lot of photos of ferns while hiking in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. It just now occurs to me that we do not have ferns in our woods here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

July 2013 023a



Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

19 thoughts on “Around the house

  1. I love ferns. The lighting/contrast in the “Rock in the woods” is beautiful.
    Vote YES for the counter. (hate laminate, too) and the flooring is lovely with all the subtle shadings and colors. – looks warm and like home. We used slate in our last house – such wonderful colors there – the meta will reflect light. Can’t wait to see it al together.
    We’ve redone4 houses (and I’m, tired). Have left the wall paper here as it’s not too bad – and I’ve not sure about dealing with it…we just ripped walls out in the last place. Easier in some ways.


  2. Re: wallpaper removal.
    Don’t ruin the underlying drywall, like we did ripping down WP here. Use a razor to scratch it off and just enough water to soften, but not saturate the wall. Plenty of muscle works too…


  3. Your ferny walk looks so cool and refreshing! Love the flooring and backsplash especially. As to removing wallpaper – been there, done that. Upstairs bathroom, July, steamer and scraper. Not my idea of a good time.


  4. Love the photos of the woods. I bet you can come up with so many wonderful stories while walking there. Good luck with the renovations. Maybe someday I’ll have a place I own so I can fiddle around with it.


  5. Love the ferns. Do not love wallpaper scraping. Also love remodeling kitchens — well, picking out all the new stuff is sure fun, having the kitchen torn up is not much fun…but the end result is worth it, absolutely. Sounds like things are settling down at WBR. 🙂


  6. We have a steam cleaner, (for t’carpets) and found to our joy that we could use it for steam removal of wallpaper and borders, without too much effort. Mind you, by the time we’d finished we were both steam cleaned too. and my hair looked like cotton candy!! The Ferns reminded me of some wallpaper samples we saw, Blown wallpaper with Gigantic decorative ferns. I fell in love but my other half said it was too costly for the huge area we wanted to cover so, bye bye to that dream. Sigh!! Maybe next time. 🙂 Good that things/ideas are moving ahead, and love the Dolphin pull. happy New trails xPenx


  7. Nice to see the progress you are making. I hope you’ll be back to blogging when you have more finished rooms to show us! Contemplating some home improvements here in the very near future – very much looking forward to them.


  8. Robin, I’m reading the most fascinating biological/poetry/scientific book called “The Forest Unseen” by David George Haskell. Am just getting to the section on ferns. Learning so much about the forest!


  9. It’s hard to fault you for taking so many pictures of the ferns — they’re so beautiful! We, too, don’t have many of them growing in the woodland areas around here, and so they tend to be enchanting to me. You have a great eye for color in your decorating scheme so far — even though it’s hard for me to picture an overall effect from just looking at a sample, the kitchen colors look very nice! Good luck with your decorating project and I hope it goes smoothly and looks the way you want it when it’s done!


  10. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. 🙂 As you can see, I’m finally starting to get caught up. Pardon the generic, group thank you, but I want more time to visit your blogs so that means less time responding to individual comments on my blog.


    1. And now look how late I am in answering your questions, Rosie! Yikes! I’m sorry about that. Yes, the kitchen is finished now. The colors are a sage green (painted wood cabinets) with black, white, and a very light purple. It’s my favorite room in the house right now. 🙂


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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