December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Look for Less: Ballard Design's Emerson Kitchen

I've been scouting my favorite sources online to see if I can find lower priced substitutes for the lovely Emerson kitchen:


The price tag for the server ($1,099), chandelier ($349), table and chairs ($899 as a set; table $499, set of two chairs $229), and rug (not priced, out of stock - I estimated between $500-$700 and selected the midpoint $600 for my estimate), is $2,947.00.

Ballard Design's server is the Paulette in a "Tuscan brown" finish.  It's dimensions are 83 3/4" tall, 28" wide, and 18" deep.  The hutch is 12" deep, so 6" shallower than the base.  The server is designed in such a way that two or more units can be pushed closely together with no gaps.  It's a lovely piece of furniture, made out of MDF and "fine veneer" in China -- I could not find a description of the wood used for the "fine veneer."  There is a narrow area on top of the drawer area topped with marble, but notice that the two small drawers at the bottom of the "hutch" part pull out over the marble top. 

I started with looking for the server, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy! The piece is not wide like I would consider a more "traditionally styled" server -- actually a hutch with drawers! And as we know, hutches with drawers are expensive when buying retail, which is how I shop for these "look for less" challenges.  I also looked at secretary/hutch combinations because of their drawers and shelves.  All too expensive! 

But, at Ikea, I found this piece and fell in love with its look and its price:


This is the Hemnes glass-door cabinet, that retails for $365.  It has to be assembled (think party of friends to help) and this is the brown-black finish, much darker than the Tuscan brown of the inspiration Paulette server.  But -- keep the doors off and voila!  Add a marble cutting board on the lowest shelf -- with the savings (see below), you can have one custom-cut to fit if you wish. 

A handy person with the right kind of equipment could, if she wanted to, cut a curved piece of wood to fit inside at the top of the Hemnes cabinet to give the look at the top of the inspiration piece, and add baseboards to give a "legless" look, but I like the design of the piece as it is. It could be modern, it could be cottage/country, it could be traditional. Actually, it is a very smartly designed piece. Kudos to Ikea! 

Hemnes' glass-door cabinet has the following dimensions:  77.5" tall (6" shorter than the Paulette server),  35 3/8" wide (7 3/8" wider than the Paulette server), and 14 5/8" deep, 3 3/8" less deep than the bottom of the Paulette server, but about you make up the difference in the shelves, which do not shrink by 6" above the drawers.  This piece would comfortably fit into my small dinette area and, while wider than the Paulette server, which is not a problem, it is shallower and therefore would leave important floor space/clearance on my one solid wall where it would have to be parked.  That area also serves as a passage way through the dinette into the family room so it is crucial to have enough space to freely walk through and not feel "crowded." 

This Hemnes cabinet comes in white and also grey-brown (which looks like a light taupe color) finishes in addition to the brown-black finish I selected.

I do not know what shipping would run on either piece.  Gross price savings, not including shipping charges (and assembling the Hemnes cabinet) is $1,099 - $365 = $739. 

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