May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

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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