December 23, 2017:


It's COLD here and getting colder by the day, brrrrr. By December 26th the high may be only 3 degrees above zero. Yuck! But it's nice and cozy inside, and filled with the scents and sights of Christmas and Yuletide!

Today I made a crock pot full of my easy-peasy Beef Burgundy, made with a soup can full of sweet red wine (to rinse out the soup can, of course), and four other ingredients: beef (this pot I used beef already sliced in the package for beef stroganoff, and then cut the long thin strips into bite sizes), a can of Golden Mushroom soup, an 8 ounce package of whole button mushrooms cut into halves and thirds (depending on cap size), and a packet plus a little extra of a second packet of dried onion soup/dip mix. I also added a generous helping of ground pepper, dried thyme and dried - and aged (a year and three months, yikes!) of whole basil leaves that I ground up in between my fingers. Then the pot cooked on the "low" heat setting for 4 hours, with only one stir half-way through. The scent permeated the house and even managed to waft out to the street - wowsers - guess I need to get some additional insulation in these 1956 walls! My mouth was watering by the time I made up my first dish (over on-purpose a bit dry mashed potatoes) and gobbled it down, then had half a second dish as well! Now I want a nap.

I have my dark chocolate covered Queen Anne brand cherries (a Christmas must!), Beringer White Zinfandel wine, plenty of new fuel for my gel fuel fireplace and a host of Christmas movies to watch. Best of all, Solstice is done and we had a bit of sunlight day, late this afternoon. Every day, although it is not noticeable right now, it will get lighter a few minutes earlier and the Sun will sink below the horizon a few minutes later each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21. The worst is over, except for the bitter cold of January and February. I think I will go visit my friend Isis in Las Vegas in March - that always perks me right up :)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all, and may the Season's blessings shower you with good fortune for all of 2018.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Look for Less: Ballard Design's Emerson Kitchen -- the End!

Tonight I'm finishing up the Emerson kitchen.  Yep, you guessed it.  I saved the most difficult for last -- finding a suitable table and chairs for $899 or less (en suite) or $499 for the table and $229 for a pair of chairs (X2).

Here's a final look at the inspiration table and chairs:

The table is "Augusta" and the chairs are "Provence" dining chairs.  Buying en suite ($899 for table and four chairs) would save the buyer $58 over buying the table and four chairs separately. 

When I started this challenge (it really wasn't SO long ago, was it?), the table came in three finishes:  black, white, and deep walnut.  Now, it is only available in white and black!  Geez Louise!  The Provence dining chairs are still listed as being available in black, deep walnut and white.  Also, there is a back order on the black finish table and the white finish chairs, LOL!  So, with that in mind -- yes, darlings, I've been shopping!!!

I did a lot of shopping, but I wasn't very satified with the vast majority of the expandable (or "with leaf") pedestal tables I found.  I didn't like the pedestal on most of them compared to the lovely slim and shapely lines of the Augusta table's pedestal and feet!

As I had already settled upon Ikea's Hemnes glass door cabinet with four drawers in a black-brown finish ($365!!!! and also available in white and grey-brown which is a taupe-looking color), I decided to see if Ikea had any expandable pedestal tables that might serve as a good and less expensive substitute for Ballard Design's August dining table.  I found this nice table:

This is the Liatorp table.  It is priced at a modest $279 but only comes in this white finish.  It is approximately 42" in diameter and has an extension leaf that stores underneath the table when not in use, that extends the table to approximately 61" and can seat six.  The top is made of MDF and the assorted parts are solid birch. 

I'm  not crazy about the pedestal, but it is a slender pedestal, not a big fat clunky-looking thing, and the feet are okay - they look large enough to stablize the table even when the leaf is in use.  I also was disappointed that the table was not offered in brown-black (to go with the Hemnes cabinet).

But...if one wanted to buy the Hemnes cabinet in white, then this white table would be a great buy.  It's got a nice apron on it so doesn't look chintzy as some less expensive pedestal tables are wont to do. 

And, sticking with Ikea for the moment as I went to look for dining chairs, I found this great little chair for $59 each:

It's the Ingolf chair.  Yes, I know, it does not have the same kind of back shape as Ballard's Provence dining chair, but I feel it has the same feeling/spirit -- and the price is right!  Nearly half less for two Ingolf chairs than a pair of the Provence chairs...  The Ingolf chair comes in three finishes:  white, brown-black, and "antique stain", which appears to have a finish similar to light wood with a few coats of medium toned varnish on it -- hard to describe -- a lightish tan maybe???

But, knowing that not everyone is a fan of Ikea, and keeping in mind that white sure was not the color of the inspiration table and chairs, I continued my search for a suitable table and chairs.

I absolutely adore this table from Target:

Ooooh, looking at this table's shapely pedestal and feet just makes me all tingly inside.  This is the Embassy dining table.  I love the color combo of black with cherry.  Unfortunately, this table is NOT extendable.  But I didn't disqualify it because of that, because at 48" diameter, it could seat five comfortably and squeeze in six with the right-sized (i.e., not too wide) chairs. It's on sale right now (available online only) for $279, regular price is $358. 

I found these chairs at Wayfair, that are only $102.10 for a pair:

This is the Winsome Basics Ladder Back Chair in antique walnut.  This chair is also available in a light oak finish.  I selected this chair as a potential because it has a Provencal vibe with the ladder back and curved top rail.

Guess what I found just tonight - on clearance at Ballard Designs!  Yep, the Rudolph Pedestal Table and a beauty he is!

A very nicely shaped but thicker pedestal than Augusta and the Embassy, but check out the detail on the feet - that extra "ribbing" (not sure what to call it).  This table was priced at $699 but is on clearance for $399.  It is available in black and chestnut (chestnut shown above).  Rudolph is 48" diameter (6" larger than the Augusta without the leaf added), and 66" with the leaf added, so you're getting more table without adding the leaf for $100 less the Augusta if you opt for the Rudolph table.  But I doubt it will be around for long! 

Price comparison of the tables:

Inspiration table Augusta:  $499 (42" plus 14" leaf extension)
Liatorp:  $279 (42" plus 14" leaf extension -- comes in white finish only): $499 - $279 = $220 (44%)
Embassy: $279 (48" diameter, no leaf extension, comes in cherry finish with black pedestal base only): $499 - $279 = $220  (44%)
Rudolph:  $399 on clearance (48" and 66" with leaf extension): $499 - $399 = $100  (20%)

Price comparison of the chairs:

Inspiration Provence chairs (pair): $229
Ingolf chair ($59 x2) = $118: $229 - $118 = $111 (48%)'
Winsome Basics Ladder Back chair (pair) $103 (rounded up): $229 - $103 = $126 (55%)

Frankly, I keep changing my mind about what would look best with what!  Right now, I'm thinking that because of the great amount of money I'd save with my other selections, I would select the inspiration chairs (Provence dining chairs) from Ballard Designs at $229 x 2 for four chairs in black; I would select the Embassy table (no leaf), with its cherry top and black pedestal for $279 (48" diameter) on sale at Target and  sacrifice a leaf exension; alternatively, I would select the Rudolph table in chestnut on clearance at Ballard Designs for $399 (also 48" diameter) with the leaf extension.  And the Hemnes cabinet I love from Ikea, at $365.  (I'm thinking of this wonderful cabinet for my den/library, when the budget allows, if it is still available then...).  As for the chandy, I really like the World Imports Colchester Collection 6-light at $140.26.  For the rug, I would go with the Heights Area Rug from Home Decorators ($440). 

Breaking it all down:

Ballard Designs Emerson kitchen:

Paulette Server:  $1,099
Arturo 6-light Chandy:  $349
Augusta 42" table with extension plus 4 Provence Chairs: $899
Emerson rug (estimated price point $600)
TOTAL:   $2,947

Jan's Look for Less:

Hemnes cabinet from Ikea:  $365
Colchester 6-light Chandy: $140.26
Embassy 48" table (no extension): $279 on sale OR
Rudolph 48" table (with extension): $399 on clearance
Four Ballard Designs Provence Chairs: $458
Heights Area Rug: $440
TOTAL:  $1,682.26; $2,947 - $1682.26 = $1,264.74 (42.9%)
OR $1,802.26 (higher total includes price differential for the Rudolph table): $2,947 - $1,802.26 = $1,144.74 (38.8%)

1 comment:

  1. The look for less is my way to go.I'm a huge fan of Ikea and Target too. It's always a thrill to put together a high end look for a fraction of the price. Thanks so much for stopping by!