Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


4 Comments

Arctic Gray Kitchen … Olé!

It’s been a LONG time since I posted our house color pallet… a year and a half to be exact.

Here is the pallet if you’d like a refresher:

Hicks House Color Scheme

Hicks House Color Scheme

We’re making slow but steady progress actually getting our color choices onto the walls. In retrospect the color decision was way easier than the actual execution. The kitchen/living room presented the same challenges we encountered in the dining room, hallways, half bath, full bath, guest room and family room with all of the screws popping through the drywall. (Perhaps why we took a year long break between painting the family room and the kitchen?)

On top of that, this combined room takes up half of the first floor making it easily the largest and most daunting room in the house. Here are some before pictures:

painting-3

The new sofa

The new sofa

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

And here we are with the new Arctic Gray paint. It’s a light gray with a blue undertone that definitely appears more blue in the living room area where we have the teal accents than in the kitchen where it’s a lot of black granite, and white marble.

Hicks House | Arctic Gray Olé
Hicks House | Arctic Gray Olé
Hicks House | Arctic Gray Olé
Hicks House | Arctic Gray Olé
Hicks House | Arctic Gray Olé

Next on the interior list… LIGHTING. It’s long overdue that we get rid of the bare bulbs and builder grade boob lights.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new color! We’re loving the fact that the entire first floor is now painted. Still outstanding: The Master Bedroom and Bathroom and the Craft Room.

Hicks House

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Light it Up

Since we are in the process of making improvements and finishing off the kitchen (see the new back splash here) we thought it was time to tackle another project we’ve wanted to do since the first night we cooked in this kitchen. Install under cabinet lighting. The kitchen is low on the lighting to begin with (one lone light above the island and one over the sink), and although we are planning on upgrading from the ugly builder grade ceiling lights supplied, adding new wiring isn’t really in the plan.

Unless your prepping on the island itself, it can be pretty dark under the cabinets so we purchased some LED puck lights – these ones (affiliate link): Lightkiwi® C9203 3.5 inch Cool White LED Puck Lights Premium Kit (3 Pack).

We liked them because they were a much lower profile than a lot of the other LED lights we found and were extremely bright and the wires were nice and long. We did a dry fit to figure out where we wanted the lights to go and ensured the wires would reach up above the microwave where the spare plug was.

Then came the scary part… in order to successfully run the wires up to the plug in the cabinet above the microwave without them being seen, we needed to drill through the cabinets. Eeeek!

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

We drilled through the side of the single cabinet to the left of the stove as well as in between the two adjoining cabinets to the left of the stove.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

This left some big scary holes.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

We then fed the wires through the holes and up between the cabinets.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

This left an intimidating jumble of wires hanging down.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

We purchased some wire clips like these to attach the wires up under the cabinet out of sight.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

Then attached the lights with some Command Strips.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lights

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

Drilled a hole through the top of the over-microwave cabinet and plugged them in.

Hicks House | Under Cabinet Lighting

Ta-Da! No more dark corners!

I highly recommend tackling this project if you could use some more lighting in your prep space. It went pretty quickly, Ken tackled it in a few hours after work one night. Now we have lights at the flip of a switch and no visible wiring for a nice clean professional look.

Hicks House


5 Comments

Back it up…

Remember when my kitchen looked like this:
kitchen

I know I haven’t shown it live FOREVER, because in the year and half since we moved in, we haven’t really done anything in this room. But now we have a BACKSPLASH!!! And not just any backsplash, a white marble one. It was definitely worth the wait.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Once we get this room painted with the Arctic Gray, it will pop more than it currently does against the builder white walls (wah-wah).

A few reasons this took over a year 1. tile is expensive 2. deciding on a tile style, color and material is hard (it’s a big and more permanent decision than any of the updates we’ve made so far) 3. it was job we didn’t want to tackle ourselves.

So we hired it out, but don’t you worry I hover stalked the entire process so I could give a play by play 🙂

Let’s start with some close-ups of the wall pre tile.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House
Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

We decided to go with a white Bianca Cararra marble in a subway tile pattern. We thought the white marble would play off nicely with the black granite and matched our more clean and modern style, while the subway pattern was more classic ensuring we won’t tire of it too quickly.

The tile guy came over equipped with a wet saw (unfortunately it was freezing) and set up in the driveway cutting a few pieces in half before getting started.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Then mixed up some mastic and started applying it to the wall in small sections.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

The tiles stuck right to it, which he laid out in the subway pattern.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

These tiles, being real stone were pretty thick and heavy so they started to kind of shift around. a few spacers took care of that.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

Once the entire area was complete we had to let it dry for a day to fully set in before the grouting could begin. We went with a grout color called frost, it was a grayish white, although we originally planned on going with white it just seemed so stark. The frost gave the effect of blending in more with the tile making it disappear rather than stand out.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

It was spread on with a trowel then wiped off with a damp sponge. Here it is right after the grouting was complete. You can see the haze it left all over the tile and the countertop. I buffed it out with a clean dry cloth.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

After it was completely buffed clean, Ken used a liquid sealer to seal everything in place. We used polished marble tiles, so this step wasn’t entirely necessary, but with white tiles it made us feel better that they would remain stain free. Because of the thickness of the tile, we had to purchase longer screws to put the outlet covers back on.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

This picture appears pretty dark because we’re in need of some under cabinet lighting… but you can see all the great veining and variety in the tiles.

Marble Backsplash | Hicks House

It was all done in time for us to host Thanksgiving last week! Now we just need to paint, add some under cabinet lighting, change out all the light fixtures and make a roman shade for the window over the sink.

So what do you think? What do you have as a backsplash, or are you still figuring out what type of material to use?

Hicks House


Leave a comment

Builder Befuddlement

As with any home purchase there are always things that come with the house that need to be fixed.  With new construction the general expectation is that since the house is brand new and no one has lived there yet, the home should be in pristine condition.  That was surely our expectation – however that is not the case.

There were several issues we found when we did our final walk-through with the builder the day before we closed.  Since the home came with a one year warranty we figured these issues would be addressed.  It’s now been almost a year and with the warmer weather the builder and his contractors have been starting to rectify some of the problems.

One of the most annoying issues to me was caused when they replaced the laminate countertops with the granite ones. The laminate was much thicker than the granite and they had CUT the piece of cabinetry that surrounds the fridge in order to shove the counters in. Well when they put in the new slimmer counters this left the exposed divot.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

See that? that is raw wood. Here is another angle.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

Arggg it made me so angry! Granted it was by far not the worst thing wrong with the house or the most expensive to fix, but it was the most obvious. To add to the frustration when they cut this lovely notch they cut ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FLOOR. So there is also raw wood showing in the toe kick area.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

You’re getting angry not too aren’t you? Is there no pride in the craft anymore? Who does this?!

We were finally able to convince the builder to order a new frame piece. As luck would have it, before it came in we were notified that the cabinet company was going out of business awesome. Luckily the piece came in before they completely close up shop (along with a bathroom vanity that was also broken – although they sent the wrong one… so that’s another story) and the contractors came to put it in. They had to pull out the fridge in order to get to and remove the panel.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

At this point I went to check on the plumber that was working upstairs (it was a busy day). When I came down to check on the contractors in the garage I noticed they had the panel all marked up and were about to cut.

Me: WAIT! What are you doing!

Contractor: We have to cut the panel to fit around the countertop and cabinets.

Me: Ok… but why would you be cutting it ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM AGAIN? That was one of the issues we had with the old panel and the cabinet company is going out of business so we cannot get another one. It needs to be cut to fit just around the cabinet not all the way to the floor.

Contractor: Yeah, I guess I can do that…

OMG. Kill me know.

So he re-measured to cut just a notch around the cabinets leaving the nice finished wood at the bottom. Then started cutting with a Dremmel. Oh no, that’s not a typo, a Dremmel for a cut 42 inches long that is supposed to be straight. Ken, the tool aficionado informed me this should have been done with a skilsaw.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

You can slap your palm to your head now. This is how they “kept it still”. After all that skilled work I guess its no real surprise that it didn’t really fit.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

It definitely looks better than before but now its a total crumb catcher.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

I’m hopeful that this can be addressed with a little clear silicon so that stuff can’t get caught in there and it will blend in more. (They of course didn’t do this).

However, in the meantime at least I don’t seethe with rage whenever I go to the fridge or make coffee. Here’s a side by side.

Hicks House | Builder Befuddlement

So what do you think, have you had any warranty issues with a new build or had work done and were unhappy with the results? I’d love to hear about it.

Hicks House

 

 


3 Comments

Thanksgiving Leftover Pockets

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Our first Thanksgiving at the Hicks House was a success! Ken’s sister, her husband and daughter flew all the way in from Oregon to be with us on Thanksgiving and surprise their parents.

Everyone was super excited to see them and the surprise couldn’t have gone better! The food was delicious and while we were left with some leftovers – it wasn’t nearly as much as we had expected. We actually had to make more stuffing in order to make these pockets as we didn’t have any left!

We make pockets all the time, its a staple in our house so twisting the ingredients to incorporate Thanksgiving leftovers was a no brainer.

Yummm!

Yummm!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover turkey cut up or shredded
  • 1/2 a bar of low fat cream cheese – softened
  • 1/4 cup leftover stuffing
  • 1/4 cup leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 tube crescent dough (the flat sheet kind)
  • 1/2 cup leftover gravy

Pre-set the oven to 375.

Line a cookie sheet with tin-foil and spray with non-stick spray or olive oil.

Lay out your crescent dough and stretch it out a bit making sure to close up any holes you make. Cut in half.

In a large bowl combine turkey and cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the gravy.

turkey and cream cheese mixture

turkey and cream cheese mixture

Spoon the mixture into the center of each of your dough squares.

spoon mixture evenly onto center of dough

spoon mixture evenly onto center of dough

Top with desired amount of stuffing and cranberry sauce. Add remaining gravy.

add everything else

add everything else

fold up like a wonton pinching the edges together to make sure they are good and sealed.

close it up

close it up

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top. Enjoy!

delicious!

delicious!

You can experiment with any fillings you want. Ken said it would have also been very good to add some butternut squash instead of cranberry sauce. Maybe we’ll try that next time! 🙂


7 Comments

15 Minute Jambalaya

It’s TURKEY week!  We’re hosting our first big family Thanksgiving and in preparation we’re trying to clean out the fridge to make room for all the apps, side dishes and of course the gigantic turkey that needs to stay in there until Thursday morning.

I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures – this was kind of an empty the fridge whim and I really wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out (I wasn’t too hopeful). We had leftover Italian chicken sausage from a second night of making Stuffed Acorn Squash (which I took pictures of the second time around – will update post) and shredded chicken which we make a batch of every week for salads and sandwiches.

Thinking of sausage and chicken together immediately had me thinking of jambalaya. I looked up a couple of recipes and they all had the entire process taking an hour plus. Not gonna happen on a Monday hunny. So we made it up as we went along and were pleasantly surprised – I thought it tasted just like jambalaya I’d had out that had been slow cooked.

15 minute jambalaya

15 minute jambalaya

Prep Time: 10 minutes (unless you’re a super chopper – I’m pretty slow)

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 shredded chicken breast
  • 2 links pre-cooked italian style chicken sausage (you could use pork sausage as well just make sure you cook it)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 cloves diced garlic (if you’re using jarred minced garlic this is 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup medium heat salsa
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons McCormick Baja Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 package of 10 minute brown rice (we made a whole package of Uncle Ben’s and just used half)

Place the rice packet in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil – boil for 10 minutes according to the package directions.

Meanwhile chop your onions, celery and green pepper. Saute vegetables in tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until cooked through – about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic cook an additional 2 minutes or so making sure the garlic does not burn. If the mixture looks to dry and all the oil is absorbed add a little bit of water to avoid burning (don’t worry it will cook off).

Add sausage and continue to cook until heated through. Add rice, chicken and cajun seasoning toss to combine cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to ensure the entire dish is hot and enjoy!

15 minute jambalaya

15 minute jambalaya

I think this would be really good with shrimp as well. You could either use it in place of the chicken or as a little something extra!


1 Comment

Wine a Little

Since this is the first year in our new house as well as our first year as a married couple we decided it would be a great opportunity to also host Thanksgiving. GULP

As big of an undertaking as this is going to be we had a warm-up last year when we had Ken’s parents and my mom up for Thanksgiving in our little condo so with the big house what’s twice as many people right?

With the big holiday festivities on the horizon we decided it was the perfect time to give ourselves our “house warming present.” When we had the countertops done we had them extend the countertops off one side like this:

Counter - over hang

Counter – over hang

While the overhang was nice and convenient for Chloe’s food (I bumped my head a time or two filling her bowl) that wasn’t our intended purpose…

BEHOLD!

A WINE FRIDGE

A WINE FRIDGE

Isn’t it pretty?!

Another view

Another view

Now we can store plenty of wine at the perfect temperature for our wino family and friends! With the hutch you can see in the back of this picture for red wine and the fridge for white wine we can practically have our own wine shop in the kitchen.  We’ve already begun stockpiling for the holiday and just because. I’m pretty sure we now have enough wine to last through the year 2020 just to be safe.