September 23, 2017

Intriguing inspiration for an unusual teen space

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The bedroom I designed for Luke when we first moved in here was bland. He told me NO color, just white, please make it plain, maybe just a little gray. Our previous house in Virginia had so much color he needed me to tone things down for the LA house. It took him only a couple of months and he soon regretted his decision and felt jealous of my more colorful art deco bedroom.  Lucky for him he gets a second chance. He is one of those lucky teens who will get his own guest house space which we call “Lukeland” and now he is ready for something fun.

He has made a bunch of intriguing design request and I’m up for the design challenge!

He first inspiration is…THE GREAT GATSBY.

I can’t think of a time period I love more than Art Deco right now and using Gatsby is perfect.

Our guest house isn’t exactly a palace but it has a really cool entrance. At the top of the staircase is an angled window so you can enjoy view of miles upon miles of mountain ranges.

Like Gatsby he’ll have an incredible view.

The room also has a walk in closet, bathroom and a wide sliding door out to a deck.

The dry wall is going up this week and now it looks like this….

A Great Gatsby man cave perhaps?

Design by Ken Fulk.

His other request is REALLY TALL PLANTS.

I want it to feel like a JUNGLE! Lots of plants everywhere.

Luke is in to 80’s music so this 80’s room feels right as inspiration.

This is the view in the other direction. This wall will have a mini kitchen and his desk.

Dry wall is going up…

Another design request is….

I want LOTS OF WOOD…make it feel like the INSIDE OF A YACHT!

Design by Ken Fulk

Hmm…

I love wood but wood paneling is not in our budget, but then but I love coming up with solutions.

This is the back wall…

This week with dry wall almost done.

This back wall will get Stikkwood, the clever company that makes self adhesive glue on real pieces of wood. I used it on another job and it looks amazing.

Here it is as an accent wall in a place in an apartment. They have a tons of finishes and I’m sure I’ll find one that resembles boat wood.

The last request is BLACK and GOLD and tv-show EMPIRE.

Gatsby, Empire, Jungle, Boat….

…you can’t say he doesn’t have fun imagination.

But I expect nothing less of this young director /writer

Now…I just have to figure out how to design it!

 

 

 

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July 10, 2017

Our new simple Scandinavian country kitchen

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Hope you are enjoying your summer.

We arrived in Sweden this week to an almost finished house I couldn’t be happier. Living in two houses that are being renovated while renovating and designing for others can put you over the edge!  You might remember the water damage disaster that ruined our country house.

Furniture sources here in the country side are sparse and contractors work on their own schedule (which drives me crazy!) so you have to go with the flow. As far as interiors you don’t strive for perfection, just simplicity and functionality.  Honestly when you are in the business of always trying to make things perfect – imperfection is actually refreshing.

The kitchen is almost done. The walls are now a bold yellow. I love super strong more modern tones of colors as a backdrop to old things.

All the old furniture pieces stayed.

The sofa is an old Swedish bed sofa that people in the 1800’s used for guests and often it was the place where farmhands and maids slept in the country houses.

The fur pillows, pendant and vase are from Ikea. The flowers are handpicked. The pillows are the Sunshine Embroidered Monogram designs from my line Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

The strong yellow color is the perfect antidote to the moody blue skies outside.

The cool air and the sunny inside is a fun contrast.

The chairs are antiques, and the table we found in the barn and painted it white.

As I said…around here simplicity goes.

I love checked Swedish floors so I decided to make it easy and install a vinyl floor from Tarkett.

In case you missed it this is what our kitchen looked like last summer….

As you can see a big improvement!

We have a floor.

The counter top is temporarily just resting as Ikea sent the wrong depth. Ikea birch counters are my favorite.

Love the Ikea pendant – basic but cool.

I headed over to my favorite local store….my recycle obsessed brother’s Återbruket in Karlstad.

There you can buy people’s discarded furniture and landfill dropoffs. Aterbruket repairs everything then resells it. In a country who values nature above anything and recycles 99% of their trash it’s popular.  If you are local you should pay it a visit. Saturdays they serve fresh baked bread and coffee and I promise you it’s the perfect treasure hunt.

It’s mostly tech and lighting but I always manage to find some furnishing items I like.

This yellow vase was someone’s trash….

Not sure what this can be called…Landfill chic?

The carpet it my Monogram cotton carpet in Sky Blue from Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

The older I get recycling and caring for the earth becomes more and more important.

Someones trash can be your treasure.

Do you by recycled stuff?

In our attic I found this cool old Swedish print and framed it.

The kitchen is now a fun place to hang and I was happy to have my cousins Susanne and Hans here from Denmark to enjoy it.

Bottom line is, don’t take decorating your place to seriously.

How important is buying vintage to you?  Do you have any good steals you want to share?

 

June 8, 2017

New renovation! A tropical spa area

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I love taking spaces that seem to be of no use and turn them in to something special. Every home has areas indoors as well as outdoors that just feels like wasted square footage.

Clients tell me all the time about hallways, corners, nooks that they simply never use and have a millions of reason why. The only reason why someone never uses an area is 1) because its not designed or 2) It’s not designed right. When a space is fun or welcoming and has a use, people will go there.

At the far corner of our ranch house against the hill there is a just such a space. It’s a small terrace area with a storage cabinet, a fence and an ugly air vent. It is however right off the master bedroom so my boyfriend suggested one day….why not add a hot tub? The hot tub mention inspired me to create a little California surfer paradise spa area.

Here is where we started….

We decided to start by adding a ficus hedge long the side of the space to create privacy.

As you can see on the picture the neighbors on the street below can see straight up, so the corner will get tall banana leaf plants and a ficus hedge will go from the corner of the yard all the way up to the master bedroom.

First step was  removing the storage bin and chain link fence.

Besides a mid century sofa I envisioned a cool space with a hanging chair.  I found a bunch of cool affordable hanging chairs at Pier 1. World market had the other items I needed for the sanctuary.

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There is also an exterior bathroom on this side which will be spruced up. It will  need lights etc.

Ficus hedge has now been planted.

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Facing this direction up the hill (picture below)  I will try to reuse some iron fencing that will be removed from the garage renovations.

The air vent outdoors I thought I would cover with an Artificial ficus hedge.

I have never tried it but I’ll give it a try. Have you?

Artificial ficus hedge

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Hot tub arrival!

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Here it is so far – not too exciting, but it will be.

I’m planning on using these vintage retro surfboards you can get on Etsy to cover the wall.

Here are the sources for the spa items I purchased.

Lucky you if you like them because now they are already 50% off!

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Can;t wait to see how this will turn out!

Follow on JILLSORENSENLIFESTYLE@INSTAGRAM.COM

 

May 24, 2017

Renovation Mayhem and our house in Swedish news

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While the front of the house looks like a complete war zone the back of the house is a different story. The Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri was here to do a story on me and my house.

Swedish photographer Anna Maria Zuellert caught this photo of the backyard….

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…which is the opening of the article.

If you happen to read Swedish you can catch some of my life story and long accidental road to the design business here.

Its funny how life takes twist and turns and where it leads you can be many surprising places.

Now while most of the back yard is done (not all of it)  the front of the house is a different story.

This happened in a matter of just a few days- the disappearing garage.

DAY 3

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I got home the next day and this was it??

Later DAY 3

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DAY 4

Termite damage was found on the back wall….even more needed to be removed.

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DAY 5

Where the heck did the garage go?

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Total mayhem.  It’s looks like a bomb hit the front yard!

DAY  6

Digging 5′ holes for footers. We live in the mountains and on a hill so everything needs extra steel.

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Kurt Gibbs the friend/architect I wrangled to help me with this project takes a look at some last minute solutions.  The view everywhere is so amazing, we almost don’t want to have any walls!

This below is the setting of my future office.

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This door and deck will be widened so the new office space will have a great view and a big deck.

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Things have been on hold for a few days to get an updated structural engineering plan but got started back up today.

Really looking forward to having this magical spot to work!

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May 3, 2017

Renovations again! DAY 1 & 2 – The Guest house

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Yesterday we started the final renovation project on our house. The Guest House.

Turning the garage in to a guest house was supposed to be the first thing we did when we bought it. I would get a great office downstairs and Luke would get a big teen room upstairs.

Well, it didn’t happen that way.

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When you live off of Mulholland Drive in LA which is one of the most scenic mountain routes you have to get a permit from the Mulholland Scenic society to make sure nothing that you do alters the beautiful view.

This is the view from the hill at the top of our yard.

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Well fast forward a year and a half.

We got the permit, the plans are done and we got started yesterday.

These are some of the architectural drawings. The back of it will have terrace and the view from there is insane.

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Yesterday we had to empty the garage in to a rented pod.

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The tiled roof was swiftly removed and stored so we can put it back again.

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Here are some of the things we will do downstairs.

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Today it looked like this….

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And this….

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The outdoors will be white stucco with black accents like the house.

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With lots of bougainvillea, flower boxes, and shutters. I’ll share some of the plans and inspiration in the next blog!

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March 18, 2017

House updates – outdoor living space

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If you’re living on the east coast or in Sweden I know this time of the year you can’t wait for spring to arrive, so I thought I would share some updates to our outdoor living space.  Since we are so blessed with incredible weather in southern California making the outdoors space livable is key.

The deck we added outside the master suite really extended the terrace and has become a favorite spot to hang out. It now has hanging electrical wicker lanterns which add a romantic light at night. (I’ll share a roundup post for best lanterns in another post).

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When we moved in it was nothing there just a bunch of scraggly trees and it looked like this…

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If you followed along then you might remember I was really hesitant about removing the scraggly trees and plant a wall of banana leafs instead.

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But the trees came down and the wall of banana leaf plants created the perfect vibe.  Now we can also really see and enjoy the pretty olive tree outside the bedroom door.

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This has become a favorite work spot of mine and a nice extension of the bedroom. Small changes that you think might be nothing can often have a large impact.

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When I tested out a bunch of lanterns for the olive trees I came upon this solar powered JC Penny lantern that I now have scattered about around the back yard. They light up the garden around the pool at night.

I now see this looking out my bedroom window.

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The banana leaf plants are now taller than the fence. Behind it is a magnificent mountain view.

We planted a yew hedge along the edge of the pool on Terry’s Landscape designs suggestion.

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It has grown and has added a nice framing to the pool and some protection while still allowing for a great view above at a 5′ height.

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Thankfully we kept the red hibiscus hedge that adds a little tropical vibe.

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The loungers are from CB2 and cushions from Martha Stewart.

Outside the kitchen window next to the pergola it looked like this…

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I designed iron brackets and added a foot of the quartzite stone top we used in the kitchen to create a great little drink and serving area outside the kitchen window.

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I added four Parisian bar stools.

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This sits next to the pergola which is awaiting a new carpet before I can photograph it. Here is a snapshot from this morning, I’ll share better pictures of this area in a later post.

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Next to the kitchen by the end of the terrace is the best view and when we bought the house it was just an empty space with an odd fountain. Screen shot 2016-01-05 at 9.34.31 PM

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I decided to use this area for a BBQ and outdoor kitchen.

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Now it looks like this.

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A simple cement top with white stucco so it just blends in with the house.

We still have work to do but this is basically where we spend our time when we are home. I hope this gave you a little California sunshine to survive the rest of the winter.

Hope you have a great weekend!

For daily updated you can follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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February 15, 2017

House updates – kitchen & eat in dining area

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Our LA house is slowly taking shape. I haven’t had the house professionally photographed yet but a number of you have e-mailed and asked  that I share pictures, so here are just a few snapshots of  our dining area in the kitchen.

The house has received a lot of updates since I last posted about it….most involving reusing or re-purposing exiting items. The Jill Sorensen Lifestyle Tropical bamboo wall coverings in Canary on the kitchen and dinning area walls has definitely been a good choice.

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I wish I had more wall space in this open floor plan for some more yellow happiness.

Even though the design plan for this house was casual and cool mid century my old Swedish mirror found a home in the breakfast room.

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The gold recovered Milo Baughman bar stools glam up the otherwise very casual and relaxed space.

Here you can see the kitchen from the other direction…you can see through the house from the front yard all the way through to the terrace.

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Loads of mid century gold fixtures and quartzite stone tops. When we bought the house the kitchen wall was right behind where you see the bar stools and the kitchen ceiling was lowered 18″.

Now all is open.

Last week I my custom Clad Home bench with Mary Mc Donald fabric with black trim arrived.

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The perfect perch to check out visitors in the front yard.

If you followed my blog during the renovations you know that I went back and forth about whether to make the TV room fireplace double sided for not.  With the cool LA mornings and evenings it’s the best decision by far  to be able to eat on the dining bench next to a warm fire.

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I added a reclaimed modern wood bench as dining bench with a sheepskin hide to maximize dining guests. This pictures it looking through to the front driveway where there was a wall and a corridor before.

The carpet is from my line ARROW carpet in Natural.

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I had a dresser from Virginia that has been serving as extra storage in the dining area.

However the color just was not exciting…

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Yesterday we painted it Habanero Pepper by Benjamin Moore.

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It’s actually more red than the picture.

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Trying to add a little fifties red/coral to spice up the corner and to match the red flowers right outside the glass window.

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I’ll share some exterior updates next week.

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December 25, 2016

Kitchen renovations just in time for Christmas.

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Happy Holidays!

As this crazy busy year is coming to an end I’m finally sitting down to write a blog post.  I hope 2016 has treated you well and that you have tons of great things in store for 2017.  We arrived in dark Sweden a week ago to celebrate Christmas with our family and to rest up.

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Or so I thought..

…there was a twist.

When we arrived we still didn’t have a kitchen. When we left the in august kitchen that was ruined along with many rooms in the house looked like this.

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We had plans to reuse the bottom cabinets this inter but they could not be installed as they had rotted a bit with the water damage.

These are the times when you really appreciate IKEA.

I spent so many hours at my local IKEA I even know what shelves things are on.  I’m finally surrendering to an Ikea kitchen and all kinds of simple clean and affordable Ikea items.

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Hans the contractor worked round the clock to install a kitchen so we could have the extended family move in. I found base cabinets to match the existing top cabinets.

All hardware is now black.

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I’m in love with my Tarkett plastic flooring in grey and white.

All the windows will get original old casing styles. Walls will be bold yellow, counter top will be in thick bright birch. Very Swedish.

Can’t wait to see it all done.

This will be the style for the new simple kitchen.

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We also have a mudroom now hat is almost done. More clean stuff.

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Simple bead board with black hooks from who else…IKEA.

The laundry room is big and clean and white (that is until I wallpaper it next summer…)

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Love this black lamp from Ikea with retro cord.

The bathroom is now almost twice as big, but the neutral stuff ends here.

I still needed to have some color.

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Next up mirrors, sconces and shower curtain.  The orange faucets and toilets are fun.

This space will be finished from LA.

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Until then, thanks for stopping by.

Hope you enjoy the holidays!

You can reach me dally on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM.

or my brand at INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSENLIFESTYLE.COM

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August 16, 2016

Renovation plans created in one afternoon

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We left our summer house in Sweden in slightly better shape than we found it in…

In case you missed the disaster I’ve dealt with you can check it out here.

You can see what the house looked like when we came home in June and I burst in to tears here.

The renovations are in full swing and I’ll handle it from the other side of the earth via images, e-mails and Face time. I’m really looking forward to restoring our beautiful house to even better shape than before the water damage.

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The new wood beams went in the last couple of days we were there and it was amazing how fancy it felt to get rid of the dirt floor!

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All the crazy items shoes, pots etc. from the 1800’s that we found below the original beams were collected and stored in the attic.

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I can’t help bu wonder if this old leather boot from the 1800’s that we found below the bathroom floor belonged to any of these people?

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The first owners of our home sometime in the late 1800’s.

When the plywood floor was installed we really felt we were living in luxury after a summer with the dirt floors.

Imagine that….to have a floor! We were seriously all smiles.

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Hans a contractor and friend of my brother’s since grade school has taken on the job. He did the first round of renovations when we first bought the house 13 years ago so he knows it well.

Now, how do you come up with renovation plans in one afternoon?

I visited two home stores with tile, faucet, flooring selections, a paint store and grabbed paint chips, then I grabbed a pen and paper and paid down on the foyer floor.  When you have no free time and under time pressure things can happen fast. Aaahh the luxury of doing it for yourself…old school style.

First off the Bathroom.

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The marigold seventies toilets that I bought from my brother’s recycling center set the tone.

The happy & fun toilets and sinks served as inspiration for the bathroom. I felt depressed when I forst arrived and saw all tha damage so the toilets put a smile on my face, why not orange toilets?

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Orange sinks?

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I drew layouts directly on the floors and walls. Moved walls for better space function and left instructions handwritten.

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At the local store I found the only cement tile they had and went for it.

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I found faucets that would bridge the gape between classic and modern and fit the sinks.

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Black and white subway tile for the shower cabin. White with two black stripes.

Next step will be to hunt down two old mirrors and wall sconces for the wall, and of course a shower curtain.

Now on to the kitchen…

Having the beams installed in the kitchen was the most luxurious of all. We could now walk in there and get to items in the top cupboards. The lower cabinets were salvaged and stored in the barn and will be put back in as well.

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How incredible to have a floor!

Try living without a floor for a while and you’ll come to appreciate the simple things in life!

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The kitchen needs:

–New flooring

— New Paint

–New tile  back splash

—New Light fixture

I picked them out in a flash at Stuvbutiken, Colorama and IKEA.

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I decided on plastic flooring for easy to clean surfaces. They have really great vinyl flooring options here and the actual plastic tile squares are not easy to clean.

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I have never installed a vinyl floor before, but this one looks refreshing.

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Tarkett from Stuvbutiken.

I would prefer to paint a wood floor like this below, but we have no floor at all so this is an easy and affordable solution.

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I’ll share pictures when its done and you can be the judge.

Have you ever used it?

The 80’s lamp above the kitchen table that I’ve been too lazy to change for so many years, will be replaced by this modern one from Ikea.

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I hope that mixing in some retro vibe with all the old school stuff will be good.

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I’ll be renovating from afar, with picture updates every Friday from the contractor.  The big project in Virginia is going ahead full speed and the guest house renovation back here in LA is beckoning.

For daily updates and design adventures you can follow me on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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July 6, 2016

My DISASTROUS kitchen pictures & the coolest toilets ever

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There are makeovers and then there are M-A-K-E-O-V-E-R-S. Seems the most challenging projects just keep lining up.

We arrived home to our summer house in Sweden, except what house??  If you follow this blog you know we had bad water damage this spring. Turned out it was BAD.

This is our kitchen now…Want to come over for dinner?

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Yep down to the dirt floor. As I’m looking at this I realize a lot of my projects look like bombs detonated in them.

All the floor beams were damaged and had to go. The cabinets could be rescued.

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New tile is needed, minor detail in this room indeed.

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I guess we will not be doing any cooking in here!!

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Turns out there is a covered up dirt cellar below the kitchen floor!  The house was built in the 1830’s, burnt down 1870 and rebuilt so this stuff is 150 years old.

And the bathroom and laundry room by the entrance….

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I giant hole, no walls or anything.

When they tore out the floor they came upon shoes and boots from the 1800’s and old pots used as bathrooms.

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To be hinest Ive been very upset as you might imagine, no rest for the weary. However Luke’s summer job at my brother’s new recycling center could not have come in more handy….

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Peter my very entreprenurial obsessed reclcer brother has started a genius business. He made a deal with out city here to be able to get  all the stuff headed fro landfills landfills, then fix them and sell them.

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I felt instantly happier when I made this happy marigold toilet purchase!

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And two marigold sinks to with it. If the old bathroom is gone, a new one will have to be awesome.

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Can you believe these were headed for landfills?

(You can check out a few items that are for sale online at  www.aterbruket.se.

Follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN for more updates.

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