rahrighouse projects | open concept + dream kitchen

When I look at original photos of our house, I can’t help but wonder a few things: Why all the piiiinkkkk? Wallpaper on the ceiling??? And, what the HECK were we thinking?!?

Built in 1870, and loved by the same family for the 55 years before we moved in, this house took vision. We crossed the threshold with a one year old in-arms, 10 hours away from everything and everyone we knew. It took literal blood, sweat, tears,  and planning and working until all hours of the night, at times. But, we had fallen in love! In love with the history of this house, and this town, and I have to say that adoring my space every day has made it worth it. SO worth it.


So, it’s been long enough coming – here’s what we were working’ with:

The Kitchen

Wallpaper on the ceiling, laminate flooring, dark and small…

The Dining Room

Pink and closed-off and…pink

The Living Room

Pink. Just, pink.

Besides the kitchen, dining room and living room, we also remodeled a laundry room, mudroom, pantry and half bath. It wasn’t a small project – it took nine weeks of washing dishes in the bathtub upstairs and cooking paninis and easy mac in the master bedroom. But, bit by bit, magic happened…

HUGE shout-out to my amazing, hard-working mom, who probably worked harder on our home that we did… We couldn’t have done it without her!

We worked with an amazing contractor, who understood our goals and our budget, and who  – most importantly – creatively tackled the project with an understanding of what it takes to work with the quirks of an antique home. 

They completed the bulk of the work, but we took on painting, and rehabbing the cabinetry (thanks, mom!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t come across anything  unexpected – whew! It was slow, tedious work at times, but I think the results surprised everyone…

**Angels. Literally. Singing.**


The Kitchen & Dining Room

I knew I was picking elements that I liked – my pinterest boards had been out. of. control. for weeks throughout the project, of course – but, I was floored when things actually came together! And, the LIGHT! What a change!

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room allowed us to have the open concept that we wanted, and add a “peninsula” with extra cabinetry and bar seating!

The outdated decorative woodwork above the sink was replaced with more modern trim, and the bottom bank of cabinets were replaced. We were able to paint the cabinets above to match the new cabinetry, and reuse the vintage hardware. The pantry/laundry room was enclosed, and washer/dryer were stacked. A new counter-depth refrigerator now stands where the stove used to sit.

Our new stove, hood, open shelving and cabinetry replaced the small breakfast nook, and allows much more counter space for food preparation and storage. The addition of canned lighting replaced the single hanging light in the original kitchen, and did wonders!

Our “waterfall”-style butcher-block countertops came from Ikea – I ADORE THEM. We read lots of reviews before purchasing, and made sure we understood the care and upkeep required (it’s not much!), and after a year of use, I can say they look just a lovely as the day they were installed! I would recommend them to anyone, and you simply cannot beat the price.

Our farmhouse sink and fixtures, as well as our cabinet pulls, are from Ikea as well. At a fraction of the price of other options, again, I cannot say enough how much we love their look AND function!

We chose simple white subway tile with a light grout for our backsplash- stylish and cost-effective! And, we chose a dark grey 12″ x 24″ tile laid in a herringbone pattern for our new floor. It used a bit more tile, and took a bit more time to achieve the look I had fallen in love with, but I think it truly made the room look unique and customized.

Our appliances are Maytag  – the industrial look of the handles sold me! And, though we went back-and-forth a TON, we would’t trade our counter-depth refrigerator for anything! The low profile made such a difference in the design.

I also had fun with the little details. The vintage scale we found in the old pantry when we moved into the house (!), and the chandelier was a fun on-sale find at West Elm. The little hidden bar cabinet is original to the kitchen, and one of The Husband’s favorite parts of the house ;) Painted robin’s egg blue on the inside, it’s certainly a bright spot! Other favs: Bar stools from home goods, the seafoam green pitcher from my great-grandmother, our Nespresso machine, and those Kate Spade arrow salt and pepper shakers :)


The Pantry, Mud Room & Bathroom

This  back stairwell was blocked off at the ceiling long before we bought the house, and the previous homeowners used it as a makeshift pantry. But, with the addition of cabinetry and a GORGEOUS marble countertop (thanks, Amazing Space!), we now have a butler-style pantry that is perfect for entertaining, and a really fun feature!

In the same area, we have a half-bath. Originally, it was very small – a built-in in the dining room and a storage closet made it too tiny even for a standard-sized vanity! But, knocking out, a getting rid of the cray green tile let us open it up to match the flow of the rest of the house. I love the penny tile, and curtain I made from fabric from Ikea.


The Living Room

We were fortunate that the living room was already open to the dining room, and featured five BIG windows. In here, a little paint and curtains went a longgg way.

Ripping up the carpet and painting the stairs made a big difference to the entry as well. And, thanks to Amazing Space, the removal of the wall and addition of the glass railing and loft change the whole character of the house!

A big difference, huh? A little imagination and a lot of hard work made this house into our home, and we are so proud that we were able to add our own chapter to its long history…


Well, we’re glad it’s done, and we have thoroughly enjoyed living in this space, in this house, in this neighborhood, and in this state for the last two years. But, believe it or not, the Rahrigs are actually getting ready to embark on another adventure!

In the next few months, we are trading in our snow shovels for palm trees, and will be moving to Tampa, Florida! Yes, this move is coming a little quicker than anticipated, and I have already cried over leaving my pretty little kitchen more than I would like to admit. But, we feel that this is an amazing opportunity for our family, and we pray that the Connecticut “rahrighouse” will bless and bring joy to another little family just as it did to us!

We would LOVE your prayers as we embark on the search for another rahrighouse… Florida sunshine edition!


Style Notes & Sources:

Paint colors

  • Living room, Kitchen and Dining Room: Sherwin Williams, Repose Gray
  • Mudroom: SW, Dorian Gray
  • Bathroom: SW, Eider White
  • Inside of bar cabinet, laundry room, pantry: SW, Sea Salt
  • Cabinetry: SW, Eider White
  • Stairs: SW, Gauntlet Gray
  • Trim: SW, Extra White

Kitchen/Dining Room

Bathroom

  • Vanity: Home Depot
  • Mirror: Ikea
  • Towel bar and flower pot: Ikea
  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Tile: Lowes

Mudroom

  • Lighting: Ikea
  • Cabinetry: Lowes, unfinished

Living Room

See my other rahrighouse posts here!

Questions? Let me know! I am happy to answer them!

goodbye, sweet little kitchen!

 

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rahrighouse projects | sun porch “glow-up”

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our snowy wonderland a few weeks ago

Ahhhh – sunshine. This time of year I LONG for it. Winter has hit that it-feels-like-it-will-never-end point, the snow has been on the ground for weeks, and we are ready to thaw!

Fortunately, there is one particular spot in the house that provides a little respite from the cold, and, it’s one of the Husband’s favorite spots in the house – our little sun porch!


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last winter, looking out on the frosty yard

 

The moment we walked through the house, we knew this room had promise – what a unique space! But, we were still so pleasantly surprised at how lovely it turned out. With interchangeable screen and glass panels, it’s cozy on sunny winter days, and breezy on summer nights.

 

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family reading time

The previous owners had a “thing” for pastels, and made the floor into a unique and slightly unconventional canvas… In short, it was very nice for them, I am sure. However, we weren’t feeling’ it. Yes, it looks like a pleasant spot for a nice iced tea, but it was a little colorful, a little kitschy, a little cluttered…

 

But, not for long!

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great for painting!

With some leftover paint, a trip or two to Ikea (of course!) and some digging through the decor we already happened to have on hand – or even found in the old garage at the house – things came together quickly… especially after that floor was toned down a notch or two!

 

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Now, this cozy spot provides an entertainment space, book reading haven, and an extra toddler play area (that requires no shoes, and less hosing down afterwards than an hour digging in the garden ;) And, you could still comfortably sip some tea, or a nice malbec, with your friends!

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Another view: This door opens from our kitchen, and the porch leads to our back yard and gardens. I love to leave it open  – so breezy!

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Details: 

  • Wall decor: Crate & Barrel candle holder, painted.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Vintage tennis racket, found in the neighbors trash, buoys, purchased at a marine salvage in Mystic, CT
  • Trim paint: Sherwin Williams “Sea Salt”, the perfect subtle blue/green
  • Curtains and hardware: LENDA, Ikea
  • Furniture: Estate sale, repainted black. Cushions, Ikea. Antique hutch holds items found at the house.
  • Rug: Ikea, the same style as the one in our master bedroom

image2There is barely a corner of the house that we haven’t changed or fussed with or painted or spruced, and I have a few more projects to show you before you’ve got the whole picture ;) It’s been fun, and challenging and rewarding – and we’ve learned a LOT along the way! Always feel free to ask any questions you might have (and stop visit if you’re ever out this way!)

Cheers to spring around the corner!

rahrighouse projects | behind the scenes

Hey, all! It’s been a few months, but now that the literal dust has settled on our Amazing Space project, the show has aired, (AND, the series was officially picked up!) I wanted to share a little more about our home renovation!

Wow – what a whirlwind!

We have to say that even though Connecticut is far away from lots of our friends and family, we have felt SO loved through this process! It was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to have our home renovated, and get those 15 (okay, maybe 22 minutes….) of fame, but it has also been a blast to talk about the project with our friends and neighbors, new and old, near and far.

| T enjoying the filming equipment! |

(The local media in Milford picked up “our story”, and it was shared more than 100 times, with more than 200 “likes”, and this little blog almost doubled it previous readership record!)

So, particularly because it is snowy and cold outside, I am excited to share a few warmer-weather throwback “behind the scenes” pictures, and to show you more of our renovations in future posts!


Focused on our second floor (and now THIRD floor loft!) Amazing Space truly transformed our home. A rather dark sitting room – painted spring green when we moved in, and with no distinct function – now is a bright, airy focal point of our home!

rahrighouse-before-after2

Left: The sitting room when we moved-in Center: Sitting room before renovation Right: Sitting room after HGTV magic!

And, a largely unused walk-up attic, magically has become the cheeriest spot in the house! An office space, desk for our little one, a hidden bed/reading nook AND the most lovely fairy-tale-esque spiral staircase you can imagine.

rahrighouse-before-after1

BUT: The BEST thing about Amazing Space, besides the actual space that was amazing, of course, were the folks we got to work with…

|The Husband, Producer Mark Philips, Host Eric Griffin and I on “Reveal Day” |

They made the process – though the dust and mess and some stress is inherent – streamlined and enjoyable! Even with the time crunch of filming, and the pressure of making a great first show, they were considerate of our family, our home, and our tastes.

| a new little chair for T!|Donna, of Donna Benedetto Designs was our amazing
designer – the decor she chose for our new space flowed seamlessly (with a little added flair!) with the rest of our home. A detail I LOVE that they didn’t show was the little chair that Donna hand painted for T! It was in the house when we moved – another treasure from a different era.

 

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset IMG_2640Denis, of Guiltec Development,  was our contractor, and his attention to detail still astounds me. His company has specialized in historic and reclaimed spaces, and he was in his element! Throughout the entire project, his team was efficient, and went above and beyond in a million ways.

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| Vintage rail finishes, meticulously matched by our construction team |

Some of my favorite details: The wainscoting in the loft, the rail finishes that were matched to the original in the second story (apparently a funky, old method that

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|Storage view |

they’re going to try in future projects, as well!), and the sliding door made of the original flooring from the attic! Also, the Irish accent. Of course.

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| Our sliding barn door and bed “nook” made from the antique flooring of the original attic |

Steven, of Keedle and Lee Architects, who also had an amazing  – British, this time – accent, by the way, was also fantastic! He and his team had wonderful ideas, and made us feel so secure that all decisions that were made were the right ones for our family, and our home. And, his illustrations and animations of the house were so fun, too! He answered a million questions, and worked tirelessly to find creative solutions to our home’s unique space needs.

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|Hudie and Ricky watch filming taking place in the yard from our kitchen|

And, of course, the show’s host, Eric Griffin, who not only knocked on our door and handed us this amazing opportunity, but who also pioneered the idea of the loft and spiral staircase! Producer, Mark and Hudie of MPPT and his team, who came from L.A. to take a chance on our home, and with their impressive resume of television successes and endless creativity, made Amazing Space a hit! And, Rick of NYLAC, who made most of the magic happen behind the camera (and drone!) and whose chill attitude made even stressful filming a breeze. And finally, head production assistant, Eric Mathis, who handled every scheduling detail, on-camera cue and the no-so-easy task of walking two newbies through what it takes to make a successful tv show. These guys, and every other person that walked through the door were truly great people. Even during the early mornings, or when it was 90 degrees outside, or when the ceiling fell down faster than anticipated… We couldn’t have asked for a better group to have in our home!

We are so happy that we were able to be a part of the birth of a new series, and look forward to watching coming episodes! Our home has truly felt complete since this project was finished, and our space makes me smile every time I walk into the room – no joke!


In the coming weeks, I hope to show a few more details of our other home renovations, including our big kitchen project, and even more before-and-afters… ’cause everyone loves a good before-and-after ;)

rahrighouse-before-after

 

rahrighouse projects | lights, camera, action!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI’ve been quiet for a while, I know. But, I’ve had a realllllly good reason. A totally unexpected, never could have predicted, one-in-a-million reason:

Basically, we’ve lived THE dream. You know – the dream you have when you’re the type of person who binge-watches Property Brothers, have designed your “tiny house” in your head, and whisper “shiplap” as you drift off to sleep most nights…

That’s right, folks. The Rahrigs, and our sweet little Connecticut home, are going to be ON TV!


It alllll started when we received a knock on our door on a rainy day in February. The Husband was out of the house, I was upstairs with the little guy who was grouchily waking up from a nap, and the last thing I wanted to do was run down to see who was there (like, we had two friends so far in CT… maybe it was the mail lady?). I finished getting T settled, looked through the window on the off-chance someone was still there, and noticed a truck in the driveway. I cautiously walked down the stairs, and saw a man in a baseball cap jogging up to our doorway. With a big grin, and a ton of energy, this stranger started excitedly talking…

“My name is Eric, I’m with HGTV and we think YOUR HOUSE IS PERFECT...”


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|I mean, it IS pretty cute…|


askdjfhalskdjfh. What? I thought, as I stood there with no makeup, in my socks, with the door cracked.  Was I hard-of-hearing?… He started again:

“We are doing this great new show, I’m the host, and we’re looking for a historic New England home, and a young family! Your realtor sent me over! The concept is that we are maximizing and getting creative with space that might be usually ignored…”

askldjfhajskdfh. Huuuuuuh? I was visibly scoffing at this point. Like, this sounded too good to be true, right? Or, I just finished a nine-week renovation and barely escaped with my sanity, so NO I do NOT want any more construction within 100 MILES OF MYSELF ever, ever, ever agin, right?

But, he seemed genuine enough. So, I let him finish talking. And I kindly took his name and number, thanked him, closed the door, and called the husband to tell him this hilarious story… Little did I know where this random happening would take us!

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Fast-forward a few months, and our home is now more lovely than I could have imagined. And, the husband has fulfilled his lifelong dream to be a tv star. And maybe Titus has a future on Law & Order. And, we had the adventure of a lifetime.

SO, tune in to the *DIY Network on Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00p.m. to watch Amazing Space and see the new and improved RahrigHouse in all of its glory! UPDATE: Watch on the HGTV Network on Saturday, August 27 at Noon!

Also, a VERY special shout-out to my mom, sister Bekah and sister-in-law Jessica for lots of couch sleeping, box and furniture moving and babysitting during the process!

You can see more of our home renovation adventures here, and expect updates here at FreshlyMinted soon!

AMAZING SPACE LOGO

*DIY is the HGTV sister network. The show will likely air on HGTV at a later date – we’ll keep you posted!

 

“rahrighouse” projects|diy staircase refresh

Things around here are taking shape. Like this one single corner of our bedroom:

Master viewSlowly, but surely. Sometimes more slowly than surely. But we’re getting there!

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are in the midst of renovating a little 145-year-old house in coastal Connecticut. Much of the work we are having completed by (a really awesome, patient) contractor, but there are a few projects that, with the help of my amazing mom, the Husband and I are tackling ourselves. One of those with the biggest impact has been our staircase update!

Stairway before and after

When we moved in, the entire house had hardwood flooring, except a the carpeted  master bedroom, a small landing, and the staircase. It was horrid. So, project #1 was to pull it up. The stairs weren’t horrible, but they weren’t in great shape, either. We knew we didn’t want to completely overhaul them, but they needed something… so, painting it was!

After browsing for ideas, and chatting with our local Sherwin Williams, we chose our paint, grabbed wood filler and a sander, and started:

,m;wgr ef gkpojias]HTBEF ]

1| You can see the original state of the stairway. The wood was finished on the edges only, and wasn’t of high quality. And, that carpet…. woof.

2| After pulling up the carpet and nails, we washed the steps down with a vinegar solution. There were a lot of holes from this, and previous rounds of carpet, and the trim didn’t match along the bottom lip of the steps. We contemplated replacing the trim, but ultimately decided that after filling the gaps, we wouldn’t need to completely replace it.  This saved a lot of work, and we avoided having to find tools we didn’t have on hand. Like, anything but a hammer, screwdriver, and sander, tbh…

3| We sanded with a handheld sander, fine grit. Then, we went ahead and went crazy with the wood filler. Then, we sanded again. Finally, we wiped everything down with a slightly damp cloth to get rid of dust, and prep for paint.

4| We chose SW trim paint in Extra White, and SW Porch and Floor Enamel in Gauntlet Gray for the tops of the stairs – the same color we painted our master bedroom, and part of a very neutral gray palette used house-wide. After sanding and cleaning, we painted the white trim, and every-other step. We only have one staircase, and needed to be able to make it up and down throughout the day while each coat dried! We used a 2″ flat brush, and a 1.5″ angle brush, and a bit of painter’s tape came in handy…

5| We painted each step with two coats of paint, and let it dry thoroughly in-between. I am in LOVE with the finished product. What a difference! After more than a month of heavy use and lots of drywall dust and dirt, they’re holding up wonderfully :)

The stairs were one of the big reasons I fell in love with this house in the first place. You might have noticed a little something embedded in the rail:

stairs penny

It’s an “Indian Head” penny, dated 1899! When I saw it, my history-loving, American-girl-obsessed, authentic-costume-wearing-period-interpreter-in-high-school-self almost exploded. It’s just SO COOL! And now, it graces stairs fitting its historic cool-factor. And that makes me happy.

IMG_8863There are roughly 1,543 other projects in various stages of completion throughout the house, so there will be more updates to come. But, I cannot wait for the big kitchen/dining room/laundry room/bathroom reveal – fingers crossed it’ll be coming soon!

 

freshlyminted… again

I thought I had outgrown this name.

No longer a newlywed, not a new homeowner, settled into my career and comfortable in the kitchen, things were pleasantly busy and routine. I wasn’t really a “freshly minted” anything…

And then this happened:

Baby T

And we moved here for a bit:

NYC views

And now we’re living here, and bought a really old house:

Milford, CT - Lower Duck Pond

And nothing is the same, so it’s time to write again.

___

We welcomed Titus in April of 2014, I left a job I loved in January of 2015, and we moved to Jersey City, NJ for four months early this year and soaked up NYC. Then, we lived like nomads between states for about six months, and had some family adventures along the way. Now, we are the new owners of a not-so-new 145-year-old house in costal Connecticut that totally captured my history-loving self the moment we walked in the door. But it needed a little TLC…

So, yep. Not a lot is the same…

The Husband works really hard. And Titus and mama hang out together. A lot. And we’re learning how to renovate a sweet but tired house, live 10 hours from grandmas, explore New England, cook again, make new friends, and how to be a family in the midst of change.

Not my forte. But it’s starting to be.

So, if you’d like, stay tuned. I’m gonna write about my (re) freshlyminted life.

Tastes like {Home}: Vegetable Beef Soup

Everyone has that unique set of flavors, textures and smells that instantly transport them back home…

We’ve all been there: You’re rushing around making dinner after work, and then all of the sudden you find yourself sitting in your mom’s kitchen with the table at eye-level, a spoon in your hand and something dribbling off of your chin…

In your mind, of course.

For me, one of those time-travel dishes is my mom’s “Vegetable Soup.” With loads of vegetables, chunks of beef and its signature apple cider vinegar tang, it is my ultimate comfort food, and the first recipe I asked my mom for after the Husband and I were married. It’s also very easy to make. Definitely a bonus.

Some other yummy benefits:

  1. I almost always make it with leftovers – Clean out the fridge, stretch your $ and get an amazing depth of flavor!
  2. It gets better the longer that it sits – Seriously. It’s wonderful piping hot from the stove, but even better in two days.
  3. You can make a huge pot of the stuff and eat it for weeks – Let it “marinate” in the fridge, then freeze for great take-to-work lunches and fast dinners.

Here is the usual drill: The Husband starts dropping subtle hints that he would like to incorporate some meat into his dinners. “Hey babe – You know, you could say ‘Or just add chicken!’ to this meal on your blog. It’s REALLY good, but some people might like chicken…. yum, chicken… mumble, mumble, beef….mumble, drool…”

Then, after a few more meals, I can tell by the look in his eyes that the man needs some red meat. And, if I would like the trash taken out or my windows happily scraped or my next shopping trip approved, I had better serve some. Fast. (Ladies: Chickpeas can only take you so far in your marriage… Sometimes, it takes a pot roast to get things done).

So, I toss a roast, veggies, seasonings, some red wine and the kitchen sink into a crock pot before I leave for work, and we are greeted with delicious smells and a fast dinner when we get home. My favorite vegetable additions are sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts (fresh, cut in half), baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.

Well, with just the two of us, we always have a ton of meat, broth and flavorful vegetables left over. That is where the soup comes in. Just separate everything, stuff it in the fridge, and pull it out when you’re ready. The exact quantities don’t matter (ANOTHER reason I love soup… ) so just go with what you have!

Homey Vegetable Beef Soup

Ingredients:

About 6 hearty servings

  • 3-4 cups Beef broth (Reserved from the roast, or purchased)
  • 1-2 cups Beef roast, cooked and slightly shredded/chopped into large bite-sized pieces (Or, whatever you have left. I like more veggies than beef, so even a little is fine!)
  • 1-3 cups of leftover roasted vegetables (or whatever you have left), roughly chopped (While not necessary for the recipe, the flavor is wonderful. If you aren’t making this from leftovers, just add 1-2 potatoes, cubed. They will cook with the soup.
  • 2 bags of frozen mixed vegetables, or one “family sized” package (corn, green beans, carrot cubes…you know the one.)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • About 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, or to taste (trust me… it makes the dish!)
  • About 1/2 cup of green lentils (Just for fun!)

Directions:

  • In a large pot, add all ingredients except vinegar, stir and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until vegetables are tender. Add vinegar toward the end of the cooking time. Add pepper to taste – you shouldn’t need additional salt.
  • Serve with crusty bread, cheese and sliced apples. Warms you from the inside out, reminds you of dinners when you were 12…

Enjoy!

It’ll make you (and your man) happy for weeks to come.

What are some of those flavors and foods that make you feel like a kid again?