The land of gothic cathedrals, cream teas, and cobbled streets: part 2

After visiting Oxford and the Lake District we boarded a train to York.

We only planned for one night in York, however our time seemed even more truncated due to underestimating travel time and Sunday's earlier-than-normal closings. We arrived late afternoon from Windermere just as businesses were closing. The next morning we had to catch our train only one hour after businesses reopened, thus we mostly wandered the historic streets window shopping and snapping a few pictures. Note to future self: don't travel on Sundays.

The weather was gorgeous as usual on our trip which led to some vibrant pictures of York Minster.
We walked the ancient Medieval street The Shambles. The houses lean over the cobbled road.
The Tour de France had recently passed through York, so remnants of bright yellow decorations still lingered.
As with so much of England there were lovely views.
Next post will be London!


The land of public transit, quaint villages, and grilled tomatoes: Part 1

As many know, Brandon and I have wanted to start a family for years now. While we are still anxiously waiting we've decided to take advantage of our childless state and take up traveling, agreeing to take one big trip a year until we're happily pinned down by little ones. First stop: England.

Our England trip was divided among four places: Oxford/Cotswolds, Lake District, York, and London.

Determined to explore the quaint cottages of the Cotswolds we stumbled upon a rail pass called the Cotswolds Discoverer that covered both rail and bus lines to/from/throughout the Cotswolds for a day. We explored Moreton in Marsh where we had a delicious light lunch at Martha's Cafe, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Bourton on the Water.
After we toured the Cotswolds we had just enough time to grab a drink at the famous Eagle and Child in Oxford.
The next day we boarded the train for Windermere in the Lake District. The Lake District was my favorite place with a nice mix of cute small towns and beautiful hikes.
We stayed at the best B&B called the briscoe lodge hosted by a young energetic family who had great suggestions about things to do and hikes to take. Speaking of hikes, we decided to spontaneously hike Fairfield Horseshoe, a mere 10.5 mile mountain route that we were ill-prepared for. However, we did get to see some amazing views, hear about a million sheep, and pat ourselves on our sunburned backs.
Muscles quivering after the hike, we wandered around the town of Ambleside for something to eat only to soon realize with dismay that we missed our last bus back to Windermere. Oh well. What's another five miles added to our total? The day after our ridiculous hike we were glad to be sitting on our butts for an all-day Mountain Goat Bus Tour of the Lake District. We were joined by a mother and daughter pair from Taiwan, and an English couple. The husband's name was Neville. How British.

We saw some amazing views.
We went on a boat ride on Derwent Water.
We even crashed a wedding photo session at a place called Surprise View. The bride and groom must have been surprised by the descent of a bunch of DSLR-wearing, tennis shoe-sporting, snap happy tourists.
After our paparazzi stalking, we went to Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of Britain's oldest sites.
One of the highlights of the bus tour was sampling the famous gingerbread from the original gingerbread shop in Grasmere.
Next I'll be writing about our time in York and London!


Friday finds

I've been thrifting again! I came back with a few items I'm excited about.

First up is this adorable magazine rack...except for the hideous stained weird fabric part. The frame part I love though! And it was only $4.99. I'm picturing this in white leather or leather-like vinyl next to the sofa holding my laptop/cord and maybe a few magazines...cute?
I of course have a penchant for baskets and brass, so these guys had to come home with me.
I've been wanting a non-white small planter for my entry-way dresser so the brass one should work well with the larger white planter and tall turquoise canister I have there now. As for the basket one can never have too many. I'm picturing this with a bright pothos neon plant spilling out of it...everything is better as a planter in my opinion.

Next up is this cute little poster. He was cheap but oh so cheerful! Who knows what SABA stands for but who cares. I'm picturing him with a simple modern mid-tone wood or white frame (with glass, not acrylic) to clean him up a bit and will probably add him to my gallery wall in the living room...yes.
Finally I lost my mind temporarily and for some reason was drawn to this:
Large (4'2" x 3'4"), 1980s, and dare I say hotel-art-ish? Don't judge. But I think he'll look quite nice repainted in an abstract modern black and white and hanging over a couch. I'll probably leave the brass frame as is unless I feel bold and paint it emerald green or red-orange. The size is eye catching and I hope soon to be in a good way.

Have you found anything good or worth taking a risk on lately?


How to Add Crown Molding to Ikea Cabinets...at least how we did

A common inquiry with Ikea cabinets is how to make them look built in. Ikea cabinets are not really designed to go all the way to the ceiling. They have what's called full overlay doors meaning the doors completely cover the cabinet boxes. That would cause the doors to swing very close to the ceiling. It also means there is nothing at the top of the cabinet box to attach crown molding to. If you have high ceilings in your kitchen, you could leave a several-inch gap above your cabinets. We didn't have have that luxury with our 8 foot ceilings. Plus I love the look of built-ins so we chose to take the cabinets all the way to the ceiling with a small crown molding.

This is how we added crown molding to our Ikea wall cabinets.

1. Assemble the cabinets.
This may seem overwhelming at first...seeing a good half of your garage overtaken by countless Ikea flat-packed boxes with strange names and ambiguous shapes is a daunting site. But after deciphering the assembly instructions for the first couple cabinets it becomes like second nature and you'll be able to crank out cabinets in your sleep.

2. Install the suspension rail.
The height you install the rail depends on your trim. Our crown molding had a profile height of 1 1/4", so we lowered the suspension rail by 1 1/4". Ikea wall cabinets come in heights of 30" or 39". We used the 39" tall cabinets because that left a decent space between the cabinets and the counter.

3. Add cleats to the cabinet tops.
You'll need some lumber to make the cleats. The cleats serve as a place into which to nail the trim. Brandon used 1x2 cellular vinyl (from Lowes I think) because it was easier to cut than wood, but either will work. He cut them to size and used epoxy and finishing nails to attach the cleats to the cabinets. Epoxy can cure on non-porous surfaces without needing air. Note that the cleats are not necessarily attached at the edge of the cabinet. The cleats slightly overhang some edges in order to account for the door and cover panel depths. Brandon found it helpful to make a mock-up corner of trim so he could visualize exactly where he wanted the trim to go and thus where he needed to attach the cleats.

4. Hang the cabinets.

Make sure to get all the cabinets level using the nifty Ikea hardware provided. Their hardware allows you to fine tune each cabinet's height to not only level the cabinets but also to make micro-adjustments for the crown molding. This step was exciting because it was actually starting to look like a kitchen!

5. Install the trim.
Install your trim...easier said than done when you have an uneven ceiling. It's a bit nightmarish in fact. On some stretches of wall cabinet the ceiling varied from 1/4" to 1/2"...that's pretty significant. We almost gave up on the trim at one point. In some places Brandon had to shave down a good bit of the trim using a planer and other places he had to leave a gap to later be filled with caulk. He found this video helpful for cutting inner 90 degree angles.
We fretted and fretted about the ceiling, but after it was all painted and caulked we really couldn't tell how uneven the ceiling was.
He set the nails in with a punch and filled with wood filler. We color-matched a Ramsjo door front at Sherwin Williams and then painted and caulked and painted again. Using paintable caulk really helped disguise the areas where we had to caulk huge gaps.
So there you have it. Hope that helps. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments!

If you want more information about why we chose Ikea for our kitchen check this out on one of my favorite blogs House*Tweaking!