hey everyone! after busy weekends shooting weddings we usually try to think of anything but on mondays, so here’s a little sump’n sump’n about some home improvement stuff we’ve done.
like a lot of you, we’re trying to make a difference in our world by using products that help our environment, especially ones that don’t give a chuck norris roundhouse to our wallets. we’re not full-on enviro-gestapo but we are doing what we can to live a greener life.
we started about 6 years ago with an artificial lawn from SynLawn. since then, no watering, no weeding, no mowing, no gas/oil for lawn equipment, and lots more time for us. it still looks brand new.
next, we got a Rinnai tankless water heater. it saves energy by only heating water when it’s needed. as an added bonus, it never runs out of hot water, even when we’ve had multiple showers and the washing machine going at the same time. INCONCEIVABLE!
…and then there was light. we had Solatube sky lights put in all the dark spaces of our home, including a bathroom in the center of our house that has no windows. i can’t begin to say how much we LOVE our sky lights! natural light cannot be beat. every day, from dawn to dusk, we don’t need to turn on a light in these rooms. after putting them in we definitely noticed a drop in our electricity bill. we have a total of 6 sky lights in the house and plan on adding a few more in the future.
after we finished our client meeting room, we knew we had to do something about our kitchen, especially after the big lumpia fire of 08 (see below). along with being together on trips or outside in the poolio, we spend a lot of our family time in and around the kitchen.
it was a sad kitchen, with it’s original 1970’s white tile counters and grody grout, but we finally did the project we’ve been dying to do for years! we’ve hated those old tile counter tops since like, forever, no scratch that, five-ever! we contemplated replacing them ourselves, but decided to just let the pros do it. we’re so glad we did.
here are our super sweet, grout-free, seamless, silky smooth, and easy to keep clean…
we finally did it and are so beyond thrilled with them. since they were going to be custom formed we added in a new composite granite sink that is super deep and doesn’t have that annoying wall in the middle of it. it’s just one ginormous sink, big enough to wash miniature canines in.
disclaimer: the picture above, taken by kim, in no way endorses the ownership of rat dogs. we believe that if you’re going to own a dog:
1 – it should look like a dog, and not a cat.
2 – you should be able to tackle it and not have it shatter into 52 pieces.
3 – it should not be able to fit in a sink, no matter how big that sink is, and
4 – it should in no way be small enough as to be cradled in your arms like an infant.
if you want a cat, get one.
that said, april’s cat dog, toby (aka tobyashi maru, tobias funke, toby wan kenobi, tobadoodles, toby flenderson, tobinator, kitty kitty, mittens), sure is a cute little guy isn’t he?
look mom, no mowing! ooh! aah!
rain, our hero!
a little background on this photo. i was working about 30 minutes away from home. april and kim were cooking lumpia and heated up the oil a little too much. it got so hot that it reached it’s ignition point and burst into flames.
april, having not taken firefighting 101, threw water on the (oil) fire. that had the opposite effect of what she was hoping for. the small oil fire in the skillet instantly, and i mean instantly, turned into a billowing wall of flame that went up the wall and half way across the ceiling.
kim, not knowing what to do, began throwing water on the cabinets and frantically searching for something to extinguish the blaze. it was at this point that the glass window on the microwave above our stove exploded, showering kim and the kitchen with hot bits of shattered glass. panic stricken and filled with adrenaline, kim continued running around, barefoot on the shattered glass (a la die hard). only later did she feel the cuts on her feet.
as all this was going on, rain, who was only in 3rd grade at the time, had done exactly what she was taught in school. the minute she saw the flames, she ran out of our house and called 911 from our neighbor’s home. the fire dept arrived within minutes. rain’s calm thinking and quick reaction saved our home and may have very well saved the lives of kim and april.
if you don’t know what to do please watch this 30 second video about what to do for an oil fire in the kitchen. it could save your life.
this picture is filled with things we love, including our sweet new concrete counter tops, oh, and that kid on the couch. notice the small solatube sky light in our kitchen. i wish we had done a bigger one in there, but this one was salvaged from another room in our house when we moved things around.
so much better without fire damage.
i don’t know if you can see the green wall in this shot but that is going to be our family canvas wall. we already have one of kim’s favorite shots, of me and rain, hanging on it. thanks roxy!
we had them put an industrial sealer on the concrete counter tops which not only makes them super shiny and beautiful, it also makes them impervious to spills and easy to clean. LOVE!
i think kim’s favorite part of this whole project might be our new restaurant style faucet and black composite granite sink from a company called Franke. it is, how you say… sweet.
toby likes it too
if we’re ever hanging out together and you want to buy us a drink for some reason, we like these.
we found the perfect place to hang some of april’s art where we can enjoy it every day. these are a couple pen and watercolor creations she did for me last Christmas.
this is still one of our favorite pieces of april animation. we have it hanging in our office until we find an even better place for it.
another thing we did during this project was to widen the surface area of our island. the shots below show our old counter top on the left and our new one on the right. before, we barely had room for our plates, so we had to leave serving bowls on another counter or on the stove. also, the old counter top did not hang over the edge of the island, so when you sat there to eat you either had to be an amputee or you were racking you knees on the island. now we can belly up to the bar without sitting side saddle.
of course, the first thing we did once our new concrete counter tops were in was enjoy a good meal on the pavement.
next up on our list of home improvement projects is a solar heating system for our pool so we can swim through those brutal southern california winters and save energy.
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I loved all the great info on all the home improvement stuff. Love those sky lights and the fire story was pretty entertaining, although probably not at the time ;)
Way to save the day Rain!
I LOVE it! I am so jealous of your concrete counters! And your pool! and your tiki-ness! And that you live in CA! (love all the story details too!
They look crazy awesome guys! What a fun and welcoming home ya’ll have!
I love your counter tops! All your names for Toby are so funny! We do that with our pets too! Lol!
Awesome! All of it! :) the countertops, the sink, the… Everything! The happy fam and adorable puppy, all the little touches and the overall effect! And how happy this spread makes me feel so happy! Love it :)
And then I actually read the story! :) even more awesome! I’m copying all of it! Lol… Altho,I hafta say, oil fire video was scarily loud and ending a bit creepy for the middle of the night lol
Wow! Me likey! See you guys in a couple weeks. =)
Love them and those skylights! BTW Tobias Funke doesn’t look too thrilled with the sink ha!
Toby DOES look happy getting a bath. Mocha hates the bath BUT loves the clean feeling afterwards. Great BLOG post! everything looks so awesome!!!!
LOVE the colors in your house. looks AWESOME! and love that Toby fits in the sit. Mocha would be so jealous if he saw that amazing huge sink. :) Thanks for sharing all those green tips!!!!!! xoxoxo from savannah!
Okay, first of all, I LOVE concrete counter tops, so awesome! And that huge sink is amazing!
And Rain is amazing for saving the day. The picture (and story) is crazy!
P.s. You made me want a margarita ;)
oh dave this is SICK!!!! Ive always loved the look of concrete counters but went with the standard granite instead. That kitchen totally fits you guys. It makes me happy just looking at it. You and Kim did a fab job. Love April’s artwork!
wow! they are beautiful. my hubs wants to do the concrete counters when he builds his outdoor kitchen, i’ll have to show him these pix :)
i love your daughters drawings!
Amazing counter tops! I love how bright and inviting your kitchen looks. I have the say the doggie in the kitchen sink is freaking adorable!
whoa. Amazing. Can’t believe you get the kitchen to look that good. You might want to add home remodelling to your photog biz lol
We are currently in the process of needing to replace ours to give the kitchen more dimension and pop… Concrete is definitely on this list now! ;)
Wow, they look great! I’m cracking up at all the dog nick names. We have like 10 for ours too. Good stuff.
wow!!! so gorgeous! i love those countertops!
love the countertops!
What color did you put in your countertops? LOVE them!!!!!
it’s just raw concrete with a sealer :)
LOVE the concrete counter top!
Beautiful home and countertops! Did you do them yourself or hire someone. We’re in San Diego and thinking of using concrete for our bathroom and then if we love it, in the kitchen as well. Need to find someone who does good work. Thanks – and job well done!! Gayle
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