Category Archives: furnishing

Repurposing the Kitchen Cabinetry Step 2: Cutting the Cabinets Down to Size

Now that we have a plan to upcycle the upper half of the original kitchen cabinetry, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The first step in refashioning the cabinets as new fireplace built-ins is cutting this one cabinet into thirds.

To be honest, this was the part of the project that had me procrastinating for so long. The thought of pulling the cabinet off the wall and cutting it into separate pieces seemed really overwhelming. I’ll do that someday but not right now, I would tell myself. Meanwhile, every time I was in the garage and would catch sight of the cabinets they would taunt me.

“We would look so lovely in the house, Jason! Please take us inside!”

And so, like all projects, I put it off and put it off and then awoke one morning and decided to just dive in.

It turns out that I was correct in expecting the project to be difficult, but not for the reason I had anticipated. I had assumed that the upper cabinet was simply resting on a piece of a wood that was attached to the wall of the garage. Pulling it off would be easy, I thought. It’s the act of cutting it into separate pieces that would be the hard part. I was so wrong! The upper cabinet was attached to the wall in a few different places with long, long nails. Prying out those nails and separating the heavy cabinet from the wall without destroying it, myself or The Mister was quite a feat! But with brute force, the power of swear words and a pry bar, we removed the cabinet from the wall and brought it outside.

With the cabinet freed from the confines of the garage wall, I could finally cut it down to size. This turned out to be the easy part! I marked my lines, created guides using scrap wood and then used my circular saw to make cuts to the top and bottom of the cabinet.

After the top and bottom were cut I also had to make a small cut to the front of the cabinet. Again, I drew a line where the cut would need to take place and then used scrap wood as a guide to ensure a straight cut.

 And just like that, one big cabinet became two!

My plan had worked! We had taken this big piece of cabinetry and created one cabinet that would be the perfect size for the fireplace. Or at least I hoped it would be the perfect size.

Up until this point, this whole project had been largely based on theory. I thought the cabinetry might cut apart and look nice sitting next to the fireplace, but until the cuts had taken place I could only envision it in my mind. Now I could finally test my theory! After making those first cuts we carried the newly formed smaller cabinet into the house and set it in place.

If you had been at the house that day you would have witnessed my happy dance when I first saw the cabinet in what will be its eventual home. The size is absolutely perfect!  We went back outside and made the rest of the cuts to form the second cabinet for the other side of the fireplace and then brought it in the house and set it in place.

Another perfect fit! And we could finally step back and see how the two cabinets fit in the space…

Sweet, sweet success! These cabinets are going to look so good in their new homes. But of course we’re only a quarter of the way to the finish line. Next up, the cabinets will need to be stripped of paint and old finish, new interiors will need to be made and, lastly, they’ll need to be refinished and built in place. We’ll cover that in the next post. For now, let’s just step back and celebrate this small victory.

American Table: Dinnerware Made in the USA

Dinnerware Made in the USA

The Mister and I have been eating off yellow Fiestaware for well over a decade now. When we bought it all those years ago, it was out of a love of kitschy fun colors and Fiesta’s simple design. Now, as we’re outfitting our home with American-made and vintage wares, I’m realizing that our beloved Fiesta is the perfect dinnerware. Home Laughlin, Fiesta’s maker, is based right here in the United States.

Fiestaware isn’t for everyone, of course. Fortunately, Homer Laughlin has company in the American-made dinnerware category. Check out the full list and add any I may have missed in the comments.

  • Home Laughlin China Company has been making Fiestaware in West Virginia since 1936. In addition to offering tours, folks makes the pilgrimage to their Newell, West Virginia factory of their big tent sale and outlet store.
  • Anchor Hocking products are manufactured in Lancaster, Ohio and Monaca, Pennsylvania. You may associate them most with bake and prep pieces, but they also make a line of dinnerware.
  • Pickard China has been manufactured in Antioch, Illinois since the 1930s. Known for making the official White House china service, Pickard is American’s oldest fine china manufacturer.
  • HF Coors’ dinnerware is produced in Tuscon, Arizona. From the simple American White and American Bistro lines to the Frank Lloyd Wright dinnerware, HF Coors has a nice selection of tabletop goods.
  • Lenox also has a wide selection of American made dinnerware, with designs from Kate Spade, holiday patterns and many other options.
  • Bennington Potters produces beautiful stoneware in Vermont. Started in 1948 by David Gil, Bennington makes stoneware pottery intended for everyday use. In addition to dinnerware, they also produce bakeware and serving pieces.
  • Emerson Creek manufactures ceramic dinnerware, as well as a full range of pottery, in  the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
  • Simon Pearce glassware and dinnerware are handmade in the United States. Their operations in Vermont are hydro-powered and include a mill and restaurant overlooking the falls.

12 Mattress Brands That Are Made in America

Mattresses Made in the United States of American

In our attempt to furnish the house with only secondhand or American made products, I found myself researching mattresses that are manufactured in the United States. As it turns out, there are quite a few mattresses companies with manufacturing facilities in the US. From traditional inner spring to the newer latex and memory foam mattresses, from budget to luxury brands, check out this list of American made beds.

  • Casper is the new kid on the mattress block. Covers and panels are sewn in Illinois and South Carolina and the foam for the mattresses is poured in Pennsylvania and Georgia.
  • Tuft and Needle mattresses are designed, sourced and manufactured in the States. The foam is poured and cut in the states, the fabric is sourced from a mill in the Carolinas and the mattresses are finished at a factory in California.
  • Kingsdown mattresses has been based in North Carolina for more than 100 years. They still produce some mattresses there, but they also have factories in California, Oklahoma, Virginia, as well as global manufacturing facilities.
  • The Original Mattress Factory has factory store locations in nine states, as well as available nationwide online. They offer both foam and pillow top mattresses.
  • Sealy mattresses are manufactured in three factories in the United States. The brand makes traditional innerspring mattresses, as well as hybrid, gel memory foam and latex foam mattresses.

  • Saatva Mattresses are produced in factories in twelve US states and are distributed through 35 fulfillment centers. The inner spring mattresses feature organic cotton covers and bio-based foam.
  • Englander has seven factories throughout the United States. They do not sell direct to the public so check mattress stores for the label.
  • Cozy Pure’s organic latex mattresses are manufactured in Norfolk, Virginia. The company also produces bedding and mattress pads.
  • Stearns and Foster mattresses are made in the USA, although I couldn’t find out exactly where.
  • Sealy operates 25 bedding plants in the U.S., producing both innerspring and foam mattresses.
  • EasyRest adjustable beds and mattresses are made in factories in Louisville and Georgetown, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Thomasville Bedding Company has been manufacturing their mattress in Thomasville, Georgia since 1969. They make both innerspring and latex mattresses, as well as custom mattress and box springs.

Image: This American House

Small Town Lament: I Miss Craigslist!

West Elm Henry Love Seat | This American House

I’ve been back in the city for a few days, trying to make the most of what a major metropolitan area has to offer. I’ve had food delivered, used public transit and bought some specialty foods. But one thing tops all of that. One thing is even better than some random dude dropping off Thai food at my front door. I used Craigslist to list and sell something I no longer wanted.

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Coming Together: Our DIY Industrial Pipe Console Table

Before: a vintage table that didn't really fit behind the sofa; After: a DIY console tableFrom the moment our new sofa was delivered and we figured out that it fit best in front of the bank of windows in the living room, I knew that I wanted a console table behind it. As a stop gap measure I placed a drop leaf table behind the sofa and then I started my search for a proper console table. In the four months since then, I’ve found a lot of console tables that I’ve liked but none within my price range (read: cheap!). So I did what I always do when I can’t find what I want – I built my own!

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