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Kitchen Update // Before & After

Heidi Shenk home home diy

Rustic Modern Kitchen Update

It's finished! We've been working on these kitchen projects for about three years, but they're all finally finished! When we moved into our row house six years ago, we swore that the first thing we'd change was the kitchen backsplash and cabinet pulls. Man oh man were we wrong about that. Instead, we completely overhauled our back patio, our bedroom, a half bath, and part of our basement first. That being said, it's awesome to finally have it all come together. Just for reference, here's a look at a photo I snapped of our kitchen on closing day.


While there really wasn't anything wrong with the kitchen when we moved in, it just wasn't quite our taste. The house had been completely gutted and renovated three years before we purchased it, but a lot of the finishes were things we knew we'd want to change. Many of them were very traditional in style, and that's just not our cup of tea. So we opted to swap out the more traditional items, add a few new details, slap some paint on the walls (twice!), and give it a more rustic modern feel.

First, we went to the architectural salvage yard and purchased about $10 worth of salvaged lumber, used hidden fixtures that Andrew got for free from one of his firm's hardware partners, and installed floating shelves on our empty brick wall. We added a new bar cart and some hooks and now have a nice spot for mixing drinks and making coffee and tea. And voila! More storage to boot. Always a bonus when you're living in a tiny space. The aqua coffee and tea tins were an Etsy find, while the other tea tins and bar tools were found at various flea markets and our local vintage shop Rust N Shine, respectively.

Salvaged Wood Shelving Industrial Bar Cart Coffee Bar

Next, we swapped out our old bar stools for some new clean lined beauties. We moved a few plants to the windowsill to brighten up the room. And added another cart to the room adjacent to our island. The second kitchen cart is a piece that my grandfather made in high school shop class. When we first moved to Baltimore, my aunt passed it on to me, and I refinished it and added the tile top.

Kitchen Bar Stools Plants on Kitchen Windowsill Tiled Kitchen Cart

When we first moved, we had purchased the set of Caribbean blue Le Creuset pots with money left over from a tax credit. I then received the matching crock and spatulas as a gift from a friend. We swapped out the boring black square-inch tile backsplash for beautiful white marble. I found the mid-century teak and glass canisters on Etsy.

Turquoise Le Creuset Mid Century Teak and Glass Canisters

We painted the walls a light peach color that really goes well with the turquoise theme as well as the rich wood colors. We swapped out the traditional, round nickel cabinet knobs for clean lined stainless steel pulls. And lastly, Andrew removed two recessed lights above our island sink and installed glass pendants with Edison bulbs.

Stainless Steel Cabinet Pulls Bubble Glass Pendant Lights

And there you have it! The kitchen is complete! Even though it may have taken us three years to get through each of these changes, we're finally there. The finished look of our kitchen is just as I had envisioned from the start, which makes it even more satisfying. Since we spend a lot of time in this space, it's nice to have a room that is truly a reflection of our style.

Have you ever updated your kitchen? What projects are you working on right now?

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Light City Baltimore // Part Two

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" art

Light City Baltimore

I don't usually post on Saturdays, but I couldn't help myself to squeeze in a second round of Light City Baltimore. And since the festival's last night is Sunday, I thought I'd post a few more photos to convince any of you locals to go this weekend if you haven't made your way there just yet. The diamond structures that you see above were some of my favorites in terms of their subtlety. Can they just stay along the promenade permanently?

Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore

I loved the interactive nature of the installation The Pool. It kept both children and adults happy and delighted as they hopped from one circle to the next in order to create change in the light patterns and colors.

Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore

In general, I loved the atmosphere of the festival. Everyone in attendance was so incredibly happy and in awe of the installations. The energy of the festival reminded me of why I love this city. As we near the one year anniversary of the riots that occurred last April, this festival felt symbolic for so many of us who live here. I only hope that it continues to be an annual tradition of celebrating Baltimore for many years to come.

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Hello April

Heidi Shenk daily life goals

April Flowers

I can't believe that it's already April! It seems absolutely crazy how quickly we've made our way through the first quarter of the year! Just as I have done at the start of each month, I'm checking in on my goals for this year. So far, it feels sort of crazy to see how far I've come in just a few short months, but there is still work to be done.

1 // Continue learning new things. Not a huge learner this past March. We've been continuing with our New Recipe Saturday, so I guess I'm still learning in that regard. Maybe learning this past month was more introspective and personal-- learning how to be more patient, how to trust my gut, and to let go.

2 // Become stronger and healthier. We're still going to the gym three times a week. This past week, I was able to row 100 pounds, which is a huge feat for me. Arm strength is not my forte in any way, shape, or form. Major victory here. I still need to get back into a regular yoga routine. We've also been spending a lot more time walking and running outside since the weather has been warmer.

3 // Streamline my wholesale program. Still a work in progress. I'm getting so close! Most of my line is more cohesive now. I got rid of a lot of old designs that didn't make sense, but I still have some that I want to convert. I'll be sending another batch of cards to the printer, and working on my wholesale catalog like crazy this month.

4 // Identify when I'm sabotaging myself and take active steps to change that. Getting better! I usually have one day a week where I let things slide a little more than I should. However, my days the past two weeks have been incredibly productive. I've taken advantage of the down time in March to put out a huge new line of cards, catch up with other creative women (I've had networking meetings every week this month), and start to reorganize and streamline my studio space. I feel really good about my use of time this past month and hope to continue on that trend.

5 // Start blogging regularly again. I haven't been blogging every week day in March. I wrote about that last week, and I'm ok with letting it slide. Sometimes it's just not in me and recognizing that it's ok to take a break and step back for a few days is huge. I don't want this space to feel like a chore. That being said, taking time away has brought new excitement and motivation for upcoming content, so I'm looking forward to things to come for the blog in April.

6 // Take more photos. I'm getting better at this! We've had more opportunity to get out and about now that the weather is nicer, and I've been taking my camera with me. I had fun photographing the Light City Baltimore installations this past week. Light gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment with long exposure times, which was fun.

7 // Make time for myself and the people in my life. This has continued to be a success. We're doing our Wednesday night happy hour dates, I've been doing some reading in the evenings for my own down time, and I've made it a priority to spend time with others each week this month. Hoping to continue the trend through April.

8 // Spend more time traveling. My passport application is still sitting on the kitchen counter. We don't have plans for international travel this year (yet), but it is something I just really need to get taken care of. I'd like to have it available in the event we decide to jump on a last minute deal or something. We've booked flights, a car, and an Airbnb for a trip to Santa Fe in May, and we're continuing to research and decide what to do for a trip to California later in the year. It feels good to be back in adventure mode.

9 // Continue to minimize and organize our house. I realize that this will probably always be a work in progress. My studio was the huge minimization project this past month. I got rid of a lot of stuff that I wasn't using anymore and it's made my life easier. I still need to get rid of more in order to get to my end goal of reorganizing and streamlining my work process. As for the rest of our house, we really don't have much stuff. We purchased pantry containers and in-drawer trays from IKEA a few weeks ago in order to get more organized. In general, when there is stuff anywhere in our living spaces, I freak out and start throwing things away. I just can't handle the clutter, especially in such a tiny house.

And there you have it my friends. Progress on this year's goals has been moving right along! I'm looking forward to a new month. It's going to be a busy one, so I'm sure I'll write more about those details in the coming days!

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Light City Baltimore

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" art music

Light City Baltimore

When I first started hearing about Light City Baltimore, I had no clue what it was. All of the descriptions were incredibly vague and didn't really explain things much. Essentially, I knew it was going to some sort of innovative festival dealing with lights, installation art, and technology. There was going to be a conference aspect as well.

As the festival neared, I learned more about it through various outlets. A friend of ours and a co-worker of Andrew's was working on a team for their firm to create an installation on the Living Classroom's lighthouse (pictured above) in the Inner Harbor. Andrew would tell me here and there about what he knew about the installation, and I learned more tidbits through the grapevine as well. Slowly the concept of the entire festival was coming together.

On Monday night, Andrew's firm hosted a happy hour to celebrate the beginning of the festival and the reveal of the light house installation. Afterward, we were able to take in the first evening of the festival, and it was spectacular.

Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore

While each of the installations obviously involves light in some way, many of the installations also have musical and interactive aspects to them as well. There was something so incredibly excited about walking around the Inner Harbor amongst a crowd of people that were happily and excitedly talking about the art. Music from the installations drifted through the air, live music performances were taking place, and the city was aglow.

Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore Light City Baltimore

We didn't have time to make it to each of the installations, but we plan on visiting the rest of them by the end of the week. If you're a Baltimore local, the festival runs through April 3rd, so there is still plenty of time to take in the installations and performances. I also highly recommend visiting the Light City Baltimore website, so that you can either plan a route or create a plan of attack since there is really so much to see and do.

Have you ever been to an installation art festival? Does your city put on similar festivals? If you're from Baltimore, have you been able to explore Light City?

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The Sails Are Up, But We're Not Moving

Heidi Shenk

Hello, hello! I've been a bit silent around these parts lately, which goes against all of my hopes and dreams for this blog this year. Ok, that might have been a little overly dramatic, but I've definitely not stuck to my goal-- blogging every week day. Things got crazy at the beginning of this month with the new line of cards, and so it just fell to the wayside.

If I'm being honest, I also haven't felt motivated to blog. I consistently posted every day for two months, and I sincerely felt as if most days I was yelling into an abyss. While I absolutely love writing and there is some reward in that on it's own, it also feels extremely unrewarding to spend an hour or two on a piece knowing that only a handful of people might actually read it. I wrote a few weeks ago about how it seems like the community aspect in the blogging world no longer exists in the same way that it did five years ago. And I still find that to be true. It feels as if you either have it or you don't. And there's not really any explanation as to why or why not you have "it." The sails are up, but I'm not moving anywhere-- I'm stuck in the same place I was five years ago, three years ago, and even two months ago.

With all of that being said, I felt like these past two weeks have been a good reset. It's given me the chance to step back from something that was beginning to feel frustrating and empty and focus on something that was inspiring-- the new line of cards. And in that time away, I feel as though there's a lot behind the scenes that has been just as inspiring-- meeting up with other creative women who are also trying to find their way, the start of the new spring season and the beautiful weather it brings, new routines, and new activities taking place.

So for now, I'm going to enjoy this Friday, and I'll see you on the blog sometime next week. Hope you all have a great weekend!

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