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first floor renovation series

Emily Oster

Not to jinx ourselves but the baby has finally started to take some longer naps and I have gotten caught up on client work.... SO I can get back to blogging! Its not going to be my finest work as I am still going on limited sleep but its a start!

As I mentioned way back in May, I wrote a first floor renovation series as we were undergoing construction. I wanted to give a play by play of the process and an intimate look of what a renovation actually looks like - not just the fun before and after reveal. To recap, we have been thinking about doing a first floor renovation for a long time (see this post, this post and this post). We weren't planning on undertaking anything before Jane was born but then I got to nesting... and worrying about the house being a mess with a baby. So somewhat on a whim, we decide to go for it. 

This is the original plan of the house (architect friends please forgive the crude drawing).

via THE PLACE HOME

via THE PLACE HOME

The main goal of the renovation was to correct the awkward flow of the back hallway and entry into the kitchen. The kitchen was completely closed off by the hallway and the whole back of the house felt dark and cramped because of it. We also wanted the living room and kitchen to flow together creating a partial open floor plan that would make both spaces feel bigger and more comfortable.

This was the proposed plan we presented to our contractor the first week of January (dashed red lines show the existing walls).  

via THE PLACE HOME

via THE PLACE HOME

The plan was pretty simple - basically just straighten out the back hallway and create new openings into the living room, kitchen and mud room. The new back hallway would also get two large built in cabinets to replace the pantry. Another built in was planned for around the flue of the chimney to create a focal point of the room and a spot to hang our TV. At this point in the reno, we had planned on not touching the mud room and just saving it for a phase 2. 

These images were taken the day before demo started - our official "befores" - dishes and bad lighting for effect...

dining room looking into back hallway

dining room looking into back hallway

living room looking into back hallway

living room looking into back hallway

kitchen looking into back hallway - door into mud room

kitchen looking into back hallway - door into mud room

Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts.

STL Post Dispatch

Emily Oster

via  STL TODAY  photo by Roberto Rodriguez

via STL TODAY photo by Roberto Rodriguez

If you follow THE PLACE HOME on Facebook then you already know that the STL Post Dispatch ran a feature on our home this past weekend. The article which roughly outlines our experience and approach to the design of our home also has 12 new images INCLUDING Jane's nursery and our first floor renovation! 

Thanks so much to the STL Post Dispatch! You can check out the online feature, images and (embarrassing) video here!

via  STL TODAY  photo by Roberto Rodriguez

via STL TODAY photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Pepita Pesto

katie oster

Whenever we are not traveling over the weekend, which is quite rare, we like to make a trip to our local farmer’s market. I must brag, this isn’t just any old farmer's market. It is held at Fort Mason Center in the Marina district which sits on the water and is graced with the presence of the Golden Gate bridge in the background. It is one of our most favorite Sunday morning activities.

This past week the fruits and vegetables were looking real good and, of course, I ended up buying way too much but how can you resist some of the freshest, most luscious, organic food around. After a week of trying to use everything that I purchased I was left with a bunch of basil. So what do I do when I have basil that is on the verge of going bad...I make pesto!!

Pesto is one of the easiest things to make, I mean you use one piece of equipment and we all know that I like anything that has minimal clean up!

I decided to have a little fun and I came up with my own pesto recipe. What resulted after some playing around was a lemony, earthy, thick pesto. I like thicker pestos because I usually add some of the pasta cooking water to it to add some starch but you can definitely add more olive oil or water during the blending process if you like it on the thinner side.

Many pesto recipes call for cheese usually parmesan. I chose to exclude cheese from my recipe to make it a bit healthier and I tend to add A TON of cheese to my pasta once plated so I make up for it later.

Classically, pesto uses pine nuts and after I had set my mind on making pesto I only then realized that I didn’t have any on hand. If you haven’t learned this already, you’ll soon realize that I don’t worry too much if I don’t have a particular called for ingredient. More often than not I have a substitutes in my kitchen, I just have to get a little creative.

So after surveying all of the nuts I had, I landed on pepitas. Pepitas aka pumpkin seeds (I just like the way pepitas sounds) are a wonderful source of protein and add something special to the pesto. I think the pepitas add to the thick, velvety texture and give it a nice nutty, earthy flavor. You can sub the traditional pine nuts, walnuts, or even almonds. Do whatever is easiest for you!

Have fun with the recipe. Make it your own, try adding cheese, red pepper flakes, whatever suits your tastebuds. My motto is it doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be homemade :) 

Peptia Pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pepitas/raw unsalted pumpkins needs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz/3 cups packed packed basil
  • 2.5 tablespoons olive oil

Blend all ingredients in your food processor until desired consistency is reached. 

via THE PLACE HOME

via THE PLACE HOME

Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts.