...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

gold coast ikea kitchen before 1

In February of this year, Jess and her partner, Tim, purchased their first house located in Queensland, Australia. The kitchen was closed off from the main living area and faced the back of the house. 90’s cabinets and laminate countertops did not reflect the couple’s impeccable style.

OLD FLOOR PLAN

house

NEW FLOOR PLAN

house2

gold coast ikea kitchen before 2

To improve the layout, the couple made plans to remove walls separating the kitchen from the living area and flip the kitchen so the peninsula would separate the kitchen from the living area. They used Ikea cabinetry to achieve a sleek, modern design. I asked Jess several questions about the remodel. Find her answers and the mind-blowing “afters” below.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 1

gold coast ikea kitchen after 2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

We chose to purchase our FAKTUM cabinets, ABSTRAKT gloss white doors, drawers (and fronts), BLANKETT handles, RATIONELL drawer liners and cutlery organizers from Ikea. We also selected a few of our appliances – namely the MW6 combi oven, dishwasher and rangehood (discontinued hidden model).

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I had a pretty solid Ikea bookcase constructing background as my first house was furnished with many of their inexpensive storage solutions. I knew that we could probably tackle the kitchen cupboard assembly without too many hiccups. Obviously, the price was also a huge deciding factor for us as we are renovating on a budget and committed to completing as much as we can ourselves.

I also spent hours and hours online reading reviews and comparing different kitchen systems. I found ikeafans.com (sadly, it’s no longer) to be an invaluable source of knowledge. If hundreds of other novices had attempted an Ikea kitchen and come out on the other side without a messy divorce, so could we!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 12

Who designed your kitchen?

We designed and redesigned several times using the online kitchen tool which we found to be very useful and, at times, a bit frustrating. It is amazing how much bigger your kitchen looks onscreen versus real life! I definitely suggest taping out the rough dimensions of your new cupboards before making any final decisions.

Once we were fairly set on our design, we made an appointment with an Ikea kitchen specialist who helped us to finalise additional items like cover panels and plinths.

In terms of aesthetic, we managed to combine our individual styles and also take inspiration from my favourite blogs – House*Tweaking, Manhattan Nest and Chezerbey. The end result is a Scandinavian / clean-lined / warm wood tone style that we both absolutely adore. All the pieces fit together better than we could have hoped!

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 1

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 2

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 3

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 4

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

With heaps of over-confidence and a passion for late night arguments, we tried our hand at everything over the course of our renovations. And we didn’t suck at it…especially the bickering, we excelled at that!

We knocked down the old wall between the kitchen and the lounge room, built a new wall to effectively reverse the kitchen, plastered and painted, and generally spent every weekend taking carloads to the tip.

I built all of our kitchen cupboards which took approximately 12-14 hours total. Tim & I installed the cabinets ourselves and we even tiled for the first time when we installed the marble splashback.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 4

gold coast ikea kitchen after 5

Unless you are a licensed electrician, it is illegal to undertake electrical work yourself in Australia. Fortunately, we have a great electrician who installed our new downlights and pendants and wired up our new appliances. We also outsourced the plumbing work and the Caesarstone bench top construction and installation.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 8

gold coast ikea kitchen after 18

gold coast ikea kitchen after 10

gold coast ikea kitchen after 11

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

To suit our style of mixed cold and warm elements, we chose a Caeserstone bench top in sleek concrete, sourced hexagonal carrara marble from ebay and utilised Tasmanian oak as trim on archways and above the cooktop.

We recycled cover panel offcuts to close a 7cm gap between the ceiling and top of the upper cabinets. We cut down a standard FAKTUM cupboard to create a usable storage space above the fridge pod.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 6

gold coast ikea kitchen after 7

Our kitchen features a few unique items that give it that little bit extra in our opinion: a black Franke techtonite sink, a clock purchased on an anniversary trip to Byron Bay and Tim’s dream induction cooktop which we managed to pick up for a song from an online auction house.

We also took the opportunity to install new flooring throughout our house which originally featured the cheapest bamboo laminate and old cracked tiles hidden under black linoleum. We chose Quickstep classic midnight oak brown which was extremely easy to install and perfectly complemented our kitchen choices.

How long was it from design to the final product?

Design has been happening since day one of viewing the house. We ordered our kitchen components in June and began renovating on weekends in August. The final kitchen reveal happened during the first week of October. I took three weeks holiday in September which allowed me to install new flooring and paint pretty much everything.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have lived with the finished product for two months now and have only adjusted the push-to-open hardware on the top cupboards to ensure they close properly. I am very impressed with the quality of the Ikea cupboards and appliances, particularly the fact that we have a working dishwasher again!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 13

gold coast ikea kitchen after 15

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

This is a hard question! Tim’s favourite is the Electrolux 70cm induction cooktop, whereas mine is the actual layout which has opened up the main living area.

Our least favourite is, unfortunately, the pantry size. We didn’t realize that the 40cm cupboard actually means 30cm drawers so it was a bit of a downsize from our old kitchen. Luckily, we have ample spare cupboards to compensate.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Yes, absolutely. We are very happy with the quality of the cupboards and the endless options / configurations.

We would highly recommend the combi oven and love the soft-closing drawers. The gloss finish of the doors and drawer fronts is impeccable and seems to be very durable.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We would definitely use Ikea again. In fact, we are taking on the study / linen closet as one of our next projects and plan to use a combination of the Ikea FAKTUM cupboards and the PAX wardrobe system. Ikea provides both great service and an awesome result.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Dulux vivid white
flooring – Quickstep classic midnight oak brown
cupboards (cabinets) – FAKTUM, Ikea
handles – BLANKETT, Ikea
bench top (countertop) – Caesarstone sleek concrete (4003), Regency Stone
cooktop – Electrolux 70cm ceramic induction cooktop in black (EHD68210P), GraysOnline
rangehood – Luftig (BF570), Ikea
oven – Fisher & Paykel 60cm oven (OB60SL7DEX1), JB Hi Fi
microwave combi oven – Nutid (MWC6), Ikea
dishwasher – BESPARA integrated dishwasher, Ikea
fridge – Fisher & Paykel, already owned
splashback (backsplash) – 50mm hexagonal carrara marble mosiac, ebay
grout – Ardex magellan grey, Beaumont Tiles
sink – Franke tectonite kitchen sink in carbon black (SID110-50), Masters
tap – stainless steel with vegetable hose, ebay
wood trim – Tasmanian oak, Bunnings
clock – anniversary gift
pendants – Tadao 1 medium point top concrete pendants, Beacon Lighting
stools – Tolix in white, Outlet Homewares
Hahnii snake plant in grey pot – Masters

gold coast ikea kitchen after 19

gold coast ikea kitchen after 20

Jess & Tim, thank you for sharing the story of your kitchen remodel so candidly and so thoroughly! DIY novices? You could have fooled me.

OH MY WOW. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this amazing renovation. I love that they had the forethought to knock down those walls and flip the kitchen’s layout. It completely opened up the space. The kitchen looks as if it’s been this way all along. Jess & Tim make it look easy, but committing to a minimal design and limited palette requires restraint. And the attention to detail is flawless: the DIY cabinet over the fridge, hexagonal backsplash, concrete pendants, concealed hood, fancy electrical outlets / switches, trimmed out space between the upper cabinets and ceiling. One of my favorite parts is the oak trim above the cooktop and in the doorways. They complement each other so nicely and provide the slightest touch of warmth at eye level. Not to mention, the oak-trimmed doorways are practical. Our drywalled corners have taken a beating from the kids!

As you can see, Jess & Tim’s stellar style doesn’t stop at the kitchen. I’m all over that sofa. It’s further proof that Aussie’s must have an innate sense of style that puts the rest of the world to shame. (No offense, world.) I’m just glad these two are kind enough to share theirs with us and I hope it’s contagious. You can follow Jess & Tim’s renovating adventures over on Jess’s blog here.

I’m off to practice my Aussie lingo (cupboards, bench top, splashback, lounge room – so adorable!) but if you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:

An Ikea Kitchen in Asheville

A (Mostly) Ikea Kitchen in Denver

An Ikea Kitchen in Rural Australia

An Ikea Kitchen in the SF Bay Area

An Ikea Kitchen in Northfield, Minnesota

An Ikea Kitchen in Brooklyn

An Ikea Kitchen in Orange County

An Ikea Kitchen in Texas Hill Country

An Ikea Kitchen in Chesapeake

An Ikea Kitchen in a Barn (in France!)

An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod

P.S. – The #HolidayHostess event continues this week with Kelly from Lily Pad Cottage. She recently painted her laundry room navy and it looks fab!

images: Agent Thirty Six

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

kitchen before 2

Kitchen before

Jon and Jen bought a 1922 bungalow in Asheville, North Carolina, over three years ago. The kitchen was outdated and the layout was jumbled. A refrigerator and washing machine occupied one wall. A freestanding stove occupied another wall. A single wall of cabinetry didn’t provide enough storage. The placement of the dishwasher was inefficient. When opened, it blocked a doorway. In an effort to simplify and streamline the kitchen’s layout without adding square footage, the couple dreamed up a well-appointed galley kitchen. Taking cost, aesthetics and the need for more storage into consideration, they sprung for Ikea cabinetry in a style that works well with the home’s innate character. I asked Jen several questions about the renovation. Find her answers and the cheery “afters” below.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and most of our dishes are all from Ikea. We went with RAMSJÖ doors and drawer fronts in white. They aren’t a solid white. They have more of a white-washed finish. We really like the look in the context of our bungalow.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

My brother and his wife installed an Ikea kitchen in their home about 7 years ago. We watched them go through the entire process and then put it to a daily test – with four kids! When they moved last year, the kitchen still looked new and they didn’t have a single complaint! That was a huge endorsement. My husband (a general contractor) has also had many designers praise Ikea for functionality, price and aesthetics. Finally, we couldn’t beat the price which was really important since we were renovating the entire home and had lots of other places to allocate our savings.

kitchen gutted

kitchen gutted 2

kitchen progress drywall

SONY DSC

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

My husband planned the layout and I chose the components. We gutted the kitchen down to the studs and raised the windows so we could fit a row of cabinets and a sink underneath. We also opened up two walls, added a mudroom and relocated a doorway to achieve a galley layout. Jon recessed the full-sized refrigerator a few inches into the wall so it reads counter-depth. We were hoping to achieve a classic cottage / bungalow style that would fit in with our 1922 bungalow home while keeping the original footprint of 10′ x 13′.

ikea boxes assembled

ikea kitchen cabinets up 2

ikea kitchen cabinets up 1

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

My husband and his brother assembled and installed everything with relative ease. They didn’t use the Ikea base cabinet levelers but really liked the wall mounting strips for the upper cabinets.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

We chose Vermont granite from a local stone fabricator and installed classic subway tile with contrasting grout for the backsplash. The cabinetry hardware, sink, faucet, pendant and appliances are non-Ikea. I think they keep the kitchen from looking like an Ikea display. We painted the kitchen the same color as the rest of the house since each room flows to the next.

How long was it from design to the final product?

Our kitchen was gutted over the 4th of July weekend and done by Labor Day weekend. It was part of a full-time larger scale renovation that also included the only bathroom in the house. Six weeks seems like a very long time when you’re living through it and showering on the back porch. :)

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

Nearly 3 years and not a single issue or complaint so far! We love it!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

Jon loves the hinges and the drawer slides. He claims they’re even better than many custom cabinets he’s encountered in his line of work. I love that we have TONS of storage in a relatively small space. A close second are the glass front cabinets on the same wall as the double window. Together, they make the kitchen feel light and bright.

Jon has no complaints about the kitchen. The only complaint I have doesn’t concern Ikea. The knobs and pulls (from Pottery Barn) are not aging well at all! The finish started coming off about eight weeks after installation. I tried returning them but I didn’t have the original boxes so it was a no-go. We’re living with them for now.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Absolutely! Definitely the cabinets, drawers and door fronts.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes! In fact, we installed an Ikea kitchen in the apartment we just built over a detached garage behind our house. The apartment is a furnished vacation rental so we definitely wanted an Ikea kitchen to stand up to lots of use.

Resources of note:

cabinets – Ikea
wall paint – Benjamin Moore thundercloud gray
countertop – Vermont granite
backsplash tile – basic white subway tile with pewter grout, both from Lowe’s
sink – Overstock
faucet – Costco
cabinetry hardware – Pottery Barn
appliances – Kenmore dishwasher, microwave, gas range / oven; Samsung french door refrigerator with bottom freezer
recessed can lights – Home Depot
pendant – Allen & Roth, Lowe’s
rugs – RugsUSA

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Jon and Jen, thank you for sharing your kitchen renovation story with me and for providing such thorough images of the process!

What a bright and happy lil’ kitchen! It was a huge undertaking, but repositioning and widening the doorways on either side of the kitchen was a game-changer. The galley layout suits the home well, don’t you think? I love the sight lines giving peeks in to the dining room and mudroom. Streamlining the space and painting it the same color as the rest of the main floor created a good flow. And that bit about recessing the fridge? Genius. I ain’t mad at those rugs either. See Jen’s blog for the full house tour. (These two have been busy!)

*BONUS* – Check out Jon and Jen’s newly finished apartment above their detached garage! It includes a tidy Ikea kitchen and is available for rent here. It’s only a $5 Uber ride to downtown Asheville which I hear boasts lots and lots of beer, so there’s that. ;)

If you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:

A (Mostly) Ikea Kitchen in Denver

An Ikea Kitchen in Rural Australia

An Ikea Kitchen in the SF Bay Area

An Ikea Kitchen in Northfield, Minnesota

An Ikea Kitchen in Brooklyn

An Ikea Kitchen in Orange County

An Ikea Kitchen in Texas Hill Country

An Ikea Kitchen in Chesapeake

An Ikea Kitchen in a Barn (in France!)

An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod

images: Jen Woodward

 

modern family laundry 1

modern family laundry 5

James and Kristina‘s laundry room is less of a room and more of a hallway that runs between the kitchen and garage.

modern family laundry before

The original laundry room consisted of nothing more than a washer and dryer. James and Kristina were looking to add storage without adding square footage.

modern family laundry

So they built up! James created a platform for a front-loading washer and dryer and took advantage of wall space by installing horizontal wall cabinets from Ikea. (They are a nod to similar cabinets above the kitchen sink.) A laminate countertop provides a surface for laundry detergent and grab-n-go early morning coffee. Keeping the coffee maker in the laundry room frees up counter space in the minimal kitchen.

modern family laundry 4

Kristina is a hair stylist for friends and family and works out of the house so a separate utility sink for washing and rinsing clients’ hair is a must-have. Food and water bowls for the family’s two dogs sit at the base of the sink cabinet. The entire space is tiled in the same porcelain tile as the entry, dining area and kitchen. (Sock feet photobomb.) The wall color is Behr ocean pearl, the same color used in the entry and family room.

It just goes to show that a laundry room needn’t be big (or even a room) to be tidy and functional. I’m especially inspired by how the space flows so well with the rest of the house due to repeated elements like the horizontal wall cabinets, floor tile and paint color. Way to work with whatcha got!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

It’s been almost three years since I’ve worked as a pharmacist. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t quit my job to blog. (Although having the blog as an outlet has been wonderful.) We found ourselves unexpectedly expecting a third child in the midst of a pretty intense renovation and things were messy, literally and figuratively. The decision to quit my job was a joint one. When I was pregnant with Mabrey, Steve and I sat down and made a list of pros and cons. He came to the decision more quickly and easily than me. I knew giving up a steady paycheck to stay home with the kids wasn’t going to be all fun and games. And it hasn’t been. There are days I would rather be at work – not that being at home isn’t work. Here are the things I miss (and don’t miss) about working in the traditional sense.

I MISS:

*the money. I took an 80% cut in pay when I quit my job. It’s not 100% because I’ve been able to bring in a little money via the blog and some design work. I miss contributing significantly to our household income. I miss that feeling of accomplishment that came with each paycheck almost more than the money itself. But, when Steve and I did the math, the money I would have brought home after paying for three kids’ childcare / after school care didn’t seem worth the hassle of drop-offs and pickups and hurried mornings and evenings. At the time, I proposed Steve staying home and me working full-time. From a strictly financial standpoint, it made sense. I made more money than Steve. But I really detested my job and Steve’s exact words were, “I couldn’t do it.” Steve regularly reminds me that my worth isn’t directly related to the amount on my paycheck. I know he means well but it sounds too much like a cliché.

*a more equal division of parenting and housework. I typically worked second shift as a pharmacist which meant I did the morning routine and Steve did the evening routine on the days I worked. I also worked one or two weekends per month so Steve had weekend duty sometimes. Now that I’m home, the majority of parenting responsibilities and housework chores fall on me by default. Don’t get me wrong. Steve is an AWESOME hands-on parent. But he works 10-12 hour days and travels so he isn’t here all the time. Now, more than ever, I feel like if one of the kids is having a problem or the house is a disaster it’s a reflection on me – as opposed to us. And I feel like it’s my sole responsibility to fix it. Some days, that’s a lot of pressure. I fully realize this is self-induced and I’m working on it.

*using my brain. I swear my IQ has dropped by 30 points in the last three years. I adore having conversations with my kids but there’s a lot of talk about poop and butts. It’s not particularly stimulating on an intellectual level. For a while, I forgot how to have an adult conversation. That’s starting to change. Our kids are getting older and asking great questions which prompt interesting conversations. Still, I miss being challenged even though some days are extremely challenging – if that makes any sense.

*the freedom! After drop-offs on the days I worked, I would have a few hours to myself to do WHATEVER I WANTED. Sometimes I worked out. Sometimes I treated myself to lunch. Sometimes I watched TV or read a book. Sometimes I cleaned without anyone going behind me undoing what I had just done. Sometimes I simply savored driving home in my car alone. Now, just scheduling my annual pap smear is a logistical nightmare. I find myself choosing not to do things because the thought of working around school, naps, bus drop-offs / pickups, extracurricular activities, meals, schedules, etc. is daunting. To be honest, I have felt a twinge of jealousy when Steve shows up after work with a freshly cut head of hair. For him, it was so easy. Again, I’m working on it.

*missing my kids. After a 12-hour day at work, I wanted nothing more than to chill with my kids the following day. I missed them! And they missed me! Now, some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom. Or get a hotel room for the night. There are days I think my kids would happily fork over their own money for said hotel room. Steve is really good at recognizing this and he basically forces me out of the house when he sees that I am in need of a break. I love him for that.

*a sense of productivity. In the pharmacy, my work was constantly being evaluated. There were productivity measures on our computer screens that turned green when things were running smoothly and red when we were backed up. At closing, we printed out reports that summarized the day’s work. We recorded the number of prescriptions we filled and dispensed. We had semi-annual peer reviews that provided us with a look at the things we excelled at and those things we needed to improve upon. Now, there are days where I run around like crazy staying busy, moving from one task to the next, but when it’s all said and done, I have nothing official to show for it. Look! A clean bathroom! A fully loaded dishwasher! The kids’ nails are trimmed! woo. hoo.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

I DON’T MISS:

*the rat race. I so do NOT miss the harried busyness of getting myself and the kids dressed, fed, gathered and out the door just to arrive at the pharmacy hours later feeling like I’d already put in a full day’s work. Did I remember to pack Everett’s lunch? Did I remind Steve Layne has a spelling test to study for tonight? Did I set out the chicken for dinner? And I know Steve doesn’t miss leaving work abruptly to pick up the kids before daycare closes then rushing home for dinner, homework, baths and bedtime. When I was working, I felt like we were infinitely thinking three steps ahead. Things are still busy. Things will always be busy when kids are involved. But it’s a less frantic busy. Our mornings and evenings are less hectic. There’s less driving. There’s less shuffling hither and thither. Our family schedule is more simplified. I recently asked Layne and Everett what they liked most about me not working as a pharmacist. They had the same answer. “We like getting off the bus at our house and you being here.” And it’s little things like this that almost erase the “I miss…”

*the line of work. Even though I miss the money, the feelings that came with it (accomplishment, productivity, worth, etc.) and my hilarious co-workers, I do not miss working in a retail pharmacy. After being in the field for over a decade, I was disgusted with the way our society, in general, views healthcare. Health is not a privilege. It’s a way of life. It does not come in pill form (for most people). It’s not acute. I also saw the other side of things. The big drug companies marketing and pushing pills like a ShamWow infomercial. I was appalled. I wanted out. I also felt stifled creatively. By contrast, the last few years have been thoroughly rewarding. I’m grateful I get to be here for my kids and experiment with writing, photography, renovating and decorating on the side. I’m glad my kids get to see me throw myself into something I’m passionate about.

*spending more. Since our household income was cut in half, we were forced to scale back on our spending. That might sound like a drawback but it’s actually been very freeing. We only buy / do things that we really want to buy / do. We rarely make spontaneous purchases. We drive old cars. That being said, we’ve taken more vacations in the past few years because we’ve made them a priority. And we would love to travel more. We’ve been throwing extra cash at our mortgage and are on track to be mortgage-free by early 2016 (if not sooner) so, hopefully, we’ll see those traveling dreams come to fruition. It’s been really insightful to buckle down and prioritize financial goals. As a result, our finances are more streamlined.

*missing special events. When you work in any retail setting, you work evenings, weekends and holidays. I missed plenty of family gatherings, school parties and programs. We don’t make it to every gathering and school function but at least they’re options now. (Okay, sometimes we’re guilted into thinking we don’t have a choice.) I’m very protective of the time we have together. When someone is sick, it doesn’t throw a wrench into our schedule as much as it would have if I were working. (Btw, stay-at-home parents don’t get sick days.) Steve and I are able to spend more time together now, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

What’s the point of this post? (If you’ve made it this far.) Your guess is as good as mine. When I’m feeling things, it’s usually easier for me to write them down and dissect them. None of this is news to Steve. We’ve discussed everything I’ve laid out above. He’s always been supportive of my work – the pharmacy, the kids, the blog. Looking at the list, there are more items listed under “I miss…” vs. “I don’t miss…” But when I look closer, the things that most directly affect our quality of family life in a positive way are listed under “I don’t miss…” Looking back fifteen years from now, I don’t think I’m going to wish I would have worked more.

On the other hand, I don’t want motherhood to completely consume me. Is that selfish? Shouldn’t I be happy that we can make one income work for us? That I have the option to be home with the kids? It’s just that I’ve seen far too many women stay home to raise children only to become confused, lost, depressed, aimless when their nest empties. How do you prevent that? That’s what I’m trying to figure out, I guess. I’m getting involved outside the house. I’m making time for things I like to do. I’m getting better at telling Steve when I need a break. I’m reading more to challenge my brain. I’ve discovered I’m happiest when I’m learning something new. Sometimes I learn new things from a book. Sometimes my kids teach me new things.

“Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American social activist / abolitionist / feminist, c., 1895

“We can have it all. Just not all at once.” – Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, 2014

Have you quit working to be home with your kids? What do you (not) miss about working? Maybe you’ve decided to keep working after kids? Maybe you’ve decided to go back to work after your kids are grown? At any rate, what do you do to satiate your need for intellectual stimulation? What do you do just for you?

Personally, I am forever grateful for this little slice of the blogosphere where I get to share all the big and little things that pique my curiosity. x

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking