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30 responses

  1. Hi there. You have a beautiful kitchen! I found your pics after I googled “marengo silestone countertops.” We are thinking about getting them in our new home. How are yours holding up so far? Are you happy with your choice?

    thanks, in advance!

    • Hi Nicole,
      We LOVE our Silestone countertops and couldn’t be more happy with them. They require zero maintenance and look as good as they did the day they were installed. We also installed Silestone in a previous house (about 4 or 5 years ago) that we now rent. They still look great too! I really prefer quartz over granite and other stone countertops because of it’s durability. We spill wine, leave cups out with water rings, etc. and it all just wipes right off. I also really like the grey color of the marengo. I think you’ll be really happy with them.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Helen!
    I have a question. I just thrifted the same exact kitchen you thrifted for your little one in this post We did not get a refrigerator and it did NOT come with a sink. I’m re-painting it and adding a curtain where the cabinet once was. Do you know who makes the set? I can’t find info on it, and the measurements are so weird, I can’t replace it with simple tin.
    Thanks I advance, I can’t believe I just stumbled upon your blog and this post in my search.

    • Hi Latonya,
      I’m not positive, but I think it might be by plan toys. I checked their website but couldn’t find it, maybe because it’s an older model? Could you find a large cheap metal bowl, then bend it to an oval and under-mount it? Or if you have a jig saw you could modify the oval opening to fit a regular bowl. I can’t wait to see how you personalize it!

      • Thanks Helen,
        Just found it on PinToy. I am emailing them to see if I could pay for a sink separately. If not, I’ll try your idea. Yes, it should be finished and up on my blog soon.

        Thanks so much!

  3. Dear Helen, could you please tell me something more about your custom Manstad slipcover?

    I’ve had this sofa since 2007 or 2008 and our little son together with the cat have totally destroyed it. Also the regular Manstad cover seems to be impossible to clean and I hate it…

    I’ve been wondering of: a) the upholstery change, b) buying a new sofa – ektorp with slipcovers that can be cleaned or changed.

    But now I’m not sure anymore. Maybe easier and cheaper would be just to order a new Rouge Ash Grey slipcover from Comfort Works? I simply adore Rouge Ash Grey slipcover since I’ve found this post on Pinterest –

    How long did it take from the order to your slipcover arrival? Have you ordered fabric samples before your final order?

    In your post (, you wrote something about issue regarding older models of the sofa than 2008? Is it different now? How can I tell the difference to Comfort Works while ordering?

    How do you clean your slipcover now?

    Thank you very much for help:))

    Best regards from Poland, Anna

    • Hi Anna,

      My slipcover delivery took longer than normal because they had a problem with the first fabric I ordered. Normally I think it takes about 20 business days for production and a week to 10 days for delivery, but in my case it was about 2 months. They did send me fabric samples after the issue with the first one. They upgraded my fabric free of charge after the first issue. Here’s a link to some information from their blog
      They were very pleasant to work with and will answer any questions if you email their customer service.
      You can order fabric samples here for free.

      The issue I wrote about was just that the model I have didn’t have a swath of velcro on the inside of the chaise (it was very easy for me to add to get a tight fit.)

      I haven’t actually washed my slipcover yet, but it is machine washable. All of their fabrics have different care instructions. I think the Klino heavy duty is the most durable fabric. There is a lot of information on their blog in the link I provided above.

      I also thought about just getting an ektorp, but wanted to keep the sofa bed feature. I also like the straight arms of the manstad. The Kivik is a nice slipcovered option too.

      My slipcover was a little less than $500 us and worth every penny! We really love it.
      Hope that helps!

      • Dear Helen,

        thank you so much for such prompt response. I will consider all pros now:) The only minus in fact is the price of this slipcover – with additional elements covering the mattress. I will go to them directly:)

        Thank you very much once again.

        Best regards from Poland, Anna


    • It’s not bad, but not seamless either.It bunches up a bit, but not enough to bother me since we rarely use our sofa bed. I think they can custom make a separate cover for the sofa bed part too 🙂

  4. Hi Helen, I have just been reading through your Nov 10 2012 post regarding your ottoman recovering. Fantastic job! I am about to start my own DIY ottoman and was wondering if you could please give me the dimensions of your ottoman including height and height of your legs. Thank you so much. Kind Regards, Toni (Melbourne, Australia)

  5. That is fantastic. Thank you so much! I keep referring back to your post. In have just measured out the lines for the buttons today. Mine will be 1200 x 900 and have ended up with 33 buttons. I’m still declining whether to knock it down to 900mm sq which will be similar size to yours. Thanks Helen 🙂

  6. Love your blog and your kitchen! Do you happen to have the color of the subway tile (and grout info – color and if there is any grout showing between tiles?) We are in the process of renovating our kitchen and we are going with the same Martha Stewart cabinets. Thanks in advance! molly

    • Thanks Molly! The tiles are white, from Home Depot and the grout, I believe, is called “bone white” also from Home Depot. There isn’t a lot of grout showing, but what does appears white with a slightly grayish cast. The tiles are white glazed over terra cotta. I hope that helps! We find that a gentle scrubbing with a Magic Eraser helps keep our cabinets sparkling.

  7. Hi there,
    Seriously considering the Manstad slip cover now. I have requested some free samples, but was just wondering – did you buy the one that you have posted on the blog in the pictures? I am just wondering what colour and fabric that is. I really like it.

    • Hi Nat,
      The one I posted pictures of in this post,, is in my living room. The fabric is Liege Biscuit and is very thick and sturdy. It has a lovely slight woven texture.

      My only complaint about the slipcover is that it’s very difficult for one person to take off for frequent washing. The chaise has to be removed from the sofa to fit the slipcover on and off. Since I have a big black dog and a toddler I frequently want to wash the cover. I don’t regret ordering it, but it’s something to keep in mind. I’ve also noticed a little bit of shrinkage after washing the cover according to the instructions – it does stretch out again once it’s on the sofa, but it makes the process of putting it back on a bit difficult. If you don’t expect to frequently wash it I think it’s a great investment. Also keep in mind the the Liege Biscuit is a linen blend and will show some creasing and wrinkles.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Thanks Helen.

    Yes, the Liege Biscuit looks fantastic.

    Thanks for the heads up about the chaise. I don’t think I will be washing too frequently, so will get my hubby to help me when needed. I really like the linen blend look too.


  9. Hi Helen,
    Thanks so much for that and for your comments about the chaise.

    I will need to get my hubby to help me when washing is required, but I don’t think it will be too frequent – so am happy to recruit help when needed.

    I love your linen look and colour.


  10. Hi Helen, your tufted ottoman from target- do you know the exact color your ordered it in? I see target has sandstone, but is that lighter than in the target pictures? In your pictures they look much lighter. Anything would help. thanks 🙂

    • megan – it was the sandstone. Not sure about the discrepancy in color – it could just be because of my camera settings. We loved the ottoman, but ti got totally destroyed by our dog who thought it made a perfect elevated bed. We actually have no coffee table of any kind at the moment.

      Thans for stopping by!

  11. I am wondering if you still love the vinyl wainscot that you put on the island? What did you use to fill the nail holes? And did you paint it when you were done? We just put this in our mainfloor bathroom. Thanks!

    • Hi Meredith,
      We do still love it. We didn’t have to many nail holes because our contractor actually nailed in the tongue of the boards, if that makes sense (similar to tongue and groove flooring installation). He also used a brad nails so the holes we do have are really tiny. We left them unfilled but I bet some DAP caulk would work great. We also didn’t paint it, since the white was an almost exact match to our cabinets. I’ve been thinking about putting it in our bathroom too! I bet it looks great.

  12. Hi, Helen. We also have the Marengo countertops in our kitchen, and I couldn’t be happier! We had been planning to do a backsplash in traditional white subway tile, but upon seeing your photos we are considering something a bit smaller. Can you tell us where you found the smaller-scale subway tile? It looks so clean and neat, and we think the smaller size might complement our smaller kitchen, too. Thanks so much for any info you can pass along! Your blog is simply lovely.

    • Hi Nina,
      I picked up that tile at our local Home Depot. It was a little bit difficult to install because it comes on mesh sheets and our walls are a bit wonky. Our installer ended up trimming a lot of tiles of the mesh so he could eyeball straight lines. We really love the way it turned out! It’s also white glazed over stoneware, so perhaps not as durable as porcelain tile (not really an issue for a backsplash though. Hope that helps!

  13. Hi there! I found you when I goggled ‘swales over low deck.” Can you tell me how your swales are performing? Would you do anything different? We don’t have water puddling around our house, but I want to add swales under our soon-to-be-built-deck to help the water percolate into our soil rather than run off (dry California). You don’t mention anything about how you made the swales under your deck so can you give me any tidbits (lined with gravel or just dug some trenches)? Many thanks in advance and I also love your design style!

    • Hi Ellen, we no longer own that house but the swale performed beautifully. It was graded away from the house and then we added a super thick layer of gravel. It graded down to a substantial trench ( a few feet deep) that ran along the middle of the yard parallel to the deck. The trench was also filled with gravel.
      I would imagine in California it wouldn’t need to be so deep! We have a very heavy spring and fall rain here.

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