Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Home Renovation Part 1 - Wall Restoration & Paint

The time has finally come. We've been renting our new house to the previous owners since September as they had their new house built. They moved out in early December and we're taking this month to do some renovations before our moving day on New Year's eve.

Step one was to paint, but our big goal was to have the carpets ripped out and expose the wood floors before we moved. Since the floor restoration company, Galebach's Floor Finishing, was aiming to start on the 15th we had a small window of time to restore and paint the living room and dining room. And this worked out because carpets make great drop-cloths. To do this we hired my brother, Stephen Sarro, of Sarro Painting (and the band, Unteachers), who did an excellent job!

Here's the two rooms and a close-up of the beautifully detailed radiators BEFORE we bought the home:

Here's the entry-way and living room space as Stephen began working:

This is what renovating looks like. Since the house was built in 1916 and has plaster walls there was much to repair. Restoring the walls and ceilings took about three full days just in these two rooms! We've got an oldie, but a goodie.

We're using Benjamin Moore's Simply White satin finish for the trim and radiators throughout the entire home and that's what you're seeing being applied in the photos. For the ceilings we're using the same, but in a flat finish.

For the dining room we chose Benjamin Moore's Harbor Gray eggshell finish. At certain times of day with with sunlight, it tends to pull more on the blue-gray side. We wanted more of a smoky gray, but it's still a lovely color.

For the living room we chose Benjamin Moore's Windham Cream eggshell finish (the photo below is in low-light, it's a very light, creamy yellow). This is the color I am not sure about yet. I think it is beautiful, but again not the shade we had in mind. We wanted a pale yellow with a little more depth like a golden yellow. At night because of the lighting, the walls look off-white. I'm still trying to get used to it and have thought about trying again. Picking paint colors can be very tricky. I've lost sleep over it!

As soon as we took all of the curtains down and exposed all of the beautiful woodwork, the rooms felt so much bigger. It was shocking! It's still hard to see color in an empty room so we anticipate restored floors and moving day when our home finally begins to come to life.

Things are coming along. Right now Galebach's is just about to apply stain to the wood floors. We've been over to the home about every day since they started and the floors are absolutely gorgeous. Our next post will be about that process. We've taken lots of great photos, but for now here's a taste of things to come ...

Check back often for more of our first home renovation goodness!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eggnog Rum Cupcakes

Since the arrival of the Starbucks Eggnog Latte, I've had it in my mind to bake eggnog cupcakes. Last Friday was the perfect day to do it since we had a Christmas party to go to at night. I was beyond excited as I baked away in the kitchen while enjoying some of my favorite Pandora Christmas music. It was a lot of fun!

It doesn't matter how you put eggnog and rum together because no matter how, you know it's gonna be insane. Eggnog is my absolute favorite treat of the Holidays, especially Horizon's organic. I also love rum cake and didn't know it could get any better.

Using eggnog in the cake batter makes these cupcakes extra fluffy and ultra moist. I can not describe the amount of goodness that you will experience.

They are so amazing you won't really believe it. It's like a dream.

You must try these soon. They will easily become your favorite too, I'm positive.

Eggnog Cupcakes
by Me

Makes 18-20 cupcakes

1 package yellow cake mix w/ pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup eggnog
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup spiced rum
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake tray with paper liners.
Place cake mix, nutmeg, oil, eggs, eggnog and rum in a mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine, scrape down sides of bowl.
Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more. Scrape down sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened. Divide the batter into prepared muffin tray. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake until light brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, or until a toothpick comes out clean. About 20-25 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tray and cool completely, 30 minutes.

Eggnog Buttercream

1/2 cup (1stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup eggnog
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Fresh nutmeg for sprinkling on top

Blend together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
Alternate the eggnog and the powdered sugar, adding a little bit at a time, blending on low speed until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
Add the vanilla, then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend frosting until fluffy, 1 minute more. (You may need to add more sugar if you will be piping the frosting).
Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg on top.