Perfect Pizza Dough

Pizza dough? What? Is that an analogy for the consistency of joint compound when you mix it in with dry mortar?

No. Relax. This is a pizza dough recipe.

“But whyyyy? The internet has so many pizza dough recipes already, jeez, when are you going to redo the breezeway and mudroom, already!???” You whine at me.

Why? Because I’ve tried 487,654,324 pizza dough recipes and this. is. the. one. It doesn’t take 5 minutes. It’s not super convenient. But it’s like, real, pizza dough. The only way you could make it more real would be to stick it on the grill, which I totally plan on doing, once our cement patio is done enough for grilling, which I hope is soon.

I digress. Take the time and make this. And don’t just use it for pizza. Use it for calzones, use it for flatbreads, use it for breadsticks…go WILD!

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.33.49 PMPerfect Pizza Dough
Adapted from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

Here’s the thing, this takes some effort to make, but once you get it done, you can keep it in the fridge for days. So next time you’re bored on a weekend, whip up a double batch that can take you through the week. I just like to let this rest at room temp so that it is a bit easier to roll out.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, and more as needed
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the bowl
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix together the yeast, warm water, sugar and 1 tablespoon olive oil until dissolved. Set aside. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, creating a well in the center. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the yeast mixture until your dough comes together. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot (I like to keep it in the oven with just the oven light turned on) until it doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide into the number of portions you need. Place the dough balls on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the dough. Refrigerate until the dough is roughly doubled in bulk. This can take from 12 to 24 hours. Punch down the dough, knead it slightly, and continue with the recipe.


Something Super Cool is Happening

But I’m going to keep it a surprise. I want to keep you in suspense. If this isn’t enough suspense for you, go out and watch World War Z. That movie should really be called Anxiety because that’s what I felt throughout the whole thing. But I’m just being chatty.



Here’s a preview of something cool that’s going to be happening. Was this shot in a billionaire’s resort in Turks & Caicos?? No, it’s just my kitchen, silly. But you’re so sweet to think that! (Note: I’m only this arrogant for your amusement, but I am really proud of my itty bitty kitchen.) Also, I obviously really love cutting boards.


The Crown Jewel

The problem: ah ceiling scaryWhen we decided to remove the existing drop ceiling from our house, we were still young and naive. We believed that standard sized paneling would obviously go up to the existing ceiling and that we could just easily slap on some lovely, rich, crown molding and everything would be happily ever after.

Like everything else with home renovation…nope.

What actually happened was we seriously considered removing the paneling and starting from scratch. But after the nightmare of wallpaper removal and old horsehair plaster just crumbling below our fingertips, we realized that could be a little bit more trouble then we were willing to delve into. Instead, we decided to faux the hell out of that freaking molding.

For anyone who has never purchased crown molding, or who is (like I was) thinking that sheets of decorative wood couldn’t be that expensive, prepare yourselves for a rude awakening. Molding is hella expensive. Thank God I was too lazy to remove the floor molding because THAT THOUGHT CROSSED MY MIND OMG CAN YOU IMAGINE???

The Solution:

molding setup

First we bought floor molding, which is a lot cheaper than crown molding, because we needed an area to hide where the paneling ends. My solution to making it less like “hey you got floor molding on your ceiling?”: I flipped it upside down. Keepin’ it real, folks.

Next we decided that we don’t know how to cut mitered corners so we bought the wood corner blocks to solve that problem. I also liked that they added a bit more detail to the otherwise cheap floor molding.

Then we had to break down and buy a beefy-enough-to-look-nice but not-so-beefy-it-costs-a-million-dollars crown molding. Wood molding was WAY out of the budget clocking in at over $2.50 per foot. That would bring the cost at hundreds of dollars for FINISHING WORK. So we found a discount place that sells composite molding. It isn’t as strong and it isn’t as nice to the touch, but guess what? When that bad boy is up and painted…who the heck knows? Amirite?

The Result:


Allelujah! Now isn’t that so much nicer?? Gosh, the effect helps give the room more of an architectural look while also camouflaging all that patchy grossness.

Now I know what you’re wondering…well, how did you do it?? I’ll tell you how!

Originally we were going to go with the same corner blocks we used on the bottom, but on the top, to avoid having to cut mitered corners. Well, the ones they sell for crown molding are ridiculously expensive. One block was around $20, times like 8 corners (inside and outside corners) for 1 room…you can see how that wasn’t going to happen for us. Instead we decided to bite the bullet and cut the damn mitered corners. With a Stanley miter box that costs like $15. Other supplies for the project included a finishing nail gun, a LOT of caulking…paint…and this youtube video:

Seriously, I would give you a step-by-step except we just did what this guy said. Dear guy, you helped us save hundreds of dollars by installing our own crown molding! You’re awesome!

What was life like before Google??


The Power of Image

It’s been a long time.

I can’t even feel bad about it because this is a journal of sorts and although my plans were to update WHILE renovating, the reality is that for me that was impossible.

Life as a new homeowner has been bizarre. There are moments that are so hectic and busy that we forget to be human beings, and then they are quickly followed by periods of rest—boring, boring rest—that involve little more than Dr. Who episodes and frozen pizza. During the slow times I have had more than enough time to sort through photos and upload progress but the long and short of it is, I can’t bring myself to do it. I just soak up the downtime knowing that when we get back to it, I’m going to get by thinking back to the luxurious moments we spent on the couch.

But! Here’s an exceptionally fuzzy before and after photo. It’s fuzzy because it’s a camera-phone shot of the photo in progress on my computer. It’s like Inception with photos, almost.

Kitchen Before and After

It’s like a teaser, really. The goal here is for you to make out that A.) the before was HORRIBLE, and B.) The after is finished! Why the kitchen? Because we just put the crown molding up, oh say, this past weekend and officially nailed this room as done. (Except for curtains. We need those.)

More pictures to come at some point, they’re open on my desktop as I type this, and then you’ll get to see the glorious mediocrity of our finished kitchen! It’s not Dwell-worthy, but after seeing that before and knowing that we did ALL. OF. IT. BY. OURSELVES. makes me feel like I’m living in Elle Decor.

That and I serve the frozen pizza on a very fancy board.

Pulls, Knobs, and Ultimately Being Flexible

That title kind of sounds dirty. But anyway.

It is absolute MAAAAADNESSS over here. I feel like a refugee. Pretty much every aspect of our life is bananas crazy. But as much as I can’t keep a handle on everything that is going on, what is going on is ultimately really good and exciting so we’re just trying to step back and absorb it all. It’s seriously under a week until we can call ourselves homeowners and just totally jump into the renovation process. Eeeks!

We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what needs to get done, so while we’re waiting (and packing, and doing extra work, and getting through classes, and organizing all the paperwork for the move, and still trying to cram food and sleep in there) we’re trying to organize our thoughts and plans so that once we get in, we can go straight to work. This has taught me a couple things. 1.) Everything costs a million dollars and 2.) more likely than not, what I want, I will not get. (Unless it’s this backsplash. That deal is still carrying me through the hope that I will have a pretty kitchen.)

I’ve learned to really understand the word compromise. Compromise not only between what I want and what Xris wants (which isn’t even the problem, we’re both pretty much on the same page), but more about what I want and what we can afford/fit into the house. Remember when I was talking about those gorgeous dual-color cabinets? Those were my dream cabinets. And they’re going to continue to be a dream because guess what? Our kitchen is TINY (the whole house is. hence the name of this blog.) and between the appliances and the weird setup we had to smoosh together so that I could fit a table in there, it just don’t work. Sometimes it’s worse to put in what you want if it looks forced and bizarre. And so in the name of design, I let thee go.

What we did settle on, which will actually be a lot less work anyway, is an all-white kitchen. Cabinets-wise anyway. We also decided on in-stock cabinetry (which, um, did you know that even existed? Because I certainly didn’t!) because our kitchen really is too custom for custom cabinets. If that makes any sense. Luckily my genius engineer husband was able to whip up some plans that satisfied all my wants and needs (except for dual colored cabinets…weep.)

On the bright side, with a lot of talking-into and finessing from my very helpful parents, it looks like we’re on the way to getting some granite countertops afterall (hooray!). We were looking at a lot of different options, from butcher block to formica, and granite was waaaaaay out of our price range. But, the beautiful thing about local businesses is that they can sometimes swing deals that you can’t get in big-box stores, and with the miniscule amount we needed we were able to get a good deal. Not backsplash good, but good enough we’re willing to save on the cabinets to splurge on the countertops.

Which brings me all the way around to the title of this post. Pulls and knobs! Such exhilarating stuff you guys! (I kid.)

I just needed to get down some of the stuff we’ve seen, because we’ve seen a LOT of different options. And to be honest, as much as my super modern loving husband wanted very sleek linear handles, I think I’m leaning more towards these:

With knobs like these:

Xris isn’t crazy about the egg-knobs because he thinks they look kind of funny and awkward. But then I reminded him that I consider us to both be funny and awkward so really, they would just fit right in.

He was somewhat amused.

Anyway, I like the industrial look of the pulls and knobs, but they also aren’t completely stark and hyper-modern, which I thinks strikes the balance of the kind of style we like. Homey, but not tooooooo homey. Plus the darker nickel color will probably really fit in with the faucet and the bronzed blacksplash. I like mixing metals. It gets me all excited.

Enough of this post!



Sometimes in life you have to labor over decisions. You put in time, research, blood, sweat, tears. And then sometimes it was meant to be.

Ladies and gentlemen, Xris and I got such a great deal on this beautiful, stunning, Aspect Metal Tile that I’m pretty sure it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And it was just there, just waiting on its endcap for us to roll up and go “oh hay? that’s kinda neat.” and then pick it up.

I’m talking about brushed bronze in short AND long grain and some champagne in short grain. (Champagne is the lightest)

We picked up all three because 1.) There was a limited supply so by getting all three we’re able to do the entire kitchen and 2.) you know I like to mix things up.

The deal? These amuhzing tiles are sold for about $19.99 a square foot (one box) and we picked them up for $1.25. That’s over 90% off. Or a savings of $630.

Oh and they’re sticky tiles, so no grout and wicked easy to install. I’m going to go pass out from euphoria now.

That’s right Schmidt. WE CRUSHED IT!