A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops – Guest Post from Trade Up Kitchens

Our friend John Stuart over at Trade Up Kitchens – a UK-based kitchen supply company – has a guest post for us: “A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops.” For those of us in the US, a “kitchen worktop” is a counter top. Actually, “worktop” makes more sense, doesn’t it? In any event, here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Buying Kitchen Worktops

Your choice of kitchen worktops will dramatically affect the whole aesthetic of your kitchen. Choosing your kitchen worktop is one aspect which should never be overlooked during the design process. Similar to your flooring, your kitchen worktops sit on a horizontal plane, making it a prominent feature in your kitchen.  With so many options available, choosing your kitchen worktop can seem like an impossible task but our guide is on hand to help you find the best option for you.

Granite Worktop
Photo – Trade Up Kitchens

Before choosing your kitchen worktop, it’s important to consider two things:

Your budget

Worktops come in a variety of materials, all at differing price points. Before you decide on a material for your kitchen worktop, it’s important to assess your budget – this will dramatically influence your choice of worktop.

Your lifestyle

If you’re choosing kitchen worktops for a student house or you’ve got a house full of children, then you’ll need to consider a sturdy, low-maintenance worktop. Alternatively, if you’re likely to clean up any spills immediately and don’t mind dedicating a little time to its maintenance, then you’ve got a few more options when it comes to kitchen worktops.  

After you’ve taken these two things into consideration, you’ve got to choose from the following kitchen worktops: Continue reading “A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops – Guest Post from Trade Up Kitchens”

Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress

Any home renovation project should involve exterior improvements, as well as snazzing up the interior, and Hildring House is no exception. Just to refresh your recollection, here is a shot of the exterior when we first bought the house:

Exterior before

Beginning of Exterior Improvements

We started with a new roof. And that required more destruction than you ordinarily would expect. You can’t really tell it in the above picture, but the shingles are metal, made to look like shake. I really don’t know how long they had been on the house but clearly it had been through multiple hailstorms. They were really beat up.

The worst part of the roofing situation, however, was that the fascia and underside of the eaves were clad with aluminum siding. I’m probably going to get nasty letters from the siding industry but, please, never do this to your house. I understand all of the arguments about it eliminating the need to paint. But the cost for that is deterioration of the wooden elements of the structure.

Rotted eave structure
Rotted eave structure

No matter how careful the installers are, no matter how much caulk they use, water will get under the metal and sit, unable to dry, rotting out the wood. Until you have this.

As the roof and cladding came off, an old pergola out back had to come down – it was in almost as bad shape as the rotted eaves. Here’s what the back looked like during demo of the metal and bad wood: Continue reading “Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress”

Something Different – Amphibian Stage Productions

It’s All About the Passion

Here at With the Barretts, it’s all about loving life. And that means it’s all about passion and gratitude. Today, I want to discuss something that Debra and I are both passionate about – the arts. More specifically, Amphibian Stage Productions, a cutting-edge, first-class, nonprofit professional theater company here in Fort Worth. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of Amphibian. I’d like for you to get to know it a little and to solicit your support. Because, to us, loving the arts is a big, big part of loving life.

Amphibian Stage Productions facade
Amphibian’s home is in Fort Worth’s Near Southside
Just a Bit of History

Amphibian Stage Productions began eighteen seasons ago as the brainchild of some incredibly talented and creative graduates of the TCU Theater Department (you can see the history blurb here). The goal was to “produce innovative and engaging works of theatre that challenge the way we see the world around us.” Amphibian not only meets that goal but with each season sets the bar higher.

Scene from A Lost Leonardo
Scene from A Lost Leonardo

Continue reading “Something Different – Amphibian Stage Productions”

The Barretts at Hildring House – Giving Thanks Lagniappe

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I thought it would be appropriate to do a little giving thanks lagniappe post – about this wonderful adventure of life that I’m lucky enough to share with Debra. While Hildring House is a long way from finished, it’s becoming more and more comfortable. The other day, our dear friend and fabulous photographer  Amber Shumake came over with her adorable baby boy. She shot some pictures of us in situ, so to speak, and I’d like to share them with you. All of the pics in this post are by her.

Dan & Debra - with Effie - in the Library
Debra, Effie, & Dan
Effie in the Middle

If you’ve followed us at all, you know that Effie absolutely must be in the center of things. This day was no different. Just look at that face in these pictures! Continue reading “The Barretts at Hildring House – Giving Thanks Lagniappe”

Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009

If you’ve spent any time on social media these days, you’ve seen posts of “7 Days Black and White Pictures – No People – No Explanation.” I decided to post some black and white pictures of Paris from 2009. Just because.

And, since I have this contrarian tendency to flout arbitrary rules and because 8 is a Chinese number of good fortune, I posted on Instagram and shared to the With the Barretts Facebook page for 8 days. (By the way, if you want to see the “official” With the Barretts Instagram account, where Debra posts beautiful pics, go here.)

But – since y’all are my favorites – I decided to re-post the pics here on the blog. And I’ve added a couple shots, too. Also just because. So, here they are:

Black and White Pictures from Paris 2009

Lamp posts with the Eiffel TowerPeople tend to fantasize about Paris on clear Spring days. But it’s beautiful in the Fall haze, as well.

View toward Sacre Coeur from Musee d'OrsayThis one was taken on the roof of the wonderful Musee d’Orsay looking toward Sacre Coeur on the distant hilltop. Continue reading “Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009”