The Kitchen, A Before and After

30 01 2012

So for this paint job, I remembered to first take the before pictures!

This is another room that was painted brown, and actually, I’ve hated the color since the moment I first painted it.  As you know, my cabinets are decidedly 80’s, and when I painted the walls surrounding them a warmer brown (rather than the dreary dirty white that they were), it showed how horrible they actually are.  And then when I painted the wood parts of the cabinets black, it made it even worse.

I decided that I’d paint the walls grey instead (and coincidentally, my sister decided to paint her kitchen grey around the same time, though she finished the project before I started! I chose a darker grey, because I do love the dark colors and it came out very well – I will note that as I started painting, I realized it was fairly close to the blue/grey that the accent wall and back door are painted…awesome.  However, it did dry darker than that, so it ends up looking more like it’s along the same color family.

So here’s the before:


And here’s the after! I took these photos after dark last night, so it does look a bit darker than it does during the day, but you get the idea.


The cabinets still aren’t perfect, but I think the wall color brings the room together a bit more and makes it cohesive. And it was far easier to paint than the bathroom was! Although, I did stand up rather too quickly when painting behind the stove and smashed my head into the microwave there.  I’m fairly sure I have a mild concussion – even tonight I still feel a bit dizzy and nauseous, along with the requisite headache. I’m so graceful!

Clearing off the counters a bit and painting in the kitchen and the bathroom has really motivated me to work on my de-cluttering.  I need to force myself to do one small area each day, to keep the momentum going, and not overwhelm myself. I started with the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom – I should do one room at a time – and I may even get the motivation to re-work the baker’s rack, which is now in the dining room, so that I can use that more for crafts (which is what I’m turning the dining room into for the most part – a craft area!).  The to do list continues to get longer and longer…


It’s Here, It’s Here!

27 01 2012

Okay, so I’m neglecting my usual Pinterest Friday post in favor of a post on my hutch…which is finally finished!

This afternoon, the piece I actually needed FINALLY arrived, and I was determined to get the hutch finished and set up tonight (darn it!). I even managed to lift the surprisingly heavy top piece on to the bottom by myself, though I’m sure my back won’t thank me tomorrow. So without further ado, here it is!

Worth the wait!

I am very excited that it’s finally here, and all put together.  There’s still one little issue – the drawer on the left (which needs me to switch the direction of the handle) also has two left sides, instead of a right and a left. So it doesn’t sit entirely properly in the piece, but I pretty much don’t care.

I took some care with what I put in the glass cabinets above, since I can see into them:

My new ceramic baked brie dish gets a prominent spot – it was a gift from my parents for Christmas, and I need to get some brie stat so I can use it! I also put my fall soup bowls on the bottom.  In the other cabinet, which I didn’t photograph, I put some of the more decorative plates and bowls that I have, along with my two original espresso cups.  Methinks I should get an espresso maker or Keuring, because I have lots of espresso cups and only a stovetop espresso maker (which in my hands is not an effective coffee tool!).

In the center, I decided not to put up the shelf, and instead put a ceramic buddha head that I picked up today at Michaels. I knew it would look beautiful in there, and I’m a big fan of Asian touches in decorating.

Michaels has some of the best stuff for homes – it’s a well-kept secret, I think!

The best part about this was the conversation I had with the cashier…she said “I think this is a buddha head, I guess, but I’m not sure.” I said “Yes, it is a buddha.” She said “Oh, I didn’t know. I’m not buddhist.”

Um, me neither.

If I was a buddhist, I don’t think I’d be buying a buddha head at Michaels. Just sayin’.

Anyway, I think it looks lovely and ties the kitchen in a bit more with the dining room.

Along the main shelf, I put the dog treats (having them across the room wasn’t working for me), a basket for the potatoes and bread that had been on the counter in the kitchen, and my mug tree.

I also stuck a tiny painting I got last year from Etsy there.

I’m hoping that this helps make my use of the kitchen much easier. I’ve still got to take some time to work through each of the cabinets and get them to be as efficient as I need them to be, and make sure that I’m not keeping around things I’m not using. But on the surface, the kitchen looks great, and I picked up the grey paint I needed tonight to paint the kitchen! (Although, I think I’ll be doing the bathroom first!)

And I also got the photo of Ollie that I needed to finish off my trio of pup photos in the dining room:

I love using photos as art.

So it seems that I’ll have a busy weekend ahead of me, with some painting and puttering around…and hopefully some organizing! Time to get back to the big de-clutter!

What are your handy homeowner plans this weekend?

Furniture for the Kitchen

9 01 2012

As promised, I said I was going to talk about a piece of furniture that would really help my life.  It arrived in pieces on Thursday afternoon, and I put the first part together tonight.  I knew that it was going to take a while because I’d read the Target reviews, but I wasn’t prepared for how frustrated I’d get.

What am I talking about? It’s a kitchen buffet/sideboard, which I’m putting in place of my baker’s rack.  The baker’s rack has been great, but I needed something with more storage – I have a lot of storage in my kitchen (although it could really use a pantry), but I’m tired of having to stack everything to get it to fit – it’s just not that convenient.

So I’m hoping that the buffet will allow me to expand and organize the kitchen well. And boy, do I need to do that – downstairs in my house is starting to look like a tornado has gone through it! And my OCD self is getting a bit, okay a LOT, anxious when I see what I need to do.  But I’m working on it one area at a time!

So here’s part one of the buffet:

Uh, pretty nice for a piece of Target furniture, don’t ya think? I chose the black because I thought it would match the black in the paint of the cabinets well (and I’m using a black and white liner in the cabinets and drawers), and the warmer wood on top (as opposed to stainless steel or a lighter wood, or all black – which they offer), to unify the space with the warmer wood in the dining room.

I’m also pretty happy that my huge container of dog food still fits nicely to the right of the buffet.

Tomorrow, it’s on to part two.  I hear I may need help with lifting the top of the buffet, but we’ll see how things go!

The Kitchen – An Update

19 10 2011

So with the addition of my little friend, Ollie, I’ve decided to put my kitchen remodel off a bit.  I was still debating it, but I managed to give it a little upgrade that’s made me quite happy.

As you know, my kitchen is most decidedly stuck in the eighties.

It depresses me.

And I hate, hate, hate the cabinets.  They’re just so very Miami Vice, no?

Plus, the wood on the front of the cabinets was all sticky.  I have no idea why.  I’ve tried cleaning it with soap and water, with my go-to Soft Scrub, and even Murphy’s Oil soap.  Then, I read in Good Housekeeping that I could use white vinegar to clean the stickiness off – I keep white vinegar around for cleaning, so I figured I’d give it a shot while I was sequestered in the kitchen with the pup last weekend.

It didn’t work.

So I tried sanding it a bit.  Of course, that worked, but it took the finish off, of course. My mom had suggested at one point that I paint the wood. At first, she’d suggested matching it to the cabinets to try to have the wood blend in, but then thinking that might be too tough, she suggested just painting it something totally different, like black.

I had some black paint leftover from my closet stencils (and no, I still haven’t finished my closets – my back is really killing me lately!), so I thought I’d start with the strip of wood along the cabinet door fronts, and see if I needed to do the wood cabinets themselves or not.

And it looked GOOD.  So I took the doors off (one at a time, so I didn’t have to label them), and painted the wood part of the cabinets that I can see.  I also painted the front of each of the shelves inside the cabinets. Also, despite the accent to the countertops being laminate, I painted that as well – as long as I don’t scrub at it, it will stay on.

The amazing thing was, it really tied the kitchen together. My appliances don’t match (never have) – the stove is ecru and black, the microwave and dishwasher are black, and the refrigerator is ecru.  Annoying.  But with the black accents and ecru cabinets, it’s all tied together. The “kiss the cook” sticker on the wall pops.  It looks fabulous!

After the first evening - you can see how the front of the shelves in the cabinet on the left are also painted.

Starting to look good...

And finished!!

It looks great, doesn’t it? I actually like the way it looks now!

Admittedly, it’s not as great as a new kitchen, but it certainly buys me a few years I think.  I still need more space in the kitchen, which I plan to solve with a furniture addition at some point.

What you can’t see here is the final touch – my dad messaged me this weekend, and said that he’d be willing to help me try to figure out how to get the cabinet doors to shut properly. As you know, I’ve tried to do this before, with minor success.

But after replacing the doors, I still wasn’t having full success. I told my dad I’d be happy to have him try, but I didn’t think we’d be successful.  We weren’t, initially, but then he mentioned that I might want to get some magnet closures.  And I remembered that I’d already bought some for the kitchen, a long time ago, for that very purpose! My dad put a few in, using a glue gun to put the plate on the doors so that he didn’t have to drill a hole into them.

So now, they close!!  It’s such a silly little thing, but it makes such a difference to walk into a kitchen that looks neat because all of the cabinet doors are closed. It’s amazing.

There might be a few other little things I do in the kitchen, but for now, I’m happy with it!

Kitchen Dreams

8 08 2011

I’ve long thought that I’d have to win the lottery to be able to afford a new kitchen.  The kitchen in my home is serviceable, it’s just dated.  I’d love to be able to update it, but I thought I’d need to spend $10,000 at a minimum (which I don’t have – plus, I’ve got to work on saving the $5,000 that I need to replace and move the furnace).

I was chatting to my dad about it and he said he didn’t think it would cost me that much – we did a little research, and found out that I could likely update my kitchen (not including appliances) for about $1,500.  And that, I could manage!

I’m not planning to do the kitchen update this year – I’m thinking early 2012 – but I’m so excited to think that it’s something that could happen in the next year! I always thought I’d have to wait another few years to do it.

There are things I love for kitchens – dark cabinets, stainless steel, granite countertops – but for my kitchen in a beachy condo, it’s just not fitting.  So I’m looking instead at doing white cabinets, like these:

I just did some online searching too, and I love these laminate countertops:

(They don’t even look like laminate, do they?)

I want to get a new sink too.  I’ll probably end up with something like this:

Although I would REALLY love a farmhouse style sink like this:

That would be more expensive and require cutting out part of the sink cabinet, so I’d really have to give that some thought!

I also would have to replace the floor (this would add extra on top of that $1,500) – it made it into the original inspection report because a few of the tiles are cracked.  I know from all the home shows I watch that this means it was installed incorrectly.

Instead of installing more tile or trying to match the laminate flooring in the rest of the downstairs living space, I’d get some laminate to install on that side.  They even make laminate tiles now!  Something like this might be nice:

Or maybe this:

What I really love though is this laminate flooring:

How gorgeous is that? I think I’d have to go with tile unless I was prepared to rip up the floors throughout the whole first floor, but I can dream!

And I’d like to put in a nice tile backsplash, preferably a glass tile, and maybe like one of these:

Of course, what I end up with will depend on costs, and on what countertop I ultimately choose.  And I really would need to look at a LOT of faucets to see which ones I really like.  This one strikes me though:

What would your dream kitchen look like? I can’t WAIT to start on updating mine – even if it’s not my dream kitchen, it will be a dream to update the one I have!

Cabinet Doors Won’t Close?

28 04 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I do not LOVE my kitchen.  But it’s workable, it’s a big space, and hey, it’s a kitchen!

I’m a big believer in fixing the things that bug you though, and it’s always bothered me that two of my kitchen cabinet door don’t close all the way.  Every single time I open and close them, I think about it, and it bugs me.

Just a little bit ajar. So annoying.

About a year ago, I bought some magnet attachments for the cabinets that I could use to MAKE them stay closed. But I never put them up, because I was wary to add them and to have to drill through the laminate doors without drilling all the way through.

So still, the cabinets bugged me. 

Then, my parents mentioned replacing one of the hinges on a cabinet door in their kitchen, and said it made it shut much better.  They thought it might work for me too.  A ha! I thought.

I finally went to Lowes this weekend for hinges, and I’d taken a picture with my phone of the hinges I was looking at, because I forget pretty quickly what things look like when I’m looking at lots of other hinges.  Fortunately, a Lowes employee came over to see if I needed help (they’re so nice there).  I showed him the hinge and explained my dilemma, and he suggested that instead of buying a hinge (they only had one interior hinge, like I needed, and it didn’t really look like my hinge and was a lot bigger), that I should try to adjust it. I must have looked alarmed, so he said that each hinge has a little screw inside that allows you to adjust them.  He said to play around with it – turn it to the right, and if the door opened wider, then I was going in the wrong direction.

When I got around to it last night, I got out my trusty screwdriver and had to figure out which screw was the right one. I initially thought it was the one on the front of the hinge:

Front of the hinge - none of these screws was the right one

But when I unscrewed that a little, the door became loose.  So I realized it was the screw tucked into the side of the hinge.

Here's the right screw!

Of course, on the door I photographed, I was never able to get it to close all the way, though I certainly improved the problem.  That leads me to believe that I probably DO need a new hinge or two on that door, but it’s not a priority.  But I was able to fix the other door completely, and I’m SO excited to have a kitchen that doesn’t look sloppy with open cabinet doors anymore!

As good as it gets. Still a little bit ajar

But this one now shuts fully! Yay!

I’ve got a problem…

19 04 2010

I have to admit it, I have a problem.

I just LOVE Target.

It can’t be helped, every time I go in there, I find so many things that I just fall in love with.  Mostly accessories.

Like these canisters from Liberty of London – Target is only carrying their stuff for a limited time, and although I already HAD stainless steel canisters, I just kept thinking about how they would brighten up my kitchen.  So I brought them home.

Aren't they pretty?

At first, I was just going to get the three black and white ones. but the other flowers were so happy and pretty, I had to bring those home too.

They do brighten up my counters

I just can’t help myself.

So I try very hard not to go to Target very often. Except this weekend. I went twice.


Is there a store that draws you in?