Okey Dokey, Artichokey... presenting the reason I've been so swamped for the past month! We're not completely done with our kitchen remodel (still have a vent opening to move in the wall and some floor trim to install), but I couldn't wait any longer to post these pics!
This was our small, dated, and grimy kitchen before the big redo. Originally I thought I'd be able to just paint the cabinets and replace the countertop, but once we moved in and I realized how bad of shape they were in (plus they were stinky!), we realized we had to take the plunge and gut everything.
The space in the original kitchen was wasted and cramped. A not-so-useful desk area with a lot of dead space around it was tucked in the corner, and a teeny tiny pantry was behind the white door. The fridge stuck out 9 inches from the wall, making everything seem awkward and cramped.
We ripped everything out of that part of the kitchen, removed some unnecessary studs, hired a plumber to rearrange some plumbing, and built the wall surrounding the ductwork out about 6 inches so the new cabinets would be nice and deep. Ah, I love 23"-deep pantry shelves!
Steve did much of the demo work (pretty hard to have both of us do it simultaneously with 3 little ones in the house, and since his muscles are bigger than mine he got the job). I did all the finish work, including all the cutting, installing, taping, and mudding of the sheetrock.
This is the plumbing for the tub upstairs, now conveniently tucked away to the right so that we could have cabinetry from floor to ceiling instead of those silly soffets that served no purpose but to make me feel like the ceiling was 12 inches lower than it really was.
Here we have the same area, all neatly encased with sheetrock. I drew lines where the pipes and electrical wires were, crossing my fingers that the installers would heed them and not send screws into a pipe or wire. As far as we can tell, all went well in that regard.
This is how we lived for far too long, as we played demo derby and waited for the new cabinets and countertops to arrive. I won't lie to you - it was not fun. At all. Especially considering the fact that 3 young kids were running around and I still had to figure out how to feed everybody in the midst of the chaos. At least I still had a sink at this point, because we didn't demo the base cabinets until the day before the new ones came. Then we ended up waiting almost 2 weeks with no countertop and, consequently, no sink, stove, or dishwasher (which had been broken the whole time anyway) because of a series of errors on the part of the countertop people. Long story, I'll spare you the details.
Here is Steve, conducting an experiment on what happens when live wires cross during the removal of a dishwasher. We are now quite sure that it is, indeed, necessary to turn the circuit off (it wasn't conveniently labelled, and we were in a hurry) before detaching large electric wires. Fortunately no human flesh was involved, and Steve gets to live to tell the tale. Except he probably won't be telling anyone, and I probably shouldn't be sharing, but it's such a good story! Live wires create lots of sparks and make very loud noises, FYI.
And here we have my hard-working husband dealing with the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher. Poor Steve has been burning the midnight oil a lot this month, as it's too busy at work to take any time off and so he did all the demolition in the evenings or on Saturdays, staying up way too late for someone who is not a night person (unlike me, who gets a second wind after 9:00 or thereabouts). Thanks, honey, for all your hard work! You have been a real trooper, and I've been the slavemaster who has insisted that we do this kitchen remodel NOW. I couldn't bear to wait until it was time to sell/rent the place before fixing it up. Besides, I had this burning desire (har har) to learn how to do sheetrock and patch many large holes in the ceiling (due to installing recessed lighting) and now I know. And now I also know that I would not choose to do sheetrock installation/repair as a career, because it's a very time-intensive process (of course, some of that was because I was getting off the ladder every 2 minutes to take care of something for the kids) and kind-of a pain in the neck. Sure glad it's done!
So here we have the finished product (pay no heed to that vent hole in the upper left corner, please...just one of the the hundreds of "little" things to fix in our house). We kept to the same footprint in the main kitchen for cost and time reasons, because the flooring was already in place and to start really busting out walls would have been WAY too much money. Besides, I was emphatically tired of being without a functioning kitchen.
Even though it's not a huge space, every square foot is maximized and there is a surprising amount of storage in this kitchen. I actually have more cabinet/storage space in this house than I did in our huge, brand-new, gourmet kitchen we enjoyed in Hawaii. We moved the fridge over (someday we'll replace it with a stainless steel-look one, but not until we pay some bills!) and had cabinetry built all around it, and the trio of pantry cabinets to the left are simply awesome. We used a cabinetry company that was a local franchise of the national chain Panda Kitchen and Bath, and despite some problems (which I won't go into here) due to some serious language barriers and other issues, we're pretty happy with the results. They can offer good quality, very affordable cabinets because they only offer 8 cabinet choices and keep them in stock, assembling the boxes on site. I probably wouldn't have chosen this exact style or color if I had a huge inventory to choose from (I wanted solid wood, white painted and distressed cabinets, but those babies cost a fortune!), but now that they're in and we have plenty of under-cabinet lighting, I really like them. We paid about half of what the same product would have cost through a standard company, and we saved a bundle doing all the demo and sheetrock work ourselves as well.
I couldn't help but play up the whole polka dot thing...especially after I stumbled upon this fabulous print at HomeGoods. I usually try not to have any mass-produced art in my house (a luxury I can achieve because I'm an artist and my dad is a metal sculptor), but I have always loved this image by Johanna Kriesel and when I saw it for such a bargain, I had to buy it. Such a perfect fit for my new kitchen! I absolutely love the clean lines and graphic punch of this image, and it's arranged so perfectly within the format that I get giddy just looking at it.
Steve was mocking me the other day, as he was standing next to it saying, "Gee, I feel so...happy! What could possibly be making me so happy?" If he hadn't just forked out thousands of dollars for a new kitchen, I would have punched him.
Here is the tiny breakfast nook area, so small that we have to push our table (the one I bought on Craigslist and refinished a few months ago) to the window so traffic can flow properly. The space really should have a small rectangular table instead, but I can't bear to get rid of that table after working so hard on it, not to mention the fact that it just makes me....happy! Sorta like polka dots and graphic prints do, in case you were wondering.
I made these window treatments by sewing the red fabric together with an identically-sized white liner fabric (don't forget to add extra fabric for seam allowances when you measure the inside of your window!). Sew the two pieces together like a pillowcase, then turn right-side-out and iron carefully (get right to the seam on all the edges by licking your fingers and working the seam back and forth until you see where they're stitched together, then press with a steamy iron). Staple the raw edge to a stick of wood (1/2" x 1 1/2" for the profile dimensions, they're known as furring strips at the hardware store). Fold the stapled edge over so than none of the raw fabric edges show, then screw the wood into the window casing from beneath the fabric. These window casings were uncooperative, so I had to screw mirror clips on the underside of the casing to create a little ledge for my stick to rest on, then put one screw through the stick into the window casing to hold it in place.
The black sashes were sewn by cutting strips of fabric 8" wide x 44" long, cutting one end on the diagonal (after folding the strip with right-sides together, creating a 4" wide sash...so fold, then cut at a diagonal, then sew together) and sewing the raw edges together. Turn the fabric right-side out, press as described above, and staple the raw edge of the sash to stick on top. You'll need 2 sashes per window, one in front and one in back, then tie them at desired height for the effect you wish to achieve. You can see other versions of this window treatment in previous post of mine, here.
I love my happy little Campbell's soup girl, she does such a good job of holding all my spoons and spatulas. This actually belonged to Steve before he even knew me...one of the few things that has survived my "editing" of our things over the years. :-) Poor Steve - it's hard living with someone who is so opinionated about what can and can't be on display. He's a good sport about it.
These little darlin's were a happy little find when I did a summer study abroad program in London, way back in college days. They're actually postcards, and I framed them. And yes, they make me very happy indeed.
Stepping into the dining room, we have a blurry (oops!) photo of the view from there. I feel like I have to make a disclaimer on the paint color, by the way...since we have learned through experience that it's much easier to keep the main paint color of a house consistent when one moves and rents out one's house after a few years, I had to use something that would be neutral, but not too dark because there's not a lot of natural ambient light in the house. I chose a soft, sandy grey color, but once I painted everything I realize I could have gone a little darker. Too late - I'm certainly not going to redo it all. I like to keep paint neutral (except in kid's rooms) because my furniture and accessories are so bright.
I have a thing for dishes. I don't know why, but when I see an exquisitely painted or fresh and funky piece of dishware, I just go a little bonkers. Which is why I have so many dishes. Which is why I love to put them on the wall, so I can appreciate them all the time. These plates are from Villeroy & Bosch (my wedding china), Pottery Barn (polka dots), Anthropologie (the other red and white one), Japan (the little sheep ones you've seen before), and random ones from various places. Because I just know someone is going to ask, and now you know. :-)
Here's the current arrangement atop my china hutch. Recognize those little berry-filled egg cups?
Yes, they make me smile, the sweet li'l things, especially when filled with glass-beaded berries. Yum.
Okay, I know somebody is bound to start making fun of all my polka dots and the color red by now...go ahead, it's okay! I can take it. I gravitate toward cheery, unpretentious and slightly unusual decor, so this is what's working for me right now. It seems to suit the style of the house, and fulfills my need for polka dots just fine. I call it my MINNIE MOUSE MEETS COUNTRY LIVING style. :-)
ps. the red chairs are en route to a coat of blue paint with some red peeking through, I just haven't had time to do it yet. Imagine that.
Surprise! More red furniture in my house. These are in the front entry. The mirror is part of a vintage dresser set that I bought on CL. The dresser is a refinishing project I haven't done yet (it's going to be a buffet table) but the mirrors are nice just as they are.
See my tall red dresser in the reflection? Another CL find that I fixed up and painted. Each child has a drawer of their own, and they can keep whatever they want in it. I also shove their toys and papers in there when I'm cleaning up and don't want to carry random toys to their real resting place = very handy! Not very organized, but handy!
Here's a quick shot of our front room. Recognize those chairs? And that endtable? Yup, things I bought on CL and spruced up. Actually, about 80% of the furniture in our house right now is from CL, and the rest was purchased on clearance from various places. Exept this sofa, which we bought from Costco several years ago. I was raised in a frugal household, but one in which nice things were appreciated. I'm grateful for those lessons, and grateful that I'm able to turn inexpensive things into reasonably lovely pieces. Besides, with young kids there's not much point in having expensive furniture...that's just setting oneself up for disaster in my opinion.
Here's a quick look at a bookshelf in our front room. I know I have a monotonous amount of red here, I need to mix it up a little.
I love the graphic nature of black and white together. So striking and fun.
Okay, it's now extremely late at night...I mean morning (why does blogging always take twice as long as I think it will? I need to learn how to write faster) so I must go to the Land of Nod before there's no more time to nod at all. Nighty night.