Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 1

Over the holidays, my focus has been on improving our kitchen. Even at its best, it has been strangely cavernous yet very bright. It lacked any interesting characteristics to warrant it being the heart of the home and where we would often find guest congregating during parties. I attempted, many times over, to rearrange countertop accessories to improve the interest, but it was never enough. We didn’t have the money for a complete kitchen renovation, so I came up with some baby steps in hopes that I would find a comfort zone somewhere in the middle.

Kitchen Before

Many times, I would find myself prepping food inside the kitchen and ducking to be able to chat with friends on the other side of the peninsula. So step one became tearing down the cabinets above the peninsula. It was a bit of a scary step to take, like stepping off a cliff, because we weren’t sure what kind of surfaces we would find behind the cabinets. Would we have to patch large areas of the ceiling with sheetrock? Would we have to patch the tile backsplash? These lingering questions became the reason why we waited so long to take this first step, but finally, I had had enough. The day after Thanksgiving, Rob and I tore that sucker down.

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

We were left with some surprising and not-so-surprising surfaces. Not-so-surprising were the tile edges cut around the now non-existent cabinet and the once hidden wall texture that was now exposed and out of place next to the remaining texture-less walls. The tile would either have to be patched or covered in some way so that the rough edges would not be exposed. The textured wall would either have to be sanded down or the remaining walls would have to be textured to match. The surprising was the already textured ceiling that required very little additional patching to blend with the exposed ceiling.

And then the real work began. I decided to go ahead and texture all of the walls in the kitchen because the flat walls felt cold and out of place with the rest of the house. I then primed and painted both the walls and the ceiling with Sherwin Williams Shoji White in a flat finish. I had a little wood ledge made to cover the cut tile pieces. I originally tried staining it, but couldn’t get the stain color dark enough. I also realized I didn’t want a dark brown stripe that was the trim seemingly hanging in space. Another reason I decided against staining the trim was because the next kitchen improvement baby steps would involve painting the upper cabinets white. So why stain the trim only to paint it later on?

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Oh, we also replaced the outlet and switch covers and re-caulked the counter.  It’s amazing what a difference those small changes can make. The final item to complete before wrapping up baby step one is accessorizing – a big step all on its own. I created a quick mood board for the kitchen.

Kitchen Mood Board

The easiest way to unify a space is through color. I already had several yellow items in the kitchen, so it only seemed natural to continue with that theme. The rug was a Christmas gift from Rob. I’ll also make a curtain with white and yellow print fabric, frame and hang a print, and replace our kitchenette table and chairs with bar stools (the brass pull is for future baby steps).

Jin on the Kitchen Rug

Jin is already enjoying the new rug.

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3 Comments to “Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 1”

  1. One small step for Taylor & Rob is one giant leap for the rest of us! Your willingness to jump in and make it happen is always an inspiration.

  2. Where did you find the rug? It’s a great color!

  3. You are actually teaching a class here. We thought we were simply enjoying a mini-series about home design — another offshoot of “House Hunters?” — but it turns out we are enrolled in a design course. Who knew?

    Loving the learning — D&L

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