Archive for ‘Kitchen’

February 2, 2013

Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 2

I promised a full post wrapping up my first baby step to improving the kitchen, so here goes. Let’s start with the Befores.

Kitchen 2011

Kitchen 2011

Kitchen 2011

These pictures were taken in 2011, but not all that much had changed before this past November, including my choice of pajamas. At this point, I was unhappy with practically every surface in the kitchen, but I knew I couldn’t afford any upgrades anytime soon… if ever. So, instead, I started thinking about ways I could improve the feel of the space without putting too much money into it. I came up with a plan, starting with addressing the items I disliked the most about the space.

1. The upper cabinets above the peninsula. I despised them. They got in the way of many conversations being had. I wanted to tear them down, but that meant patching the surfaces beyond. I had to be prepared for whatever state they may be in. I’ve had experience patching gypsum and texturing walls, so I felt confident I could fix whatever happened to the ceiling in the process. The wall, not so much. The backsplash tiles were cut around the upper cabinet, so if I took the cabinet off, the raw edges of the tile would be exposed. I do not have experience in tiling, so I did not feel good about that. Luckily, I had an idea. I designed a wood trim piece to cover the cut tiles and had a friend build it for me. I then painted it and liquid nailed it to the wall. You can see the down and dirty pictures here at my previous post on this subject.

Kitchen Progress

2. The dark and creepy window nook. I loved this window space when we first looked at the house. I thought it could be a cheerful space to grow herbs and other plants. Instead, it became a black hole that constantly felt empty, yet overcrowded. After staring at pretty kitchen windows on blogs, then at mine, I realized a curtain was the first step, and I could make it myself. But first, I painted the window frame to match my tile trim. Painting the trim white helped to brighten up the area and made it feel much cleaner than the old, worn stained frame did. I then got to constructing my curtain. I found a pretty simple tutorial here that is so easy I was able to start and finish the project in an evening. I then took the “less is more” approach to accessorizing the nook by removing everything I didn’t love. I was left with a knife block, a couple plants, three glass canisters (which each hold flour sack towels, dish detergent and fresh light bulbs) and a frosted mustard bowl to tie in my accent color.

Kitchen Curtain

3. Lack of interesting and cohesive accessories. What accessories I had were merely parts that did not add up to a cohesive look. Accessorizing is not my strong point, so I experimented with my accent color in various patterns. I mixed the geometric curtain with striped tea towels and a southwest style rug. Mustard colored bowls, a print with bits of yellow and produce helped add fresh color to the space.

Kitchen Accessories

4. The furniture in the space doesn’t accomodate the activities that take place there. Sure, a dinette table belongs in a dinette, but what if the dinette table only gets used as a mail sorter and a coat rack? The table just took up space and made it difficult to vacuum. What I noticed most was that guests preferred to stand close to the peninsula to watch whatever activities were happening in the kitchen. So how about some stools?

Kitchen Stools

Ok, enough ‘splainin’. Let’s get to the Afters!

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Baby step one is done. My plan, now, is to live with this progress a while and decide if anymore steps should be taken. At this point, those steps are painting the upper cabinets or painting all of the cabinets. We’ll see!

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December 30, 2012

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.

May 29, 2012

Marked and Measured

In addition to cleaning out my spice cabinet in an attempt to streamline my cooking process, I also wanted to simplify the storage of my measuring utensils.

I was instantly inspired by this image I found on Pinterest.

image courtesy of infarrantlycreative.net

Knowing my new spice jars wouldn’t take my current, largely rounded measuring spoons, I took the opportunity to give my kitchen a mini-makeover and bought shallow, narrow, stainless steel spoons.

Once, I had my materials – cup hooks, blue painter’s tape, ruler, pencil, drill and drill bit – this project took me about 5 minutes, so this description will be just as quick. I eyeballed how high on the inside of my cabinet the spoons should hang. I placed one long piece of tape horizontally in this area and got to marking. I measured out 6 different points equally spaced 1 1/2″ apart. I also marked the drill bit with tape so I could make sure to not pre-drill all the way through the door. I then pre-drilled each hole, peeled the tape off, screwed in the cup hooks and placed my spoons.

These pictures make me so wish I had white cabinets. That, or a better way to take pictures of my cabinets. They aren’t the most impressive…

March 5, 2012

New Faucet, Attempt No.1

We have a new faucet!

Before:

Yuck.

Too bad it only half works. And too bad it’s wholly our fault. I get the nagging feeling the blog’s ‘Mishaps’ bin is filling out. First, some pictures mid-installation.. before the bad happened.

Rob unhooking our old faucet while Polly looks on.

Me hooking up the new faucet while Jin finds a cozy spot.

As far as the mishap goes, our strength got the best of us and when ended up twisting off the copper pipe connected to the new faucet. We should have known better, but it’s just so darn awkward under there. Right now the faucet is only hooked up to the hot water line. Great for dishwashing and handwashing. Not so great for washing greens. At this point, though, it’s working for us. We’ll replace it sooner or later. For now, let’s marvel at the shiny, shiny.

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February 16, 2011

Yes?

The kitchen has been painted and I have pictures. But first, a little history.

From what my eyes tell me, most areas of our kitchen had wallpaper. Make that have – the owner prior to us painted over the existing wallpaper. Luckily, they did a good job. Having wallpaper on most of the walls in our kitchen gives us the advantage of smooth walls. Having smooth walls gives us the opportunity to paint more chalk walls.

Our nephews will love it. We’re not completely sure about it, but we think it’s pretty cool.

But first, the Before.


way before.



after.


Thoughts? Yes?