Kitchen Cabinets Are Done!

Well, the kitchen cabinets came back on Thursday, all was put back together on Friday, and here are the results (pardon the hasty, pretty terrible pics… better ones later):

The kitchen looks much brighter; everything looks refreshed and updated, even though nothing else was changed.

We’ve decided to wait on the countertops since we find our 12 X 12 grey porcelain tile with a two inch oak wood border to be very practical. Because the tiles are large there are few grout lines, and because they are matte finish porcelain they have a number of advantages: heat resistance; stain resistance, ease of clean up; great for pastry rolling; we love the color. The grout lines are a little wonky but could be redone.

If we do decide to change them we have agreed on good ole honed Carrera marble. It’s “hot” right now, which puts me off a bit, but after falling in love with it on our trip to Italy where it is EVERYWHERE, that would still probably be our choice. I heart soapstone, but Mr. D nixed that, and, it would be darker. We both hate a shiny countertop …  too much glare. Mr. D. in particular is a messy cook, so a honed marble will no doubt etch and stain, but we like patina and live in a  house that is nothing but patina. In any event, we are ready to cook turkey!

Kitchen Cabinet Refresh

Over the past six years I have replaced all of my kitchen appliances, refinished the heart pine floors, changed out the light fixtures, door knobs, faucet, cabinet pulls, exhaust fan, ceiling fan, door to the deck and man of the house. Next up: kitchen cabinet refresh.

Since even after 23 years I like the layout of my kitchen, I nixed the idea of ripping everything out and starting over. I thought about just having new wood doors custom made, but that was out of my budget. My Ikea cabinets are still structurally sound, if yellowed with age.

IMG_1009The original European hinges and recently replaced  knobs and pulls are in great shape, so painting seemed the best option.

At first I thought I would do the painting myself — to save money.  I researched Ikea mentions to see if anyone else had done this, and decided that the project was viable because my cabinet and drawer fronts are solid MDF, not foil or laminate covered. Benjmain Moore makes a water based paint called Advance specifically for cabinets that has gotten rave reviews, and I’ve done a lot of painting over the years, (but no spraying).

On a whim I looked on Angie’s List to see if I could find a shop that specialized in this kind of thing, and low and behold Allusions, Inc. was offering a special.  I figured, what the heck, at least I can get an estimate! After Bonnie, the owner, came to the house and confirmed that this was a reasonable solution for my dingy, yellowed cabinets and the poorly painted Crate and Barrel china cabinets in the eating area, I pulled the trigger.

Chaos came to my kitchen on Thursday as a pair of cabinet refinishers disassembled all of my cupboards, and asked me to relocate the contents of sixteen drawers. I had been told that only the drawer fronts would be removed, so I wasn’t prepared and had a bit of a panic.

This is what things looked like after things were disassembled:

What is it about having junk drawers that is inherited? I so clearly remember vowing to myself that I would never, ever, have those “hold it all, stuff things in there to be dealt with later” drawers that were in my childhood home. I have to face the fact that I have at least three of them. And how many times have I culled the herd of Tupperware, throwing away orphaned lids and BPH laden containers only to again have a full bin of them ready for Goodwill? Do they just multiply in the drawers while I sleep?

This is the “after.”  I spent all day yesterday sifting through random and haphazardly erected skyscrapers of dishes and everything else that had been unceremoniously dumped in a giant pile on my kitchen table or in boxes on the floor.

This whole process has caused a bit of self reflection. I do love to cook, but how (and more importantly WHY) do I have so many spices? I try to recycle them every year, checking expiration dates and doing the sniff test to see if they have the ability to flavor anything with a taste other than musty kitchen cabinet.

And the sprinkles, cupcake papers, cookie cutters, birthday candles — do I really still need all of this? Isn’t that from a previous life, or do I really think I will be that neighborhood lady who is always arriving at the doorstep with beautiful Martha Stewart inspired home baked cookies complete with piped, monogramed icing and the appropriate seasonal sugar crystals? Really?

And what about the two drawers full of pet medicines, clippers, toys, combs, leashes, etc.etc.etc.? It’s hard to throw those things away, especially because one is not supposed to put medicines in the trash, and throwing away old rabies tags from long deceased pooches feels a little bit like sacrilege. Did I mention how carefully I moved the pretty wooden box with my dearly departed dog Sydney’s ashes in it so as not to accidentally drop it/him necessitating clandestinely vacuuming him up as happened to Ben Stiller and grandma’s urn in Meet the Parents?


Meanwhile, the remaining pets couldn’t wait to jump into the newly created playground of doorless cabinets!

I feel as if my entire life in retirement is about decluttering. Room by room, drawer by drawer, file cabinet by file cabinet, and yes, even book by book I am questioning the detritus of my life. Handling each object brings back memories, some pleasant, some not so. Husbands, children, bosses, siblings, friends all speak to me as I weigh the utility, the sentimental value or the sheer size and weight of  all of thesethings and the memories they generate. “Pick me,” each object says, like puppies greeting potential owners. “I’m downsizing and my house is already broken,” I reply.

I am so not a hoarder, and yet I have acquired a great deal of baggage in my years on this planet. I’m ready to let a great deal of it go. I don’t want to be burdened, tied down, needing to dust and reorganize my grievances or unfulfilled desires. “Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free,” says the Shaker hymn. I’m going to try to apply this to my kitchen drawers, yes, but also to my aspirations, be they for the larger society, my immediate family, my yoga practice or my mindset. Perhaps a new coat of paint, a tidying up, and getting rid of half of my “stuff” is enough. We’ll see. I’ll let you know!

Painted Floor Dreaming, Again

Painted Floor Dreaming, Again

I’ve been wanting to rip up the ghastly (and dirty) carpeting in my upstairs rooms since forever. It’s finally happening, at least in the hallway, and I hope, the master bedroom, which is just about the same dreamy color as this lovely picture. I can’t remember where I got it from, but its been stored in my fantasy file for some time.

The carpet overlays linoleum (!) over heart pine that was never varnished or polyurethaned. I’ve had the linoleum tested and it doesn’t contain any asbestos, remarkably, so I should be able to remove it. At the edges, it looks like it will come up in rather large sheets, with the paper underneath and the glue rather degraded.

Its going to be a messy job, but I can’t wait to get started. I go back and forth about trying to refinish the floor or just paint it, but given the tack strip and the probability of stains I’m pretty sure that paint it will be. I love the clean look of this white. What do you think?

The snow is gone and thoughts of summer beckon . . . .

I’ve always loved the iconic Unikko Marimekko fabric, first sold in 1964 and still going strong (see Crate and Barrel’s new version).  Perhaps my favorite is the  pink/red . . . or maybe blues

Marimekko Cotton Fabrics                       Marimekko Unikko Periwinkle/Mint Throw Pillow - Click to enlarge

I’m also currently coveting these converses:

Marimekko Pink/Orange Unikko Converse Shoes - Click to enlarge

And these wool blankets for the guest room twinsMarimekko Unikko Raspberry Blanket - Click to enlargeMarimekko Unikko Black/Grey Blanket - Click to enlarge

I really like the raspberry for that room, and the black and grey for . . . well, that dream NYC pied a terre, sigh.

But what I already have, and got as part of that sweet Marshall’s haul a few months back, is this (minus the chick inside it):


And after yesterday’s snow and today’s melt, I can’t wait to wear it!

Kitchen Window Casing

It occurred to me that I should have the window and door casing redone before I painted the floor, so this morning Mr. R stripped the old casing and measured for the new, which will match what is in the rest of the house (at least what has been put in by me — the old casing is different in almost every room, sometimes with two profiles in one room! — Gotta love old houses and their quirks . . .).

From this:

window after the old flat casing was removed

To this:

casing profile in the "new" old areas

More pics tomorrow!

Decluttering Redux

Wow!  what a difference just letting go makes!  My inner Red Queen went to town last night in the kitchen and my local thrift store will be the beneficiary.  Gone:  reproduction jelly cabinet, armchair with woven seat, innumerable tchochkes that lived inside the jelly cabinet.  Now the pie safe has pride of place.

Pie Safe

The wonderful Mr. R, my indispensable handyman, will be repairing/replacing the rotten floor boards and very, very soon I will have lovely new “vermont cream” painted floors. More after the jump . . .

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Have you ever just looked at a space in your home that has been that way for a thousand years (ok — maybe five or ten or two) and just thought “off with their heads” when you looked at those collectibles you lovingly added over time?  This morning I woke up, channeled my inner Red Queen, and decided to edit, edit, edit in my kitchen.  Less is more!

From Country Living

Doesn’t this pared down kitchen look swell!

Bathroom Mirror

I’m in the process of converting all of the brass fixtures in my downstairs bathroom to chrome.  That brass is looking oh so twenty years ago… so what to do about the mirror?  I really like its size and shape, and even how it has aged in the corners.

But it is, admittedly, VERY GOLD.  So, how about a tiny painting project?  Using the sample I got for the kitchen floor and some of the paint I used to sponge paint the walls a couple of years ago I sanded, painted, sanded to get the following look:

Which in close up looks like this:

I think I just saved myself some money 🙂

Painted Floor Part 2

OK.  I’ve really fallen in love with the patterned painted floor from yesterday’s post.  After getting a paint sample at Home Depot (gotta love those little samples for $2.95) and then playing with the Behr website virtual design studio I think I have decided.  Here are the colors I picked out:

my kitchen color scheme

From bottom to top — Vermont cream is my trim paint –it’s a lovely creamy white used throughout my house; cottage white on the walls; light rattan porch paint as the floor base with Vermont cream squares and (top color) traditional tan tiny squares at the corner. Kind of like the picture from yesterday. . . and oh — cabinets are 20 year old Ikea creamy white beadboard:

and counter is slate gray procelain tile bounded by inch thick oak (that needs a refinish –also on the to do list):

Read more by clicking on the red icon below:

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Stained Glass Project

Photo from Nor’east Architectural Salvage

Imagine this color glass. (I know it is probably clear in reality, but I’m going for the pale lavendar color it appears to be). Imagine two nice big panes on ebay.  Imagine a guest bathroom that is painted a mauvy/lavendary/purply color from several years ago at Restoration Hardware.  Imagine that the antique glass panes could be made into something totally cool for little or nothing and hung in front of the window over the antique tub.  I imagined all of that, bought the glass for $40 and now I have to figure out how to make this project happen!! I’ll keep you posted.