A Painted House

Archive for October 2011

This post has been a long time coming.   And not just in the sense that I’ve gotten horribly behind in blogging my projects, though that remains true.  I have about 52 others to photograph and share as well.  But let’s start with the kitchen because it’s new and shiny and my current favorite.  I know you shouldn’t play favorites with your children and your rooms, but there it is.

So. When we bought this house the kitchen was one of the two rooms in which we planned on investing some money in updates (the other was the bathroom).   Here are some shots of the kitchen from the real estate listing:

Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a cute periwinkle girl’s room like everyone else but that’s a rather violent shade of purple for a kitchen, no?  Thankfully they repainted the kitchen to a much more neutral (albeit boring) shade before we moved in.

Here’s a shot of the new paint color, during our second showing:

So much better.  I’ll take Bland Beige over Electric Smurf any day of the week.  Sadly there was no painting those blueish-purple countertops. Believe me, I considered it – after all, I Paint Things White right?  So while we a) figured out what we wanted instead and b) waited until the budget allowed, we lived with the blue.  Embraced the blue, even.  And I decorated other rooms for 18 months because the color scheme I settled on was black, white, and green, and one cannot have a green kitchen when one has blue countertops.  Unless it’s Easter and pastel eggs abound, and then it looks right for a day.  So 18 months went by and I’m not about to pretend I was sad on the day those babies made their way to the ReStore.

But that’s not to say I didn’t start working on what projects I could and making decorating decisions with the big picture in mind.  Here is the kitchen right after we moved in:

See that white fridge back there?  Yeah, it came with the house and only made it six months.  The day before they finished working on remodeling the master bathroom it petered out.  Of course it did.  So with the future plan in mind, the unexpected Step 1: Buy a new fridge.  We bought a black one.

Step 2: Stalk Craig’s List for months and months and sweetly ask your husband to drive your hugely pregnant self all over town gathering furniture to fill the space.  This is a BIG kitchen.  We had a table and chairs that were in sad shape and too small for the space so I began the quest to find a larger, round table.  You can see its transformation here.  That big empty space on the right was filled with the Craig’s List Hutch.

Step 3: Drive yourself off-the-cliff crazy trying to pick the right paint color.  Collect paint chips from every store in town.  Lay them all out in grids.  Finally narrow it down to three and tack them up on the wall.  Pick one.  Stare at it for a while weeks then second guess yourself.  Start over.  Pick two new options and get sample sizes.  Paint samples up on the wall and finally decide on a color.

Step 4: Paint the kitchen including those cramped little spaces where you end up standing on the stove and telling your toddler to never, ever stand on the stove.  Also, remember why you didn’t do this while pregnant.  Realize quickly that because you had the Valspar paint color mixed as a color match instead of in the original brand, the shade isn’t right.  And only you will notice but still, you will notice.  Everysingletime you walk into the kitchen.  Which is about 300 times per day.

Step 5: Have the color mixed in the more expensive correct brand of paint and repaint the kitchen.  Thank the Heavens that it’s the right shade this time.

Step 6: Hire your favorite contractor to come rip up your kitchen.

Step 7: Pick out sparkly new black granite counters and then live without any for a week while waiting for the new counters to be fitted.  Almost set something down on the island that is not there 4000 times.

Step 8: Rejoice when the install is done and new construction is finished.  Stare at your brand new countertops and pretty, pretty island.  So pretty.  Realize it was worth the wait.

Step 9: Buy barstools for the new island.  And then sweet talk your husband into cutting them down a bit because at their original height you’d have to have three-inch thighs to fit under the bar top and that’s just discouraging.

Step 10: Spend entirely too much time playing with your new cabinet and desk, getting everything off of your kitchen counters.  Ahhhhhh.

Step 11: It’s time for curtains so the neighbors can stop watching you have dinner and judging you for serving your child chicken nuggets AGAIN.  Square your shoulders and take on your sewing machine to make lined curtains out of the fabric you purchased six months ago and have been avoiding eye contact with ever since.  Feel tremendous relief when they turn out just as you’d hoped and you don’t have to rip out seventeen miles of stitching.  Not that that’s ever happened.

Feel cheeky because you purposefully mixed patterns like those Real Designers do.  Love, love, love.

Step 12: Use the scraps to piece together a valance for above the kitchen window.  Make it ruffly so no one can see how you can’t sew straight.

Step 13: Add more patterned fabric to the room because you have a small addiction to bold, graphic patterns.  Buy inexpensive white IKEA chair pads and two different IKEA fabrics.  Feel disproportionately proud when you manage to sew covers that fit AND tuft them with upholstered buttons, all without cursing or bleeding.  BEAM with pride.

Let’s take a break in our programming for a Before and After comparison:

Step 14: Feel in love with your kitchen every time you walk into the room.  Enjoy cooking for and visiting with your family and friends even more than you did before.  Spend most of your day in this, the center of your home.  Thank God that He gave you such a space.

Step 15: Feel extremely gratful that no other room in your house requires so extensive an overhaul trickling out over eighteen months.  The end.

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I’m linking this post to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After party!

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Dear Edison,

You just turned eleven months old.  Naturally this means you’re only a few weeks away from reaching a whole year of age but as I’m in complete disbelief and denial about that, let’s just focus on what’s taken place during this month, ok?

You’re working very hard at taking your new mobility and parlaying it into a heart attack for Mama.  First you learned to sit up from a crawling position onto your knees.  Which, by the way, is face-meltingly adorable when you peek up over the edge of the couch cushions to see what I’m doing up here.  It’s not quite as darling when you use those superpowers for bad and choose the moment when I’m trying to get dinner together to pull up on my pant leg and whine like an angry sheep.  Anyway, that heart attack.  It didn’t take long before pulling up onto your knees led to tiny you facing the steep incline of the stairs.  Thankfully I was right there watching when the idea first popped into your brain, as clearly as if a thought bubble had appeared above your head, that you could climb that mountain.   I waited to intervene to see how you’d do and when you effortlessly reached the third stair on your first attempt I decided it was time we invest in a ball and chain.  A baby gate is a good idea but only if the other three people in this house remember to leave it closed; most notably the larger version of yourself who feels the need to run upstairs and check on his ceiling fan several times a day.  A solid cast iron weight would keep you grounded and save Mommy that coronary upon finding you either half way up to the top or half way down to your death, depending on how glass-half-full I’m feeling.

You started babbling “Dada” this month, much to the delight of your father.  You’ve been saying Mama for the past five months so Daddy was really, really ready for you to figure out his name.  I shouldn’t tell you this but I’m pretty sure you could get just about anything your heart desires if you’d aimed a well-timed “Dada” and those enormous, shining eyes of yours at your Dad.  And the things your heart desires most?  The TV remote, my cell phone, Daddy’s glasses, anything anyone near you is placing into their mouths, and every toy in this house in which your brother shows an interest.

During this month for the first time I spent two days and two nights away from you, Edison. I flew to Kansas City to visit some friends, leaving you and James in the capable hands of your Dad.  In preparation for my 48-hour absence I worked and worked and worked to stock the freezer with enough milk to keep you full the entire weekend.  You’ve proven stubborn in the past when it comes to drinking from a bottle but I figured two days is a long time to hold out; surely you’d give in and eat after an attempt or two.  Boy, did I underestimate just how stubborn you can be.  Over those two days, ten feedings in which you should have downed at least sixty ounces, you drank approximately eight ounces, and those from a straw cup instead of a bottle.  And you weren’t even sad about the change of program.  You filled your tummy with people food with barely disguised glee, largely ignoring your liquid diet.  You know who was sad about that?  Your mother who spent weeks building up that stash of liquid gold just for you, so that you wouldn’t have to deal with the unfamiliar taste of formula In my absence.  And you chose scrambled eggs instead.  For shame, Edison.  But lest I sound too much like one of those guilt-shoveling mothers, it did my heart good to know that you wouldn’t take your nourishment from just any old source.  Only Mama would do.  And though I enjoyed my bit of time “off” to recharge, I found myself sighing in contentment when I was once again back in your rocking chair, cuddling you close.

Love, Mama


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