Sunday, December 11, 2016

An Early Christmas Present To Myself: Kitchen Reveal

Farmhouse kitchen, colonial kitchen

It's the holiday season, and this blog should be full of Christmas goodness as I prepare to welcome a little Christmas babe into our family.  But before I could decorate for Christmas or start wrapping all of the presents I finished purchasing in October (ultimate deadlines are incredibly motivating!), I had to finish the early Christmas present I gave to myself this year: a kitchen renovation.

Nesting is a real thing for me, as witnessed yesterday when, as Lance had the kiddos for the day, I was afforded the luxury of being able to clean. You read that right, clean.  I normally hire this out, as I work during nap time, and that is the only daylight hours sans kids in which cleaning would be possible (and with this pregnancy, I'm just too tired at night and have to do what I can sitting down - usually folding laundry or online Amazon shopping for family needs).

Anyway, yesterday gave me the opportunity to finally finish kitchen renovations (OK, so there is an electrical strip that still doesn't work, and I just ordered a pot lid holder to mount on the wall).  BUT I was able to do two things yesterday that I've wanted to do since contractors finally exited in early November - clean the final bits of grout off the backsplash tiles, and oil the countertops one more time.  I did it while listening to Don Quixote (four more CDs to go out of 30!), and my nerdy, clean-freak self was kind of in heaven.  I also deep-cleaned the stove top, wiped down the stainless steal appliances, and scrubbed the outside of pots while I was at it.  Yes, nesting is real.  And it felt so, so good.

And now, my kitchen is done, and a Merry Christmas to me! Yes, maybe I'll finally pull up the floor someday (or get one of those lovely lacquered, traditional floor cloths custom-built), but it's now a very happy place.  I cook almost everything from scratch (exceptions include not making my own gluten free pasta, and I usually use canned beans), so having a kitchen in which I can happily serve my family is about the best present I could ever receive.

Thanks to the ingenuity, creativity, and expert know-how of dear friend Amy Mitchell of Home Glow Design, I was able to do it within the little budget I earned (all home renovations and furniture acquisitions have come from my earnings) from my consulting practice.  

I used paint to cover a multitude of sins, including most of the natural wood found in the kitchen: tall dividers in the traditional grey-green the keeping room and top cupboards were already painted in and painted the bottom cupboards white. As you can see, it brightened and freshened the small space considerably.

before pictures

The worst part about the kitchen was the burgundy formica countertops and backsplash, which were just hideous.  This was the expensive part of renovations (but at a budget of just under $6,000, the makeover was apparently priced at a DIY renovation rather than something one normally has a contractor do).  

I hated these tops so much I didn't take many close-ups, but above you can see their horrid color.  I did a lot of research on countertops, and finally landed on three different pieces - charcoal soapstone around the stove, which can combat oil splatters form the stove and allows me to set hot things from the oven and stove directly on the countertop, a rock maple chopping block above the dishwasher, and a live edge wood slab for the island.  I love all three, but especially the live edge wooden slab. Makes me happy every time I look at it.

My favorite part of the kitchen, however, has to be my new backsplash.  I got these cement tiles from  Cuban Tropical Tiles, a tip from Amy of Home Glow.  I obviously love color, and was considering (and even ordered) Mexican or Mediterranean tiles, but Amy wisely help me identify something still colorful but a bit more in keeping with our eighteenth century home - something I tried to bear in mind when choosing countertops and other aspects.  

I didn't know about cement tiles before Amy pointed them out.  I absolutely love them, and they look a bit vintage while still being fresh and interesting.  However, had I to do this renovation over again, I would have treated these porous tiles before installation (thus the post-grout problem). But you live and learn, and thankfully baby #3 didn't arrive yesterday so I could finally clean them! 

Call me a vintage snob, but it makes me happy using this basket for our on-the-go food.  It also works well in the car to keep things organized.
I kept several aspects of the kitchen in tact - the vintage stainless steal sink rather than a farmhouse sink - which would have made the renovations possibly twice as expensive (as there was nothing that would have fit, requiring us to change the lower cupboards and install more countertops, the most expensive part of the renovations), the floors that didn't bother me as much, the cupboards, and our appliances.  In my dreams I would get a traditional German range oven, but am super happy I have a gas stove and electrical (read evenly-cooking) oven. And I kept those beams of course, which I love.

In all, thanks to a little elbow grease, wonderful contractors, and Amy at Homeglow, I am over the moon about this new happy place in our little home, and believe it will serve our family for the decades more we intend to live in this spot. 

With all of my pops of color, I've kept the palette as neutral as possible, including with these large kitchen items.  The stool I found at Savers for $5 and painted.

I grew up with a dinner bell, and use one now!  It's a farmhouse after all, right?

Small Wonders
* E has started requesting that I make up songs at night - she will often want me to sing about a "Cookie," a "Kitty cat," a "truck" or some other fixation.  Sometimes she will revert to songs I actually know "Sunshine" (you are my sunshine), but generally, it takes a lot of creativity to satiate her.
* E, newly almost-always happy thanks to her new anti-yeast regime, has taken to singing almost anytime of day, and especially when putting herself to bed.  I love it.
* G is into using big words in inappropriate places - "Seriously" and "appropriate" are often used in seriously inappropriate ways, along with a host of other big words he doesn't quite understand the meaning of.  I don't have the heart to correct him.
* We looked at a potential investment property on Friday, and somehow G started calling our realtor "old lady," which we quickly corrected.  She had white hair but was probably in her late 50s.  We were mortified, as was she, but had to chuckle afterwards.
* Our first snowfall of the year has G loving sledding, Esther learning how to put on her own mittens, and Esther calling it "pretty snow." I agree!

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