Ok, I have some fun to share.
After Lyndi (aka nwaFoodie) posted an exceptionally kind, adorable and generous tour of my kitchen, I kept sort of staring at her pictures and thinking to myself (indulge me): “That is a cute kitchen. Surely it isn’t mine?”
Honestly, I have hated components of our house for so long, I think it only sank in with Lyndi’s post that the kitchen is… done (we finished it a year ago). Let me offer the disclaimer that I ADORE our house (A Good House), but we have stared at the innumerable and looming projects in front of our faces for so long, that sometimes we forget all the progress we’ve made. A comment from Kim at The Made Thing got my wheels turning: she said she hates her galley kitchen and wants a home she can make her own, and that she had kitchen envy. Briefly, I forgot she was referring to MY kitchen, as I related to her about having a galley kitchen I hated. So, I did a little digging for perspective. Here’s what I found:
This house that Lyndi claims draws you in?
Well, it does… that’s what attracted me in the first place. However, here’s the front porch nearly a decade ago when we were considering buying it:
And oh, the kitchen. Let me show you. Check out Lyndi’s shot (ignoring the flab of my arms):
There it is in action at Thanksgiving (who is that kid?), literally as we were still trying to move in and unpack. SO many things make me laugh here. First, check out that awesome bunny/tulip/watering can border and that amazing range hood, the gold brass faceplates, the mini blind over the sink. I also have an awesome banana hook in the corner, and apparently enjoyed cooking in utter chaos with doors flung open and detritus everywhere. Honestly, in addition to trying to unpack, there wasn’t a single place to set anything down, because the counters you see to my left and right were IT in terms of surfaces. It drove me all kinds of CRAZY. That’s why that sink corner is now calm and uncluttered. Funny to watch your style and quirks evolve, isn’t it?
Why were there no surfaces? Well, because at some point someone determined that the already tiny kitchen could be improved if some of the storage and counter space were removed. So, you know that sitting room Lyndi showed you? Let me refresh your memory:
Here it is as we found it:
In the opposite corner, where our bar currently sits, some of the kitchen cabinets had been installed… obviously. In the room NEXT to the kitchen where it would be most useful. Like so:
That’s one way to do it, but hopefully if you visit you won’t be too offended that we went with this (and removed the mirror from the pantry door)…
And, as good as those cabinets looked in the next room, we went ahead and put them back in the kitchen. By the way, in all instances when I say “we” I mean my husband, who has done back-breaking work like refinishing hardwood floors, electrical work, texturing walls… I can’t even begin to tell you all of it. So, here’s that extra space in our crazy long kitchen before and after. Check out one of my favorite things: see all that green wooden border under the adorable bunny border? Those became our new red chalkboard borders!
Speaking of which, an important note to self: when I envisioned those chalkboards, my husband calmly cut the border to size (knowing I would mess it up if he let me do it) and then had me set about painting them red and then painting – I’m pretty sure – 17 layers of magnetic and chalkboard paint. Suffice it to say mission accomplished. I now consider a bit more carefully the requests I make of him! Aren’t those lights he installed to replace the awesome rattan fan and “chandelier” rad?
Last but not least, here are some early photos I took of the dining room when we first looked at the house:
My husband spent weeks stripping at least seven layers of wallpaper – some probably as old as the 1940s ad most of it apparently affixed with Super Glue – out of that dining room before retexturing it to match the rest of the house and painting it that deep chocolate brown, only briefly questioning my sanity. At one point we both thought it looked eggplant purple, but… fortunately it dried nicely into the proper shade. Here is Lyndi’s more recent photo:
It’s good to remember how far we’ve come. This is definitely a good house, and I’m actually really glad we didn’t move in and fix everything instantly, believe it or not. Now that we’ve lived in the house, we’ve learned what works, what we like, how to adjust for kids and everything else. It will be fun to check back in another ten years to see what changes! And Kim: I can’t wait to see your space grow and evolve with you!