Tuesday, June 11, 2013

House Tour - Kitchen

Continuing the home tour, we move into the kitchen.  I really wanted this room to look like a cupcake store so that was my jumping off point.  I chose a soft aqua for the walls and mosiac white tiles with gray grout for the floors.  I originally was going to do white upper cabinets and dark gray bottom cabinets and marble counters but I had to adjust things for my budget. 

The kitchen used to be closed off, there was a wall right where the camera is looking through, and it was very important to me to open this space up.  I think after having the very tiny kitchen in the yellow house and admiring so many open concept spaces on HGTV and elsewhere, it was something I really wanted to have.  I also thought it was important to be open to the backyard as much as possible.  There used to be a long, narrow window at the back of the house and a door off to the left where the washer dryer now is.  I wanted to put in french doors or sliders to have loads of natural light flow through the house.  Sliders worked best for us because of the cats and wanting to keep the door open on cool days, though french doors are a much prettier option.

I also know my island is too small.  I have my eyes on an island way out of my price range at Crate & Barrel and have been looking at other options too but until then, this cart from Ikea has been doing a great job.  My unique shelving unit thing is on the left.  I thought it would hold more dishes but it's mostly photographs and for display.  The bottom folds down awkwardly and holds extra cat food and other storage needs.

I put up the scalloped banner for Christmas and really like it.  The mint honeycomb balls are from the Oscar's party.  I think they are fun to look at so I haven't taken them down.  This is not a house to be serious in, the more whimsical I can make it the more I enjoy being here.  The big house was the stuffy house and I really like a playful look in this little bungalow.

Since the shelf unit is on the left side of the kitchen and I opted not to have a peninsula, all of the main kitchen is on the right side of the room.  The island of course was supposed to be a main prep area and it could stand to be about twice as long and work very well for that purpose.  I really didn't think I'd be here for over a year and still not have the proper island but that's the way it goes.  Other things are in line to be done before the island situation and that list is long and expensive (replace front porch boards, painting exterior, new roof, extend deck).  Until then I've found this kitchen to be extremely easy to work in.  I've thrown multiple parties here, some as big as over 30 people and this kitchen is great.

We were on a very tight budget to renovate this kitchen ($10,000 for the whole house, though I did go over some due to window treatments - they are expensive).  We used cabinets you can pick up at Home Depot right now.  After having a kitchen with only 1 drawer, I went drawer overload as you can see.  I'm a huge fan of having a single deep white cast iron sink and that was a splurge for this house.  My sink light fixture looks almost orange but it's mercury glass, I really like it.  The view from the sink is of the next door's house beige vinyl siding so I've tried to hide/spruce up the view with cute cafe curtains and cute items on the window sill.

I recently mounted the television to give me extra counter space.  I don't really need a television in here except for maybe the Oscar Party or Thanksgiving, I'm partial to using my Pandora on my beloved ipod dock.  It doesn't really look that great even mounted so maybe I'll remove it one day.  This "cord zone" kind of drives me crazy.  My shelves are kind of a renovation mini-disaster.  There's always something at the end you want to change but it's such a big ordeal you just leave it and these shelves are the mistake.

I figured the studs would not be symmetrical to hang my scrolly brackets so I had the handyman cut a backboard from plywood and use that to attach the brackets.  I should have made the backboard much larger and my shelves would not have ended up so dinky but worse than that, the studs ARE symmetrical and I could have hung the brackets straight on the walls and have my shelves be much longer and look much cleaner.  The downside to that is the walls are a mess and I think they are beyond simple (spackle) repair.  The plywood hides that.  With a larger budget I could either a) install beadboard along the back of the wall and paint it white or aqua or with a real budget b) install subway tile all the way up and used a more simple shelf bracket.  I so want to take the plywood down and get longer shelves but it's a lot of repair and painting and I'm just plain lazy about it.  I envisioned these shelves holding all our plates and glasses but it looked a little busy and not functional (I can only reach the bottom shelf) so I just use it for display.

I had different knobs from Anthropologie but I found they stuck to the fabric of my clothes and I was afraid something would rip.  When I saw these aqua milkglass knobs I knew they would work perfectly.  I never know what to do above the cabinets.  I'd love cabinets that went all the way up and I was certain I'd put up crown molding but the budget ran out and then later the cats started using the top of the cabinets to sleep and I didn't want to block them so I just left it plain except for the mixing bowls at the end.

On a budget there are limited countertop options.  I personally have never minded Formica.  I find it extremely affordable and durable and easy to clean.  I really wanted marble counters considering the countertop is not very long but financially it didn't work out.  They had a Formica that looked like marble but I was unsure, I thought it might look cheap.  I ended up going with this "soapstone" looking Formica and it's great.  As a consolation prize for not getting the marble counters I bought a marble utensil holder from Crate and Barrel.  I also use this toaster oven all the time.  It's truly a second oven for us.  I even cooked a quiche in there for Mother's day when I was running out of time.  I would love a kitchen with a double oven one day but this oven is great until that time.

And now, the other side of the kitchen.  I've posted about this pantry before but to recap, I was really trying to figure out a way to hide the litter box and unfortunately because of Zimmy I need the largest cat box known to man or he won't fit.  The pantry ended up having pretty good dimensions so I cut the hole and use a Rubbermaid storage container for their litter the front open.  Besides a lot of dust in the cabinet that drives me crazy it works really well.  I only store cleaning supplies in this cabinet and they are all dusty.

I found these vintage Westmoreland plates at a local store for $5 each and thought it was the steal of the century.  One broke during the move and I had to replace it for like $25 but they probably more than anything else I own speak to my style.  I love the colors and the milkglass delicacy of them, the little beads around the edge.

Brian is crazy for water and having the water in the house has always been a problem to solve.  Back in the Big house we put the water dispenser in the laundry room and it was ugly and out of the way.  Then at the yellow house we used 2 Britta pitchers but they take up a lot of space and were high maintenance.  At Costco we saw this water cooler that hides the water bottle inside so it looks cleaner.  It works pretty good.  Mostly it reminds me everytime I wonder why I didn't buy stainless steel appliances how much I hate stainless steel.  Between this and the toaster oven they never look clean even after I clean them and polish them.  White appliances stay clean and when they aren't clean it's because you need to clean them.  Stainless steel drives me crazy.  I don't know how you guys do it.  The stool I got from Home Decorators.  It's very handy for cooking for long periods of time like for parties and Thanksgiving. 

The charging station should probably be in the office but I wanted to make it easy for my husband to charge his phone so I put it here.  Sometimes you have to use function over form.  I have my little ipod dock that I got for Christmas and love and I also replaced my digital photo frame that was broken in the break in.  My mom gave me the vintage canisters a billion years ago, I love them.  The bird is one of my favorite things in the whole house.  We display the bulk of our photos here, the cats have a knack for knocking them over if I put them in other places.  I really need to paint that purple frame.

I really want a basket for the island to put bread and other food items.  One odd fact about me is I don't like to put open food in the pantry.  I have a bug phobia and everything has to be wrapped really well and I don't trust my husband.  Having the food in the center of the room means the bugs have to work harder to get to the food.  I know, I'm so weird, right?  However, this basket from Target is too big and isn't working for me.  Man looking at this makes me want to get a bigger island.  I also have the cat food and the trash can in the center of the room for the same reason.  Notice the cat bowls are off the floor.  I'm telling you, I'm totally weird.

For the flooring I really wanted to do checkerboard marmoleum tiles or industrial vinyl tiles (like at Home Depot).  And though they were a bit more expensive I think I could have swung it but I remembered my husband telling me at some point that he hated vinyl tiles.  So when it was time to do this kitchen I went with this mosiac tile that we had to drive to every Home Depot in a 50 mile radius to get enough of.  I chose gray grout to hide stains and then I spent my 40th birthday laying this tile and grouting it and crying a lot and wanting to die.  I worked my hand so hard my thumb and first finger were numb until around Christmastime.  I swore I would never tile again in my life and I mean it.  Then a few months later Brian was all, you could have done vinyl tile, I would have been fine with that.  Grrrr.  Also, I am not a master tiler or anything but this floor is so uneven it would blow your mind.  We tried to somewhat level it, I spent $600 to get it as level as we could but it would take probably another $2000 to get it completely level and sadly I wish I could but I didn't have the budget.  So the tiles like curve over the bumps so it doesn't look perfect at all.  I could have done a much better job (and it would have gone faster) if the floor was level.  But since I'm never tiling again it doesn't really matter. ;-)  The grout has worked perfectly.  This floor has seen normal stains and it's never been an issue.

I'll source a couple of things, if there are items in my kitchen that you are curious about let me know and I'll try to help you out.

Paint Color - this is color matched to a Maine Cottage Furniture color sample but I looked in my Benjamin Moore fan deck and Antiguan Sky is a very close match.

Blue Milkglass Cabinet Knobs
Mercury Glass Pendant Light
Aqua Bar Stool
Breville Toaster Oven
Bose Ipod Dock
What I Love Most About My Home - Print
Adorable Bird - Get on the mailing list if you want one.
Cake Stand
Westmoreland Fruit Plates
 Floor Tiles


  1. love love lovelovelovelove your kitchen!! i actually like that you only have three bowls on top--it's just enough--i often find kitchens that are all cluttery above the cabinets. this is simple and fresh and (to me) just right.

    i think it's funny that you hate the shelves but don't want to put in the work to change them right now--i totally understand. sometimes you just know how much work it's going to take, and it's just too much at the time--i have loooots of this type of stuff in my house, including a room that the previous owners only half finished with beadboard up to the chair rail--it really wouldn't be that difficult to continue it around the rest of the room (and would definitely look better), but it's going to be a lot of work and hours and sweat to do it and i just don't want to right now. but one weekend i'll just start it without really thinking, and then i'll be so happy once it's done!

    if you do work on the shelves, have you ever thought of installing one more shelf under the existing ones? i know that would mean removing the tv (but no more cords!), but you'd get more usable space...

    1. Hi Wilma, I think a third shelf is a good idea if I do decide to redo it.

    2. I could remove the tv and just bring it out the 2 days of the year that I use it. Looking at the photos now it really just doesn't work.

    3. i know what you mean about the tv--i really loved the idea about a tv in the kitchen, but my husband hated it. so now, when i really want to watch something while cooking, i just use my laptop. i wish you could come and do some decorating at my house!

  2. Love this post because it reminds me about how gorgeous your kitchen was when you gave us the in-person home tour last summer. I know you have things you wish you could change but I honestly thought it was perfect!

    1. Thanks Denise. Truth be told, I'd probably want it different if it was perfect. That's just my nature.

  3. I love it! You have such a charming style. Love seeing pictures of your projects.

  4. I love it! You have such a charming style & lovely sense of color. I love seeing pictures of your projects.

  5. I really like your philosophy that making your home more whimsical makes you enjoy being there more. That's exactly my design philosophy as well... and what makes a "home" to me. Formal rooms and stuffy rooms make no sense to me - and usually don't even end up getting used! What's the point? Homes should be lived in. Wondering why you opted against a peninsula? I could totally see one in there with those adorable blue stools.

    1. It was just a personal preference not to do a peninsula. I've always wanted a giant island and this felt like my chance. I also like being able to enter the kitchen at both points and it makes it easier for parties not to just have the one entrance. Also, I didn't know it at the time but it would have pushed the budget. Finishing the backside and extending the counter would have ended up costing more.

    2. The peninsula would probably would have blocked that nice light from the sliding doors also. I love islands.

    3. That's true, I noticed when we first knocked the wall down that at the end of the day, light, and by light I mean the best warm light of the day reaches all the way to the front of the house. I've since blocked it by keeping my patio umbrella up all the time but at the time I wouldn't have stopped that light for anything.

  6. I love your kitchen - it looks really roomy and airy. Love how you've made it feel so light and spacious as well as utilitarian. You definitely have a gift, achieving all that on a small budget.

    I'm sitting in my kitchen now, looking around, and I feel a big declutter and clean coming on here!

    1. I just decluttered my own kitchen after my post. That's funny.

  7. Hi Lori, I am so glad you re-opened your blog and I re-discovered it! I have been reading your various blogs since about 2005. I absolutely love your sense of style. I am planning renovations for my home and you give me such a great sense of what I really want to change in my own house.

  8. Your kitchen is so lovely, Lori! From the colors up to organization, it looks so awesome! Either sliders or french doors will look great and will surely brighten up your kitchen. It feels good to be in a kitchen where you have a wonderful view of the outdoors; it'll inspire you to cook delicious meals.

    -Willene Fagen @ RoofingandMoreINC