so. i watched my first episode of fixer upper last night & realized something about myself. i love old homes. yes, i live in an old home, i bought an old home on purpose; i never loved them before. i did not appreciate them. i did not care about their charm & original details. i just wanted a home that didn’t feel like it was falling apart & i always thought that meant a life in a cookie-cutter suburban home unless you had the big bucks to build your own. i used to dream about being out of this house because i despised living in something that i couldn’t trust to keep me sane. now i only dream about being out of this house because i want an adventure in another life. anyway. as i’m watching chip? is his name chip? please don’t name your kid chip. as i’m watching that dude rip out ALL of the character & original everything from this 1930s home, i’m getting angry. i never realized how much i cared. it also really bothered me how much shit they threw into a landfill & how they decided to use 75% of a budget for an extravagant, professional grade kitchen. i don’t know. i just felt oddly protective of my house afterward. it was strange. i think all of the back-reading i did on this & this really rubbed off on me. i love anna & daniel’s perspective on old homes & i guess i’ve grown to see it the same way. look people, i’ve evolved!
i bitch about that to say, it really got me thinking about my kitchen. my kitchen is the thing that everybody comments on when they come over for the first time. everyone thinks it’s cute. everyone but me (because i obviously refuse to love anything). there are things about it that i don’t hate but to ooh & aah over it? give me a fucking break. i realized watching fixer upper that the things i don’t like about my kitchen are the things that were done to “update” it (counters, backsplash, flooring). i want to fix that.
i spent 4 hours scrubbing it from top to bottom & the pain in my shoulders is proof. i’m choosing to believe my pain is from cleaning & not from the hours a day i get sucked in to playing minecraft on my laptop. it’s probably from minecraft. i am a child.
when we were house hunting, i remember being thrilled to find one that had been opened up a little. apparently i didn’t try sitting at the bar when we looked at it because i would have discovered then that the counter depth is too shallow for your knees to fit underneath it. i also managed to ignore the poop brown walls, the laundry room in the kitchen & that it had tile countertops. i’m a professional ignor-er.
the upper cabinets are original though which is nice buuuut i hate them. i think it’s because i know that they’re cracked in the back, even though nobody else knows. i think once i redo them & replace the hardware, i’ll be happier with them. the bottom cabinets were replaced at some point & they don’t match the style of the top which bothers me.
on the other side (looking towards the front door) are original cabinets & although they are great for storage, they don’t function well. they’re very low & they all stick. i need to put some sweat & tears into them & sand them down a little. we used them as a pantry for awhile but i really didn’t like having to get on the floor to find a spice. right now i’m using them as tools/paint storage because our garage is “the point of no return” so i avoid storing things in it. one day i’ll remedy that…. maybe. maybe i’ll just torch it.
the POS “built-in” desk that was added was a mess. the cabinets were only 10 inches deep (useless), the top wasn’t painted correctly & it wasn’t even sanded smooth. we never used it for anything more than a place to drop shit we didn’t want to put away right then anyway.
a couple of weeks ago, i mustered up the courage to start painting the kitchen. this was my least favorite paint color in the house but it took me seven years to paint it. the thought of moving appliances made me quit before i started. i figured the best place to start was this side of the kitchen since there are no appliances to move. as soon as i started i had an overwhelming NEED to remove the desk. i sent this picture to my husband with the words “i wonder how hard taking this out will be….”. i’m sure he sent me back something to the effect of NO. if you’ve never lived in a house with plaster walls, let me tell you, they are the devils work. they make everything so much scarier. you never know how much damage your wall is going to take from something as simple as hanging a picture, let alone ripping out a cabinet. whatever ryan did say back, i ignored it & said fuck it.
turns out, it wasn’t even built in! nothing was screwed to the walls or each other. *insert eye roll* this makes me very curious about what this space was originally. was it a banquette? once i saw how easy the removal was, my heart dropped because i just knew they had to have done it for a reason. there must be something horrible hiding behind those cabinets. nope. nothing. the walls are in fine shape. the molding is all intact. the only thing back there is where our cable drop is for internet & i knew i could find a better solution for our router that didn’t require so much bulk.
i still can’t believe how much of a difference the white makes. it’s just off-the-shelf Behr premium plus white in eggshell. a lot of bloggers say how horrible it is to “find the right white”. people seem to put themselves through agony finding the right shade. i decided i wasn’t going to. probably not the smartest decision but i really didn’t want to overthink it. i literally went to my local lowes & told the paint guy, “i just want a 5 gallon bucket of straight white paint. show me where it is”. i didn’t even attempt to look at paint chips. so far, i’ve painted the living room & kitchen, floor to ceiling, with the same white & i love it so much. i also didn’t bother using a different shade or sheen for the trim or ceiling because i’m a rebel.
i know white rooms have been really popular the last couple of years & are also getting a lot of hate because people are “so over it” already. guys, calm down. unless you live there, why do you care? people like what they like & i personally love an all white room. i always lean towards a minimal design & white fits that for me. i’ve tried to do the whole boho-maximalist thing a couple of times. i love it in other people’s spaces but when it comes down to it, i just really hate owning a lot of shit.
anyway, when i was done i moved this white cabinet from IKEA in here, cut a hole in the back & put our router, microwave & other various small kitchen appliances inside. problem solved. if i were a good blogger i probably would’ve removed the dog water bowl before i took this picture but this is real life & my dogs drink a shit ton of water. this is the least conspicuous place in our house for it.
this side wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be. moving the fridge isn’t too hard. moving the washer & dryer was a beast but i did it because i’m stubborn, impatient & don’t like help if i think i can manage it. i’ve moved those things over & over again at this point. it doesn’t get easier in case you were wondering. my favorite part about this side being white? the brick. don’t ask me why, i have no answer that makes since. it just seems to make such a difference being white.
the worst part about his process? this motherfucking door*. i’ve never stripped paint before & now i never want to again. the paint was in such horrible condition that i didn’t have a choice but to start from scratch. i spent hours & hours & hours, over multiple days, trying to get this paint off. our house isn’t well ventilated & i don’t own a real respirator so after reading some reviews i went with Citristrip stripping gel. i think i applied it to every spot at least six times. if i was lucky, each application would get 1 layer of paint off. the directions say to paint it on, wait 15 minutes & then scrape it off with a putty knife. HA. i found 2 different ways that kind of worked, depending on how much time i had to work on it, neither of which matched the instructions or video tutorials on “how easy it is to use”., 1. apply in one foot sections at a time & immediately start scraping. repeat. 2. put on a really thick coat, wait at least a day or however long it takes to dry & then come back to it. usually, it would start bubbling and i could peel the layers off by hand. i preferred this method but it took for.ever.
*it makes me sad now that this door had a dog door cut in it. don’t get me wrong, i love my dog door. but but but but. this is such a beautiful, solid wood door & it sucks that they just cut a hole in the middle of the panels. if you couldn’t tell, the dog door could use a replacement too. it’s permanently disgusting.
in the end i got it done & i’m still really happy with the results. i still have several things left to-do but just having fresh paint is so satisfying!
i’m at a stand still on what to do above the stove. i was thinking about doing a pegboard to hold pots & pans & whatnot’s but i can’t decide on whether it would look cool or trashy. do you paint it the same color as the wall to make it blend or a dark color for contrast? i would like to use the space as some sort of storage. or do i just hang a big piece of art? help me.
that fancy trim & light above the sink have to go. i can’t stand them. some days i just want to rip down all of those cabinets but like i mentioned before, i’m too terrified to see what kind of shape the plaster walls would be left in & i really don’t want to budget for drywall.
i want to replace the countertops myself like daniel’s at manhatten nest. i absolutely love the look of his mini-overhaul. i keep telling ryan that i could do it & it’d be easy so he doesn’t need to worry about it. i don’t know if he believes me. i think i’ve decided that i should paint the bottom cabinets dark & i’ve already got the color picked! it’s really hard to keep white cabinets looking clean when you have 3 messy dogs that run in & out of the kitchen a million times a day to access the backyard. i think having a dark base would really help with keeping things looking cleaner on a regular basis. thoughts?
things left to do:
apply one more coat of paint to the back door
apply one more coat on the trim surrounding the door (& then move the washer & dryer back closer to the wall)
- add storage (pegboard? shelves?) above stove
replace black roller blind with a properly fitting white one to match rest of the house
cut off trim detail above window
- replace light above sink
- sand cabinets down & repaint
- replace the hardware on all the cabinets
- replace counters with wood
- replace air vent cover
- tile backsplash*
- replace stove with stainless steel to match the other appliances*
- find a longer beautiful rug to cover more of the floor*
*more of a pipe dream unless they cost $0, but a girl can dream
two more for cuteness factor alone because apparently hank was unhappy with the amount of time i took to snap these pictures so he decided he’d plant himself in the middle of them.
you win hank, you win.