04 Feb

Bye Bye Cookie Cutter Kitchen

final finishes

I know this is going to come as a shock to you but I don’t cook. So when we walked through this house the modest size of the kitchen wasn’t really an issue for me. For the most part, it serves its purpose and we have all the appliances we need. And though I’m not really keen on them being black they were pretty new so there was no incentive to spend the money to swap ’em out.

builder grade kitchen

Instead, I splurged on backsplash tiles that pulled the space together. The black and grey glass worked well with the appliances and the variations in the slate pulled in the orange tone of the wood cabinets and trim.

glass backsplash tiles

The laminate countertops were in great shape so instead of replacing them I created a spice shelf to physically and visually break up the surfaces. It extends about 4″ – just enough room for the salt and pepper (or sample jar of paint). Once that was complete, I installed upgraded lighting fixtures.

diy spice shelf

So, it always bugged me that the countertop around the sink was a bit ‘overgrown’. It wasn’t wide enough for a true breakfast bar and you couldn’t sit there and not back up into the dining chairs. Since we didn’t have another eating space I had to find a way to make this one seem larger.

eat in kitchen area

Now listen, even if I wasn’t a DIY’er or interior designer I have watched enough HGTV to know that never, in the hundreds of hours of real estate shows aired has there ever been a buyer who loved everything about a home except for the fact that it lacked an overgrown countertop.

I have, however, heard plenty a property virgin whine about where all of her friends and family will sit during their housewarming party. So, the decision to cut the countertop was an easy one to make – for resale value obviously.

cut laminate countertop

See? Once I trimmed it out and stained it to match the other wood, you couldn’t even tell it hadn’t always been that way.

wood trim on counter

Just look at how much larger the dining area is! (all of the chairs are around the table)

extended dining space

After adding brushed nickel hardware to the cabinets and drawers (to tie in with the stainless steel on the stove) I cut and installed wooden crown molding above and swapped the builder grade hollow core pantry door for something a little more fun-ctional.

cabinet crown molding

Then the 7″ shallow sink was replaced with a deeper 9″ version.

shallow sink deep stainless sink

…and it was bye-bye to that cookie cutter kitchen.

final finishes

Want to see what is going on behind that pantry door? Check it out here. Or are you wondering where I stashed the trash can? It’s under here…

05 Sep

When Bold is Beautiful

update table & chairs

You know that cliché “go big or go home”? I’ve been in restaurants with tables smaller than the one Misty commissioned me to update for her busy family. She and her husband, a local church Pastor, entertain often and loved the size of their second-hand dining room set but knew it was in need of an overhaul. So when she asked, I was happy to see what I could do to help.

Because theirs is a home full of activity – with three young children and a constant flow of visitors – their tabletop had seen better days. The clear finish had gummed up and worn away in several spots. Misty gave up trying to get it clean and opted for a large tablecloth instead.

dirty table

the infamous ‘before’ picture

The chairs were in pretty good condition. A bit of glue to tack down the splat veneer, lots of paint and new upholstery would freshen them right up. They felt solid and were heavy. And once I’d stripped them of fabric and foam I knew why.

veneer chair

guess what the seat is made from…

I guess over in Malaysia it’s common to repurpose laminate countertops into seat bases. It must also be standard practice to secure fabric with 108 staples per chair. Have you ever tried to pry staples out of MDF? I don’t recommend it. Especially not eight times over.

Another lesson learned on this project was that attempts to spot-bleach wood will fail. Miserably. And since the top was composed of thin sheets of veneer an all-over-bleaching would soak through and compromise the substrate glue. That meant my plan to restore the natural blonde wood tone was out the window.

wood bleach

spot bleaching is bad!

See, originally Misty and I both assumed the filmstrip-like border was a sticker or paint and would easily remove when the table was stripped. I was surprised to find the checks were built into the tabletop itself and couldn’t bring myself to paint over the gorgeous ebony wood inlay.

black dining table

color: caviar & paint minerals

So, I taped it off and painted over. Three times.

ebony wood inlay

salvaged ebony wood inlay

Stunning right? I love how the skirting’s dentil molding pops against the checkered pattern that ties fabulously with the polka dots on the chair seat fabric (that is on sale right now.) Seriously, I love when project pieces just fall together.

Speaking of chair seat fabric, the very day I planned to haul these puppies out of the garage for delivery I had an unexpected challenge to overcome.

reupholstered chair pad

Why is there a gap under the chair pad?

The original screws seemed to have grown a 1/4″ causing the space between the chair base and seat. Apparently, eliminating the fabric-wrapped piping from the finished design meant I’d need (32) shorter screws (and a fancy new screwdriver) to complete the project.

painted veneer chair

paint: caviar black / fabric: wizard graffiti

But look at that chair. And those chairs down there! Gorgeous.

painted chairs

paint: lime rickey

Personally, I wasn’t sure if it would all come together. See, when we first discussed paint the plan was to finish the chairs in pairs with (4) different colors (red, green, black, cream) to tie in the bold fabric. Along the way, Misty decided to streamline the palette.

modern dining set

the glorious ‘after’ shot

And it works. Now the fabric takes center stage. Removing the captain’s chairs all together changes up the look too.

black kitchen table

not bad in all black

Now Misty doesn’t have to cover up when guests come over. Her fun, inviting table will no doubt make everyone feel right at home.

painted dining room table

back at home 

black kitchen table

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