When we bought our house two Octobers ago, the second-most heinous part was the kitchen. For one, the walls were pink, which may work in some homes, but not mine.
For two, the countertops are original, as in 1972. Yeah, not pretty. Why, just the other day I took a burning hot pan and set it right down on the countertop, leaving a permanent burn mark. Did I know it would burn? Yep. Did I care? Nope. Why not? Because I was actually trying to improve the look.
For three, the room is dominated by L-shaped countertops and cupboards, dividing the work area and the seating area. Prior to our Phase 1 adjustment, if you were, say, cooking at the stove, you would have had to bend over, taking care not to plunge your face into whatever dish you were cooking, in order to see or chat with your guests.
Anyhow, the first thing we did was paint the walls. I chose the “bold traditional palette” from a Houzz article, “8 Great Kitchen Color Schemes,” that I thought offered a cafe/Starbucks kind of look. We painted the dominant parts of the walls with Glidden Soft Suede, which on our walls really appears more green than beige. We painted the soffits with Glidden Swiss Coffee, and our accent wall with Glidden Bittersweet Chocolate. We reserved red as an accent color, which we really haven’t gotten around to using yet.
Oh yeah, did I mention this was Phase 1? Phase 2 involves gutting the whole kitchen. We’re not there yet.
Below are before and after photos (apologies for the mess; had I known I’d someday use them on the blog, I would have straightened up a bit before taking them), and I explain in the captions what we did.
Tell me, what’s so pretty about this?
These are the 1972 countertops I mentioned. I recall the same pattern on my family’s kitchen table when I was a kid. In 1972.
Original light above the sink. Collection of dead bugs aside, it’s still yucky.
Good view of all that pink and the barrier that halves the kitchen.
The view from the other side isn’t so pretty either. Kind of scary and sad, actually.
We felt the wagon wheel fixture absolutely had to go. It screamed “country.”
The kitchen flooring was new. It’s engineered hickory, and quite nice looking. The kitchen’s saving grace, as it were.
This is the seating area, painted Soft Suede. You can see how green it looks on our walls. Luckily, we both love green.
Because we hated the barrier between the cooking and the seating area, we removed the fronts of the cupboard doors first. Then we went whole hog and ripped the backs off too, opening up the space.
Next we removed the stove fan/vent from above the stove, opening the space even further. On the right you can see the Swiss Coffee on the top half of the wall and the Bittersweet Chocolate (first coat) on the lower half. No more pink!
We painted the cupboard frames with Swiss Coffee, and Arkady cut plexiglass pieces to work as “invisible” shelves. Then we immediately filled them with decorative glassware and pottery … and wine.
We decided to make the accent wall more formal with wainscoting and a chair rail. It would take a year before we finished that part.
New light fixture above the sink with a mosaic glass shade from Lowe’s. And no dead bugs!
It’s perhaps not a cleaner look (what IS all that junk?), but at least it’s more open and hopefully a wee bit more sophisticated. I’m eager to move the plants from the window seat and actually use that space for seating.
After all was said and done, we realized the wagon wheel fixture fit perfectly. No longer screamed “country.”
Speaking of country, I love how my Amish-made sideboard fits into the whole scheme. The copper door inserts became a theme, so we’ve tried to incorporate copper in the kitchen wherever we can. (That white plastic gadget on the sideboard is my new spiralizer, which I’m totally ga-ga over.)
Case in point. We found this set of copper mugs for $12 at the Painesville Craft and Antique Co-op. No, not $12 each, but all four for $12! Made in the USA. Gorgeous.
This side of the kitchen was untouched except for coats of paint to cover the pink.
Another of my beloved Leandra Drumm pewter switchplates graces the eating/cafe area.
View from a different angle.
The finished wainscoting and chair rail, painted Bittersweet Chocolate and hung with liquid nails — woo hoo!
Well, don’t hold your breath for Phase 2. We’re a couple of years and several trips to KraftMaid away, I’d say. But in the meantime, it’s amazing how paint, new light fixtures and wainscoting can transform a space. Still, those pesky countertops….