Friday, April 10, 2009

Home Improvement

The Kitchen.
I have a problem. Ok, I have many problems. But the one that applies to this post is my problem with GOING OVERBOARD on anything I'm involved in. I am a woman of extremes apparently. I had the idea one sunny Saturday afternoon to paint my kitchen. For those of you who know me, you know that the kitchen is my 'center', as in, the place that I relax, create, plan, entertain, etc. I spend 95% of my time in my kitchen and after looking at this one for 2 years, it was time to spruce it up a, off to Home Depot we went... several hours and many, many dollars later- our 'I-look-like-I'm-owned-by-a-70-year-old' kitchen began it's transformation. (see below)... ignore the mess...

Has anyone ever heard of Venetian plaster??? I'd seen something in a magazine once and decided to try it for myself....thus the saga began. The stuff is applied with a trowel in random patterns...then you wait several hours for the 1st coat to dry, sand it smooth and then applying the second coat. The process is repeated 4 times and then the burnishing begins. So, to burnish you take the trowel and press it flat against the wall surface and rub REALLY hard. I hadn't gotten very far (relatively speaking) when I stood back, looked at the wall, looked at the paint sample I gave to the paint guy, and went, "this is NOT the right color." I'd put so much work into it at that point that I actually considered just living with the weird terra cotta color- but eventually I decided that if I was putting this much effort into something, I should get what I wanted out of back to Home Depot I went.
Back again a few hours later, I started the process all over again. About 3 days had passed since that sunny Saturday. This picture was taken near the end of the process it's out of sequence, but this way you can see what venetian plaster looks like BEFORE it's done.

scary huh? It's part of the process. Just wait.

So, I couldn't just paint the stupid kitchen. Of course not. No, I had to go 'fancy'. And after days and days of plastering, sanding, burnishing and repeating and then falling into bed, I said to myself, "Why, that backsplash looks horrendous. It's gotta go." And proceeded to rip it off. I forgot to mention that 'painting the kitchen' also involved Ryan and his buddy Andrew tearing out a weird interior window and the weird look-through into my dining room and arching both of those to match the rest of the doorways in the house. Thus construction began. Just look at what a GREAT job those guys did though.

No more weird interior window.

SO- we got the walls done, stood back and went..."eww." The walls were great. Really amazing. Never seen walls like that anywhere, honestly. But now the cabinets looked horrible. They looked horrible before we started any of this, admittedly, but now, against the backdrop of beautiful walls, those thing looked even worse, if that's possible. So, back to Home Depot for oil based paint in the color of my favorite coffee mug, which is off-white. Home again, paint a few cabinets and I go..."No, no, nope...still not right..." Back to Home Depot for bead board and moulding. For those of you who are feeling compassionate for my husband right now- I won't tell you not to feel that way, because hey, he's a great guy- but I will tell you that it was me alone who plastered, sanded and burnished until I literally had a breakdown at our small group one night and burst into tears while discussing the project. So you can feel sorry for him if you want- but I don't.
He did joyfully accept my request for new cabinets and built them himself. They're still in progress in this photo.

Here's a pic of the GORGEOUS reflective shine of the plaster once it's burnished.

So, while the guys were busy drinking beer and tearing things out of my house, Andrew and I came up with the idea of a breakfast bar in the dining room...heh heh heh...

So they built one... :)

I am proud to say that we are no longer the owner of a geriatric kitchen- but are currently enjoying a very 'old-world', tuscan look.

So, do I have an after photo for you to enjoy? Of course not. Because once I looked at the beautiful cabinets, walls and breakfast bar I said, "That faucet has gotta go!" and promptly got on the internet and ordered a new one. It's due to arrive this afternoon ;) And when it gets here and my perfect husband installs it, I will take a stunning 'after' pic for all of you. I'm also waiting on the barstools I ordered...that could take awhile- but I'll try to post some very glossy, magazine like pictures very very soon. Perhaps once the new lighting is in...and the area rug purchased....

You discover a great deal about yourself when you remodel a house...I am a woman of extremes as I have said. We also discovered that Ryan is a man of great talant when it comes to cabinetry, construction, tile work and, well, all sorts of things.
Did I mention that while we were working on all of this, we discovered that our stair case was suffering from dry rot and had to rip that whole thing out too? Ryan and Andrew rebuilt it one afternoon while I went to IKEA. Then they put in a new slate landing, sheet rock and redid the structural support for the north side of our house...

I am making a list of things for my very talanted man to do over the summer >:)


Anonymous said...

hahah! the wallpaper border was *very choice*

y'know, linda had an interior window, too. there's an enclosed back porch on the north side of the house, and eventually she boarded it off because the porch gets so frickin' cold. you could stand there and feel the breeze.

i'm not saying this will happen to you. but i note from the details beyond the weird interior kitchen window that yes, there's a porch there.

so, now you know. (now that it's too late.)
it's okay. i'm sure ryan can fix that too. ;D

meliken said...

ah yes, we're aware of the breezy North porch- but actually, it's not that bad. My office is out there and the stairs that go to the basement...
we're replacing the windows and the back door with heavy duty vinyl. Hopefully that'll help !

Laura said...

HOLY COW!!! That looks AMAZING!!!! I love the cabinets! When we moved in mine look like yours. I made my husband paint them a couple yrs ago, but I like your much better!

Jodi said...

Wow! Looks great guys! I can't wait for that after picture. :)

meliken said...

thanks guys-
Laura, he did do a great job on the cabinets! The process was relatively simple, too. I bet your guy could do the same thing! And they're SO much less expensive than buying them new!

klyn said...

I catch people trying to steal my husband when they find out how useful he is (especially his parents), so watch Ryan carefully now that the word is out - actually, Andrew should be careful, too. What an amazing change. Love the breakfast bar. We have been looking at our awkward kitchen for almost three years might have a long adolescence though. Chad's already got plans for demolition - his favorite part. It's the finish work later than lingers longer than welcome.

rebecca said...

WOW! I am at a loss of words at how much you all accomplished! Tone' has the vision and the skills but lacks the motivation and I have the motivation but lack the skill and vision. You would think we could work as a team to get it done, but no, we don't. Ummm, can I borrow your husband?