Kitchen Makeover | Part I

When we got this house, I really thought I'd have sooo much more blogging material. And as a matter of fact, I do. I've just been short on the blogging time. So allow me to apologize for blog posts being so few and far between for the last few months. Good stuff is coming, I promise. We spent the summer and warmer months of fall focused on the the exterior. And we're devoting our winter to giving the interior a facelift. That mostly means: peeling wallpaper, fixing plaster, and sealing / priming / painting the walls.

See—we did the the butler's pantry as a wallpaper removal / plaster repair / wall painting test run. And it turned out pretty lovely. (It doesn't look lovely right now since it's basically become the temporary catch-all for everything while we take on the kitchen.)

Speaking of which... that's how we spent our week off from work.

Here's the before. Someday—in a few years someday—we're going to totally redo this kitchen. It's tall, but small. The counters are outdated and beige (oh, the horror). The appliances don't match and are awkwardly place. Like, we have to open the oven to open the dishwasher—that type of awkwardly placed. 

But for now, we can live with the space. There's lots of cabinets. The ceiling (not pictured) is beautiful wood. And it's so wonderful to have a dishwasher after years of both of us renting and doing dishes by hand.

To make the space more lovely, we are making some changes though. Starting with the walls. One of the previous owners put up dark green wallpaper. With the dark cabinets, dark wood ceiling, and solo window, it just makes the space feel so very dark.

Here's a glimpse of what the space looked like when we started peeling wallpaper. We use DIF and it works like a charm. First, we peel off the top layer of wallpaper, which comes off pretty easily with just our fingers. Then (since we have several layers of wallpaper) we saturate the walls with DIF. We buy the concentrated version, so we can mix it with water as we need to. (We'd go through the pre-mixed stuff waaaay too fast, so this also saves precious dollars.) We wipe up any excess DIF and let it sit about ten or fifteen minutes. When we come back, the wallpaper is bubbling up and ready to be peeled and scraped. 

All the walls on the main floor are original plaster and lath (which we love, btw), but this place is over a hundred years old. So there's some smoothing out and repairs to do. Luckily, G's super handy and has basically become a pro at plaster work. :)

As pictured before, here's a peek at what we were dealing with under the wallpaper. Bright yellow walls. We've tossed around some names for the color. School bus yellow. Sweet corn yellow. Sunny D yellow. You can see that one of the previous owners did some plaster work, but they basically repaired it enough to slap some wallpaper on it. So we've (err, Greg) has a lot of sanding and smoothing out to do. 

We also came across some weird surprises—like peeling away wallpaper and finding plywood. Apparently, a previous owner put plywood over the plaster walls rather than repairing them. Oh, if old house walls could talk. ;)

So what color is going to replace that Sunny D yellow? Well, a nice, neutral greige. I was originally planning on a light turquoise, but when I put paint chips on the wall to see how different hues would look against the trim and in different light... G and I both weren't feeling the turquoise vibes. 

You see, the butler's pantry is right there and it's painted in a lovely shade of minty-fresh bluish green with accents of red, beige, charcoal, and copper. And we weren't keen on the transition from turquoise to another light bluish green. So I turned to a pile of light beigey-gray paint samples and found the one. Which one? I'll let you know when we get to the painting stage. ;)

I'm really excited about the greige walls. I think it will work well with the warm-toned wood trim, burnt orange floors, and beige countertops. The kitchen won't be wanting for color though. We'll be accessorizing with red and turquoise—I can't wait to see how things pop against the greige. 

I also just can't wait for the kitchen to be done. It's hard to live with the most used room in the house feeling like a construction zone. We've got plastic hanging in the doorways to keep dust confined. There's a giant ladder and G's shop vac hanging out as obstacles. And it's just not a suitable space for cooking right now. 

We should be really close to being done by the end of this weekend. 

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