Kitchen Design Dilemmas

When I started thinking about my ultimate kitchen remodel, I imagined wide open spaces, a huge bar with cool pendant lights that overlooked a den with huge TV, stuff like that.  You always hear about people who move into an old house like mine, take a wall out of the kitchen, and voila — open kitchen, cool bar, easy fix.

Unfortunately, not here.  The den’s too shallow, the dining room’s too deep, etc., etc.  Michael’s dad Gary is an architect, and he is helping me with plans.  He’s reworked sketches several different ways, and short of removing/reconfiguring all walls, the open plan just isn’t doable.

So a galley it shall remain.

The most recent time Gary was here he came up with this sketch:

sketch as pic

Here is my crude drawing of how it is now:

kitchen as is

The trouble I’m having with the new idea relates to the round counter/island deal. I didn’t want a dinette table, and I was trying to figure a way to extend the counter into the bay. Gary suggested ending the counter at the edge of the bay and extending it on the other side.

Sometimes I like this and sometimes I think I may not. I remember seeing a really nifty rolling island in a magazine and have wondered if a counter-height bar could be built to fit at the one end. Anyways, that’s where I’m at. I am going to post this dilemma on Gardenweb and see if anyone responds.

Kitchen Before

The day has finally arrived that I have the financial means to bust out my kitchen without busting out my bank account. I have decided that Texas/OU weekend in mid-October is the deadline for completion.

Here are some (obviously!) before shots:

Kitchen side

Kitchen corridor

Sink side

Nook with aluminum bay window

Sink view

Stovetop

Oops Paint is the Best Paint

Oops Collection, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

I have recently become a big fan of oops paint. This is the deep discount paint you find at pretty much any hardware store, reduced because it was mixed incorrectly. Or someone just didn’t want that paint they just mixed and set it amongst the hose end sprayers on his way out.

Either way, oops paint is a great value and great fun. It’s easy to mix new colors, seems to be available in most shades, and it’s uber cheap. I didn’t want to spend much on the dining table redo, so all of that was oops paint, maybe $10 worth.

I have proactively purchased a few colors at $5 or $2 a pop, anticipating future projects. I love that red in the photo above.

The paint clerk at the Elliot’s in Plano must be really sloppy because it’s a goldmine of high-end Benjamin Moore oops paint. I picked up one cream and one white enamel yesterday, both of which will surely come in handy.

I am even considering repainting the front living/dining room an oops paint color. I didn’t set out to do this, it just sort of jumped out to me when I looked at a big swatch. Hopefully I can get them to match the once-wrong color!

Estate Sale Find – Woodmark Wing Chair

Hekman Wing Chair, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

Check out the fabulous wing chair my mom bought me for $50 at an estate sale! I love it. It is made by Woodmark which is now owned by Hekman.

Here it is with a long dog needlepoint pillow on it:

And here it is with a long dog on it:

Closeup:

Ruby likes!

DIY Distressed Dining Table

Not too long ago I decided to change up the arrangement of the formal living and dining areas in my house.  I’d rather formally dine than formally sit around, and there was just too little space for a table in the originally intended spot under the chandelier.  So I flipped living and dining areas.  I like it much better now.  We sit in this area a ton more.

At first we sat at the old table:

Nice but stuffy.  I sold it for $140 for it on craigslist a couple weeks ago.  The lady who picked it up, she was eccentric.  She wore riding pants and equestrian boots and spoke about her horses with a real twang.  She pulled up with a flatbed trailer, and she talked as if she has a giant warehouse on her property full of craigslist furniture.

To replace it I purchased this one (also from craigslist) for $75, with the intention of refinishing it:

Inspired by Holly Baker’s fabulous blog In the Fun Lane, I decided to go with a distressed white/gray look.

This trend is everywhere now.  Hot hot hot.  I have read that since the economy is bad, design is all about old and beat up finishes now.  Paint it gray!  Rip those jeans!  Embrace your inner junkiness!

After a couple coats of paint, some hammer banging and sandpapering, here is the after.  I think it turned out well.

I am the Junk Fairy: Sandbox = Raised Veg. Garden

Sandbox, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

A week or so ago I came across this sandbox in a neighbor’s brush-and-bulky trash pile. It’s about 3.5 feet square, and I think it would make an excellent raised vegetable garden bed. After removing the shade cover, I think the posts would work well as frames or supports for a couple tomatoes, or maybe some beans.

I don’t have a good sunny spot for this, so my brother-in-law David is going to use it in his backyard. Success! Junk in, junk out. I am now gifting junk! I am truly the junk fairy!

Free Wood Everywhere

My Neighbor’s Woodpile, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

About a month ago there was a gigantic snowstorm here in Dallas. In one day it snowed more than 12 inches.

This record-breaking event also broke a lot of branches. Evergreens were especially hard-hit, with huge live oaks and magnolias snapping like twigs under the weight of the snow.

Since then, piles and piles of wood keep appearing out in front of houses for brush pickup. The city has made at least one sweep through my neighborhood, but as the cleanup continues the piles keep growing and multiplying, and the city seems to be slowing down. The pile above has been blocking my dog-walking path for weeks.

This got me thinking – what could I use all this wood for? Firewood is an obvious option. But my fireplace has gas logs, and I don’t have an outside fire pit. Surely someone should pick up the huge stumps for firewood?!?

Here are some other thoughts:

Branch arrangement (from apartmenttherapy.com)

Another branch arrangement (at my local Pottery Barn, and every other similar store)

Wall decoration from Life in the Fun Lane (hands down my new favorite blog!!)

Stump table (from West Elm, who would have thought?)

Magnolia wreaths.  This one (southernliving.com) looks like a holiday one, but I’ve seen square ones recently in stores that are more year-round.