Kitchen Project – Part One

I have been putting off writing this post for so long now!  Not because I don’t want to write it, but because it’s been such a blur of demo and decisions and kinks and successes that I haven’t really been confident in just where to begin.  So instead of putting it off any longer and forgetting details, I am just going to pound it out!

Hubby and I have lived in our home for almost nine years now.  We moved in in August of 2006.  I remember that specifically because we had only moved the basic necessities over (clothes, TV, food) and I took a digger off of a pissy mare’s back and broke my hand, so I wasn’t able to help move the heavy stuff.  Oops.  Over the years, we have talked about what our goals were as far as updates and that, and every year we have worked to improve our 125 year old home.

This year, we decided to tackle the kitchen!  I have been dreaming of this one for a long time now.
When we moved in, the kitchen was a terrible shade of dank mint green.  Our first project when moving in initially was painting everything.  And I mean everything.

So to begin, let me give you a tour of our kitchen as it looked at the start of this project (and has looked for 8 years now).

Yup. Red. And you know what? I freaking still LOVE the red! So much so that I am about 90% sure we are going to keep the red. Those colors were chosen based on the wallpaper border that we tacked up. Say what you want about my red, but I have loved it and I have never second guessed my decision! Here is a look at the south wall without all of the daily clutter.

This wall is definitely the ‘hub’ of the kitchen. The space itself is very large, but what you see is about all there was for cabinet and counter space! There are two uppers above the refrigerator as well. Counter space is at a premium around here.

To the left, we have the east wall.  This houses our fridge, stove and the bathroom door.


I began typing something along the lines of ‘please disregard the mess’ just now with an explanation of why it’s messy, but then I said screw it because you know what?  I think it’s refreshing when I read other blogs and discover that they don’t live in a home décor magazine.

Swinging back over to the right, we have the west wall.

This wall had room for nothing.  It was only in the last six months or so that my lovely Craigslist table made it’s way in just so we had another surface to throw stuff on.  We don’t eat there, we just store junk there.  **smiles**  Really I just needed the surface area to put a lot of the counter stuff on so we could get started.  The door leads to a landing that to the right goes down into the basement, or to the left is another door to the outside patio and backyard.

And finally, the north wall.  This wall separates the kitchen from the living room.


That ‘window’ there was actually a window in the original house, and the doorway actually lead outside. I never had a huge issue with the wall, as the window opening made it feel like it was a part of the house. But what chapped my rear was the fact that the other side is a long room and the space right on the other side of the wall was probably meant to be a dining room, but only if you had a tiny table. We actually fit a family sized dining table and chairs there for a couple of years in the beginning, but since we never ate there we got rid of it. Then without the table, it was a big empty space that couldn’t really be utilized for anything. So I filled it with junk.

But back to the project at hand.
Here is the floor. And Sylvester the cat.

Those are square linoleum tiles that were stuck down onto the floor, and none too carefully either. It looks like it’s in decent shape in the photos, but in actuality the edges of the kitchen are chipping and peeling up, and nine years of dogs coming and going has made the white impossible to get white again.

You’ll also notice around the three sides of the wall, there is tile about five feet up the wall (painted tan). That has been an eyesore to me since the beginning. Additionally, the base of the north and west walls have boiler heating lines, which also aided in limiting what we could put there.

Here is a closer look at our sink.

Those dark streaks are actually marks from pots and pans coming into contact while we wash dishes. It doesn’t really come off. Frustrating.

And our countertop.

It’s made of this weird plastic laminate and the color has faded down to white in some large spots near the sink. It ran up the backsplash to the bottom of the upper cabinets. The edges of the counters even had aluminum borders! In several attempts at Google searches to find a kitchen redo that began with metal lined plastic counter tops, I found one that was similar. ONE!

One last thing I wanted to add here as I wrap up part one is a mention of the cabinets themselves. Those cabinets, both top and bottom, are full on custom built-ins. As in, they built them on the wall, jimmy rigged some shelving and added sheets of wood and hinges to create doors. Same with all those drawers. They are hand built drawers and they do not slide on rails. They just slide in a hole that was carved there for them, wood on wood.

Now, when I first began dreaming of my kitchen redo years and years ago, the first thing I imagined was taking ole Rhino (my sledge hammer) and going all Hulk on that entire wall of hand built nonsense. So nobody was more surprised than I was when that day finally arrived and I suddenly decided that nobody was going to touch my crooked, chipped, badly painted cabinets! Why did I fight tooth and nail to keep them? I have several reasons, but mostly it boils down to the fact that cabinets in this day and age look cheap to me. Well, at least your big box store options anyways. I hated everything we looked at. The designs in the doors were stupid (very mature of me, no?) So, those babies are staying put!

Stay tuned! We’re about to knock some stuff down!

Kitchen Project – Part Two

Peace & Love,



Armoire Wardrobe – Part One

I have a minor clothing problem.  I don’t even like shopping, but I am a bit of a collector of hoodies and sweatpants and t-shirts.  I also have a problem doing laundry.  Well, the doing of the laundry isn’t so bad, it’s the putting away that I’m terrible at.  I tend to allow a basket of clean clothes hang out in it’s basket and then just rummage through it when I need something.  Because apparently that’s easier than trying to find something in it’s own spot?

I have been on the hunt for a wardrobe for a long time.  I wanted just the right one, but I wasn’t willing to spend a lot of money on it.  It is amazing what people are asking for these things!  Finally, I found it.  It’s a Broyhill Fontana Armoire, knotty pine (which we love) and he wanted $129 for it.  I asked him if he’d take $100 for it and he agreed!

wardrobeI tried to come back to the Craigslist listing to grab the image, but he had already pulled it down.  But it is exactly like this one.  The only problem with it going in, which we knew when we bought it, was that it’s set up to act as an entertainment center, not a wardrobe.  I needed a place to put my hoard of clothes, not a place to store the TV.

Luckily, I married an incredibly handy man (who looks totally delicious in a tool belt if I do say so myself!)

The first step was to rip out the two pieces that were in my way.


Turns out, some of the screws holding them in were behind the backing that holds the piece together. Temporary problem. Josh and I looked at each other, shrugged, and ripped the backing off. Take that!


I love when our minds come to the same conclusion. We made a pit stop at Lowe’s and picked up a sturdy piece of 1/4″ plywood to replace the backing, and a new bar kit that would allow me to hang clothes in the wardrobe. Josh went about installing the bar.



Meanwhile, I needed to figure out what to do with the plywood sheet. The uglier they are the cheaper they are, so we went sturdy but ugly. I didn’t want to see that every time I opened up the doors.


At first I was thinking paper, since I had so much of it. But since I’m now her owner and I can be hard on things, durability needed to be a factor, so I decided on fabric. I still had a length of fabric leftover from the Lamp Shade Makeover. It was the perfect length and width, and I didn’t think I’d use it for anything else anyways, so on it went.

I laid the fabric out on the board and smoothed it out, then took my staple gun and began carefully stapling it down around the outside.



Sorry about the quality of the images here. I went full on cell phone photography for this!

With the completion of the gut job and the new bar successfully installed, we took the plywood and attached it to the back with a combination of screws and nails. The next hurdle was getting this monster out of the garage and into the house. It’s a BEAST. It took three of us to load it into the truck at the seller’s house, and Josh and I barely managed to get it out of the truck ourselves. The new plywood backing added another 15lbs to it. So we called up our buddy who owns a hardware store in town and he borrowed us his heavy duty dolly. We strapped her in and spent the next hour getting it into the bedroom, where we discovered how huge she actually was. We decided on the spot that either we’d sell it with the house if we ever sold it, or if we didn’t want it anymore, we’d be taking sledgehammers to it. I can’t even begin to describe how heavy this piece is!

I am already semi regretting it. You can’t tell how tall and how wide it really is until you get it into the bedroom. Once in, I started having a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is too big. But my wonderful husband had just spent a good chunk of his day going to get it with me, helping me load it, taking it apart and putting it back together, and then busting his butt to get it in the house for me. My word, my hubby is amazing. There was no way I was changing my mind now!

So here it where it stands now. This is literally the ONLY place for it.


Here’s the finished fabric background.


OH!!! I almost forgot about the drawers! The other day, I found this awesome gray and white chevron adhesive paper at Wal-Mart. WALMART! It was $5 and it’s beautiful! It was perfect for the drawers in this beast.



I call this post ‘part one’ because I have plans for it down the road. While I love the knotty pine, the piece is a little beat up. There are areas where it almost looks like somebody shot it with buck shot or something. It’s interesting. I’ll need to fill those with wood filler, then probably paint it. But that’s a project for another day (or another year!) For now, it’s functional as a wardrobe and that’s all that matters. I’m taking the bedroom back!

DIY Lamp Makeover

This is a popular project around the blogosphere recently. Lamp makeovers!

Last spring while on a DIY/Thrift Store/Garage Saleing trip with my sister in law, I came across this lamp and shade for $3.00.

Both were a dingy white, but the shade was in good condition and the pattern of the lamp base was kind of neat, plus we needed a new lamp in our guest bedroom anyways.
So I picked it up and brought it home.

It’s been sitting in the bedroom since. Now that we’ve finally gotten around to dealing with that bedroom, it was time to deal with the lamp as well.

I took it apart so that the bulb, shade and base were separated. The base got wiped down to remove the grunge and I sprayed a couple of coats of this glossy grey on it. I wasn’t sure about the color, but it grows on me a little more every time I look at it.



With the base handled, I needed to decide if I had the energy to try a shade cover up. I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve read too many stories of bloggers really screwing it up their first go around. After a trip to JoAnn’s, I came home with two different fabrics and after some debate with the hubby, we settled on this white and light grey paisley. I LOVE the other fabric, but I have a new idea for it. The lamp is actually needed for light, so keeping a lighter, whiter fabric on the shade would allow more light to pass through.

I used this tutorial to make my pattern.  It was incredibly detailed and my shade redo went off without a hitch because of it.  I highly recommend it!
I used Christmas gift wrap for the pattern because it was handy.


Then I laid the pattern the back side of my fabric and lightly traced that with pencil.


I used Elmers spray adhesive to attached the fabric to the shade, as well as to tuck the corners in on the top and bottom. It holds up pretty nicely!


Oops, crooked picture!

Oops, crooked picture!

This project took all of about 45 minutes of hands on time. The holdup only came from waiting for the paint to dry!

And because everybody loves a before and after…

Now that I’ve completed my first lamp makeover, I’m jonesing to tackle the rest of the lamps in my home!

Keep Calm & Party On!
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