December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kitchens On My Mind: Half a Dozen Fabulous Redos From Around the Web

Hola darlings!

It's a beautiful day here today. Finished the front yard tirmming and swept everything up; cut the back yard grass and am now going to head out and start trimming and them whacking down and pruning!  But I have taken a couple of breaks in-between the work and got this post ready for you.

I have gathered these projects as examples of what can be done with imagination, a plan, lots of hard work, a handy mate or close relative who works for pizza and beer, and a small budget!  There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of kitchen revamps and redos on the internet, and they range from the grandiose in mansions five times the size of Maison Newton to small but beautifully rendered galley kitchens in New York apartments.  I selected these particular redos because (1) the footprint of the kitchen was not changed, i.e., plumbing was not moved and the original kitchen arrangement, including cabinets, remained more or less intact, (2) lots of sweat equity but low cost, and (3) doable by a single woman on a miniscule budget, possibly with the help of her reasonably priced handyman, Kevin the Wonder Man! 

Enjoy!

Ashley and her husband at Domestic Imperfection created an incredible kitchen.  Their total outlay so far is $1,600, not including new appliances (purchased before the redo began in earnest) that bring the total up to $3,700.  Still to come is new flooring (although truth be told I see nothing wrong with the current flooring and think it looks great with their restyled kitchen) and new lighting fixture(s).  The before and after pictures are stunning!  Here is one of them:

From Domestic Imperfection blog.

You can read all of the details at Ashley's blog.  The floating shelves created to hang underneath the upper cabinets is one of the most ingenious uses of space I have ever seen, and I love them to pieces!

Kelli at Pretty l'il Poseys shared a dramatic kitchen makeover too -- of her mom's kitchen!  Oak colored cabinets were changed to dark and gorgeously dramatic, and all white countertops turned into a spectacular granite look with acrylic craft paints -- the kind you buy at JoAnn's or Michael's (total for countertop redo $20), all for about $250. The painted countertops are simply awesome and look like the real thing even in close-up photos.

Here is one of the after photos.  When you see the sole before photo you'll immediately appreciate the amazing transformation that paint and some decluttering created in this lovely kitchen -- I want those windows, and the countertops too!  The look is definitely luxe and would look fabulous in one of the multi-million dollar mansions that we see in People Magazine and Architectural Digest...

From Pretty l'il Posies blog.

I hope you'll read all about the amazing transformation at Kelli's blog.  This kitchen amply demonstrates the amazing transformative power of painting, staining and switching out cabinet hardware! 

Jami and Brian at An Oregon Cottage did a total transformation of their kitchen for - are you ready? - $1,165!  Again, with no relocation of any major pieces or plumbing, paint and new countertops were the primary agents of the amazing transformation. The microwave was moved -- to above the range, which was itself transformed merely by the removal of a "back" piece that unscrewed and made the range/oven look totally different and very 21st century.  A new sink and faucet were added as well as new hardware on the cabinets.

Here is one of the after photos.  It was sheer genius to have some of the cabinet "fronts" removed and glass installed in place - same cabinets used, but with the glass an entirely new look resulted.

From An Oregon Cottage blog.

You can read all the details at Jami's blog, including a cost breakdown.  The entire project took about a year; it was done in increments which is a very good idea, because it gave them time to see what they liked and what still needed to be changed, as well as saving up for the costs of doing the work.

Jane at Frugal Fine Living did a kitchen transformation for $250.  She took her space from 1990's builder's standard (with yet more of those oak colored cabinets) to a rocking kitchen with hints of Provencal in its toile curtains and hardware.  Check out one of the after pics:

From Frugal Fine Living blog.

You can read all about Jane's progress as she takes her readers step by step through her redo/remake process.  Beadboard wallpaper, which I've also seen elsewhere in kitchen redos, was used to great effect on the backsplash and the end of the cabinet runs.  In 23 years I have yet to install a backsplash in my kitchen and if I do not do it anywhere else in my kitchen, for SURE I am doing it this year behind the stove, with paintable, scrubable high-grade vinyl wallcovering that will eventually also be installed elsewhere in the back of the house which has kitchen, dinette and family room all open to each other overlooking the back yard. 

The wallpaper is a great budget-wise idea that will also be easy to swap out for another look down the road, should I tire of it.  I seriously doubt I'll tire of it though, since I've had the kitchen in its more or less original state for so frigging long, har!  Should I live another 23 years I'll be contemplating a kitchen redo at age 85.

The final kitchen redo I'm featuring is this amazing space from the Mills family at The Handsome Home.  It is just awesome and once again, how many times can I write it??? -- shows the power of paint and, in this case, actual beadboard used to cover over a darkish-beige tiled backsplash.  Check out one of the after pics:

From The Handsome Home blog.

It is hard to believe this is the same space (many before and after pictures so you get a great feel for how the space was transformed), but it is. As far as I can tell, the only thing that was swapped out was the kitchen sink and faucet, from double aluminum sink to porcelain (?) farmer's style sink and a new faucet. Of course, that style of sink and faucet can be VERY expensive. I don't have a cost on this kitchen transformation, but I would say overall it was done on a modest budget. 


So, there you are.  My inspiration kitchens, done on a dime and a TON of imagination!  I love each and every one and will be incorporating many of the ideas shown in these kitchens in my own redo.

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