December 6, 2017:


It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!


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! 


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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