Last weekend during an Ikea trip we found a useful kitchen "island" for our teeny tiny kitchen. It is simple wood butcher block, and I'm planning to paint it a bright colour and sealing it in the summer. It is the Bekvam Kitchen Cart. Now we have a place for a few things that were taking our counter and dining room hostage, like random fruits and vegetables, and cookbooks. Best part? I put it all together MYSELF - I used two different screwdrivers and a wrench - no Allen keys here! No, there are no pictures, as usual. But here's some pictures of the finished and styled product:
Yes, our kitchen needs a lot of work in general. Painting will be the temporary fix, but we actually want to completely redo it - change the layout, the backsplash, the cabinetry, and the flooring. Now if only we had the money...
First the chalkboard needed some Spring-ing up!
This weekend when I was not at school doing play-stuff, I decided to get cracking on my spring-cleaning list. It was cold or rainy, so it was all inside work, but still it needed to be done! First thing was to organize the kitchen cupboard. It took me a while to get everything out, clean out the shelves, and decide on a better way to organize it. The problem is that they are very deep, so eventually I want to get something on rollers so that they can come out from the cupboard and storing things far back won't be such a problem. For now, they are less cluttered so things are easier to grab.
Next was the cleaning out of the linen closet, which was on my spring free project to-do list. It doesn't look much different, just more organized and tidy. It's the little things...
After (the other side)
Close-up (wow I have a lot of unused towels...)
Close-up (other side - found out I need to buy TP soon!)
So last week I looked back on "THE LIST" of house projects, and the post I did just before 2012 for the upcoming year - check that out here. I have not done a single one of them...although I knew a lot of them would happen in the summer when I was off. There is also an issue of budget - we are really trying to save as much money as possible so we can up our mortgage payments and have more of a nest egg, so the spending we did in 2011 for the house will not be happening in 2012. So after considering all of that, painting is the most realistic goal for the spring/summer, as it will really freshen up the house, and is always a good investment if you choose the right colours.
Hallways: The hallways of our house are beige. I want them not to be beige. Specifically, I want they grey - I have considered Benjamin Moore's "Moonshine" which is what is in our basement, but now I think I might want something slightly more grey (it can look almost white in some lights - specifically unnatural light). The next darker on that same colour palette is "Gray Horse". I have also re-considered using "Revere Pewter", which Sabrina recommended last year as an alternative to Moonshine, as a friend of mine just painted her house in this colour, and it looks great. You can check out her house here. Our hallways do not get a lot of natural light, so I'll have to test a few colours to make sure none of them look to white or blue or beige. I love our bedroom colour, but it is just too dark for the hallways.
Our current hallways (this is both up and downstairs)
Via Young House Love
BM's Gray Horse
BM's Revere Pewter
via Veronika's Blushing
Guest Bedroom: I'm not loving the sea-foam green it is right now, but surprisingly enough, a lot of people that see this room say they like the colour. Perhaps they really mean it or are just being nice, but I can't stand it. I wasn't really sure WHAT to do with this room, and I don't want to spend a lot money on it since it is really only used for me doing my makeup and getting ready in the morning and the very occasional overnight guest. There is wainscoting in this room that I am going to do in Cloud White, as the rest of our house is in terms of trim, and then I was considering either matching the red or brown in the bedding. I decided the brown would be better in terms of resale, and I think I would get sick of the red really quickly. Now there are lighter shades of brown in the bedding that are hard to see, which is what I would use to match. Anyone have any great brown paint recommendations? I also may paint or stain the dressers if I can find a good way to do it - Ikea furniture is tricky.
The sea-foam green guest bedroom
Brown wall inspiration
Probably closer to the colour I want, with wainscotting too
Kitchen: The colour actually goes pretty well in the kitchen right now, but it has a lot of holes to be filled from the last owner, and it really just needs to be freshened up. I think we will probably paint it the same colour as whatever we choose the hallway to be, because eventually in a perfect world the kitchen would be completely redone, so no point choosing the perfect colour as I want all the backsplash, counters, appliances and cupboards to be changed. A grey colour will go with the flecks of grey in the counter top anyway. Ohhhh if only I could win the lottery and have a beautiful tiny perfect kitchen.
Current kitchen - a dark greige colour
So I read some of my January and February Home Decor magazines yesterday, and took some photos of things I liked or inspired me in kitchens - I have been dreaming of a new kitchen since I did my house resolutions, but I know it is a long way off. Oh well, one can still dream! I subscribe Style at Home Canada, Canadian House and Home, and House Beautiful. I sometimes buy Elle Decor as well.
Banquette seating and black and white and wallpaper = LOVE
The built-in office within the kitchen is a great idea for small spaces
This moveable Ikea kitchen cart would be great for our current tiny kitchen under the window
Very traditional, but the backsplash is actually a pale green, and I like the nailhead stools and overhead lighting
More cozy banquette seating in the kitchen - PLUS storage
Although the picture is small, this is the perfect kitchen for Matt and I - poured concrete countertops, stainless steel appliances and range, but with a pretty backsplash and cabinetry to balance it out
The stools reminded me of the decor in our living room, and I like the sunburst mirror in an unexpected spot
Slightly more industrial, but still simple
I like the different textures and colours in this bright kitchen
Black and white with a splash of red - this kitchen would be perfect for Joni
Beautiful mix of blank and white fixtures with gold finishings
Modern, but suprisingly, I like it! More black and white love
Compact like ours, but a little updating would go a long way!
This kitchen is beautiful - so much light and greenery and amazing food!
Airy but rustic with leather-worn benches
Yesterday I featured some of the major projects of the year, and of course, with all of that, comes plans for the upcoming year. We have a list too daunting to tackle in a year - in fact, it will take multiple years, and lots of money that does not currently exist. Again, a lot of people ask me "what are you going to do when its all done?" - I just laugh and say that it will NEVER be done. I estimate it would take at least 5 years to get everything on our list done, and by that time, we'll probably want a bigger house, and it will all start again. Yes, the projects can be tiring, and straining, and frustrating at times, but they are also fun. I like watching the house evolve and I like that I can work with Matt to design our house. Oh yes, we disagree A LOT, but we have always agreed to not buy or do anything until we both agree on something. I won't ever come home with anything that Matt wouldn't like, and he won't rip out walls or do any handy-work until we've talked. That's how we work and not kill each other when our house is mid-renovation!
Anyway, from the very daunting list, we've pulled a few things we'd like to get done in the next year, and I'll also discuss a few long-term projects that will eventually be addressed...maybe if we win one day through the Heart and Stroke Lottery Calendar my mom bought for us!
1. Paint, Paint, Paint!
This is my major contribution in our house. My friend Mike likes to joke that Matt does all the work and I just crack the whip. Actually, he's not joking, I believe he thinks it really happens. He has a "Free Matt" campaign he would like to start - anyone want a t-shirt? Anyway, although I am not very handy (but willing to learn), I do have a lot of vision and ideas, and I also can PAINT. We painted our bedroom and dining room together, but I painted the living room and basement myself, plus the closet shelving. So there are a few places that paint is still required in our house, and luckily it's an inexpensive way to update a room!
a) Hallways - both upstairs and downstairs. We got a quote from College Pro in the Spring for them possibly doing the hallways while we were away on the cruise, but it was pretty expensive so we decided to keep it as a DIY project. Now that my parents got Matt an incredible ladder for Christmas (it is like a transformer - it has SO many configurations), painting way up high will be a bit easier. We are probably going to paint the hallways the same colour as the basement - Benjamin Moore's Moonshine - it's a pale gray. It looks a bit off-white in the basement, but with more natural light, it will show up more grey. I am thinking about going a shade darker - not too sure yet. Check out the two last pictures and let me know what you think! The ceiling and trim will continue the "Cloud White" trend, as I want it to match all the trim of the other rooms.
Current downstairs hallway colour - pale beige of sorts
Upstairs hall - same colour - has a bit of gray undertone with natural light
BM Moonshine in our basement on walls and ceiling - pale gray but looks paler here than it is
BM Moonshine in Natural Light - via Young House Love on Pinterest
One shade darker - BM Gray Horse via Leah Lee on Pinterest
b) Spare Bedroom - right now the spare bedroom is the same seafoam green as was in the dining room. It actually doesn't look bad in the space, but it doesn't match the bedding and needs a fresh coat on both the walls and wainscoting. I'm not sure exactly what to do here - the duvet is chocolate brown and deep red on cream, and the sheets are deep red to match. I'm thinking about doing a brown (not too dark) on a warm cloud white wainscoting. What do you think? This will probably be my March Break project room!
Here's the current green room colour
An inspirational photo via Pinmarklet
Another Pinterest find
c) Railings - easy job - not sure if I'm going to stain or whitewash or what, but these railings need some finishing!
Main floor railing - probably will stain to match the floor (or eventual floor) colour
Basement railing - may be fun to add a bit of colour to this one?
2. Gallery Wall
Not sure whether I will put a gallery wall of pictures in the dining room, or up the main floor stairs, or even in the empty space in the living room, but I definitely want to add a mix of photos and art in a collage in our house - they are always so interesting to look at! Here are some inspiration photos I like for various reasons, gathered from Pinterest. Also another project I can tackle myself!
Like the black and whites - this would work best going up the stairs
Perfect symmetry, which I usually love, but not the look I'm going for this time
Very cool for a stairway!
More black and white beauties of all shapes and sizes!
Oh YHL, how I love your mix of pictures and art - great for the living or dining room!
3. Backyard Entertaining Space
This was something we started to do last year with the tables, but we really want some bench seating with storage underneath to free some space chairs would take up. We could use it to lounge, or pull a table up for dining. Here are some inspirational pictures gathered from Pinmarklet.
Current backyard - looking to add bench seating to that fence corner on the deck
I like the back bench and the colourful top
No storage, but still a simple bench design
Sectioned pieces to move around the design
I like the rustic look to this long bench
4. Gardening - Take Two
So this year's gardening efforts were a fail. At least we now know what will spring up in the, well, Spring, and what we want to yank out and what to keep. The backyard is in pretty good shape, will probably just add in some annuals to fill it out. The front, however, is a jungled mess that needs some structure and good ol' TLC!
Current back garden - nice and green
Just needs a few pops of colour from some annuals
Yeah...not really pretty...
Thinking of sectioning off the front and creating a path
Or adding some tiers to make it more organized
5. Lighting Purchases
So we have a lot of bad lighting, and replacing them would be nice. We need new lighting for: the front hallway, the upstairs hall, the living room (ceiling and floor and table), the kitchen, the hallway closet, the spare bedroom ceiling (although I may just spraypaint this one and keep it), and the other spare bedroom. This won't be a rush, but we'll be keeping our eyes out for a good deal to replace some of these lights in the next year.
Spare bedroom light - not too bad, but may spray it dark brown or brighter gold
Upstairs hallway light - going to string a light from this outlet from the wall to the ceiling, and add a little chandelier
Front foyer light - little chandelier needed here too!
Other spare bedroom light - anything but this would be good
Kitchen ceiling fan - never used, so simple lighting would be better
Hallway closet light
Living Room - already took out the bad chandelier and capped it, but now need a light to fill it!
6. Refinish the TV Unit
This unit just needs to be sanded and stained to match our living room furniture - another March Break project.
Just needs a little facelift!
These are some things we'll be looking to do, but doubtful within the year, due to budget, time, and sanity!
Basement: new carpet in den/office and on stairs, built-ins for TV area in den, reinforced stairs, enclose and add storage beneath, move wall in bathroom back and get new vanity and fixtures and re-tile, finish laundry room and add storage.
Kitchen: completely redo kitchen - new floors, cabinetry, appliances, lighting, and probably make half-wall into the living room with breakfast nook - may involve adding a small addition to the back - VERY FUTURE PROJECT!
Living Room: get new couch, curtains
Dining Room: get new dining table and chairs, curtains
Main Floor Hallway & Stairs: new runner for floor and stairs
Spare Bedroom: new room lighting, side table, mirror, curtains, rug
Upstairs Closet: add hooks, more storage above
Master Bedroom: new chaise for under window, curtains
Middle Spare Room: this will probably be an eventual baby room, so will need to refinish gross parquet flooring, paint, add furniture, knock down door to closet and build storage, curtains, rug, all that baby-related stuff. With that will probably come baby-proofing the whole house? We do have a lot of sharp edges...I have the bruises to prove it!
So yeah - the list never ends! There is probably many things I forgot too! Anyway, lots to keep us busy! Happy New Year!
We already did a chalkboard when we made the basement into an office - quite appropriate for a teacher!
I thought that having one in the kitchen would be good as well. The basement I use for my "to-do" lists for house projects, but this one would be for groceries, and reminders for plans and just cute notes between married people. So when Matt was at Home Depot a few weeks ago, he bought a flat piece of wood, nothing fancy, and some trim, and the project began!
The only "before" picture of the wood and trim, among other reno items
Matt primed the board - very important with the chalkboard paint, even though it's black!
Although the trim is sort of white to start, we still primed and painted them.
It was raining, so I had to paint upstairs while Matt used the saw downstairs
Semi-gloss cloud white for the trim - 2 coats for both trim and chalkboard
Super strong glue to hold trim to board...held down overnight by textbooks
*You are going to see a lot of textbooks in the next few posts - thank goodness for education!
Finished product! Quite similar to the basement one but a bit smaller.
Here's the trim on the basement board - a bit of a braided look to it
...and the kitchen chalkboard frame - see - they are slightly different!
The finished product! Now to write my grocery list...
So our kitchen faucet was leaking when we used the cold water, but luckily my dad said he could fix it - probably just a washer. I think it was more corroded than we thought, because then we needed a whole new faucet. No problem, some were on sale at Canadian Tire. My dad calls to say that he didn't LIKE the one that was on sale, and bought another one instead. When I asked about the price, he says "don't worry about it, happy birthday" - which means it was more expensive. It is a very nice Moen which will last a long time and it's great. I guess the old one had not been replaced when the updated the kitchen, so it was pretty old and in need of replacing anyway. The new one is no new shiny crazy touch-sensitive awesome ones on TV, but we'll wait until we have a giant kitchen to put those drool-worth sinks and faucets in!
Side story - around the same time we were having faucet problems, our dishwasher was filling up with water a bit in the bottom. What should have been done was to have someone who knows about plumbing (like my dad or some other professional) in to look at it. What should not have been done was to add some Draino to the line and run a dishwash cycle. The latter WAS done by my dear husband. This is what resulted:
The culprit to the right - no, not the Draino, the man spraying down the dishwasher
Bubbles can be fun, but not extremely caustic ones.
Side note - our dishwasher seems to be fine now!
So what's next for the kitchen? Oh tons of ideas, but they are not financially possible right now. Just paint on the walls - a lighter greyish tone - Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, which will also be used in the hallways, and we'll leave those new kitchen dreams for after the other more important projects: the basement office, the living/dining room, and the master bedroom.