They say that a kitchen is the center of every home – or the back left area of our home to be exact. Our kitchen is really more of a breezeway between the living room/dining room and the laundry room/backyard…and also the place where we cook meals to nourish our bodies and then wait approximately two weeks to wash the dishes we used for said meals. It’s a really responsible way of living that usually results in a science experiment and some strain of black mold. But anywayyyyyy back to our beautiful kitchen.
When we moved into our home the kitchen was white, black, and bland (much like the rest of the house). It also had an unusual corner nook that was completely empty except for a single wall sconce and small surface area of beadboard. The walls were the same dirty tan color that every other room sported and there wasn’t a single appliance save for a stove that was from 1992 (the wonderful flipper that we bought it from was required to at least put a stove in the kitchen before closing due to the terms of our escrow…needless to say he didn’t go to an appliance store and pick out a top contender). As a brand new home owner it’s actually kind of fun to pick out all new appliances for yourself. What’s not so fun? Paying for all of these new appliances after purchasing a home all by yourself at age 21. So we went with middle of the road performers that were all stainless steel for a clean and updated look including replacing the stove that had sealed the deal.
The road to where we are today was not a smooth one. We went down some seriously misguided interior design paths before we felt like we really nailed it. Our first mistake? We went on a painting spree in every room of the house. You already read (in agony I’m sure, since the story was painfully long winded) the tale a thousand colors in the dining room. Well, the kitchen was not repainted three times, but twice isn’t far off for only having owned the house for five and a half years. This painting spree – three days after moving in – was induced by the serotonin of finally having the freedom to paint ANYTHING we wanted ANY color. This is a common affliction that affects 78% of the population brought on by apartment dwelling previously. Needless to say we didn’t get it right the first time in 2/3 of the rooms, the kitchen being one of them. Soooo what color was the first coat? Butter yellow. You may think that a light yellow color doesn’t sound bad for a kitchen: it’s warm, homey, and bright. And you would be right for a lot of homes with different lighting and a different aesthetic. For our home, it was a cocoon of pee. Rob will say that I’m deeply exaggerating this but that’s truly the only way I can think to describe it looking back now. You see, there’s only one window in the kitchen and the driveway awning is directly adjacent to that window which means there isn’t a ton of natural light flooding in during most times of day. The other reason for the urine like feeling was that there was also only one overhead light that was very 70’s and emitted an already very yellow glow.
The paint color wasn’t our only faux pas in this room. For some reason the butter yellow tint inspired us to lean more toward a country feel. If you haven’t already gathered…THAT IS SO NOT OUR STYLE. We honestly just had no idea what to do in this room. We had red and white checkered hand towels (like I said – country), we put an old family down china hutch in the empty nook, and hung a red and white checkered apron on the wall to match the towels of course! After the country phase had majorly out stayed in it’s “welcome”, we transitioned to industrial/rustic. And by that I mean that we added a DIY shelf and pot rack made with pipes and decrepit wooden planks that we hung in the kitchen nook and used to display spices. Other than that (and even with that) we were still prettyyyy much lost.
Okay here’s where we come to the light at the end of the design tunnel, THANK GOD. We repainted the walls with our favorite white – “Powdered Snow” by Behr – and we took down the pot rack. We also took down the wall sconce so that we could make better use of the space (which worked out really well because we somehow broke the one in the hallway the same week so all we had to do was a little switcheroo!). So I know I’ve very dramatically detailed the lack of storage in this small house of ours in previous posts. However, I think it’s important to reiterate so you can feel my pain. There was more kitchen storage in the apartments we lived in. You may be looking at the photos and think that it looks adequate but don’t be fooled by the illusion. Yes, there are upper and lower cabinets but the one under the sink is essentially shot with plumbing, the cabinet next to the sink is too deep to reach anything without submerging your entire body inside of it, and the cabinets on each side of the stove are the skinniest ones in existence.
So! How to solve this problem without changing the floor plan? Add built-ins in the useless nook! We selected lowers that were as similar as possible to the existing cabinets and custom wooden shelves for the uppers to keep the area feeling open and airy. As homage to the kitchen we originally moved in to, we removed the beadboard on the north and south walls and we added it up to the ceiling on the west wall. For the counter top we chose a butcher block to keep them feeling like an original built-in rather than a disconnected extension of the other cabinetry. With the nook completed and the floors having been replaced we just need to update the lighting for a brighter space. Two can lights and a display pendant on sale from Home Depot later and “Let there be light!”
For the rest of the room we let the rest of the home’s style guide us. With very little square footage seating a lot of rooms in very close proximity of each other (if you stand at the hallway entrance of the dining room you can actually see into every room at the same time – it’s basically the four corners of the United States), I knew we had to keep our color scheme consistent. Without making every room look the same we used the accent color of bluish-gray throughout the house so each and every space feels complimentary. For the kitchen that involved painting the lower cabinets “Rainy Day” to ground the space and allow the white uppers to heighten the room. It’s one of my favorite paint colors in the whole house.
The details always make a space and this is definitely rings true here. An olive green Kitchen Aid mixer that belonged to my grandma, fresh florals, rooster plates gifted to us at our wedding (roosters in the kitchen are good luck), and an antique glass cutting board are a few of the pieces that bring the design together.
While there are still some items on our to do list – we need an art piece on one of the walls, possibly replace the upper cabinet doors with glass paned ones, and substituting the black granite with a lighter color – we are such proud parents of this room. It is absolutely “Most Improved” in terms of our style evolution. And while I love this room so much now, I unfortunately cannot report that my dish washing skills or urgency have improved at all. You win some you lose some! So I’ll be catching up long overdue cleaning (and possibly tossing tupperware away if they’ve reached the point of no return) if you need me.
xoxo Ariel & Rob