Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Red House Kitchen

  Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the kitchen when Ben first moved in.  I will have to describe it quickly - wall paper floor to ceiling white w/ blue horizontal & vertical bisecting lines with a faded border of Victorian houses.  The cabinets were painted white and had baby blue doors with white ceramic knobs.  Linoleum white flooring remained the same in the orange and blue scheme pictures.  Cobalt blue linoleum counter tops.  Sheer cafe curtains adorned the aluminum windows (which were replaced with new windows in the these pictures).  The original kitchen did not have a dishwasher, so we added the stainless steel dishwasher with the dream that someday all of the appliances would be upgraded.  The best thing going for this kitchen was the gorgeous cobalt blue wall/back splash tiles.  In an attempt to work with the tiles and to modernize the kitchen I used a complimentary color scheme and boldly painted the walls orange.  The color was a bit nauseating so a complete DIY kitchen makeover was in order.  We attempted this refreshing re-do while I was in my 3rd trimester of my pregnancy with my first daughter.   

Complaints:  This stove only had 2 working burners.  Additionally, it really bothered me that there was no place to set items from the fridge down since there was no counter on that side of the room.  I like to get a beverage out of the fridge and be able to set a glass down to pour it without having to walk away.  My husband didn't understand my argument, but he did come to appreciate the addition of a small workspace between the new stove and fridge. 
Praises: That cobalt blue tile.  Gorgeous!
Complaints: Bad lighting and eat-in kitchen = wasted space in this circumstance.
Praises:  Vintage milk door.  See the white little door in the picture on the left?  That was a sealed up milk door, but it is staying in this renovation.  In my opinion that is a little piece of American history.  Many times I looked at that door and wished that there was still a milk man...

Time for the Grunt Work:  Destruction!
Praises:  The removal of cabinets went well.  I was able to recycle the upper cabinets near the sink and turn them into book shelves.  See here.  The long horizontal cabinet above the stove and fridge has been beautifully restored and placed in my sister's laundry room with a drying bar attached.
Complaints:  Old mouse nest found under base cabinet... YUCK!

Complaints:  When ripping down the soffits, it sounded like it was raining.  It was pouring mouse poo on my husband's head.  SUPER YUCKY and a little bit funny!  We never had a mouse infestation problem while we lived there, but at some point they were in that attic and under the base cabinet.  Ewww.   
Soffits are removed and drywall patching has begun

Hardy backer is installed!  This is also the end of the orange.  Ahh, so serene.
Walls and trim are primed!

The beginning of the ceramic tile flooring laid diagonally.  This tile had creamy tones, gray tones, and some brown and blue veining in it.  It was very forgiving of dirt and complimented all of the finishes in the room.

Paint is on the walls - Color is Dune by Sherwin Williams and the tile is ready to be grouted. 

Praises:  Cabinet installation in progress.  These are Merrilat cabinets.  Maple with a cherry paprika finish. 
Frustrations:  The tiles didn't adhere well enough in a few places.
Solution:  They are got more thin set on them and were reinstalled.
Praises:  Miles more of cabinet and counter space, oh my!  Very exciting!
Frustration:  Searched EVERYWHERE for more cobalt blue tiles.  They do not exist.
Solution: I carefully removed enough tiles from behind the refrigerator and placed them one by one on either side of the window to make the back splash complete.  It was not really completed until several months after Olivia was born though.

Progress:  Dishwasher installed, counter tops in place, ceiling light fixture installed, under cabinet lighting in, cabinet pulls installed, stainless steel sink and chrome goose neck faucet installed, hand sewn valances hung (made by ME, I was so proud of these). 

Pendant light fixture over the sink. 
Tip:  To hang the curtains and have them wrap around the corner, I used inexpensive white metal curtain rods.  In the corner I inserted the bent part into the straight portion of the adjacent rod to make a 90 degree angle & had the corner resting on 2 long screws in the middle for support.  It worked beautifully.  Fabric for these curtains were found in the clearance bin at Wal-Mart.
 Back splash completed!  I am not sure why I took these pictures when there was so much junk on the counter.  Ugh.  Apologies.  The wall cabinet to the far left served as a coffee and tea area.  It was perfect!
New appliances installed and a fancy little counter space between the fridge and stove was a dream come true.  This freezer had an ice maker and my husband jokes that it saved our marriage.  We only had it for a brief time before we moved and we're still dreaming of it at this house.  The final detail that we added was a wine rack above the fridge.

Final before and after comparison:  We've come a long way, baby! 

Thank you for stopping by ~ Have a blessed day.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Little Red House

Our first 1955 red brick ranch style home with red shutters and a red front door was located in a fantastic tree-lined neighborhood and close to a cute all-American downtown.  We have fond memories of strolling through the neighborhood and being near shops and parks.  This home was purchased during our dating days while I was finishing college.  It was the home that I moved into after our wedding and the cozy home that we welcomed our three daughters home from the hospital to.  These firsts also include many DIY projects.  I learned to garden and cook in this home and I learned my role as a wife and mother in this house.  I also learned to remove wallpaper, paint, refinish hardwood floors, and design and revamp an entire kitchen. This "little red house" that we called home for three years of our marriage will always have a near and dear place in my heart.
We never called it the "little red house" until after we moved into our current home.  At the time our two year old daughter was having too many changes in her life and would ask at the end of the day, "when are we going home to the little red house".  It would literally move me to tears because I was missing "home" as well.  See we moved into a home twice the size of the "little red house" because three months prior to our move we added twin daughters to our family and 1,000 sf with 3 tiny bedrooms and 1-1/2 bathrooms felt snug.  If there was more space in that house we would have retired there.  However, over time we have come to love our new home because it really is true that "home is where the heart is" and it has every feature that we dreamed of.  By the grace of God we were able to sell "the little red house" to a young artsy couple in 2008 just before the real estate in Michigan bottomed out.  We still occasionally drive by the "little red house" because it is en route to church and joyful memories always come flooding back.

This is a stipple (all dots) drawing that I made as a gift for Ben while we were engaged to be married.
Here are me a my girls.  This photo was taken about two months before we moved.  This was an extremely, unbelievably stressful time in my life.  Looking back, I am amazed that we all survived!  Thank God we have because the future just keeps getting brighter and better.

In the next few weeks I plan to share a series of "little red house" remodeling adventure stories.  Follow me!