No, this post will not include sordid tales of illicit drug use in a Michelin-starred restaurant or accounts of romantic liaisons in various walk-in freezers, a la Anthony Bourdain, but instead will deal with the sad state of the small, dingy room in which we cook. Feast your eyes.
Try to contain the visceral surge of jealousy. And this was on a not-so-awful day (i.e. dishes actually done, a naked toddler is not sitting on the open dishwasher door, and floor miraculously clear of legos and other sole-destroying items.) But speaking of the floor. . .
What is this hot mess happening down here??? It a simple (patent pending) process! Start with disgusting, ugly 40-year old linoleum, then add some random pieces of peel and stick vinyl tile near the doorway (to see what a striped floor might look like), and then plop a big, cheap Ikea rug down on the whole cesspool and call it a day. Voila!
As you know we are currently in our Norwegian Month. In addition to giving up wine and other treats, we vow to hold off on all purchases and new home projects in order to get caught up with the list of things that already need to be done. So, in true Norwegian fashion I set to work moving the rug and scraping up the floor tiles I had left in place for two years. Maybe this floor just needed a all-hands-on-deck serious cleaning.
But even the fervent swabbing of a couple hundred seamen couldn’t make a difference in the disaster I found lying beneath the rug and tiles.
What had seemed like a completely harmless idea – take some leftover tiles from the powder room project and slap them down to envision a graphic element on the kitchen floor – ended up completely ruining the floor. Midway through removing them all with a putty knife and goo-gone, I really started to despair. There was no salvaging this floor. I had really and truly ruined it. Bonus points for the fact that I decided to just rip off the rubber cove base from the baseboards. Also, note that there is a cup of coffee in this picture (even though we had given up coffee for the month). You know how they say there are no atheists in a foxhole? Well, there is no calm consumption of herbal tea in a full-blown kitchen crisis.
This is the moment our kitchen hit bottom: wretched floor, dingy cabinets, boring hardware (and missing on some cabinets!), lack of good lighting, storage dilemmas. There was nowhere to go but up from here. So like a starlet in rehab, we started planning our comeback. And that’s where the mood board came in:
But, as I mentioned last week, I only wanted to spend a couple hundred dollars, so a kitchen remodel was not a possibility. We have plans for some major house changes a couple of years down the line, but that doesn’t mean we wanted to live in a kitchen that we despised until then! So if you, too, are saving up money for the future – I want you to know there are ways to freshen up your space without having to dip into savings at all! After nearly a month of forgoing unnecessary purchases, I had a nice little surplus from which to draw.
Here were my areas of focus:
- Cabinets and drawers: They looked yellowed and dirty. They were in need of an über-thorough cleaning and a couple fresh coats of paint (which I had on hand: Olympic no-VOC in Crumb Cookie).
- Hardware: Yes, I love brass, but I was sick of seeing it in this form. We wanted something either in stainless steel, nickel or lucite to freshen things up.
- Flooring: Decided to carry in the look of the rest of the wooden floors of the first floor without denting the bank. Wood tone vinyl tiles would do the job for cheap.
- Clutter: I wanted to streamline the counter on either side of the window to lend a more serene feel to the space. That meant moving and reinstalling the paper towel dispenser and magnetic knife rack (which you can see I already did), as well as finding a new home for the pastis jug full of cooking utensils.
- Accessories: We aimed to make the kitchen feel more cheerful and sunny by purchasing a couple small lamps, an accent rug and a fabric valance (or borrowing these things from other areas of the house).
And this is what happens when I try to make myself forgo DIY for a whole month: a full-blown project binge! Ha. We really got after it this weekend, and I’m dying to show you the progress we’ve made. After I finish up a couple of finishing details on the floor today, I’ll be able to share the whole process with you all tomorrow!