Partial Progress

It’s an oft-made mistake, to expect that a DIY construction project will be completed within the projected time frame.

And then there’s the extended time frame that occurs when said project goes on indefinite hold.

Definitely in limbo status, our kitchen project is now in its eighth month.  Since the kitchen has been extremely functional for the past five months, we’ve had no pressure to move it forward, along with little to no enthusiasm for the process.

But the project is nearly at the halfway mark, and it’s time to give an update ( since we’re beginning to feel compelled to get back to work):

This little portion of the project was an addition to the original plan.  The skillets had been planned for an under cabinet hanging mount installation (the corner is part of the unfinished business) in the corner cubby.

kitchen sink area

I was concerned about this plan, as I couldn’t satisfactorily determine the weight limits of the cabinet top I have planned.  I’d considered purchase of a wall mount iron rack to mount to the top of this window frame and I’d finally located a rack to match the measurements and was nearly ready to place my order.

kitchen skillet rack

Then it struck me that the best option for weight support would be between the two cabinets, with a closet rod for the rack.

kitchen skillet rack detail

A quick trip to the nearest hardware store and I’d found my skillet rack:  a metal closet rod, cut to the proper length, with closet rod mounts, and large (and hard to find) S-hooks with rubber tips for added safety.  The total cost was less than $40, with the S-hooks being the greater portion of the cost.  SCORE!

kitchen closed corner

In the corner cubby, I decided to pull one of the cabinet doors to leave an open cabinet.  I can’t decide if it’s a win, but it’s not been a loss.  Sometimes you just opt for so-so and call it good.  Seriously, it keeps the open cabinet door out of the work space and has spared a few head injuries.

Also, I installed the towel rack and utility rack.  The utility rack isn’t pretty, but it’s been one of the handiest options so far.  How nice to just grab what you need rather than opening a cabinet or drawer.

I’m not showing you the bottom portion of the corner, as that’s an incomplete part of the project.

kitchen open cabinet

Here’s the close-up of the open cabinet.  Part of the remaining project is to paint the cabinet interiors the pale green you see on the sink window sill.  It will add some depth and contrast.  In the meantime, this cabinet functions well and looks decent enough, with my obsessive use of glass containers.

kitchen end view

The impact is the new hardware and paint.  Hardware was chosen to match the faucet as I had no reason to change it out.

I chose a dark paint color for the bottom cabinets, trim and corner walls, to continue the dark line of the oven.  I chose a monochrome light color for the upper walls, trim,  and cabinets to give the illusion of space.

The floors will be dark laminate tile squares, while the ceiling will be white bead-board.

We opened the cabinet above the stove to allow easy access to cooking condiments, seasonings and spices.  The bonus is the exposed brick from an original stove chimney.  We’ll frame off the opening and give the brick a sealer coat to liven up the color.

dining room view

The dining room has returned to its normal state (and left with its own unfinished projects, lol).  We live here and it’s evident.

Here’s a quick summary of what we have left to complete in the kitchen:

  • Floor tiles and trim
  • Ceiling bead-board and trim
  • Interior cabinet paint
  • Frame off brick chimney
  • Install corner cubby counter top and shelving
  • Hang iron shelf over microwave cart
  • Create mini pantry in basement door cubby

There’s where we are, with a practical approach project and a work in progress kitchen.

Dreamin’ Girl


Making Progress

I cannot tell you how relieved I was once the electricians had completed the kitchen rewire!  One of our light fixtures was surrounded by blackish marks on the plaster and furring strips when we pulled the ceiling tile, and that light crackled when I next turned it on.

Now, a fabulous new ceiling fan with light hangs in its place:

New ceiling fan and light

Most fabulously, this light wonder of air movement was on sale for less than $40!  Win!

We’ve been moving right along with the kitchen redo, squeezing in work in between other obligations like jobs and events and garden and such, oh my!  Slowly but surely, we’re making progress in the kitchen.

bye bye redHere is a peek at the cubby corner, where the red is losing ground.  Hurrah!  Hubby never wanted red in the kitchen, but I was in my “phase”, ya know?  Out with the darned country blue and in with the fresh new red.


Well, now I’m ready for some calm and serene, so green is the color of the new “phase”.

Color scheme comparisonJust for a quick design check, I set a few of the new laminate floor tiles in the corner.  I really think I’m going to enjoy the final effect.

No more peeking now, ya hear?

It was a fabulously sunny day, so I did take a few minutes to soak in some sunshine and enjoy the colors of spring:

Wild Violets Yellow tulips Yellow and Red tulips Color combination tulips Long tulip stemsPerhaps I do yet enjoy red – just not in the kitchen.  ;)

Keep dreamin’!

Overhaulin’ the Kitchen Practically

main kitchen cabinets

main kitchen cabinets

As promised, I’m going to let you in on the “dirt”.  Our version of “this ol’ house”, a 1885 semi Victorian style home with character galore and the underlying dirt to prove it, is getting a kitchen overhaul on a practical budget.

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I look at the shot above and can sum it up pretty nicely:  I sure do “make do”.

It’s crazy how we don’t realize that our spaces are as compromised, or patch-work utilized as they truly are until the bare truth is exposed by a simple frozen moment in time.

It’s a cramped space, and with three doorways and four windows to work around the options for fixed cabinets are few.

On the plus side, the existing cabinets extend to the ceiling – the wonderful high ceilings that come with this ol’ house.

wall caddy, long shelf, baskets and small cabinet added storage

wall caddy, long shelf, baskets and small cabinet added storage

This corner is too narrow to fit base cabinets, so stand-alone options have been used, with varying degrees of success.

The shaggy wall above the special tile board is remnant of the wallpaper that I gleefully ripped from the room when we first moved in, eight years ago.  Hubby told me not to start a project I couldn’t finish and I retorted with, “this is how I wanted it”.

Yes, I did.

I lived with the paper backing as kitchen wallpaper for eight years.

Stubborn much?  No!

kitchen added storage cabinet

oven-side cart and corner microwave unit, with wall rack

Here is the flip-side corner, which has no fixed cabinets, but has the only plug-in option for the refrigerator.  The fridge shares the outlet with the powerful microwave, so when the microwave is used, the result is a blown breaker.

Old homes come with a special little treat called knob and tube wiring.



Our home has the entire main level wired on one continuous line and tied to one breaker.


Doubly special.

Family get-togethers have a common theme:  a blown breaker.  Lights out for everyone on the main level.   Sudden TV blackout for the guys in the media room watching the game!

Everyday living is riddled with the exclamation “fire in the hole”, so that the TV viewer is not taken by surprise when the microwave flips the breaker.

rolling island cart and rolling utility cart

rolling island cart and rolling utility cart

The rolling island cart is the key to keeping this kitchen functional.  It houses the pots and pans and serves as the main prepping surface.

I’ve assembled the steps below as we’ve pared this bad boy kitchen down to the bare essentials, now awaiting the electrician to arrive tomorrow and make sense of the nonsensical wiring:


There it is, the big bad and ugly.

First lesson learned:  Cover everything in sight when you start pulling and scraping and sanding!  Our first day of tear down we spent two hours working and four hours cleaning the dust out of every nook and cranny!

It was a lot of work to get the walls stripped and prepped, but I sure look forward to the new paint.

I was truly afraid of what was tucked up under those ceiling tiles, so was quite relieved that we only have a small area of old water damage from the bathroom above.  We can handle that.

Thankfully, I didn’t know the extreme situation with the light fixture, or I would not have been able to sleep.  The electrician cannot get here fast enough now.  I turned that switch on this morning and heard crackling, so off it went!

On a humorous note, I have to tell you about the ceiling tear down.  That narrow space was where I was stationed during the ceiling tile pull-down.  Hubby started on the opposite wall.

I had just pried the first tile out and was happily starting on the next two when Hubby calmly stated “my side’s done, how’s yours?”  I turned around to give him my “yeah, whatever” look, just in time to see the whole section of tiles folding down in a wave – and coming right toward me!

The entire main portion of tiles collapsed in less than a minute, with only my little cubby remaining.  It was bizarre!  Easy-peasy!

The beadboard ceiling panels might not be such a simple task to install, but I can just imagine the effect.

And the Winning Kitchen design, a PDF sampling of the ideas I’ve compiled for the finished product.  Also seen here, on my Pinterest board.

These are my inspiration for the finished product.  I’m super excited to see how it all turns out.

Coming soon…

Dreamin’ Girl