Breaking the "rules"....

I don't know if it is an actual "rule" or if it is something I made up in my head.

But who made the "rule" that pots and pans have to be stored in a lower cabinet next to the stove?

For years my pots and pans were in a small lower corner cabinet next to the stove. Total nightmare to dig out a pot or pan....something I use EVERY day!

A few years ago, I installed this nifty pull out for my casserole dishes and mixing bowls and eventually moved the pots and pans to the space to the left...across from the stove. (The crock pots and extra casserole dishes went into the nightmare cabinet!)

Accessing them still required that I move this little stool...

static1.squarespace.jpg

...and crawl around on the floor to get to them all.

(This is one advantage to having a small kitchen...you can put anything anywhere and still access it in just a few steps!)

When I was shuffling things around in my pantry thinking I MIGHT put a microwave in there I found that I had a bit more room than I thought! Again, I am not cooking for a family any more, so food storage is not as big a deal as it was years ago!

Truth be told, there are food items I rarely use (like my daughter-in-law's gluten free flour and boxes of dry goods) as opposed to the pots and pans I use every single day. So that got me to thinking...WHY do I store things I use daily in an inconvenient place? Is there some kind of "kitchen rule" I would be breaking and risk being fined by the kitchen police? Can I not move the things I use EVERY day to an easier space to access and store the stuff I only use occasionally in their place?

ABSOLUTELY! So I did....

I moved the pots and pans to the pantry...eye level and easy to access. I installed another slide out shelf and use it for boxed and dry goods I only need to access to occasionally.

And you know what...I LOVE it!

I guess if the kitchen police show up to inspect I will have to move it all back. In the meantime I will enjoy being just a tad rebellious.

Keep in mind I have "purged" down to the daily essentials...that is something you need to take into consideration when you feel cramped for space! Do you really use 4 identical casserole dishes...or 3 egg pans...or 2 full size crock pots on a regular basis. If you only need them during the holidays or for family gatherings, consider moving them out of the kitchen. I store my large three crock cooker in my laundry room because I only use it during Thanksgiving...no need for it to take up valuable kitchen real estate year round. 

Think about it...are rarely used items taking up valuable space...are you storing every day items in a space that is "proper" but just doesn't work for you? MOVE IT! 

static1.squarespace.png

The "compact" microwave and new stove....

It is done...the new microwave, stove and tile are installed.

And I LOVE them!

It all started with my quest to get rid of the over-the-range microwave.

As I mentioned here, it really became an issue for me when I read that over-the-range microwaves are now considered a kitchen "faux pas." Truth be told, it has bugged me for years...I hated the big ole' hulking thing hanging over my head while I cooked. 

And of course there was the whole issue of the black stainless refrigerator and the fact that the range, microwave and dishwasher were black. We bought the black stainless refrigerator almost two years ago, planning to transition all the other appliance to black stainless. Unfortunately I can't bring myself to buy new appliances when the old work just fine.

The microwave worked just fine...but my "obsession" with getting rid of the big ole' hulking appliance drove me to the point of madness...so I bought this awesome little thing. I guess technically it is still an "over-the-range" microwave, but it is really not much bigger than a vent hood and doesn't bother my aesthetic senses at all!

I ordered the microwave in black stainless, knowing one day I would break down and buy the black stainless stove I had been drooling on for several year. Low and behold my oven went out a few days after I ordered the microwave....curses! Now I HAD to buy a new stove. (Honestly, it was just the ignitor....a relatively easy and inexpensive fix...but that is beside the point!)

The only real issue I had with replacing the much larger microwave with a smaller one was the tile back splash. Several years ago I replaced the original tile backsplash with travertine.

I tiled to the bottom of the microwave...but the compact microwave is about 7" shorter than the original, which means I was going to have to add tile. Fortunately, I am a hoarder of "scrap construction crap" and managed to piece together enough scrap travertine tile to fill the gap.

All I had left from the original install were scraps...so to make sure I would have enough (and not have to order a few pieces of this extremely expensive tile!) I made a little template the size of the space and began laying out the scraps. I numbered each piece on the back so I could install it in the proper order!

If you do not have any scrap of your backsplash (and can't buy it), think about adding a little "decorative" accent...Pinterest is full of inspiration! 

Another little issue was the fact that I had tiled over the original tile (not something I normally do!)...as a result there was a 3/8" difference in thickness. No biggy really, I just put a piece of 3/8" board (scrap sheetrock) to fill the space then tiled with the travertine! 

I picked up a few sticks of travertine pencil liner at Lowe's to create little borders on the sides and under the microwave. Not a perfect match but close enough!

I have one really serious problem now...the dishwasher doesn't match.

Since it was replaced 5 or 6 years ago, I don't see it going out any time soon! Dang it! I'm trying to convince myself that I can live with this unsightly thing....trying! 

I have also ordered a new quartz top for the bar...

I have tired of the black and want something "light and bright." Again, I am always looking for a way to lighten the kitchen without painting the cabinets. The granite counter tops now seem a little "busy and dark" but that has to wait. I desperately want to make some serious changes to master bath and that has to be my next big project!

I haven't used either appliance enough to give a proper review but I can say I LOVE the look of both. The microwave is plenty large enough to do what I do...warm leftovers and melt butter. (Whirlpool is the only company that currently makes a "compact" microwave and their "black stainless" blends well with the Samsung black stainless stove and refrigerator.)

I love the new stove top but I have one minor beef...no drip pans. Not a huge problem...I ordered silicone "cut to fit" drip mats from Amazon. Not sure how happy I will be with this solution but I guess I will find out. It has a "wok grate" but I don't have a wok so whatever! The middle griddle is a neat feature but I'm not sure I will use it much...again, we'll see! The oven has both a "traditional bake" as well as convection...and it will automatically calculate the conversion...which is nice for someone who has been cooking with a regular ole' stove for 40 years! 

I want to share Matt's entry...he is having his kitchen cabinet painted so he wants me to wait to take pictures until he has his kitchen finished...so MAYBE next week!

Until then...

Modifying a cabinet...

When I first remodeled my master bathroom, I loved it...honestly, I still do! But someday soon I want to make some major changes just for practical purposes. Specifically, I want to remove the whirlpool tub (seriously, I think I have used it 3 times in the last 20 years!) and add a walk in shower.

As much as I love the existing tile, I know that will mean picking new tile for the shower....which means I will want to go ahead and replace the floor tiles...you know, while there is already a mess! But picking a tile that will carry me through another 20 years is tough for me...I know people say this or that is "timeless" but I can assure you NO home decor is timeless.

This will all happen as soon as I can find the perfect tile person to construct the shower. I do not want to hire someone who isn't VERY experienced because one of the worst things that can happen would be a shower that leaks! 

There is one other tiny detail that kinda bugged me...the "medicine cabinet."

While I love the look, it just wasn't practical. Why? Because everything in the back half of the cabinet goes there to die! Seriously, I found a bunch of products and pills that had expired years ago.

I cut down my kitchen pantry several years ago and have never regretted losing that extra 12" of space. I like how the smaller cabinet opens up the kitchen a bit! And again, everything in the back of the cabinet had a tendency to expire before I got to it. (No, I don't have a picture of the pantry before I cut it down...that was "preblog!")

So I knew cutting down the depth of the cabinet in the bathroom was doable! 

The first thing I did was take EVERYTHING out of the cabinet and took inventory. Major purgefest! I made sure that what was needed or wanted would fit comfortably if I only had 6" of depth. Yep, all but the basket of old prescription medication and most of it had expired. 

Once I knew that cutting down the cabinet wouldn't pose a logistical problem, I removed the cabinets from the wall, cut them down, rebuilt the back and reinstalled them. (Did I take pictures of this process...of course not...who knew I would share something so mundane!)

Sounds easy...honestly, it wasn't. There was an electrical outlet to deal with and the trim detail and then of course there was the exposed sheetrock boo-boos from the old marble backsplash...curses. I always think a project will be easier than it is!

But again, it was doable, and after a day of cutting and cussing I had a smaller cabinet.

The sheetrock boo-boo was an easy fix...mud, sand and retexture. Since I am good about keeping old paint for touchups...no biggy. Except it had been so long since I painted the bathroom, the paint had hardened. So I got to repaint the entire bathroom! Yippee!

Fortunately I had a couple of left over gallons of paint from when I painted my living areas...

Now I am eyeballing my kitchen again. I am a sucker for the "power of suggestion" so when I read that big ole' hulking over-the-range microwaves are now a kitchen "faux pas" I decided I want to remove the microwave above the stove...which means I have to find a place for a smaller microwave. The counter is not an option since I have a small kitchen and limited counter space. Hum...the pantry...maybe I can put it in the pantry. Well, I could if it weren't so stinking shallow...remember I cut it down so now no microwave more than 13" deep will fit. Thank goodness for the internet...I spent days researching microwaves. Fortunately, I found a few that would work so that's one hurdle! Small little things but honestly the only thing I use a microwave for is to boil water, warm coffee and melt butter.

Hurdle #2...can I afford to loose shelf space in the pantry? Again, I pulled everything out and start measuring cans of beans and moving shelves around. 

Doable! Keep in mind we are now a family of two and I don't need the food storage space I use to!

Hurdle #3...when I take down the over-the-range microwave...what then?

Honestly, I didn't know.

And then I found a solution that changed my whole plan...

A compact over the range microwave by Whirlpool!

I would post a picture but the site won't let me steal the pictures so just go look at it!

How cool is THIS! It's only about 10" tall so I won't feel like I have a big ole' hulking appliance hanging above my head while I am cooking.

I ordered the black stainless even though my stove is black.

I hate to buy new appliances when they work perfectly fine so I thought I would live with my old black stove for the time being.

(Fortunately for me the ignitor went out on the oven this week. Yippeee! Perfect excuse to order the new black stainless stove I drool on every time I go to Lowe's! God forbid I fix it with the $30 part!)

Now I don't have to give up pantry space or counter space. I guess it is still technically a "kitchen faux pas" since it is an "over the range microwave." But you know what...I'm okay with it. I'm probably one of the few who hasn't painted my kitchen cabinets, I have no shiplap in my house and while I would love to retile my entire kitchen and dining area with beautiful, light travertine tile, it's not happening...so I'm okay with bucking the decor trends!

The only problem I have is the space that will have to be tiled after the big ole' hulking microwave is removed. Fortunately, I am a pack rat and kept all my scraps from when I retiled the kitchen backsplash! Yea me! Thank goodness because that stuff was E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E!

So when I get the new microwave and stove are installed and the tile work done I'll share...can't wait!

 

Entry cabinet/console/buffet makeover...

Occasionally I will buy something at an auction for resale I THINK I won't need to do anything to! Example...this nifty "primitive" cabinet/console/buffet...

It could be used for many things...hence the cabinet-slash-console-slash-buffet.

It would make a darling entry table. Or a tv console. Or even a small dining buffet.

The wood is really rustic and rough...nifty iron hardware.

But alas, no one shared my vision and it sat in my space at 410 Vintage for MONTHS!

Last week I did a little reset...technical word in the world of retail for "move stuff around." Since this little cabinet/console/buffet had been hanging out for quite some time I decided to bring it home and give it a little facelift.

IMG_3061.JPG

Darker gel stain on the top and a grey/blue chalk paint and distress on the base.

I think it is darling and HOPEFULLY someone else will agree! 

Another example of how easy it is to change things up a bit with just a little effort!

Bee Box Shelf....

Sometimes things get "stored" in my garage and I spend a few years kicking them around. 

My daughter started raising bees several years ago. She would occasionally bring home old "bee boxes" to paint. 

One has been hanging out in my garage for...oh, I would say at LEAST two years. Waiting to be painted. Never happened.

In my quest to "organize" my mess of a garage I decided to purge a few things...but it is always hard for me to toss anything wood. One of my few "hoarding" tendencies.

An old bee box...scrap pieces of bead board from another project...old dresser drawer pieces...hum....what to do, what to do!?

Yep...a "bee box" shelf.

I used one side of an antique dresser drawer as the shelf and the scrap bead board for the back. A little glue...a few nails. I sanded the box and the shelf to clean them up a bit. (I could actually smell the honey!)After sanding and assembling I sprayed the entire piece with a clear coat just to seal the "chippy" paint.

Easy, peasy. 

Not my style so of course it will be sold, but just a quick reminder that you can turn any old "scraps" into something pretty and functional with just a little imagination...this didn't take too much time or any expensive tools...just a saw to cut the shelf, a hammer and a little sand paper. 

Next week I'll share the project that produced all the scrap bead board...another "repurposing" project! 

Until then....

Waterfall armoire makeover....

This week's project is a classic example of "OMG, can I really paint an antique!!!???"

This is a pretty little vintage waterfall armoire I picked up at an estate auction a few weeks ago. It wasn't in terrible shape, but it really didn't have a lot going for it aesthetically...kind of plan and boring!

It did have some really pretty bakelite hardware, which is classic on waterfall pieces. The problem was the condition of the hardware. One was completely missing the bakelite, and the other three were broken and chipped....pretty much unsalvagable! 

The "design" on the top drawer was not a true inlay...and the general construction was pretty simplistic. I did a little research online to make sure it wasn't something of great value! Sometimes, when there are no makers marks, you just have to make a judgment call on the value as a "restored antique." 

In the end, I decided to give the piece a little KTSP treatment and give it a new life. Hopefully it will make a perfect little dresser/storage cabinet for someone! 

I removed all the hardware, taped and papered the drawers and insides and sprayed it down with Kilz. Since one of the pulls was toast, I puttied the holes so I could add a single pull. After sanding it smooth and wiping it down with tack cloth, it was time to paint.

Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when temperatures don't always cooperate. So I had to haul everything into my dining room and use a brush and roller instead of spray paint. 

No biggy IF you do it properly...make sure you use a quality brush, a 4" foam roller and add Floetrol to your latex paint! (Penetrol for oil based) The additive will give your paint a longer dry time and more time to "level," eliminating brush and roller marks. 

I found a pretty blue and tried it on the drawers..ummmm...no. Too babyish. So I mixed a little black in some green and came up with a greyish-green I kind of liked.

I removed the broken bakelite from the pulls and sprayed them with metal primer then sprayed them with gold paint. Kind of pretty!

All in all, it turned out kind of cute. While it was a nice "vintage" piece, I think the paint and new hardware gave it a nice little "update" and a chance at a new and useful life....

If you are certain a piece is not a valuable antique, don't be afraid to give it a little face lift! 

As I mentioned last week, I have been working on reupholstering the club chair and ottoman in the living room. Unfortunately I had to order a little more fabric so HOPEFULLY I can finish it up this week and share next week! 

Until then....

Super simple DIY wall decor....

As I look around at my wall decor, I realize that MOST of it is thrift store, garage sale, vintage market pieces that I have collected and "upscaled" at some point in time.

Here I shared a quick update to my little gallery wall of favorite family photos....

Simple, inexpensive frames spray painted and new matting. I didn't even have expensive "custom" mats made...I cut bulk matting to fit the frame and then mounted the pictures on top of it!

I spent a fortune on these dining pictures 17 years ago and in my quest to transition from "dark and dank" to "light and bright" I gave them a little make-over....

I did spend a little more on custom matting, but I chalk painted the frames and deconstructed and changed it all out myself. A tad more expensive but faaaaar less expensive then going out and buying new matted pictures! You can pick up frames like these for pennies at thrift stores! Maybe the picture is ugly and the frame is "dated" but it really is a simple little DIY project that can make a huge impact! 

This super cool mid century dresser mirror was another DIY project I shared here

I love the fact that I can change out the wreath for the holiday seasons...I have one for fall (pictured) and Christmas, a Valentine's wreath and a cool little metal thing for the 4th of July! For "off-season" I have a simple boxwood wreath!

Now this is where I admit that I am a bad blogger....because AGAIN I failed to take any "before" pictures. So close your eyes and imagine...inexpensive little brown frames with pictures of a goose...or something stupid like that.

Again, a little KTSP treatment, a tiny bit of spray paint, a little inspirational quote printed on stock paper and PRESTO....

When I was at an auction last week I picked up two unfinished oak cabinet doors. Here I shared how easy it is to turn them into cute little chalkboards...perfect for a kitchen, mud room or the kid's room! 

Chalkpaint, chalkboard paint, a little cup pull to hold the chalk and again, PRESTO! 

(I even painted the cabinet doors in my garage with chalkboard paint so I have a place to write down supplies I need to pick up or projects I need to work on!)

My point? If you don't like your wall decor,  change it! Paint it, change out the mats, change out the picture. 

Make it pretty! Cuz life is too short to live with ugly wall decor! 

Heirlooms trump everything!

I have said it time and again....family heirlooms trump EVERYTHING!!! So when my uncle dropped off a china cabinet this week that had been my great-grandmother's, everything was rearranged to make room for it!

It's not "my style."(very traditional) It's not "my wood." (oak) It's not "my finish." (white-wash/pickled kinda look)

But it was my great-grandmother's and that is all that matters.

I even have a picture to prove it!

This is my maternal grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother gathered at a holiday dinner in the early 80s....the china cabinet is in the background and the dishes on the table are my great-grandmother's china I recently acquired.

I vaguely remember this piece in my great grandparent's dining room when I was a child. They lived in a charming little post-war neighborhood in Dallas and during my childhood it was the family gathering spot for holiday's and special occasions.

While I was looking through my family photos for a picture of the cabinet, I also found this awesome holiday photo of my mother's entire family taken in 1948 at their home in Houston.

My mother is the sullen looking teenager in the red gingham shirt, my uncle to her left. The woman to the far left in the picture, in white, is my great aunt Judy. She inherited this china cabinet after my great-grandmother (woman far right) passed in 1986...and now it has come to me!

On the table are my grandmother's dishes I also acquired recently! 

These pictures are pure treasure!

Sooooo...now I have a china cabinet that is not my style, not my wood and not my finish.

I'm not sure what I will do with the finish...if anything. Right now I am just going to let it sit and mull it over. This is one of those pieces I will not touch until I have a very firm game plan in place. I know it needs a few small repairs but the beveled mirrors were replace in 1986...seriously, I found the receipt in the cabinet....$15 for two beveled mirrors. I just spent $130 to replace two mirrors that broke when my living room wall mirror fell off the wall!

I do know I would like to replace the wood shelves with glass...maybe add some interior lighting....and I couldn't wait to remove the metallic red paper inside the cabinet!

Had I picked this piece up at an auction, I would have immediately slathered it in paint. 

Not that I am opposed to making changes to family heirlooms. Sometimes you have to make changes to a piece so it will serve your family for many more decades. But when you are dealing with family heirlooms you should proceed with respect and caution! 

Drop door cabinet makeover....

Enough about my entry makeover FOR NOW! I'll get there eventually but I'm at the "wait" and "hum" stage...waiting on tile and stair treads and not quite sure what I want to do about trim and lighting...hum....

So in the meantime I thought I would share one of the wash stands I rehabbed. I went to an awesome auction several weeks ago and brought home 5 potentially beautiful dressers and wash stands. One just needed to be cleaned and oiled but the others needed some serious work.

On these older pieces I just can't bring myself to slather them entirely in paint. I always have to restore a little bit of the original wood. I know in today's world of home decor, paint is all the rage, but I need a good balance of paint and the "warmth" of wood. So no matter the condition of the top, if it is solid wood, I am going to strip it and refinish it. 

This little cabinet was originally a "wash stand." It wan't in terrible shape but it had seen better days!

It had a little mirror on the back, which when removed left a  "gap" along the back edge.

If I was going to paint the top, I could have filled it in with a strip of poplar and been done with it. But I knew I wanted to refinish the top so I added a piece of oak...

...just routed the edge, then attached it with glue and trim nails. I stripped the top with this process, applied a little walnut stain and sealed with poly!

I chalk painted and distressed the base and sealed with poly. The little drop front REALLY distressed, but sometimes I just let furniture do what it wants to do! A little update on the hardware and it is good to go!

The drawers on most antique pieces have some issues....remember GLUE AND CLAMP when repairing drawers! Not nails and screws! And since the drawers were pretty ratty and stained, I gave them a little KSTP treatment! (sorry, no pictures!) They look and smell much better if you will take the time to paint the inside of the drawers of these older pieces!

I think this would make an awesome bedside table or entry piece! Or even a tv cabinet!

I tried to "stage" this little piece with some of my auction finds....

....an old cheese box, some awesome scales and a wood duck decoy. But again, I am not the best photographer and I am definitely more about doing and less "froo-frooing." 

I have several dressers and another wash stand to share, so stay tuned!

TV cabinet makeover...

The bad news is I have had a lot of vacancies this past month...the good new is I have had a lot of vacancies this past month! 

The reason it is bad is because it means I have pretty much had to bust it every day...cleaning, repairing, rehabbing! I. AM. EXHAUSTED!

The reason it is good news is because OCCASIONALLY I find a decent little piece I can work a little DIY magic on. Before I started "rehabbing for resell" I would either toss this stuff or give it away to friends and neighbors....often after spending days rehabbing and refinishing! Seriously, I just gave away stuff! Now I will make repairs, paint, refinish...whatever it takes to give the piece another lifetime of use!

This piece is a prime example...

Dated, worn and just down right ugly. Very similar in style to this piece but a little sturdier so I thought it was worth giving a little makeover! 

This piece was a prime candidate for a little KSTP treatment I shared here.

It originally had a little shelf but it was missing so I cut another out of a sheet of plywood. Other than that, it really didn't need any repairs! I painted the cabinet a slate blue I mixed up using a blue and black latex paint I had on hand, painted the drawer fronts black and the hardware metallic gold. 

I liked the style of the hardware but definitely not the color.

This is one of those pieces I took to "base neutral" (in other words, primed) and then let sit because I just couldn't decided what color to use on it. 

Obviously the colors were okay...it sold 3 days after I took it to 410 Vintage