Monday, August 31, 2015

Details and Accessories

I'm just in the beginning stages of accessorizing the kitchen.  It's difficult for me to pick a day, shop for accessories, and call it finished.  The places I shop require repeat visits over several months before the right thing lands in my hands.  So the first thing I do is case every room in the house, basement and garage included, for things that could enjoy a new life in a new space.  Those things become the placeholders for something that I find later and like better.  That thing might pop up at a yard sale, a thrift shop, or even someone else's trash.  The second thing I do is head for Arhaus.  Yes, you read that right, the awesome furniture store with pretty expensive stuff.  Surprised?  Don't be.  I go there for inspiration.  I look at how they layer, the juxtaposition of unrelated items, the grouping of patterns and all those decorating nuances that make their displays so special.  I especially take note of what is "not-for sale."  A lot of what lines their bookcases, the way they paint the walls in each vignette, and their table displays have ideas that are free to be copied.

For example:  This is one I saw this week and knew would make a nice little accessory for my kitchen.

 I did not take a picture of their idea because I knew I had what I needed...light bulbs and hot glue. 

They arranged their bulbs in a circle and layered them.

And, voila, you have a sparkly re-purposed industrial flower.

I'm checking out the best place to put my Arhaus copycat.

A while back I posted another Arhaus item that I didn't know existed until I saw it in their ad after I had finished mine.  Guess if you hang out there enough you absorb more than you think.  Interested in what it was?  Check here.

I'm not super great on the computer but I am getting a lot better about finding things there vs chasing from store to store.  One thing I need is a rug in front of the sink.  I thought I had found the runner I wanted at One Kings Lane in a rosy pink and gray.  It was PEFECT!  Well, almost perfect. (I would show you a picture but it's no longer on their site.) Remember the whole scenario with finding a dishwasher with a door that did not take up more than 29" when open?  Well, same issue came into play here.  The space in front of the dishwasher is still 29" and this perfect runner was 30" wide.

So for now, I'm getting by with this shorty until I find something closer to the one that made my heart happy. (I want one about 7' long.)

One item I didn't feel like waiting for was a lamp for the sill over the sink.  I saw this one at Home Goods and knew it would be fine.

I was not crazy about the color of the shade but that was fixable.


 The slightly off-white shade was okay, but next to the trim color of the window, it was a little boring.

I did try a stencil on one side but ended up painting over it with the stainless steel spray.  In this case simple was just better.

Another area that needed some work was the shelf that runs the full length of the wall over the two doorways and the refrigerator and pantry cabinet.

Not easy to see in this picture but the shelf molding rests on the door casings.  There is about a 14" gap from the top of the shelf to the ceiling.

Something I had on had was a pile of Readers Digest books.  I bought them here and there for another one of those copycat projects that never happened.  I'm sure you have all seen individual letters of the alphabet cut from one of these books.  I was prepared to do the entire alphabet but my enthusiasm faded after I discussed it with my brother and realized there was more involved than I was equipped to handle.  Secondly, I really did not have any good reason to make them other than to say I did.

So why not paint them various shades of gray and use them in the kitchen.


Here is the panoramic view.  The tray in the middle is one of those placeholders.  I have had this for ages and liked the size of it for this display.  However, when I took the back off I realized the dollies had been laid on the back of the glass and painted over.  Yuck!  I had plans to put an old piece of sheet music behind the glass.  Not to worry as I can cut another piece of glass to fit and move forward with my plan....just not today.




I added a little stencil to some and glued some label type paper cutouts to others.

I had some folded book pages I had experimented with a few years ago so I added those to the mix.  Hey, Arhaus is still doing it, so it's still good in my book.  =)




A few things will change here, but this takes care of it for now.

This window cannot have much of a window treatment so...

I used the bulk of the fabric on this one.




 The wire rack was a gift from my niece.  I'm sure the contents will rotate periodically.


 The canvas in the background was a Home Goods find back when the kitchen remodel was about to begin.


 The mixer is old but works great.  I saw it at a neighbor's yard sale and she told me I could have it. Part of what makes this a nice vignette is the interesting drywall work Dan did to create more space while working around the stairs that pass over this area.


Another detail that makes me happy is the back plate from my brother, John's, stash.  I had the doorknob and added the numeral for fun.


I had completely forgotten about these dried minature rosebuds that were stuck in a jar in the garage.

This is why it's hard to get rid of certain things.


I know I'll regret it down the road when it would be just what I need.


 I reused the old knobs from the previous cabinets because I didn't find anything I like better.


 I did not realize how much I would love solid surface counter tops.  I have always had laminate tops and liked them at the time, but I really love my Rococo from Viatera.


 I thought it would be nice to post a shot with the windows open.

 My hydrangea bushes were a little stingy with the blooms this year, but when I needed them, they gave me just enough for a small bouquet.

 As you can see, I still struggle with the lighting in my photographs.

 This one show the true colors.


 Reflections are another one of my issues as you can see here.


 Everything in the overhead cabinets was pulled from places around the house.  I expect much of this display to change.

When I find the right paper, I will line the back of the cabinets.


Another little detail is the graffiti on the island drawers.

 And a not so little detail is the medallion over the stove.

I have to give Dan the credit for spotting this on Craig's list and installing it so perfectly that it becomes a part of the tile work.

This post touches on the obvious details, but there are thousands more that went into this remodel.   This is my 26th post about this project and even with that, I have not noted every detail that I debated, agonized over, submitted to, or rejoiced over the past six months.

The final post on this topic will be published soon. The before and after pictures will be posted together and I will move on to...??..not another room remodel any time soon, but there is a project on the horizon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Running Out Of Steam

I feel I have to refresh your memory back to June when it looked like the kitchen remodel on Hartford was approaching the finish line.  All that was left were the two overhead cabinets on either side of the sink.

Base cabinets, countertop, sink, faucet and window were all in place.  So what happened to drag the project to a halt?


Going way back to March, the plan was to have counter to ceiling cabinets on either side of the window.  But after much deliberation and searching for the right doors for appliance garages, I gave up on that idea.  Tambour doors were my first choice, but because I only wanted the opening to be 14" high, there was not enough room for the mechanism that controlled the opening of this type of door.  I looked into hinged and sliding doors and just when I thought we had an option, something else prohibited that solution from working in this installation. I was about at the end of the alphabet with plan A, B, and so forth.  I settled on Plan X and niXed the cabinets that rested on the counter.  Overhead cabinets that rose to within 5" of the top of the window became the new plan.

That, of course, presented a design issue never before considered.  What do I do with the wall on either side of that cool looking backsplash?

I considered the same tile I had used behind the stove.  It was just a tiny bit tempting since I had almost enough of these tiles left over to do both sides.  However, a couple things ruled the tile out.  First, the 6x6 tiles would not come out evenly in a 21"x 14" space and I really did not want to repeat the tile on another wall.  From the get-go I had always envisioned this tile being the focal point and I couldn't let go of that.  And just to cinch the demise of this idea, I didn't really like the smooth finishes of the tile and the backsplash on the same plane butting against each other.

Some other random ideas were tossed around that never made it past the 15 minute consideration deadline.  But one idea did stick.

Tin Ceiling Tiles

Thus began the research online and otherwise for the right product for my purposes.  It took way longer than it should have, but until you browse through all the promotional material trying to figure out what makes one company's product different, better, less expensive...you don't know that it's all marketing and they are pretty much the same.  The above tile is cool and has the same quatrefoil design as the radiator panels in my island, but....it presents the same problem as the ceramic tile.  A 24" piece of metal does not fit a 21" opening and a border was not a option.


So I chose a filler panel that is something used for borders on a ceiling when the patterned pieces do not come out even.  It has the look of hammered silver.

I ordered it online from American Tin Ceilings and it arrived in two days.  I also ordered a J-strip to slip onto the bottom edge so that there would be a nice transition from the metal to the countertop.  The top edge will be covered by the cabinet and the backsplash will hide  two of the raw sides.  That just left two sides one of which butts up to the back door casing and the other into the wall on the left.

I wasn't interested in the shiny silver look you see on the top third of this shot.  So I primed the two panels after they had been cut to fit.

I painted them with a weathered steel spray paint but it was too dark and dismal looking.  So I repainted them with a Krylon stainless steel spray.

Then I waxed and polished them before they were installed.


Time moved on as do contractors when things slow down on the job.  And getting their attention again can be tricky, but the cabinets finally arrived to be painted.

They came primed and just needed a little sanding and two coats of paint.

It wasn't a hard job but I made the mistake of not staying hydrated in the heat and so suffered the consequences of heat exhaustion.  I'll spare you the details but not the warning.  DON'T  ever let yourself get to that point.  When the weather forecasters suggest taking special care of children and older people on a given day. take them at their word!  I can't speak for the children, but older people don't recover from this overnight.

As each phase of this remodel came to pass, it was with fingers crossed that the vision actually translated to a pleasing reality.

Exhale!  Even without the doors, I can tell they are going to work.

One thing that isn't working is my little valance above the window.  Currently rethinking that one.  It doesn't pay to get ahead of yourself.  I was a little impatient during the down time and forged ahead before the cabinets came.

After trying the TV in a couple locations, I settled on this spot.  My son-in-law found me a nice little flat screen for $79 so I ditched my old TV which would have taken up the entire counter over the dishwasher.

I think this is it.  It's the day the guys finish their part of the job.  The glass doors are being installed on the overhead cabinets, and...

...a final stabilizing feature is being added to the island.

 Although it was rock solid from front to back, the island had a bit of a sway from side to side.  The diagonal steel bars ended that today!

The doors are in place and the knobs are on too.  Now it's up to me to accessorize.

I was in a hurry to get this post published so cleaning the glass in the cabinet doors was scratched from today's list of chores.

The next post will show some decorative elements I have been working on while waiting for this moment.  And the final post on the kitchen will follow that post.  I'll be showing the kitchen from every angle with the before/after pictures next to each other.