Showing posts with label kitchen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kitchen. Show all posts


slipcovered industrial bar stools

When we moved into the house 5 years ago after the renovations were complete, I had this setup in the kitchen under the window:
 It was cute, but there was not really space fore dining chairs---but it was a case of using what I had at the time, and I really liked having the softness and pattern of the upholstery balancing the wood cabinets on the other side.

As time went on, I switched out the curtains (don't worry the green ones made out of the fantastic vintage sheet just moved to another room) for these also made out of vintage fabric.  One reason I switched them is because I had enough of the vintage floral to make curtains for my glass doored cabinets:

Note:  in real life, the backsplash is much brighter and the cabinet doors don't read as striped.
Other changes, including selling the original table, the need for more storage in the kitchen, and the need to find a home for my partner's beloved baker's rack--(don't ask me, I don't understand why he likes it either), I moved the baker's rack in front of the window.

I didn't hate this setup.  I liked the extra storage, and it did provide privacy.  It was awkward with the chairs, and we eventually replaced them with these great industrial style stools from world market.  Side note--I know industrial is trendy right now, but I've honestly been loving touches of industrial design, including stools, for years.  I dragged home my first rusting metal cart in the mid 1990s:  I really liked the stools, including the wood, but I felt this whole area had gotten a little dull, literally.  I mised my pattern and color from the upholstery.  I also got fed up trying to open and close the window (why yes, I occasionally burn dinner filling the kitchen with smoke....why do you ask?) with the rack in the way.  Plus, I felt it really closed in an already small space.

Then I remembered this kitchen.  I don't remember where it came from, though.  I know it was in a magazine.  I think Cottage Living, but I'm not sure.  What I am sure about is that I loved those slipcovered stools from the moment I saw them.  I remembered this image, looked at my stools and realized I could have that look.

The fabric is from a beloved and ink stained shirt.  I loved the color and stripes so much I saved it for a potential project.  I loved the way the stripe looks with the floral and how it pulls in aqua from the adjoining office and back splash. They are loose and just slip on the stools like a hat.  It was only after making the slips, though, that I realized they looked like prison hats from a 1930s movie.  I'm okay with that though.

Truth in blogging:  The stools are used rarely.  At most once a week.  Therefore, I didn't secure the slips.  They slide around a little if they've been sat on, but it's easy enough to straighten them.  If I used them daily, though, the looseness would be an issue.  I'd have to find a way to attach them, either with velcro, ties, or something else.  As of now, it hasn't presented enough of an issue for my to take the time and effort.

In conjunction with some other small changes, I switched the baker's rack with a metal cart I found in my father's pasture with peeling paint in a combo of royal blue and John Deere green.  I love the way it turned out.  I still have storage for things like my dutch ovens and mixer, but it keeps the room so much more open.  And I love the splash of color with the vintage daperies.  

Update on laundry and to do list:  I've done a couple of small items on the list, so that's going well.  The laundry room is kind of on hold...but for a good reason.  I have reason to believe a fairy godmother is going to gift us with a new washer/dryer set for our commitment ceremony;  in that case, if i have fresh, white appliances and don't have to work around a mis-matched washer, I will definitely make some different paint decisions.  I will keep y'all posted.


Kitchen Addition: New Stools

The latest addition to the kitchen: twist stool from World Market.'

This is going to be a rambling post:  I want to touch on a couple of things.  First, I want to show off my new stools, a great buy from World Market and show the evolution of my kitchen--while doing that I also want to talk about the balance between true to your design loves and embracing trends and "something different."  I also want to go through the process of why I chose the stools I did--it may be tedious, but over and over from clients, I hear the same refrain, "I don't even know where to start!"  Hopefully, even though this is a very minor design decision, it will help readers understand the design process---which is really the same for both big and small choices.  Pour yourself some coffee (or a Bloody Mary if it's that kind of morning...I won't judge, I promise...well, at least not for long), and I'll begin.     
Original kitchen setup circa Oct. 2007.

  Here is the way this part of the kitchen originally looked.  It's in the pathway from stair room to back door, but since my kitchen is so small (12'x14'), I couldn't afford to leave any space unused.  It's not quite enough room for a table, even a bistro set, but there was just enough room for these two exiting chairs and a small table.  When I decorated the house, I was in the throes of my love affair with Domino and mid-century.  While I've always liked to combine pattern and intense color, this vingette with the contrast patterns never really felt like me.  Plus, while I liked funky accent pieces from the '50s, '60s, and '70s before they became de rigueur, I only really liked touches of them.  These '60s prints with the glass lamp in the avocado kitchen  felt too studied, and not naturally eclectic.  

Soon, however, fate (and a cat) intervened, and the aqua lamp was no more.  Next, the table moved on to a client's house when I realized it was perfect there; besides, as much as I resisted going the baker's rack route, I disparately  needed more storage.  I was worried about blocking the light, but in fact, plenty still comes in, and as the view is merely across an 8' driveway directly into a neighbor's window, the items do provide some privacy.  However, the chairs remained, even though they no longer worked as well with the bulkier rack between them.

I did love the original curtains made from vintage sheets---however after painting the adjoining room (now the office) aqua from it's original terracotta, I needed to move them over to replace the earth tone curtains in there;  At the same time, my cousin Barbara gave me her '60s curtains from her bathroom redo (here).  They were only 60"--luckily, she had saved the fabric from a planned (but never completed) matching shower curtain.  I stitched the extra length to the pinch pleated draperies, added buttons to the seam (from my grandmother's button collection), and instantly had draperies that look great and remind me of two of my favorite people--not bad work for curtains.

But I needed more than ever to replace the chairs with something else (don't worry eco-warriors, I have need of them elsewhere in the house)--they were too bulky for the room and they clashed even more with the new fabric---plus they tipped the look into the kitchen into a more retro look than I wanted---my inherent love of a cottage/farmhouse/English country look was fighting to break free. 

I've learned an important lesson--if you love something, and have always loved it, --a look, a color, a fabric--stick with it.  It's tempting to "try something different," to stop doing the same old, same old. But, honestly, when you go against your true nature, you're never truly happy in the long run.  I'm not saying don't change, grow, and develop---I'm just saying make sure you really have changed and are not just falling in lust with a new trend.

New backsplash.
That's one of the reasons I decided to go with the faux reclaimed wood for the backsplash---to cottage it up a bit.

My row of orchids.  After living most of my life with a black thumb, I'm excited i've managed to keep them alive this long, even if only a couple have re-bloomed.  I've discovered the kitchen has exactly the right amount of light to keep them happy.  Also, notice I've followed Joni's advice and moved the matchstick blinds up to right underneath the curtain rod to extend the look of the window.

Path to back door.

Okay, I've shown before and after and pontificated.  Now on to design process.  First, as always, focus on function and practical (you can always comprise between practical and pretty, but it's important to know how you want an item to function first).  The function--even in a kitchen as tiny as mine, people gather, and I needed a place for them to sit.  I also needed the new seating to be as small as possible, as well as mobile.  I also wanted stools with flat tops so they could serve as an extra surface for drinks, grocery bags, etc. considering my lack of counter space.  Finally, as far as appearance, I wanted something to pull out a more vintage cottage look rather than the retro '70s look I was originally going for.  Price was also an important consideration--I couldn't afford much over $100.

While certainly not close replicas, kitchens like these show my all-time favorite look--a vintage/cottage feel, a mix of pattern and natural materials, and the deployment of useful cooking items (utensils, bread boards, and pots) as the decorative items, rather than a lot of useless, dust-catching tchotchkes.   They both, not coincidentally, show vintage industrial stools.

So on to  the point of this seemingly endless ramble---if you figure out what you really need---when you go looking for an item--you're looking for something specific.  So, I wasn't just looking at all bar stools at a location----I was looking at small, backless ( I don't have enough room), vintage/industrial inspired, counter height (I don't have anything bar height in the kitchen---it's all at counter height), stools with flat seats for $100 or less.  This immediately means instead of going to an on-line or brick and mortar store and having dozens of options, I usually only had one or two per place. 

Kitchens from House Beautiful

I was leaning toward the tollix knockoff from Overstock, but really wanted a metal/wood mix:

Then Thomas found these at World Market, the twist stool.  They look just like the ones I saw all over the Dallas design district this past week, but for a lot less. They're only $109, which is a great price based on their quaility.  The top is solid wood, and if it's not raw, the coating is very light---no shiny poly coating.  They are nice and heavy, with a gunmetal frame---they even have very discreet plastic sleeves on the feet to prevent scratching the floor, as well as being adjustable from 24" to 30".  If you are interested, go now---they are going fast.

Maybe  the kitchen is least for a while.


Faux Wood Backsplash Reveal

Detail of painted backsplash.   

Before:  Plain drywall "back splash."

For this Metamorphosis Monday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch  (here), I wanted to share my recent faux wood back splash project.  More details about my inspiration are (here) at this former post.  But for a quick review, here is the original inspiration photo from Pinterest:

But to recap, basically I wanted to replicate the look of reclaimed wood.  As you can see in the after photo before, I thought that the different tones would tie together the natural cherry cabinets (not as dark as they look in the photos), the vintage fabric in the glass front cabinets, and the dark countertops, as well as fitting the asthetics of my 1930s cottage/bungalow.
Back splash after.  I resisted the urge to overstyle and decided to show cluttered counter as it really exists for truth in blogging.
I started project by laying out boards, using a pencil and level.  I used pencil because I wanted the dark line to help suggest the shadow line between boards.   I based the proportion of boards on the 4" granite lip, as well as the traditional size of real boards used in this application.  I did vary the sizes from 3" to 6" to give the illusion of random boards.  In a faux finish like this, imprecision actually helps the illusion.  I further decided to give a border around the "board" over the sink to highlight the area and give interest, as this is the first thing you see when walking into kitchen.
Above, I've started laying in color.  I wanted to primarily use light greens and aquas to tie together my pale avocado walls and the aqua walls in the adjoining room.  I did want some warm wood tones to peek through to relate to the wood cabinets.  In some cases, I actually finished the "boards" to look like wood before layering paint over them for that weathered peeling paint look.  I also added grain lines with a rocking roller tool.
Here is the completed back splash topped with a tinted polyureathane for durability.  The slight tint (golden oak) helps give the illusion of age .
I ran the boards hoizontally over the stove to give interest and also help with the illusion of using actual reclaimed material:  when using such materials, usually you have to adapt because of limited quanity.
The beautiful plates were a gift from Visual Vamp, Valorie Hart.

And now the fun part:  accessories.  All along, I wanted the back splash to provide a good background for these beautiful Majolica plates that work well with my green walls.  If they look familiar, it's because they used to grace the before kitchen of the fabulous Visual Vamp:
A beautiful plate, crocks to hold utensils, and a vintage lamp:  what more does any cottage kitchen need?

After 4+ years of no backsplash, I've very happy with how this turned out, especially since I was able to complete the project with very little money---I already had most of the needed paints and supplies.  I'm also glad I waited until I found the perfection solution.


Faux Reclaimed Wood Backsplash: Update

 A couple of days ago, I started on my "reclaimed wood" back splash, where I planned to replicate the look of these doors on my drywall backsplash:
Young House Love
 Here is the painted drywall "back splash" before:
As of Sat. morning, here is how the main section looks:
The glare is from the protective polyureathane.

I plan on devoting tomorrow to finishing, and if so, will have a longer post explaining how I did it.


Backsplash Inspiration: or How to Pick a Backsplash in 5 years or Less

Kitchen photo from a couple of years ago.  Minor changes since then, but still no backsplash.

As a professional decorator and decorative painter, I often get called on in to fix bad decisions clients have made in building or renovating.  In fact, one of the most common mistakes homeowners can make when it comes to designing their own homes is by deciding on some non-essential items too soon.  The deal is there are so many decisions to make when designing a home, so many more than people realize:  from big decisions like how big to make the living room to minor ones, like what color outlet covers.  At a certain point toward the end of a project, most people suffer a sort of decision fatigue where it's almost impossible to make another choice, any other choice.  Then, what usually happens, is that a lot of people start making quick impulsive decisions just to get "get'er done."  What I learned is that if you don't love an item or at least are convinced that that item is the right one for the application it  is better to just wait if it's not absolutely necessary.  Usually the right one will come along eventually.

Case in point:  my backsplash.  When we remodeled the kitchen 4 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long), one thing that we didn't select was a backsplash.  This was for various reasons:  cost, Thomas's aversion to most tile, and my fear of becoming bored with an expenisive selection (I do like change, and I can't afford to change out a pricey backsplash very often).  I did toy with some tile options, but the only two that I thought I could commit to long term just didn't work out.  One, a beautiful hand-made irregular glass tile in a beautiful avacado green was just too expensive:  even with a designer discount it was close to $100 a foot and the other tile ended up being too busy (luckily a friend had used on a project and left me have 4 sheets of it to test---they ended up being this table top).  The other option that we almost went with was a fun decopage project like this table; but I was afraid of the difficulty in removing it when (notice I didn't say if) I got tired of it.

So, to make a long story longer, I've spent the last couple of years on backsplash alert--keeping my eyes open for inspiration.  Finally, it's hit.  We went to a local coffee house where the walls are made up of reclaimed barge board in various colors.  We both liked the look of it, and I thought that the various colors could tie together the colors in the room.
It's hard to tell from picture, but there is a lot of distressing and color vation in the different boards.
I thought about using real wood, but again didn't want the cost, the hassle, or the permanency.  Then, another inspiration:  Faux bois---I could fake it like Eddie Ross did on this table top:

And, finally, this morning, I found the perfect color inspiration in this faux barn door from the blog, Young House Love:

from young house love

So, this weekend, I'm gonna bust out all my half used paints in the right colors,
and my rocking grain roller,
a little polyurethane for protection and ease of cleaning, and then get this backsplash party rolling.

I'll keep you posted.