Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring projects: The Back Door.

The  bummer thing for me about owning our particular 60+ year old house is that we weren't  fortunate enough to snag any of the cool architectural details that you sometimes luck out on with older homes. We don't have any cool molding it anything like that, but what we did have was this oddly embellished back door. Unfortunately, as the last area on the ground floor that I hadn't gotten around to painting since we moved in, the exterior of the door was just dirty, sad, and weird.

(The truth is that I forgot to take a picture before I cleaned it up really well and started painting the top half, so you only get the bottom part of the door for reference. Also, imagine it dirtier.)

Now, I love me a good door (see the front door transformation here) so a change was in order.

Using some paint I had around the house, I spruced up the door to a nice light grey color, and highlighted the embellishments with white glossy trim paint. This way, they look intentional instead of like some tired throw back to when my grandparents were young homeowners.

Here's the total before and after look. What do you think?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Heart of the Home, or, Finally, my kitchen isn't a total embarrassment.

Right in the middle of a million other major life changes (they're exciting! and nervewracking! and stressful! Let's not talk about them right now!) we decided to finally finish some of the upgrades to our kitchen. As you might remember, we've done smaller cosmetic upgrades from time to time but we hadn't really tackled much of the major stuff, beyond replacing the appliances. Basically, up until last week, this was the status of our kitchen. Admit it, you're jealous of the vast, sweeping expanses of counter space. Don't worry, it's EASY and FUN to prepare dinners with only THREE INCHES OF FLAT AREA to work with.

The worst offender, by far, was the atrocious floor. It was hideous, stained linoleum with paint splatters. Interestingly, you can see that it wasn't the first ugly linoleum to be laid down. At some point, our orange kitchen must've had the very flashy green flooring you can see peeking out from under the dishwasher.

During some other era, the floor must have been this disgusting carpet, which for some reason wasn't pulled up from under the old, wider-than-standard stove. (Packing tape to hold it down is so classy, don't you agree?)

After putting it off for a million years, we decided to go ahead and redo the floors. We knew we wanted tile as opposed to a wood laminate because the rest of our home has lovely hardwood floors hiding under the carpet (just waiting for someone more energetic than me to refinish them.) We figured tile would be a better compliment to those someday-floors. Paddy's flooring guy, who also scored us the remnant carpet piece for the toy room, had a great deal on some tiles. They were a nice, large size and neutral color, so I didn't mind that we didn't really have much choice.

PopPop and Paddy scraped out the laminate that curled up the walls and pulled up the aforementioned carpet piece.


Particularly given the tricky stair section, we opted not to try our novice tiling skills out on our floor, and instead let professionals do the job. We are thrilled with out it turned out!

And after!
(You can see we still have baseboards to add, but I was too excited to wait to share.)

Once the floors were in, we knew the hideousness of the countertops and sink would really be highlighted. Despite my best efforts, the red Rustoleum countertop paint I snagged for a great price turned out to be about as durable as a ripe peach. (CURSE YOU, RUSTOLEUM! Also, your customer service kind of stinks.)

Given the finishes in the rest of the house, we thought granite countertops would likely not be worth the dollars, particularly given that this isn't our forever house. We found a nice laminate that looks great and will hold up well.
We also replaced this gem of a sink. Believe it or not, I scrubbed that thing with Comet on a regular basis. Not even my furious, obsessive scraping and polishing can remove 50 years of grime, it seems.

Though you can't tell (even in person), I ended up repainting the backsplash a lighter, creamier color. The green in the new countertops ended up making the grey backsplash read really blue-ish and bizarre. I also painted the bottom trip of the cabinets where there used to be linoleum coving black to match the rest of the cabinets. Here is the final transformation!

From this:
To this!:

What do you think?