Monday, May 25, 2015

details on my farm house kitchen makeover, using Annie Sloan chalk paint on kitchen cabinets, and painting the fridge with chalkboard paint

Thanks to a little help from my friends, and an impromptu visit from my hubby's aunt, I finally made a paint color choice for the lower cabinets in the kitchen. I just had it in my head that I wanted gray. Thankfully, despite my strong opinions, I can occasionally hear the voice of reason and hubby won out on this one. Deep down I knew the gray would be fighting the brown in those counter tops. I just couldn't admit it.

Annie Sloan Graphite to the rescue! It's the perfect near-black and it gave me the old-school, industrial look I was after.
It tones down the orangey-brown of the counters and floors. 
And I love how it grounds everything, and warms the space.
I've used Annie Sloan on many different items including our main entry door and many chairs that get a lot of love. It wears beautifully every time. However, I had not used it in an area that I'd have to wipe down or would get wet often so I had some concerns. It has met every expectation that I had! I gave it two coats of Graphite and waxed it twice. I wipe it down nearly everyday and the cabinets near the sink are often dripped on. It wears beautifully. 

Usually l lightly distress the edges of my furniture, but with the cabinets having a white base I didn't want to see the white under the black so I left these un-distressed (if that's a thing). I worried that the edges would wear and look distressed eventually on their own being such a hard working, busy space. But they have held up with all our farm dirt, four kids and a great dane. There is one spot that my dear son tried to clean up after he smeared the door fronts and trim with mud. It was the day after I painted them and the wax and paint were not cured fully so he wiped away a bit of the paint on the trim edges. He did a great job distressing the area for me, but I'll likely touch it up cause I really don't want to see those white edges. All and all I would recommend Annie Sloan chalk paint for kitchen cabinets. And it works great in a non-distressed application!
We added a few details like the bin pulls for the drawers and black knobs, and the trim around the base of the cabinets. I wanted the cabinets to have a built in furniture feeling and cover the icky plastic trim that was currently under the cabinets. It's a nice detail that elevates them a bit but still lets me keep the authenticity of the original cabinets. 
You can see the new trim above prior to painting it graphite. For a few days I did trip up a little bit having the full trim around the sink base cabinet which eliminated the toe kick. But like all things I got used to it and just love having this finished furniture-like detail on my cabinets.

I can hardly remember how the kitchen looked before and all the little things we did that added up to big changes! The biggest impact was moving the fridge into the pantry and painting the kitchen all-over white. The flow and sight lines are much more pleasing, everything looks bigger, and the space just works now!

Below, the fridge in the original location, all white and sticking out into the room. We couldn't open the freezer drawer while loading/unloading the dishwasher nor could anyone walk into or out of the room at the time.
And the after picture below with the fridge tucked away into the re-built pantry. Some notes on painting the refrigerator with chalk board paint. I did not prime my refrigerator and the chalk board paint did not effect the magnetic properties of the refrigerator. I lightly sanded it with a fine sandpaper and wiped it down good with a spray de-greaser. I used two cans of spray chalkboard paint from the hardware section of the grocery store--because that's what I had on hand and I'm impatient. When motivation strikes I just don't want to make the 40 minute round trip drive into town to buy a can of paint. 

I taped every bit of area that I didn't want to paint but still got a little over spray on some inside portions of the fridge because the doors didn't close completely with all the taping off I did. There was also some over-spay into the room in general and floors. Most everything was covered in a fine dust of black. Yikes. It was a dry dust, however and cleaned off easily with a damp cloth. Whew! The spray did give me a supper nice smooth finish and I'd spray it again just to get such a nice finish, maybe with some more drop cloths though or ideally outside.
I have plans for a kitchen island and maybe to move those cabinets over the sink up to the ceiling so I can add a small shelf under it and open things ups over the sink. Possibly we'll tackle the space over the oven and add a custom vent hood make of reclaimed wood from the barn. And replace that drafty sliding glass door. But really, I can live happily here for quite some time just as it is!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

making design choices

Saturday I mixed some color options for the kitchen cabinets. I'm working with Annie Sloan Graphite and Old White hoping for a nice mid-range gray. Dear Husband came home to some spotty cabinets and a wife that {can't make a choice.}
(un-scientific) test swatches
I have it narrowed down to two. Hubby says go with the full strength graphite. 

What to do, what to do?

I'm not a girl that is often left without an opinion. When there is a design choice, I [ALWAYS] know what I want and I utter my constant refrain "Not everyone can have good taste." That settles it, right? 

Proof: the wagon wheel coffee table scene in the 80's movie "When Harry Met Sally"? That's me. Sure that the wagon wheel coffee table is bad taste.

With this, though, I'm not sure. Why am I paralyzed by this choice?

Can't you just see a nice mid-tone gray on those cabinets? But I want the right gray. Not too beige because there is so much brown with the counter and the floor. 

But not too blue either.

Maybe I should add some Coco to warm it up a bit? 

Or just pick one and go for it.

Or go with hubby's choice: Graphite.

Or play it safe and paint them Old White.

Or have a party and ask everyone (who actually cares) their opinion. But what if they're just being nice?

How about you? What do you do when you can't make a choice?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

a mid-project update of my all-white kitch

You may have read about my "big step". 

With hubby's encouragement, I've chosen to paint the kitchen with


We neutralized all that orangey-brown that I inherited (brown floors, brown walls, brown ceiling) with nice, clean white. Living with such a saturated color for over a year worked in his favor to sway me towards white walls and trim. 
And I love it! I didn't realize how that dark ceiling felt so heavy and pressing.
The week of Thanksgiving dear husband humored me and converted the pantry to a recessed space for the fridge. I could not live with tripping over that fridge one. more. day.
We added the industrial shelving where the fridge used to be, and bought a microwave. So modern!
The shelving gives back much of the storage that I lost with the pantry and we reclaimed some unused space at the top of the cellar steps so I'm able to have all I need tucked away in my 12x12 kitchen.
The lower profile of the shelving and its open design allows me to see through the kitchen into the other rooms. Here's one last before pic of that fridge sticking out into the room, just to say a final goodbye!
We did a few other little makeovers here and there (chalkboard paint for the fridge and a ceiling fan makeover) that I'll share in another post. Plus, a clog in the bathroom sink kicked-off the start of the bathroom remodel project a few weeks early. I can't say that makes me sad, though. And I can't forget to share about our barn raising last summer!!

For now, I'm off to paint the cabinets. What color to paint them has set off another debate. Even I don't know yet. I figure I'll start mixing my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and see what comes of it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

choosing paint for the kitchen

I've done something crazy. I've chosen a paint color for the kitchen... white. I've never painted a room white. I'm nervous. 

white walls
white trim
white cabinets

But with all the texture and doorways and so much going on in the kitchen... and [dear husband reminds me] my pin board features ENTIRELY WHITE KITCHENS, he assures me it will all be okay.

We shall see.

Monday, December 15, 2014

kitchen design board

Only project people should buy a project house. And when you buy a house built in 1850, you're buying a project. 

The first year presents little surprises. Like the water line to the first floor toilet freezes when the temps get down to -2. Which it was. And it did. Thus a new project is birthed, unplanned as it may have been.

Our planned project for the winter is an update on the kitchen. I was concerned about the size of the space when we bought the house: a compact 12x12 filled with multiple doorways and a sliding glass door. Our previous kitchen in our rented farmhouse spoiled me with an eat-in table and tons of cabinet space. We spent all our time in that kitchen, modest as it's design was it did offer a lot of space. 

But, I surprised myself by paring back enough to fit all our necessities efficiently into our "new" little kitchen. I love cooking and baking with everything organized and close at hand. But add a few kids and a husband all trying to work at the counter, plus a lazy mastiff sleeping in the middle of the floor, and things get tight.

Oh the challenges of this space. Let me sum up: 
  • 6 doorways (one a huge slider to the deck)
  • 12x12
  • The open diswasher door blocks entry into kitchen and the opening of the freezer door
  • Mismatched appliances
  • Fridge blocks line-of-sight to the next room. It's huge white side is THE thing you see when walking down the hallway or entering the kitchen.
  • Strange structure over the stove
  • Very old cabinets with no glides on the drawers (which leaves piles of sawdust-like dirt on the cabinets under the drawers and everything you have stored in them... owners of an old house with original cabinets know just what I'm talking about.)
Before sketch: The main entrance to the space is in the upper left corner--those two doorways at a right angle to each other.
Before: Here's that main entry--the two doorways on the right. Fridge on the left, dishwasher on the right. Pantry to the left of the fridge with the bi-fold doors is the planned new location for the fridge.
Before: standing in the doorway, looking into the kitchen.
Before: I inherited the wall color which incidentally is also the ceiling color. Thankfully the ceilings are high so the space doesn't feel too dark. A new wall color to neutralize the "oranginess" of the floors is in order, as well as a white ceiling.
Before: The stove was one of those first-year surprises that just stopped working one day. My in-laws spoiled me with a trip to the department store to pick out a new stove. It's a nicer stove than a cook like me deserves!
A full gut renovation isn't in the budget, nor do we desire to live with that kind of project, so we plan to make small updates and changes to improve the traffic pattern and the general aesthetics of the space. Below is a sketch of our plans. Moving the fridge into the pantry and replacing it with narrow shelving with a slimming profile.We also plan to remove the small farm table currently residing in front of the sliding door and replace it with a counter height island on castors that I can move as needed.
Sketch of planned changes.
Work began in November with a ceiling fan and fridge makeover, and the modification of the pantry that will be the new location of the fridge. Updates coming soon!

My kitchen inspiration board on Pinterest....

Follow Ruth's farm & furniture's board build me a farmhouse-kitchen on Pinterest.

Friday, September 5, 2014

homemade upholstery webbing stretcher

Because I'm cheep and impatient (I'd have to all the way into to Columbus or wait for it to be shipped and it did cost $30 after all), I did what any girl would do... googled "how to make an upholstery webbing stretcher." 

It won't win a beauty contest, but it works! I used a scrap of board, leftover construction nails, craft glue and a bit of the webbing. 
  • Clip the heads of the nails off with a bolt cutter
  • Drill holes in the cut end of the board and add glue
  • Insert the nails pointy ends out
  • Tack a bit of webbing on the other end to protect the furniture

And now a cute little chair complete with a seat that you won't fall through!