Friday, March 02, 2007

whitewashing the 1970's........

Putting up the "pardon our appearance" sign in my kitchen due to the recent wave of overwhelming "wanting to get it done", is not an uncommon thing for me to do. I find myself coming up with home improvement ideas, and then wanting to wave my magic wand to see it happen immediately. But like the little red hen who seeks help in the barnyard, I am left alone to deal with the task. Besides, my boys cannot see my visions well when I talk to them about color or texture. I tell them to wait patiently and have faith, for not only will this take some time, but it's only important that I see the vision. For them, it will come at the reveal stage. Still, I did allow a 3-way vote that had to be unanimous as far as color was concerned. That alone took 3 weeks before I picked a color everybody could agree on. I'll be very lucky if the project takes only 3 weeks, but so far, I'm at week one, and only have 3 cabinets primed. Let's face it, brown is not an easy color to cover.

You see, I was left with brown cabinets upon the sale of the house to me 14 years ago. In that time, I have always envisioned them to be white.... clear, clean, crisp white. Something that brought them out of the 1970's and into the new millenium.... something that didn't scream "DATED". In the past 14 years, my house has undergone numerous changes. What was once a diamond in the rough, has slowly become a little gem of a cottage..... all this taking many weekends to complete, tons of paint, and loads of sweat equity.

The picture with this post is not my kitchen, but imagine my surprise when I found it on the web. It's almost the spitting image of mine...... dark, cavelike, and forboding. I've hated it from the day I moved in, but since it was still functional, I gave it a good cleaning, painted the walls white, replaced the nasty brown/ 70's appliances a few years back, and sat back on my laurels that I did the best I could with it, as other areas of the house need more attention. Now I'm eager to forge ahead and make this area a showcase..... one it should have been years ago.

And that's what I've been doing for the past week or so. Brown laminate does not cover well..... 3 coats of primer down, and I'm still plugging away with trying to get it covered. Remodeling a kitchen means that eating in said kitchen is an impossibility. Never mind that the dishes from the cupboards are splayed in every other inch of space in my house (how did I accumulate so much anyway?????..... and how did it all fit in those small cupboards?????) , but the ability to put together any dinner is improbable. Lucky for KFC right down the street, huh?

Being a neat and orderly person, I shouldn't be too shocked or surprised that I got it all to fit .... but it makes me wonder why did I collect so much. Searching my geneology (actually my Mom only), I realized I was very much like her. She had so many dish sets (all pieces included), that when she passed away, we all inherited one, if not several sets. Mine was a colorful Italian chicken set.... an antique I still collect today at yard sales and antique stores. The pieces aren't easy to find, but I still love the set, and have done well in my searches, usually when I'm not thinking about actually looking for it. I am convinced I have that collector gene firmly implanted in my DNA..... along with the bargain one, and the multitasking one. Let's face it, they know no bounds.

So if I am not here as much as I'd like, imagine me with a paint brush in my hands, endlessly covering the 1970's kitchen I was left with. This is going to take some time, as I can never be happy with just getting one thing done. After I successfully paint the cabinets, the walls come next.... then the old wallpaper that is impossible to strip down (covering it with bead board is a better idea), then the floors (hardwood replacing the very old, very dated, very used up vinyl), and then a retrim of shoemolding. Thank goodness I've had practice in this area, and thank goodness hubby is an ex-carpenter. We just might get it all completed before April, if we're lucky...... and then it's on to my office remodel if I have any funds left.

But before all that, I must attend to parties, wedding receptions, and office luncheons that are scheduled for food and services. As a matter of fact, I'm running out the door in a few minutes for a 50th birthday party not too far from my home. Let's see.... I'll be working a 7 hour shift on that, get some rest, and be back at it with the paint brush first thing in the morning. Who says my life isn't full of color?


Blogger Awareness said...

hi ellen!

Up to your elbows in a BIG project...good on you. My house needs a thorough run through with a paint brush, and I'm afraid this spring it's got to happen.

It's a good time of year to jump into a project for me as a motivator. I find my energy and moods swing low in March.....not enough sunlight and too mucky and snowy out to muck about outside. So, though I don't have the zip right now, I think a project may help me find my energy again.

Good luck with the kitchen project.


12:31 PM  
Blogger john said...

it's always very challenging to embark on a home improvement project and definitely gratifying to finish one .
hope you post your project when you are finish with it .
good luck !

7:17 PM  
Blogger Lee Ann said...

Well, I don't think the picture of that kitchen looks bad, but you know what you have in mind, so nothing will satisfy until you get your "dream".
Good luck with the updating!
Have a great week!

10:24 PM  
Blogger Snaggle Tooth said...

Even if this isin't your kitchen, if it looks remotely like this, it's light years ahead of mine...

Here's the comment which was eaten by blogger a couple days back-

You're pretty ambitous! Hope those cupboards seal-up n cover for you- I need to empty mine to spring clean again soon. I've thought of painting the cupboards ... Can't imagine where to put the stuff tho-

I have a 70's nightmare in here too- brown n yellow. I painted over most of the dark wall colors years ago, n noticed there are different white colors. Some are warm, with tan-yellow tinting, some cooler n blue-ish. So I have warm on the walls n cool on the ceilings.
If only I could get new floors. Pschodelic, man!

12:05 AM  
Blogger Neo said...

Ellen - You should phone the people at my building with your idea's God knows it could use it.

I know what you mean by accumulating things. With the possibility that I may have to move out of here; for obvious reasons, I'm hard pressed to figure out what goes and what gets thrown away. It's hard to think that I've been here for almost 4 years.

But in honesty the walls a falling apart, the heat doesn't work right and I have a plague of nuisances with neighbors. Too bad I can't paint their mouths shut eh?

At any rate, good luck with your project, I'm sure it'll turn out great.

Peace & Hugs,

- Neo

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Slow down GIRL!! I thought your kitchen had plenty of charactor and style when I was there a few years ago. Yes, the color scheme is truly "Partridge Family" gone wild. But you did wonders with the theme on the walls. Remember the kitchen I had in my previous house? We had 44 cabinets that were all full to the max. Talk about a collection of 'who knows what'? Let alone my kitchen was already full when we moved into our cabin.

Here's my 'downsizing' plan. Keep only what you want. I plan to remove everything out of the cabinets and only keeep what I want. I'm having a center island put in so I have more counter space to work with, but the extra junk goes. There comes a time when we have to look at what we have and make a choice on what we truly need. The rest goes to goodwill for some unfortunate person who may not have the ability to outfit a kitchen.

Good luck with the project. I know you will do very well with it. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Love Karl

6:49 AM  
Blogger MyUtopia said...

I like the color of the floor.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Hi Ellen. I followed your link home from Rainbow Dreams's (sorry, I'm Canadian) site.

After reading this entry, I feel inspired to go through my own house and get cracking on some long-overdue renovations. Indeed, it's time.

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm so glad I found your blog!

All the best!


11:16 PM  
Blogger K said...

My mother needs to do that for her is also 1970s wood...and I want her to go white with nice crome handles. I think it's more the time than the money it will cost. And I think she just thinks it would be a pain in the ass :P

8:15 PM  
Blogger CitySoul said...

just dropped in to say hello. hope you're doing well ellen! xoxo

3:46 PM  
Blogger Mr. Althouse said...

Hi Ellen~

How are you? You've been curiously quiet lately - everything all right?


7:43 PM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

just wanted to say hello, it's been too long...

lots of colour ellen, lots!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

To everyone who stopped by while I was on hiatus renovating my house.... yes, house, not just kitchen anymore, I express my profound apologies for not being able to come back and answer your comments personally and quickly.

I thank you all for not giving up on me, and I will be around to say hello to everyone today.

Yes, I am alive... just real busy No, I haven't given up blogging... just had to put it aside for awile.

Many xo's to all for your support!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Oh you really should take pics as you go along! I'm about to help my ex re-paint/re-do his entire kitchen which is firehouse red and mustard yellow right now (he bought it that way). It is VERY scary.

1:36 PM  
Blogger SkyeBlue2U said...

WOW! You got it done before Easter, No wonder they call it March Madness! You must be wore out.

11:34 PM  

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