Thursday, September 26, 2013

Seeing is Believing

Well. I almost have a heckuva kitchen. You may remember that I had this kitchen about 15 months ago:

(Be aware: if I come to look at your house and I eventually buy it, I will post pictures from various showings on my blog, with all your stuff in them. Also if you look at a house with that many microwaves and toaster ovens? CHECK THE MAJOR APPLIANCES!)

What is not evident in the images is that the wood was in horrible condition in many places, rotted in some, worn beyond repair in others. The appliances, original to the house, were not great - although they did turn on and off - and sometimes without anyone pushing a button or turning a knob. The cabinets were not really functional for modern living, and certainly not for a cook. I think that this kitchen was a bit of a space age, TV dinner sort of a thing really. But I don't live that way, and for me this kitchen was just really intolerable. Kitchen snob: I am it!

Then I had this kitchen which I felt I had for entirely too long:

Then very (very) briefly I had this kitchen:

And then this kitchen:

which turned out to be a big old failed attempt to retain some of kitchen one in a misguided attempt to save money and resources.

Last but not least, I had this kitchen:

Definitely not a big favorite, except that it paved the way for the kitchen I have now. Because now I have a totally different kitchen, which is not quite yet ready for a full reveal. But trust me, it's amazing!

I have also had, for a long time now, a microwave cabinet of forgotten origin. You see it up there in a fair number of those images. I remember that it cost me all of about $100, and I know I bought it specifically for use in our old-old house during our kitchen remodel there. Thanks to a slick real estate deal I was able to double my money on a piece of land by selling it back to the original owner for twice the price I paid. Long story - just never sell a piece of land you think you might be attached to, or you'll find yourself buying it back for a lot of money. Anyway, I used the profit to invest in our old-old house - I had both kitchen and bath completely redone. At the time we still had kids at home, and we lived for a few weeks out of this microwave cabinet. It housed a microwave (who saw that coming?), toaster, and coffee pot along with lots of paper plates and utensils, bread, and peanut butter. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

Since then it's served us around the house(s) in a variety of ways. It has been used to hold video game systems along side it's junior sibling - who is identical in all but size. It has housed craft supplies. It was used by Mr. W to hold his cycling DVD's and two small televisions for when he rode on his bike trainer in the basement. It eventually became the island in my 1950's kitchen nightmare, and then most recently was again put into use as part of a temporary kitchen during this latest kitchen update.

I have loved it's usefulness, but it's appearance has left me pretty flat for some time now. I preferred it hidden in finished basements or craft rooms. It's junior sibling, for example, holds my primary sewing machine so that I can sew while standing up - a boon for ye old sciatic nerve problem. Out of public view, it does not offend. But in public view...well, I guess maybe I am just over it. Love, love the butcher block top, but over the unfinished exterior and the big blocky handles and drawer pull. So I decided that in order to continue to use it in the new kitchen (it makes a great island!) it would need a serious face lift. Initially I tried staining it the same color as the cabinets, which proved to be a hideous fail. The color wasn't a match at all and - worst of all - the stain clashed pretty violently with the aged and heavily treated butcher block top.

I started with a splotchy and brush-stroke-laden coat of the gray paint I'd used previously on the old cabinets we tried to salvage - Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo. I liked that color a lot - I think it's a Martha color, Chinchilla, which handily can be dumped into any Ben Moore paint. The neutrality of it would, I thought, work well in the kitchen again. Then I distressed the gray with a series of power and hand tools. Specifically, I beat the hell out of it with, in no particular order: a pair of scissors, an ax, a wire bristle brush, and my little DeWalt random orbit sander. Then I covered the whole thing with a brown glaze using a sample of brown paint left from Girl's wedding birdhouses and a jar of Martha Stewart glaze. I brushed that with a Martha Stewart wavy graining brush, being sure to go out of my way to get as much effect and odd layering as possible, but no waving. I just wanted the brush strokes and the removal of excess that this tool offered. Once that dried I coated the whole thing with Zar Ultra Max waterborne polyurethane; another leftover from a previous project. Waste not, want not!

And now I love it. I wish the butcher block was squared and not rounded. That's my only complaint.

It's neutral, distressed, abused, and has me written all over it. I love the rudely and roughly filled holes, the sand marks, the chips from the ax, and the lovely uneven brown glaze.

In the middle of this amazing new kitchen, surrounded by perfect cabinets and pristine flooring and appliances, it somehow fits right in. Just don't look too closely at the underside of that butcher block. I may have gone a little nutty...

Now, to find perfect knobs and pulls. Ideally I want something salvaged and old, maybe from a dresser, and with that in mind I stopped in at Fat Chance today on my way home from the Depot (where I procured a host of items ranging from silicone caulk to one ivy plant for that rejuvenated Crock Pot that works and still has it's cord but for now I've decided is a planter and is that a run-on sentence or what?):

I didn't find knobs. But I did find things to amuse me:

An adorable copper fondue set! It has forks, and even an old Sterno ad tucked inside.

Bunnies! Primitive bunnies missing body parts but needing love.

The new kitchen counter top doesn't come for days and days. Between now and then I can work on a book,  install the dishwasher, plan a baby shower, and make some newborn diapers for said baby. And try not to count the minutes before I can give you a tour of the whole kitchen, and explain how, on a budget resembling a shoestring, I managed to get a whole new kitchen in a matter of about 5 weeks. It's a good story, I promise!

1 comment:

kmkat said...

Great story and photos! You may not love the look of the rounded corners on the butcher block top, but they are a lot less painful to run into that sharp corners. Ask me how I know...