Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Keeping it real

This is only my kitchen in my dreams
I am about to be very stupid  brave and make it difficult for you to say something kind.
I am going to show you my kitchen and ask you for suggestions. HA!

It is like getting into a freezing cold pool, I have to ease into the ugly. 
That right there is the window above the sink. I have the fabric and lining cut in a linen toile for a valance where the silly hardware is now. Its been cut for at least six months. Tisk, tisk, I know.

I don't dare show you the faucet. Lets just say it is decidedly "low rent" looking.

Yes, folks I have black appliances. sniffle
I have dark cabinets, laminate counter tops, and no bulkhead or crown molding. Just boxes on the wall.

The oven/microwave is a mile from the cooktop and that annoys me.
At the very bottom of this photo you can see the edge of the thing I hate most... the peninsula with a bar height thingy. Yuck!
I suppose it would be easier to visualize with a floor plan.

My lazy drawing

 Between the wall oven and the end of the peninsula is a pinch point. It drives me crazy.

Behind that "bar thingy" is clutter central. I did not take a picture.

This last photo brings me to my question for you. I need ideas.
These antique, French canisters are the only thing I have on top of my cabinets. They are there simply because it was the only place to display them. I do not like ladders and I don't want to have to dust a bunch of stuff up there.
I am not redoing my kitchen anytime soon unless you buy a lot of paintings (hint) but I really want to make it look better. 
One thing, please do not say paint the cabinets. My husband painted the cabinets in our last house to sell it and used an entire week's vacation to do it. He will leave me for sure if I so much as mention it.
I am also not likely to put things on the counters. This is a hard working kitchen. My husband is a butcher, formerly a fishmonger. Food is important. 
But so are looks.
 I just want a little zhush.
So lay it on me. I am stumped.


Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Hi, Kerry - How about just changing out the laminate countertops for natural stone? That would make a huge difference. There are special deals / sales all the time.....especially if you are not looking for a large slab......stone tiles are very reasonable. Do you have room for a small island table? Maybe a painted one on castors?

Lenny Lianne said...

Paint the walls some color and/or new counter. What about nice hardware on the cabinets? A new wall clock (after you paint the walls).


Simply Grand said...

Don't get bogged down in petty details of hardware & accessories, because they won't add to the bottom line, except in terms of cost, and by bottom line, I mean the overall look. If this were my kitchen and I wanted to change the look of the room but I didn't want to do major re-arranging and I also didnt want to paint the cabimets, I'd go the paint route on the walls, but rather than just choose a random pretty color, I'd paint them the same dark color as the upper walls of your handsome dining room. Doing that won't address the issue of layout, and yes, it will be darker than it is now, but on the other hand your black appliances (memo for the future: if it isn't in style, it can't go out of style) will disappear, and the wood tones of your cabinets, instead of looking heavy, dark & dull against too-light walls will look rich, instead. As for your countertops, sure, they're just laminate but 80 years ago, laminate was the new miracle product, so try to view them in that historic light, not as a cheap substitute for stone, which may be more 'natural', but which is only quarried, polished & shipped with a great deal of energy. Speaking of which, with a dark envelope for your existing cabinetry & counters, you will need additional light under your cabinets, but you can put it down where you need it, not up at the ceiling level, where it's pretty much wasted, even with white walls. Not a typical solution, I know--especially for someone who loves the look of big, bright white kitchens--but then, as you say, that look isn't going to be happening right now, anyway, so maybe it's time to try a different approach.

All I know is my pals (actually, my pals' wives) thought my decision to keep--and highlight, not replace--my former apartment's original 1926 black jaspe linoleum counters was odd, but as I reminded them, none of their houses got published in a national magazine.

An Urban Cottage said...

You've got great suggestions from two geniuses, Loi and Bart. I can't possibly add a thing.

Nancy said...

Ive got the same problem with aged cabinets, except yours even look better than mine! I don't want to put new counters on old cabinets and my husband absolutely rejects the paint idea, so IM stuck with you.
I have a ton of ideas, but nothing ever makes sense except to replace the cabinets and counters. I hate to modify what's there..Ive replaced hardware, I restored the wood.There is a counter restoration product out there where you can refinish it to look like granite. As Bethany says; it's just lipstick on a pig! I will keep this commentary running with you so we can come up with ideas together!
xo Nancy

Lenny Lianne said...

I saw a photo of a kitchen w/ dark cabinets and white counter. It had a bright teal or peacock blue crazy-quilt broken tile backsplash with white grout (so the grout buddied up with the white counter). The walls were a light (subdued) yellow or maize. The backsplash became the focal point of the room. Very dramatic.

My Crafty Home Life said...

I hate stuff that needs dusting above cabinets, too. I would wallpaper above the cabinets like this
I would buy hardware. The last time I bought a "vintage lot" on ebay, it was $40 and included shipping. Gold spray paint, and it was good. I like the idea of counter tops, but only if the deal is fantastic.