I was chatting with a friend this week, and she mentioned that she was curious about the house and requested pictures. Then another friend said that she had no idea what was going on in my life these days, so I decided maybe it was time to provide a little update! I started this blog with good intentions of keeping family and friends looped in on our adventures in our new hometown, but as usual, life has gotten in the way. Since the place will never be super tidy and Pinterest-ready, I decided to just take a few pics and throw them up here, so those who are interested can see what we’ve been up to. I started with the kitchen.
This first photo was taken from the dining room, looking into the left side of the kitchen. Farthest left (out of frame where the parquet floor is) is a hallway that leads to all the bedrooms and the main floor bath and a staircase leading downstairs. This little counter/desk/glass cabinet area is kind of weird and we’re still figuring out how to use it effectively. It’s on the list for potential revamping down the line into something more functional for our family. But the BIG cabinet to the right of it is a pantry, which thrills me to no end. It is SO nice to have a place to store things inside the kitchen. In our last house, we stored cans and dry goods in the laundry room, which was downstairs. Needless to say, this is much more convenient!
Just in case you’re a weirdo like me who is into this sort of thing, here’s a shot of the inside of the pantry. JUST LOOK at how big it is! And for the record, these little clear bins on the top shelf are a lifesaver for a shorty like me. Nothing gets shoved to the back of the cabinet in no man’s land, and you can just pull the whole thing down to find what you need. And this can rack ended up being pretty revolutionary too. You’re welcome, fellow organizing geeks.
To the right of the pantry is the first project that
we Gus took on in the new house. I lifted this photo from his FB page, BTW, which is why the chalk drawing looks nicer and the light is different. This wall was covered with some (un)lovely floral wallpaper when we moved in, but a spray bottle and a couple of hours of peeling made that a distant memory. The wall beneath was in rough shape due to a crappy patch job on a former doorway, so Gus spent a few days skimcoating and sanding and prepping before he painted the whole wall with a couple of coats of chalkboard paint and hung up some hooks for display/storage of our cookware.
We still need to finish peeling the wallpaper border around the rest of the room, and throw away the hideous rugs that the former owner left (why haven’t I done that already?) and eventually we would love to replace the ugly linoleum floor. The floor is in fine shape, and not the ugliest I’ve ever seen, so we’re living with it until it comes to the top of the list. (Meaning it will be with us for a good long while!) The wallpaper, however, will be leaving us once we can decide on a paint color for the walls.
The photo above shows the view straight into the kitchen from the dining room doorway. The slider leads to the south side of the deck that wraps around from the front of the house and goes to the backyard. The homemade bookcase was left in the garage by the previous owners and is serving as a temporary solution to the cookbook storage/microwave homelessness problem that we currently face. We’re contemplating a more permanent solution in the form of a built-in cabinet in that same location, or perhaps in the spot where that desk/glass cabinet thing is. The fridge is one of the few appliances that didn’t die upon our arrival*, so I’m fully expecting its inevitable demise in the next month or so.
The dishwasher, on the other hand, was the third appliance (of three so far) to fail and require replacement in the two-plus months that we’ve been here. Our replacement strategy is cheap and serviceable for this phase of the game. We figure that if we ever remodel the kitchen at some future point, we may want to go higher-end, but right now we just need something that works and doesn’t leak water all over the floor. Gus even installed this baby himself, which saved us the $70 Home Depot install fee. Unfortunately, he was hit by an un-licensed, un-insured driver while on the way to the hardware store to pick up a part that he needed to complete the job, so you know. One step forward, eleventy-bajillion back, as is our way. He (and Junie, who was with him) are both fine. He was driving our old, paid-for minivan, which is not fine, but it still operates. Time, and an insurance adjuster, will determine what happens to it next.
Also please take note of the lovely wallpaper which continues on this wall, and the delightful scallop trim between the cabinets over the window. The lacy curtain was also a gift from the former occupants, and will be going the way of the wallpaper, scallops, and rug.
Continuing our rotation around the kitchen, we come to the lovely new oven. This item was the number two major unexpected expense to arise after our move. The stove that was here was a perfectly functional ceramic cooktop unit that developed a giant crack a few weeks ago. The last house also had a glass top and we managed to break that one too, so we decided to replace it with an old-school electric coil cooktop oven instead. We figure we can’t break this (probably), and though there is gas in the house, there isn’t gas in the kitchen and we didn’t want the added expense of running the line right now. Someday if we remodel the kitchen, we’ll deal with it then.
That doorway on the right of the frame leads to the dining room, so that completes the 360 tour of the kitchen. So there you have it! One room of our new little abode in all its glory. Maybe some day, we’ll do some kind of impressive remodel reveal and show you what handy DIY-ers we are and how far we’ve come. Until then, though, this is how we’re living and some of what we’ve been doing so far for those who are curious. There has been some wallpaper peeling happening in other areas of the house, so I’ll probably be back at some point with another little photo tour or two.
On the list for (eventual, not in order) kitchen improvements:
- Peel the rest of the wallpaper & paint the walls.
- Paint the cabinets(?) We’re strongly considering this. The dark cabinets are in fine shape, but they’re very dark. I think a nice neutral light grey would really lighten the room up and help modernize the room. Replacing the cabinets is not in the short-term plan, but is something we’ll probably do eventually, so painting them seems like a good intermediate step. We’ll see if we have the follow-through to actually undertake this task!
- Install a backsplash. This seems like something we should be able to do (we watch a LOT of HGTV, and they make it look so easy!) but I don’t know if we’ll get up the guts to try it ourselves and hiring it out is not in the budget right now. But that wood trim has got to go!
- Build a cabinet to replace the ugly duckling next to the fridge that will hold the microwave, cookbooks, and recycling. Also potentially the coffee/tea paraphernalia.
- Figure out what to do with the weird wasted space next to the pantry. We don’t really need a little desk there, and the glass-fronted cabinet is nice but not super necessary. There’s got to be a better use for this.
- Reconfigure the layout so you can use the refrigerator and dishwasher at the same time, and also so I can reach the cabinets above the dishwasher when it’s open. There may not be a solution for this that doesn’t involve a full kitchen remodel and new cabinets, but we keep considering things. Items 4, 5, and 6 all feel like they could potentially be solved together with one smart solution. It’s all probably out of scope right now, but we’re always scheming and pondering.
Any helpful suggestions? We’re all ears.
*In case you were wondering, the dryer was the first to go (RIP). It just quit working exactly one week after we moved in. Wouldn’t turn on at all. The oven top broke about a month later at the beginning of December. And we think the dishwasher has leaked ever since we got here, but it was getting noticeably worse so a well-timed Christmas gift of a Home Depot gift certificate sealed its fate. Still hanging in there: the previously mentioned refrigerator, the washer, and hot water heater. Dead pool, anyone?