Today it is all about a love story- about finding yourself exactly where you need to be.
And taking something tarnished and polishing it up
and why those simple and easy projects are not always the way to go.
I haven’t always been a girl that makes sense.
I will be honest. And you know who knows it even more?
My husband. I am THE best at making that man crazy. (at least I am good at something, right?)
And there was a moment back.in.the.day when we were young and working on our first house
and I was a basket case of pregnancy hormones and I started falling apart at some random thing – and in his exasperation he paused and then smiled and wrapped his arms around me. And he said:
‘Anyone can have an easy woman…
why would I want that when I can have you?’
I had a couple reactions honestly.
The first- blubberfest because-he has always been the sweetest man and he loved me even when I was feeling pretty unloveable and was literally an emotional wreck.
But that he also had no idea how much more emotional that emotional side could get. lol.
Which brings me to this house.
The house we live in now is our 3rd home together. Well 4th if you count that tiny house on wheels that he bought when he returned from Desert Storm that we lived in for a few months.
And with each house- there has been a challenge of some kind.
Some bigger than others- but none were quite as much a basket case of issues as this one we live in now… kind of like me.
From the day I drove into the driveway- I knew this was not going to be an easy job.
It was ugly and it looked like it should be bulldozed.
So Why would I even want to get out the car and take a closer look at something that was already so decrepit and broken from glance?
The honest answer is that it was at the tippy top of our price range in expensive California and this was the only house that I felt drawn to when I first saw it.
Sure it was tarnished. Beyond tarnished really- it was a the point of when tarnish starts pitting and eating away the metal.
And when my husband came to look at it and said ‘No way- this is terrible.’ And I couldn’t disagree- it was. Especially compared to the sweet farmhouse we had moved from in Minnesota on 120 acres that cost less than my car.
But I reminded him about what he said back in the day…
Anyone could take on an easy project-
why would we want to do that when we could tackle this one?
Yeah, I don’t think that thinking went over real well.
The truth is – even after I got him to agree to wander through-
he wasn’t so sure.
You see, we had 3 little kids- and my husband worked in another county for several days and nights at a time -which meant it was the kids and I at home for 3-4 days a week by ourselves.
And we knew we weren’t going to be able to walk in and throw lots of money at the house to fix all the issues- we were going to have to pay to fix each thing as we could.
This house was rough. But I argued it was a diamond in the rough.
Okay- it looked like coal but who is really counting?
We originally thought it would take a few years- we would flip it and we could look for another project.
But the more that we worked on things and that tarnish was polished away – I saw the bones that the house had and how perfect they were. And the more I found myself feeling so much like this was the perfect place for us.
And a lot of those first glance elements that we were told to replace in favor in updating and making the house more appealing to the market- they were the things that spoke the loudest to me. Some of them were not the easiest of things to live with- but we decided that they were not going to be changed.
One of those things is the original cupboards that were in the kitchen. How do I go from that story to this story about the kitchen? It is a rambling kind of Monday folks- I have no other explanation.
But I have often been asked how to remodel a kitchen and keep that vintage feeling and look-
it definitely helps that our kitchen has those original bones to work with.
We could have replaced the drawers that drop and the doors that never like to stay closed-
but kept those elements that make us crazy and that we love all at the same time.
(Again- my husband knows nothing about this lol.)
So all kidding aside- if you have a vintage kitchen you want to be more functional-
how can you update and keep the original vintage character and feeling?
Or how about adding some vintage touches to your newer kitchen?
And of course- without breaking the bank with a huge kitchen renovation bill?
Sharing 7 simple ideas today that I think absolutely can make a difference without changing everything.
1. Change the lighting
This is a simple thing- but you know that ceiling fan with a beer bottle pull in our kitchen when we moved in? (see 2 pictures back for a close up) Yeah, two chandeliers was a much better fit I think. The chandeliers currently in our kitchen are $20 vintage finds. They aren’t perfect and I have thought about updating them since- but they are kind of part of the story now I think.
2. Fresh coat of Enamel type paint
Vintage paint has a vintage type sheen you are probably familiar with. It is more gloss/enamel look than flat or eggshell. But it definitely isn’t photo finish type baked on paint. I have found that some of the best paint for our vintage cupboards to keep the look and keep the functionality of easy to clean is a enamel. Oil based if you can do it- but that does require a bit more to it and lots of open windows and no touching for several days- so water based enamel is a good option too.
3. Add an island
We didn’t have an island when we first moved in. It was just a long galley style space with very little counter area. We added one island, then switched it for a second larger one and then finally were able to add the perfect fit a few years ago. It absolutely makes a huge difference in this room and gives us so much more space to work.
4. Architectural interest
On the ceiling. On the walls. Add some of that old world style interest with wood planks, beaded board or ceiling tins. You can do this more easily with wallpapers that have the look- or put actual planks or tins up.
5. Open Cupboards
Those open cupboard areas on the ends of our kitchen? Originally had doors. One was broken and when I removed it to try and fix it- loved seeing the wood walls in the back and decided to paint it and leave it open. I repeated at the other end for symmetry and voila.
6. Update your backsplash & Counters
Tiles, beadboard, or even a slab of stone- your backsplash and counters can make your kitchen look totally different. You don’t have to go expensive with a specific type of stone- there are many options for all price brackets. Just remember with a slab- you will need a fabricator to cut and install so that does add a bit to the cost.
7. Change your hardware
Knobs and handles are an easy change- and they are inexpensive as well. I ordered unlaquered brass knobs and pulls from House of Antique Hardware and they were perfect for giving our kitchen that original vintage look when we updated the lucite knobs.
These are all simple ways to give your kitchen that vintage feeling and look without changing everything or having a kitchen remodel bill that runs into the 5 figures.
And up next in their series- a few ideas for temporary changes for example in a rental kitchen -without renovating anything.
And I just wanted to say thank you for being here and for all your notes yesterday. You have no idea how much this community means and how much you help me. I love having you over each day & am grateful for you and that you choose to spend a few minutes here.
You can see more of our kitchen and home in my books-