I have emerged from the shadowy depths of baby hibernation a butterfly transformed by your kind comments. Thank you for reading all about my room tour last week, and double triple googleplex thank you for letting me know you'd like to see more of them. I'm working up a tour of the nursery for next week, so please do tune in for that there goodness.

Today is not so much goodness. Both kids have/had crazy high fevers and I've gotten 4-5 hours of broken sleep every night for a week. Right about now I'd like to punch winter in the face. Since winter is an intangible being with no face to punch, let's talk kitchens for a minute or two.

You knew it would come to this, right?

So, Ben and I tried to strip a door in the hopes we might turn our dated glossy honey oak cabinets into something with this vibe:

And the door laughed in our faces. I'm guessing the finish applied to our cabinets is some kind of super space age polymerized diamond hard coating designed to resist grease and terrorists, because it is NOT COMING OFF. At least not like it does on tv, when you apply the stripping compound and 72 layers of paint slough off in one fell swoop, revealing clean and sparkly wooden goodness beneath.

First we tried denatured alcohol, then we tried lacquer thinner. Then we glopped on the citristrip and left it on for 30 minutes. Then we glopped on more citristrip and left it on overnight. Then in desperation we tried acetone. Basically, we dumped every chemical we could find on that door and only a fraction of the finish was removed.

And so, paint it is.

I'm pretty sad and keep mooning over this kind of stuff:

But maybe for the next house.

I did consider trying to copy this look by refacing our cabinets, but I think it's just not financially feasible. We may as well gut the kitchen and rebuild at that point.

Sadly, we are not rich. We're real people on a stupid real budget that makes me real mad. But at least we have a house and food and cars, so it's time to get over it and move on. Maybe to this?

But with light uppers, yes?

I'm still pricing out replacing our doors with paint grade shaker style doors. What we spend on new doors miiiigggght save us a few bucks in paint labor. Maybe. I'm not sure if it's going to be worth it or not.

While my kitchen plans continue to incubate, go check out the power of paint over at Styled Thing:

Not too shabby, Miss Julie.

See you dudes next week for the next tour.



These Kitchens Give Me a Woody

It's almost Valentine's Day, the most stupidly expensive overhyped day of the year. Well just between you and me, I don't need roses or fancy chocolates or build-a-bears in pink tutus to get me all hot and bothered. I need wood. Big strong wood. And I'm not talking cherry cabinets and glossy glazed finishes, here. I'm talking 'bout this:

Shut your mouth!

Or actually, please don't. Because we need to discuss the viagrability of kitchen wood.

Everything about this kitchen says elegant, thoughtful, and practical. Probably those aren't the precise words that come to mind when you want to get the sex on, but maybe "tactile" moves us closer to that end. These kitchens just seem like they would feel good.

To cook in.

I'm kind of obsessed. I like wood with white counters, I like wood with black counters. I even like wood with wood counters. I would like wood in my kitchen.

But I'm more than a little afraid it cannot be. I investigated the gel stain some of you suggested and it appears to kind of sit on the surface of wood, sort of like transparent paint. I don't know how I feel about that. Maybe I'm totally delusional about the quality/style of my cabinets, but what I reallllly want is a bare, matte finish -- something that looks more like old wood and less like plastic impregnated woodishness.

This is super gorge. Someday our floors might even look like this. Of course those cabinets are repurposed from an Edwardian era storefront so it's not like this can ever happen in our kitchen. Except maybe the hardware.

Sorry about the dumb picture, but I think this cabinet situation is about the best we could hope for.

What I need to know is, should I even go down this road? Is it worth it? Is gel stain the only viable option or should I actually take on the possibly sissyphean strip/stain/wax triumvirate?

I love the idea of durable, touchable, delicious wood, but am I headed for heartbreak? Is this going to triple our work load only to look crappy with our dumb cabinets?

honey oak kitchen cabinets


No cheesy iphone filter can disguise that horror, so I didn't even bother. They really are that orange.

Would I just be better off stealing Bailey McCarthy's kitchen?

And the rest of her house while I'm at it?

Help me out, people. Lower cabinet finish/color is the last decision to make before we tear this mother down.

I promise no more kitchen posts until we actually do stuff.

Also I am hoping to put up some house tour action next week.

Please don't leave me in my time of need.

[pinterest kitchens]

Kitchen Plan Progress

Hi friends, thanks for all the fab tv suggestions to get me through the plague that has decimated our house... Luther? Yes. Sherlock? Up next. Also, have you watched the first episode of The Americans yet? It's all perestroika and high waist jeans with an awesome 80s soundtrack. Can't miss.

So notice my title suggests that the kitchen PLANS have progressed... alas, the actual kitchen is as barfy as ever. We've yet to take a sledgehammer to anything, but we're getting closer. I've all but convinced Ben to knock the soffit completely out and see what happens, largely thanks to your comments. It helps to show that I'm not completely nuts when I embark on these grand projects. Also, I have started speaking about the soffit demo as if it were fait accompli, e.g., "after we knock the soffit out..." I think the power of suggestion is working.

So the next step is to figure out what to do with the cabinets once the ceiling is (hopefully) raised. The lovely Naomi at Design Manifest sent over this picture a few weeks ago:

Raise existing cabinets and add shelf below to fill in the space. Brazilliant. But then, Miss Naomi is a professional kitchen designer so she is smart like that.

You know who else is smart like that? Lisa, who commented on my white kitchen post. Behold her horrifying before picture:

And her glorious after:

Let's discuss how much shuffling those uppers around opened up this kitchen. A whole big lot, that's how much.

Here's another reader redo from Justine, who transformed the most hideous ranch oak cabinets into this oasis of soffitless delight, replete with new Ikea cabinet fronts. Oh how I wish! One thing I'm eyeing is the space over the pantry where the soffit used to be. I had planned on building the cases up to the ceiling and ordering new doors, but maybe I don't have to?

Let's review the situation:

Oy. My eyes!

Ok, now for the plans:

1. Remove soffit and drywall in beam. Maybe add simple molding.

2. Raise upper cabinets and add shelves below. New glass doors for the uppers. Like this:

two tone kitchen

What the hell, just give me the entire kitchen.

3. Decide what to do with the floor to ceiling cabinets... build cases up and add new doors? Or maybe something like this?


But I think this is way more than the 12" soffit removal will give me. This part is confusing ... not sure what to do yet.

4. Paint.

And this is where things get really nutty. I'm pretty set on white/cream uppers, but the lowers... well. First of all, I believe the floor to ceiling cabinets should be the same colors as the lowers, right?

two tone kitchen

Except what about the free standing pantry/fridge cabinet? White, or lower color?

As for the paint scheme, I know I could pull off something like this -- even with my bung counters:

two tone kitchen

This is kinda what our floors look like now.

Here's the two tone white/gray look again...

painted kitchen

The Inspired Room did a real super good reno that pretty much matches exactly what I had originally planned.

Now, I know this is going to make me sound like an asshole, but the fact that this look has been done (and done beautifully), makes me not want to do it anymore.

Don't get me wrong, this is still my awesome backup plan.

But now I am hatching a new crazy plan...

wood brass kitchen

Namely, I am considering replacing the wood lowers with... wood lowers. Wait -- not even replacing, because we're keeping the old cabinets. The old SOLID WOOD cabinets.

But what if we stripped them, and stained them darker to tame the grain, and then we waxed or oil finished so they wouldn't be 80s lacquer perestroika shiny, and then we added some awesome brass hardware?

What if?

I know you probably think I'm crazy, and maybe I am. But just wait until I unleash a torrent of super dope wood kitchens on you. A tiny taste:

wood kitchen

Now, how hard will this be to execute???

Remember that I'm sick. Please be gentle.