Kitchen remodels

Kitchen renovating: A work in progress

“Mom, I can’t find the plates,” one of my kiddos asked the other day. “Have you tried opening the cabinet door?”

 

So clean and ready for dinnertime.

So clean and ready for dinnertime.

Yeah, you know you’ve been renovating the kitchen too long when your kids (well, me too) can’t find anything because there are actually cabinet doors–yes doors–to open and close.

 

My blogging time has been swallowed up lately with painting, but good news, I’m almost done! Here’s a few photos of my progress. Hey, if you hold your hand over the bottom part of the kitchen it looks done.

 

Look closely, here’s what’s changed so far:

  • Countertops replaced
  • Cabinets painted
  • Hinges painted
  • New handles for all of the cabinets
  • Hood put in
  • Hood vented to the outside of the house (my neighbors can thank me later)
  • All new light fixtures
  • New stove
  • New fridge
  • Trash compactor…gone
  • Sink replaced (this one doesn’t leak)
  • Floors refinished

 

Whew! More to come

We used to call our kitchen the "cook cave"

We used to call our kitchen the “cook cave”

 

 

 

No more leaky faucet or kitchen pipes! And Mr. Squid now knows how to fix garbage disposals

No more leaky faucet or kitchen pipes! And Mr. Squid now knows how to fix garbage disposals

Long view of redesigned kitchen (4)

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Food trends for 2013–the year of sour

Child with limeSo 2012 was the year of bacon, cupcakes (or bacon topped cupcakes), kale, gluten-free diets, and locally farmed foods. What food trends will pop up in the New Year?

I’ve been looking through various sources online to see what’s in and what’s out (sadly, gourmet tacos may have had their heyday–except at my house, where they’re always in!).

Here are a few predictions from food industry insiders, along with a quick tip about how you can start being “trendy” right now:

 

SOUR. Yes, it’s the year of sour! (Fist pump here). My youngest will be thrilled. Santa gave her not one, but two bottles of pickles in her stocking and she couldn’t have been happier. Tip: Adding a bit of acidic twang to regular dishes is easy and instantly brightens the other flavors. I often squeeze a bit of fresh lime or lemon to dishes, smoothies, salads, just before serving.

 

SMOKE. Infusing everything from food to drinks with smoke is supposed to be big this year. We smoked our turkey this past Thanksgiving using hickory chips in our gas grill–tastE. Tip: Forget the bottle of liquid instant smoke which has a strange chemically taste if you ask me. I add a hit of Trader Joe’s Smoked Paprika to savory dishes.

 

VEGETABLES. Veggies are taking over the plate in 2013. They’re no longer stuck in the “side dish” category. We’ve been trying to add more vegetables on our dinner plates. Tip: Embrace Meatless Mondays and have an all-veggie meal once a week (or more!).

 

POPCORN. The kernels are taking over. Dig out your old air popper if you want to have a the “it” snack. Tip: I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks like fun–DIY microwave popcorn.

 

My official painting outfit--it gets lots of use!

My official painting outfit–it gets lots of use…

ELBOW GREASE. From theKitchn, my personal favorite ingredient for the year–elbow grease! Since I’m in the midst of updating my kitchen, I understand the appeal–and challenges–of using this ingredient. Tip: My old bathrobe serves as a quick cover when I have just a minute to paint. It’s easy to throw on over my regular clothes–and there’s nothing cooler than a woman in a blue-striped bathrobe with pink edges holding a paintbrush!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Secrets to a Really Crummy Kitchen Cabinet Paint Job

My eyes! The glare from the cabinets is blinding.

If you’re looking to take double–no triple–the amount of time to paint your kitchen cabinets than you should, I’ve got the tips for you! These are the tips other professional painters won’t tell you. Promise. So if want kitchen cabinets that are truly unique, with personal touches like paint bubbles, streaks, and overly thick sections, here’s how to do it:

  1. Determine that you’re going to paint all of your kitchen cabinets in one day. No. Matter. What.
  2. Laugh when your husband says silly things like, “Maybe it’s too cold to paint today.” Or, “You know, you might want to paint inside.”
  3. Lightly sand your cabinets right before you paint them. Don’t bother to wipe them down with a towel or anything.
  4. Paint the front of the cabinets first.
  5. Paint in your garage when the outside temperature is 32 degrees or below.
  6. Keep going even when the paint starts to thicken from the cold.
  7. Add more paint to smooth out the thickening paint.
  8. Figure you already painted half the cabinets you outta finish the job even if the paint is the consistency of peanut butter.
  9. Whatever you do never, ever do a sample test of your paint color before you start! That saves way too much time when you figure out your paint is glaringly bright and shockingly shiny.

With these helpful hints (shhhh, secrets!) you too can have crummy kitchen cabinets like mine. And you can join me in spending a day–no three–stripping the paint off and then starting all over again. Bonus: there’s nothing better than spending your extra money on sand paper!

Scrapping, scrapping, and more scrapping in my future

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Backsplashes, ovens, and hoods, oh my!

Making room for a vent

My kitchen is a work in progress.

Here’s what’s happening so far:

  • Ripped out the double oven, microwave, cooktop and gave them to a friend.
  • Ripped out the cabinet that held the oven, microwave, and cooktop.
  • Tore the soffit down above the oven space to create a space for a vent to the outside.
  • Moved all of the plates, pans, and everything else into the dining room. Or what I like to call the kitchen annex.
  • Sawed away the countertops. (Yeah, we’ll need to replace those sometime soon.)
  • Wainscoting is up as the backsplash for the oven and underneath all of the cabinets. Big bonus: I don’t have to tear down all the wallpaper behind it and then repair the walls to paint. It’s covered, literally!
  • Removed all of the doors and hardware on the upper cabinets.
  • Put in a vent through the upper soffit to the outside.
  • Place the hood in it’s spot.
  • Move the oven and get the gas hooked up.

Well, that’s enough for one week!

The oven waiting to be put in

Wainscoting going up

Making room for a vent

Oven in place--and working

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Kitchen renovation: Lighting

The kitchen renovations have begun! If you recall from last week, my Mad Men kitchen is undergoing a serious makeover. First step: lighting.

Lighting can be a relatively easy tweak to your kitchen that makes a big difference–if you know how to swap out lighting. Changing light fixtures is simple and you can learn how it’s done through online guides and videos. The most important advice: make sure to switch the electricity to the room off before you get started.

Here’s what we did:

•Moved the black-iron light fixture over our kitchen table into the dining room and took out the gold chandelier (I’m just not a chandelier person).

•Put in a simple, brushed nickel overhead light with clean lines from Home Depot ($29.88).

•Took out the florescent lighting near the refrigerator with track lighting from IKEA ($49.99).

Hitches:

•We discovered that the lighting wasn’t in the middle of the kitchen so we couldn’t center our lighting either. Solution: the movable track lighting looks intentional placed farther away from the sink. On my list: putty the extra hole with sheetrock compound and repaint the ceiling.

•Originally, we forked over a little extra money to buy vintage light bulbs. Even though we loved the look, the light bulb just didn’t give enough light–even the 60-watt bulb. Solution: We returned the light bulb and we’re sticking with regular bulbs (hey, they’re less pricey anyway).

Your turn: Have you ever changed the lighting in your kitchen? What inexpensive fixes have made a big difference in your kitchen?

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My Mad Men kitchen

Welcome to the 1960s mixed in with a little 1990s or what I like to call, my kitchen. Who knew that my new home would have a Betty Draper- style plaid kitchen courtesy of Mad Men?

Well, the plaid wallpaper’s gotta go. Along with the dinosaur of a double oven, the evergreen laminate countertops, and the overhead microwave that makes the cooktop feel like a cave.

Just one problem. See the other day when I was eating my breakfast, the ceiling dripped into my bran flakes. And with those drips went a few of our kitchen renovation plans. They’re now in the fix-the-leak-in-the-bathroom-that-isn’t-covered-by-the-home-warranty plan. So if you’ve wondered why I haven’t posted in awhile, I’ve traded my paintbrush for a spatula. (But I’ve got to eat sometime, so our grill and smoker have replaced my oven.)

Our plans now are to re-purpose as much of our current kitchen as we can.

Here’s what’s on the list:

Anyone need a trash compactor?

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets white (bring on the oil-based primer)
  • Paint the cabinet hinges in brushed nickel
  • Paint the laminate countertops gray (Rustoleum is on my shopping list)
  • Take down the wallpaper
  • Remove the trash compactor (done;)
  • Replace the double oven and stovetop with a range (opens up the space and it’s less expensive)
  • Decide on a backsplash
  • Nix the over-the-stove microwave–where can you hide a microwave?
  • Swap out the lighting

    Plans posted in the kitchen for inspiration

  • Refinish the wood floors

I’m looking forward to making the kitchen my own. And here’s the best part–when I need a break from remodeling, here’s where I head. The backyard.

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