Monday, July 7, 2014

Kitchen Preliminaries....

So I'm embarking on a fun journey -- fixing up our house. Apparently, this is a popular activity -- there's an entire television network devoted to it.

My first project is going to be the kitchen. It is a tiny room, 7 1/2 feet by 11 feet.  Small kitchens have never bothered me, because I'm not all that much into cooking. Oh, I don't hate it, but there are lots of things I like to do more. And little kitchens bother me even less, now that I have trouble walking (knees, arthritis). So I don't mind the size, at all... I just want it to look nice and be easy to use.

Right now, it's not nice. Well, some of it isn't.

The biggest problem(s)  are the cabinets and the countertop/backsplash.

The floor needs to be addressed, too, but it's not a big problem.  The concrete is in great shape; it's just a matter of pulling up the current vinyl tiles and preparing it for the new flooring.  We will likely use vinyl tile again (and use the same pattern in the kitchen, baths and "sunroom" which will likely become my computer/writing room).

Tentatively, I've chosen a tan simulated stone pattern. What little wallspace shows in the kitchen will be painted a soft cafe au lait.

Cabinets. I've loathed these cabinets ever since we moved here. Although knotty pine was very popular at mid-century, I never cared for it. I don't like the rustic look-and-feel it imparts. In my kitchen, that quality is upped several notches by the barn-door hardware.

I've longed for new cabinets for years ... but the thought of tearing the old ones out was daunting. They are craftsman cabinets -- not in the craftsman architectural style, but in the method of building. They were built on site. They're heavy and robust. They aren't gonna come down with a few swipes of a sledge hammer, such as you see on HGTV sometimes. So I percieved that we were stuck with them.

However, quite recently, I've developed a new attitude about my cabinets. They're pine, but not knotty. A couple of replacement doors made (poorly) by the flippers have a few knots, but they're shoddy -- just panels butted together, not tongue and groove like the original doors. Those will be coming out and will be replaced by T&G un-knotty pine paneled doors. Milling is not cheap, I understand, but it's only a couple of doors. Besides. I have a router I need to learn how to use...

So it occurred to me to refinish the pine with a dark stain and shellac/varnish,  and replace the barn-door hardware with Euro hinges and simple brushed nickel pulls. In fact, I've already done it -- in my graphics editor -- and I really like the look of the doors. It doesn't even matter that they're panels instead of a solid sheet of wood. I think they'll look good.

(These images are composites; the upper cabinets and lower cabinets were shot separately and put together in my graphics editor. If they look a little whompy-jawed, that's the reason.)

Inside, the cabinets are painted off white. The paint has taken a beating over the years, and I'll be repainting the interior with a durable oil-based white enamel.

The worst thing about the kitchen is the countertop and backsplash. They are ordinary white ceramic tiles, which I don't really have a problem with. The problem is that they were horribly installed. (Same story in the two bathrooms.)  The grout doesn't come up to the top of the tiles, making the grout lines miniature ditches for trapping food, crumbs, spilled tea... ditches that have to be scraped out with a knife.

Also, tiles in heavy use areas have lost their sheen due to scratches and wear.

Right now, I'm looking at two options. (1) Keeping the tile backsplash and replacing the counter with white laminate or (2) keeping all the tile and painting it.

Just a couple of days ago, I was sold on white Wilsonart sheeting on particleboard substrate -- very conventional. But that was before I ran across the website of a woman whose fix-up of her vintage home included painting the ceramic tile countertop in the kitchen.**  Here's a look:

She graciously explained how to do it on her blog... and it sounds like something I could do, and would only put the kitchen out of service for about four days.

If I go this route, which I'm seriously considering, since it is the most economical option thus far, I will have to remove all the grout from the counterop and backsplash, and regrout the tiles correctly, so that the grout is level, or almost level, with the top of the tiles. Removing the grout should be a piece of cake with a grout blade for my Dremel...

Some of this stuff will be removed from the countertop and stored in the lower cabinets, after repainting and organizing..

On the other hand, if we were to DIY laminate sheets on particleboard substrate, I would have to buy a finish router, which I think would be a fine addition to my power tools collection...

I have to admit that my photoshopped images of the new kitchen don't look either Old Florida OR MCM...  They look rather HGTV-ish... perish the thought.

But I like it. Unless I change my mind and come up with something different, this is The Look and  The Plan for the kitchen. The flavor of MCM and/or Old Florida will have to come from (very little) decor and accessories, like the Beautyware chrome canisters and paper dispenser (and I'm on the lookout for a matching breadbox).  Perhaps some herbs in minimalist pots on the window sill, and an atomic boomerang clock and an MCM cat plaque on wall....

** From "Our Vintage Home Love"

No comments:

Post a Comment