Google+ House Revivals: 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Kitchen Island

Here is the island I built for our kitchen renovation for the house we are selling. I absolutely loved my classic fifties steel and chrome kitchen, but my realtors suggested it was a little "dated". One realtor actually called it "functionally obsolete"! The main reason for the "obsolescence" was it's little bitty fridge. When the kitchen was installed sixty years ago, a custom niche had been built into the wall under the stairwell for a recessed fridge. Unfortunately, that custom niche was much too small for today's behemoth fridges.

Soooo, I called my trusted handyman and had him redo the opening to fit a larger refrigerator. Because of the stairway behind that wall, the new fridge opening needed to be moved about a foot to the right in order to have the height needed for today's refrigerators. Changing the location of the fridge opening was going to require the removal of several 12" deep upper and lower cabinets on that wall. I was heartbroken over the loss of storage! But when the carpenter removed those cabinets, we were both amazed by how much more space we had in the kitchen -- enough space for a small island! Of course, my budget would not allow me to hire the handyman to build a new island, and my husband was already working out of state. So, what's a girl to do? Build it herself, of course!

After spending a few hours designing several options for the project using SketchUp, and polling several of my girlfriends about which option they liked best, I decided on an adaptation of one of the concepts. The island cost a little over one-hundred dollars to build. Materials included a butcher block type top from Home Depot, a plywood base, some beaded board paneling leftover from another project, casters, nuts, bolts, screws, wood trim, construction adhesive, reused wine racks, and wood stain. And, of course the cabinets my contractor removed! The whole process took about three loooooong evenings, not counting the time it took to design it and collect the materials. But, everybody loves it, and I'm just thrilled with how it turned out! And because we reused the existing cabinets, it looks like its always been there.

(P. S. I laid that floor, too! All by myself. Without my handyman, or my husband. But that's another story. And we were able to add a cute little pantry around the corner from the fridge, by partitioning off the fridge inside the stairwell closet, and adding shelving. Now, when you open the door to what used to be a poorly functioning under stairway closet, you just see pantry shelving. More storage-- I love it!

I've linked this post to the the blog party I Made it Without My Husband over at Shanty2Chic
and Strut Your Stuff over at Somewhat Simple
and The DIY Show Off, here.
and to Vintage Thingie Thursday at The Colorado Lady. 

Here are a couple more "afters":

Reviving A Pair of Stodgy Old Chairs

About a year ago, I wandered into a thrift store and saw "them". A pair of slouchy, stodgy, old club chairs from the eighties. They were awful! The upholstery was in great condition, but it was just soooo ugly. I had to have them. A quick peak at the label under the cushion confirmed they were old Drexel Heritage chairs. *Nothing* sits like a Drexel. I turned the chairs over and pulled back a little bit of the dust cover to make sure they had eight-way, hand tied springs. Then I sat in them. They were fabulous. Fabulously ugly, that is. I loaded them up into my mini-van, and never said a word to husband about them--just drove around with them in the back of the car for a couple of months. I kept my fingers crossed that he would just assume they belonged to a client!

When a local fabric supplier had their semi-annual warehouse sale, I bought twelve yards of fabric at the ridiculous price of five dollars a yard! Then I called our upholsterer and faxed him some sketches. I had him rebuild the chair backs so they were about seven inches taller, beef up the rolled arms slightly, ditch the frumpy skirt, and trim out the backs and arms with beautiful bronze tacks. Voila! "New" designer chairs at a fraction of the cost of buying the same quality new! Reupholstering is definitely not inexpensive, but it can be a great value if you are redoing a quality piece.

This post is linked to a blog party at Thrifty Decor Chick. Come see lots of great ideas here. We've also linked to the furniture project blog party over at Mustard Seed Creations. Stop by here for some inspiration.

Decorating the $1.25 Christmas Tree


Most of you who read my other blog, know I scored a little four and a half foot tree at the Salvation Army Store for $1.25! Being in the process of transitioning from Colorado's Front Range to the Pacific Northwest, all of our belongings are stored, so we had to pretty much start from scratch with this year's tree.


The little Salvation Army tree had definitely seen some better days, and was looking a little sad. Back in my event planning days, scraggly trees were "filled in" with cuttings from other evergreens, so I decided to grab some evergreen garland while still in the store.

Of course, when I was grabbing the garland, I saw several old Christmas floral arrangements and floral candle rings and grabbed those, too. I was especially excited to find four huge bunches of poinsettias for a quarter each!

Next, I grabbed some 50% off LED lights at a local drug store (probably won't buy those again-- they just don't have "sparkle"). Then I hit a fabric and craft outlet to find some paint and burlap.

I found this beautiful apple green jute burlap, with a really nice drape to it. Part of the burlap was used for a tree skirt and the rest was cut into strips about 5" wide to be used as garland. While in the outlet store, I spied this gorgeous upholstery strapping and bought a couple of yards of it for garland,also.


The strapping was cut into pieces about ten inches long, and tucked into the fully decorated tree to look as if it wound in and out of the boughs. Another great find at the outlet was this funky plastic spanish moss.


It was on Halloween clearance, so it was pretty steeply discounted! It worked beautifully on the little tree winding and trailing, adding contrast of texture and color.



The most time consuming part of the project was deconstructing the floral arrangements and candle rings and reinventing them into evergreen sprays, using the evergreen garland I had picked up. After lots of cutting apart and rewiring, I had a small mountain of evergreen sprays! Each spray consisted of two lengths of wired evergreen garland, one poinsettia, a small spray of assorted greenery, and something "else", such as a silk rose or a little pine cone or a little piece of fruit--just using what was available from the scavenged arrangements.


The poinsettias were a little too "red", so they were painted with burgundy paint before being added to the evergreen sprays. When all of the sprays were finished they were dry-brushed with white paint to look as if they were "snow-dusted". All in all, I think our little tree turned out pretty well!