We have painted kitchen walls! Yea, paint!
As soon as the contractors wrapped up wave one of renovation last week, we were right behind them with our drywall tape, mud and sandpaper. Scott did the majority of this work while I continued the hutch refresh, and he powered through for an entire weekend and several nights this week (a champion, I tell you) – taping, mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding and sanding some more. Drywall dust is our biggest enemy when it comes to renovation (remember this happy day?), and although we did our best to close off the kitchen, cover the appliances and mop every night, that dust continued to find it’s way into the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.
But let’s fast forward to the magical night where we moved past that and dived into painting! Choosing a paint color was particularly agonizing (ha!) since our plan is to continue the color into our living room. That said, we wanted something that felt bright and clean with a hint of warmth, finally landing on Intense White by Ben Moore. We’re thrilled to continue working with Ace Hardware this year, and they graciously provided the paint, color matched to Valspar Optimus in an eggshell finish. (This is the same brand we used in the guest room, and we are on board. It’s thick and smooth with an almost matte appearance once dry.) The color itself is actually a pale warm gray, providing soft contrast against our (eventual) white trim and appliances. The color is a chameleon, looking straight up blindingly white out of the can, going on slightly beige (causing us to panic – just for a minute), and drying down to a gorgeous, subtle gray that never feels too cool or overly warm. Love, love.
Let’s go back to the beginning, before electrical was juggled around and all the walls were in tact:
To last week:
And now, today! We haven’t even begun our back-wall-of-windows, but man. What a difference paint makes! Now, imagine: white trim and cabinetry, a dark island and that runner.
We hope to get new doors for the furnace this weekend, a completed hutch and although there were rumblings of finished cabinets, it looks like those have been slightly delayed. But! Once those are in, it’ll be on to counter installing, tiling, dresser-reconfiguring, hardware choosing and, fingers crossed, back-door-transom-ing!
Our longtime partner Ace Hardware provided the paint for this project, and we used BM Intense White color matched to Valspar Optimus in an eggshell finish. Thank you for supporting those that support us! xx.
As the kitchen evolves and choices have become more definitive, it because very clear that the majority of our budget was going to 3 main places: ONE) the back door wall (of windows!), TWO) cabinets and THREE) the countertops. In a nutshell, our money is going to the areas that are more permanent, and we’ve chosen to stretch those dollars in the areas that aren’t as permanent – such as a our vintage hutch, antique rug and now, our kitchen island! You can see it, too, right?:
We have been searching for weeks (months, maybe!) for a piece of furniture that could pull double duty as a kitchen island. The kitchen is spacious – definitely large enough for an island – but not so large that we could get away with a standard depth and/or width. Our hunt included anything that could potentially be considered an island, but we had a long wish list for this piece of furniture:
- Needs to be counter height, of course (36″)
- Needs to be thin enough to accommodate a small overhang or be wide enough without an overhang to provide good prep space. Let’s call this, oh, 26″ or so total
- Needs to have storage somehow, somewhere
- Needs to have an easily removable top surface so we can install our own butcher block
- Needs to have smooth gliding drawers and/or doors that don’t stick
- Preferably something we could paint
- Preferably something with legs that could also accommodate casters (for movability and looks)
We searched high and low for credenzas, desks, dressers and china cabinet bases – from the typical online sources to in-person hunting to alley creeping – and over the weekend, we finally came home with this dresser from our favorite worth-the-drive secondhand shop, Jubilee! To be fair, we’d seen other contenders along the way, but they were either in too much disrepair, too large, too small or too precious to paint.
This guy, though? It’s a Mid Century Kent Coffey dresser with replacement pulls, and it checks off everything in the wish list! The drawers are deep and smoooth. The dovetail joints are all in perfect condition, and the bones of the piece are solid wood – only the top and sides are an oak veneer.
The knob placement currently screams dresser!, but we’ll swap those out for middle pulls that will help streamline the overall look. We’ll also need to add trim to the back, mimicking the front (see below), and we’ll reinforce the plywood back with a sheet of MDF (or something similar). It’s hard to tell in photos, but the finish is very shiny and very yellow, and so, we’ll remedy that with black paint and a butcher block top to provide contrast against the white cabinetry. Right now, it’s 19″ deep x 54″ wide, and once the cabinets are in place and the walls are painted, I feel like we’ll have a better visual for the final depth of the butcher block.
The goal is that you won’t even recognize it as a dresser once it’s been refinished. And all that storage? Yes, yes.
We are mildly obsessed with our kitchen’s pocket door. And when I say mildly, I actually mean super, ultra, crazy. (Wildly, even?) Not only do we love the look of a good pocket door, but they just make sense in tight spaces – and in our case, this pocket door leads into a small barely 7′ wide room that’ll ultimately be our four-season Work Room. (Think: floor to ceiling paint and daily tool storage, with a place for everything and everything in it’s place.)
The overall plan to make it work is to extend the cabinets on our wet wall by 2′, which would leave room for the pocket, and the doorway would be moved to the left by 32″ or so – the width of the door itself. The installation was handled entirely by our contractors, and throughout the process, they called me in for photos (which I loved) and kept me updated on what’s inside these walls (lath; lots and lots of lath!):
We’ve been warned by some (contractors, even) to avoid pocket doors, since there’s always a chance the track could go awry, and the only solution would be to open up the drywall. At the same time, we’ve also been told (by other contractors) that the charm is worth it, new hardware has come a long way, and don’t listen to the downers! Ha – we’ll take it!
Before the drywall was installed, I took some photos of the pocket guts, which is actually really simple and not nearly as intense as I had imagined (and I’m not sure why I thought that in the first place). There are two supports on each side and small, smooth plastic guides by the base that keep the door on track. If the door ever becomes off-balance or slightly un-level, that be easily remedied with a wrench and adjustments to the top gliders:
We’ll need to trim the door jamb with a 1×6, and on the opposite side, we’ll need smaller strips of 1x3s on each side of the pocket. From there, we’ll simply add our usual casing on both the kitchen and Work Room side, at which point we’ll be able to install the baseboards. (Well, after we’ve put ourselves through drywall repair and a clean coat of paint on the walls.)
By shifting the door, we were also left with a bare patch of flooring, but that’s a super quick patch job. Luckily, we already have leftover hardwood planks of this exact flooring from our entryway – remember that?
And now – pocket door!
The walls obviously haven’t been painted, but once they are, that soft minty color (Ben Moore’s Swept Away) will really, really shine. With every step of progress, we are just bursting with excitement as the dominoes, so to speak, start falling into place. We have a painted sample for our cabinets (to be installed in a week!), we’re thisclose to nailing down a stone for the counters, and that hutch is almost complete!
PS… For anyone looking to install a pocket door on their own, we noticed that our team used parts from Johnson Hardware, but we’ve also seen kits at the big box stores, too.
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