A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Clean Slate

kitchen: beforeRemember our eyesore of a kitchen? Half-painted screaming yellow walls? Wagon-wheel cabinet trim/plate rail that served no purpose, decorative or otherwise? Blue-and-yellow bathroom tile for the backsplash? Exposed wiring in the ceiling? Ah yes, it was quite the site to behold!

Not knowing when we will renovate the kitchen, I had to make the kitchen as livable as possible, as soon as possible. Livable for me right now means something aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately I can’t do anything about the awkward layout or lack of storage at the moment.

The first thing I did was wipe the slate clean by painting over the yellow with some white paint I had lying around. 2007091301.jpgIt was already an improvement, although very sterile and stark. Because that yellow was so bright I was afraid that it might bleed through, so the white paint was only to make sure that the new paint color would cover the walls evenly.

Pete always likes to work on outside projects when the weather is nice, but if I have an indoor project in mind, there is nothing that can stop me. So over Labor Day weekend I painted the kitchen while Pete worked outside. 2007091702.jpg

I have always been a fan of Benjamin Moore and use their paint almost exclusively. This was my first experience with their new line of low-VOC paint, Aura. My local paint store, JC Licht, advised using 3/8″ nap rollers with this paint, which is what I usually use anyway. The color went on evenly and the smell (which was very mild) was quite pleasant.

My inspiration for the colors came from our dishes: Pottery Barn’s Sausalito dinnerware. Although Moore’s Sherwood Green matched the plate exactly, I went a little lighter with Kittery Point Green (HC 19). The ceiling color, also lighter than the plate, is Weston Flax (HC 5).

Whenever I paint I always feel my grandfather’s presence. 2007090401.jpgI’ve mentioned before that he was a foreman at a paint company, and it seemed like anytime my grandparents visited us from Toledo we would paint some room in the house. Even when he grew older and stopped doing the physical labor, he was always looking over my shoulder and coaching me on my trim skills. As a result I rarely, if ever, need to tape something off, which saves a lot of prep time. All I need is a steady hand, the proper amount of paint on the brush, and a good leading edge with the tapered bristles. It also helps to learn to be a little ambidextrous.

As I finished up painting, I also ripped out the cabinet trim. It was very satisfying.

Since then I’ve not only been super busy with work (hence the lack of posts lately), but last weekend I was also in St. Louis for our niece’s wedding. If anyone in St. Louis is in need of a great band, check out the Melvin Turnage Band. Wow, they were absolutely fantastic. Any band that can get me on the dance floor has got to be pretty amazing, and they really were.

Unfortunately there’s no end in sight to my workload, but I will try to catch up on my posts. Stay tuned for The Backsplash gets Neutralized, and until then, please enjoy another shot of my kitchen.


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