Monday, March 19, 2012

House With Potential

I have BIG plans for this House With Potential. It is most likely the last house we will own, so I want to do all the projects I have dreamed of doing over the last 30 years and didn't because I always told myself that I shouldn't do anything over the top or too personal because I would just have to undo it when we sold. If I had known we would live in our last house for 14 years, I might have done more of those projects. Lesson learned!

When we decided to move and downsize, we found a cozy house in a good neighborhood. It is a typical California ranch house, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths down a hallway off the entry, a living room, dining room, kitchen and family room, all pretty open to each other. The things that sold us on this house were the neighborhood, price and half-acre lot. But, being a foreclosure and 30-something years old, it was looking a little drab. Fortunately, everything was in good working order, it just needed some TLC. I have always said I can fix ugly, but I can't fix location, and this house fit the bill.

This is the house I am going to turn into my dream cottage!

So, the BIG plans for this House With Potential include building a new garage and turning the current one into a large family room, complete with fireplace, french doors and many, many built-ins. Then I can move the dining room into the current family room and expand the kitchen to twice its size.

This is my long-range plan. In the meantime, I have a short-range plan and a mid-range plan, and I will try to work towards the long-range plan as I accomplish the less-involved ones.

The kitchen was the first room to be tackled. It was U-shaped, dark and dreary, with a peninsula that made me feel trapped.

This is the only pic I can find that shows the old cabinets; guess I was in a hurry to get them painted, so I didn't get a shot of them. But at least you get to see one cute little boy! The furry thing in the left corner is Sam, our cocker spaniel.

 The first thing I did was paint the cabinets a bright white. Everyone asked if we had put a new window in because they didn't remember the kitchen being so bright. (I love white paint!) I changed out the hardware and called it a day...for a few months.

  You can see the peninsula in these shots.

Then we started to install the flooring. Husband owns a floor covering business, so I picked out a dark wood flooring that would go throughout the living, dining, family rooms and kitchen.

 We started in the living room and when we got to the dining room/kitchen, we decided to pull out the peninsula since it didn't fit the BIG plans and we wouldn't have to patch in the flooring later on. This made everything feel much bigger, but I did lose some good work space and storage. I solved this by bringing in a table from the garage and painting it a creamy white with a chalkboard top for the little ones to play with. I could still fit 2 stools underneath and it had a drawer that took the place of the one I lost. The dishes I had in the old cabinet were the ones I use for catering and big holidays, so they could go into an armoire I am storing in the garage since I don't use them that often. 

The kitchen stayed in this state for quite a while, until I was a little tired of looking at a sea of white. I want to put glass in some of the doors and show off pretty dishes, but I figured that would come when we began to put the BIG plan in place.Then one day I spotted some black and white contact paper at the Dollar Store.

 I bought 10 rolls, not entirely sure what I was going to do with it, but certain I would need every bit of it, and probably more. An idea began to take shape; I tried to ignore it and tell myself I should be content with things the way they were and just wait until we are ready for the Big plan. Then, one day I got up and knew this was the day; I took down some of the cabinet doors, put the black and white paper on the backs of the cabinets, and arranged some dishes.

But something was a little off. After looking at it for a couple days, I decided that the doors to the cabinet over the refrigerator needed to come off as well.

          I love looking at all the dishes, so many of them have good memories attached to them. (See earlier post, Decorating with Beloved Objects and Memories).

Next kitchen project: painting the laminate counters.

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