Friday, February 27, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - The Finish Line is in Sight!

Despite all the shows on TV showing complete transformations within a matter of days...if not reality projects can inch forward at a speed that can even test the patience of a designer! This project is on schedule, originally estimated to take three months it is now entering week eight, though it seems longer and feels as if it should be wrapped up by now.

The second roman shade, in the delightful Thomas Paul print, has been hung. In front of it hangs the new light fixture, a floor sample purchased from Crate&Barrel. It had been marked down twice, so even though it was not the right finish for the space, the design was great therefore I decided to refinish it. Primer and paint transformed the finish to mirror the finish of the island pendants. The interior of the shades were originally gold, which made the fixture appear gold once again with the light turned on. A couple layers of silver metallic paint applied with a fan brush corrected this, and the shades now cast a warm silver glow that works with the other finishes in the room. As a bonus, once this light fixture replaced the original "builder special" fixture that hung in the nook, the island pendants suddenly didn't look so bad. So, for now they will not be replaced, as was the original plan. Someday I'll stumble across a couple of fabulous pendants that will be the perfect replacements, but until then these work just fine.

So what is left to do? I am a huge fan of refinishing and repurposing and the kitchen nook chairs, which after several years of use are looking a bit worn, will be refinished. Currently black, the chairs feel a bit heavy in the space. They will be painted a lighter tone, similar to the cabinetry color. For the family room, a coffee table that was once in my husband's apartment when I first met him is being brought in and refinished. I have also found a new wholesale source for upholstered goods and have just ordered new seating. With the fabric selected for the sofas I can now make a decision on the fabric for the nook drapes. Finally lamps, side tables and a rug will be being brought in from our previous family room, and the last project will be to accessorize the bookcases. The goal is to be complete by the end of March...that date might be pushing it. We are hosting our neighborhood potluck then, however, so it would be nice to be able to have a finished space (and seating!) to welcome people into our home!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Roman Shade Progress

One down, one to go. I think I now have a better understanding of why it costs so much to have custom roman shades made! It has been a time consuming project, but when I weigh the approximately 60% savings I will see by making them myself it seems (almost) worth it. The only downside of this product is that the shade is a bit difficult to raise and lower, with the folds needing adjustment to lay just right. Luckily these shades will not be closed often, so not a big deal. Next time I will consider using a continuous loop bead clutch system, which will add to the cost a bit, but worth it for windows where the shades will be opened and closed often. Another good source for drapery supplies is

The overall look of the kitchen and family room is clean lined with a limited color palette, so having this wonderful pattern on the window treatments really works. The brown and tan colors are beautiful with the flooring, cabinetry and countertops, while the pattern introduces a fun element and helps the space from getting too serious.

Next time...I hope to have the second roman shade completed and will be moving on to drapes for the patio slider as well as lighting above the kitchen nook table.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - Roman Shades

I have been dragging my feet on this next project because it involves dusting off my sewing machine. There are still the occasional drapes (and children's costumes) I find myself sewing, but several years in the fashion field pretty much cured me of a love of sewing - too much of a good thing! However, when I received the quote for the two roman shades for the kitchen and nook windows...ouch...I figured it was time to learn how to make these myself.

If I had the right supplies it wouldn't be that hard, I thought. So I Googled "how to make roman shades" and found a company called Shadescapes, at By typing in the measurements for the windows I was able to order a made-to-measure kit. The kit includes a pattern, lining, mounting board with hardware attached, tube tape, weight rods and cord system. Today this kit is being put to the test as I launch into my first attempt at making roman shades.

I considered several fabrics for the shades, but kept coming back to the Thomas Paul fabric I adore, Aviary in Earth. Available through Calico Corners, at This fabric will add a punch of color and whimsy to the room, while the brown and tan colors will look great with the cabinetry, countertops and flooring.

My hope is that I don't have to come back and say things have not gone well!! Wish me luck...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - Wall Paint Color

The painting is done and I got in a good workout painting the high walls in the family room! Purdy has a great line of painting tools, including an extension pole that attaches to their roller, which makes painting tall spaces fairly simple with a bit of practice.

The paint colors for the walls in the kitchen and family room were inspired by the greys, taupes and browns in the granite. The kitchen is painted Sherwin-Williams Universal Khaki 6150, which is a beautiful soft grey/taupe. For this room I wanted a soft 'silver' tone that would be just dark enough to provide a contrast against the light cabinetry (Softer Tan 6141). The color for the family room is one step down the color card from Universal Khaki to Quiver Tan 6151. This room was originally painted Dapper Tan 6144 from the previous card in the deck, so very similar. Quiver Tan, however, is a richer and more complex color. It reads brown yet has sophisticated grey undertones. The kitchen and family room colors work very well together. Being adjacent on the color card the colors are very similar creating a cohesive look, yet have just enough difference for a bit of interest.

Selecting paint colors can often be an exercise of trail and error. However, there are some guidelines to help ensure a successful outcome. First of all, it is virtually guaranteed that the paint chip that looked so promising in the paint store will look completely different once you get it home. Rather than running back and forth pulling options it would be worth your time to purchase a paint deck, often around $10. With a whole range of color options available to look at in your space you'll increase the odds of selecting successful colors. Choose at least two options to sample and paint patches of the color on the walls to look at in different light. It helps to paint these test patches on more than one wall as the color will look different depending on how the light hits the different walls. Need color inspiration? Look at colors in artwork, fabrics or finishes that will be in the finished room and see what colors look great next to these items.

Next time, window treatments...I've selected the fabric and excited to be moving on to the accessory phase of this project!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Completed Flooring

The completed hardwood flooring is gorgeous. Having the same flooring throughout the space allows the family room and kitchen to flow together beautifully. It is undetectable where the new and old flooring meet, due to great workmanship on the installation and a very good product match.

A bit of research had to be done to get the new flooring to match the original product. This house was built prior to a change in the production of this particular hardwood from Kentwood Floors, with the new product having fewer hand-scraped indentations. Luckily the company I worked with on this project, Super Floors, was able to track down enough older stock at a store within the region. When extending prefinished flooring it is very important to confirm the new flooring is a perfect match with the old. Do this by checking a current sample against the older flooring. When extending solid unfinished wood flooring a seamless look can also be created by weaving in new boards into the older existing flooring. The older flooring will then need to be refinished at the same time the new flooring is finished on-site. In an older home make sure there is enough thickness left on the original flooring to handle being sanded, as it probably has been refinished previously.

It is so great to have the big projects completed, and to be able to say goodbye to the contractors! Next time, paint colors. The kitchen was painted prior to the cabinetry work so all that is left to paint is the family room...and for the sake of the budget I am doing this job myself. Should be fun!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - Flooring

The last major (household disrupting) project of the redesign has begun. My family could not be happier! Today the hardwood planks with cut ends (which had bordered the carpet) were removed to prepare for the weaving in and extension of the hardwood into the family room. I am a big fan of the same flooring running throughout a space, as this tends to visually enlarge a space while allowing for a more flexible furniture plan. In this space the carpet cut into the kitchen area at an angle, which created an awkward division between the rooms. The hardwood is from Kentwood Floors, which can be found at, and the style is called Copper City.

To prepare for this project I pulled up the carpet and pad. As it was virtually new and in perfect condition I posted it on Craigslist at It now has a new home in a children's playroom. Craigslist is a great place to recycle items from a remodel, for sale or to be carried away for free. Another good place to take materials and items you'll no longer be using is a Habitat ReStore, were you can donate items to be resold. Proceeds from Habitat ReStores help local Habitat for Humanities affiliates fund the construction of Habitat houses within their community. So a very worthy cause.

This project should be done by tomorrow evening...if not I'll owe my husband and kids a really great dinner out somewhere!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Finding a (Good!) Contractor

It is one thing to decide to embark on a project, and completely another to find someone to do the work! I think the best route to finding a reliable contractor is to ask for referrals from people who have had similar work done...but this route sometimes comes up short. Another good resource for finding qualified companies is Angie's List, at This is a great website that lists service providers with reviews from people who have used them. I think the reason this site is so successful is that a business cannot list themselves, rather they must be submitted by a client. So you get the real story on the companies listed. There is a membership fee, but you can sign up for a single month, and there are chapters throughout the country.

Once you find people to meet with for a job make sure you have at least a basic knowledge of the work to be done. By googling a question about your project a quick tutorial is at your fingertips. The next project for my kitchen and family room redesign is to have the hardwood flooring extended into the family room. When talking to subs one told me that to create a seamless look from the kitchen/nook into the family room I would have to tear out and replace the perfectly good hardwood flooring in the nook. It would be too difficult to "weave" in new planks alongside the old. Taking this route would have significantly increased costs, so luckily I knew weaving in the prefinished flooring that is in my home is actually not that difficult.

This job is scheduled for Thursday, so no work is being done on my project for a couple is nice to catch up with other work and take a breather for a few moments!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Cabinetry Is Complete...What A Relief!

What a relief to have the biggest task of this project successfully completed! My version of an updated classic vintage kitchen has been delivered and I am delighted with how the space has been transformed. The workmanship is outstanding and the job was completed over a week ahead of schedule. For anyone in the Portland area, Larry of LIC Painting is definitely the person to contact for any painting projects. 503-887-6078. This job was also surprisingly affordable...when approaching a kitchen update, painting existing cabinetry can be a great option.

The mantel has also been installed. The craftsman completely listened to my goals for its design. I requested that the new mantel be clean lined and modern with just enough detail to work with the door design of the built-ins. The more substantial scale of the mantel has the correct proportion for the room. The mantel is also flush with the built-ins with no drywall between the two, making it look as if these elements were designed and built together from the start. Finally the striking tile from Pental adds to the overall effect of this wall, creating a timeless mix of modern and traditional elements.

As for the hardware, after the first drawer was installed I reattached the original weathered nickel hardware. Previously this hardware was not even noticed on the dark wood, but now it brings out the grey tones in the granite. This reinforces the goal of lightening the look of the granite. Replacing the hardware was a maybe on the project list and being able to eliminate this to-do item has been a budget friendly surprise. This hardware can be found at National Builders Hardware Co., As a side note, if you want to see an incredible line of hardware visit The Nanz Co., at company has amazingly beautiful designs.

Next...painting walls and removing the carpet in the family room in anticipation of the hardwood installation next week. Then I can begin working on the fun stuff...window treatments, lighting, accessories, the things that bring out the personality of a space!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kitchen & Family Room Redesign - Cabinetry Nearly Complete

With the painting of the cabinetry boxes complete it was time to take down the protective coverings. I couldn't resist...getting to the house before the painters were scheduled to arrive I just had to tear away a bit of the paper covering the backsplash, to get a hint of how the elements of the 'new' kitchen would work together. Very exciting, like opening a big present! I was thrilled with what I saw, particularly how beautiful the subway tile looked with the painted cabinetry.

The result is elegant and fresh, creating a brighter environment than the space looked previously when there were dark wood tones throughout. The subway tile is a shade lighter than the cabinetry, and this works because the grout color used matches the cabinetry color. This ties the two elements together. When creating spaces using a lot of whites, it works to mix various shades to create more visual interest, creating dimension where things could start to look flat. I also chose to keep the island the original wood finish, as the stain color here was a good match with the floor. This choice creates a more custom look than if the island had also been painted white.

Now to the family room. The painted built-ins now meld perfectly with the adjacent feature window and allows the family room to relate wonderfully to the kitchen, creating one large cohesive space. No longer do the built-ins fight the other elements in both rooms. Eliminating their very dark wood tone, which was significantly darker than the other wood tones in the rooms, brings brightness and a balance to the space.

And yes, something is missing. The mantel. As I mentioned in an earlier blog the newly built mantel was scheduled to arrive last Monday just before the painters began work. This deadline was missed...sometimes artistry cannot be rushed (?) and I adjusted the plan to work with this delay. The mantel is now being primed and painted off-site. It is scheduled to be installed tomorrow, followed by a final layer of paint on-site. So, work does not always proceed as planned! Being flexible and open to alternative schedules will create a lot less stress on a project... if you can approach it with at least a bit of zen like attitude.

Next time I'll post pictures of the completed cabinetry, mantel progress and talk about cabinetry hardware. The painting of the cabinetry doors is actually ahead of schedule, and are slated to be hung this week instead of two weeks from now. I am excited to see the final result, and to again have a fully functioning kitchen!