Mar 27, 2009

Soup Kitchen to Super Kitchen Part One


It is amazing how the time passes and how much I think of you all and I often wonder if time passes just as quickly for you as it does for me. I get so many wonderful emails asking me to write more often and I am so very grateful for the encouraging words - as I miss writing very much! Thank you for your concerns and taking time to write me. It often boggles my mind how I let life interfere with my true love - writing.

This will be a quick update and when I return from my very sudden "surprise trip" I will update you more on what I have been up to. My year began with my need to turn our "soup kitchen" into a "super kitchen" on a limited (very limited) budget. Our kitchen will be featured in Romantic Homes' June issue, but below is a sneak peek at the process. It is just a cosmetic make-over.

One morning, after staring and our studying kitchen (again) I mentioned to my handsome groom, Randy, that something just had to be done with our kitchen...I could no longer allow it to remain in this state of repair...I mean, this was no matter of differing tastes, but rather a matter of torn tiles, cracked walls, and burnt counter tops. I am pretty sure the kitchen hadn't been touched since 1940's. I bet him I could re-do the entire kitchen for less than $500. So, being a very competitive couple (remember, we met running in the park while training for a marathon), he took me up on the challenge. Actually, I wasn't so sure I could do it, but I was willing to try.

Actually, as I thought about it some more, I realized that there must be some other people out there in the same position: what does one do when a kitchen needs a total gutting, but the funds are yet a few years away to do it properly and one can't stand to look at it one more day? I was sure I could find a way to do our kitchen cheaply, quickly, and end up loving it, even if the results only lasted a couple of years. Besides, if we do get to gut it and put in a new kitchen like is really needed, I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time or money on it right now anyway.

I won't show you very many "after" shots, but below are some before shots. You will have to check out the June issue of Romantic Homes to get the full deal. I believe it will be a fairly long feature. I do explain the "how to's" and give tips.

I would like to add a personal note about doing our little kitchen. When some of my girlfriends had seen it, they all expressed how much personality went into it and how they couldn't believe the change. While I appreciate their comments and compliments, what I think they were experiencing was something that we all have the ability to include in our homes...and that is our own personal touch. Whenever we take the time to add that little "something" that is truly ours and ours alone, that is when we turn our houses into homes.

Yes, I love my little kitchen, but what I love even more is hearing my handsome husband tell me each morning how nice the kitchen looks. And I enjoy watching him crack open his little soft boiled egg in his little German egg cup,while he is sitting in his Barber uniform, and watching him scoop out the soft yoke with his tiny spoon and he then looks up and smiles at me and says, "I just love having breakfast with you in our little breakfast room...." Beginning our day with our little breakfast, in our quiet, little breakfast room, is the little personal touch that makes our house a home.

Enjoy the sneak peek of our kitchen and more photos of the finished kitchen soon to come!

Also: next posting: More info on the April in Paris show in Kansas City - don't miss it!

From my house to your house,





Zita - Mlle Magpie said...

I can't wait to see ALL the after shots in Romantic Homes!

*The Beautiful Life* said...

Ya got any "surprise" trips to Florida planned anytime soon??? I NEED YOU & RANDY for MY kitchen!! :)

My kitchen is still in the "before" stage it was in 7 years ago when I called you FROM that kitchen, catching you in the middle of things at your store and asked for instructions on how to cover my countertops in tin like you had. Well, my countertops are still in their original state - as is the entire kitchen. (Sigh)

Like you, we've not wanted to put much $ into it if there is any chance we are going to do what I REALLY want to do with it. But, some 8 years later...well, you know...still the same.

Just can't wait to see the "whole story" in June's RH.

So, so great to hear from you again - truly.


Jackie said...

Oh, goodness, I'm the first one to leave a comment! What an honor!

I just love your blog and think of you often.
What a wonderful job you did on a budget!

In today's frustrating economical times, isn't it nice to do something for such a small amount of money, even though the sweat equity is increased?

I love what you did to the kitchen...It is so Elizabeth!! Will be waiting for my June issue of R.H. on pins & needles.

Blessings & Hugs,

Have a marvelous time at April in Paris!!

sepiadreams said...

Can't wait to see the rest!!!! Love Tiina..

debi lynn mattingly said...

Hey darlin!

Doesn't suprise me a bit...absolutely beautiful! The look on Randy's face as he holds that very large power tool is priceless! :)

Look forward to seeing the article! See ya soon...xo...deb

patricia@ReFind Home&Garden said...

Hi Elizabeth, It's so good to have you back! I love what you have done with your kitchen. You have truly inspired me to tackle my own. Being a shop owner really takes it out of you (as you well know) and by the time I get home I am just glad to be here. But today you have opened my eyes! I love that you took out the overhead cabinets, and I love the basket on the fridge and...well I can't wait for the June issue to arrive at my shop. Beautiful job. Big Hugs, Patricia

Anonymous said...


ohhh, can't wait to see more, you are one talented girl!!

meleen dupré

Myrna said...

So happy to see your post!! So glad you're healthy, happy, and oh-my-goodness, so busy!! ;-)
Thanks for posting 'the teaser'-- your kitchen is beautiful! Leave it to you to remodel on a budget!!..I'll be sure to pick up the June issue of Romantic Homes..can't wait!

Ulla said...

OH my! This is amazing Elizabeth! But now I am wondering where you are hiding everything that was in those cupboards... Can't wait to see the article! And yes, it really does show the real you! Love the details and painted floor!

Unknown said...

I was hopin' and prayin' and it worked! :-) Glad to see you're back..Tami
PS...Can't wait to see Part Deux...

Debra Sibley said...

Your sneak preview -- I love what you have done with your modest budget!! In this economy, more people will appreciate your talents with limited resources. You have given me ideas...I married a man that thinks "butcher block" Formica is great! So far..We replaced our double oven...He is a wonderful man & I have been blessed greatly. Our 4th wedding anniversary is April 16th -- Love & Marriage is great at this stage of life -- I am 54 & he is 57...young at heart! I am very happy for you, too. P.S. Totally love your wedding pictures...Debra S.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Ruth,

Yes! I do remember that phone call and yes, I was standing in my store trying to explain how I got antique tin hammered onto the countertop of my last kitchen. Hint: my "new" kitchen this time has painted counter tops - the first photo in this post is my counter top that I painted. I hope all is well and don't worry about taking almost 8 years to get to your kitchen - as long as it doesn't take you 8 years to get a meal made from it, then your kitchen is fine!

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Jackie,

What a nice compliment! I am not sure how the blog sends the comments to my email, but I appreciate the flattery that you are so thrilled to be the first to comment - that made me smile. I am always so amazed (and honored) to learn that others "think of me often" when they have such busy, interesting lives, themselves. Thanks for stopping by and I can't wait to show more photos of the kitchen in a month or so. Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts.

A big smile,

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Deb,

I have a great photo of Randy working his tail off for me, with the ever-loving "butt-crack" photo that every good re-hab project deserves. It ain't a true construction project without a good butt crack! Ha-ha. I will probably have to show it in the "after" photos....or get a good bribe gift for not including it....will let you know!


the paris apartment said...

Ooh just that little taste was delicious! I can't wait to see more more more of it! I agree with you that it's all about the personal touch and no one does it like you do! I bet your handy groom is loving living in your pretty world! Thank you so much for stopping by and the sweet things you said. I admire you too and look forward to growing together in the future!

Anonymous said...

I loved seeing a picture of your dog when I called up the blog site, but it is so good to hear from you. The kitchen project sounds great-the after pictures are a real tease. Hope to see you in Kansas City in April.

Debe said...

You and your kitchen are delightful!! What a transformation! Can't wait to see the magazine pics. Hoping you blog more now...enjoy that too!

Lisa, Pearl Avenue Studios said...

Love it! I changed my kitchen so often, if I couldn't afford what I wanted, then I could experiment...6 times in the last 4 years. Finally settled for something livable with the right colors, dark chocolate on the lower cabinets, creamy almost yellow on top, but I did change the lower doors on the bottom, flipped the doors and made drawers, and then I spent $4.95 on a bag of cement, and a new counter-top, saved 20 thou, in labor. Can't wait to see your pic's.

Anonymous said...

you better not include that "butt-crack"photo the kitchen is beautiful honey but what makes it beautiful is you and I did It together and I see you in it every morning,well most you

Lisa said...

Good to see your posts again...I'll wait patiently for the magazine.

Chloe's Couture said...

Looks awesome! Romantic Homes is my favorite magazine-can't wait for the June issue! Still would like to know if your store and decorating all stemmed from living in Schonenberg-Kubelberg, Germany? I read your article in a Romantic Homes magazine and since we only like 4 km from Schonenberg-Kubelberg-of course that caught my attention. Would also love to know where you shopped in France (another fav place of mine!) Thanks so much!! Andrea

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Andrea!

Thank you for writing! I can't believe you live so close to the little village I once lived in while in Germany! No, my decorating didn't stem from living in Germany - it stemmed at birth, I believe. I began rearranging and decorating at the age of four. But living in Germany and traveling all over Europe for almost 6 years certainly developed my eye for design and influenced my sense of style no doubt. Yes, I shopped France - my favorite spot was Metz, France at the flea-market. You will have to check the dates because they aren't regular, but worth the trip. It is not far from Saarbruken (sp?), Germany. I miss my little village - I used to live above the little carpet store right in town and use to walk to the florist, bakery, and metzgrei with my market basket almost daily.And in May, I could look out my window and see the the May pole go up in the town square and hoped that no one from the neighboring villages would come and try to cut it down at night for revenge (as the tradition goes). Thanks for writing, I enjoyed my little memory vacation and find myself a little homesick!

Auf weidersein,
(not sure if my German spelling is still up to par)

Dorothy Blum Cooper said...

What a treat and surprise to see your recent posting! I was thrilled to see that it related to the kitchen and how similar our kitchen is to yours. Actually, ours is in worse condition, but on the same path. We have much more structural work ahead of us, but your story and images remind me once again that we will prevail and get through this phase. Your finished result is just fantastic! I look forward to the June issue of Romantic Homes and will most definitely use your words and images for inspiration on our long road to a completed kitchen. Good to see you posting again. Wishing you and your wonderful groom all the best.


Mindy said...

Why, I am so glad to have met you at the blog party and now, the discovery of your beautiful blog! The wood on the countertops? Amazing. Truly. Can't wait to peruse more. ~Mindy

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Mindy,

It was really nice to meet you too - thank you for the nice comments you have made on my Shop Talk Series as well - I am really flattered that you enjoy them so much - and yes, I will be adding to them very soon. The wood counter top that you see in the photo is an old work bench that I dragged with me from Texas when I moved here to St. Louis. I used it in my workshop for years. It BARELY fits, but I love it. Can't wait to show more photos of the kitchen - we really love it now.

Hope to hear from you again,

sandi said...

Thank you so much for your inspiration. I love your kitchen!!!
It is so creative and pretty. If you have the money anyone could have a beautiful kitchen but I prefer ones like yours, done on a budget. My kitchen needs a makeover badly, it is stuck in the 80s. You have given me some great ideas. Where can I get my hands on the grain sacks you used for your windows. Great job!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Sandi,

Thank you so much for writing! I love those grain sacks! I actually got those in Metz, France many, many years ago. BUT, you can still find them on e-bay, I believe. Just google "European grain sack" or "French Grain sack" and they are PRICEY!! I can't believe how much they are compared to what I paid for them way back when. Also, in my opinion, the "real deal" sack are not perfect - mine are truly old and worn and have minor repairs and small stains - which is the way I like them. When buying on ebay beware of imitations - or crisp, fresh new ones. There is nothing wrong with those at all - they are pretty too - but just know they may not be old.

Take care,

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