Apr 21, 2009

From Soup Kitchen to Super Kitchen Part 2

Hello Everyone!

First, let me say, I am POOPED! I am back from the Miss Frenchie's show in KS City, and I don't have my photos down loaded yet from that event. But in the mean time, the June issue of Romantic Homes is now out on the stands which is featuring my kitchen cosmetic make-over. And since I do have those photos ready to go, I thought I would share those photos with you while I work on the Miss Frenchie show photos.....hope that is okay with you.

So back to my soup kitchen...

To refresh your memory from my earlier posting regarding our little kitchen: being newly married to my lovely husband and moving into his lovely little bungalow, and after "the honeymoon was over" and after regaining my sight from being blinded by love, I came to the realization that I could not live a day longer in his - ahem - I mean,
our, kitchen any longer without doing something (anything, please, I mean anything) to keep me from stabbing needles in my eyes just to avoid looking at the torn, teal, plastic tiles falling off the walls and the burnt counter tops all surrounded by greasy, hospital yellow painted, cracked walls. And if I have to mop the torn, multi-patterned frog-green linoleum floor one more time in hopes that if I just clean it well enough "it really wouldn't be that bad," I will put pop my head in the microwave oven. But I digress.

To put it much more eloquently and simply:
The kitchen was a real mess.

The kitchen needed to be completely gutted, torn out and rebuilt. It needed new cabinets, floors, walls, windows, counters, sink, lights, and hardware. However, we can't afford a complete rehab project at this time and I stood in the kitchen one day thinking that I can't be the only one who has this same dilemma.

The dilemma: What does one do when one truly needs to gut a kitchen, but can't afford to? How can one "fix" the kitchen in the meantime? I told Randy that I could give us a whole "new" kitchen for less than $500! (After I made this announcement, I wondered if I really could.)

What I wanted was only a cosmetic make-over. I didn't want to put a lot of time or money into something that hopefully we will be ripping out in a few years to do properly. This is only a temporary fix that will keep my eyes needle-free and hopefully the only thing popping in the microwave will be popcorn.

What I also hoped to accomplish is to encourage others that there is really something you can do with your kitchen as well. Maybe you don't know how to faux finish with paint, but you can straight paint (paint with just paint, not using any technique). And maybe you don't have a cool old workbench to put into your kitchen, but that doesn't mean you can't tear off the counter top of your kitchen island and put a cool old wooden door on top of it, or an old chunky counter from a bar you find in a rehab thrift store or at a garage sale. The point is, I don't want you to feel stuck with what you have. Just take a peek at what I had to work with and I will take a moment to explain what I did and how. I bet there is at least one project I did that you have the talent to do just as well that will make a huge difference in your kitchen - and doesn't break the bank either!

Below are before and after photos and then I go into a little more detail after you get a feel for the entire kitchen....

Before: Stove and tile back splash - which was torn on top left corner. The dishwasher had a little box built around it. The home was built around 1920 (pre-dishwasher days) and there is no room for the dishwasher. You can see our "beautiful" frog-green floor and in the background, you can see a snippet of an orange wall in the breakfast room...

After: This is probably one of my favorite photos because it is what you see almost as soon as you enter our home. I moved in my old 1940's O'Keef and Merritt stove which made all the difference. Randy tore down the plastic tile wall and filled the hole. I put joint compound over the hole and painted the walls and aged them down. You can see the floor is painted (a better photo is later in the posting of the floor). I hung old group photos and a mantel mirror over the threshold - which Randy made himself. Yes - I want to point out that Randy made that wooden threshold and did it on his very first try! And no orange breakfast room. I had hung my old chandelier from Belgium in the room earlier, but now that it is painted, you can really see it.

Before: This is the corner of our tiny kitchen. Yes, the plug outlet really had no cover and the walls were a yucky yellow. The kitchen probably had not been touched since 1940. In Randy's defense, he had lived here about five years and had spent most of his time redoing the floors, bedrooms and bathroom and other things in the home. The kitchen was last - as usual because it is the most expensive. The cabinets below the sink are metal and the paint around the windows are cracked, thick and have many, many holes from probably many different styles of curtains over the years from many different owners - but obviously not from Randy.... :-)
After: You can see what a difference simple paint can make!! Painting the floor, the cabinets, hanging an old European grain sack, building out the "box" around the dishwasher, adding a "new" sink and faucet. I scraped off the paint of the original window copper and brass hardware which I really loved. I originally wanted to paint the metal cabinets black, but once I realized how difficult the hinges were to remove, I just bought a couple of glossy spray enamel paint (the kind you use on outdoor furniture) and just sprayed it to keep in the theme of 1940's....sort of like Retro French-American, if you will. I added my ironstone on top and kept it simple. No fluffy stuff, no flowers, platters, or just "stuff." I wanted the kitchen to breath. It is so small, but I love the big windows. The few items you see on the counter top are for the photo shoot for the magazine, but other than that, what you see is for real - event the giant platter in the next photo is for real - meaning, I really do use these items and they are really a part of the kitchen. Even the items for the photo shoot are from my home and I do use them, I just put them together for a nice photo. I am a BIG believer in "living real" with "real beauty."

Before: This is a shot from the breakfast room. You can really see the plastic tiles, the yellow walls, and on the left side of the photo, the tile behind the stove is pulling away from the wall. You can also see the sink and faucet. But, you can also see the pretty floors that Randy did in our living room! :-)

After: Well, I must say, sitting in our breakfast room now, digesting my food is much easier! Painting the cabinets and removing the cabinet doors was probably the biggest change. The one happy accident was that both Randy and I had white dishes. He had white Fiesta ware and I had a combo of white ironstone and William Sonoma and others. My antique ironstone bowls are all lined up neatly on top and yes, it does my heart good to see my husband pull out the foot stool and grab one down to use to make our salad in - he thinks nothing of it and that is exactly what I hoped for some day. That using beautiful things are an everyday activity. And if something breaks - it breaks. They are just things, after all. It is the created memories of using them that makes them special, not their mere existence.

Before: This shot is taken from standing at the stove. That doorway goes into my office. We are not sure why it is there. It doesn't make sense. Randy closed it up with plywood, plastered it, and I put joint compound over it. Randy seemed satisfied, as a bachelor, with his TV tray and microwave "counter top" combo.....his bachelorhood decorating came to a screeching halt....

After: It was as if it were meant to be...I bought my workbench about 14 years ago and used it in my workshop, in my office and even as a kitchen island in another home and now it barely fits in our kitchen! We love it and it gives us more, much needed storage! My French shelf, another treasure I have owned for years, barely fits. Had it been only one inch longer, it would not be hanging there. I added some work lights and hung up our pots and it holds some of our treasures. Many of which were used in our wedding. You can see a better view of the floor too.

Before: Randy had a tiny fridge that held so little and I couldn't even stand a liter bottle of soda upright. More than once, I am sure he heard me mumble under my breath as I put away groceries so he surprised me by getting us a new fridge - which he didn't include in the initial $500 budget. It also meant removing the overhead cabinet in order for it to fit. I needed all the storage space I could get, but it was worth the trade. I put an old French basket on top of the new fridge to house small appliances that aren't used daily, such as our blender, steamer, and meat grinder. I also painted the food pantry to the right of the fridge and my girlfriends were sure that we added that pantry but I have proof in the photo that it was there all along. The fridge is counter depth, which makes a huge difference in such a tiny space. In fact, I think the area looks much larger and roomier even though we took out a much smaller fridge and put in a much larger one! Randy did a great job in removing the cabinet, too.

After: You can see the hard work paid off and I love that my antique English ironstone cream bowl found a home on top of the black cabinet. I hadn't really found a place for it in the home yet and I had owned it for so many years and hated to "store" it away.

Before: Sometimes, I feel like most of my time is spent right here, when not at the computer. Actually, I didn't mind it because my back was turned away from all the mess and I could look outside and pretend the kitchen would be different when I would turn around....and then one day, I turned around....

After: And one day it seemed I turned around and couldn't believe I was in the same kitchen. I suddenly felt like I was in another country...I half expected George Clooney to come walking in take me out on a ride on his yacht in Italy. But no, it was my barber husband coming in to take me fishing on his bass boat...I wondered who he expected (or hoped) to find in the kitchen? All I know is that my little kitchen seem so much brighter when my barber husband walked in with a giant smile on his face and gave me so good a hug that made me very happy that I wasn't in another country after all. I was very content to be right here...bald barber, bass boat and all. 

Before: Below is the counter top made of Formica. It is worn and rubbed out over the years and even burnt. I decided to just paint it. I painted with latex. I sanded it lightly. Washed it with TSP (Home Depot carries it), put 2 coats of Kilz on it, then 2 coats of paint, faux finished it, and sealed it with polyurethane (several coats). I made up my own color and faux finish - so please don't ask me what color I used - I hope I don't chip it too soon because I will have to repaint the whole counter because I don't think I can replicate it. Oh well. I was just playing around with color and came up with this and kept it. But, it is very little counter space, so no big deal. It should last a couple of years. The key is to take your time, do it right, prep it, and lightly sand and damp wipe between the sealing coats. I used about 3 sealing coats. It will hold up - don't worry about it. Besides this is a TEMP fix!

After: This is the EXACT same spot as above. You can see the brush marks and strokes - which is fine with me. I don't want it perfect because the rest of the kitchen is far from perfect and a perfect counter top would look out of place. In case your computer screen color is a little off, the real color is sort of an olive/brownish color.

Below are some more shots of the kitchen. Then below those are some details shots, and work in progress shots. Below is a photo of our pot rack. The crepe pan on the far left has a story to it. I will tell you at the end of the post. I think you will like the story.....

Below is a wide shot which shows a nice difference between the before and after:

Below is my deal of a faucet for only a $119 that I found at Home Depot. It is for a 4-hole sink and our sink is only 3 holes. Everyone (including the staff at Home Depot) said it wouldn't work. I was determined to get that faucet. It was the sprayer that was the 4th hole. I finally asked a plumber if water is sitting in the sprayer and he told me that only when the button is pushed is water ever in the valve. So I looked at him and said, "then, why can't we just coil it up, zip tie it, and tuck it behind the garbage disposal and let it just hang there out of the way?" He just looked at me blankly and said,"well, I guess we could do that..." and so as you can see...I got my $119 four-hole faucet to fit my three-hole sink! I am pretty persistent when someone tells me "it can't be done." I just loved the curves and vintage look and feel for such a low cost. I saw many faucets with the same look for about $400 and up.

Below you can see the floor better and the threshold. The pattern of the linolenium shows through, but I don't mind. In fact, it makes it interesting. I taped a 6" border around all the appliances and painted it black to give it interest. I designed the diamond in the center of the stove to bring attention to the stove. The design I did by hand and created on my own with just a ruler and eye-balling it. Good thing I didn't stick needles in my eyes after all! :-)

Yes, those are umbrellas on the wall.....I think they are the perfect color and I had them in my basement and I was too lazy to go hunt for something better because I was too pooped. Randy asked me, "Why not just hang up some platters? You got a ton of them..." And I said, "Nah, been there, done that, and beside, I don't want to hunt for the platter hangers and I know where the umbrellas are...." So you see, sometimes, as much as I would love to tell you how much thought and time and talent goes into my projects, to be really honest, sometimes, what really happens is just lack of time and energy and whatever I happen to have lying around will just have to do at the moment because I am too pooped to create another new thought....and as the late and wonderful Paul Harvey would say, "and that is the rest of the story..."

This is an old doctor's cabinet we have in our breakfast room that stores my ironstone platters and the basket on top holds a lot of cookbooks. I try to find storage wherever possible!

Below are some kitchen pics of work in progress:

We just put in our "new" sink that I found at Habitat For Humanity store for $50. You can see the old counter top has not been painted yet.

You can see the hole on the left from the tile being torn off from behind the stove. Randy is working late into the night for me. You can also see the teal plastic tile is now covered with joint compound underneath the cabinet on the backsplash. I haven't aged or painted it yet.

I am trying to sand off about 6458 layers of old paint off the door trim. I later gave up and decided that the "new look" is the "layered paint look" and I am sticking with my story.

I decided that I couldn't live with the support bar going across the cabinet front. This piece is what held on the doors that were no  longer going to be there. I took a chance and decided it wasn't needed. And it wasn't. I had a back up plan in case I was wrong. You can see the joint compound is still drying over the back splash tiles.

Removing paint from really cool vintage window hardware!

Okay, my beloved will kill me for showing this - but it is either this photo, or the butt crack photo...and no rehab job is complete without either a butt crack photo or a "manly muscle" photo....as you can see by the dark window, it is late at night, and we are getting slap happy and I think Randy just figured out how to fill some hole in the wall without tearing it all out and he is actually doing some sort of "chicken-hula dance" and if you look at his hand on his hip/gut and if you can picture his head moving around sort of like a chicken.... well - that gives it away. But I guess if you put a muscle in the air (and with a heavy 5:00 o'clock shadow), the hula chicken dance becomes the masculine version. Either way, he can wear a friggin grass skirt and cluck for all I care, I am just glad to have him on board because he would do anything to make me happy - even dance and cluck for the camera, late at night, after working in a filthy kitchen...need I say more?

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little cosmetic make-over from Soup Kitchen to Super Kitchen. The entire cost was about $497. (Not including the new fridge, of course.) That included $119 for the faucet (Home Depot), $50 for the sink, about $180 for supplies, paint, trim, and $30 for the walnut butcher block top for the dishwasher from John Boos,  about $80 for the light fixture from Home Depot, buffet mirror from a flea-market for $28.50, which all comes up to around $497.50. The wall color in the breakfast room is Ralph Lauren, Broome, the window and door trim is by Benjamin Moore, Linen White.  The sealer on the counter top and the floor is by miniwax, water-based, satin, clear. Everything else is either custom blended by me or custom made, so I won't be much help with any questions about those things - but I hope the above info helped you some.

Now to finish off with my last little photo and my closing thoughts - you know I always have closing thoughts....

You see the crepe pan hanging on the left, next to the French wire turret? That was the very first gift Randy ever gave me. See how beautiful it looks, hanging on a French pot rack, against an aged wall, lit under tarnished silver pitchers? Very vintage and so very elegant....

Let me paint another picture for you. Randy and I had been dating only three weeks when one day, he drove up to my workshop, on a very hot day in May, in his very large, beat up old 1995 Ford pickup truck that has a huge crack going over the entire windshield. This truck is a sort of a shiny teal green in color, and so big I have to jump up to get into it. (He has another car, but this is his work truck, which by the way, I absolutely love driving around to haul my stuff...). He pulls up to the back of my workshop, where I have my garage doors open, and I am a very sweaty mess, working on a kitchen, on a deadline, wearing a bandanna, no make-up, in my work apron (one that looks like I have been butchering pigs), and I am shocked to see him pull up in his big ole truck because I am not expecting him (to say the least).

Out of this big truck jumps out this big guy in his barber uniform, which is a baggy white smock and black pants, but also wearing a big grin. He walks around to the other side of his truck and opens the door and gets something out. Now you have to picture what this must look like to someone who might be watching from the parking lot. My workshop was behind my store and very visible to the public. I am so tired, hot, sweaty, and looking really bad in a very dirty workshop and now a big old green truck with a cracked windshield drives up and a bald guy in a weird outfit hops out while a dirty woman wearing a "butcher apron" stands at the garage door watching him and the whole scene must have looked like "The Deliverance Gone Urban." Randy turns and shuts the door and then turns towards me with the most beautifully wrapped gift (he said he wrapped it himself) and hands it to me. I can't imagine what in the world he could have gotten me. We have known each other only three weeks.

I wipe my hands on the bandanna on my head (yes I do that because my apron is too dirty to even wipe my hands on...) and I open the gift and discover the beautiful (and extremely expensive) crepe pan. You see, I was in the process of closing my store when I met Randy. And at some point, I must have mentioned that I was looking forward to having a "real" life again, meaning, having time to myself again. I briefly mentioned that I missed cooking and that once upon a time, I used to be a really great cook and that I wondered if I even could remember how to make crepes because it had been so long. He told me the pan was a house warming gift (I was moving out of my apartment above the store). He also told me that he hoped someday, I would make him some crepes, when things slowed down after I closed up the store.

So, to someone who may have been passing by in the parking lot and  looking at this pitiful couple in their pitiful clothes, driving this pitiful truck and seeing a woman working manual labor in the awful heat, it would be so easy to pass judgement based only on appearances - and I have lost a couple of "friends" who have judged me or my choices based only on appearance and not on substance. 

And now, that same crepe pan that was given to me in a filthy workshop, on a hot day in May, by a man driving a beat up truck, is now hanging beautifully on a French pot rack, softly lit, in a tiny kitchen that both he and I built together, side-by-side, as husband and wife. And every single time I pass by that pan, I think of two things: the handsome man that drove up in the beat up truck and handed me a beautifully wrapped gift....and the a handsome man with a five o'clock shadow, doing a chicken-hula dance in our tiny kitchen just because he wanted to make me laugh - which he did.

And yes, I remembered how to make crepes. 

It might be very cliche, but it is very true: don't judge a book by its cover. Whether it is a grimy kitchen, a man driving a beat up truck, or a woman in a dirty bandanna, it all resulted in one very beautiful, shiny crepe pan hanging on a French pot rack in one very beautiful, tiny kitchen that is full of love....and chicken-hula dances.

From my house to your house,


Jackie said...

Oh what a divine job you did on your kitchen makeover~~~I rec'd my RH in the mail today, read the article. It was fantastic Elizabeth. I just loved it! I thought I need to leave her a comment, I logged on to find your new post!! More reading to do~
Hugs to you & Mr. Adventure~~

paperjunk-lc said...

It's beautiful! I have a request for this over 45 reader is there anyway to make your font bigger. It's tee tiny and I'd love to read it.

*The Beautiful Life* said...

What a couple! I can't wait to get my copy in the mail...I'm inspired to GET MOVING and do SOMETHING in my kitchen -- ANYTHING!

Your reno proves my motto:


You guys spent exponentially more TIME than MONEY and kudos to you for doing it. :)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Paperjunk-lc,

I tried to make the font bigger - I hope this is better - let me know! I don't want you (or anyone else) to miss a thing :-) Thanks for the input. Glad you liked the kitchen and hope to hear from you again.

Take care

paperjunk-lc said...

Thank you so much for the adjustment. It's not just a beautiful kitchen but a beautiful story. Esp the part about the crepe pan. I hope you enjoy many wonderful dinners from your charming kitchen with your terrific husband!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Paperjunk!

Glad the bigger font worked out for you - I will remember that for future posts. Yes, I like the crepe pan story too - I remember it like yesterday seeing Randy pull up in his truck while I was sanding down a cabinet door in my very hot and very dirty workshop. Just seeing him walk from his truck carrying this beautiful, beautiful package just didn't seem to go with the setting. Little did we both know that someday we would be husband and wife, working on a kitchen that would house that very first gift. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Big hug,

Unknown said...

Once again, I am thrilled to read a post so chuck full of information, great photos and good taste (decorating and otherwise). Awesome pics! I can't wait til my RH comes in the mail. :-) Thanks for sharing...Tami
PS...Mr. seems a perfect fit for you! Sweet crepe pan story...You rock Randy!

lori miller vintage design co said...

Oh, how I love your posts. I must tell you, I am usually too impatient to read the long scripted posts, but never yours. I love the tale you spin. You make every moment an adventure. Thanks for sharing Randy and your new beautiful kitchen... I paint almost everything I have to give it new purpose, but I had not thought of painting the tiled floor...awesome. Thanks again. L

Shawn Seay said...

Love, love, love your kitchen redo. Do you mind sharing what kind of paint you used on the floor? Beautiful work!!!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Lori,

Oh, what a lovely compliment you gave me! I often wondered if people actually read my ramblings - like you, I am one to look at the pretty pictures (when I get the chance) and not read as much as I would like to. It makes me feel so good to know that you take time to read my writing - which is truly, my passion.

Thank you!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Shawn,

Good question! I use latex, interior paint. I wash the floor with TSP (home depot carries it), sand it lightly, then two coats of Kilz primer, then a paint of your choice (I think I used the same color, Broome, Ralph Lauren,) and then sealed it with two or three coats of minwax clear coat, satin base, water base poly. I used latex black paint (Behr, probably, because I had a lot of that in my basement) for the design... Ideally, using a porch paint or floor paint is better - I just was saving money by using what I already had.

Thanks for asking,

Anonymous said...

You are amazing! Can't wait to read your article.


Mary said...

The pictures and explanations are wonderful but the crepe pan story ties it all together so beautifully. Thank you for sharing it!

Myrna said...

Okay, so I'm gonna comment about the end of your post first--what a beautiful picture you painted in telling it! Or--I could see it in a movie! I'm always a sucker for a good love story and (since I've been following your blog since you started it) I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you and Randy found each other, and how much healing Randy has brought to your soul. I am blessed to have the same kind of guy in MY life! ;-)
Okay, the kitchen--OHMYGOSH!! What a fabulous job--it's just gorgeous and warm and homey and the best part, filled with love!!
If ya get a chance pop over for a visit--I just posted a couple of days on MY kitchen!! It's fun and cute and foo-fooey!! All I did was (gasp) painted over the wallpaper..and when I say "I"--I mean Steve painted over the wallpaper!! ;-D
Blessings to you!!

Brenda said...

Your kitchen re-do is absolutely inspirational, and I admire your story telling talent. You have so much talent and so many ideas; I'm glad you have Randy there to help you on your renovation. He sounds like a wonderful man, and the story about the crepe pan was sooo sweet!
I recently subscribed to Romantic Homes magazine after reading your blog.
I attended the Miss Frenchie's event Friday evening. WOW! I can not WAIT to see your pictures and relive the beauty of the show.

the wild raspberry said...

hi Elizabeth
ok....I almost lost my breakfast when I saw those green floors! ooooh...{shiver}
what an amazing transformation. AMAZING I tell ya!
I love the faux finish on the walls. I really enjoy practicing different techniques of painting...I would love to hear how you did this one.
I can't believe that the countertop is just paint {well, I really believe you but wow...that is just awesome}
I agree with you-why have something if you don't use it? I try to find purpose in all my pieces. It is so enjoyable. I don't want to end up one of those old grannies that won't let the grandkids touch anything! yikes.
Your closing story was so sweet and heart-touching. I really enjoyed it.
{ok, sorry this is so long...i am finished :)

dlh said...

Can't wait to receive my copy of RH. Lovely story, and thank you so much for sharing it. And thank you for showing a redo where you just didn't throw money at it. You are one talented lady.

maggiegracecreates said...

Love the kitchen redo - the countertops look like stained concrete.

And the faucet trick with the sprayer - use it all the time. I sell plumbing and work with guys who are great at solvint these kinds of things all the time.

theis summers project is my own kitchen redo - along with a daughters bedroom.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Myrna,

Thanks for the comment - yes, I am very lucky to have Randy! I popped over to your blog and visited your kitchen and yes, painting over wallpaper is always a great way to make a quick change - it looks great and it shows off your treasures so much better! You (and your hubby) did a great job. Ladies, go take a peek and see a different style - that is the point - find YOUR own style, and make do with what you have until you can either get/afford/or find what it is you really want. You may discover that what you really want was there all along! :-)


Lola Enchanted said...

what a fantastic makeover!!!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi BB and Chasity, and Maggie,

Thanks for writing! So glad that BB and Chasity could make it to Frenchies Market! As a group answer to you all: yes, I am lucky to have Randy and I really do mean that. And thank you for the compliment of my story telling - that means a lot to me.

And Chasity, I am totally with you about using our things...I don't want to live in a museum. I recently had a very good and dear friend die and that made me even all the more aware that we really can't "take it with you." While it is nice to enjoy out things, when the time comes, we go out solo.

My joy, actually, comes from USING them, not just looking at them. Of course if it is art, or something to be admired, then it is usually the memory of acquiring it, or the love of the artist/friend who created it that gives me pleasure as well.

Okay, and Maggie, glad to see you use the same idea. I am not a plumber, but when I get an idea in my noggin, I can be pretty stubborn. Glad to know that my idea wasn't so weird after all - I THOUGHT it made sense! ;-)

Okay, long, long answer,
Thanks for writing,

Shab-n-Chic said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Can I fly you to California for my kitchen makeover? :) I was truly inspired by your undertaking, and look forward to making some changes in my kitchen! Loved the tale of the crepe pan. Your man seems to be quite the sweetheart! I'm posting about your makeover today. :)


Anonymous said...

I love the pan story...forget the kitchen lol but the kitchen is wonderful.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Yes Nancy, I am ready for California! :-) thank you for posting my kitchen on your blog - very nice of you and I appreciate it very much.

Take care

Unknown said...

Amazing! I love it all so much - so very you and on an amazing budget! Love the tips on painting the formica - may have to give that a try!! Enjoy!

Peggy said...

The kitchen looks great. It is so hard to decorate a small kitchen. I live in the city and really want to make over our tiny kitchen but it is so hard to maximize the space. You did an awesome job and kept the vintage feel of the house. Be thankful the tile was plastic...when we took one wall down the tile was stuck on with 2 inches of concrete and wire mesh. What a job and we still have more tile to remove someday!

Jenny Danna said...

I really loved your article in Romantic Homes. The before and after pictures are absolutely incredible. Most of all I loved reading about you and Randy and the crepe pan. He sounds like a remarkable man...your soul mate. You are truly blessed and so is he. I can't wait to see more of your wedding pictures. But it does sound like you have been pretty busy! Have ya'll tried out the crepe pan in your new kitchen yet?

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

You are just one awesome person married to another awesome guy!! And I'm speechless over this redo, girl, you need your own TV show, forget the books, the magazines (well not really since I so enjoy reading your articles), but you deserve so much more credit!! The transformation is just beautiful. Congrats, T

Dorothy Blum Cooper said...

Much like your fabulous and beautiful photography, your narrative paints quite an elaborate illustration for ones mind. I will echo the others in that I look forward to the June issue of Romantic Homes. Both you and Randy make a great team in many ways. My best to you both.


Debe said...

Thank you for sharing your work of art kitchen. Just goes to show what ingenuity can accomplish and you are loaded with that! I just love seeing things you do! The Frenchie's booth was spectular! Quick story, I was making some favors for a lunch I did at my school for secretary's day, sheet music cones for a single rose. Couldn't afford vintage ribbon for 40 cones and was stumped. When I say Carol & Karla's pics of your booth...inspiration hit. I had lots of scrim and cut into lenghts it worked beautifully. Thanks!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hey Debe!

Love that story!!!! So glad to have helped. Yes, cheese cloth (or scrim as some call it) is cheap, cheap, cheap. And surprisingly strong and durable. I have been using it for years and years.

To be honest, years ago, when first starting out in my little booths back in Texas, I was so poor, what I really wanted was all that fabulous fabric and crushed velvet - well I just couldn't afford it so I had to "settle" for cheese cloth and (gasp!) burlap as a last resort.

Little did I know at the time did I know I was making a "statement" and even creating my own unique style - but the ladies at the mall went crazy and I remember thinking, "What the hell?"

I remember thinking I can't wait to get my hands on crushed velvet someday when "I make it." But, then one day, many years later, there I was, when finally, in my very OWN store, with my grand opening, there I was, decorating in the store front windows, yup, cheese cloth! :-)

I grew to love it, adore it, and appreciate the cost and time saving material that also gave me my own personal style. That was over 12 years ago and no matter how I evolve and change, cheese cloth will always be in my style somewhere, somehow.

Okay, gabbed way too much.

Thanks for sharing,

Gretchen said...

Oh Elizabeth, another captivating blog you've posted. You're back in your old form, and I'm loving it. I have been a fan of yours for years, and you've been my mentor all along, unbeknown to you. So fun to be reading your great talented blogging posts once again.
You and Randy have done a fabulous job with your kitchen refurbish and I so enjoyed your detailed writing and great photos showing each step of the way. I did such a thing in my own home last Winter, with installing a new 12 x12 lineoleum floor, new paint job, repainted the light fixture, painted six pcs. of furniture items, etc. I did it on the cheap as well, bu you did it better. I think mine was under $200 though. lol
You've got great style girl!
Please stop by my blog, and check out the new post on my new venture. I'm part of a new "occasional sale" called "The French Flea" and it is all in neutrals. I'll be selling my vintage redesign jewelry there.
Take care-

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Loved your article in RH, Elizabeth. Your make over is inspiring, and beautiful!

xo Lidy

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to finally comment~I have been reading your blog for sometime now and after reading the crepe pan story, I just need to tell you that your husband is exactly right - all of our experiences may not be the same but writing from your heart touches each one of us in a different way. I couldn't wait for my husband to get home so I could give him a big hug and to think about how blessed I really am even though some days you don't always see that. :)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen and your style. Our homes have the same look so I find myself drooling everytime I scroll down and see something in your home or shop that I "just have to have! I would love to see more of your rooms - I'm sure they are just as pretty and personal.

Claudia said...

Gorgeous and a spot of hope for those of us who don't have a lot of money to redo our kitchens. I just bought Romantic Homes today and am saving it to read until later - can't wait to see the feature on your kitchen!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth~ I LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen redo. It is exactly my style and I am so happy to have some new ideas. You are so creative and it really makes your home so comfortable looking. I would love to see more of your home - especially the living room and how do you hide the tv? Your crepe pan story also really inspired me- I couldn't wait for my husband to come home so I could give him a big hug. It's so important to not forget the little things and the love and appreciation we have for people. Your husband is also right in that what you right about your own life does give the rest of us hope, makes us realize our creativity and dreams and to feel blessed about our own lives. I am so happy that I found your blog and look forward to seeing all the good things that you share. :)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Gretchen, Countryrose, and Claudia,

Just got back from a few days of fishing at the lake - yes, Randy taught me to fish, and I love it! Gretchen, I love your new venture and ladies, you need to visit her new store -she put doors on the ceiling as the entire ceiling! And Claudia and Countryrosegal, thank for the nice comments about the kitchen and being grateful. Claudia, your little cottage is adorable, and after so many years of renting, your seem to really appreciate it and Countryrosegal, you seem filled with gratitude too - which in the end, gratitude is the greatest gift of design there is - and it costs not a dime! :-)


Claudia said...


Thanks so much for your wonderful comment on my blog, my cottage, and my glasses! I am currently coaching 3 productions for the Old Globe's Summer Repertory - Coriolanus, Twelfth Night and Cyrano de Bergerac. Lots of work, but fun, also. When everything opens in July, I will drive back home in a van I'm going to rent - because I bought too much stuff here!

Gosh, my blog header - I think I took a photo, cropped it a little, and used the blogger template. It took a few tries, because I had to find a portion of the photo that I wanted enlarged. You should be able to pull it off - Just go for it! Believe me, I am not a technical person with my blog...I sort of stumble through things and hope it turns out! I wish I could provide you with the steps involved, but that is all I remember!

I read the article in Romantic Homes - love, love, love your kitchen redo!


Claudia said...

Elizabeth - one other thought: What blogger template do you use? By the way, I think your header looks great!

Anonymous said...

It's truly amazing and I loved seeing it in Romantic Homes. I will definitely keep your words in mind as my husband and I look for our first home on a budget...I am sure it won't have the prettiest kitchen to start out with...but perhaps with some hard work we will get it there;)

Mrs. Jones said...

That is truly amazing!

How did you paint the floor? I hate my vinyl floor, and would love to do the same.


Mz V said...

And I thought the RH article was incredible!!! Here you have saved the very, very BEST for those of us who have been following you (and admiring you and thanking you and praying for you and being happy for you) on your blog!! Thanks SO much for sharing the real "guts-n-glory" of the project. I always enjoy that part of the project as much as the finished work. And what a finished work!!! Simply incredible.

And thanks for sharing your Randy stores with all of us. Your cup surely overflows.

May we have more, please?
Mz V

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

What a beautiful kitchen you now have and the sentimental story of the crepe pan touched my heart.

martha said...

This is the best. The kitchen AND the crepe pan story. I wish you would write a book.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Hi Elizabeth!! I just love this post! Especially the story at the end! You created quite an urban image there! LOL! Randy sounds like the perfect man for you and so very sweet.

I just read my new copy of RH and loved the article on your kitchen. For quite some time now I have been a quiet follower of your style and read each article you write. I tell my friends all the time about how I love the colors you use. Very serene and old worldish.

LOVELOVELOVELOVE and GUSHING over the medical cabinet with your ironstone. It is just wonderful!!!

Have a happy day!!

Emily N. said...

This is so inspiring to me! My husband (of one whole year already!) and I recently bought a little house and we have one of the ugliest kitchens I've ever seen! The little brick cottage style home was built in 1957, and as I like to say; has great bones, but the kitchen is a mix of great 50's vintage, and horrible 70's ugly! You should see the wallpaper!! Uh! This post and the article in RH have given me the boost I need to truly make our kitchen pretty. My mom even pointed out the article in the mag, and said "wow, this looks like your kitchen!" And it does, we have very similar set ups. Thank you for your inspiration! :o)

The Plum Tree said...

Elizabeth, I am just blown away with what you accomplished in your kitchen.

Mandi said...

love the remodeling. the stove is fantastic and the new style is wonderful.

Gena said...

What a wonderful makeover! well done!

rozetta said...

I'm late for the party, but just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog and DO read everything you write. I only wish you had more time to post.

I find you so inspiring as far as your decorating style and with how you choose to live your life, which is to say you have faith and look toward the positive. You are definitely a "cup half full" kinda gal.


Elizabeth Maxson said...


You are my kind of gal too - as you can see, I am always late too! :-) Better late to the party than no party at all - thank you so much for the encouragement - readers like you make me want to carve out more writing time all the more.

Thanks for being so patient and so sweet,

The Little Cottage on Houston St said...

I love love what you did, I just painted my kitchen counter tops too, they were so ugly and I faux painted them to look like granite and then used minwax spar urathane they look wonderful and so does yours, hope they last for a while LOL

Darrell said...

Wow! What an AMAZING job on the kitchen! I just came across this looking for some inspiring small kitchen renos (not that I have my own space or will any time soon lol) and I just had to comment. Congratulations on an amazing job. I just LOVE your taste and all your beautiful antique pieces. My style is totally the same as yours. Also, I really really loved your "crépe pan" story :)

Jen in the Goat Dairy said...

Your beautiful and meaningful kitchen on a shoe-string budget is truly an inspiration. I did have a technical question - where did you/can one get that European style soap holder. I lived a good part of my life between France and Austria and those soap holders are such a familiar presence. I would love to put one in my kitchen. If you could share a State-side source, I'd really appreciate it.
Raising Dairy Goats in Massachusetts

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Goat,

I am sorry about the delay in the comment. I am not sure how I lost your post but just found it today. Yes, I used to sell that French product but no longer do at this point. I LOVE it! However you can find it, I believe, at Apartment Therapy New York (on line) the soap is Pro Ven Di Soap. It will run about $40 or so. I hope this helps! I hope you come back and visit and see this reply! :-)


Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm in love with your kitchen! It's so impressive that you both did all the work on your own.

And where did you find the walnut Boos top for the dishwasher?!? I've been trying to find something just like that for the top of mine too.

- mary

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you for the comment. Yes, I love the Boos block too. I am very luck to live less than two hours away from its manufacturer located in Effingham, IL. I drove there and got "pieces" for only $30! And the round one, that the tea kettle is sitting on (not sure if I have a photo of it) was only $10. It is solid Walnut.

I know where I am doing all of my Christmas shopping...


ChunkyPineapple said...

Hi Elizabeth:
We just moved into our new home and I think it came with the same 1940's oven that you put into your remodeled kitchen. From what I can tell, yours looks in much better shape than ours. For example, the white cover that folds down is chipped and the griddle portion is scratched up. Did you do anything to clean it up and refinish it or was it always in good condition? Thanks!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Pineapple,

Thanks for stopping by. My stove was in decent condition. The enamel is chipped but I got small bottle of enamel paint that came with an appliance (like white out). You can get some at an appliance store. And if you don't have giant chips, you can brush away smaller scratches and chips. The chrome was redone eventually. That can be costly - but I recommend finding a good Harley Davidson shop or calling one for a recommendation. People who spend a lot of money on their bikes only let the best chrome them. If your stove is like mine, it comes in pieces on top, and so maybe you can chrome it in pieces to save money - but it will age differently with use - so you may as well chrome it all at once and just save up. Hope this helps!

Elizabeth :-)

Unknown said...

I just found your amazing kitchen transformation on apartmenttherapy.com this week and am so inspired! I am moving into a house in 3 weeks and have been researching for ideas on how to refresh the house's kitchen, which has firmly kept itself stuck in the 1960's when it was built.

However, what really caught my attention was the work you did on the floor. My soon to be new home has the exact same flooring you have. I never considered painting it vs. ripping it up and replacing it. The pattern and colors compliment the whole makeover incredibly well.

Thanks for sharing your journey and the work you did on your home. Great job!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thanks G Money!

Good luck with your move! Yes - most people don't think of painting linoleum floors - but it can really make a huge difference when on a tight budget. It is fast, easy, cheap and BIG change. And when done and prepped right, it will really last.

thanks for the nice comments.


Sandi Gordon said...

I love your kitchen SO much, but I loved the blog and the crepe pan story the best. Thank you for sharing from your heart, and tell your husband he's the bomb. You both are. :D

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Sandi,

Thank you for writing - and I will tell him he is the "bomb"! :-) you will be able to read more about this crepe story in a national publication - soon to be announced.

Many thanks for your visit,

Anonymous said...

that stove is sooo perfect, the colours perfect

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you! I LOVE my stove - if we ever move to a bigger house - the stove goes with us even if we get a new, giant stove - we will just have to have a kitchen big enough for two! :-)


Martha said...

I absolutely love your kitchen! In fact, I am now inspired to paint the tile and floors in mine as well. Can you please tell me what your steps were for the tile back splash? I know you mentioned the joint compound. What else did you do?

thank you1!!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Martha,

Thanks for the comment and visiting my blog. Here ae my steps for my tiles. First know that my tiles were plastic! (yuck). So, porcelain tiles may be different treatment. But, maybe not.

If your tiles are loose or coming off, this will not work, and they should be removed. If they are really secure then:

I scrubbed the tiles down with TSP (found in Home Depot) to degrease them

Painted them with Kilz primer (I use water base formula) - slop it on good and really let it dry

Then I use joint compound (premixed) and a small plastic trowel (just lighter to hold) and I used wide flat, plastic edge (don't know the real name now that I think of it), like a really wide puddy knife with a handle. I use two of them. One to dig out the compound and the other to wipe off some of the one puddy knife and slap onto the wall and "drag" it across the tiles.

Note: Compound shrinks. So, you can either let it dry really, really good and apply another coat (so you don't see the tile indentions) or you can fill the indentions first with calking. I recommend applying thin coats of compound over the tile indentions, and reapply until shrunk and then filled.

Then once all dry, then paint with latex (or egg shell finish if no technique is being done) and then I aged it with a glaze.

If using in a bathroom or a high moisture area or no vents, then use at LEAST egg shell finish. However, flat finish is what gives it the old world look.

I hope this helps. I apply the paint with a roller and glaze with a brush (but that is really the very hard way - most people apply glaze with a sponge or rag...go figure...I taught myself the hard way!)

Let me know how it turns out!


mina said...

SO beautiful. I also saw this transformation on apartment therapy, but your details are so much better!

I'm living in a similar situation to your before pictures...

Do you do consulting...via email?

I'm just sayin...


Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Tatie,

Thank you for the nice comment - yes, I love the details too - in fact, just hung up a really cool little photo I found this past weekend of an OLD photo of school kids sitting at their desks in an old school house - hung it above the photos above the stove.

Anyhoo, I will be offering consulting on my new website - and I have done it by email - more to come about that later - thanks for asking! :-)


Nothing said...

Thanks Elizabeth!! I keep following your inspiring adventures!

Nothing said...

Thanks Elizabeth-

I'll keep following your inspiring adventures!


Pam Martin said...

Love the kitchen!!!

Anonymous said...

How did you paint your walls in the kitchen?? I love the color, but I also love how it has a different texture look to it.


Amy Livingston said...

OK, I know you can't say just what color you used on the countertops, but could you please please please share some details about the faux finishing technique you used? I have counters just like yours, with those metal hold-downs, and I was assuming that painting them was not an option...but now I'm starting to think maybe it can be done after all.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hello Amy,

thank you for visiting. Here are some tips: I sanded down (roughed up really) the counter top with med grid sand paper. I then put on a primer (water base). I then made a mix of colors (have no idea what I used) but the paint was a water base latex (it is what I had on hand) and painted two coats. After they dried, then I did a faux finish on it with another mixture I made up - I think I used darker pain, watered down, and then rubbed it on with a cloth. You will have to experiment. Then I sealed it THREE times with poly sealer, water base. the KEY SECRET is to use a very fine sandpaper and LIGHTLY sand between clear coats. Make sure it is good and dry before doing that, and take a damp cloth and lightly wipe it down after sanding. That is it. I just taped over the metal with painter's tape - easy. Hope this helps!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...