A New Kitchen Redo on a Budget

75 comments

 

I love hearing from readers who have gotten inspiration from stories on Cote de Texas.  Reading about your personal decorating stories make it all worthwhile.   It’s so much fun to see how one person is influenced from a redo, which in turn inspires another person’s redo.    And, that’s exactly what happened with this story.  Enjoy!

 

Below are the two kitchen renovations that inspired a reader’s own redo:

Inspiration Kitchen #1

image

BEFORE:   what this kitchen looked liked with white Corian,  white appliances, yellow walls, and an inset sink.

 

image

AFTER:    For this client, I kept the changes simple.   The white Corian was changed out for honed black granite and a creamy white subway tile backsplash.  White appliances became stainless and a farm sink was added, along with a new faucet and knobs.  

 

I wrote about this kitchen redo last summer HERE and HERE.   It was part of a complete remodeling of the family room, dining room and study.   The house is almost 15 years old now and the kitchen was becoming dated.  We could have ripped the whole room out and started over, but the cabinets were still in good shape.  Instead of a total renovation, the client opted for a more economical facelift.   In the end, we changed out the counters and appliances and sink.   We also painted the cabinets and the walls.  

 

image

AFTER:  The kitchen has a large, curved bar that leads into the family room and breakfast area.   We painted the yellow walls a soft aqua so that the kitchen flowed into the family room.

 

 

INSPIRATION KITCHEN #2

 

image

BEFORE:   This homeowner wrote me that she was inspired to redo her kitchen after seeing Sally Wheat’s kitchen on my blog.   This kitchen was a total gut job, along with the living room, dining room, and family room.  To read this homeowner’s story, go HERE.

 

 

image

AFTER:   What a transformation!   This kitchen, inspired by Sally Wheat’s kitchen, in turn inspired reader Corey, another blogger, to redo her own kitchen.   What’s interesting is that Corey wasn’t inspired by Sally Wheat’s kitchen, even though Sally’s kitchen inspired this homeowner.  Such a tangled web of kitchen redos!

 

Corey, who writes the blog, And Emma Makes 5, lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and her adopted “Russian princess.”   She is a part time pharmacist and her husband is a dentist who is currently building his practice.   Corey says that while money is not “extremely tight” – she doesn’t like to spend extravagantly.   When it came time to change her kitchen after unhappily living with it for seven years, they decided on a small redo, rather than a large one.   The major problem was aesthetic – Corey disliked  the countertops – which were made out of 4” square tiles.  In fact, not only did she dislike the countertops, she hated them!    Originally, all Corey was going to do was replace the countertops,  but as we all know – one thing leads to another – and she ended up spending around $5,000. to get the kitchen of her dreams.    To keep costs down, she did much of the work herself.  

 

image

BEFORE:   Here is Corey’s kitchen with the dreaded 4” square tiled countertop and backsplash.  The dark walls and tiles made it all seem so much duller, too.

 

 

image

AFTER:   What an amazing redo!!!!!   Corey bought her Uba Tuba granite from Costco, which was a huge savings.   Uba Tuba looks dark enough to appear black and provides a great contrast with white subway tiles.   Since the product is economical – they saved a lot of money on the countertops.   Corey removed the backsplash herself – another big savings.   She also painted the kitchen.   The subway tiles came from Lowes Hardware.   These 3 x 6 tiles cost only 25 cents each!!!  She got the pendant lights at a discount, but truthfully – they look just as nice to me as the more expensive ones.   The remodeling was finished just in time for Christmas – so all her decorations are out, including her collection of Santas on top of the cabinets.   As far as the appliances – she only had to replace the range and microwave to stainless, which was another cost savings.  The dark walls were painted a light blue/gray which make the black and white pop.   The paint color is Benjamin Moore Iceberg.   The new kitchen is so fresh looking compared to how it looked before.   Also notice in the foyer on the left –  Corey and her mom recently added the board and batten.  It really looks great!

 

image

BEFORE:  The range and microwave were replaced with stainless.

 

image

AFTER:  Everything just gleams in the redone kitchen!    Notice the attractive handles on the range.  When choosing appliances, I always try to opt for ones with attractive handles.  The Uba Tuba looks wonderful – though it actually is greenish, it comes off looking black.  The under cabinet lighting helps to make the kitchen sparkle.

 

 

image

Another view – looking into the family room with this year’s Christmas tree. 

 

 

 

 

image

The sink is now a inset stainless one.  I love the wall color – Benjamin Moore Iceberg – its perfect against the white and  black. 

 

 

 

  5180408316_70906b57b9_b

BEFORE:  dark walls, fluorescent lighting. 

 

 

5258666765_60b2df5099_b

AFTER:  Close up of the ceiling without the fluorescent lighting and with the new pendant light fixtures.  Corey bought them HERE.

 

 

image

Close up of the Uba Tuba granite. 

 

 

 

image

Corey and her family were lucky to have a White Christmas.  Her house is sooo cute!!!!   To read Corey’s own account of the kitchen remodeling on her blog, go HERE.  Also, if you are interested in international adoption, her blog is a great place to read about her family’s journey  and to link with other families who have wonderful stories to share of their own adoptions overseas. 

Thank you Corey so much for sharing your story!!!!!

 

 

Refrigerator Question:

image

One question I frequently get asked about is – what to do with refrigerators that aren’t built in.   In fact, Corey herself asked me for advice on her refrigerator.   I faced this problem in my own kitchen – a lot of people do.  One day, Corey could easily make her refrigerator appear built in by replacing the upper cabinet and adding wood around its sides.  

 

 

 

image

This homeowner faced the same problem – the refrigerator looks like it sticks out.   Again, the upper cabinet is the culprit. 

 

 

 

image

In my own kitchen, my very inexpensive refrigerator looks sort of built in because the cabinetry above it was built out to cover the top.

 

 

image

A side view of my built in cabinet. 

 

 

 

image

In Inspiration Kitchen #2 – the homeowner did exactly what I did – she built the cabinets out  to make it appear built in. 

 

 

image

And, in another kitchen renovation that was featured on Cote de Texas, this homeowner used the same trick to make her refrigerator look built in.   Read her story HERE.

 

Eagle Eyed Reader – the best kind:

 

image

I’ve written many times of my love of gray painted or Kooboo wicker.   I especially love this chair shape.   While some stores claim these chairs come from Belgian, I’m not so sure about that.   Maybe they do, but copies from Indonesia are available.    I can buy chairs like these wholesale, so they are cheaper than finding them at places like Mecox.  But still, what if you can’t buy wholesale and spending $500 to $800 on a wicker chair is out of your budget?

 

 

image

Eagle-eyed reader Karen emailed me this ad for these chairs at World Market!  WOW  $129!!!!   Now, granted, these chairs may not be as substantial as the “Belgian” chairs, but still, what a great look for so much less!!!   And the two chairs DO look remarkably alike.  I wonder.  Hmmm.  I don’t think you can buy these online though – so count yourself lucky if there is a World Market near you. 

OK.  I had to laugh at this ad – it says “This ain’t your grandma’s wicker!”   Should I scream plagiarism?   Back in May when I wrote about the new gray wicker HERE, I called the story – “No More Granny Wicker” – Think World Market read it?   hehe.   Just send me four chairs and we’ll call it even.   I WISH!!!!!

 

Thanks Karen for sending in the ad!

 

A huge thank you to all the homeowners and readers, especially Corey, whose kitchens were shown today.  If you have a special remodeling story to share, be sure to email me and let me know!! 

AND, finally, if you are Lisa Proper, will you please email me??????  Thanks!

 

French Essence: My French Life

112 comments

 

image

Mas de Bernard – the centuries old country farmhouse in Provence that author Vicki Archer completely restored.  Above, a dining table hides under the vine covered pergola.   The house is so wide, it’s hard to get it all in one photograph:  the façade continues to the direct left – seen in the next picture!

 

image

Another view of  Mas de Bernard:   here the photograph shows how this rough stone faced building connects to the smooth faced façade of the photo above.

 

New Years Day 2011 has come and gone, and hopefully everyone settled in for the weekend!  I know we were feeling cozy here in Houston around the fireplace.  Thinking of something to start the new year with, I came up with the newest Skirted Roundtable interview with author Vicki Archer of  the French Essence blog.   I first heard about Vicki and her fabulous life a few  years ago from the Australian blogger Absolutely Beautiful Things.  I then ordered her book, My French Life, and wrote about it back in 2009.   Vicki’s first book was followed up last year with her latest - French Essence.   Both books are filled with the exquisitely beautiful photographs of Vicki’s friend Carla Coulson (most of the photos shown today are by Carla.)   I was thrilled to have Vicki on the Skirted Roundtable if only to have the chance to show you some photographs of her fabulous house! 

Vicki lives a life that most of us can only dream about.  Born in Australia, her husband and three children were living in Sydney when they took a vacation to Provence in 1999.  A quick visit to see a decrepit farmhouse totally changed her life.   The 17th century house, Mas de Bernard, stands on 50 acres and was once an fruit farm.   But when Vicki first saw it, it was a complete wreck.  The house had been added onto over the centuries and parts of the farmhouse are estimated to be over 500 years old.   Vicki immediately fell in a trance when she first saw the property and without much thought, it was quickly purchased.   She can not explain the intense attraction except to say it was love at first sight.  Indeed, she can not logically explain what made her decide to totally uproot her life – all for a run down farm, but this is exactly what she did.  After buying Mas de Bernard, the family next moved from Australia to London in order to be closer to France.   It took three years before the restoration was complete enough so that the family could even move in.   Today, they still technically live in London where her husband works, but holidays and summers are spent in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.  The change in their lives has been profound.  The family did not even speak French when they became farm owners, though since, they have learned the romantic language.  Vicki’s three children have now left the nest and she spends even more time in France.  Today, the property is a successful, working olive farm.  Their olive trees are a major concern – along with her helpers, Vicki picks the olives herself, a back-breaking process that takes up to a month to complete. 

How many of us have ever dreamed of following our hearts and picking up roots?   It’s amazing to think that Vicki with 3 young children and a husband, moved halfway across the world – all for the love of a run down farmhouse.    This is her story – as told to the Skirted Roundtable.

                               

image

In a winter snow, the house looks magical.   Le Coup de Foudre – Vicki’s motto:  The thunderbolt or being struck by a love at first sight.

 

 

image

A concrete river, or rill, runs from the house down to a fountain. 

 

 

image

The concrete river, or rill, ends in a circular pond.   The property is surrounded by the picturesque Alpilles mountain range.  Beyond the lavender garden are the olive trees.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

Here, next to the flowering garden is the front entrance to Mas de Bernard.

 

 

 

image

The front doors, framed in roses, urns, and lanterns. 

 

 

 

image

Inside, the stone stairs are dressed for Christmas.   Simple votives rest underneath a gorgeous gilt antique mirror.

 

 

 

 

image

Vicki’s living room has been through many different arrangements.  An early picture shows the beautiful doors and staircase in the back, flanked with contemporary bookcases.  

 

image

The blog Absolutely Beautiful Things showed this view of Vicki’s living room – with matching sofas.   Today the room looks entirely different.  I love how Vicki is just like all of us – always rearranging things.

 

 

 

image

Here is the living room restyled with the silk striped sofa and two chairs and yellow ottomans.   The matching mirrors flanking the fabulous fireplace are a constant, as are the matching glass coffee tables.  Notice the stone floors and the ceiling beams (seen in the mirrors.)   What a fabulous room!

 

                                                                                                                 vickiarcher2Redesigned again, here the gateleg table is moved into the fireplace area and the two chairs are separated.   The contemporary painting has been removed and lamps are added onto the side tables.  I love this arrangement – especially with the gilded candlesticks and canon balls.   So beautiful.

 

image

Vicki recently showed this picture of her Christmas decorations.  And wow – things have really changed again!  The oriental rug is gone in favor of this monochromatic one.   The furniture has been recovered with a cream colored fabric.  There is now a contemporary print above the fireplace.  All the creams really make such a difference.  It just looks so beautiful.    Also, I had never realized that there was this fabulous steel window/door in the room.

 

image

In this photograph, Vicki shows her trio of Martini tables sitting next to one of the newly recovered chairs.

 

image

The dining room – here terracotta tiles cover the floor.   I love how all the rooms have such great fireplaces.

 

 image

Vicki’s kitchen has a extra long, fabulous table in the middle of the room.  Notice the cabinetry.   There are no upper ones either!   The groined ceiling is especially wonderful.  Can you imagine cooking in this room??  I think even I would love to cook here!

 

 

image

Looking the other way towards the cabinet.

 

 

image

A stone eutility sink is perfect for gardening.   Love this!

 

 

 

image

This bedroom has an antique French headboard, covered in Bennison.  Sigh.   That side table, the mirror, the lampshade!

 

 

image

A close up look at the same room.  Notice the urn in the niche, instead of shelves – love that idea.

 

 

 

 

image

A peek at the master bedroom with its fabulous headboard and duvet.   Unreal!

 

 

 

image

Here is a close up of the same room.   Vicki has such great style.  I could be very happy waking up in this room each morning!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

image

My favorite:  her daughter’s bedroom with an antique bed with its original damask fabric and bedspread.   I adore the chair and the night table too.   Perfection!!!!

 

 

 

image

Outside:  Vicki took this picture one morning.  Here a table is set up next to the rill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

Snowy white upholstery covers these day beds set up on the terrace.   Such beautiful landscaping.  

 

 

image

And the same terrace set up for a party for Vicki’s daughter. 

 

 

image

I love this picture:   the daybeds are styled for an afternoon party.   Soooo cute!!!

 

 

image

A rose covered pergola.

 

image

Next to the pond, more styled daybed seating.   Notice the hammock at the back corner.  So dreamy. 

 

image

A view of the mountains and an old stone house on the property.   Too beautiful!  I’m not sure I could ever leave and go back to England.

 

image

The lavender garden with the olive trees in back.   Carla Coulson is such a great photographer.   How would you like this to be your view out your windows??  Can you imagine???  Wow.

 

image

The very same view in winter:  olive tree orchard is in the back; the lavender garden, and pruned plane trees in the front.  Even in the dead of winter, the view is still spectacular.

 

 

image

Here’s the photographer, Carla Coulson walking with her Italian groom to their Parisian wedding.  I love how fashionable she looks here – including the shoes and leopard hat.  Tres chic.  To read her blog and see her web site, go HERE

 

 

image

Vicki’s first book:  My French Life.   All photographs by Carla Coulson.

 

image

And her newest book, French Essence, again with photographs by Carla Coulson.

 

 

image

To listen to the new Skirted Roundtable with Vicki Archer, please go HERE.  

 

To purchase either of Vicki’s books, just click on the title you want below:

 

       My French Life           

 

 

 

To go to the Skirted Roundtable interview with Vicki, go HERE. 

 

AND, here’s wishing all of you and yours a happy, safe and healthy 2011!!!!!!!