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July 12, 2010

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Permanent work-in-progress

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Madigan made is forever... revamping her kitchen.

I love white kitchens.

This kitchen is one of the reasons we bought this house. From a cosmetic standpoint, it needed help.
(To clarify: These are the only "before" pictures I have of the space. We took them during our home inspection.)

But this kitchen had 'good bones' and tons of counter space.
At first, I was disappointed that the kitchen felt a little closed off from the other rooms on the first floor. But over the years, I've learned that its U-shape makes a functional work triangle.

The cabinets were "builder basic." But thankfully they were wood, not laminate. They were just oak-y, which was not me. The floor was a tan-gray vinyl. I admit that the color was neutral.  But when I cleaned the floors, the gray vinyl still appeared a little dirty to me.

I knew with some minor cosmetic fixes, this kitchen could shine.

It has been a very slow process. Like 4+ years so far.

By making the changes slowly, we did not spend huge chunks of money all at a once. We've been able to chip away at the projects. (and our wallet)

First, we started with a new kitchen table and chairs.

We had the walls painted a soft buttery tan/yellow.  (Note: Mr. Madigan and I painted most of the rooms in the house. But by the time we got to the kitchen, we were tired! And with all the cutting in that was required in a kitchen, we did hire someone to paint.)

And then we had the floors changed to porcelain tile. We paid professionals for that job, too. Mr. Madigan and I know our home improvement limits. We can paint, but we were not ready to gamble on tile.
(In this picture, you can see my recent DIY chalkboard. I displayed other pictures on the wall until recently. I 'heart' my new chalkboard.)

But Mr. Madigan and I did learn how to change light fixtures ourselves.  (That was a small but rewarding DIY victory for us!)

We upgraded the lighting above the table and the main ceiling fixture.
I could not find two fixtures that complemented each other. I liked our simple chandelier (you've probably seen it at your big-box hardware store). But I could not find a ceiling fixture or track light that worked with it.

Then, I found this track light in a silver finish. Don't you love what you can do with a can of spray paint?

Last summer, after much internal debate (Do I do it? Can I do it? How do I do it? Will I ruin them?) I bit the bullet and painted the cabinets a creamy white.

best. decorating. decision. ever.

Painting the cabinets and changing the hardware were the most dramatic and most rewarding change in the room (and one of the cheapest, too!).

This winter, we upgraded the appliances. (and you can see the changed light fixture, here, too. It is worlds different at night now!)

Finally, I added some fun red accessories. Red and yellow seem to belong together in a kitchen.
I think it stimulates your appetite? Maybe that's why McDonalds uses the combo?

I made cornice boards for above each window. They are mostly red, with a matching plaid fabric as a wide edge underneath.
Normally, I am not a 'plaid' girl. In this small accent, I thought it worked.

It took time to get to this point... and I still consider the kitchen a work in progress.

There is a bit more I would like to do. Someday, I'd love to replace the counter tops.
I'm thinking about black counters. There's something about white cabinets and black counter tops that is timeless.
Maybe a backsplash
Maybe a rug under the table?
I'm not sure.

By changing the counters, I also want to make this area more functional:
When we bought the house, I never understood why the cabinets and counters just stopped here? Why did they not continue?
It is an odd little space.

My old Ikea cart works fine there. But I'd love to continue the counters out more. We could have space underneath for one or two stools and use it for a little breakfast bar or desk area.
Maybe even install some cute white shelving above?

Lots of ideas for my neverending project!

How about you? Do you have a room that is forever a work-in-progress?

You can find me at these link parties.
Update: and a party about works in progress at Serenity Now. Very apropo!

Update: This is one of my favorite rooms in the house and I love the changes we made so far. So I am joining the CSI Project's Before & After link party in October.