"Is That A New Window??"--A Perception Changing Kitchen Re-Do

I love the unexpected things people delight in after a room is completed.  Like the perception that there is a "new" window in this kitchen....although it isn't new at all,  just newly appreciated!

This kitchen, new in 1991, was quite the hang out for family gatherings...but the owners couldn't figure out why no one ever sat at the table --the place in the room with beautiful sunlight & the best view.  Everyone instead always gathered around the peninsula--crowded really--with the view of the door to the garage, of all things. They acted as though that big space behind them didn't exist. I know this to be the truth, having squeezed in there myself on many a Christmas Eve, since this is my step-father's kitchen.

Here was the eating area before....

You can see the old kitchen was dissected by the peninsula....

and seemingly half of the space in the room was never used. Just silly.

My family asked me if I would help them figure out how to make the kitchen work better (my favorite thing to do!) and they had lots of thoughts and questions about what might be the best solutions: Should the cooktop in the peninsula be removed so it wasn't in the way while entertaining? Maybe a high top table would make the eating area more attractive to people?  What elements of the current kitchen could be retained/re-used?

When I sat down to work on the space on paper, I knew I wanted to stretch the room along its length, making it seem bigger, creating a better focus when looking into the room from the adjacent family room, highlighting its architectural features, and, of course, putting the existing space to its best use. I am very happy to say that now the project is done, there are rave reviews, and every inch of the kitchen is well used and loved.  Whenever someone is in the kitchen, they now find themselves sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the view out of that "new" window.

The existing tile floor was in great shape, so it was left in place and we worked the palette for the new room around it. I think the new complimentary wall, cabinet, and countertop colors give the old floor a fresh and updated feel....once again, it is hard to believe it was there all along.

The kitchen sink remains in the same spot, as does the refrigerator....

 but now with the new island, the cook has his or her own space while still being able to visit with those who sit on the other side of the counter.The separate cooktop was switched for a slide in range, creating more counter space and working more efficiently for how the family actually used their kitchen.

I hope that seeing all of these possibilities inspires you to creatively think about rooms in your own house. What features does your house have that aren't currently being enjoyed to their fullest? What  already works well?  What can be given a whole new or new purpose?  Even if you aren't in the market for a big renovation, small changes can bring about big results.

Rented!

Today the papers were signed and it is official! Our project house that has been sitting so pretty for so long will have someone new to love her. We are so excited!

I was there today going over the paperwork and working out some details....had to snap a few pictures.

I am so proud of the work I did on this house. If you missed it before, you can see a lot of it here and here.

It seems strange that I won't be able just to pop over just to say "hi" and enjoy all of the pretty sun-filled rooms..... but what a happy ending for what was once a forlorn little cape cod so down on her luck.

 

Boredom in the Bedroom

Well, I don't know what you thought this post might be about..... but boredom in the bedroom, whatever kind we may be talking about, is not to be tolerated!

Just this past week, something made me take an honest look at my own bedroom....and I began to YAWN.

Now, it wasn't always this way. I have loved my bedroom and the things in it for a long time, but with all the other distractions, responsibilities, and things that just pull my attentions elsewhere, there hasn't been any love given to the space for the past few months. When I  took a step back and evaluated the state of things, the words "anemic" and "pathetic" readily came to mind--not really the vibe I was after.

It was time to get to work.

So, what about your Master Bedroom? Let's talk about what a Master Bedroom should be, and what it should not....

  • A master bedroom is meant to be a personal retreat from the world. When you walk in and shut the door behind you (and the door should preferably have a working lock~ ahem) you should be able to feel you are removing yourself from your day to day stressors and giving yourself space for quiet.
  • A master bedroom should not contain anything that pertains to your work.  I have redesigned bedrooms for clients who reluctanly went to bed at night because the space had a desk piled high with things needing their attention. It was the last thing they saw at night , and it greeted them first thing in the morning. No wonder they looked so tired.
  • While the room should not contain things that irk you, it should contain things that delight your senses: soft lighting, a variety of textures (think satiny sheets and nubby chenille throws), colors that you find soothing, fresh (but not overpowering) scents, and flowers and /or plants that bring life and additional color to the room.
  • And, most importantly, a master bedroom should contain order. If you have a pile of stuff on a chair in the corner, not only will you not have a place to sit, but you will feel annoyed. Annoyance is so NOT serenity.

I am glad to say that my bedroom is no longer a snorefest.

I bought some wonderful 300 count sheets in a soothing hue, found a decorative pillow that picks up some of the detail in the headboard and adds a punch to the existing color scheme.

Add some cuttings from the Ninebark shrub and Mexican Oregano plants right outside my front door, and the room comes to life.

Now the space is one that I am happy to retreat to after a long day.

I Am Not Perfect--Shocking, I know!

As you may already know, over the Labor Day weekend, my dear cousins came to visit for the holiday weekend. We had a blast!! For four days our household occupancy doubled, the dishwasher ran two times a day,  and people could be found sleeping in every nook and cranny of our humble old house. We enjoyed a family kickball game, coffee on the deck in the morning, a group outing to Auburn Heights, and a visit with our Grandma.....

 

One morning during their visit Cousin Emily turned to me and said: "You know, cuz, your house really is perfectly ordered chaos."

 

Hmmmm?

 

I have to admit my ears perked up with the word "perfect." The less aware, woefully unevolved part of myself that lurks in the back alleys of my mind still likes to torment me with delusions of perfection.

 

Then, after I got over that--swatted the thought away like an annoying fly--I heard the rest of what she said, and realized it was indeed the highest compliment I could have hoped for.  

She was expressing her admiration for how things seemed to have a place and purpose in our house, even when daily life is swirling around causing intermittent messes and commotion. Really, all of us live with chaos, but being able to have a sense of order underneath it all is how we can cope and thrive.

 

Perfection is an unobtainable, burdensome idea. Besides, if I were perfect, or my house was, then there wouldn't be a need to grow, change, or learn new things.  And while trying to attain perfection, I would be creating an environment full of stress and struggle, so toxic to the peace and balance that I long for.

 

It wouldn't be perfect at all.

 

I like learning new things and improving myself. I like being an imperfect work in progress.  Accepting that my house is one too is a blessing full of possibilities.