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We tackled three rooms in this rather poky old home in order to give Olive the kitchen of her dreams. The existing kitchen was uninspiring, poorly planned and small. Olive loves to cook, but found preparing meals here was no fun. Plain white melamine cabinets and vinyl floors were tired, and the appliances serviceable but not modern.
There was a tiny area that ran off the kitchen with a table and a few broken-down chairs that was supposed to be a breakfast nook. The archway took up much needed space and there wasn't enough seating for this busy family of six to sit down together.
The third space that opened onto the kitchen was a sun room that Olive had filled to overflowing with her "other" children--plants large and small. We would need a miracle or two to bring a sense of harmony to the three separate areas in just four days.
A good plan was required to transform the three dysfunctional spaces into an inviting family kitchen. Or, as the Reverend Gray so aptly put it, "Expand the family potential as well as the cooking potential."
With more time and a bigger budget, it would have been fabulous to knock out the walls and make one big space. However, we did knock out the archway between the kitchen and eating nook, and ran benches along two walls that double as seating and storage. Lattice was built above the wainscoting to tie in the garden elements. Some yellow and white paint and the transformation and this was now a welcome breakfast area.
We used bright Caribbean colors to set up the general theme for the space, which is a heavenly combination of contemporary and Southern Country. The cabinets were reinvented with paint and some new trim and handles. No need for all the kitchen cabinets to match. It's a good idea to break the monotony. The upper doors are painted pale green now, and have frosted glass inserts that emphasize printed kitchen words such as SOUL, CORN, FOOD, and GRITS. The lower doors are a bold lime green, which is fresh and happy.
A great way to unify separate areas is by running the same floor throughout and here we laid a floating floor in a large diamond pattern. These tiles are linoleum with a cork backing, which is both durable and comfortable, perfect for high traffic areas.
Details such as the lattice, the glass inserts and the wavy trim on the upper shelves, as well as the bold and bright colors all contribute their charm to Olive's new and happy kitchen.
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The old china cabinet is now a beautiful focal point for this southern garden room kitchen. We photocopied large floral prints and cut them out. The armoire was painted semi-gloss white and then the prints adhered with decoupage glue. Two coats of acrylic varnish seals and protects.
The roman blinds are made from a jute fabric that complements Olive's plants.
Rather than replace the cabinets, these were reinvented with paint and a little carpentry. All the doors were removed and the uppers were cut to take glass inserts. We cut words from paint mask and stuck them down onto the glass. Etching cream was brushed over the front and back of the glass, left for five minutes and washed off. The tape was pealed off revealing clear letters against the frosted glass. Note: etching cream is extremely corrosive. You must wear goggles, a proper mask and gloves for protection, and follow the instructions for the cream.
A floating floor comprised of white and dark gray linoleum diamonds click into place and unify all three rooms.
Since ready-made exterior lattice is too rough, we used door casing, 5/8" thick and 1" wide to build the lattice over the wainscoting in the kitchen nook. The room was painted soft yellow and creamy white, and the lattice strips also painted. We marked off a grid with pencil and measuring tape, using a plumb line to check that the lines were straight. The lattice strips were nailed on over the grid lines--all the verticals first then all the horizontals.
The small white subway tiles on the counter and backsplash are in fact ceramic floor tiles with the indentations pressed in, making it easier to install.
It's the best of southern hospitality all the way when you combine warm and cheerful shades of green, yellow and white, making this a sunny place for everyone to congregate and prepare family meals.