kitchen glamour on the cheap

>> Friday, November 13, 2009

You know those fabulous kitchens featured on HGTV? With gleaming granite countertops, polished cork floors, and all stainless steel appliances? Yeah. I don't have one of those. It's all a bit of a mess. But after doing this project, it's a PRETTY mess.

The problem:

As much as I love to bake and cook, I don't exactly find our kitchen gourmet. In fact, it's rather tiny. As well as lacking in many areas (as mentioned above). To add, when we bought the place -- the walls were covered with 1960s floral wallpaper. As well, the curtains and other decorative accents left behind were also floral. Sunflowers, specifically.

So: bright yellow and orange. EVERYWHERE.

. . . did I mention our kitchen was carpeted? That was a whole other issue that we'll deal with in an upcoming post.

The solution: As Easy at 1-2-3!

  1. Rip the wall paper off the walls.
  2. Add a fresh coat of paint.
  3. And accessorize!

The method:

1.) Luckily, our wallpaper ripped clean off with little effort. However, if you don't have the same good fortune, follow these instructions for removing the nasty stuff. You'll be happy you did it the "right" way. So, as the folks at HGTV say: "patience is a virtue."

2.) Pick a color that will go with lots of different designs. We chose a pistachio for several reasons. Foremost, it matched my KitchenAid mixer. Strangely enough, the wall color we uncovered AFTER ripping down the wallpaper was also a pistachio green -- albeit tired and worn from its long life (which began in the 1950s, when the house was built). For painting, first go with a quality primer, and then a good, no-VOC (why no-VOC?) paint is always nice.

We used FreshAire in Arbor Vine. One coat did the trick.

3.) To give the kitchen some much-needed pizzazz, I opted to add a splash of print on the walls via a floor-to-ceiling curtain that I made myself. I have basically no sewing experience whatsoever. . . so be confident that you can do this! :)

  • has a huge variety of beautiful prints. I love Amy Butler, so I went with Nigella Twill Water Lotus Spinach -- which at just under $15 a yard packs a beautiful punch. And I appreciate the quality of the twill weight for home decor. It's simply more durable. And when you have kittens who like to climb things, it's good to go with durable.
  • I ordered 5 yards -- and the fabric's width was a bit wider than other varieties (54") . . . which fit the space almost perfectly. Play around with this before you stitch everything.You may have a larger area to cover -- in which case, make several panels following the instructions below.
  • Fold over the fabric when you determine the length (you should have plenty extra to fold over). I just got up on a stool and used my tension rod (which ultimately hangs the curtain up) to find a place to make a light mark with a fabric pen. Then, from where you fold, pin and then sew straight across two to three inches below that point -- making a long hole to push the tension rod through. Just like with regular curtains -- no tricks here. If you're in a particular bind (which I was in at our housewarming) -- you can ever staple the seam temporarily. Honestly. I'm not particularly proud of myself, but I did it.
  • Finish the piece off by hemming the other sides by folding them over one inch, pinning, seweing, etc.
That's really all it takes. I also added a cool mirror to the space because -- again -- it's tiny. And adding the print in moderation makes the space look classy versus cutesy. A much-needed improvement.

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