Kitchen Progress: Part 1 of 2

Our new kitchen is large and, let’s face it, pretty ugly. Or maybe not ugly, but definitely not my style.

Oak kitchen cabinets with scalloped fronts and faux-wood-panelling wainscoting. There’s nothing I could do about the former, so the latter had to go.

Before: original off-white walls, original wainscoting:

In progress: original walls, white primer coat on wainscoting:

In progress: white walls, white primer:

In progress: white walls, black wainscoting (first coat):

My working plan was to go with white on the panelling, but the primer gave me an early indication of how that would look and I was displeased. Way too much white, especially butting up against our dirty white-gray floor. (Dirty-looking that is – not actually dirty, thanks to Jarrod.) So I went with black instead – Benjamin Moore Soot, specifically, which is a nice inky black. I really like it.

It should be obvious by now that I’m rather reckless when it comes to what I’m “allowed to do” in this apartment. The way I see it: 1) This apartment is going to look much better when I’m finished with it and landlords respond favorably to that, and 2) It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.

(Side note: I looked up that quotation to make sure I had it right and learned that it’s attributed to Grace Hopper, who was a bad-ass computer scientist Naval officer I’d come across previously when investigating (for whatever reason) the etymology of the term “bug.”  Good work, lady.)

I don’t think our landlords will care, but if they give me any shit about it, I have a two-pronged response planned: 1) Play dumb. They knew I was going to paint the kitchen (they paid for the paint) – how was I to know that “painting the kitchen” excluded the panelling? 2) Argue that ALL of the ORIGINAL 1916 millwork had already been painted (and repainted) by previous tenants and owners. Once 100-year old millwork has been descecrated, there’s not much of a point to preserving 20-year-old faux-wood wainscoting, now is there?  Case closed.

More pictures to come!

13 thoughts on “Kitchen Progress: Part 1 of 2”

    1. Well, the style of crown molding (most notably the decorative flare along the ceiling seam) coupled with the apparent use of a compound miter saw for the wood joinery dates it to World War I era…

      Just kidding. I looked up our building on Blockshopper.

      It was built in 1916. I’m assuming the current millwork is original to the building, especially since there are empty stretches of baseboard in your unit where an original fireplace and built-in hutch have been removed.

      I have no idea when the wainscotting was added, but it’s an engineered wood, so I’m guessing within the last couple decades.

      1. Thank god that was a joke.

        BlockShopper is pretty neat. Also, now I need to look at my apartment and find where the fireplace used to live. I assume in the dining room.

  1. “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.” As an ethical code, this leaves something to be desired.

  2. I also approached painting our apartment’s bedroom recently–covering up what had obviously been a very painstaking paint job of a horizontal burgundy red stripe running through the middle of the wall, with a pukey yellow on the half of the wall above it and a hunter green below (with the same green as a six-inch border on the very top of the wall)–with the forgiveness over permission mantra. I learned that in Peace Corps and it has served me well many times in dealing with authority figures, especially landlords.

      1. I want to know when “designer,” as in tufted valances, the color peach and Delta Burke, gave way to “design,” as in stuff that would normally be just household crap/office supplies, but makes some reference to ’80s kitsch or is made of teak and therefore costs $75.

        Also, did you ever watch this show that was on either TLC or the Discovery Channel sometime in the early ’90s called “EZ Does It?” Every episode of these two middle aged women’s adventures in public access-quality interior decorating television involved either puff paint or the gluing of rhinestones. I can’t find any evidence of its existence on the internet whatsoever, alas!

  3. Nice blog! I just found it today, on freshly pressed Congratulations! :) I really enjoyed your blog,and sharing your decorating tips.I live in an apt & would like to fix up kitchen countertops&bathroom,painting etc…I luv your transformation of the redo kitchen.The bold black walls it works! & luv the kitchen island table.I also like the fabric choice for your headboard.Can you tell how much it cost approx?I’ve been thinking about doing that myself. Your very creative! I luv that you build a door yourself for your cats to go in&out,cute cats. Thanks for sharing,look forward to more of your future posts. Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks for the nice comments! The fabric on my headboard is from IKEA and it was $8/yard, which is reasonable considering you only need a yard or so. I’m going to reupholster it for our new bedroom and will be sure to post pictures of the process.

      1. Thanks,so much! I’m going to check out some fabric stores in my area.Do you work as a interior decorator?if not you should.I luv the picture of you & your Grandma working on projects together.Priceless! It reminded me of my Grandma and I.
        I would help her with her sewing projects.I also wanted to tell you, that I like that stepladder for you cats.My mom has cats and going to show her your projects.I’m going to try to build it for her.Take care! Look forward to more of your projects.

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