Archive for January, 2012

Kitchen Renovation Dilemmas

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

So, here’s what I’m dealing with:

This is the view as you come in the kitchen from the carport.

This is the view as you come in the kitchen from the carport.

You come in the kitchen door, and here is this long-ass narrow, almond-colored monstrosity of a kitchen.

You come in the kitchen door, and here is this long-ass narrow, almond-colored monstrosity of a kitchen.

So, please note the god-awful cabinets, which I’m hoping can be painted over. According to Home Depot, i can paint them with an oil-based paint. Seriously, i detest these damn cabinets. Also note the overhead light. It has to go. But what to put there instead – Ideas?

Sink has to stay. Cabinets have to stay. Almond appliances have to stay. Almond floor tiles have to stay. (Considering either Flor tiles, or a very large rug in there, though. Thoughts?)

So, anything that we use needs to coordinate with almond floors (or cover them) and with the almond appliances. I could shoot the old people who used to live here in the head for putting in crappy cheap laminate cabinets, almond appliances, and such light tile. It shows every little smudge and crumb. Also needs to coordinate with the two paintings I have that are going in the kitchen. This is what makes me think blues, grays, cremes, whites, with maybe touches of red or apple green.

Inspiration 1: Colors I choose need to work with this.

Inspiration 1: Colors I choose need to work with this.

And it needs to work with this. My friend Leigh painted it for me, and it absolutely has to go in the kitchen.

And it needs to work with this. My friend Leigh painted it for me, and it absolutely has to go in the kitchen.

This is the breakfast nook. It is tiny. We have a wooden table we are keeping in there. It is round and we are thinking of refinishing it. Todd just wants to stain it; I was thinking painting it. Would love to incorporate a banquette in this corner. Think it might save space. See that light fixture? It's outta there. Thinking pendant of some sort. Something much smaller.

This is the breakfast nook. It is tiny. We have a wooden table we are keeping in there. It is round and we are thinking of refinishing it. Todd just wants to stain it; I was thinking painting it. Would love to incorporate a banquette in this corner. Think it might save space. See that light fixture? It's outta there. Thinking pendant of some sort. Something much smaller.

Also thinking i will take the doors off those cabinets in the picture above, just to open it up some more.

This is the view if you are standing in the corner of the breakfast area. Sadly, this makes it look even bigger than it really is. God, it's awful. You get the idea of the almondness from this view.

This is the view if you are standing in the corner of the breakfast area. Sadly, this makes it look even bigger than it really is. God, it's awful. You get the idea of the almondness from this view.

This is the view of the kitchen, looking towards the carport door from the foyer. See that door on the right? I want to get rid of it to open things up. Todd likes it. I think this pretty much shows off the narrowness of the space.

This is the view of the kitchen, looking towards the carport door from the foyer. See that door on the right? I want to get rid of it to open things up. Todd likes it. I think this pretty much shows off the narrowness of the space.

This is the doorway we were just looking through. To the right of that door is the pantry.

This is the doorway we were just looking through. To the right of that door is the pantry.

This is the wall space wasted by the door to the foyer. We usually have the door open, so this is covered.

This is the wall space wasted by the door to the foyer. We usually have the door open, so this is covered.

And here is the same space with the door open. (Looking across the foyer, down the stairs to the basement.)

And here is the same space with the door open. (Looking across the foyer, down the stairs to the basement.)

Same view. Creme door is laminate. Hoping to prime it, then paint the door with chalkboard paint. That's Brody, standing in the foyer. Left behind him goes to the basement, right goes up to the bedrooms.

Same view. Creme door is laminate. Hoping to prime it, then paint the door with chalkboard paint. That's Brody, standing in the foyer. Left behind him goes to the basement, right goes up to the bedrooms.

These are the cabinets to the left of the sink. I am thinking about taking the doors off of them and leaving it open. Sink is under the window. You can also see that the backsplash is laminate. Almond laminate. That old bitch loved her some almond shit. I am thinking tile - either white subway tile, or maybe some glass tile to coordinate with whatever colors i pick.

These are the cabinets to the left of the sink. I am thinking about taking the doors off of them and leaving it open. Sink is under the window. You can also see that the backsplash is laminate. Almond laminate. That old bitch loved her some almond shit. I am thinking tile - either white subway tile, or maybe some glass tile to coordinate with whatever colors i pick.

This is the carport door. The one we came through at the beginning. I kind of think that diamond pane pattern is charming, but am considering taking it down. It seems too traditional and Tudory. I think that i can just take the panes out and leave the door and window. Thoughts?

This is the carport door. The one we came through at the beginning. I kind of think that diamond pane pattern is charming, but am considering taking it down. It seems too traditional and Tudory. I think that i can just take the panes out and leave the door and window. Thoughts?

This is the door in the breakfast area. To the left of the carport door. It goes into the dining room.

This is the door in the breakfast area. To the left of the carport door. It goes into the dining room.

Here is the kitchen door from the dining room. See how the door eats up the dining room space? Also shows how close the dining room is to the kitchen. I think i could feasibly get rid of the breakfast nook altogether if I really, really wanted to. We could just eat in the dining room. I think the door needs to go buh-bye. Todd is unconvinced.

Here is the kitchen door from the dining room. See how the door eats up the dining room space? Also shows how close the dining room is to the kitchen. I think i could feasibly get rid of the breakfast nook altogether if I really, really wanted to. We could just eat in the dining room. I think the door needs to go buh-bye. Todd is unconvinced.

And another view. Pretty dark in there.

And another view. Pretty dark in there.

And this is what it looks like, from the dining room into the kitchen breakfast nook. Do we really need all these tables? Hmmm.

And this is what it looks like, from the dining room into the kitchen breakfast nook. Do we really need all these tables? Hmmm.

So, yeah, that’s what I’m dealing with structurally. We can’t afford to knock that wall out. That would be the first order of business if we could. So, my questions:

What colors work with both the almond appliances and the paintings?

Kitchen doors – Should they stay or go? We do sometimes shut the kitchen off with a dog in it, or to block out the sound of dishes banging, but my gut says it would look bigger in there to get rid of them.

What color should the cabinets be? I wanted to brighten the room up, so i was thinking white, but can i use white with almond appliances? Is an off-white or cream a better choice? Or a light blue or gray cabinets with lighter walls? (Oh, HELL! Didn’t even discuss the wallpaper! That shit is gone, baby, gone. It has herb names on it, for fuck’s sake!)

Kitchen table – refinish it and stain it, or paint it?

Banquette seating – How hard can it be to make your own? Can you buy it? Thoughts? Ideas?

Windows – Blinds? cafe curtains?

Floors – Has anyone used Flor tiles in their kitchen? Also thought about just putting down a rug. Or what about those adhesive tiles they use on DIY shows all the time? Looks like maybe they don’t hold up over time.

Seriously looking for input here. I am design-challenged, and Todd is colorblind. I’m hoping folks will weigh in, and then I will maybe post some Pinterest links to things I like, and show the colors I’ve been leaning towards. Definitely want your ideas based on seeing the starting point. Come on, people! Design my kitchen. (On a dime, so to speak.)

Radiohead: A Story of Starcrossed Lovers

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Todd and the kids and I had a great dinner last night. They are getting to the age where they are actually fun to converse with. We were fixing plates and the Radiohead song “Creep” came on, and Todd and I were singing along at the top of our voices, and playing air guitar on that bangy guitar part (you know the one), while Rollie yelled for us to stop, and Tiller rolled her eyes. And then Todd proceeded to tell the kids a story of star-crossed lovers back in the olden days. (You know, the mid-90s.)

There once was a boy living in Atlanta, who liked Radiohead. There once was a girl, also living in Atlanta, who – get this – also liked Radiohead. Now, this was before Radiohead was a household name, right after OK Computer came out, but before anyone except diehard The Bends fans had heard the album yet, before folks considered it the Dark Side of the Moon of the 90s. And so this boy and girl, who both lived in Atlanta, and who both liked Radiohead, both bought tickets to see Radiohead at The Masquerade.

And they both went to the show. And the girl was with her boyfriend, who was not the boy. And she stood watching the show with her left shoulder leaning against the sound booth. And the boy watched the show from the front of the sound booth. And they were mere feet apart from one another. And the show rocked their worlds.

And then three days later, she moved to Denver with her boyfriend.

But the story wasn’t over.

Because sometime later, the girl sat drinking beer in a kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, and she saw a picture on the fridge that reminded her of a girl she used to know. And a couple years later, the girl who liked Radiohead met that girl she used to know in a bar, and the girl she used to know introduced her to the boy who also liked Radiohead.

And now the girl who likes Radiohead and the boy who likes Radiohead sit in their kitchen with their two children, who really don’t give a shit about Radiohead, and they play the game horse face. Horse face consists of one person making a funny face and the other person having to match that funny face. And the girl who likes Radiohead makes a face, and it is so funny to her that she laughs until tears run down her face, her stomach hurts, and she almost pees her pants.

And the Boy who liked Radiohead and the Girl who liked Radiohead are happy together.

Babyland

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Todd took Rollie to Monster Jam last night and when Tills heard they were going, she was a little upset. So, my sister and I decided we’d take the day and drive to Cleveland to take her to Babyland General. (We took Dash, too. You know. To see if he’s gay or not.)

Now, neither of us had been there since we were little girls, and admittedly, we were pretty excited. We had “Adoption Dolls” as little girls, before Xavier Roberts sold to Mattel and they renamed them Cabbage Patch Kids, and they were like magic. It is funny now to think how all the moms and daughters of the 80s drank the kool-aid on this one: These dolls are really nothing much to look at. Some of them are damn ugly. (Lisa, I’m looking at Tiffany!) But there was something completely magical about them. I can still remember getting my first one (a knock-off named Stephanie.)

1981_xmas

This is Lisa and Me, Christmas 1981. I am not sure if we got Stephanie and Samantha this Christmas, or if they just came downstairs with us on Christmas morning. (Yes, this was also the year we arrived in the future and got an Atari! And I got The Black Stallion Breyer horse. A magical Christmas, all in all.)

1982_janmybday

And here I am a month later, on my birthday, holding both of the girls before opening my gifts. Lisa and I played with these things So. Much.

And I can remember loving her, and wanting another! I remember going into the toy shop in downtown Alpharetta. (I forget what it was called – maybe the Indian Trading Post? It had an old cigar store Indian out front.) I would go in that shop, and look at all the “real” adoption dolls they had in there. I think part of the magic was that there were so many different colors and combinations of eye and hair color, and they had real baby clothes on, and they were given real first and middle names, just like real babies, and when you adopted one, you got a real birth certificate, with baby footprints and your name signed on it, and their birthdays and everything.

Magic.

So, in the end, i ended up with one knock-off, who was my first, and whom I loved just as much as the next two. Stephanie Lynn was later joined by Minerva and Betsy. (I think those were their names. Guess I need to check the birth certificates.) I suppose i remember Stephanie’s name because i named her myself. The other two came with laminated tags on their hands that had their names Sharpied on.) Minerva was a redhead, and Betsy (?) a raven-haired beauty.

Anyways, I digress, but the point of all this is to say that being a parent is hard and sometimes infuriating, sometimes scary, sometimes sad. But sometimes it is wonderful. Taking your child to do something you did as a child, or teaching them to fish, or seeing them touched by magic that you can still remember and feel? That is one of the most special parts of parenthood. Yesterday was one of those days.