Wednesday, October 26, 2011

i'm dreaming of a white kitchen...

As if daunting piles of laundry, infinite to-do lists, and a creepy moaning furnace weren't enough to keep me awake at night, I've been planning out a new kitchen in my mind for the past several nights.  Well, I guess I've been mulling over it for months.  Sure, I've seen worse but our kitchen is a total pain in the rear.  The cabinets are solid but not-so-functional.  It seems as if all of the doors are on backwards and they're divided up in a way that makes it hard to fit anything inside.  The floor is in decent condition but it's a laminate that's supposed to look like real wood but fails miserably.  The appliances are old and, ummm, sticky and are horribly inefficient.  The countertops are aqua.

We tore down the 70's wallpaper several months ago but haven't done anything to cover up the random outlets or spotty paint.  I'm not big on temporary solutions (even if temporary isn't so temporary) so we're living with the imperfections until we can give the entire room an overhaul.

We aren't exactly rolling in cash so we're meticulously planning our kitchen renovation so that every penny is used to it's full potential.  (Well, I'm literally going insane comparing prices and looking for deals while Joe just smiles and supports each new idea that I spout out.)  We're still in the "research" phase of our kitchen project and may not be able to get down to the actual "doing" phase for a few more months but, in the meantime, here's what I'm thinking...

One side of our kitchen is a long, empty wall with windows that look out onto the driveway and front yard.  In a kitchen that doesn't have many functional cabinets, this wall is pretty much wasted space.

I'd like to put some narrow storage on either side of the window.  We usually enter the house through the kitchen so a place to drop our mail, keys, and all of the other junk we seem to juggle into the house everyday would be nice.  A recycling/trash cabinet similar to this one would gladly replace the small trash bin that's currently under our sink.  I'd rather not block the flow of traffic with a table so I am thinking that a bench under the window might be a nice place for Joe and James to sit and cheer me on while I cook them amazing meals.  (Note:  Joe recently pointed out that I don't cook him nice dinners anymore.  I think I'd be more likely to cook if I had a cheering section - oh, and if I had someone to go grocery shopping for me and then prep everything and clean up afterwards so I can spend some time with James in that short window of time between work and bedtime.)  But I digress...I'd like everything on this wall to look built-in and custom as opposed to random, free standing pieces of furniture.  As you can see from the pictures above, there's baseboard heating along this wall so we'd need to take that into consideration.  Here's a sketch of what I'm imagining.  Look out Picasso...

I've done countless calculations to figure out if modifying our existing cabinets would be better than ripping them all out and putting in new ones.  Result: rip them out and get new ones.  With everything reconfigured and space optimized, I am hoping to get rid of these cabinets all together and replace them with open shelves.  Also, if budget allows, I'd like for this wall to be completely tiled from counter to ceiling.
Again, here's another totally-not-to-scale or accurate drawing of what I'm imagining for this wall:

Aside from new appliances and cabinets, the other side of the kitchen would remain relatively the same.  The only major change I would like to see would be to get rid of the microwave above the stove and replace it with a traditional hood.  Combined with the open shelves, I'd hope to make the space feel as airy as possible and getting rid of the microwave and upper cabinet might help.  Ya think?
Google images of "white kitchen" and I will take any one of the 150million results.  Again, once we get around to implementing these plans, we've got to do it on the cheap.  (Cheap: adv. to look rich and be of quality construction and function while costing as little money as possible)  I'd love for someone to give me a coupon for free soapstone countertops but we will probably settle for butcher block.  Butcher block should keep things feeling warm anyways. I'm still searching for flooring options but I hope to find black (or slate-colored) cork that's within our budget.  The dark floors would go with the masculine look I so enjoy and be a nice contrast to the wood floors in the adjoining room.  White cabinets, sink, and walls would allow for pops of fresh color throughout the space - and give me a clean slate to adjust whenever the mood strikes. 

As if my babbling descriptions and wonky pictures didn't explain the look I'm going for, here's a little sample of what I'm basing my research on:
Has anyone recently renovated their kitchen?  Give me some tips, suggestions, cash, etc.!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

to my one year old:

You let me hold you this morning while you took a short nap on the couch.  For an independent, squirmy kid, this was quite a treat!  It was only a year ago that I got to hold you for the first time and you fit perfectly in the bend of my arm.  Today, your legs draped over my lap and your arms spanned across my body.

You're quickly turning into a little man and it's hard to accept.  On the other hand, it's exciting to see you forming your own personality to mix in with the traits you've got from me and your Daddy.  Like him, you are sweet.  You instinctively know who to trust and aren't shy about showing them your affection.  You like to test your boundaries and make sure to investigate any and all nearby gadgets!  And like Daddy, you're a rascal!

Like me, you are stubborn.  You want to do things your way and you don't want help from anyone - you love your toys and books so much more when you get them off of the shelf yourself!  (Just to warn you, these qualities might frustrate people when you get bigger but understand who you are.  Own who you are and appreciate yourself - and know that Mumma will always be proud of you!)

I wish that you continue to explore and continue to find humor in everything.  I wish that you stay happy and confident.  I wish that you stay strong and stay brave.  I wish that you'd make time stop moving so damn fast.

Happy Birthday, little buddy.  I love you!