Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Kitchen & Living Room Makeover

Walking up the sidewalk for the first time, our house (which was then only HIS house) reminded me of my grandparents' house.  Laid before me was a mid-century bit-of-brick ranch. So I was expecting my grandparents' closed-off kitchen, tiny eat-in table, and a separate living room.  
I was prepared to enter into something akin to this: 

As I walked in the door, I did what I have seen almost everyone do as they walk in our door: I stopped, pulled my head back, scanned the room and said, "Wow. This is really nice."  Because when I opened the door I saw this:

An airy, open floor plan with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors.  
Nothing like I expected.  
"Blake has good taste," I thought.  
BUT I also saw a home that four guys lived in.  

See what I mean?  

So I had to do my magic.  
I told Blake that we would need to change that yellow counter top right off the bat.  
Funny thing is, it's still yellow 4+ years later.  
We just never got around to it.
It's kinda grown on me, but I'd still like to change it, so time will tell if we get that done before we move.  

So the actual first thing we did was paint the white cabinets glossy black to match the pillar and beam that were already black.  
(Well actually my mom painted them for me, while I was at work! Thats a big undertaking. She's so good to me!)

Much more coherent.
And I think more elegant.

I switched the handles out and used twig shaped ones.  I liked that it alluded to the wooden front door and brought some outdoors in.  It's a subtle thing, but it makes me happy.  

Later, because we don't have much counter-space, I brought in a dresser that I had in different room and placed it against the half wall.  It works perfectly.  I had already painted it black long before I moved here, so it was as simple as carrying it on over.  
So more counterspace and more "cabinet" space in the drawers.  What's not to love?  

I have a large ceramic tile, which we stuck felt pads onto on the underside corners, underneath our crock pot to keep the heat off the dresser's wood.  It works great.  (My mom thought that one up.  She's good! Thanks, Mom!)  

So this is what you see now when you come in the front door:  
(I used a stool we had and covered it in some spray paint that was laying around our garage for a no cost plant stand. 
Yes, the plant could be watered more often, it used to look better.)

Speaking of the front door,

I needed to put something against that bare wall there.  
All that furniture was from my old bedroom before I moved here.  And it fit great.  So there it went.  
A cedar hope chest (which now hold toys), a table that holds our mail basket and bill filer, and a DVD tower.  Above that we have a guitar that once was Blake's, then was mine (he gave it to me as a parting gift when we broke up), and later was ours (when we got married).  I thought that made a nice wall statement, story and all.  Blake plays it for J from time to time now.  
I got that mirror for $25 at Walmart!  How could I pass it up!?  And three cute frames that I filled by printing out on plain normal paper some vintage flower prints I found on the internet.  

I didn't really do much of anything to the dining room.  
The one thing I did was add that book shelve on the back wall there, and decorate it with some wedding gifts.  
I moved the kitchen cart next to the fridge, which is nice because I can wheel it out if I want to get really serious in the kitchen.  

At one point the book shelf was used to display my white dishes, but baby proofing led to other needs.  

(Oh man I still love those dishes in there.  But yes my little girl is worth way more than dishes.)

Moving on to the living room...

Blake and I bought new couches a while back.  But let me tell you, Furniture Row's Sofa Mart is not somewhere I plan on spending any more money.  These couches were so comfortable initally but have not held up at all in the short 3 years that we have had them.  I'm pretty sad and frustrated about the way they are degrading.  I mean there is seriously a dent where I liked to sit when I was pregnant.  And maybe my pregnant butt would have done that to any ol' couch, but honestly I never weighed more than Blake so I think a couch should be able to handle a grown man sitting on it for 9 months (well wait lets say 4 months because you don't start out a pregnancy the way you end it!) without being permanently deformed.  
So that's my little rant.  

In hindsight, I honestly wish we hadn't sold that blue couch on craigslist and that I would have just taken the sections apart and made slip covers. It would have been cheaper and better.  
Live and learn I guess.  
Next couch I seriously think I'm gonna buy a quality nice-shaped used (I'm thinking one of those mid-century straight-edged ones) and slip cover it.  
But we will see.  

Coffee Table?  

We used to have this one.  And I quite liked it.  But with hardwood floors and only one place for J to learn to crawl (on this rug that we got at Walmart for $20) --- we wanted a table that was more mobile so we could clear a space for her to work.  

Plus you know, glass and kids, not a great combo.  
So we sold it on craigslist and bought these two ottomans that have tops you can flip over to a hard surface tray for coffee, etc.  
They work great for us right now.  
Light enough to move easily.  
Padded enough for head bonks.  
And more hidden toy storage.  

The curtains.
I got the sheers for a dollar a panel at the thrift store.  They were in perfect condition.  (Which can't really be said any more since J loves to play in them.  But for $4 I don't mind!)  
And we got the other curtains when J was born because my mom was wanting me to have more privacy while nursing.  We bought two cheap cream panels and added a bit of cute fabric we found in strip near the bottom to lengthen them.  

Also, I recovered the pillows on the couch with fabric I liked --- both new and thrifted.  (I had to do this because the pillows that came with the couch were the ugliest prints known to man!)  

Wall decor.  
Now you either love it or are perplexed by it.  
And either way is okay.  
I actually love these pieces for that exact reason.  I use peoples' response to them to gauge them, see what makes them tick.  

It's just a plain, one-color frame and "picture."  
I like it to add dimension to an otherwise flat wall.  
There is one here and one by the dining room table.  

They are just two huge pictures I found at the thrift store.  (Both were hideous.  One had swans and one 70's daisies. But I knew you don't normally get frames that big for $6 so I bought them.)  And I painted wall paint (from my hallway, which is a few shades darker than my living room) over all of it.  

Someday if I ever get bored of them, I could add something.  A stencil.  A painting.  A Bible Verse.  
But for now, I still like them plain.  
I guess it's just scope for the imagination.  

Here is my sewing table.  
I got this at the thrift for $15.  
I LOVED IT when I saw it and had to have it for a side table.  
I didn't even realize it still had the sewing machine in it!  
But it did and it works great!  So that's what I use for all my projects you see! 

Above it I have a frame I painted and filled with fabric I liked. 

(And yes that plant needs more water too! It seems for now I can only handle feeding small humans, no other life forms.)

So yeah.  
That's my kitchen and living room makeover.  





(You can tell I took a while to post this because J doesn't crawl any more.)

I feel at home here.  
And that's what matters when it comes to decorating.  

And in full discloser, my house usually looks like this:

I cleaned ALL day to get ready for these pictures.  
So nobody go beating themselves up that their house doesn't look clean "like Lydia's does"
because Lydia's house doesn't look like my blog!  :)  


  1. Love your full discloser pictures :) It looks like my house after a day of cleaning too. Hubby says he could do better, I bed to differ. LOL It will get easier as your kiddos get older, my oldest just turned six and now helps a bit around the house with cleaning windows and scrubbing the toilet. Anywho, good job on the painting and redecorating! God bless sis.

  2. Hi there.... Weird how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did. I do the training videos for Sofa Mart at Furniture Row in Colorado and I am currently doing a video for the upgraded version of the "Reno" (which you have), now called the "Orion." As I was doing a web search for Reno pictures, I came across your blog and read how the seat cushions are sagging and you are unhappy with the product. Please know that your cushions are GUARANTEED to retain their seat height for the life of the sofa. If they are not holding their seat height, or your sofa is sagging or defective in any way, they will replace or repair at no additional charge. Please go in and see what they can do to help you. If they do not, ask for the regional manager. You deserve to have a comfortable sofa. :-) Just thought I would help. :-)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share that with me. We actually ended up selling the couch maybe a year or less after this, we relocated for a couple years to a really small place where they literally wouldn’t have fit. I still would be very hesitant to buy a sofa mart couch because of how quickly that one not only sagged and dented in (ottoman too), but the cushions also separated at the seams within about a month of owning it. Even if they would have fixed it all, that’s a pretty big hassle, and it’s something I don’t think should have happened at all. Hopefully they have improved the quality of their products over the years.

    2. Ah bummer... sorry to hear all that happened. I kinda wish you still had it because they would have given you a full refund or replaced the couch with another. Big hassle... you're right. Hopefully your new set is better. :-)


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