You can’t always get what you want (back to the kitchen-centric drawing board)

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Kitchen | 0 comments

In advance of actually listing our house, our real estate agent sent in his house stager to poke around just a bit the other day.  Which was awesome and exciting, but terrifying just the same (cue nervous pillow-fluffing.)  The visit started out amazingly – Ms Stager walked in, took off her boots, and declared that she absolutely loved our little living room – the colours, the pillows, the fireplace mantel, everything – and wouldn’t change a thing about it.  Woo!  We were elated – a design-expert had just proclaimed that we have good decorating skills.  Big shiny gold star for us!  I almost high-five-ed Sweetie when she turned her back (but didn’t – I’m really not a high-five-ing sorta girl, and Sweetie’s definitely not a high-five-receiving kinda guy.)

But then Ms Stager (who, despite my grumblings, was really really nice) turned to our kitchen.  And, of course, she scowled a little while she looked at our floor and counters.  At which point, to put her obviously distressed mind at ease, I proudly brought out my little floor sample (Allure Trafficmaster flooring in Hickory), and my chosen countertop sample too (Formica’s pretty Ivory Kashmire), and waited for her approval to rain over us for a second time.

Pretty gold granite-look laminate Ivory Kashmire by Formica

Her approval did not come.  In fact, she poo-poo-ed my countertop choice, saying it wasn’t gray enough or dark enough or something equally disappointing.  We needed something with more grays or something slate-y, she said, to go with all the grays in our kitchen and living room.  We could install my beloved Ivory Kashmire granite-look Formica in our next house, she quipped, but here?  Here we needed to work on resale.

I won’t lie: my heart broke into a gazillion pieces.  For anyone who knows me well, I’m decision-dysfunctional.  Committing to anything is a long and tedious process, normally involving hours upon hours of research and debate over various options and careful weighing of pros and cons and alternatives.

Yep.  Ms Stager told me that, despite my careful consideration, I had chosen wrong.

Sigh.  I was sad.

So I wandered back to the drawing board with her tips fresh in my head.  I visited all the big box home stores in our area for ideas and inspiration.  And, after much deliberation, here’s what I’ve come up with…

Formica Jamocha Granite and Allure Trafficmaster hickory sample for kitchen

…our same Allure flooring choice in Hickory (just because I love it so much, and also because it should be easy for me to put down on my own some day while Sweetie is at work) and Jamocha Granite laminate countertops from Formica.  It’s not EXACTLY what I wanted for my pretty little kitchen, but it could work.  And I think it could even, possibly, look really nice.  Perhaps Ms Stager was right.

So, there’s your update on where things are so far!  How fitting to find ourselves once again standing in the kitchen, trying to make decisions.  Hopefully this time we’ve got it right.  :)


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My countertop conundrum (the big debate: laminate vs butchers block)

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Kitchen | 0 comments

I’ve likely mentioned this before (and, well, possibly several times) but there are two things that drive me a little wacko about my cute little kitchen: the countertops and the floor.

The floor is its own separate debate (that I’ve already chatted about HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE just a little HERE too.)  The floor is indeed hideous, and soon needs to be replaced (sadly, teal-coloured 1980′s peel and stick tiles just aren’t my thing.)

But almost equally offensive are my old laminate countertops.  They’re warped.  They’re chipped.  They’re scorched in a couple of places.  They’re, um, blue.  From a distance they don’t look completely awful…

BM Stonington Gray and Snowfall White 1940s kitchen

But once you get a little closer, the years of wear and tear (and overall blue-ness) becomes a little more apparent…

Yep.  Kinda gross.

In a perfect, countertop-abundant world, I would adore new Corian or Caesarstone countertops, or some other sort of composite material.  Similarly, granite would be fantastic.  And marble would be positively lovely!  Unfortunately my (rather frugal) bank account has a bit of a say in the matter, and is dictating my choices just a little.

I’ve always lived with laminate countertops.  My mom had them in our house growing up (and recently replaced her old laminate countertops with gorgeous new granite-look laminate counters.)  Every apartment and house I’ve lived in since (including this one obviously) has also had laminate counters.  And I DO like them – untrendy as they may be, they’re rather easy to care for (no sealing, no worrying about standing water or red wine…  install, and enjoy.  Simple!)  Of course I’d absolutely prefer a snazzy natural stone or one of the new composites (oh, Misty Carrera Caesarstone, how beautiful you are!) but from a financial and practicality standpoint, laminate is a far more appealing option.

And, all that said, I HAVE found a laminate option that I think I could live with.  It’s a granite-y laminate called Ivory Kashmire, and it’s made by those fine folk over at Formica.  On the tiny little chip I nabbed from Home Depot, it looks like this…

Which, I’m hoping in my kitchen, would look a bit like this (from the Lettered Cottage)…

White kitchen with gold granite countertops from the Lettered Cottage

Or like this (from Made By Girl)…

White kitchen with gold granite countertops courtesy of Made By Girl

Pretty eh?  :)

My other option would be the super trendy (and lovely!) butchers block countertops.  Butchers blocks seem to require considerably more care than laminate counters.  There’s the sealing.  And the oiling.  And more oiling.  And the paranoia regarding standing water.  And the oiling.  And while treating wooden countertops once every few months doesn’t sound like a huge undertaking, I’ll forget.  Guaranteed.  And Sweetie will forget to wipe up water splashes.  Also guaranteed.  And then I’ll end up with watermarks or cracking or whatever normally happens to shamefully neglected butchers block countertops.  And then I’ll be sad.

But, they’re SO NICE.  See?  I want my kitchen to look like this (from the Marian House Book)…

White older kitchen with butchers block counters and checker board floor

…or like this (from the Mustard Ceiling)…

White older kitchen with diy butchers block countertops courtesy of the Mustard Ceiling


I may, in the end, very well end up with both in my kitchen – laminate on the countertops around my cupboards/sink, and butchers block on the island (where its much less likely to come into contact with water, and could look lovely leading into my living room!)  Time will tell.  Until then, I’ll likely continue to obsess over both.

Because that’s what I do.  It makes me sound a little crazy (but, in truth, it’s sorta fun.)


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Revisiting my little kitchen Christmas art project (yep, the blue’s gotta go)

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Kitchen | 0 comments

This weekend it snowed here for the first time this winter (although technically it’s still fall, I think), which, as you can imagine, meant that Operation Christmas truly began chez Sweetie and Joy (since snow just makes everything feel Christmassier and cheerier and happier!)  (At least until New Years… soon after that I’m totally done with the snow and start looking forward to spring.)

Even my newly acquired little driftwood star got Christmassied up a wee bit…

Driftwood beachy Christmas star

Yup.  We’re all getting in the spirit around here.  (Pictures of cats wearing tiny little reindeer antlers to follow shortly, of course.)

I’ve now lived with my DIY kitchen art attempt for a week now, and I’m still not loving it.  At all.  :(  I’ve decided that it’s the blue “inner-matting” (I should seriously coin that term, eh?) that’s throwing everything off.  Yep – the blue is making me… well, blue.

Blue matted Christmas print in kitchen

So I delved deep into my scrapbook paper pile once again, and pulled out a sheet of lovely Christmassy red paper.  And squealed just a little.  Because that’s what I do.  (Kinda freaks the cats out a bit, but it keeps them on their toes.)

And after a few minutes of cut and paste (I’m president of the International Society of Cutters and Pasters, btw), I had this…

Free Christmas printable diy matting project

Which looks like this on my wall…

DIY free printable Christmas project

Free Christmas printable project kitchen

Which makes me a very happy girl.  :)

Free Christmas printable project in BM Stonington Gray kitchen

So am I done with this project now?  Probably.  I mean, I could be really rather persnickety and say that the red is a little more tomato-ey than I’d prefer (which, really, is quite true.)  But it’s BETTER.  Much better.  And I have a gazillion other fun projects I’m just itching to start.  (Do you see that as foreshadowing?  Let’s call that foreshadowing.  :)

Happy one month (less a day!) till Christmas!  Hooray!  Bring on the merry!


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Bringing a little more merry to my kitchen (my “use-what-you’ve-got” attempt at a quick DIY project)

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Kitchen | 0 comments

My lady with her cats (and dogs) has adorned the kitchen wall above my stove for quite a while now.

Art over stove in kitchen with cats

I love her.  She’s classy (there’s french writing on that print – doesn’t that automatically make her sophisticated?), and, well, she’s hanging out with several cats (which makes her pretty darn cool in my books.)  It’s perfect.  :)

Clinique Cheron image over stove in kitchen cats

But…  I’ve been feeling the need to switch things up a bit lately.  While I love my crazy French cat lady, I’ve been feeling the need for more colour.  More oooomph, if you will.  A little cheer and a lot of joy perhaps.  So, with Christmas coming (and the gazillion free printables floating around Pinterest) I decided to make the switch.  For the holidays at least.  And then I’ll revisit my “art above the stove” dilemma again in January.  (Stay tuned for another post on that in about 40 days.)

It didn’t take me long to find this…

Christmas subway art free printable

…courtesy of the lovely ladies over at Eighteen25.

And it didn’t take me long to decide that it’s perfect for my little kitchen. :)

The only problem?  Our printer, being a non-fancy-pants little machine, prints 8.5×11″ pages.  It’s not a high-end printer by any means, and it maxes out at a standard papersize.  Downsizing the original 16×20″ print to fit my tinier paper wasn’t a huge problem.  However the matting in my frame was for my lovely 11×14″ cat lady.

Christmas subway art printable

My “use whatcha got” solution?  Leftover scraps of scrapbook paper from other random past project.

Free printable Christmas print diy

Yup.  I pieced together what I’ll call an “inner-matting” (technical term) using some sparkly blue scrapbook paper pieces I had leftover from some other random DIY project.  For the record, I’m not a scrapbooker.  But I love scrapbooking stuff.  Paper and punches and pretty things…  It all makes me swoon, just a bit.

And, when I was done my little project (I excelled at cut-and-paste as a toddler, btw), I was left with this…

Rematting a free Christmas printable for my kitchen

Insert semi-frowny face HERE.  The big reveal was most definitely a colon-S sorta moment.  :S  I’m undecided.  It needs… something more.  Like some red ribbon or some doodads or something like that (maybe there is in fact a little closet scrapbooker buried somewhere deep inside of me afterall.)  Or perhaps it’s the blue paper that’s throwing me off.  While I love the blue with the print, it’s just not playing nice with the gray on my walls.

Kitchen print diy attempt with free Christmas printable

So let’s consider this a 4 out of 10 for now, k?  To be revisited again shortly.  I have some deep red scrapbook paper kicking around somewhere in my scrapbook paper basket (yes, I have a designated container for pretty papers…  don’t tell…) that I’m guessing will likely be the solution to all my kitchen print woes.  Yep, there may indeed be a second “inner-matting” cut and paste project extraordinaire coming to a kitchen island near me.

Are you excited?  Me too.  :)

To be continued…


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Nervous nellies never get new floors (yet another kitchen floor post)

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Kitchen | 0 comments

Let’s chat about my kitchen floor again, shall we?  I mean, it’s been at least a good month since I last obsessed over my floor (publicly at least…)  So, all thing considered, I’m actually way overdue for a kitchen floor post.  :)

Today’s kitchen flooring option for consideration?


Yep.  I’m thinking about going with classic black and white tiles now.  Why?  In all honesty?  Cost.  I found peel and stick solid black and solid white linoleum (or whatever peel and stick-ers are made out of) tiles at Home Depot a couple days ago for about 50 cents each.  At that price, I could redo my entire floor for about 50 buckeroonies!  As you can imagine, my head has been a-whirlin with the possibilities.

Just to remind you of how dire my floor situation is, here’s a shot of my kitchen as of this morning (in all her ugly-floored glory)…

Ugly peel and stick kitchen floor

I’m not necessarily looking at the peel and stick checkerboard option as a permanent solution, but it would be a super cheap fix while we’re saving up for (and, well, deciding on) whatever our permanent floor will be.  And it would be EASY to put down.  If I don’t go on a diagonal with the tiles (or anything fancy-pants like that) and just stick to a plain old grid pattern, I could simply use the existing peel and stick tiles as a guide.  I’m guessing…  two hours tops to put the entire floor down.  Maybe.  If that.  We’re talking instant gratification to the tune of $50.

BUT, (as always) I have some reservations.

Reservation #1: I’ve read that the checkboard pattern shows EVERY spec of dirt that falls on the floor.  And I can imagine this is very true (particularly with the white squares.)  Not that I’m against religious sweeping and washing of my floors – just call me Susie Homemaker because I’m a little OCD about that sort of thing.  But I’m wondering if floors that show every single crumb (or piece of cat fur) that falls might push me over the edge.

Reservation #2: My kitchen is PRETTY.  And I want it to stay a pretty little spot (it makes me happy!)  The black and white checkerboard might be a little too… busy and loud for me.  The last thing I want is a floor that screams “Helloooo!  Welcome to our house!  Look at me!  I’m a checkerboard floor!” every time someone walks through our front door.  (Nobody likes being hollered at by an overbearing floor.)

Reservation #3: Maybe I should just hold out for the floors I really want (you know, the ones that I haven’t yet decided on) rather than settling for a temporary fix for the time being.  Although, that said, with potentially only a two hour and a 50 loonie investment, why not make things BETTER for the next little bit while waiting for the flooring I really want?

Hmmmm…  Sigh.  I’m undecided.  Of course.

But, in lieu of an actual decision, here are some black and white floors that I do indeed love!

From Brown Button

Black and white checkerboard kitchen floor - Brown Button

…this gives me hope that a black and white checkered floor could indeed look serene (and not screamy!) in my space.  :)

And I love this diagonally-laid floor, courtesy of the Marion House Book

Black and white checkerboard kitchen floor on diagonal

…coupled with the older cupboards, this makes me think a checkerboard floor could in fact work in my space!

And here is a different take on the traditional checkerboard pattern that I love, from my fellow Canucks over at The Sweetest Digs

Black and white striped kitchen floor with peel and stick tiles

…they used the exact same inexpensive peel-em-and-stick-em tiles that I’m contemplating from Home Depot.  It’s not a traditional checkerboard pattern, but I absolutely adore how their floor turned out!

So…  all that loveliness aside, will a black and white floor be in my future?  I’m undecided.  (Yes, big surprise.)  I adore all of the above floors (A LOT) but I’m just not sure if it’ll look as nice in my space.

(Do you see yet another kitchen floor post coming in the future?  Yep.  Me too.  This is definitely not the last time we’ll be chatting about my floor…)


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My kitchen seating dilemma solved (cue happy dance!)

Posted by on Sep 1, 2012 in Kitchen | 0 comments

Despite that I love our dining room (wait – have I ever shown you our dining room?  Hmmm… I may have skipped that.  K!  Post to follow on that shortly!) Sweetie and I most often eat at the island that divides the kitchen and living room (well, when we’re not enjoying dinner in front of the telly, that is…  shhhhh…  don’t tell…)  Eating at the island is just easier and closer to the kitchen than eating in the dining room (since, well, that 10 extra feet ALL THE WAY over to the dining room is just way too far to go for casual meals when it’s just Sweetie and me.)  Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love our dining room (which is why I’m super surprised I’ve never done a dining room post) and we eat in there whenever company is over, but if it’s just Sweetie and me (like it is 99.9% of the time) we just eat at the island (or, um, in front of the telly.)

The stools on the living room side of the island are AWESOME.  I adore them.  They’re Ikea’s Ingolf stools (bar height) and I think they rock.

White ikea Ingolf bar stools at kitchen island

BUT, they’re far too cumbersome for the kitchen-side of our island (since there’s no overhanging countertop to push the chairs under there.)  For a while we tried the little white piano stool I scored a la Kijiji a while back…

Small white piano stool in kitchen

…and while I LOVE my pretty piano stool, I didn’t love it in the kitchen (and plus Sweetie and I are different heights, and he was always screwing the seat down, while I was screwing the seat up, and it was just a big pain in the tooshy, truth be told.) (Ha!  Get it?  Pain in the tooshy?  Sitting?  Chair?)  (Yes, groan.  I know.  K.  Carrying on…)

Enter: my parents.  Well, actually, enter: my grandparents.  While visiting last time I was home, my parents offered me this…

Vintage yellow metal bar stool in kitchen

…and I did a ginormous (and rather embarrassing) happy dance right there on the spot.  This metal bar stool used to reside in my grandmother’s little 1940s kitchen.  And then it migrated to my parents’ home at some point.  And now it lives in my kitchen.  And it’s perfect.

Little yellow vintage bar stool

Am I going to paint it?  Oui.  It’s been a long time since this lovely little stool was last painted, and some of the yellow paint has chipped off at the corners and such.  Being my indecisive self, I haven’t officially decided on a colour yet, but it may end up either pistachio green or (big surprise) teal.  Because I adore teal (in case you hadn’t noticed!)  And, seriously, I can’t help but be inspired by Young House Love’s teal-coloured bar stools

Teal spraypainted kitchen stools from Young House Love

Squeal!  Pretty!  :)

Further updates on the fate of my cute little vintage bar stool to follow!  But in the meantime, Happy Labour Day Weekend to everyone out there!  And welcome September!  (Dear September: I love you.)  I suppose this means I should get on all those September resolutions eh?   Hm, k.  Off I go to work on our basement…

Have a fantastic Labour Day Weekend!  :)


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