Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Kitchen Reveal (better late than never)

The kitchen is officially complete!

The makeover had a hesitant start and was met with much opposition (ahem, my husband), but I pushed forward, finding encouragement from those who assured me that they would do the same if they were in my shoes (Rosanna, Andrea, Elissa... thank you!)

I've been itching to share pictures but have been waiting oh-so-patiently until the makeover was totally complete. Finally, I am ready to share the finished product!

First, let's jog our memories and look back to what the kitchen was like when we first moved in...

On first appearance, most people were pleasantly surprised by the original kitchen. The white cabinets are pretty and the space is big. And for this reason, even I was hesitant about whether I should really go to all the effort of painting. But, upon closer inspection you would see that the paint colour on the walls (and above the cabinets) had a bit of a pink-ish hue, while the brick backsplash gave an 80's vibe to the space.

The whole jagged-toothed grin from the fireplace-wall was anything but welcoming.

And a close-up of the brick. Just because.

And we can't forget the red wall. I tried to pretty it up by putting my little knick-knacks up on that white shelf, but it wasn't really helping. The fire extinguisher to the right of the closet wasn't doing much for the space either. Erik and I agreed we could still have it close enough to be safe without having it bolted to our kitchen walls.

So, I took a deep breath and the project began. Erik strongly suggested that I should prime the brick before painting it. I questioned him on this slightly, especially since the bricks had already been painted (which meant I wasn't dealing with raw {and porous} brick). But, being the submissive wife that I am, I acquiesced.

I can't remember how long I painted that first night. All I know is that I zoned out while listening to the movie Julie & Julia playing in the background from the other room.

And I wasn't getting very far.

I was still working at getting into a good brick-painting rhythm at this point - how much paint to get on my brush and exactly which wiggling technique would work best for getting in between all those deep grout lines. About 1 hour in, the fingers on my right hand were starting to cramp.

The next day I continued on for awhile and was getting more and more overwhelmed at the realization that I was going to be painting these bricks THREE times over - with 1 coat of primer and 2 of colour...

So, that's when I made an executive decision. I informed Erik that, whether he agreed with me or not, I was only going to prime the black bricks. I figured the other bricks were light enough to go without primer, and because they had been previously painted, they would take the paint better. And even though it wouldn't have mattered (because my mind was already made up), I was thankful that Erik agreed.

That meant that my priming was almost done. I only had a little more black left on the main fireplace wall, and just one row of black bricks around the kitchen in the backsplash.

So, with priming complete, it was time to move on to colour. In my original post, I was pretty confident I would go ahead with Oriental Ivory on the walls, but I decided to take Elissa's advice and put the paint chips up against my cabinets for a day before deciding. It definitely made a difference, and after doing this, I realized I preferred Shadow Dream after all.

As the first coat of colour went on the brick backsplash, I was feeling excited and optimistic. Anything was an improvement over the splattered beige and salmon I was dealing with. And my brick-painting skills were improving - I knew just the amount of paint needed on my brush and I was perfecting my wiggle-the-brush-in-the-grout-line technique.

But as the colour dried and darkened, I had that sinking feeling of just really not liking it. At all. It was like mint ice cream. A lot of mint ice cream. And the colour looked even more intense on the backsplash because it was under the shadow of the cabinets. It seemed a little tacky (which, by the way, was not the look I was going for). I went to bed feeling discouraged and wondering whether tinting the colour lighter for the second coat would make it look better.

The next day the family was at our place for Thanksgiving dinner and my sister-in-laws helped me determine that white on the backsplash would be a better choice. Luckily, I had a half-can of off-white on hand that matched the creamy cabinets almost perfectly. So, another deep breath and I began to paint over all my hard work from the day before. Erik thought I was totally nuts at this point. But, once again, my mind was made up. And as soon as I saw the white going over top of the mint ice cream, I knew I had made the right move.

I wasn't sure what to do about all the brick on the fireplace wall, but since it was already half-painted in Shadow Dream I really didn't have the courage to change it at that point. I figured, if anything, I would paint all the walls with Shadow Dream for the first coat and then lighten my paint (perhaps by mixing the white and Shadow Dream half and half) for the second coat.

When it came time to roll paint onto the flat wall sections (which, by the way, felt incredibly fast and easy after painstakingly brushing all that brick, let me tell ya...), I fully expected to get the same mint ice cream feeling. But, as it dried, I actually really liked it. It was totally the soft and creamy blue-green that I had been hoping for from the beginning. It made me realize how different the exact same colour can look on 2 different surfaces.

Here's a comparison picture of Shadow Dream on the bricks and on the adjoining walls. Don't they look like 2 totally different colours?

One small time-saver that we discovered as the project evolved was that if we focused on only painting the grout lines with a paintbrush, we could roll the surface of the bricks with a thick roller (the kind used for textured ceilings - don't ask me for the technical name). But the best discovery was that, in the end, primer on the black bricks and only ONE coat of colour on all the fireplace wall bricks was all that we needed! What a relief after imagining the hand cramping that would've ensued from three tedious coats...

But, even with the extra work that I saved, I was still pretty done with the whole brick-painting saga. I admit there is a teensy tiny part of me that still wants to go back and paint the fireplace wall in the creamy white to match the backsplash... But, I'm drawing the line. Because if we end up renovating this house, I expect this wall will be one of the first to go.

And, much to his credit, Erik changed his tune and totally jumped on the kitchen-painting bandwagon. And he was very helpful despite his initial hesitance. He even dismantled the gas fireplace and repainted the whole thing in black.

In fact, after all was said and done, he may or may not have suggested that some new baseboards would really finish the space off well. Yep. I called it from the start. He couldn't resist the home improvement vortex.

The red wall transformation was definitely the easiest and fastest part of the process, but I think it was also the highest impact. The whole room felt instantly bigger and brighter. But that one wall stood empty and stark until this week. I was waiting for Erik to make me some coat hooks. I wasn't expecting anything too fancy - just some flat moulding with some hooks screwed on. But Erik took it a step further and fashioned these babies for me.

They look almost too pretty to hang stuff on.

And even though Erik warned me not to take any pictures until he could cover the screw holes, I did anyway. (Seriously, how many of you didn't notice those little screw holes until I mentioned them just now??)

With the rest of the wall, I debated putting up a frame gallery, but in the end I had Erik put up the white IKEA floating shelf that we already had.

I found a few things around the house to stick up there, including a picture of Micah and Keziah's feet that my sister took a few years ago. And my new favourite idea from Pinterest - putting pretty scrapbook paper into white frames. I would love to find a wallpaper in this pattern!

So now, after that very lengthy preamble, here is the kitchen before and after!








kelly ens said...

very stellar. i love it all :) your hard word (and changed mind) has paid off. can't wait to see it in person soon!

Tara V said...

LOVE IT! It looks fantastic. Great job.

laura.h said...

Oh Jamie. It looks sooo fantastic! You did such a great job. Painting those brick's looks like HARD work. I love the color. But I think my favorite part of the whole post was your sentence..."but being the submissive wife that I am...I acquiesced." This seriously made me laugh out loud. You are too funny.
I am totally addicted to Pinterest at the moment. I may need an intervention.

Kirsten said...

What an incredible difference! Nice work Jamie.

Heidi said...

very nice. And I love the hooks Eric made.

the Dees fam said...

Gorgeous! GREAT job! I love the hooks too! And, the fun stuff you put on the Ikea shelf and up in the niches above the fireplace! Such a nice change!

Bonnie said...

Sensational!!! Take a bow Jamie (and Erik, I guess ;))! It looks amazing. Love everything you've done. But I'll admit... I DID notice the screw holes before you mentioned them :) Let's just say Erik and I must be cut from the same cloth ;) hehe
Hope you're enjoying your gorgeous new work space!

Anonymous said...

wow!it looks great!
and cudos for all the brick-painting!
it turned out great, though:)


rachel joy said...

VERY impressive! Well done, Lady. I love the coat hook wall. Very homey.

Elissa said...

Loving those hooks!! I'm so glad you went for it Jamie-- it looks great :)

GSFALK said...

SO nice!