The best laid plans of mice and men and middle-aged suburban women

If you read us regularly at all, you know that Cane and I are downright dawdlers when it comes to getting our projects done. And, we rarely progress in a straight line from start to finish on anything.

This (sorta) Old Life: Daisy photobomb on the stairs

Yeah…our stair/entry project still isn’t done, and we started that LAST fall.

But last week we had a 3-day weekend (4 for me, as I don’t work Mondays) AND it happened to fall on a weekend when our kids were mostly with their other parents AND I’d recently happened upon this book in the library:

This (sorta) Old Life:  speed decorating

If you read us regularly, you know we’re not big on the idea of decorating, but I liked the basic premise of this book:  That we can make a room cleaner, cozier, and more comfortable in a short amount of time without having to re-do the whole thing.

After reading the chapter on kitchens, I became enamored with the idea of taking the weekend and finally (after 2 years) making our kitchen look like it’s not a room in progress.

This (sorta) Old Life:  speed decorating

Note that this would, in some ways, be business as usual for us. We’re still working on our family room, and suddenly painting the kitchen would be a detour from that.

But sometimes–especially when we’ve been working on a big project for a long time–we just want a big, fast hit of DIY satisfaction, and there’s no better way to get it than with paint:  It’s relatively fast, it’s easy, and it makes a big impact.

Before diving in to how it went, I want to say that the kitchen is one of our favorite places in the house. Even though there was much we didn’t like about it on our first walk-through, we could see that it would be a space we’d love.

This (sorta) Old Life: kitchen on move-in day

Our kitchen on moving day. We weren’t grooving on the wallpaper or light fixtures, but we loved the big open space and the vaulted ceiling.

This (sorta) Old Life: kitchen on move-in day

Not loving the floors or plastic laminate cabinets, either, but we did love all the light. While the cabinets aren’t our style, they are solid and provide lots of good storage. This is a great kitchen to work in.

The very first thing we did (the week we moved in) was replace the flooring, and just that made a huge difference:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Kitchen

A few months later (right before hosting a party) we started tearing the wall paper off the big wall. We had the party with the wallpaper only half-removed, but then we got the rest of it down and painted the wall. We also installed the art line we love.

Cork flooring guide

And we replaced the brassy 90s light fixture with the 70s one we picked up for $10 at a salvage store.

Then we didn’t do anything else for a long time. We had much more pressing projects to tackle, and the little bits of remaining wallpaper and the white walls didn’t keep us from enjoying this functional and light-filled space just as it was.

Here's Ella hanging out with Daisy while we make dinner. The kids love to sit on this bench in the window.

This past spring/summer, though, Cane took on the task of designing and building a new table and seating, a project for his online class. (You can read about that here.)

This (sorta) Old Life: kitchen table and benches

(Here’s a sneak-peak from Cane’s in-progress post on that project.)

We really like the new table and benches, and once they were in I started making noises about how we really should just finish tearing off the remaining wallpaper and paint the room.

Next thing I knew, Cane had ripped a big chunk of paper off the window wall (which you can see in the photo above). To seal the deal, I smeared some test paint (from our family room) on the wall above the ripped paper.

And that’s how it’s been since sometime in July, and that is where we were when we decided that our long weekend would be the weekend in which we’d finally get the last of the paper off the walls and kill a little more of the overwhelming white.

This (sorta) Old Life: kitchen

Although swapping out the vinyl flooring for the cork floors did a lot to tone down all the white, there’s still more in here than we’d like.

I finished our post on Wednesday night, with a request for color suggestions because we weren’t in full agreement on a color, full of anticipation and excitement about the long weekend and our project.

By the middle of the day Thursday I was feeling unusually tired, and by that evening I was undeniably sick–sore throat, stuffed nose, and beginnings of migraine. While I’m sick with migraine all the time, it’s been a few years since I’ve had a cold. Years–and I get one right before a beautiful, long fall weekend in which I’d hoped not only to get our painting project done, but also to get out and enjoy the turning leaves and spend some quality couple time with Cane?

This (sorta) Old Life:  fall leaves


That’s just how it goes sometimes. Let’s be real, that’s  how it goes a lot of the time. I went to bed that night with Robert Burns playing on repeat in my head (cause that’s the kind of thing sick brains do), wondering if we’d have to abandon all hope for the weekend.

And just so you can have some sense of living it with us, I’m going to stop this post right here. (I know, the suspense is killing you, right?)

Oh, all right, here’s a little teaser:

This (sorta) Old Life: kitchen painting

I’ll let you know on Monday how it all went down.