10 January, 2010

Kitchen Update -- Return to Green, and a New Take on Illumination

Ted and I went to Kansas City the day after Christmas, and brought his sister Betsy back to Chicago with us in time for New Year's Eve. It was a fun few weeks of visiting back and forth with friends and family, but now that the last of the hot buttered rum has been consumed and the Christmas decorations halfway packed up, it's time to get back to our home renovation projects.

So the last few days were spent working primarily on the kitchen and entryway, with triumphs great and small. Ted focused on the electrical, working to rewire the kitchen and find out just where the heck each circuit runs--the conduit never seems to go where we think it should, and it's a matter of opening up sockets, switches, and boxes to physically wiggle wires and trace where they go.

In the process, he removed what has been, for us, a true eyesore. The ugly white kitchen fan:

Our kitchen is fairly small, and the fan--even though it's a light color--just dominated the room. We love ceiling fans, but in this case it just wasn't working in the space. We cheerfully disassembled it, packed it up, and set it on the porch where it awaits my next trip to Goodwill. In its place is a light we picked up from Schoolhouse Electric, which makes period lighting. It's the one new light fixture we've purchased for The Box House; the others to date have all been antiques that Ted rewired. Definitely visit the vendor site; Schoolhouse has an excellent gallery where you can peruse the light fixtures in various settings. The one we selected has a gorgeous custard shade with black trim:

(I wish the light fixture budget was bigger, because I would also like to pick up a set of deco-looking bathroom sconces from Schoolhouse. Sigh. Maybe some day.)

As for myself, I continued to plug away at stripping the wood trim around the doors in the kitchen. When last we left it, it looked something like this, the wallpaper having just been taken down:

Note how the horizontal boards are painted white. Boring and so wrong! I used the heat gun on them, and because the first coat was shellac, it melted quickly and the white paint just slid off. For the wood without paint, I used a pull scraper and lightly scraped off the bubbling finish.

This photo shows the horizontal boards uncovered. Even without sanding them, I'm already thrilled with the contrast. It really makes the room come alive.

This is a closeup of the (mostly) sanded wood of the vertical trim around the door, and the horizontal board, which hasn't been sanded yet--you can still see traces of shellac.

I know y'all are tired of looking at my sanded wood, but I'm not, so here's another pic:

For her part, Mom began to chip off the gawd-awful brown tile that runs behind the sink and stove. Underneath the tile, we found evidence that the horizontal wood boards once ran all the way around the room. A previous owner took them out on this wall to install the icky tile.

Eventually, we're planning on painting this room with a pale green venetian plaster. It was Mom's idea, who just felt that the room should be light green. This color green, to be exact:

And what do you know? Upon removing the tile and a bit of the mortar, we found trace evidence that the original color of the kitchen was green:

Okay, it's not the same shade of green, but it's light green just the same. How cool is that?

All in all, it's been a satisfying few days' worth of work.


Anonymous said...

HA!! I just installed that exact fan in my sewing studio!! Needed circulation and it was the least obtrusive fan/light combo that I could find.
Bonnie in Winona, MN

Karen Anne said...

The boards look great.

Brigid Keely said...

Your wood is looking FANTASTIC.

donna said...

You're making this old blogger tired, but you do good work and I enjoy following the progress.