Monday, September 3, 2012

My French Country Kitchen

"Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses."

Apparently I never got that memo.

Our main bathroom is the size of a closet and I've shown you as much
as I care to of the upscaled outhouse in the basement.  To top it all off,
this is how our kitchen looked (below) when we moved in.

All the amenities a girl could ever want.   :@

*Painted Z Brick backsplash.
*Fluorescent box lighting.
*Vinyl remnant flooring.
*Portable dishwasher shoved into a space where a cabinet was yanked out.
*2 layers of wallpaper applied with glue.
*Old and dated 1960's maple cabinets falling off their hinges.
*Cracked and chipped wood look countertops.

And the unexpected .......
*Leaky steam baseboard heater section no longer manufactured
 requiring us to buy all new cast iron model.  Cha ching!
*100,000 staples (used on the plywood subfloor) that we were unable to remove from the original wood floors we had planned to refinish.  Cha ching!!!

We all know the 3 rules to follow when purchasing a home.
You're probably thinking location, location, location right?
Well, of course that thought was in the back of our minds, but we had a different
set of priorities when we needed to find a house immediately.

Old, cheap, and available.
Yup, just like an old hooker, our house had all three.

This innocent looking light fixture was the beginning of the minor face lift
I planned for the kitchen.  Paint the existing cabinets.  Refinish the original wood floors.
Install an inexpensive countertop.  Done.  Easy as that.

Here's where we encountered our first big stumbling block.
  The wood floors we had planned to refinish weren't salvageable.  At this point, everything
 came out.  The floors were leveled properly and new subfloor installed. 
 New baseboard heaters were installed and painted. After much deliberation,
 I chose an Italian porcelain floor tile laid in a random looking hopscotch pattern. 
Then most of the old cabinets were reinstalled.  Two new stock cabinets with drawers
replaced the portable dishwasher.  I am the dishwasher now. 
 But don't feel sorry for me.
  I actually like to wash dishes! 

The cabinet above the stove was also replaced with a smaller version to
make way for a microwave range hood.  We have very limited counter space, so getting
the microwave up and out of the way was essential.  Since we have so few linear feet of
countertop, we splurged on a quartz countertop with a travertine tile backsplash
 and topped it all with a decorative stone bullnose tile.

Hinges that fit the profile of our old cabinet doors were no longer available, so I removed the antique brass finish of the existing hinges with my patina solution used to blacken solder lines on stained glass windows.  The knobs and handles were purchased online through Van Dyke's Restorers.  We painted the cabinets with Benjamin Moore Water Borne Impervo in a color called Simply Irresistible.
 * I highly recommend this paint.

The photo above shows how the original kitchen was equipped in our 1921 house.  A small cabinet like those pictured, a stove, a sink, and a built-in ironing board. 
No refrigerator!

The icebox was located near the back door where it was convenient for the ice to be delivered.  I've filled that space (above) with a 1940's cupboard I use to store kitchen towels and miscellaneous items I don't have room for in the kitchen.  The cupboard is placed on top of a platform which creates a cubby to stash our shoes near the back door. 

             There was a pantry where the refrigerator is now.  The door was removed to accommodate this modern appliance.  You've seen the pantry cabinet that we updated with chalkboard panels and faux crown molding.  It's located in the spot that originally housed the built-in ironing board, so I've moved my vintage green iron to that spot as a nod to the past.
The sconce light isn't actually hard-wired, since the metal laundry chute is behind that wall.
It's just hangin' out there looking cute.  I covered the shade (and the one on the countertop lamp) with leftover checked fabric from the valances and edged it with black gimp trim.

We replaced the appliances with bisque models to make the small space appear
 more streamlined.  The dining room is off to the left.

The soffit houses utilities, so it couldn't be removed.  I filled the space with one of my many tole trays and souvenir plates that I spray painted and embellished with our return address stamp.  That was before I knew about The Graphic Fairy magic.

I made the valances from toile I bought at Walmart. 
The checked fabric is from JoAnn fabrics.

I stitched up the chair pads out of a houndstooth check fabric, also from JoAnn's.
The counter height chairs were $35 clearance models from Target that I painted black.

The farmhouse table was made from a Matthew Burak kit.  I was able to choose
 all the dimensions of the table and add my own top which is an inexpensive
 beechwood countertop purchased from IKEA ( only $60 for an 8 foot length).
  I stained it a dark walnut color and sealed it with high gloss, quick-dry polyurethane. 
 I even had wood left over for 2 big cutting boards!

The table does double duty as additional workspace when needed
 and it's the most popular place to sit in our house.

Rounding out the space is the medicine cabinet I turned into a display cabinet for my ironstone pitchers and a place to hang decorative towels.  The clock has been on this wall since the day we moved into the house just over eight years ago.

So there it is.
My French Country kitchen.

The one and only room in our house that is

Or is it?

Thanks for joining me today.

Joining the parties at:
The Farmhouse Porch Cowgirl Up
Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesday
Common Ground Vintage Inspiration Friday
Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday
Ivy and Elephants What's It Wednesday
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special


  1. Are you sure the before and after photos are the same room? Omigoodness it's simply amazing! I love the wall color with the black accents. Bold move on your part and you nailed it. This is a gorgeous kitchen, Vickie. And FYI - I don't have a dishwasher either and it doesn't bother me washing them by hand. I've done it for many, many years. But back to your kitchen. It's just beautiful. The cabinets look great!! And the countertops are really classy. Super job.

  2. Thanks for the tour around your kitchen! It is great to see how the bits and pieces I know come together. You have done so much work and an amazing job. Love your hand sewn touches, your tile and fabulous job on the table! So much light and love the illustration of the original stock kitchen. :) So clever on the plates too. I see Miss Winky up there waiting for Mr. Right and your black-eyed susans look darn nice in there too.

    Your photos are fabulous too... magazine worthy!

    I think that house was lucky to have you two move in. She is definitely in good hands. :)

  3. SO lovely. Vickie! I love the colors and the charming hardware! You have made so many wonderful changes...just beautiful!

  4. What an amazing transformation Vickie! I love the touches of black and white fabrics you used. You did an beautiful job sewing the curtains and seat covers. It really looks fantastic!

  5. Well you did a wonderful job! I love the re-model! Hugs, Diane

  6. Fabulously charming kitchen. The wall color, cabinet color and black hardware and accents are perfect together. Great table and the chair pads are super. If you have to wash dishes by hand at least it's a great place to spend time.

  7. Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous - I have kitchen envy and a hankerin' to refinish mine right now! Except I have to go to my 9 to 5 first...darn it.


  8. You really turned that kitchen around. I don't know why you didn't want to keep the old countertops. Chipped faux wood is so in now isn't it? I love how you mixed in the vintage items with the new. LOVE the smiley coffee cup!

  9. Did you hear me giggle when I read about the 100,000 staples in your floor? ;-) I absolutely love what you did with your kitchen. I can tell you put a lot of thought in your French Country Kitchen. It's beautiful!

  10. such a labor of beauty--wonderful work, vickie! love the return address on the plates!!--you are so clever, girl! the table, curtains, it all makes a charming space:)

  11. You've done a fabulous job, Vickie! What a transformation since the 'before' look. I like that you can look back at your challenges with humor. :)

  12. We got a house once for a very good deal because the kitchen was so awful. Love, love, love you redo ... very charming!!

  13. Vickie your kitchen is FABULOUS! What a wonderful transformation. It looks like a kitchen that belongs in a decorating magazine. Love it!


  14. Vickie,
    What a great job! The kitchen looks wonderful, and your choices and decisions were right on.
    The table terrific - gorgeous tabletop!

  15. This is an amazing transformation. I really love this kitchen the black and white is so fresh and sophisticated. Thanks for sharing.


  16. cheap and available - same as our home's too funny that you've likened it to a hooker! This is quite a transformation; well thought out and very creative. Just the right mix of old and new materials - I love it!

  17. It's beautiful Ms. Ranger. My fav is still the little ironstone cabinet. Or maybe the ice cream bucket.


  18. What a wonderful kitchen you have now. I love the photo tour. You really are a designer!


  19. Fun visit! I love the iron in there to remind you of the ironing board.
    Job well done!
    xxx, Tina

  20. You really did a great job Vickie!
    Such a big not seems to be the same kitchen.
    Everything is perfect, every detail.
    I am the dishwasher too! I leave the space for it because my husband and the architect insisted, but I put a big basket with kitchen supplies there haha.
    Besos and congratulations! Silvina
    Oh! I love the medicine cabinet...and the scale...

  21. OMGoodness Vickie, you have a beautiful kitchen! It's so hard to believe that is the same kitchen. What amazing transformation!! Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful evening, Gail

  22. It's wonderful!!! You guys did an awesome job!

  23. It's beautiful and you've done such amazing work! I love every detail, especially the medicine cabinet. Adorable! My favorite comment was at the end... isn't that so true... in an old house, is a room really ever truly finished?! :-) Have a wonderful week!

  24. I love seeing before and afters and your after looks FABULOUS!!

  25. Vicki,
    very charming! Such a change from the before! Great job!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Vickie:

    I just love your French kitchen and every little detail and accessories in it. Your toile cafe curtains look so nice against your paint. Is it a terracotta shade? I love it.

    Your counter top is also adorable including your ice cream bucket.

  28. What a fantastic re-do. I'm loving all the details you put is, like the new cabinet hardware and chair slipcovers. It always turns into a bigger job, but it came out great.

  29. You have a very charming kitchen! I can't believe how it looked when you moved in compared to now. You've done a great job transforming it. I love the black and white valance you made!

  30. Beautiful makeover, Vickie. You are a great seamstress. I love your choice of the toile and the checks. It really doesn't look like the same space you started with at all.

  31. You've really done an incredible makeover on your kitchen, it looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the before and after shots.
    I don't have a dishwasher either, infact I've never had one and it doesn't really bother me either.

  32. Vicki, Your kitchen transformation is WONDERFUL!! Love all the choices you made and details you added.
    I can see why it's a favorite gathering place.
    Mary Alice

  33. I have NEVER heard anyone compare their house to an old hooker before! I laughed out loud!
    Your kitchen is so charming and so NOT like the old one~you did a great job! I love the table!

  34. In our last house we redid a kitchen that looked just like yours. Mine never looked this cute though. I love it! That medi cabinet is so cute!

  35. Job well done. Absolutely amazing! I love the colours and all of the wonderful hardware and beautiful floor. I would love it if you could share this wonderful post at our What’s it Wednesday linky party. I hope you can join us.


  36. Vickie.
    Oh so beautiful. I love the stool cushions. So cute. You did an amazing job on the whole kitchen. What a great transformation. Just beautiful.

  37. Love the color of your kitchen walls. This make-over turned out beautifully inspite of all the road blocks and curve balls it kept throwing at you.
    I really like the chair cushions you made, I hope you did a post on them. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Your kitchen is fabulous! I love your french country touches together with the clean lines. I had a light fixture similar to that in my old house and I loved it!

  39. first of all I have to admit the wall color grabbed me! Oh gosh, how I love that pumpkin-y color. You have really made this room magazine worthy! I'm going to be featuring this post and your blog for tomorrows Vintage Inspiration, thanks for being such a sweet friend and supporter, xoxo

  40. Hi Vickie. I had to pop back over and congratulate you on being featured at Common Ground!!

  41. Vickie,
    Your kitchen is beautiful!!!! LOVE that color on your walls! Your cabinets,table,lights everything looks amazing!

  42. I bought an old run down hooker too and you really glized her out! She's a real lady now!!

    I had to stop by to see your amazing kitchen and also meet a fellow elf on the shelf and sock monkey loving gal - two of my favorites too!

  43. Wow! I love it all. The orange walls, black toile and accents, white cabinets, and the floor. Very chic and charming all at the same time! Great job! ~ Angie

  44. I forgot to ask but would love to know what color you used on the wall. Thanks! ~ Angie

  45. Wow!! What a transformation! Your kitchen is beautiful!!

  46. First let me say, I LOVE your paint color!! It is so fresh and original and is so great with the black and white and mint green accents. Not just anybody could pull that look off so well. The chair pads are just perfection and the antiques add just the right touch. This is one strikingly beautiful kitchen!!

  47. The paint color is just right... not too bright, not too dark. That's a hard thing to pull off and you did it. Congrats! Visiting for the first time here.

  48. Found it! It is a beautiful kitchen. I love toile fabric very much, too. It looks lovely :)

  49. What a wonderful transformation, and I know how much work is behind this very pretty kitchen. I love, and I mean LOVE, your gorgeous table that does double duty as a counter. We bought stainless steel appliances when we thought we were selling our home, and now I'm stuck with them, but I would have preferred the uncluttered look of white, too. Great kitchen!

  50. I just found your blog recently and I love your kitchen. Everything about it. the wall colors, the toile curtains, the light figure, table, chair pads. You have given me much inspiration for my own kitchen.

  51. This is a beautiful kitchen!!!
    I would like to know how you constructed the chair cushions...that is very interesting!!

  52. A pretty important functions of one's kitchen are to store, prepare and cook food and to accomplish related tasks including dryer diagstic


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