Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Little Kitchen Change

For the past few years I've wanted to repaint all the yellow walls we've had since we added on our new kitchen in 2004. 

Maybe because I've seen so many pretty white kitchens on blogs? Sometimes seeing a different kitchen decor means wanting it, whether or not we need it.

And the bright colors I chose for our rooms in 2004 seemed....out, passe, not in style.

Especially the yellow walls, the bright yellow rain slicker walls I chose for the kitchen areas back in 2004, when this yellow was in House Beautiful.

  And let's don't even talk about the black granite counter tops we had installed in 2004, which almost instantly became an anathema to designers. And ours weren't even honed.

Honed?  Nobody told me about honed.

So there I've been, with yellow walls I wished were white. Lots of yellow walls--kitchen, family room and dining area, pantry area, and in the old kitchen ell, everywhere we had installed the black and white checkerboard floor that I had wanted for decades ever since I saw Dee Hardie's kitchen on the cover of House Beautiful. 

And speaking of the black and white checkerboard floors, guess who it was that insisted we use white grout, not black? That would be me. And guess what color white grout turns to with years of use by pets, muddy boots, and sloppy cooks? 

Back to the yellow walls being painted white. It just was not going to happen. My men would rather work outside in 100 degree temperature than paint lots of yellow walls white.

So I studied on it for ages, looking through Pinterest for hours....

because I decided I needed to embrace my yellow walls.

And I found one magical picture, and no, I'm not going to show it to you because my kitchen would look like Cinderella before the glass slipper next to it.

But it gave me the idea of painting only the lower cabinets of our kitchen, not the walls, not the upper cabinets, surely no more than two days work. My men agreed to that.

Here's the kitchen a year ago with the yellow walls, black granite, and stark white cabinets:

The problem of that, in my eyes, is that the kitchen is open to the family room, and the family room is anything but stark white, as you can see. 

So R.H. and two of our sons painted the lower kitchen cabinets, making me one happy lady.

The color I chose was a grayish green, Benjamin Moore Oilcloth.

No, that's not a true picture of it, this is more like it:

Actually, it depends on the light, day, night, sun, cloudy. It changes.

It does make the biggest difference to me, more like the lower cabinets are a piece of furniture, not white kitchen cabinets sitting right beside a colorful family room.

I think my decor philosophy from now on is going to be this, from designer Tom Scheerer:

"Don't make too much trouble for yourself.
Work with what you have and get on with it.
Live life now,
rather than after a torturous renovation."
Tom Scheerer

Now I have another problem. I can't get PicMonkey to work, even after following their instructions to update flash player. So what will it look like if I load remaining pictures without editing them? These would have been in collages so you wouldn't have to scroll through so many pictures. And there's no editing on the rest of these or some of the above ones. 

But I went to so much trouble to do this post that I'm including them for those of you who have told me you want to see more of our kitchen, even though this is a long post and I'm been trying to make my posts much shorter lately.

You can't really see the beautiful granite lazy susan that our daughter gave us, but this is where I keep all my vinegars, olive oils, and some seasonings, right by the stove.

Once upon a time I had a regular size refrigerator that sat in its own little nook, where the china cabinet now sits. When we replaced it, I wanted a big one, easy to reach into without becoming a human pretzel, and sacrificed form for function. I'm willing for it to stick out.

Behind these doors is the pantry.
(And that area, my friends, is where my sink, fridge, and oven sat for 14 years
before we added on the new kitchen.)

Any blogger who takes pictures of her kitchen to post when her Swifter broke down
when she planned on taking pictures of her kitchen floors
might as well go ahead and show a picture of her far from styled pantry.


 So that's it, our kitchen.
You saw the kitchen ell in my recent post on pomanders,
where a wall of old cupboards sit that hold dishes,
so that's about it, dear friends.

We have a strange kitchen.
It wanders around.
It takes 18 steps from our sink to a trashcan.
Refrigerators stick out,
the sectional sofa that holds our large family is almost a part of the kitchen,
the grout is dingy, 
the microwave, food processor and toaster are banished to the laundry room,
but I feel like I'm in love with my kitchen of many colors once more.

Even if Benjamin Moore did just announce that their color of the year for 2017
is going to be something or other white.

I'm happy but I can't promise that I won't fall in love 
with the next pretty kitchen in Blog Heaven.

Of course, none of you ever do you?


  1. I can relate to this on so many levels, Dewena. For one, I have yellow walls in my LR/DR that I badly want to paint. A backsplash in the kitchen that I loved 12 years ago when we moved in, but can't stand anymore. I could go on. I have been greatly influenced by Blog Heaven, and would love to re-do my entire house, but that's not happening! I'm loving what you did to your cabinets, especially because the change made you so happy. Enjoy your kitchen!

  2. Hi, Dewena. Well it's good you kept yellow, for the reasons you mentioned, and because I see yellow more and more. The same for the black and white floor. And I don't know how I guessed it, but I thought gray/green would work, and it does. Maybe I saw the kitchen inspirations somewhere, and it was subconsciously still there. The change made a huge difference, and updated it too! :) xoxo Su

  3. i don't know where to begin said the queen! so i shall begin at the beginning.
    i'm in love with your kitchen. i have been for a very long time.
    the first time i read your christmas post ... that one with all the tables in various styles with your exquisite collection of dishes. you could make a career just of tablescapes! you're that good.
    i thought then... valley view and its kitchen was and still is simply magical.
    the yellow walls and the black and white floor... nothing could be more artistically chic! i don't give a hang for what the paint companies tell us is IN.
    it's their job to make us unhappy with our present paint so we'll BUY MORE!
    LOLOL! and your 'solution' of the bottom cabinets... is brilliant!
    and that living room... family room... whatever it is you may call it...
    it is the epitome to me of comfort and love. and now i can picture you better at valley view! cooking. and reading. and sitting with beloved furries in your lap.
    thank you for this wonderful post dsm! the only thing missing for me is the smell of something delicious coming from that gleaming stove! LOLOL!!!

  4. You made the right choice. I think that the new color on your bottom cabinets warms up the area and fits in nicely with your family room. Your kitchen has lots of character with all its funky spaces, and I love character!

  5. I love your kitchen of many colors! My favorite kitchens have been those that I could paint to my liking, so when we moved into this house I was dismayed to find lovely wood cabinets that would be a shame to cover in paint. And black granite countertops, which I'm not very fond of. Love the quote about 'working with what you have and get on with it.' That is what I've decided to do, and I have fun accessorizing with color in the kitchen. Oooh, but what I would give for that black and white tile floor!

  6. And Tom just painted our kitchen walls yellow! I love them! We've had linen white walls for ages, and I'm thrilled with the brightness. The walls make a cloudy day sunny. I never follow trends. My kitchen has butcher block counters from 1981! And my floors are hardwood - well trod upon. I love the way your kitchen looks, and the way it melds into the living room. And the windows. It is homey and cheerful and welcoming.

  7. Thank goodness those guys were to busy, lol because I have been in love with your kitchen since I first saw it had a very nice post or two about it on your first blog and I still remember that :)

  8. Oh, and I love that quote. I've saved it in my quotes folder, and it may show up on my blog someday!

  9. I love your before pics - i think it looks wonderful and others would come and see that and want it - ...but I also love the new paint on the lower cabinets. I love seeing pics of your house - it looks really great and also cozy!

  10. When we were looking for our current home, one of my main requirements was a white kitchen. I wanted the "farmhouse" look (which I have loved for always), with open shelving, white subway tile for a backsplash, a farmhouse sink, dark hardwood floors and white marble countertops. I have none of these things but the dark hardwood floors. And I'm as happy as a peach! Your yellow walls, white cabinets, checkerboard floors are all gorgeous and they make you happy! I love the paint on the bottom cabinets, which goes to show that small changes have a huge impact! Your home is gorgeous and design is all about what makes us happy! The yellow walls are bright and cheerful and I've always loved the color! The walls in our rental were a dreary yellow and added no cheer at all! You chose wisely with your colors and your design my sweet friend!! Love and hugs to you!

  11. I have never had a kitchen I love, but I have a marble utensil holder filled with wooden spoons from around the world, curtains I like at the window, a doorknob from London hanging over the veggie bin and one of my favorite framed prints on the only wall with enough space to hold it. When I sit at my kitchen table drinking tea or typing, that is what I see.

    However, even though I have never painted anything but a flat wall with a roller (and that with supervision), I think I will paint my cupboards this winter - all by myself! See what an inspiration you are? Let's hope it goes better than my occasional foray into the world of Pinterest.

  12. Dewena, first of all I have to say that I just LOVE your black and white checkered floors. I've always wondered what it would be like to have them. Your kitchen is charming, and it reminds me of my dear friend, Kim's kitchen at Daisy Cottage. I really like the yellow walls, I think it makes the whole space more cheerful. And I like how your kitchen is open to the family room. That is exactly what ours does too, and it looks more spacious I think. Your kitchen really is charming, Dewena, and I wouldn't change a thing. And those little orange pumpkins on the counter made me smile. Just perfect for the season.

    love, ~Sheri

  13. I love that color!!! Your cabinets are super charming. I am not much of a cook and I have always wanted my kitchen to be more of a gathering room, filled with furniture, rather than a stark workspace. I wanted something reminiscent of my grandmother's kitchen...from the 1920's...she never updated. I decorated my kitchen that way when we added it about 13 years ago and it looks exactly the same today, so you know I love that quote!!

  14. It is a lovely kitchen indeed. I've always wanted to see more of it. I love the checkerboard floor and always regretted not getting that in my kitchen. I'm always fond of yellow walls for it reminds me of sunshine. I love what you did with the lower cabinets and have been talking about doing the same. I also have black granite counter tops and I have always loved them. So let's see...I basically love it all even the quirks that make it unique. Oh yeah, and I love that you started blogging again. I've been enjoying your posts though I've been reading secretly. I may have to start up again too one day here. xo

  15. I too, fell into "lust" with all the completely white-ness of all the new and old homes. I did. I admit it. I did. And it hurts to be in "lust" with all white, living in our half century old home, with a wood worker who hates to paint wood.

    Then Instagram came into my life!!! And saved me, from all that whiteness "lust"!!! -gigggles-

    On IG I found lovely old (like before 1700) UK country houses. Where they never heard of white. Where they embrace their oldness, as it were.

    Oh yes, some do paint everything but the old wood bits, white. But..... I am working on getting out of "lust" here and I can't dwell too much on them.

    I have learned to love my full brick wall, around my simple fireplace again! And it is so relaxing. Wheeeeewwwww... I was getting way too old for all that "lusting" anyway.

    Happy you found your neat halfway way!!!

    We really should not dwell too much, in what-is-the-latest-thing you know. It's a big waste of time.

    Pumpkin hugs,

  16. Well, I really like how your kitchen opens right into your family room. Both rooms are where all the action is, and the cook never feels left out of things. I do love your kitchen. I don't see a thing wrong with it; maybe when we get tired of something or see the bigger/better online, we can wish for something different, but I think it's beautiful.

  17. Hi,
    I love your quote. :-) I love your brooms. My son just loves the photos of your house, he was reading your blog too. :-))
    I love your kitchen.
    My mom has a yellow kitchen. I have a white kitchen. :-)
    I really like what you wrote today, it just made me smile.

  18. Thank you for the lovely long post and tour of your kitchen. I love those black and white floors. My sister has a white kitchen and I've been trying to talk her into getting floors like that. The cabinets look great below the granite. Here's an idea if you want to soften that yellow. Get a can of light yellow paint and sponge it over the bright yellow. I know the technique some say is dated but I can see it there. Your kitchen is just beautiful. When we had the remodel my fridge was going to stick out too. I had them remove the studs behind to give me a few extra inches. And they put the plug into the basement to gain even more. My kitchen is so small that it would have looked bad sticking out six more inches.

  19. Oh- Dewena, It really looks great. What is the actual color of those lower cabinets? They do look more like furniture pieces now. My mother always had a yellow kitchen and at one time we had the checkerboard floor, too. I have ALWAYS loved black and white tiles. They are just timeless and classic to me.

    Your kitchen is lovely and your family room is very warm and inviting. I would feel right at home there. xo Diana

    ps .IF you have time pop over and sign up for the giveaway for my son's newest venture.

  20. ...oh...silly sweet girl...don't you know that to many of us...your kitchen is every bit as beautiful as dee hardie's kitchen...(and I loved those tales from thornhill farm too)...blessings laney

    1. Hi Laney, since I wasn't able to find how to get in touch of you to thank you for your comment, I'm leaving one here. Thank you!

      Always wonderful to talk to a fellow Dee Hardie fan!

      Blessings back to you,

  21. Persoally i love your kitchen!!! 😄😄😄

  22. Personally i love your kitchen!!! 😄😄😄

  23. I love your solution, Dewena. The green was such a great choice, and it plays really well with the white upper cabinets, as well as the yellow walls. I've seen other kitchens with yellow walls and white cabinets. Very fresh. I was one of your readers who wanted to see more of your kitchen. Thanks for showing us. I LOVE it and your family room. What a warm, welcoming, lovely home. xo

  24. Oh, how I wish I could plop myself into that soft, leather armchair, after a very hectic weekend, with a view to your beautiful kitchen, which, in turn, looks out to Valley View's prettiness - such charming scenery from every standpoint.

    The new hue on your bottom cupboards is perfect, and a lovely, warm complement to the existing white ones above, as well as the buttery yellow walls. You know I've always adored your checkerboard floors, and the cute chandelier above the sink!

    But what I love most about Valley View is something that never needs updating since it never grows stale, and that is that your home is filled with love and life, with so many amazing goings on all the time. Family, both near and far visiting, furry friends adding to the cheery activity, and when it's quiet, you, working diligently at your desk, make your household, my dear Southern Belle, a wonderful example of Tom Scheerer's 'design' philosophy, for you are 'liv{ing} life now, rather than after a torturous renovation.' A small, but effective change was enough to make a significant statement, without taking up too much time and energy away from the big picture!


  25. Dear sweet Dewena,

    You now have a white, green and yellow kitchen like me! And a checkerboard floor, although mine is not black and white. We're kitchen cousins ;)

    You know, I would have actually shed tears if you had painted your kitchen white. It's a reflection of you... warm, cozy, beautiful and different.You're not a carbon copy of anyone, so why should your home be?

    I understand though. I look at all these blogger's homes and on Pinterest and I see the "trends" everyday. At one point I had a trendy kitchen in a brand new house and you know what happened? It went out of style 2 years after we fixed it up. It was never "me" anyway. It was my ex-husband's dream kitchen along with the house that he "had to have". He didn't cook, so I have no idea why I listened to him lol

    Anyway, my point is... trends come and go and the best thing for you to do is love what you love and ignore the rest or just admire it like a beautiful painting in someone else's house. That's what I do. Every time I see a pretty kitchen and I start to get envious, I walk into my kitchen and smile, because it's exactly what I wanted and it's completely "me" :)


  26. In my eyes, your kitchen is so beautiful---all that I've seen of your home is lovely! I'm glad you found a solution to "too much yellow"! I've enjoyed coming here for a year, reading of how you found your dream home and what you've all done to make love and comfy. You're blessed to have your strong and talented menfolk around!
    Just thought I'd stop lurking long enough to say you have a beautiful home and family, and you write as if talking to a friend at your kitchen table. What a taent that is.