Kitchen Remodel: Phase I

Yes, it’s Phase I– of Version 4. This isn’t the first transformation for our kitchen and all the big ticket items (new floors, cabinets, appliances that aren’t brown) have long been paid for. But thus far, the total investment in Version 4 of Redesign That Kitchen is $56. $50 for low VOC Benjamin Moore paint + $6 for sponge rollers. Everything else (to include the materials for the building projects) existed down there in the region some folks call a basement. I currently call it 1200 square feet of wasted space since it’s housing a whole bunch of junk and projects to-be-determined. Part of my current obsessed motivation is getting that square footage back. Small People–and their things– take up a ridiculous amount of room.

So, version history of this kitchen?

Version I
The kitchen had blue flower vinyl flooring, complimented by the light blue dining room carpet and brown wood paneling in the dining room. And the dry-clean only curtains with giant brass thingy. Yes, we did buy this house with a dining room that looked like that picture. We replaced that carpet and the vinyl with pretending-to-be-granite-tile floors.

Version 2
Look closely– beyond the christmas tree–

We tried to salvage the original cabinets with a few coats of paint–they were, after all, real wood. However, even good paint couldn’t cover the old-lady-with-bad-kitty cabinet smell. Sniffle– look how little Z is in this picture. Totally unaware I was gestating his arch nemesis– aka, little brother.

And for 24-odd months, I lived with that kitchen.

Version 3
But at about 7 months pregnant with E– and nesting like a damn pigeon in an electric store sign– we used tax refund money to sorta upgrade the cabinets. Tax refund money and the expertise of a friend’s impulsive offer to help (meh-heh-heh). At that point, basic stock cabinets was an upgrade. A smart upgrade, since we live in a transitional neighborhood (aka, homes values probably won’t decrease, but it’s anyone’s guess if they will increase). When upgrading a house in a transitional neighborhood, one must be very careful to temper personal taste with common sense.

Was the kitchen okay, as is? Yeah, I guess so. It wastes a ton of space and it’s not very user friendly for the Small People. The Small People who really, really want to help do things– like unload the dishwasher and set the table. They are already hanging up their own laundry thanks to my installation of wire shelves and a closet rod within their reach. I feel wrong by not giving them what they want with the helping thing!

So, between pinterest, a lives-in-my-computer friend/DIY person, and the desire to use my children for manual labor, I began to get motivated. If y’all didn’t know, an ADHD person with their meds and motivation can do amazing things. Include in that a husband who leaves the country for a week, kids that go to bed at 7pm, and same ADHD lady who can’t burn off any of that gee-gee-gee-gee energy by running, and you end up with this.

By the way– don’t think I’m ignoring the children– most of this good-times-fun happened during naptime or after bed. The other little bits? Well, never underestimate what can be accomplished in 20-30 minute spurts. Of course, there was also a casualty– RIP dish drainer that was in the oven during the preheat cycle. You had a good run.

As of tonight, most everything has had its second pass of the top coat, so the painting should be done tomorrow. That’s the real bitch with painting cabinets– it takes time (most of it of the drying/preparation variety) to do a good job. But after the last bit dries, the really fun stuff is next– building!

Cardboard Box Train

If you are a person with a son who loves train, an overactive imagination, and not enough things to keep occupied during those long afternoon naps, you probably get in the same kind of trouble that I do. The trouble that revolves around having ideas and making plans off those ideas. Perhaps you think of building a playhouse train out of a cardboard box in your kids’ playroom closet.

Or perhaps you don’t. But I do, and did.

My inspiration came from the local kid’s museum—they have all kinds of static play-on structures; ambulances, boats, etc. I thought about my love of upcycling. I thought of the large wardrobe boxes (had to buy these)…I thought of silver paint (had lots of this)…I thought of a fake driver seat (had one of these, too). I thought of everything.

Well, not everything. I didn’t remember that you can’t paint oil-based paint over water-based paint and expect adhesion, especially not when the painting surface is cardboard. Nope, I didn’t think of that until after I fighting with the installation of the train roof and noticed I had silver fingers.

I have once again been foiled by the ADHD and my attention-to-detail problem.

Even had the paint not rubbed off and the end result of my idea was an actual train, I spent far more time on this than I intended. My original estimate was that it would take about 5 hours—to include paint/dry times—to create a square train from two boxes.

Well, the train wasn’t going to be square (mistake number 1) because I told a certain Small Person what I was doing (mistake number 2) and he got all excited and said SIR JOHN?, and I agreed (mistake number 3). Giving a rough guesstimate, I would say the whole thing took 16 hours. Not 16 hours of actual work, I’m billing some time to “thinking” (my former co-workers will remember this work-code). I spent about 10 minutes being really annoyed by the dismal end, and then I got over it.

Because regardless of there being no fancy silver train—I have another wardrobe box. They can use their own imaginations and pretend it’s a train. No further involvement from me is necessary. It’s only what I should have done to begin with…had my own imagination not gotten the best of me!

Now…my real fantasy is to build a train-shaped playhouse in the back yard. I think I’ll wait until the silver dust settles to bring that idea up with Joel.