Last Christmas my husband and I went to North Carolina to see our daughter le professeur. She began a five year PhD program last fall, and is studying to become a French professor. Early on we discovered she could purchase far more living space than she could rent for a comparable amount. She immersed herself in a crash course on home buying, and took possession of her new condo just days before we arrived for the holiday.
Her dream for while we were there was to convert the 1980s kitchen into something that looked more like Provence. We had one week to move everything that could not be transferred in one of her many trips across town in her Honda Civic; celebrate Christmas; set up a new household; and renovate a kitchen. Seven days....seems a little tight. But le professeur is not faint of heart, and we soon agreed to try.
(Apologies for the shadowy photos. My camera died almost as soon as we arrived. So, I had to use my phone to document the process. It is an interior room with little natural light, and it rained the whole time we were there. The result was shadows any time of day.)
The kitchen came with laminate countertops and laminate, wood trimmed cabinet fronts. It practically screamed 1983. The upper cabinets on the wall with the sink had worked themselves loose over the years. My husband was looking at them deciding how he could reinforce them when he realized they were not anchored into studs. At this le professeur grinned knowing there was no way her father would leave her with improperly hung cabinets. It took about five minutes to clear that wall.
She chose a shade of gray with just the slightest hint of blue and painted the walls.
The laminate countertops were really simple to remove. They were replaced with slabs of reclaimed marble that once graced the walls of some public space during the fist half of the twentieth century.
We googled stone cutters in the area and talked a couple into stopping by to make a few cuts in the marble early one morning before their work day. It was noisy, but blessedly brief so we didn't make enemies of the neighbors the very week she moved in!
My job was painting the cabinet fronts with a special laminate spray paint by Rustoleum. We added hardware for the visual effect more so than actual use.
None of us had tiled a wall before. We watched a YouTube video or two, and le professeur was ready to dive in. Her father tried to butt in a couple times, but was sent packing. She tiled the backsplash completely on her own.
The cabinets were replaced by wood shelves. We needed extremely strong brackets to hold the shelves and the weight of all that would be stored on them. The home improvement stores didn't have anything in stock that could handle the load. My husband sketched a C shaped bracket that had the right dimensions and would attach to both an upper and lower shelf. Off he went into the countryside to meet the man who would create exactly what we needed as well as offer tales of government deception, conspiracies and advice for dealing with all that goes bump in the night. It was really more than he bargained for, but by golly, the brackets are amazing.
These boards once served as floor joists in some old warehouse. She chose them for their aged, worn character.
We found a pendant light at the Habitat ReStore, replacing the glass shade with an antique shade that was also at the ReStore.
We set her kitchen items on the countertops and hung things on her walls. Since we have been there, she found a Persian carpet runner that she put down the center of the room.
Le professeur got her Provincial kitchen that week, and somehow we finished in time to celebrate New Year's.
What a fabulous "weekend" project! It's beautiful! I love the shelves and the tile, and the light...well I love it all! And some interesting memories made in the countryside.ReplyDelete
It was so fun working with her on a grown up project!Delete
Beautiful! And so impressive. She's a girl after my own heart. I have always loved remodeling and took every chance I could get as soon as my husband left town on business (her couldn't deal with the mess it created). And, yes... antiques, old stuff. That's what it's all about. I once found a treasure at the State of Utah surplus building. A beautiful patina finished chandelier. It looked old. It had character. It was screaming at me as I entered the room. I could hardly get to it fast enough. Everything was half off that day and I was able to pick the beauty of up $25. The gentleman that carried the chandelier out to the car for me told me the story behind it. It's original and came from the old carriage house behind the governor's mansion. A piece of Utah history! It's by far my favorite light in the house and is a great conversation starter.ReplyDelete
I surely miss those days of remodeling and scouring places where old stuff is found. Now I am in my dream home with no remodeling to do. Sometimes I go stir crazy and have to create a project to change the look of a room or a corner of a room. You know what I mean...
I DO know what you mean. I am blessed that my two daughters want to take me along on their adventures in nesting now!Delete
I would love to see a photo of your chandelier. $25 is unbelievable! When we were newlyweds every Saturday was spent scouring the county for old treasures. It was such a bonding experience--the adventure as well as making a home. Those same treasures are still displayed around the house. I have never felt the need to "update".
Oh, and by the way, how exciting for your daughter to get her PhD as a French professor. What a wonderfully fulfilling career choice. I love the French countryside and the rich history. What a dream job!ReplyDelete
It is just perfect for her personality too. That makes me so happy!Delete
Awesome!! Holiday, family time, and DIY all at once.ReplyDelete
Wouldn't want to spend every Christmas this way, but for this one year it was pretty darned fun!Delete
So fun to do!ReplyDelete
So exciting! Every time I make changes to a room I continue walking past it just admire it. :) Looks awesome!!ReplyDelete
I know! Me too. Then I generally start to notice something nearby that is going to need some work next!Delete
Sounds and looks like she's as creative and resourceful as her mother (and father). And perhaps is familiar with the William Morris project and philosophy as well?ReplyDelete
She is so funny because she is such a mix of that philosophy from her parents as well as a wee bit of the hoarder that she inherited from my mother! Leads to some internal struggles sometimes!Delete