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.