Monday, August 3, 2009

Sorting through old photos stirs up the memories like nothing else can. Sometimes even serves to make a few adjustments, do I dare say "corrections?" to a memory that has faded a bit or to a time line that has slipped slightly out of order. But the significant benefit of photos is that they jog other memories that could not be captured on film.

This photo shows my kitchen looking a tad worse than when I purchased the house in 1978 because I could not wait to start the demo. The sink you see was the extent of the kitchen. There were no cabinets or counters. The yellow wallpaper was intact at closing but it didn't last much longer than a few days. Sadly, it had been freshly hung by the previous owner and I remember her lamenting the fact that she had just gotten her kitchen the way she wanted it and now she was moving.

I selected oak cabinets and poppy colored countertops to coordinate with a wallpaper pattern I had chosen. (Keep in mind this was the late 70's) Although the floor is not visible in the pictures, the thought of it jogs my most vivid memory of the kitchen rehab. I saw this vinyl floor in a magazine ad and was convinced it was the perfect compliment to the rest of the color scheme. Tiny patches of blue, terra cotta, brown, and a golden yellow formed an intricate starburst pattern resembling a delicate hand stitched patchwork quilt. At the time I thought it was stunning! But as badly as I wanted this flooring material, I knew I had an entire house to finish and I needed to be practical and stay within budget. So when my brother left to pick up the flooring material at the discount remnant shop, I asked him to look for something in a brick color as I knew it would be satisfactory. (well, sort of.) He returned with a long face and told me he was unable to find what I wanted but said he picked out something else that would probably work. Then he carried in the gorgeous pattern I had seen in the magazine. Turns out someone had custom ordered it and then decided against it. I had the exact flooring I dreamed of having in the exact color and pattern that matched my kitchen and I had it for the discount price. When it was installed, I danced around the empty room in stocking feet on that shiny new floor and the floor seemed as happy to be there as I was to have it there.

A little later I started a bathroom remodel in the room directly above the kitchen. Plumbing access required going through the kitchen ceiling so it seemed the perfect time to add recessed lighting. An island replaced the table and chairs. The wallpaper did not survive this transition and it was replace with a lighter color above the chair rail and a lovely poppy colored pattern on the lower section. New curtains completed the makeover.

Next came the new cabinets in white. The oak cabinets found a new home in a neighbor's kitchen and are there to this day. The walls were done in a dappled teal and white sponge technique with wisteria stenciled over the pantry doorway. Actual grapevine with silk wisteria drifted across the cabinets and over the stove.
There were minor changes to curtains and wall decor over the years. Faux finish painting became my obsession and all the walls in the house became my canvas. The kitchen was never spared. A little faux brick still peeks through the broken and chipped plaster "look" on the walls. The countertop was switched out when I tired of the teal and white theme and was replaced with a varigated green. Along the way the beautiful vinyl floor was replace with hardwood.
Here is how it looks today. The chandelier over the island danced into my life one day. I wanted someone to have it and when I couldn't pursuade my brother to buy it for his house, I bought it for mine.


Over the years the appearance of the kitchen changed many times but the good times and the good food continued uninterrupted through every phase of decorating.

The picture says it all.

Danny entertains with his harmonica.

Eighth grade graduation. That helps to date the wallpaper.

Christmas cookies have become a tradition with the grandkids.
It's always great to have kitchen help.

We miss you Sheila