Kitchen Living Room

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dad's Kitchen Before & After

This is part of a series on my dad's house in Alaska. Read more here. I'll resume 650 square feet posts on my condo when the series is complete.

I sort of did all of the projects at my dad's house all at once; I didn't go room-by-room. My last post was about the arctic entry, and the kitchen is next in the house as far as what room you walk into (sort of...) so, I give you, The Kitchen!

First we have pesky old Mr. Brass making an appearance in the light fixtures. Here's the original fixture on the wall in the kitchen with its original glass shade. I'm pretty sure all of the stuff is builder-grade. Meaning that the builder probably got it in a multi-pack discounted deal.

I tried out a few different kinds of glass shades before I started spray painting with my trusty dusty Oil Rubbed Bronze. I tried this guy first. He was nice and kind of yellowish. But just not quite right.

You can sense the Goldilocks-esque story coming, right? Then I tried this one, which was nice and square. But still not quite it. 

And then I tried this one, which was just right! Just the right shape and just the right amount of frosting. (Mm, cake.) It's frosted all around except a little ring around the edge. 

And if you read my previous post on the arctic entry, you'll also know that I tried a speckled variety of glass shade. But it just let off too much light. And it would be interfering with my Goldilocks story if I put it here. Here's the spray painted light fixture with the proper shade amongst some pictures I framed for my dad:

And more pictures of pictures:

Here's my brother, climbing a dangerous wall:

Some of the items in the kitchen I just could not/did not want to tackle myself. Although we did try. Here my dad and I are trying to disconnect and remove the dishwasher.

Ummm, yeah. So my dad and I managed to disconnect the electricity just fine. But then the water started gushing out of a pipe and we called it quits. Turned out that the little valves under the sink that can be turned to prevent the water from flowing to the dishwasher were a bit broken. So the water just kept flowing out. But we stopped it back up really quick. Then the plumbers came. They had quite a difficult time fitting the new dishwasher into the same space the old one was in (under the kitchen island). My dad had a long conversation with some Interesting employees at Lowe's that seemed to think my dad lived on an island. True story. Wow. Eventually the dishwasher was installed properly. I hid upstairs until it was done. They also installed a new kitchen faucet which was, supposedly, much easier. Here's the old one:

And the new one, ta da! Hiring people to do stuff is fun. Because then its like magic!

Pretty, right? The best part is that now the faucet works better too. My next step was to take these lovely fellas:

And change them out for something more elegant. I was trying to channel something a little more industrial. I picked out a series of fixtures from Lowe's:

allen + roth 12"W Mission Bronze Edison-Style Pendant Light with Clear Shade

You sort of have to use special light bulbs to get the full affect though, so I made sure to pick up some extras. 

Feit Electric 60-Watt ST19 Original Shape Vintage Style Incandescent Light Bulbs

The above links to a 24-pack, but I was able to pick up singles in the store. Here is what the light fixture looks like with the old one over the sink still hanging out in the background:

I love it. What else can I say?! Ready for its close-up. (I think my dad is getting something to eat in this picture.)

And with the snowy, snowy view outside:

Next I moved on to the light over the sink. By the way, that glass shade is heavier than it looks. Way. Heavier. As in like, I'm carefully removing you with one hand and trying to catch you before you go crashing to the floor with my other hand. 

I have weak little t-rex arms.

Here's the fixture as pictured (and linked to) at Lowe's in case you want to install one of your own!

allen + roth 6-7/8"W Mission Bronze Edison-Style Pendant Light with Clear Shade

Here I am with what my Grammie called my "E.T." finger, pointing at the newly installed fixture.

And, because I know you haven't seen enough of it:

And here they are together! Little baby and momma!

Awww. In addition to that work, I also cleaned the fridge. I didn't take pictures, but my dad made me crack up as he explained that he has many, many multiples of everything he likes because he gets to the store and forgets if he's purchased some already or not. I did take a picture of the Comic Shop fridge though! Which I also organized on this trip! So I'll show you that instead.

My last step was organizing, which my Grammie took care of for me. I also picked up a few accessories. They were all red/stainless steel because my dad became obsessed with red at some point during the trip. Here are a few of the things I added:

Red & White Kitchen Towels

Oster Beehive Blender

Oster Red & Black Toaster

KitchenAid Red Teapot

Cuisinart Coffee Maker

And here they are in the kitchen!

Sitka (the dog above) wanted to join in on the fun.

And yep, there's a little stain on the wall above the stove that I didn't get to on this trip. I meant to put up some kind of sheet metal backsplash or at least paint it back to white. But I didn't have time! Next time. Hope you enjoyed the kitchen!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dad's Arctic Entryway Before & After

This is part of a series on my dad's house in Alaska. Read more here. I'll resume 650 square feet posts on my condo when the series is complete.

The arctic entry is the first thing you see when you walk into my dad's house. A lot of Alaskan homes have them, and probably other places have them too. They're just a little room (also called a mudroom) that you walk into first so you can remove your snowy/muddy/dirty shoes before you walk in the house and potentially onto carpets and rugs. It's much easier to get dirty snow marks off of a smooth surface versus trying to get them out of carpet!

The room had become a collection place for my dad where he could store things that he meant to throw away (there's no driveway trash pickup where he lives so he has to haul all of his trash into town) and things he meant to store in his garage, which is a little ways up the driveway and quite a walk to carry something really heavy.

There were a few things I felt were wrong about the room (besides the obvious clutter). First, I noticed that there wasn't a curtain on the window. That always feels wrong to me for privacy reasons. Second, I noticed the ugly brass light fixture that are were so prevalent throughout the entire house. Third, I noticed that there was no where to actually sit down to remove one's boots.

My first step was to spray paint the light fixture and add give it new glass shades.

Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint aka Why My Fingers Froze Off in Alaska

I picked oil rubbed bronze for the light fixtures because I find it to be a lot more expensive looking than brass finishes. And I think satin nickel can be kind of girly, I mean, satin? And this was all for my dad, so I had to keep him in mind throughout the process and try to imagine what he would like best. So here's what I had to work with:

Mmm, pretty, right? Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. How can you resist that brass finish and those flowery covers? I know I couldn't. Couldn't wait to smash them, I mean!

Here's another picture where you can start to get a look at all of the great built-in storage in the arctic entry. This house has plenty of storage space. Consider me envious! First I ripped that puppy off the wall. Actually I carefully turned off the breaker, tested the wires with a wire tester, etc etc. I was only shocked twice the entire trip. Considering how many light fixtures I worked with, that's not bad. But I easily could have kept from being shocked at all if I'd been more careful. Sometimes I got impatient though. Whoops.

Next I hauled it outside and set it on a large piece of cardboard. Look at the pretty view of Fairbanks!

Shiny, shiny brass. And a buried shovel. Guess my dad abandons projects just like me!

I did a number of light, even coats of the oil rubbed bronze. Like the obedient spray painter that I am. All of the snow on the cardboard in the picture below is from spinning it since I couldn't very well climb into the snowbank it was resting on. Oh, and that's the garage in the background. Hi, garage!

After all of the tedious highly enjoyable spray painting for this light fixture was complete, I stuck that sticker back up on the wall. Pretty!

With the lights on!

And with the lights off! Funny thing is, we didn't stick with those shades. I KNOW, I KNOW. You're thinking, "But they look so awesome!" And I totally agree. BUT. BUT. We decided to use those for ALL of the other wall light fixtures in the house and we ran out for two reasons. 1. Because we were in Alaska and we have one Lowe's and we bought out the entire stock. 2. My dad dropped exactly two and broke them on the floor. HAHA! Poor, dad. I wasn't mad though. He was mad at himself, however. So I ended up using what I think are known as seed glass shades. Because they have little speckles on them...sort of distortions in the glass. 

Vanity Lighting Glass at Lowe's

I *think* that this is the one. But I'm not sure so don't quote me, boy! (That's from a song.) Anyway. I picked up two of them at Lowe's and changed them out.

So let's just say things were looking a LOT brighter in there. Yep. Bright and shiny. I couldn't even get a really good picture it was so bright. I can assure you that it looks a lot better in person. I had initially picked out these glass shades for the entire house, but quickly realized they were just too bright. It works well for the entryway though. And I think it will be nice to have so much light in the winter when it's dark most of the time in Alaska.

Below the fixture you can also see a little bitty bit of a picture that I added. It's a three-picture frame from Walmart with pictures from my Howard Finster trip. 

Now on to the REAL state of the room...

Yes, it was a bit cluttered. Most of it was either large, unwieldy things like boxes that needed to be taken into town to be thrown away, or stuff that needed to be distributed throughout the house for organization. And the lone stool was my addition, so I could reach the light fixture. I'm tall, people, but I'm not that tall! People think I'm so tall, but I'm really just your average height. So there. Now make yourself useful grab me a stool so I can reach something!

The above is what the room looked like after I decluttered and before I vacuumed (and before Grammie mopped). Shoot, I forgot to add that to the list of things she did! Sorry, Grammie. And if you're thinking, "Um, that looks like total crap!" Then I'm going to ask you to Shut Up. Because all that is up there is the old dishwasher with the new dishwasher's packaging and a large comic rack in the background. It's progress, people, progress!

By the way, my spellcheck does not like the word "decluttered." Um, bogus. That is definitely a word! I hereby declare it one by the power vested in me by delicious Chex Mix Bold. Ugh, I wish I had some Chex Mix Bold. But, I don't. So on to more renovations!

The coat hanging rack (see above) used to have gold hooks. But no longer! I coated that sucker in a thick slather of oil rubbed bronze. I smothered those goldilocks hooks! You can see it in its new state in the picture above. (I don't have a picture of the original state. I think.)

And later on, with the light changed up, the picture hung, and the place decluttered and cleaned up, I moved on to more renovations on the arctic entry!

A few days into the trip, I picked up this single-issue magazine: The Best of Martha Stewart Living Organizing Magazine (2012) at Barnes & Noble. It was a special edition of MSL that rounded up all of her organization techniques. Given my interest in decluttering and the fact that I have a tiny condo, I was intrigued. And of course the issue was awesome. While I was browsing through it, I noticed an entryway with a bench. I thought...wait a second! That would work perfectly for the arctic entry! But then I remembered that I was in Alaska and there were like, um, zero store choices. But I looked it up at Home Depot anyway, and there it was!

Martha Stewart Living Espresso Storage Bench with Seat and 11 in. H x 10.5 in. W Cubbie Storage

I couldn't believe my good luck. So I picked it up that day and about 45 minutes to an hour later, it was all put together and ready to use.

My final step was to install the curtain rod. I picked up a little white tension rod from Lowe's and a small brown curtain set from Fred Meyer's.

Here's the curtain rod & curtain in action:

And yep...the old dishwasher is still in there. I'll have to check to see if my dad has gotten help moving it yet. To his credit, he wanted to move it and take it to the dump while I was there, but I am too weak. 

I think the room looks better without the brass fixture and accents. I also think it is more functional now that there is actually a place to sit and remove your shoes!

The next room coming up is the kitchen, where a tooooonnn of work went down.