I turned to Christopher and said, "Ooooh! That table is sensational! Do you like it?" "Eh, not really," he responded. "My style is a little more traditional."
I was horrified. Our first trip to Ikea as a seriously-dating couple and I was speechless. Traditional? He likes comfortable sofas? He shuns the shiny and all-white decor? Were we going to make it? These thoughts and more rushed through my mind, clouding my vision and causing a deep fog of silence to settle over the car.
Months later (or was it weeks?) when Puppy told me that he couldn't live without me I decided it was time to have The Talk. This talk was of a very serious nature. I asked Christopher how much input he expected to have in home decorating decisions. Being the marvelous, flexible man that he is he knew that I placed more emotional stock in these matters. It was decided, mutually, that I would have full reigns over the house except for his office, with which he could do as he pleases with no criticism from me!
This is a very important part to my tale. He basically said I could do whatever I want to our house. He said it. I heard him. You are all third party witnesses which is almost as valid as a first hand account. Although he told me I have full control, that has not stopped him from asserting his many opinions.
This is actually not a post about how my Puppy and I discuss interiors and have vastly differing views about what living in 2012 means. I actually just want your help with my kitchen!
But first there are a few things you should know:
1) When we bought our house two years ago the kitchen came as above. We did not stain cabinets golden yellow. So no judgment!
2) Our kitchen is a collaborative effort from previous owners, one trying to make the house a bed and breakfast (which was in vain), to add charm to a 1920's home.
3) The large ceramic tile counter tops are obfuscated from view from the sunlight. Our counter tops are made of greige ceramic tiles.
4) I don't know what's with the golden ornaments by the stove.
5) I rather like seeing the wood grain through the stain. The only issue is the color.
6) Whatever changes are made have to have resale appeal, when/if we sell. I will not redo my kitchen twice. The first time to please me, the second time to please buyers.
Here is what I have come up with:
The golden bookends (by stove) shall be painted white regardless of what happens. The back splash could and should be replaced with a custom tiling mosaic of my husband Christopher, surrounded by kittens and puppies. Talk about resale value!! Who wouldn't want to see that!? The countertop needs to be removed with great force, and hastily replaced with silestone, quartz, granite or that lovely veined grey marble we all love. I am wondering if the cabinets are salvageable. They are clearly handiwork of a well-intentioned home renovator. Deep down I like to think that with a coat of paint on the walls and new cabinet hardware it would feel just like a victory from HGTV. I may be having a laugh.
I am wide open for your bravest ideas, your greatest innovational thoughts! Hit me in the comments!
My next domestic dilemma, the entryway. The walls were painted in these two tones when we bought the place. I love the clean look and purity of white in the doorway and ceiling. It reflects the most light, which is important because the entryway has one window, over the door, and some light coming from the windows above the stairs? I saw a stunning boutique hotel in Ireland and had a thought incepted into my mind. What if I painted the walls a deeper neutralized green as the darker color and inside the wall paneling a lighter green? THEN on the ceiling I could have a light, minty green painted around the white plaster? But sometimes I play with the idea of large abstract florals painted within the wall paneling.
Welcome to the dining dilemma. The black lacquered table and those paintings have since been replaced with a piano, so I can "sing the hits" with my seven year old sister. By "hits" she means Broadway or Rodgers and Hammerstein, particularly South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.
As much as I like the white table that cannot possibly be damaged by water stains or low heat, take a close look at the chairs. The table seats six! SIX! We needed to seat more like 12 so the table is going elsewhere. I love the midcentury wooden chairs that my Aunt bought at an auction, but they probably will not work with the new table, plus there are not enough of them anyway.
So the dilemma is this: I need to update this room, have it make sense and match my aesthetic which is contemporary, clean and delightful. This wedgewood blue (it's from Benjamin Moore) is not my style and it is very dark for a room with only two windows. I was thinking of adding mirrors to the walls across from the windows. When you add mirrors across from windows, you are just adding more windows. A lovely technique I learned in interior design class. The sconces need to go, or be updated. The trouble is they are not connected to a switch! This is one old house and to turn on the sconces you must manually pull the chain on each. This makes replacing the sconces with something more contemporary nearly impossible. Right now I am thinking of having the new table, currently a darker wood, painted bright glossy poppy red or Hermes orange, the walls white and the trim black. In two of the panels I want murals of Christopher and me. I also am thinking a great deal about graphic striped walls. Or large abstract floral patterns within the panels. If I did have murals painted within the panels I fear the walls would become very busy as I will be adding a lot from our art collection and my photography to the walls. Paintings plus photographs plus painted panel murals could be too much, and not in the right way.
Big sigh. I have lost the ability to see my dining room objectively. Dear friends, what are you loving in your homes right now? Have you seen anything lately that inspires you or could help my conundrum?