Saturday, April 18, 2015

April Showers

Today it's raining on and off and the yard is looking very green. Thursday we got our first batch of lettuce from the garden and probably could use another cutting already. I'm fighting grass and weeds from below and random weeds from the soil in the new beds so it looks rather unkempt right now. A few hours of pulling grasses should get things cleaned up.  
Some of the radishes are ready. I've planted enough that we should be able to make some radish salads or even pickle them.
The peonies are doing quite well after removing all of the wild onions that were crowding them out. Last year they were crushed by the roofers and we didn't get to see their color. Looks like they are going to be white.
I was hoping to get the tomatoes to May 1 for planting, but they have other plans. The pop up greenhouse has allowed them plenty of space and heat. I have a few that are thinking about blooming so it is time to get them in the ground. We are past the historical last frost date and the next couple weeks looks to be warm so they should be fine.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kitchen Project Pictures

I've been (finally) putting together some kitchen pictures for our powder coaters to have for their catalog and also for the website (awesome resource for refinishing steel cabinets) and since we didn't have many good pictures of the kitchen previously, I thought it was time to share.

We kept all of the original 1950 GE steel cabinets.  They were in decent shape, but needed to be refinished.  The sink base needed a complete overhaul, which our powder coaters did for us.  I cannot sing their praises enough.  They were honest, fair, and did an amazing job.  If you are in the Kansas City area and need powder coating, check them out:

The cabinets were my baby.  I knew when we first walked into the kitchen I wanted to keep them.  I stripped them all down and took every handle and hinge off, which took several days and a whole lot of cursing.  It's amazing what 60 years of corrosion and paint overspray will do to screws. 

The upper hardware was in great condition and only required a little cleaning.  White subway tile was economical and keeps the look clean.  I had thought about something more exciting, but I decided that 1) we didn't have the money for exciting and 2) I really didn't want the backsplash competing with the cabinets.  Turquoise cabinets are exciting enough.

The lower hardware was...OK.  Several of the backplates were severely cracked or chipped and all had been painted over.  Several of the pulls were highly corroded.

I luckily found a guy on that was selling backplates and pulls in nearly mint condition.  Score!  They weren't cheap: $25 a set.  But considering none of this is manufactured anymore and the backplates are some bakelite-esque plastic that is over 60 years old, I couldn't complain.  A little paint stripper, elbow grease, chrome polish, spray paint, and a whole lot of patience and I had hardware that looked... like well taken care of vintage hardware.

I chose "vintage turquoise" for the lowers and white for the uppers, both high gloss.  I love how the white backplates pop against the turquoise.  They were all white cabinets when we bought the house.  We vaulted the ceiling and moved a wall by 1', so the new kitchen feels much more open.  The open shelving and large window over the sink help as well.  The countertops are concrete, but if you follow this blog, you knew that already.  Appliances are new, as are the light fixtures.

Here's a closer view of the fruits of my hard work.  If you get up close, you can still see all of the imperfections.  But I think that adds character and what separates true vintage from reproductions.  I am incredibly happy with the results.

We had some additional cabinets and a pantry made out of walnut.  At the end of the kitchen, we found a perfect spot for a bench and an Eames hang-it-all.  The entryway is just beyond the partial wall.
It's funny that when we bought the house, the kitchen was my least-favorite room.  It was small, dark and cramped.  It functioned, but not well.  Now, it is open and airy.  The kitchen is second only to the lounge as far as design impact goes.  No one walks into this kitchen without commenting on the cabinets.  And I love that no one else I know has turquoise cabinets.