Category Archives: Kitchen



How cute are these letters! I got them at World Market and immediately knew I had to have them in my kitchen.

So what letters does everyone get for their kitchen — E  A T of course. Snag. World Market was out of T’s. So I pulled every letter they had out of the bin and started my own Words With Friends game in the aisle. Ultimately I came up with sip, yuck, nip, dip, yes, can and yum.

YUM it was. Actually I think I am happier with YUM than EAT, just because it isn’t so expected.

Most letters are on the World Market site under Venetian Print Letters.  The ampersand is cute if you wanted to do initials.

IMG_8875 Venetian Print Letters from Cost Plus World Market

The letters are $7.99 on the World Market website, they were on sale for $5.49 when I bought them.  However, I don’t know if it is worth waiting for them to go on sale again in case they run out of a letter you want before it happens.  I found a 10% promo code on Retail Me Not, but couldn’t find any deals on free shipping – so reluctantly had to pay that.  Ebates offers a 4% cash back, so don’t forget to start there when buying.


Kitchen Fabrics


Business idea: Someone needs to start a store that carries cool, contemporary kitchen curtains, rugs and other textiles.  Seriously- type in “kitchen valance” on any retailers’ site and you are greeted with only country options or something that is supposed to represent a Tucsan vibe with grapes all over it.

I did find some interesting options on Etsy, but thought if I’m going to buy a homemade valance, it is going to be made in my home.

After much, much surfing I ended up going with Waverly Sun N Shade Sea Scallop Coral Reef.  I am very pleased with the quality of fabric, it is very thick and I anticipate it holding up well.  The orange wasn’t as bright as I think the picture shows, but a bit more burnt orange.  I ordered it from  It was on sale at the time for $18.68, then I used a 10% coupon code found on Retail Me Not, plus used Ebates which offers 4% cash back from this store.  All this helped bring the cost down significantly from the $21.98 advertised today.

Waverly Sun N Shade Sea Scallop Coral Reef

Waverly Sun N Shade Sea Scallop Coral Reef

First I created the valance.  The design of the fabric was quite large, so it was a little bit of a guess as to how much material to order.  I couldn’t just order the exact amount needed because I wanted to the line the design up so that the fleurs were centered which probably wouldn’t be exactly how the fabric would be cut.  But I didn’t want to order too much extra because the material was a bit pricey, even with my deals.

Here is the final product.  I was a bit nervous about sewing a curve, but it actually turned out.  My elementary art teacher used to say ‘boo boos can be beautiful’.  The scalloped edges didn’t lay as flat as I was anticipated, but I sort of like the poof that was created at the bottom.


Kitchen valance

Then on to the hardest working chairs in the kitchen seating business.  These have had more facelifts than Joan Rivers.  I think this is at least the fourth fabric change on the seats?  But they look like new after each time!


The design was big enough to allow for one big fleur right in the middle of each chair.  Also the fabric is very forgiving if you don’t get it lined up perfectly, which is why I hate working with stripped materials where misalignments can be obvious.


Sprayed a little scotch guard on them and all done!

An Oak Kitchen No More


So I read about 1,432 articles about how to paint your cabinets, I was prepared and ready to do it.  Ultimately my husband said… “Sara, really?  You have a 16 month old and a new born baby, just pay someone.  Is painting cabinets really how you want to spend your maternity leave?”

Ok, he was right.  (Yes, I just put the fact that my husband was right in writing.)

It was worth every penny of the $3000 it cost to have this done.

The painter initially told me it would take one coat of primer and two coats of lacquer.  In the end it took two coats of primer (one coat being oil based) and FIVE coats of lacquer to cover the oak!  Apparently the previous owners had rubbed the doors with a wax to preserve the wood. This wax never really dries and is very hard to paint over or sand down.

I also had them put bead board around the island, crown molding around the top of the cabinets and install hardware.  What a difference.

The grand reveal, drum roll please….


Old oak cabinets

Old oak cabinets


New white cabinets!

The whole room is just so much brighter.  I love them.  And it is so nice to now have hardware on the doors.

I wasn’t sure how the black appliances and brown/granite were going to look with the new color.  However, once done I now love the black appliances, I think it sort of grounds the kitchen.  The granite still wouldn’t be my first choice, but I don’t mind it nearly as much now.

Left to do:

The backsplash still doesn’t work for me.  I’d like to get some white/blue glass tiles.

The two small pendant above the table still annoy me.  I’d like to get a black iron chandelier above the island and just put in two can lights above the table.  It is so annoying to have to always be lining my table up with those lights.  But unfortunately that isn’t a dyi project and will require an electrician to come out.  One day…

And the white floors with the white cabinets is a bit much.  One day they will be a dark hardwood.  But with two young kids tearing up my floors and throwing every meal they have on it, I’m going to wait a bit to convert the floors into something nice.

More pics:

All the doors removed

All the doors removed

Spraying the frames.  Couldn't use the kitchen for three days!

Spraying the frames. Couldn’t use the kitchen for three days!

Close up of the crown

Close up of the crown

Desk Area

Desk Area

Now we have to be very careful with the new paint job.  The lacquer was dry to the touch within in a day, but the painter said it takes a full 30 days to totally cure.  And with how many coats were on my doors, he said it would take 60 days.

So while the DYIer in me is a little sad I wasn’t able to do it myself, the realist in my is so glad that I hired this job out.



Oak, Oak and More Oak


Can you see the kitchen through all the oak? I guess it isn’t a particularly bad kitchen, I surely saw worse when touring other homes for sale. But it isn’t what’s in my head (or on any of my pinterest boards) and is very “builder grade”. I want people to think “light and airy” when they see my kitchen.

So here is what I’m starting out with:
kitchen 2
kitchen 3

And here is my dream kitchen:

Now let’s see how close I can get…on a budget! My hope is that I can use as much of what is already there, not have to invest in new appliances just yet, and not move any electrical or plumbing.