In case you missed it, I shared the “big reveal” of (phase one of) our kitchen makeover yesterday. Basically, it involved a lot of paint and elbow grease. We love the result, but I have to say that the countertops are the part where I knew we were taking a risk. We originally planned to do a concrete overlay, and we still might, but we decided to try out this treatment first because it was significantly cheaper and easier.
But. When we were decorating for Christmas, we needed a place to put the gold bookcase from the living room (since it sits where our tree goes), and we figured the kitchen was the best place for it. So we temporarily (or so we thought) relocated the china cabinet to the garage for the season and moved the gold bookcase into the kitchen.
The problem was, the Christmas season ended and I didn’t really want things to return to the way they were. I liked the bottom half of the china cabinet exactly where it was in the garage, and I liked it a hell of a lot more than I had liked it in the kitchen. I had been itching for something new in the kitchen for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So, Corey and I got rid of the top half of the hutch (we just tossed it out on the curb and a few hours later it had found a new home with a neighbor!) and let the bottom half stay where it was. We moved the gold bookcase back to where it belongs, and began the search for a new china cabinet.
I’ve been half-heartedly looking for something for several months now, and have been super disappointed with the lack of choices. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and we didn’t want something super traditional or boring. We’re pretty picky.
But apparently, it was meant to be. Just a couple of days after Christmas I did another search, determined to find something and I stumbled on the absolute perfect china cabinet. For $100. And I knew right then I had to make it mine.
So I did.
It’s significantly bigger than the old one, which I adore, and I’m actually loving the wood tones in here – it ties into the breakfast nook chairs so nicely.
We bought it with the knowledge that it would probably need a bit of work, but we have every intention of just living with it for a while before we make any alterations. For one, the bigger size means that our light switch for the breakfast nook is covered up. We don’t use it very often, so it’s not a huge deal – for now, we have a little plastic hanger sitting on top of the hutch that we use to reach behind it and flip the light on if needed. Long term? We’ll cut a hole in the back of the hutch so it’s easily accessed. We’ll have to open the cabinet to get to the light, but since we use it so rarely, it won’t be a bother.
There are also some spots on the side of the cabinet that are pretty banged up – it’s not a pretty look, and of course it just so happens to be on the side you can see all the time (if you look closely, you can kind of see them in the above photo – one near the top and two on the bottom half). Annoying. We haven’t figured out exactly what we’ll do to fix them, but I think we’ll start off with one of those stain pens and see if it will at least camouflage it. They don’t bother me too much for now – I never mind a piece that looks well-loved, so I’m hoping that the pen will be enough to make it blend in and look okay.
The back of the cabinet it (obviously) the biggest problem. Ew, right? The pattern and color are super traditional and, um, ugly, and I am definitely not a fan. We’ll eventually replace the entire back (it has a small hole in it anyways) and will probably paint it a fun color or something, but I don’t want to do anything that permanent until we’ve lived with it for a while and are positive we know what we want. But I also cannot live with that terrible pattern and color in my kitchen, so I had to do something about it stat.
Enter my leftover Christmas wrapping paper. Seriously. I measured the back, cut a piece of wrapping paper to size, and used some double-sided tape to toss it back there to hide the ugly. It’s not a perfect (or a long term) solution by any means, but it was free and I think it makes a huge difference in updating the entire piece. And now I don’t cringe every time I look at it. Which is a nice perk.
I’m obsessed with our new china cabinet, and I am so excited about how much more storage it gives us than the last one. Plus, we’ve still got the bottom of the old one the garage holding most of the same stuff it held before, so we even have some empty space in this one – which is definitely going to be helpful with all the new baby stuff in our house!
Have you upgraded any pieces in your house lately? How about some temporary fixes to make things tolerable until you’re able to fix them the right way?
I’ve already talked about how I wanted to update the window treatment in our kitchen. We added these short curtains a while back and, while I love the fabric and the idea of cute little cafe curtains, it just didn’t work for us. I didn’t like the functionality and they looked kind of cluttered next to the sink and cabinets. And, as dumb as it sounds, I hated how the pattern clashed with the pattern on our dishtowels.
I know, I’m a dork.
I’m a big fan of simplicity in kitchens – I like for all of the main pieces to be neutral so that the color and pattern comes from accessories on the counter, dishes, and all that other fun stuff. So, these curtains were cute, but they had to go.
Corey and I wavered back and forth a little, but I was pushing for bamboo-style blinds from the beginning. I love the texture and the natural color they bring, and I liked that they’d function a lot better than the curtains – much more out of the way!
I finally got Corey to agree to my plan, so we grabbed these woven blinds from Lowe’s recently. They’re not actually bamboo blinds, but they’ve got a similar texture and Corey is more on board with these guys than the is with actual bamboo blinds, so it’s a win-win.
Before I show you, let me warn you that I did not clean my kitchen before taking these photos. Corey and I are in the middle of a furniture project (and we’re working on it in there because we are crazy), and I’ve had a hectic week with grad school work, so it’s just not clean. Please look past the mess.
So, uh, I LOVE THESE BLINDS.
(Please also ignore the awful area on our wall that still needs to be patched. I promise, it’ll get taken care of this summer.)
This solution is so much more fitting with the style I want for our kitchen – a neutral color, lots of texture, and they layer right in without looking cluttered.
And, as an added bonus, they don’t clash with our dishtowels.
I’m just sayin’. That’s important.
What’s your stance on kitchen window treatments? Do you like to keep things neutral like me, or do you prefer more pattern and color?
I can’t believe we’ve had these new windows in for two whole week and I’m just now talking about them.
I want to kiss them.
(I do. Sometimes. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.)
I explained a while back that we were getting new windows in about half of the house because our old ones were horrible, failing, and just generally making our lives miserable (you think I’m exaggerating, but YOU try cooking dinner when it’s 100+ degrees outside and your kitchen is basically a greenhouse).
It has made a huge difference in the comfort level of our house to have these beauties. The back half of my house no longer feels like a sauna in the afternoon, and we have a much prettier view of our backyard, thanks to the new setup.
I thought it might be fun (for me, at least – I don’t know how much fun you’ll have) (at least I’m honest) to go through all the windows we replaced and see what they looked like before and after. Before we started this whole process, I had NO idea that there were so many different options for window configurations, and it felt super overwhelming when we were starting out.
Let’s start with my favorite one – the dining room. Here’s what it looked like before (all before photos except the kitchen sink window were taken after we took down the blinds):
And here it is now:
Much better, right? We have two giant sliders that both open up (an important note, since not all of the windows opened before. And not because they weren’t supposed to) and an unobstructed view of our backyard.
I have to say, I am NOT missing the three sets of disgusting, chewed-up blinds that we used to have on here, but the windows are looking a bit naked. We have plans to update all of the window treatments throughout the house, but if I’m being honest this one is probably on the back burner for now. We still have pretty good privacy here thanks to our fence and the row of trees in our yard, and the most scandalous thing we might be doing in the dining room is eating dessert before dinner, so I don’t mind if someone wants to peek in.
Next up is the kitchen.
The window above our sink looked like this before:
And looks like this now:
It just looks cleaner, right? Our plan in here for window treatments is to ditch the curtains (I love them in theory, but they just don’t work for us in real life) and put up a bamboo blind for some texture and call it a day. It will probably stay up most of the time because I love having a view into the yard when I’m doing dishes, but I still want something there because as much as I love naked windows in photos, it feels weird in my own home.
The bay window area in the breakfast nook looked like this before:
And is much prettier now:
I am SO glad we decided to go with a big picture window in the middle instead of a window that opens. We rarely open windows in our house, anyways (because we live in Texas and there are maybe two weeks out of the year where it’s even feasible to do so), and when we do we never really open this one.
Once again, we’ll end up with some sort of window treatment in here eventually, but we aren’t sure where we’re going to land yet. It’s such a big area that I feel like we need something neutral-ish, but I also don’t want to be too boring. We’ll see where we end up!
Now let’s head upstairs to see the two windows we replaced up there. First up is the reading room window – we originally hadn’t planned on doing this one yet, but when we were working on it a few months ago we noticed that the window didn’t actually close all the way…which is kind of a problem. We thought about going ahead and knocking out both of the extra room windows, but it saved us about $500 to just go with this one, so we did. Having all of our windows actually close is kind of a priority, you know?
That’s the before, and here’s the after:
Once again, much better! Now that this is in, we can finally finish up the trim on this part of the room (we were waiting for the new window) and trim out the window/add a window treatment. We have no idea yet what route we’ll go in here for a window treatment – all I know is I’m dying to get that trim finished up!
And finally, our master bedroom. Before:
So pretty! This is one that I’d actually love to leave naked because I think the view of our giant tree is just fabulous, but unfortunately having it open also gives all of our neighbors and anyone passing by the house a nice view into our bedroom. Which we don’t want. Right now we’re still rocking the too-small white curtains that we’ve had forever, but they’re going to get upgraded, stat. I think we’re going to go with curtains only in this room (no blinds or shade), so that we can leave ’em open during the day and close them at night – best of both worlds! We’ll, of course, make sure the curtains are actually the right size this time.
And with that, you’ve seen all of our new windows! It’ll be awhile before we get around to the next set of windows, because we want to spend some time paying off these guys (and our new garage renovation, which is still chugging along!), but I think with our next round we’ll finish the upstairs, and then down the road we’ll replace the last few downstairs.
Have you ever had windows replaced? It makes a huge difference!