Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Like Quilting Only Harder

When Sam and I purchased our new home, it was almost perfect. We had only to repaint the bedrooms and bathrooms to neutral shades instead of blue and yellow. I like a neutral palette...then spice it up with color that I am able to easily change: curtains, quilts, pillows, towels, etc. How was I going to decorate to MY tastes with this?!

Since the house was less than two years old...Sam saw no need in changing anything really. When I told him the powder blue walls in the master bedroom did not coordinate with the funky blue carpet, he pa-shawed me. Then, his best friend's wife, Pat a lover of blue, walked in and said, "I like blue, but this won't do." Thank you, Pat! And since the previous owner's teenage daughter had played rugby in the other two bedrooms (or tennis, or football or something!) I purchased enough paint to cover the yellow in those rooms.

The worst color culprit - next to the funky blue carpet which remains - was the Formica countertops. Had they been an acceptable color to me, it would've been no problem. I found out by researching on the internet that you can paint Formica. I showed Sam. 'No deal. Live with it.'

My ally, turned out to be Sam's son who also did not like the color. For Christmas 2006, he gave us new countertops. He looked at me and said, "Don't go pick out the most expensive thing." ...which turned out to be a beautiful piece of $80 a foot die for. I researched granite, quartz, and solid surface. I quickly realized that I did not want granite. Had I had researched longer, I probably would've chosen quartz (at a more conservative price). But with the research that I did at the time, I decided on solid surface. I am completely pleased with it. It is exactly as advertised. I don't treat it any differently than I have any other countertop I've ever had - which I guess has always been Formica.

Thinking that we would want dark, Sam and I started with black and brown samples. When we got them home, I scanned them, then copied and pasted to a document, printed a full page, and auditioned each in the kitchen folding the paper over the edge of the Formica and moving it from above the dishwasher, beside the stovetop, in front of the cabinets. Imagine how surprised we were when we realized that we did not like the dark.

On to medium tones. Sam thought a terra cotta would look good. Armed with several different hues, I went through the same process and auditioned the printed samples in the kitchen. That's when I realized how yellow the oak cabinets are. I was surprised. The whole kitchen looked sick in terra cotta! about light? Okay. How about white?! This has little crystal-like pieces in it.

Then, the backsplash. One little note here: the man/men who did the wiring...every single outlet and switch is at a different height. Gentlemen, every quilter knows, measure twice, cut once. What WERE YOU THINKING? I wanted the focal tile - the expensive stuff to go all the way across the backsplash and under the window. A total of five electrical outlets or switches would cut through the higher priced trim had I done that.

Armed with paper taped together the length of the backsplash, I cut out for the window and each electrical/phone service plates. Over the river and through the woods - okay - south on highway 259 to the do-it-yourself store we go. I unrolled my paper template in the aisle in front of boxes and boxes of tiles and trims and played puzzle until I got something that fit, that I liked, and that Sam could live with.

I settled on tumbled marble and two rows of accent. Sam and Elton installed the tile with Elton telling me that if I wanted the one row under the window that he could cut the accent pieces. For what they cost...okay, not THAT expensive, but no unnecessary cutting! Elton also wanted the top row of trim at the very top..."That's the way they do it on HGTV." Well...I am NOT on HGTV. This is MY kitchen. I do not want it to disappear under the upper cabinets. I want to see it when I am in the kitchen working!

Sam and Elton even did the grouting. The only thing I had to do was buff it to a shine and seal it.


Lisa said...

Now that looks great...Don't know how you lived with that blue for so long......

Karen said...

Your new kitchen looks wonderful. :)

elsie123 said...

Just curious...did the old blue formica that was on the wall just butt up to the cabinet, or was it put in first and was up underneath? I'd love to replace my countertop, just don't know how much of a chore I'm looking at. It's the kind where the formica is one piece that kind up "rolls" up onto the wall, not two pieces with distinct separation. Sigh.

Sherry said...

Elsie, mine was like piece that rolled up the wall. Sam tore it out. If you're going back with Formica, you leave the plywood. Since we went with solid surface, the entire countertop 'base' had to come off.

The Formica wasn't a problem with me IF it had not been that color. It was really hard to decorate around. I mostly tried to ignore it. LOL I've had nothing but Formica in any house I've lived in so. Just THAT color!! When you start shopping around, you will be amazed at the Formica patterns out there. AND at some of the prices!

Gloria said...

Thank Goodness you got a gift of counter tops....those aqua-blue-whateverish color was just awful!

Looks great now....beautiful actually. A beautiful kitchen makes cooking so much more enjoyable!