Home Improvementish, Part Two
My Winning Formula: Talk Ramble Talkyspeak Unrelated Baby Picture

Home Improvementish, Part Three

You know what's even harder than painting your kitchen? Photographing your newly-painted kitchen. I cannot, for the life of me, take an accurate photo of the new color scheme. The walls look too blue (they are grey) and the backsplash looks too yellow (there is no yellow in the backsplash at all, whutdahell).


(Here's the before. We opted not to replace the cabinets [cuz $$$$], save for replacing a few damaged doors. We did the backsplash and painting ourselves, so the counter ended up being the only big expense. And even that we got on sale. Thus, more money leftover for booze and fancy cheese.)


(The microwave and the Range What Did Catch On Fire That One Time will be replaced with stainless to match...eventually. 2015, maybe. You know how we do things around here. I don't want to sprain anything on all this forward progress.)


The counters are actually a blend of greens and blacks and browns and tie everything (including the troublesome reddish floors) together pretty nicely in person, but in photos tend to either look all black or all green. Whatever. At least the new cabinet handles look mostly like themselves?

Another photography protip: Take pictures of the cool magnetic/chalkboard accent wall (stolen from inspired by Tracey and Charlie's recent kitchen faceliftening) BEFORE setting  your children loose with the chalk.


Or at least, remember to buy a damn eraser first. Whuups.


It required about million coats of the magnetic primer and a several more of chalkboard paint, but the boys are thrilled with it. Drawing on the walls? Both allowed and encourage? Are you kidding me with this nonsense? 


This is a scene from the Avatar cartoon series, according to Noah. Ezra is adding some kitty cats. 

We also painted the dining room, aka the shittiest room in the house (no windows, low ceiling), which was previously painted brown and dark red. Add in all our too-big and too-dark furniture, and ta-da! Welcome to our claustrophobic bordello. Pass the yams.


I'm thinking of swapping out the chairs (they need reupholstering anyway, and there is NO WAY I'm bothering with that until we officially No Longer Have Toddler Butts Sitting On Them & Spilling All The Things) with something more modern. Less heavy and dark. Thots? 

Next on the painting/makeover docket: Our bedroom and the living room. Though that one is going to require some serious home organization solutions, because...well...







What does it mean that I read your headline with the word "Impoverishment" in it?


Totally biased, because I have a similar dining room table, but I don't think it's bad. We've got lighter upholstered chairs on the ends, though- would that do you? (The room looks good, btw- the old brown and red sound nightmarish.)

After reading most of what the Internet has to say about chalkboard paint a couple months ago, there's something rattling around in my brain about Coca Cola.. Coke, or a mix of that and something else, is apparently a good way to revive those walls if they get a lot of chalk residue on them? Anyone? Looking forward to hearing how the wall goes, because I definitely have an itch to do part of a kid's room with it.


re your upcoming (maybe?) living room re-org -- stop "toying" with me (heh) -- I'm itchin' to get my orderly little mitts on that project -- let me know if you need help

Redneck Mommy

It looks lovely. And love the chalkboard wall. I painted a three foot stripe of chalk board around my daughter's bedroom walls two years ago and it is still the best home reno I ever did. And she's a teenager. With the added bonus I get to look at phallic doodles all the time when her friends come over! WIN WIN!

Anyways. Nice job with your kitchen. Even if it's oddly missing the phallic doodles.


You need more toys in every picture except one. Chalkboard wall is crazy cool. Maybe I'll put one next to my toilet (I kid)


That damn toy corner UUUUUUUUGH BITCH I KNOWS YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOURS IS MINE. I do love the blacksplash. But the chalkboard wall? Oh, haz the funs now. But when the time comes to wipe that bitch and you don't understand why come the pink ain't leaving EVERYTHING THAT'S CUTE AIN'T MEANT TO BE HAD, YO (especially when manufacturers do not tell you that it takes coats and coats and does not fully erase)

Rhana @ Dumb {Squared}

I'm getting the feeling that my house looks very different than yours. Where are the toys on the kitchen table? Where is the home office on the dining room table? Where are the crumbs under the table that you pushed there with your foot instead of sweeping?

Congrats on your home improvement work. I've got some crumbs to push under the fridge.

Call Me Jo

Love it! Sit back, drink wine, and turn a blind eye to the toys for now.
As for the impossibility of capturing correct colors - I totally get you. I took eleventy billion pictures of our kitchen counters and all of them were liars.

Lisa Y

If there is a mother of three small children whose living room doesn't look exactly like yours (and mine), well.... I don't want to know she exists.

Beautiful kitchen!


would you mind sharing where the leaning bookcases came from? i know that concept is done in a bunch of different stores, but i like the shape of the shelves on here - how there's a lip of sorts to catch things. WAY to go on the new kitchen - diy rockstars, right here!




Stain them a dark brown and get white bins, and for living room/have no choice/oh I see you have children! toy storage they are AMAZING. Even stack them, screw them together, and strap them to the wall and it's even a smaller footprint.


Those magnetic chalkboard walls? AMAZING. And I can totally see the kitty cats


Those last three all-capsy lines are what I am thinking EVERY TIME someone comes to my house. I can only hope that my mess bothers them as little as your mess does me:). Looks like a house where little boys live should look!


@judi The shelves are from Pottery Barn.

I wouldn't recommend them if you've got small, climb-y children though. They are safely bolted to the wall but the boys are ALWAYS using the bottom shelf like a step to reach up higher when I'm not watching, so the bottom shelves have both broken. (Which you cannot see in the photos because they are buried under toys.)


I just reupholstered our dining room chairs in spite of toddler butts. But in my defense, they had last been done in 1983 so it was time. Anyway, on the toddler ones, before I screwed the chair seat back down to the chair, I tucked some of that thick plastic that all grandmother couches used to be covered with around the seat. So it's not attached in any way, except that the chair screws are holding the seat to the chair so it can't move. So when I am ready to take it off, I just unscrew the chair and it is off. And in the meantime, that chair is water proof and spill proof and it is barely noticeable that the one chair is plastic and the others aren't.


oh eme gee, I want a chalkboard wall! I don't have kids, but have plenty of ideas!

Do a full-wall bookcase, or just shelves, with no partings. Nail some barbed wire and cut glass to the two bottom shelves so kids won't attempt to climb. Ah, kidding ;) (Not. Okay, yeah. Maybe. Bubble wrap?)

And congrats on the makeover, and all the work!

Rebecca @ Sink Or Swim

In love with the chalkboard wall... We are in military housing and can do painfully little to actually change the look of our house. I loved renovating the last house we owned though (in between wanting to kill my husband that is)

Sue C

What's wrong with the last picture? Looks perfectly normal to me! ;0)


I think the renovations look great! I'm an HGTV junkie so I love this kind of stuff. The backsplash looks really nice against the white of the cabinets.


Isn't that behind a sofa? It doesn't even count!


Plus, kitchen is da bomb!


It looks fabulous! I love the colors and the chalkboard wall.

P.S. You are the only blogger that makes me laugh so hard I snort while I am reading!!


We have white metal chairs similar to the Marais ones only much, much cheaper. If all else fails, I figure I can always take them outside and hose them down after use. Plus, they are solid, one piece dealies, so there would have to be a lot of destruction before those things fall apart.


Thank you for posting about your home improvements. My husband and I are in the market to buy our first house and I'm scared to death to buy anything we'll have to do any serious work on because uh yeah I have no idea how to do that shit and Husband is The Least Motivated Person On The Planet. So this all gives me hope that we can tackle reasonable projects, like painting and putting in nice tile backsplashes n' shit. Looks GREAT!

Erika Mitchell

Looks absolutely FABulous! The chalkboard wall is cool, but do your kids respect the limitations? Meaning, do they limit their doodling to the one wall or have they christened other walls with art yet?


I have wanted a magnetic chalkboard wall forever but I couldn't find a magnetic primer that had good reviews. What kind did you use and how much paint did it take?


I read on someone's blog that the chalkboard paint actually cancels the effect of the magnetic paint. Not true? Different brand maybe?


It's great!


If you just want to recover the chairs you could always do what my parents did - add a layer of heavy-duty clear plastic on top of the new fabric. 30+ years later, and that plastic is STILL on those chairs. We used to keep towels on those chairs in the summer so we wouldn't stick to the plastic during dinner. Ah, good times.

Thrift Store Mama

Yes, we do know a fair bit about your life because it also reflects so much of ours ! We have a small house, and one of my happiest days was when I was able to clear most of the toys out of living room and relocate in to other areas !


Recover the chair seats in vinyl fabric..I used a marine (used to make boat seats) quality tan colour on mine and it was simply a case of unskrew the seat..staple gun vinyl on the underside and skrew back in place.Easy to wipe down and a cheap way to get a more modern leather look seat.I bought the vinyl on ebay


You can immediately lighten the feel of a dining room without clashing with the style of your current table by replacing the 4 side chairs with benches. Like these: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3557666

I also love this upholstered option:

Normally I would say, uh, steer clear of upholstery; the all wood version is perfect for wiping up whatever is spilled. But the upholstered one allows you to choose your fabric, and there are four leather options available, so that would be a good option if you want something more soft and cushy but still with cleanability to match the plain wood.

For the two ends, you could keep your current chairs to keep the budget in check, or you could go with something funky to shake things up. Like:

These? http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Birch-Sapling-White-Plastic-Accent-Dining-Chairs-Set-of-2/5173866/product.html



Or hey, how about this: you become my first online design client to help me launch my website, and I'll give you all the suggestions you want (dining room, toy area in living room, etc.) for free, and if you end up using a substantial proportion of my suggestions you could link to me when you post the after pictures with it all pretty? Just wishful thinking. Wishful thinking but a totally serious offer, from one mom who'd love to start making some money from home to a veteran of same.

Korinthia Klein

Nice! That magnetic chalkboard wall is amazing. (Wish I had a wall where that would work in our house.)


LOVE the chalkboard wall!! TOTALLY stealing this idea for my kitchen.

Also, LOVE the picture of your living room. It makes mine (three kids; two boys, one girl) look...normal :)


Way off topic but i had to do a google image search for skeeter syndrome for a friend. Your boys feature prominently in the first page results;)


Love it. You did do a great job. Love the chalk board wall. What a great itdea.

I have been doing some redo of my house too. Still have some painting to do. Some rooms have those real high ceilings. I'm sure not painting those. Hubby said he will, but don't know that I want himn climbing that high.

Anyway thanks for sharing your home with us. Keep up the good work.

Sue C

Have you considered getting a nice rug to go under the table to brighten the dining room some more? I go to places like Tuesday Morning. I don't know it that exists in your part of the world, but I bet there is something along that order.


I always love the idea of the chalkboard wall but then I think of the chalk board dust and, well, I am a bad housekeeper as it is.I don't need to be bringing ADDITIONAL dust into my house on PURPOSE.

The rooms look fabulous.


I always love the idea of the chalkboard wall but then I think of the chalk board dust and, well, I am a bad housekeeper as it is.I don't need to be bringing ADDITIONAL dust into my house on PURPOSE.

The rooms look fabulous.

Plano Mom

I was thinking that your house looks amazingly neat, tidy and stylish for a woman who works AND has three boys at home.

Leigh Ann

Looks fantastic! Our living room is our playroom too, and it gets chaotic. I think about moving the majority of the toys to their rooms, but....yeah.


where did you get the rug in front of your sink? our kitchen is gray black and that very same green and i'm always looking for a good rug. Looks great!


Your photo colors are wonky because you have daylight lighting the room ( bluish cast) and fluorescent lights under the cabinets ( yellow-green cast). It's not you, it's not your camera, it's just the light. The kitchen is fabulous, and DONE. Glad you survived the redo.


I love our IKEA benches. I have 3 boys that are almost 7, almost 5, and almost 3, and someone was always knocking over a chair or tipping over in it, and the chairs were all broken and I was constantly finding spots of stickiness that I'd missed. I finally talked my husband into trying the benches and they have been great. No falling, the space looks more open and neater, and really only the tops get dirty, which are easy to wipe off. Plus the benches are more flexible in terms of seating. We haven't had the anticipated problem of poking or pushing, but if we did, the benches are big enough to accommodate an adult sitting between two problem causing children.


Looks awesome! But WTF, why is the wine rack in the kitchen empty????

The comments to this entry are closed.