It has been a long 8 weeks. I wrote in another post about how it has been an even longer 8 months. Eight months ago I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but I was not healthy. My heart had hidden problems that the Doctors didn't see, literally and figuratively I might add. This One Room Challenge has been the closest thing to helping me feel like myself (not my old self, but a slowly improving and healthier version of me).
Many people love to make things pretty, but I make things pretty for a few different reasons. DIY is therapy for me. Participating in the One Room Challenge has always given me a sense of accountability. This time, it was making our space more functional for our family. Since moving to a new rental home back in December when Vienna was only three months old, I would constantly feel panic that our layout was so dis- functional throughout the home. The local area we moved to was used as summer vacation homes by the lake. Therefore, the spaces in our house are very narrow (as seen below). As a City girl, I was used to smaller spaces, but the kitchen specifically was a struggle for me as we had no cabinet or counter space.
The first thing we did when we moved here was to buy a tiered island/coffee bar. This helped keep our appliances off of the counter and only left room for our Baby Brezza and Sterilizer to make Vienna’s bottles near the sink. I added shelves to hold all of my copper canisters for flour, dog food etc. and we put baskets underneath for paper goods and baby food. To add more counter space, we found an old piece of butcher block and I sanded it down for us to use as prep area over the stove. I oiled it with butcher block oil for the prep side and stained it with @Varathane Dark Walnut color on the other side in order to match the rest of the dark wood in the kitchen. (If you didn’t know, you cannot stain a cutting board unless you use food safe stain- this side was just for show)
We don’t have a dishwasher so I got a small drain rack to sit in the sink when we wash dishes to keep them off the counter. The kitchen cabinets were stuck in the 90's with a honey oak finish. With the warm yellow lights of the kitchen, they looked orange. To help make them feel more toned down, I had to think of a way to refurbish them without paint since we are renting. One renter friendly way to update your cabinets is to use furniture wax in an antique brown. I rubbed them on the cabinets and it brought out the darker wood tones instead of the harsh honey color. I changed out the hardware with Matte Black handles and spray painted some of the existing knobs (with @Krylon Chalkboard spray paint) for some variation in style.
The whole room got a face lift with trim molding and painted the color Dove by @Behrpaint. When I first planned my mood board for the kitchen project, I had used wallpaper that didn’t sit well with me for the space. I loved the florals and green, but I wanted more of a boho farmhouse feel where everything was light and airy since there was so much dark wood and black accents in the kitchen. This included the mantel we repurposed to a floating shelf above the kitchen table. Last year when I was pregnant, I built a removable renter friendly mantel for the fireplace in our old apartment. We took it with us when we moved but had no use for it in our small living room. So we flipped it over, secured it to the studs and added plywood inserts that sat on 2x4’s so I could style the shelf with decor. One of the projects for the shelf was updating a frame for a black and white photo of our wedding. I painted the back black and added leftover cane to add to the boho feel of the room.
I also updated two other frames I bought from @justinantiques with vintage prints of peonies (my favorite flower). I spray painted the frames black using @krylon chalkboard spray paint also and rub n buffed them with antique gold. Rub n buff was also used frequently throughout this project. In order to update the door hardware to help the space feel more cohesive, I used the ebony black rub n buff on all of the interior door hinges and partnered with Stone Harbor Hardware to update all of the knobs on the interior doors facing the kitchen and our front door (click for tutorial). The matte black hinges and new door hardware helped tie the whole room together and gave it that farmhouse look I wanted. Updating your hardware is such a great renter friendly way to change the look and feel of your space.
Another renter friendly way to make a space feel like you is paint. Paint can be easily changed if you decide to move. I used Gravelstone by Behr and painted a scallop wall above the kitchen table to as an accent wall to define the eating space. I traced Arya’s dog bowl onto a pizza box and used the cutout for my stencil. Arya of course needed a special spot in our kitchen refresh as well. I updated her dog bowls to to add some texture to the room and make her dining space more functional for us since we were tripping on her bulky old food storage and bowl holder. I used baskets zip tied together to hold extra food inside and traced her bowls to cut out a hole for them to sit in. This also went with the boho look of the kitchen and it didn’t stick out anywhere to make the space feel smaller like it did before.
One of the major upgrades for the project was painting our hutch black. I acquired the hutch two years ago when it was broken and painted a teal color. I had first flipped it using white chalk paint and distressed it with vintage wax, added a new shelf and wood top. I loved it in our old home, but it didn’t quite fit with the new space. I updated it with the color Limousine Leather by Behr and added new faux stone and brass handles. With the copper jars and the faux stone utensil holder I DIY-ed, It’s one of my favorite flips to date. It adds more storage to our tiny kitchen as it holds a baby food maker, Corningware dishes, utensils and a hardware drawer. We really did make every inch of this space work for us and I’m so grateful Brian and I put our heads together to see how we could make our new house more functional and feel like home for us.
The pièz de résistance of the space was our new breakfast bench. Last year during my pregnancy, I also flipped a basic Ikea coffee table with paint sticks and stain (click for video ). We loved using it, especially when we were able to lay Vienna on it in her Snuggle Me as a newborn, but again it didn’t fit in our new smaller living room. Brian had the fantastic idea of turning it into a bench for our kitchen table. Since we could only fit four people around it, the bench allows for two more and saves space as we can push the table much closer to the wall when not using it. We braced the bench with 2x4’s and covered it with plywood. We cut the back legs to fit over the radiator and secured the frame to the studs. I painted the bottom the same color as the scallops and added stained wood trim while also re-staining the top. It’s a perfect accent to the boho farmhouse look and it cost us zero dollars to make since we already had the extra material leftover from past projects (shown here).
This whole One Room Challenge for me was a real budget friendly project. I wanted to see how far the tools, products and materials we already had would stretch. Now the kitchen feels more like us. It makes me smile to see how many corners we touched. Every nap time was my time. My time to have DIY therapy and make our house a home.
Our space looks totally different now (Before & After ) and it helps me feel different too. The dark evenings of the winter when we first moved here are now long gone, the infant I had is approaching nine months and our home feels more filled with love than the empty and cold space that plagued me when we first moved in. The ORC holds more meaning to me than just an event to transform a space. It allows for a supportive community and encourages feelings of pride whether each step was a success or a failure. It gave me a routine to work on every day as I am not working with clients and raising Vienna.
I hope that whether you just joined Aurora By Jacqueline or you have been here supporting me along my journey that you have learned that you can diy anything on your own and it might just be the mental break that you need. I hope that I could help you as you help me every day. Home takes time, and it doesn’t matter how we get there, the people who live in it make it worthwhile.
Love, Jacqueline xoxo