Listen. I’m no Ab Chao. I’m not going to help you redesign your room in such a way that you suddenly start to have sexy dreams about it. (Seriously. Have you seen her kitchen? What about her garage?) BUT – when I do things I’m proud of I want to show them off. Because, as many of you recall, in our home my husband usually makes the design decisions. The times he’s let me decide (like the tragic kitchen light incident in the old house) we all end up regretting it shortly after. REMEMBER: I was the one who wanted him to paint darker trim on the old house…as in: DARKER THAN THE WALLS. Who does that anymore? I’m so glad not us.
But, in the 5+ years that we’ve been homeowners, I’ve made some progress. I was still checking with him when I furnished the sitting room and then dining room, but I’m starting to branch out and almost make decisions without him. ALMOST.
I’ve been wanting to hang a few more things in our kitchen recently so I ran them by him first (I just don’t trust myself yet) and then did all of the measuring and hanging myself. First, there’s the plates my brother and I found at my Dad’s house.
They are these old tin plates that are beat up and rusted. We had never seen them before we dug them out of some shelf in the kitchen as we were clearing out the house. No sentimental value whatsoever. BUT – there are so few things from my Dad’s house that would traditionally be considered “cool” that I kept them. While I adore his rock collection and bottles of sand as well as his beat up antique math textbooks, I just don’t see these things being cherished by my children when they get older. So, I wanted to display the plates in hopes that they would become something special of my Dad’s that the kids might want to display someday. Even if Dad never realized he owned them. Because I’m pretty sure Dad never even knew he had them.
I hung these up above the windows in the kitchen. The “after” picture is a little grainy because I had to crank up the ISO so I could take the picture without that ugly light on.
I’d like to be able to tell you that those are NOT popcorn ceilings, that the texture you see is simply noise in the photo. That would be a lie. We have popcorn ceilings. It’s one of the few things I really hate aesthetically about our house. I really love the trend for smooth ceilings as that’s what we had growing up. Popcorn ceilings have always been weird to me. Alas, we don’t have the money or time to dump into a project of that scale right now. So we just try to ignore them.
I also bought two bird prints form a local artist: Alex Smith. I bought them at this great little shop called The Switch House which sells local artistry and crafts. (It’s actually in an old Switch House down by the railroad tracks. LOVE IT.) I love the colors and the asymmetry of the prints. When I got the mats cut for them, the girl at Hobby Lobby had a hard time understanding why I didn’t want to cut the mats just around the bird part. “You don’t want us to center the birds? Or make them symmetrical?” No. Part of the appeal is the asymmetry! She did not agree. But she cut the mats for me anyway!
I think these two additions go well with the photos in the kitchen. And other than the incredible need for updated cabinetry or countertops, the kitchen is done. We hope in the next 5 to 10 years to be able to upgrade the entire kitchen. Until then? We at least have cool things on the walls to enjoy.
The final part that needed attention was the great shelf we have in the kitchen. It was put there as an after-thought when it didn’t fit for the spot we bought it for. It has been a godsend as it has turned into a catchall for so many things. Stuff for school, boot camp and kids art/puzzles.
Here’s the thing about organizing your kid’s stuff: Don’t Fight It. My Dad told me once that some colleges would wait and build sidewalks after finding the paths through the grass students naturally took. Otherwise, they would build the sidewalks and they would never get used. I use this same process with my kid’s junk. I never planned on having pencils or coloring books or puzzles in the kitchen. However, since I’m in the kitchen so often, the kids end up bringing the stuff to the kitchen table anyway. Instead of trying to constantly put it back where it belongs in the playroom, I bought some baskets to hide it in the kitchen.
The bottom shelf is still for the things that go to school, on Mondays, but those things are only out on Sundays. The rest of the week they’re at school or being laundered. I also just leave the blocks there. The playroom is carpeted and they never played with the blocks up there because they couldn’t build towers as high. Since we’ve brought them to the kitchen they play with them. So, it’s one of the many things I accept I can’t hide perfectly, but that I don’t worry about because this is just part of having kids. You can’t hide all of their brightly colored plastic crap. You just have to accept some of it as part of the natural habitat in a home with children afoot.
All in all, a productive rainy Saturday.