Tuesday, April 19, 2011

House Tour Series: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Head through this door in my dining room, toward the kitchen, and the appearance of my place goes downhill fast.

The Kitchen
We recently moved from a single family home into a two bedroom rental.  It's an upstairs 1930s duplex in San Francisco's East Bay and was pretty shabby when we moved in -- still is. Some of the apartment is outdated, but the bones are great and our urban neighborhood is just about as good as it gets.

Typically, I start with the GOOD.  But there's not much of that going on in my kitchen.  So today, we'll start with the BAD and the UGLY.

The BAD and the UGLY

Welcome to my kitchen, Everyone.  I'm not responsible for making it this way, you know.  I'm just a renter.  But stick with me, because I've finally got permission from the landlords to paint!

So, which do you dislike more?
 The oak cabinets?  Or maybe the lack of a dishwasher?
 Cream-colored laminate counter tops which are scratched from a past tenant (who apparently owned nary a cutting board)?
 Damaged floors which ALWAYS look dirty -- even after I've scrubbed them?

 Or maybe that the floors climb the walls and are tacked on with a shiny brass strip?

 Or the fact that they climb the walls AND the cabinets AND are peeling away?

Yup, I hate the flooring the most, but it's one of the things I can't replace.

However, I can paint the cabinets...

  The appliances are in good shape and have a classic feel (except for the hood, which doesn't match.)  The cabinets are well made and there are plenty of them.  They also have classic detailing which I think will look fantastic painted and with some added hardware.
 The ceilings are high, and I've got a nice view out of the four foot wide window above the sink.  

Here's the view:
 If you look above the neighbor's roof line, that is.  But it is easily seen.

 Another GOOD?  
A very talented someone else once started with a kitchen like mine.
Note the same cabinets, cream counter tops, and white appliances.

Which turned into this with some paint and molding.  And lots of brilliant accessorizing.
Via The Lettered Cottage

For those of you who follow, you know that I'm a huge fan of dark/light contrast and an eclectic, but classic feel.  

Here are two other kitchens I adore.

I used the above pictures as inspiration to create this mood board on Polyvore. 

Calais Cabinet
$899 - crateandbarrel.com

Mini Potted Fiddlehead Fern
$6.95 - crateandbarrel.com

Spode "Blue Italian" 5-Piece Place Setting
$95 - macys.com

  • I'm thinking of navy lower cabinets the color of the cabinet shown, cream or white uppers, and small antiqued brass pulls.  
  • I have a set of blue and white transferware that could be used for decorative accents. 
  • Indoor/outdoor rugs would somewhat cover up and draw the eye away from the horrid vinyl.  
  • The bamboo roman shade would go up over window for texture.
  • The sconces would go on either side of the window.  
  • Planted pots, and wood elements round out the eclectic feel and make things feel cozy and natural.

My talented and tasteful friend Heather, from My Many Moments blog, is also going to contribute some of her design sense too.   Can't wait to see what she does!


Update:  To see the painting in action, click below:


  1. I think your cabinets would look awesome painted a light color! I really want to do the same thing with mine but we are renting as well. You also have great light with that window. The floor plan of your kitchen reminds me a lot of Trina's kitchen of http://acountryfarmhouse.blogspot.com. You should check it out!

  2. It's a great plan. Good luck; I hope they say yes!

  3. I love the gray and white! It's bound to freshen up that kitchen in a jiffy! Good luck and thanks for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly :) We all have some uglies around the house!
    Hope you're having a great week and thanks sooo much for your sweet comment the other day! It made my day!

  4. I think your landlord would be insane to say no to this brilliant plan. Keep us posted.

  5. Hiya, for pulls check out myhomehardware.com. I got my pulls there for $1.45, which I think is a fabulous deal.

  6. I think your ideas would really make that kitchen look great.
    I think a simple butcher block counter would also be nice. Do you know "pure style home" and "country farmhouse" blogs - Take a look at their kitchens for more inspiration.
    My kitchen is being renovated now....ahh - can't wait! It will be a contrast of light, dark. like one of your images....I am clearing out lots of clutter and going to simplify my cupboards. White dishes, clear glass, linens and white cloths for cleaning....I am so excited.

  7. Megan, you are right! I checked out A Country Farm House -- gosh her aesthetic is amazing -- and the layout is almost exactly the same. If I weren't a renter, her kitchen would inspire me to rip out the upper cabinets and put in the butcher block like pve recommended.

    PVE, how exciting. I love the idea of going simple with glassware, dishes, and linens.

    Brittany, thanks for the hardware suggestion. I found some that I absolutely love, which I posted above! And for cheap.

  8. Love your ideas! It doesn't look like you need my help, you did a fabulous job on your own. But I'm still here for support! Love your view too!
    Take Care,

  9. Its great to see someone who isn't afraid to SHARE the UGLY! I don't love my kitchen either. Yours has lots of potential, cabinets alone will make a huge difference painted and oh yes, I love the idea of lower navy and lighter on top! that would look awesome! The inspiration pieces are perfect. Yeah seriously, you don't need our help...its gonna be great.

  10. Oh! I am so excited to see where this goes. Your inspirational pics are gorgeous. I can't wait!! I love a good kitchen makeover, wohoo!!

  11. hi Camille!
    my thoughts?? that they would be CRAZY to not approve your plan. it looks great. I wanted to share my friend Christyn's post about her wonderful kitchen for some additional inspiration!
    I know that Trina got her butcher block from Ikea, and would think that Ikea would be a great source for you! I'm sure you have tried everything under the sun.... but have you tried Bar Keeper's Friend on the floor and countertop? This stuff is amazing (make a paste) The first time (years ago) I saw it being used on glass on a really expensive car to clean it! I use it on my soapstone (the stone yard's suggestion) and even on my marble!!:O
    best of luck!!

  12. Why hello Camille!
    I't so good to meet you :) I'm so flattered that Joan would send you my way for some inspiration! Our "befores" really ARE remarkably similar, but you're right about the appliances, they are seriously darling! I love your plan, can't wait to see the finished product!

  13. Let me know when (notice I'm being positive not saying if).you get the go ahead and I'll come help paint. I think the 9 years of "interest" on the painting you did in my bathroom needs to be returned! Maybe the landlord will be so thrilled with the improvement that he'll decide to replace the floor. Am I dreaming???

  14. Love that first kitchen that you adore! Can you send me an email with your email address? I click on yours and I can't email out because I don't have outlook hooked up.

  15. Love all your gorgeous inspirational kitchens. They are all so pretty. Painting the kitchen sounds like a lot of work but I guess in the end, it's worth it! Looking forward to the beautiful painted cabinets!


  16. Hi, just saw your kitchen challenge! Amazing before and after! I love your ideas! I immediately thought of the bamboo shade before seeing your shopping list. Great minds think alike. Hope you're making progress on the project. It's always something!

  17. Love what you did with the kitchen and I also follow Layla, she and Kevin did an amazing job on their kitchen.

    Have a great day


I enjoy reading every comment.