Thursday, October 2, 2008

French Country Kitchen in Greek Revival Home

Contributed by Jean of Renovation Therapy (formerly I Love Upstate)

My house is a circa 1839 Greek Revival in upstate New York. I bought the house because it had great bones and incredible potential. I'd also been in love with this house since I was little so when it went on the market, I scooped it up.

From a style perspective, the kitchen was my worst nightmare. Faux green marble laminate countertop, electric cooktop and faux brick linoleum. Did I mention the green ivy that was painted around the edge of everything? Where to start? Anywhere! Anything would be an improvement in my book.

First things first, I found an incredible contractor; Matt Alexander. He understood me, he had great ideas, he worked around my lack-luster budget and he delivered. He also emailed me lots of pictures when I wasn't on site. I couldn't ask for a better contractor.

With the help of Matt Alexander, we ripped out the floor and took it right down to the subfloor. The floor was sanded, patched re-insulated from below and then we put down several layers of

Ace Hardware's floor porch enamel called "Warm Scones". I was concerned that this would be hard to keep clean but a friend who is a decorative painter tipped me off that watered down Windex and a damp mop would do the trick. She was right!
Matt's team ripped out the ceiling in the laundry/breakfast nook area and we gained about 3 feet of space. We installed 4 recessed lights from Home Depot. We also had much bigger windows installed in this area

and also across the room above the sink installed. They are Integrity by Marvin. Let there be light! While we were ripping out the ceiling we discovered a brick wall. I opted to not cover up the brick. It was funny having removed the faux brick linoleum to later discover a real brick wall!

I donated my old refrigerator to a local retired couple, their fridge had bit the dust and being on a fixed income, they were struggling to replace it. I was thrilled to help. My new refrigerator is from Lowes, it's a double door unit. I'm still not used to the whole double door thing. I suppose I'll come to love it in time. I also picked out the new gas cooktop at Lowes. I was able to supplement this purchase by selling the old electric one on Ebay.

The hardest decision was the countertop. I looked at granite, Corian, butchers block, zinc, pewter and on and on. I literally spent months agonizing over the counterop. I finally settled on butcher's block. I opted to purchase it at Ikea after reading several reviews from other bloggers

who had purchased Ikea's version. The price was incredible and the installation was very easy - and it matched the butcher's block on the island. Score! The backsplash is bead board from Home Depot.

The walls are painted Lowes' Valspar Laura Ashley Cowslip #1. That's a mouthful! The trim on the fireplace, doors and backsplash are Cowslip #4. With the help of 518's Finest Painting (another awesome contractor that I'm very pleased with!) we primed the ceiling beams. The beams required 2 coats of Kilz primer and we had to use the spray can version in a few spots to truly cover some

hard grease spots. Getting rid of the dark beams really made the room seem much larger. We also installed this great vintage faux bamboo lighting fixture, a total score on Craigslist.

The curtains are actually tablecloths from Williams Sonoma Home, I put them up with clips from the Thomas O'brien line at Target. Shhh. Let that be our secret!

Check out the after pictures of the finished kitchen!

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