I fell in love with octopi over the summer, for no special reason. Suddenly I saw them everywhere, especially in July in Nantucket in all the fancy gift shop windows. When I put an offer in on a home in Maine the next month, I decided that I'd decorate in Nantucket Octopus. What this meant was that I wanted to feel like I was at the beach, with bleached-out floors and colors, but with pops of mystery and color that made me happy, like deep ocean and hot pink (sparingly).
I pulled into my new home on September 30. My dad had flown up from Florida to help me pack my things in NY and drive the rental truck up to Maine. He stayed with me for over a week, helping me paint and make improvements to the house. I took the week off from work and we removed wallpaper, painted, insulated the attic, took doors off, removed shelves, installed shelves, lugged air conditioners to the garage. It was exhausting and fun, and to reward ourselves we took a whole day off at the end and ate lobster, doughnuts, and ice cream as we drove along the Maine seacoast.
It has taken three months to get the whole house to where I wanted it to be, and of course it's not finished, but it's in a place where I can show before and after pics. I figured I'd start with the kitchen.
This is one of the pictures that was in the original real estate listing. The previous owner left the curtains behind. Note the green walls, vinyl floor, dark cabinetry and trim, and black dishwasher. (You can click on the pictures in this post to see larger versions.)
My big splurge on the home was to have birch hardwood floors installed. We also took down all the country curtains and curtain rods. And right away I ordered a new vinyl dishwasher cover from Appliance Art. (The first one they sent had been crushed in the mail, so there is a crease in the picture below, but they sent a replacement after a lot of follow-up on my part.) Also in this picture, you can see the walls are still green.
I spent about three days thinking about paint colors. In the end, I went with Behr's Moonlit Yellow for my kitchen and bath areas. (Their website is Flash, so I can't link directly to the color on their site.) For the trim and cabinetry throughout the entire house, I went with Sherwin Williams Passive, and I drilled holes and added brushed nickel hardware from Lowe's to the cabinet doors. I replaced the black moulding at the base of the cabinets with cream moulding I found at Lowe's. It's inexpensive and easy to cut and glue on. (You have to buy the right adhesive and a caulking gun, but I've used the caulking gun a lot.)
In the picture you can see I bought a GelPro mat to put in front of the kitchen sink--they sell "imperfects" in their clearance center. I also bought a shiny red trash can from Home Goods and a red lamp from Lowe's. A friend gave me the cool retro kitchen table, and I bought $8 lime green folding chairs from Target until I can save up for the Crate and Barrel chairs I really want.
I also found some fun stuff at Macy's in their Martha Stewart kitchen collection. The Shaker basket on the counter is from the Sabbathday Lake village gift shop, and friends and family gave me the spare coffee maker and knife set.
Another view. Before:
As it is now, where you can see the fabulous red lamp:
Also in this picture you can see two stackable shelving units I got at the Crate and Barrel Outlet in Kittery. I really like one from Maine Cottage, but would have had to save forever for it. It was a specific size I needed to be able to still open the fridge door completely. On top of the fridge you can see I found a couple of fun red cake stands at Marshalls.
Since I needed pretty much everything after living four years without a proper kitchen, I hit Marshalls to fill in the gaps, with a few trips to Walmart for things like a toaster oven and an iron. Here's a picture from one of my more productive trips to Marshalls. (Yes, I bought Valerie Bertinelli pots and pans and you can just shut up about it.)
And after I put everything away:
Here is the view looking at the door that leads down to the garage, with the hallway to the living room to the right of that. Before:
Look at that gorgeous gray door!
Okay this is where I'll leave you. I will send you down the hall next time!