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So, the purge of the kitchen is done. I’ve recovered from the trauma and have it on good authority that the poor Waste Management folks who hauled away the garbage are recovering nicely from their hernias.

I’m starting to get used to my stuff being relocated, though I think I’ll be battling the muscle memory for a while yet. The reorganization HAS made my cooking much more zenlike. I love having my stuff within easy reach. (The problem with the stand mixer and food processor remains, but everything else has much improved.)

So now, it’s time to give the kitchen a facelift. Get out the paint brushes!

Beth swears by the expertise of the folks at DuraPaint, and she’s absolutely right to. We went in with one idea, and came out with different paint. I will admit to being a bit trepidatious about the wall color, but I got over it. The end result was and is fabulous – and once again, something I would NOT have gotten to on my own. Ah, the power of professionals. They’re worth their weight in gold!

So here’s the before, where the walls are blue and the cabinets are an oatmeal off white (and this is actually a really old picture – the bookcase was relocated to the hallway several months ago, because the spines of my cookbooks were getting sun bleached, thus making me sad):

One of the things Beth suggested that I would NEVER have thought of was painting the bottom cabinets a darker color than the top cabinets. Since my motto is, “It’s only paint!” I figured, what the heck. If I didn’t like it, I could change it, right? (My motto has now changed somewhat. It’s now only paint if someone else is doing the work! At least until the memory of the hugeness of this part of our redesign fades!)

So, the project begins. This involves taping stuff. Lots of taping stuff. And then removing doors. My painting tarps went mysteriously (and very inconveniently!) missing, something I didn’t discover until I was ready to start. So I improvised with trash bags.

People, learn from my pain. Find the tarps. Or go buy more. There. I have spoken. Ignore me at your own risk.

So the painting of the cabinets was the biggest pain. In the past, we removed the hinges on the cabinet doors. This time, I taped them off. Taping them off actually took longer, but it was much less problematic than trying to get the hinges back in the perfect position – particularly since I was doing all of this on my own. I would say that this, for me, was the biggest “issue”. I am NOT a patient person by any stretch, and taping the hinges requires both patience and a steady hand. The application of my iPod with a whole slew of Kim Harrison books did help this immensely. As did constant reminders of the arguments I got into with my husband the last time we did the cabinets and removed the hinges. 🙂

The bottom cabinets got a coat of primer and then two coats of paint. I probably didn’t NEED the second coat of paint, but I was SO not going to decide that I did after rehanging those cabinet doors. The top cabinets got two coats of paint. The walls got one coat of paint – mainly, I think, because the Benjamin Moore paint is SO good. I had anticipated needing two coats and was utterly delighted when it was quickly obvious that a second coat was unnecessary. This was my first experience with Benjamin Moore paint, and I’m pretty well a convert now. It’s not cheap compared to the stuff we were buying before at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but the quality is evident and worth the additional money. Particularly if, as I expect, the quality extends into durability.

By the time the cabinets were painted, I had decided that Beth is, in fact, a designing genius, and was trying to figure out exactly what sort of baked goods to offer up to her in thanks. I think I decided on chocolate truffles. She’s THAT good. The two toned cabinets looked spectacular. The wall color took a bit more time to grow on me, but by the time I was done painting, it had settled in and I loved it. My kitchen was starting to look like the island of zen I wanted it to be.

I was too “in the painting zone” to remember to take pictures of the wall painting part of the project. (Okay, really, I just wanted it done. And to not have to look at paint again for a long, long, LONG time.) For the cabinets, I used a paintbrush – and another bit o’advice here – suck it up and pay for the good paint brush. It really is worth it. If you take good care of it, you’ll have it around for years to come, and the difference in paint application is very noticeable. For the walls, I used rollers. Since I knew part of the project would involve painting the ceiling (which now makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry), I didn’t worry overmuch about the occasional paint splotch up there.

The whole painting project took 3 days of pretty solid work – again, it was only me doing this. It’s not that my husband wouldn’t have helped. It’s that I’m not patient enough to wait for him to not have paying clients and thus the time to help me. Even if it means more work and aggravation for me. Waiting is more vexing, in my world.

So, I’ll cease my yammering and show you the finished paint project. (Or so I thought. We’d have to get out the paint again – and that is a blog for another day!)


In a new feature here at the Bynon Design blog, we’re going to be bringing you various design projects from both the perspective of the designee as well as from the designer. I figure it’s only fair to let you see what design clients experience, and how the interaction shapes my approach to the project.

The first blog post is from the client’s perspective:

In this economy, getting stuff done sometimes requires a creative approach. People all over the place are starting to recognize the marketing value of having a blog/facebook/twitter/etc. presence. What most of them don’t like is the fact that achieving this presence and building a following takes serious work.  Now, me? I like to blog. I’m active enough on Facebook, and there are days when I live by my Twitter feed. And I love, love LOVE Google Wave. I am bitter that Google pulled the plug on this wonderful idea.  But I digress.
One of my husband’s clients is an interior designer. In the past, rather than exchanging invoices, they exchanged services. One identity package in exchange for an office re-org and redo. That sort of thing. So when Beth decided that she wanted to jump firmly into this century and try out that web 2.0 marketing (in the name of setting her services apart from other local designers) she contacted my husband to see if he knew of anyone who could help her. Particularly with the writing bit.

Which is how my kitchen improvement idea got hatched.

Will blog for design services. Yeah, that’s me. 🙂

Nobody told me that at a minimum, the initial portion of design work means all work for the designee. I might have gone with a project slightly smaller. Like, say, my coat closet. (Which is part of the kitchen redesign, by the way.)

It’s hard work being a design client!

The first part was easy and fun – walking through the kitchen and explaining what worked for me and what didn’t. And what I’d really love to have.

My biggest want? A bigger kitchen. Granted, it’s not a tiny apartment-sized galley kitchen, but space is a big issue. And see, this is where kismet comes into play – Beth is phenomenal at making small spaces do double and triple duty. In fact, this is what she specializes in. I’m so excited!

My second biggest (and more realistic) want? A better place to keep my workhorses: my stand mixer and food processor. Yeah, I could keep them on the counter, but countertop clutter makes me twitchy. Beyond this, counter space is valuable real-estate when it comes to food prep – having to move stuff around so that I can cook will make me cranky. And really? Let’s extrapolate this one out: Me cranky, and playing with knives? Probably not the best idea. Frankly, there’s a Darwin Award story in there begging to be told.

So my stand mixer and food processor live on the bottom shelf of my pantry, which is the ONLY place in the kitchen with adequate shelf height clearance. And about as far away from my prep space as you can get and still be in the same room. My back LOVES getting that stand mixer out several times a week. Anyway, that part was fun. The first part. Talking potential colors and cabinet treatments and so on. Fun! Exciting, even. I couldn’t wait to get started.
Then Beth gave me my homework.


First, I had to take before pictures of the kitchen. And it had to be my kitchen in its natural state, not my kitchen TOTALLY clean, which is about the only way I’ll usually let it be recorded for posterity. So in the middle of making challah for my neighbor, I took these. (I’m going to be seeking therapy soon for the trauma of not only having taken these photos, but then posting them on the freaking internet. If my mom sees this, I just know I’m going to be grounded!)

Aren’t those cords pretty? I love my under-counter lighting, but need to do better with making the cords go away. That area in general is a catchall for junk - which irks my need for clutter free. This will change (the catchall thing; my twitchy side won’t be denied!) with the redo.

The pantry is so not working for me. As with my laundry, the messes in there multiply like bunnies. As do the empty boxes, which seem to spring up in pairs overnight. Beyond that, it’s not the most conveniently located spot to keep my baking stuff.

Thus the repurposing of the closet above - no real idea of what we’ll do there yet, but it’s coming! (Closet is next to the refrigerator. Cookbooks WILL be moving!)

Then the really NOT FUN stuff started. Purging. But, as Beth explained to me, it’s probably the most important part of the process – even more important in many ways than starting out with an initial design idea. For me, it was the revelation that my smallish kitchen was suddenly flippin’ HUGE! The purge process took two days. And given the number of large trash cans I filled (2 – which brings me to the conclusion that timing this to start after the garbage men came on trash day goes high on the List of Things To Rethink), it was obviously about ten years past time to do this. Or more.

Case in point. I threw away a boatload of baby bottles and formula.
Um, yeah…. I have one child. Who turns 13 in 3 weeks.

Cleaning out the cabinet above my refrigerator was like going shopping in a new store specializing in bad taste. I didn’t know I had most of that stuff. Clearly, the cabinet above the refrigerator is where White Elephant gifts went to die.

The coat closet, which is going to be repurposed – Horrifying Mess (With Spiders!). Another notch on my “needs therapy” belt. Spiders! What the heck do they think they’re going to catch in there, anyway? Oh, and the closet was obviously a refugee camp for the army of dust bunnies which were previously plotting a home takeover from underneath my sofa. I thought I’d eradicated those suckers. Obviously, I was pathetically deluded. They had simply relocated to continue their evil plotting.
Even in the face of militant dust bunnies and arachnid invasions, I persevered. Because improving this kitchen is huge for me.
So here are pictures of the purge in action. Part one (please note the trepidatious feline):

Part two:

So now, that’s (mostly) done. I have my freecycle pile on my dining room table. And I have my “Needs Another Home That’s Not in the Kitchen” pile, um, on my kitchen table.

Look, baby steps, okay?

NOW the fun part of my homework is beginning – I get to do research for stuff I like. And I am NOT ALLOWED to limit myself. If I like it, it goes into the “Show Beth” file.

Because she’s the expert – the one with the vision. I might see something that I adore but if I was being typically me, I’d not consider it because it costs $5,000. Beth, being the brilliant woman that she is, has the experience, training, and (most importantly) vision to look at the idea and come up with ways to do it for less and in such a way that it’ll fit with what we want to do. Such are the benefits of working with a professional! I’ve seen her work with my husband’s office, so I already know she’s good. And she’s been coming up with ideas that I NEVER would have thought of. At this point, there’s going to be an entire blog entry about how creative she was with my pot rack and my island, even though it’ll make me feel very not-creative. Though when it comes to interior design, I might know what I like – but most of the time I need a guide to get there.

Back to my research….While I’m doing this, I’m also to be detailing what I want as far as functionality in the kitchen. Essentially, my dream list – the reality check will be done later. Double ovens are SO on that dream list! From this research and forays into fantasy-land, Beth will be able to glean what she needs to divine up a plan of attack. (I personally think her voices tell her what to do, since that’s about the only way I’d be able to get there, but she insists that the process is more meditative and peaceful.)
Anyway, the adventure begins. As it progresses, the revolution will be blogged. And Facebooked. And Tweeted. 🙂

I’m so excited by the way my deck turned out. My hectic summer schedule only allowed me to work on it a square at a time, but the results were worth the wait! In addition to the checkerboard paint detail, I stitched up an awning, some chair cushions, and covered an antique French settee in outdoor fabric. I’m not too worried about putting an antique on my deck with the new awning in place. It just looks soooo romantic out there, I’ll take my chances! I love that in good weather (which is practically year round in San Diego), I can push open the French doors and add a lot more square footage to my house. To continue with the indoors out theme, I like to display artwork and flea market finds… additional layers that give it a look as if its always been there kind of feel. All said, i am very pleased with the results. I have a deck that is very pleasant to spend time on, I’ve added on living space, and I’ve done it all without breaking the bank!