Minor Miracle in the Kitchen


As you’ve probably noted by now, I hate this kitchen. Here are the major offenses that this kitchen is charged with:

  • its design (it lacks any!)
  • open cabinets (not one, but two)
  •  propane oven (don’t get me started)
  • chartreuse colored sink with the built-in tray for a dish rack (because there’s no dishwasher!)
  • large window with bars (are we in the ghetto?)
  • funky built-in table (and we don’t have any chairs. I had to send the chairs that came with the table back to storage because they were beyond my magic repertoire–decoupage, painting, fabric…)
  • overhead lighting that goes on upon banging the cabinets (and we’ve had them fixed)
  • the converter box–if I want to use any of my appliances (i.e. Kitchenaid, etc., I have to plug them into a converter which is a HUGE, circa 1965 ugly, metal tool box looking contraption the size of a shoe box that is difficult to camouflage and potentially dangerous, not to mention you can only plug two things in at once).

None of this is charming or quaint or anything in between. It’s just ugly and I cannot live in such a state so I’ve attempted to make some minor adjustments. First on the list, the open cabinets and the window.

Before I show you what I’ve done, let’s review my constraints:

  • I don’t know of any fabric stores like JoAnn Fabrics, etc. where I can get fabric and notions, etc. This means I have to order online, sight unseen, which is difficult, especially with fabric.
  • I didn’t bring all of my crafting supplies, just a couple and nothing great.
  • Raj is CHEAP (He often reminds me, “we’re only here 2 years so why spend ANY money.”).

Given these obstacles, I have to say that I’m very pleased with the results. What do you think?

Here’s the before and after of the dishwasher space:
Before and after of the large cabinet to the left of the refrigerator:
…and the window treatment (it’s really hard to see anything, sorry):
It’s difficult to see what I’ve done, but I ordered a dark brown burlap (yes, Raj, it’s very cheap) and a couple of tension rods (total cost $20). One of the rods didn’t fit, so I had to improvise with some other way to hang the fabric in the tall cabinet. Luckily, I had a few decorative tacks in my craft box and hammered the fabric on the shelf above. Although I have my sewing machine here, I found it more efficient to use “steam and seam” for the seams and to attach the grosgrain ribbon onto the front panels. (If you’ve never used “steam and seam” it’s a great product). I ran out of fabric so I was forced to pull out the sewing machine to seam together what little fabric I had leftover. I staple gunned the fabric to the wood panel above the kitchen window and used more of the decorative tacks and grosgrain ribbon to finish it off. It’s so much better that I can almost step foot in the kitchen without cringing.
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13 thoughts on “Minor Miracle in the Kitchen

  1. who knew just a couple pieces of fabric could really make it look that much different. Nice! You’ll be adding that Jen’s personal touch in no time to the entire place. 🙂

  2. Oh, Jen, much improved! I can just hear Raj (or any man) saying, “Why spend anything?” A small investment at the outset can make that 2 years more bearable, so I’m with you on some changes to endure the stay! :o)

  3. Who but you would ship the sewing machine? Personally, the kitchen was fine before. Are you going to leave it tricked up for the future tenants or is the burlap coming home with you? Let me know if you want me to send you the Christopher Lowell book that I got at GW. It sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands. Not only does he have decorating ideas, but he includes some of his recipes for entertaining.

    1. I brought the sewing machine over (which i suppose may seem weird given that I WASN”T allowed to bring anything else of value) in case there was a sewing emergency and I’m glad I did. I’ll pass on the 7 Layers of Design. I haven’t like CL since he flaked on us at BEA.

      1. I am hurt that you are rejecting The Seven Layers of Design (actually, I think I gave that book back to the thrift store) but if I recall, he was a big fan of what you could do with those small round table and a big fan of covering cheap chairs. I would like to see you applying some of those design layers.

        1. If you saw the chairs, you’d understand there was no layer potential. These were like mom’s from our old dining room table with the velvet seats. Remember those. No hope. I’ll BUY something here or just use the table as a prep. area for all of the cooking that I haven’t been doing lately.

  4. Absolute favorite part – “are we in the ghetto?” You make me laugh. Heading to Mindy’s for dinner soon, I hope her kitchen looks as fabulous as yours!!

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