The Kitchen Reveal…One Year Later

Well, here it is….the kitchen reveal. No need for a drumroll.  It surely is not on the scale of a Chip and Joanna Gaines…”Are you ready to see your fixer upper?”  (I love those two btw!!) remodel, but it is an improvement from what it had been for eighteen years prior.    For those new to the “Monogramery” you may not know that last January I took on a kitchen facelift project called  “Operation Kitchen Redoux”  something or another (it’s been so long ago that I forgot).  I painted my HORRIBLE white cabinets with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and replaced my formica countertops with Carrera Marble (LOVE IT!).  The walls were painted not once but twice.  Did I tell that story or not???  Anyway I am sure you can figure out the wall paint story….husband paints walls once; then husband paints walls twice because wife does NOT like the color, but wife does not say she  does NOT like the color in fear that it will hurt the “check writing for marble” husband’s feelings.  The husband just knows the wife well enough that he can tell by her “look” that she does not like the walls.  The second paint color of choice makes everyone happy.  It’s Blonde by Sherwin Williams. 

As you may remember, it took me eight weeks to paint my cabinets.  Then it probably took another four weeks to get the marble countertops.  After the countertops were in, I was READY to order the Carrera Marble subway tile for the backsplash but someone (husband, Kenny) wanted to catch his breath (save some money to pay cash) so we waited to order the backsplash.  Finally last June/July, after waiting (saving) for several months, I was given the green light to order the backsplach.  It arrived within days of ordering it.  I carried each box inside from the pallet that was delivered, and I lined them up along the dining room wall where they SAT from July to November/December. (Yes, you read that correctly…SIX months.)  Within those six months, I only asked ONCE about the installing them.  For those of  you who know me personally know that was a job for me to only ask once. I waited patiently because I feared the more I asked the longer I would wait.    And so…the week after Thanksgiving 2014, the backsplash was installed by my wonderful “DEH” husband.  (DEH = Do Everything Himself) He did a fabulous job on something that he had never done before and  something that he may never do it again.  LOL!!!

I am sharing with you the before shots of my kitchen. (A little note:  I forgot to take pictures before I took all the cabinet doors off to paint.) 




This is the butler’s pantry from my kitchen to dining room.  It did not always look so bare.  Of course… I forgot once again to take a picture of it before I emptied the cabinets.  It was also the last set of cabinets I did so the countertop served as a collection spot for some appliances.  I am standing in my laundry room/pantry taking this photo. 

Let me stress before you move on to the AFTER photos that I have NO idea what I am doing behind a lens of a camera.  I used my son’s camera to take the pictures.  It’s a really nice camera but since I know NOTHING about it, the pictures are sub par (aka awful).  I think the  camera made my kitchen look too busy…LOL!!  Can you believe it did that??  (wink) I don’t like the looks of the kitchen through the lens as much as I do when I am just standing in it.  The light reflecting off of the cabinets does not truly show what the cabinets look like.  I already know that when I see a kitchen on Pinterest or in a magazine that it has been staged for the photo shoot, and now I am assuming that a professional photographer took the pictures.  (insert tears and loud crying sounds)  Looking at these pictures makes me want to repaint my cabinets.  The look of the cabinets is heavy on the eyes with the black and white tile (which I would change if I could but that is NOT happening according to the DEH).  This is also not my dream kitchen.  Yes, I like a lot of things about my kitchen, but would I have wanted grey cabinets…..not really.   It’s what I thought would work with the floors since they can not be removed.  Now that I see the kitchen photographed, I think a solid grey cabinet would have been more pleasant to look at with the floor. Maybe one day in the future I’ll paint them again, but for now the labor pain of painting the  cabinets still holds fresh in these old aching bones.   


I will start with the after “redoux” photos where I left off with the before “redoux” photos….in the butler’s pantry.  I kind of changed the butler’s pantry into a baking center.  To be honest, I did not have a butler so it only made sense….LOL!!!  I do have a want to be baker.  Hallie wants to move to Paris with her new American Girl Doll Grace Thomas and bake French pastries.  (If you’re a mom of an American Girl loving girl, you’ll  understand.)  The walls look really LSU yellow-gold in this picture but I promise  you they are not.  It’s the same Blonde by Sherwin Williams as the rest of the kitchen.  Remember…I am not a photographer so the lighting is awful in the photos. 

 Why grey cabinets?  Well, the tile on the floor goes all the way to the wall.  (NIGHTMARE!) In order to replace the tile, the entire kitchen would have had to have been taken out, and this was just a cabinet redo in order to get the marble countertops that I had dreamed of for 18 years.  I used Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey and used a dark (black) wax to give them an aged look.  Looking at them now in these photos, I think that maybe I should have just painted them the Paris Grey and used Annie’s varnish to seal them instead of the wax.  I had to create my own black wax with putting paint in to the clear wax.  The wax has worn quickly on heavy traffic areas of the cabinets such as the fridge panel where everyone puts their hand to handle to open it.  

 My husband extended our kitchen island by adding on to the ends of it.  He also made it wider so stools could fit under one side.  I painted the island and the butler’s pantry with Annie Sloan’s Graphite and applied her dark wax to both sets of cabinets.   The dark wax on the graphite chalk paint gave it a richer, deeper color of graphite.  I am almost sorry I did not do all of the cabinets in the graphite. 



I made this area of the counter a coffee/breakfast bar.  It use to be an area thats only purpose was to collect junk papers and such.  Now it is cluttered with things we use everyday.  The butler pantry would have made a nice coffee bar area as well, but this area would not have made a nice baking center. 


I searched high and low for a cow creamer and was really surprised to find this one at Bed Bath and Beyond.  My children think it’s creepy looking, and can I tell you that since I bought this creepy cow creamer, after searching high and low, I’ve seen cuter ones at Walmart (yes, Walmart), Kirklands and Tuesday Morning.  You may notice that there is a jar of sprinkles in the coffee/breakfast bar area.  Looks odd, but when your “daddy’s girl” thinks you’re like the daddy and will run out and get her chocolate covered sprinkled donuts,  you offer her a waffle covered in Nutella and sprinkles. 

This old scale use to hang in my pappy’s store.  He had a hardware type store where he sold trawl nets for shrimp boats.  He also carried nails and such.  The customers use to weigh the nails in it.  I loved it when I saw that it was rusting away in my grandma’s shed years ago and I called dibs on it, but really had no place to put it.  I had it in our shed until one day after my kitchen was finished, and I got a brilliant idea to hang it over my island on my pot rack.  It also lead me on an eBay adventure to find more old scales. 

My husband surprised me with this one.  It was in rough shape when he bid on it and won it from eBay.  I was shocked when it arrived.  The glass was missing (so is the glass in my hanging scale) and it was full of rust (so is my hanging one).  It made the hanging one look like it was in excellent condition.  I questioned whether he could restore it.  He laughed at my questioning him and gave me a response of, “I restore old cars full of rust.  I can restore this scale.”  And isn’t she a beauty?  She really works too.   In this next photo, check out the “Makin’ Groceries” sign above the window. 

If you are Southern or know any Southern folks, you  know how proud we are to be Southern.  The South runs deep and wide.  When most folks think about Southerners, they think of long drawn out Southern Drawls, ice tea and deep porches with over grown ferns.  At least this is what I think of when I think of Southerners.  I’m from so far down South that there is no where else to go South besides the Gulf of Mexico, and I’m sad when I say that my part of the South got the short end of the baton when it came to Southern Drawls.  Don’t let those fake New Orleans’ Southern Drawl accents fool you in the movies.  Down in Nawlins, “yat” is the local accent and it’s a language all on its own. Up until recently I would NEVER say “Who Dat”.  I mean really….what degreed elementary teacher would use that term??? SMH…Not me dat fo sho!  But it was something about Drew Brees saying “Who Dat” that made me hear it differently.  I, then, began to embrace my Southern Culture and be proud of the unique things that only New Orleans brings to the South.  Don’t get me wrong…there are still a lot of things I can not bring myself to say such as the term “makin’ groceries”, but I am proud that no other place in the world will say that in reference to going to the grocery store.  Although I may not say it, I’ll proudly display it. 

In honor of Hallie’s favorite quote/question from HGTV  “Are you going to LOVE IT or LIST IT?”……. I would love to list it and build my beach house in Bay St. Louis, but until then I am going to love my Carrera Marble countertops and I am going to live with the cabinets. 


 The following are just a few “close ups” of things in the kitchen that may one day be post of their own. 




Follow Me on Pinterest

Show & Tell Friday: The PINspiration That Started it ALL

Pinterest is a woman’s best friend and a husband’s worse nightmare……or at least that is the way it is in my house.  Y’all know how I feel about Pinterest: LoVe, lOvE, LOVE!!   However, I must say that I only thought I pinned a lot, but I see some of the pinners that I follow have pins in the thousands and ten thousands.  I think I must be a picky pinner.  I have discovered that my pins must have links attached to them with detail about the pin.  I occasionally will pin a photo only, but I  usually like the pins that come attached to a working site.  There is nothing more disappointing than a great pin without the recipe, buying site, or DIY directions attached.  It’s through Pinterest that I have found some wonderful blogs to follow.  There are so many talented bloggers out there.

This particular pin below is from Amy who has a BEAUTIFUL blog, Playing Sublimely.  I must say that this wall is what put me on a mission of Operation Kitchen Cabinet Redoux.  It was my PINspiration.


PINspiration prayer wall from Playing Sublimely.

I know you’re probably thinking that how did a chalkboard wall lead me to redoing my kitchen cabinets, getting new counter tops, an addition to my island, etc…..  Well, it was just one of those things that happens when you begin to think of one thing and it leads to something else and so on and so on.  I had pinned his pin because I thought it was a genius idea to have a chalkboard prayer wall.  It just so happened that I had a tall skinny wall that I thought would be perfect for this.  I am a big fan of writing prayers to Our Father via a prayer journals so this was going to be one way that I could get my children to write their prayers down.  I also thought it would be a great way for us to be reminded daily that He is always in control and that we should be grateful of each day regardless of what comes our way.

One night after the Christmas excitement, Kenny and I found ourselves in Lowes or Home Depot.  Bored out of my mind in there, I wondered into the paint department and  just so happened to be asked if I needed any help.  To my amazement I heard the words come out of my mouth, “Yes, I am looking for chalkboard paint.”  It just came out like a cuckoo bird coming out of the clock on the top of the hour.  So, there I was with chalkboard paint in hand.  I figured how hard could this be……I have painted a few walls in my time!

Once I got home and read the can, I discovered that there were directions on how to prep the wall because for the best results for a chalkboard wall, the walls should be SMOOTH!  Smooth as in no texture on the wall.  This could NOT be correct.  So I hit the best invention since sliced bread for more information on it; Pinterest.  Surely, I would find other chalkboard DIY directions there.  So I searched: CHALK PAINT ……..not chaldboard paint; just chalk paint.  And from my ignorance a new project was born as well as a future blog post.  I had NO idea there was such a beautiful creature as chalk paint that did not require sanding or stripping the old paint off of the surface.  Finally there was a way for me to redo my old white cabinets, and it seemed like one project that  I could handle doing solo. (Solo as in no help from my husband.  I also needed to use doing it solo as my leverage to get those long-awaited for marble counter tops.)  Also thanks to my ignorance, I discovered that there was no other better way to paint a “chalkboard” wall without prepping the wall and making it smooth.  It’s at this part of my story that leads me to… Pinterest is a husband’s worst nightmare.

Above is the wall prior to the chalkboard paint.  Notice that it even has a wall phone on it.  Yes, we may be the only family that still has a wall phone.  We lived through Katrina and had phone  service before we had electricity and had both long before we had Internet and cable.  It’s important to me to have land line communication even if the wall phone is a decorating faux pas.  Please don’t judge….ha!! I NEED MY COMMUNICATION!!!!

Kenny had to patch the wall.  He rerouted the phone to the other side of the wall which WAS our butler’s pantry between our dining room and kitchen.  It since has received a make over which I will share in a future post with the kitchen.  As you can kind of tell, we have an open floor plan in our house.

He had to sand the texture off of the wall.  Then he applied something he called joint compound to make it a smoother texter. I called it spackle.  I would believe him and not me on this one….LOL!!!  The compound made the wall smoother than it was but it is not totally smooth.

He then had to sand the joint compound and prime the wall.  Can you say “dust”!!! The dust from the sanding step was almost unbelievable.  I’m not sure you can see the BLACK grand piano that is the neighbor to the wall under construction.  Thank goodness that half of the piano was covered with one of our Christmas trees and a tree skirt.  Yes, I started this project right after Christmas and before I had taken down the decorations.  I thought that was brilliant on my part. Don’t you? As if the Christmas aftermath isn’t enough of a mess in a home.   In my defense, Kenny was on vacation and most of my projects become his projects so he was a must. 

This is the wall painted with two coats of chalkboard paint and  with one stripe painted around the outer edges. 

Two stripes around the wall.  I was actually out-of-town in Foley, Alabama shopping with my mom and sisters when this step was underway.  I do love my husband….sweatpants and all!! (above picture..LOL!!) Notice the brown buffet in the background to the left.  It was getting ready for its big make over. 

The wall with two stripes and dots.  I did not trust myself with my handwriting nor my balance on a tall ladder to do the actual writing of verses on the chalkboard wall with actual chalk.  I cheated and used wall vinyl and my Cricut.  Kenny also helped me put that up due to my fear of being that high on a ladder.                                                                                                          

 The bottom of the wall would not have been so bad since I could have done it with both feet on the ground,  but Kenny did the applying of that verse too. I think he had a fear of me putting it on the wall on an angle.  I had the same fear to be honest. 

Here is the wall with both verses waiting for each child’s prayer frame.  Take a look at the buffet to the left.  It is now Emperor’s Silk Red (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint).  The Christmas decorations are down too. 

And the wall today……painted, striped, dotted, vinyled, framed and chalked.  Kenny made the frames with pieces of molding so they would lay flat on the wall.  They came out a little smaller than I had envisioned but that left me with a little room for my yearly photo calendar and important numbers and dates.  It may not be as pretty and perfect as my PINspiration, but I love it just the same.  And most of all,  I love that it was the project from a PINspiration that started it all………..

Follow Me on Pinterest