Nana’s Condo – The Kitchen

I’m sorry my last post ended so suspensefully. Here’s the best material I’ve got from the condo, so I hope this makes up for it. To start, my parents (sometimes with my help) made some decisions about the kitchen to just get it done:

  • The cabinets, countertops, and appliances all came from Home Depot. There was no way my mom was lugging Nana to different stores all over the place.
  • They hired a contractor (who they are friendly with and have hired before) to fit out the room. His bid was well under the Home Depot contractors and he said afterwards that he had never worked in a high rise before and should have charged more.
  • The room is small, so we did away with the wall oven and put in a range to make it look bigger.
  • There was a clear wall opposite the cabinets that a lot of people take out. We left it intact but added a countertop with seating, a desk base cabinet with a file drawer, and wall cabinets for dishes. The convex mirror was on the other side – more important than an open kitchen.
  • All the plumbing ran through all the cabinets from a pipe chase in the dining area. A flexible gas line made the range possible, but we had to change the order of the appliances to make everything fit. (Here’s the old plumbing… and some pretty impressive rust stains.)
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  • We raised the ceiling from the original 7-foot drop ceiling to 7′-9″. There’s a concrete slab 3 inches above that. My mom really wanted recessed lighting in here. She didn’t seem to get that recessed lights would get in the way of making the ceiling as high as possible. We had a fight, I won, and the room got 2 cute little schoolhouse fixtures and under cabinet lighting.

And here’s the new cabinets. You can see a paint line near the exhaust fan where the ceiling was and the shadow of the old oven cabinet in this corner.

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One more weird detail: the old exhaust fan stuck out from the wall at an angle and both the duct and the grille were notched to fit around the cabinet. As you can see above, all this was now exposed.

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We have lots of notches and filler strips to make this fit, so I wanted it to be a pretty elephant in the room. I picked up this fancy grille online and possibly in the bloggiest thing I’ve ever done, spray painted it oil rubbed bronze. (Also, I picked out the wall color and she yelled at me the whole time I was painting only to decide she liked it after all when I was done.)

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First off, Nana laid into me while I was painting this room that the wall color I picked was too dark. “Well you’re not the one who’s gonna have to live with it!” Thankfully, she liked it once I was done.

Now we’ve got a kitchen that’s nice enough  but just a little bland. The oil rubbed bronze hardware, caramel colored paint, fake granite countertops, and bamboo floors were all just a bit generic. The room needed color, and I was thinking of the wallpaper she used to have. She loved this wallpaper. (Picture circa 1985)

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One more view of the space recycled from an earlier post:

Mom and Dad with red armoire

Also, I didn’t want to strip the wallpaper from the backsplashes. And I certainly didn’t want to repaper them. That’s not nearly durable enough. My solution was tin ceiling panels. I went over them with a thin nap roller just dampened in red paint so it only painted the raised design. (First I repainted them to match the walls.)

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On the breakfast bar side, I put up a bulletin board made of Homasote wrapped in gingham fabric. If you do this, use a pattern that’s not geometric. Getting the lines straight was no fun.

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And one more before/after.

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We can play a game and try to spot all the things I took.

 

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16 thoughts on “Nana’s Condo – The Kitchen

      1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        No, stuff sitting out. That was a decorating choice she made in the 70s and we were trying to back her off of it a little. She said, “You can have your sterile kitchen Charmagne.” My mom picked out the gingham. Nana rejected it for her black lacquer chairs because it was too informal so I used it there.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Mary S.

        Same thing happened with my grandma – she could tell you all kind of things from growing up but couldn’t remember what happened earlier that day. It was like the last half of her life was wiped out of her memory – it was sad but did lead to her saying some very humorous things. I love the tin backsplash!

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  1. Nine Dark Moons

    that is crazy impressive! i’m totally floored by what you did to the tin ceiling tiles – when i moved into my husband’s condo in 2012 he already had tin ceiling tiles installed as a kitchen backsplash, and they look great tin color, but WOW! i’m just flummoxed.

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  2. Mary Elizabeth

    Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. I love the solutions you came up with to make a sterile condo kitchen pretty and fun.

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