The kitchen of the 50’s and 60’s was often very small, a room of utility, and a space which was usually separated from the rest of the home. Creating a space where the mess was hidden, but so was the cook. Unless you were the Brady Bunch and had an Alice to create your meals, you the host, and typically in that era the mom, were cut off from the socializing while you prepared the meal. This is the design that we inherited in our mid century kitchen. An overall space which was 24 feet long x 13.5 feet wide was divided into a large nook area and an actual kitchen space of 10.5 feet long x 13.5 feet wide, (with the actual floor space of 5.5 feet x 9.5 feet). Creating what we liked to call a “one-butt kitchen”, meaning if there is more than one person working in the space at a time you are often running into each other or in each other’s way. This is especially an issue in the mornings when the espresso machine /coffee bar area is blocked by the refrigerator; providing a tender box for irritation …. Oh wait, maybe that has more to do with my hatred of early mornings and the need for coffee. Either way the layout needs some work.
As you can see from the photos below, this is not a charming, period perfect mid-century kitchen...the kind you want to keep, the one that is “vintage” in a good way. My before kitchen features arched top oak cabinets, cracked and burnt Formica countertops, florescent lighting and an electric cook top where only 3 out of the 4 burners actually work. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this was an amazing kitchen in it’s time, but its time has past and its time for a facelift.
It all began on a cloudy day with a bulldozer and the garage demo… what an exciting day! The crew made fast work of taking down the existing two-car garage that was in desperate need of major work. I half expected a strong wind or a subtle bump to take the whole thing down. In the end it was a bull dozer blow to the corner that did the trick. In 5 minutes flat the garage was a pile of rubble that was then loaded into the dumpster and hauled away. You can watch a video of the destruction on my ReNewal Home Décor Facebook page, under the Videos section. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/renewalhomedecor/videos/
Next began the extensive process of pulling up all the ivy which had overtaken the yard; before the grading could begin. You will no longer see my hubby hacking down the ivy by hand… heavy machinery was brought in to make quick work (and by that I mean several hours), of demoing the yard. Enormous piles a foliage and roots were hauled away to get down to usable soil. Yeah I see bear ground!
Then interior demo went into full swing. Shane, the project manager from Woodstone Construction, went to work taking down the kitchen walls and completing the full demo of the kitchen, laundry room, master bed & bath and the hall bath. You never know what you will find when the walls open up. For us, the amount of mouse/rat poop in the insulation and walls was horrifying!! So in came Meeks to suck out all the old insulation, because I hate to think of how many rodent carcasses were buried up there!! The stuff of nightmares… We also discovered a squirrel had been storing its bounty of nuts in the kitchen wall…. I kid you not! See the photo. All things considered, there were no major surprises and demo went smoothly. As you can see in the kitchen photos the space has opened up nicely and we are so excited to begin putting it back together. Check back next month to see the continued progress. Until next time ~ Heather Helseth—ReNewal Home Decor
With Christmas quickly approaching, the budget often starts to become tighter, while your desire for a beautiful Christmas decorations is just beginning. So I thought I would share with you two of the creative, yet cost effective ideas I employed on my design that was included in the recent 4th Annual Festival of Trees benefit for local Hospice Services.
This years theme was “Silver and Gold” with touches of red, so I got to work on creating a tree that embodied the theme, while still infusing a touch or rustic charm. I began with a trip to the local Dollar Tree to find large clear basic DIY ornaments for the base of my first handmade ornament. These hold endless possibilities, you can fill them with fake snow, decorate them with paint, or like this design, decoupage them with newspaper. To begin I grabbed a newspaper out of the recycling bin and cut the newsprint up into long slender sections. They don’t need to be identical, just wing it… this is not about perfection; its about creativity and fun. Use Mod Podge, a crafters’ favorite to stick the newspaper strips onto the ornament. It goes on cloudy, but will dry almost clear. It comes in a matte finish and a high gloss but for this application I choose the high gloss. Liberally add the Mod Podge to each strip of newspaper and change the angle of each piece as you cover the ornament; this adds more graphic interest and helps the paper to mold better to the round shape. You can also use crafters paper with music notes or holiday themes as well; just make sure the paper isn’t too thick, otherwise it will be harder to mold to the shape of the ornament. Once covered in the newsprint let them dry, (I hung mine to avoid the wet newspaper sticking to anything). Then finish it off with a light spray of gold or silver glitter Krylon spray paint…. And you’re done!
As an interior designer I always love to find ways to add a touch of nature to all my designs. Today I am going to give you some ideas for simple, layered, contemporary table décor for your upcoming holiday party or just a nice dinner in.
I start first with my dining table size and style and draw inspiration from what I have to work with. My table is made of Monkey Pod and has an organic live edge design. Since I love my table and its beautiful natural grain I don’t want to cover it completely with a tablecloth, nor would one fit very well with the irregular shape.
So instead I look through my linen table cloths and runners and find a Pashmina with red and black paisley design. Think outside your traditional table cloth or runner. Scarfs, or fabric scraps can work beautifully for the foundation to your design. I love the color, pattern and unconventional Christmas look it brings and decide its perfect for the task. By placing the pashmina at a diagonal, instead of straight down the center of the table I create a more casual feeling to the display.
Next I begin to assemble décor items from around my house. Plexiglass canisters from a craft store and filled with holiday sparkly balls. Some are small foam balls covered with silver glitter, others red balls of sequence. The smaller jar I fill with Christmas M&M’s, cause you never know when you will have a chocolate craving and need a few! The “Candlesticks” I made a couple of years ago when we cut down a tree that was about to fall on our cabin. You know me I’m all about reusing existing materials.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to remodel your home? Do you have that outdated kitchen or bathroom that needs an update, but you don’t know where to start? Over the next several months, I will be taking you on the journey through our home remodel. As a residential interior designer for more than 20 years, I have worked on my share of large remodel and new construction projects, but this one is for me! I finally get to put my skills to work in a major way on my own home. I’m so excited for the project to begin and look forward to taking you all along with me.
Where to begin... For us we first saw our home in Redding CA, online, as I daily searched for a home remotely from Texas. We partnered with Realtor Jen Sunde of Coldwell Banker and began our search. As soon as I saw this house I knew it was the one, the corner lot in a great westside location, large expansive windows, vaulted ceilings, and courtyard feel with a pool was exactly what I had in mind. The vintage 50’s charm held so much potential ...if you could only see past the overgrown yard, outdated kitchen, floral wallpaper, and peach tile. Not a problem... I have a vision and soon you will see it too. Check out a few of the before photos.