In our 60-year-old house, big DIY projects can take a while. Our patio project from this spring was an unusual example in efficiency, pushed along by impending family parties.

Our current Kitchen Project is more like one of our typical DIY projects: slow and full of ripple effects.

I gleefully pulled off the first of the wallpaper in late May or early June. Then, the summer got going: gardening, family, dog-jumping-through-front-window, and heat. Our kitchen also faces west and can become almost unbearable in the summer—not good conditions for completing a kitchen makeover by a fair-weather DIYer.

So, now we face the core of the lengthy DIY kitchen project. In October, I managed to strip the remaining wallpaper. I have to admit, my mom and I did a great job putting that paper up 15 years ago. It sure didn’t want to come down!


Familiar Beige soffit pairs beautifully with our original refinished cabinets. The 3″ soffit bottom is in Pearly White. Love the 1950s brown tiles? Me neither. 

We also can happily announce the walls were painted before Thanksgiving arrived, with the exception of one spot over the pocket door. After contemplating too many color ideas (thanks, Pinterest), we finally settled on our main color: Sherwin-Williams’ Familiar Beige. It’s been on the walls for almost a month, and I love it!

As for the trim and cabinets: My mom refinished the original base and upper cabinets about 16 years ago, and those are still in great shape. All they need is a good scrubbing.  However, the trim and the “new” cabinets must be repainted  (the cabinets and counter that we added to the north side of the kitchen about 15 years ago, which are still differentiated from the original cabinets as “new”). For that post-New Year project, we are using Sherwin-Williams’ Pearly White. We also are using the Pearly White on the 3” underside of our existing soffit. It works well with the original cabinets and the Familiar Beige that is on the front of the soffit.


What Was Old Is New Again

Only two families have lived in this 1954 house: the original owners and our family. Many times, I have scraped and scoured only to realize that under the “sell the house” white paint is a similar color to what we are about to use. This project is no different. Under our kitchen wallpaper was the cheap “sell the house” white enamel. As I steamed off the wallpaper, some of the enamel paint bubbled and steam off as well. Under that paint was a peachy color, about two or three shades lighter than my Familiar Beige. It was a perfect 1960s retro color and would have paired nicely with the previous brown stain on our original cabinets as well as the brown (I like to say “terra cotta”) tiles.  


Space created after removal of the giant exhaust fan system from above the stove. The open vent above will require a cover.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my husband completed one huge, icky, long-needed task. He managed to wrest the 50-year-old, inoperable exhaust system out of the cabinet above our stove. It looked like the innards of an old submarine and took up the entire right side of the cabinet.

Capping off the wiring was no big deal. Creating a bottom shelf isn’t hard either—but time consuming. We purchased wood from Home Depot, and David got to use his new cordless circular saw. Of course, the circular saw battery died Sunday as the sun set, so no new shelf until this weekend.

Next up: Countertop renovations and glass-front cabinet doors.