Digs on a Dime - in the Kitchen!

Trish and I were looking forward to a recent Digs on a Dime job – especially since it was a kitchen!

One of the options we offer is a Digs on a Dime, which is where the client invites friends for a before/during/after makeover party.  Friends gather in the room that is to receive the makeover,  we discuss with the client her needs, desires, and functions of the room, we find out where we can “shop” in the house, and the client and friends scoot off to another room in the house. Trish and I set our clocks for one hour (yes, as in 60 minutes) and get busy, then we call the ladies back in for The Reveal.

So when Liz booked a Digs on a Dime with us, specifying her kitchen, she mentioned during our phone conversations that we “may want to move some furniture around” – and Trish and I were intrigued.  How many people have kitchens that you can “move furniture around” in?  What does this kitchen look like?

Once we arrived at Liz’s at stepped in the door, the kitchen had us at hello.  This wasn’t just any kitchen – this was 520 square feet of kitchen! (below, before)

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 Liz, her husband and children (nine beautiful children) live in an old farmhouse, and they’ve added the kitchen on – seamlessly.  The kitchen looks as if it has always been part of the farmhouse – from the woodwork,  the trim, windows, cabinetry, doors, to the original butler’s pantry.  Liz’s “style” is all about function and beauty. With her large family, things need to function efficiently, and the beauty is in this simplicity.

Ladies arrived, chattering commenced, the kitchen being the gathering spot. Liz was setting out all kinds of good- looking and good-smelling eats and drinks in the living room.  We began by asking Liz what she liked/loved about her kitchen as it currently functioned, what she would like to see changed, where we could shop in her house, etc.  The basic desires of Liz were to: think outside the box and try something different; possibly bring in an additional small, round table and chairs set from a different room, rearrange or remove some antique pieces of furniture, and arrange her displays above the cabinetry.  So off the ladies went, settling in the living room for an hour of eating, drinking, laughing, talking, basic girl stuff.

Trish and I  got started. We changed the orientation of the rectangular dining table to allow space to bring in the round table. (more on that later) We removed a couple of table leaves from the dining table (after checking with Liz).   Although the family includes nine children, three are away at school and the youngest is a babe in arms.   So the additional table length, as well as additional chairs will be needed, they are currently not on a daily basis.  One  dining room wall (below) housed an antique china cabinet, as well as a dresser Liz picked up at a garage sale. (before, below)

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 We moved the dresser to a different spot (you’ll see!) and centered the china cabinet on the wall, flanked on each side by a chair. (Well, a high chair in one case.)  We found a colorful table cloth which we folded into a table runner, using the runner and a bowl from a kitchencupboard as a table centerpiece. We accesorized the top of the china cabinet with items found in the kitchen.  You will notice in the “after” pic that we used a black chair on either end of the dining table, host and hostess style,  to shake things up a bit. The after picture is below:

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We next turned our attention to bringing in the round black table from the living room that Liz had suggested, creating a cozy seating area under a pair of windows. (Before and after, below) Great spot for a cup of coffee, reading, doing school work, playing a board game. Although the black table has four chairs that go with it, we only used two in this room (placed at either end of the dining table, as mentioned above)  We used a couple of wooden library chairs with the round black table. We found a beautiful area rug to define this area.  And – oh happy day – one of Liz’s guest’s had handed Liz a beautiful bouquet of flowers as she came in the door – and we used those on the round table!

Before:

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and after:

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And so, putting it all together for the dining space:

Before

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After:

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And now, for the other half of the kitchen. During our initial question/answer with Liz, she had expressed frustration that one of the doors entering the kitchen (below) from the hallway bumped against a large, antique cabinet placed in the kitchen, and when a person was seated near that spot at the island, a traffic flow problem existed.

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Trish and I scooted the island over a bit to allow a better traffic flow, (uh, yes, it was actually portable...) and moved out the antique cupboard (Liz had said this would be fine to do). Normally we don’t have the time to move pieces like this during the one hour Digs on a Dime option, but thankfully Liz’s husband was there and offered to help us!  (Thanks, Frank!) This freed up a bit of wall space just crying out for something.  The space is between two doors (one leading to the rest of the house, the other leading to the original butler’s pantry.) The doors are gorgeous old, library type doors, with the upper portion glass.  The antique cupboard that had been placed between them (above) was roughly the same height as the doors.  We were looking for something considerably lower for some contrast.

And what we need was right there it was right in the kitchen already.  Have you guessed?  (If you have, there isn’t any type of prize awaiting you)  We used the garage sale dresser that Trish and I had moved from the dining space!   We moved it into the spot between the two doors (below) and it was perfect. We added a lamp (which we found shopping the house, or I should say FRANK found for us, shopping his house) and a few accessories.  It will be great for storing linens, silverware, kids cups/plates, or as a coffee station.  Liz claims it’s one of her favorite features of the makeover! (see below)

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We re-arranged Liz’s displays on the top of her cabinetry, grouping the items into vignettes.  (below)  She loves to shop garage sales, and can easily add new finds into these groupings.

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We called Liz and the ladies back in for The Reveal. That is always the fun (and nail-biting for Trish and I) part!  As the changes are discovered and commented upon, Trish and I like to tell what we did, why we did it, and also what we tried that didn’t work, and what we thought about trying, but didn’t try. (Make sense? If you’ve read this far, you’re probably a person that CAN make sense of it!) Sharing these things gives the client more options to consider,  and the party guests pick up ideas for their own spaces.

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Liz’s favorite parts? The dresser with the lamp (“Oh! Now I can look for teacups at garage sales…!”) and the shelf above the microwave: On this shelf, we placed Liz’s and Frank’s wedding picture, as well as some small asian bowls that have special meaning to the family.  One of Liz’s initial concerns was mixing “styles”, she likes many different genres of items, could  they co-exist happily in the same room, she wondered? Seeing these special asian bowls displayed, as well as her garage sale finds, and our suggestion of hanging little rooster pictures that she likes…gave Liz confidence to mix-mix-mix, using whatever she loves!

Sometimes placing The Unexpected (like your wedding picture in your kitchen) really brings a room to life!

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