The kitchen project comes to a close.

A happy ending to a very, very long project.

The kitchen is done.

John and I still have to hang a few shelves and figure out where in the heck all of our kitchen bric-a-brac is going to go, but for all intents and purposes, the kitchen is done.

For the longest time, we were really just waiting for the Hoosier cabinet to be finished.  We had the bare bones cabinet for a while, but were missing the beadboard and tile backsplash- partly because our designer forgot to order the extra beadboard, and partly because my husband had to perform the miracle of refinishing this old tin ceiling tile for the center:

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I know it doesn’t really look like much there, but underneath those thick layers of paint is something worth rescuing. We found this little gem, along with several others from the same ceiling (including some fantastic long vertical ones with central fleur-de-lis) at the Restoration Warehouse/Restoration Trust in Dubuque, Iowa.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Restoration Warehouse is pretty much mecca for old house nerds like us.  They have everything you could possibly need for your restoration project- cabinet pulls, door knobs and hinges, lighting fixtures, mantelpieces, wrought iron fences, plaster and lathe, carved stone pavers, doors, sinks, bathtubs, faucets, stoves, radiators, cabinetry, windows, ceiling tiles, furniture, and even entire staircases.  It is a bittersweet feeling as you walk through and marvel at these beautiful and intricate forgotten things, imagining the estates that they used to belong to.  You can only guess at the grandeur of these former places, as they’ve likely been torn down years ago to make way for the new. In the warehouse, you pick through the pieces of these magnificent old houses, each object a waiting for someone to come along and shine it up and restore it to its former beauty.  Such was the case with our ceiling tile.

After many nights spent in the basement shop scraping, applying paint stripper, scraping some more, stripping some more, and selectively applying a creative finish that only my husband could have thought of (we have certainly gotten crafty with temperature-resistant spray paint), my husband revealed this:

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Amazing!

Here are a few shots of the finished Hoosier cabinet:

Backsplash close-up.

Backsplash close-up.

The hoosier, finished.

The hoosier, finished.

It is fantastic for storage, as it is deep and holds all of my circular cake pans, pots & pans, cooking (and some baking) utensils, mixing bowls, cutting boards, a five-burner gas cooktop, the toaster, the breadbox, the dog treats, most of my baking cabinet ingredients & spices, and pantry food staples!

Here’s a little secret- the cabinet pulls are actually window pulls.  We wanted the kitchen to as stay as true to the house as we could, and so we mimicked a lot of what can be found in other rooms.  We have very similar bronze pulls on our sunporch windows and really liked the idea of putting window pulls on the doors.  I myself am very drawn to the excesses of the Victorian Age, and often have to suppress the urge to ‘throw up’ Eastlake detail everywhere- an aesthetic our designer charmingly referred to as ‘Victorian vomit’.  My husband, who prefers the more understated Victorian charm, is very good at talking me down from these Eastlake ledges.  Thus he was able to coerce me away from the ridiculously carved Eastlake style pulls at Restoration Hardware.

While John’s favorite thing in the kitchen is the Hoosier, mine is hands-down the center table.  We decided against an island in favor of this marble-toppedttable (at which I could still use my absolute favorite kitchen chairs, scavenged from the side of the road on the east side of Madison seven years ago):

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This is perfect for the two of us to eat dinner here, without having to go into the formal dining room (which will just start the “we really need to do something with this room” conversation (as the dining room is the only room in the house that was subjected to popcorn paint, and neither of us know how we will remedy that yet…) and it’s perfect for rolling out doughs and fondant and for decorating in general, as I have somewhere to sit down in the kitchen.

We have also gotten the leaded glass window hung:

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This window is special because it was taken from John’s childhood home.  And I mean it when I say ‘taken’, as his parents removed it before they moved out because they loved it so- much to the new owners’ dismay.  It then traveled around with them from house to house, until it made its way into our kitchen.

So, since we are finished, let me just do a quick before and after:

Kitchen, August 2008.

Before: East wall, August 2008.

After: East wall, August 2009.

After: East wall, August 2009.

Before: South wall, August 2008.

Before: South wall, August 2008.

After: South wall, August 2009.

After: South wall, September 2009.

Before: West wall, September 2008.

Before: West wall, 2008.

After: South Wall, September 2009.

After: South Wall, September 2009.

Before: North wall, August 2008.

Before: North wall, August 2008.

After: North wall, September 2009.

After: North wall, September 2009.

Before: Floor, 2008. RIP Bill.

Before: Floor, 2008. RIP Bill.

After: Floor, 2009.

After: Floor, 2009.

What a difference a year can make!

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