Archives For with a little help from my friends

Happy Tuesday, party people! Instead of droning on with the same old same old what’s-going-on-in-my-life, I’ll be talking today about my friend Christa and her blue-tiled kitchen. True story: I met Christa volunteering at a suicide hotline (that’s also how I met my friend Cassie, and a handful of other wonderful people in my life). Christa and her boyfriend James bought their house in 2011 from James’ grandparents (whom I also know from The Phone, shout out to Ms. Betty!). Ms. Betty and her husband owned it for more than twenty years before downsizing to a smaller condo, and now Christa and James are slowly but surely trying to make it their own. One of the big things holding them back is the kitchen. It’s centrally located and sports a blue-tiled floor. Without the budget to overhaul the floor, Christa feels paralyzed in decorating not only the kitchen but also the adjacent living room and other surrounding areas.

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I scoured Pinterest and the internet at large for images of rooms with strong hits of blue, and what appealed to me the most was seeing it paired with muted earth tones and lots of neutrals.

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Paper Couture

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Here’s what I would do if it was my kitchen:

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1. Benjamin Moore Blue Echo / 2. Benjamin Moore Mink / 3. Benjamin Moore Cream Fleece / 4. Thomas Paul Dahlia Aegean / 5. Crate & Barrel Olivewood Nibble Bowl / 6. Crate & Barrel Potted Kalenchoe / 7. Target Whittier Elite Rectangular Platter / 8. Fresh lemons (source) / 9. Crate & Barrel Turner Black Barstool / 10. Target Threshold Fairfield Stripe Rug – Natural

Christa already said that she wants to paint the cabinets a deep espresso brown, and I think that pairing them with cream on the walls would be really lovely. Both of these shades jive nicely with the blue floors, which Christa said were a pretty close match to BM Blue Echo. With so much color on the floor I’d try hard to keep the rest of the room airy and neutral. Some fresh (or fake) lemons and herbs growing in white ceramic pots would bring in color while maintaining the earthy vibe, and a window treatment using the same fabric I used for my counter skirt would carry the same feel into the breakfast nook. Black barstools add contrast (though I’d search for a cheaper option than these, or maybe even paint some secondhand stools from craigslist or the thrift store. I’d also probably paint the island a lighter color (possibly BM Cream Silk), but that’s a personal choice. The wood trim can shine in this color scheme instead of screaming “I’m outdated!” and a neutral runner on the floor brings in more texture and earthy color (jute is another option that’s just as earthy and easier to keep clean). White dishware is easy to collect secondhand and will still fit right in if Christa decides to change the rest of the room up again later.

Sometimes it can be hard working around expensive-to-replace elements like flooring, counters, and upholstered furniture, but it’s totally doable and the result can be a really fun and eclectic look. I actually think that having limits like a budget or a blue tiled floor can be great in that they drive creativity. Having buckets of money might even take the fun out of decorating for me, haha.

I hope you like my ideas, Christa, and at the same time it’s okay if you don’t! We all have different styles and tastes, which is why the kitchen that made Ms. Betty happy for twenty years can be so unappealing to someone young enough to be her granddaughter.

Y’all remember my friend Sarah, right? She bought her first place (a condo) in Houston last year and has been sending me updates as she works on making it her own. I think it’s fun to feature other peoples’ projects here on the blog now and again, just to mix it up and share different styles and techniques. And since Nick and I are totally intimidated by lighting upgrades after replacing the light above our stairs, here’s a chance for any of you who are in the market for new lighting to see the magic Sarah worked in her kitchen and dining area. Without further adieu, I give you Sarah:

Hi LWOTC readers! I just wanted to stop by and tell you about a recent lighting update I did in my condo. When I moved in there was a basic pendant in the kitchen that wasn’t really my style. And the light fixture over the kitchen table had been sealed with a light outlet cover. Here’s a picture of the kitchen pendant when I first moved in.

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I started looking for a light fixture for over my dining table, keeping in mind that it would probably cause me to replace the other pendant. I found this beautiful mercury glass pendant at West Elm for $70. The one online is $99, but it includes the pendant assembly kit and my local store was out of them. I was able to find a pendant kit at a local lighting store for $20, but I later found out that IKEA has them for only $5.

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A knowledgeable friend helped me hang it above my table. Isn’t it great?

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Once that was installed, I knew the kitchen pendant needed to go. I started searching for something made of the same mercury glass, but couldn’t find anything I liked in my price range. Then I decided something with the same industrial feel would go nicely without feeling too matchy. After an extensive search, I found this simple glass cylinder at Home Depot.

After my prior lesson in hanging lights, I was able to install it myself with moderate supervision. The basic instructions that come with it are enough, and if you are a little nervous, I’m sure there are youtube videos out there that can help.

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I like how they both have an industrial feel and are way more my style than the one that came with the place. Do you think they’re a good match?

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I love them. The glass cylinder would be way too modern for my place, but I love it over Sarah’s peninsula. And that mercury glass! Be still my beating heart! I am mildly obsessed with the stuff and am now racking my brain trying to think of a place for that pendant to live in my house. This isn’t the first time Sarah’s condo has made an appearance on my blog, so if you’d like to read more about her place be sure to check out this post from when she first bought the place, this one about framing out her bathroom mirror, and this one about some DIY art in her half bath. I hope y’all are having a fantastic Thursday. We are still sick over here. I brought Jack to the doctor Tuesday and it turns out he has a double ear infection! He’s amazingly cheerful for someone in his condition. I’m feeling a little stuffy and scratchy myself, but hopefully plenty of rest and cuddles (and antibiotics for him) will have both of us good as new in no time.