I recently solicited opinions from you brilliant and sophisticated folks on which direction I should take regarding two elements of my kitchen design: the curtain fabric and the open shelves. You did not disappoint! First up, the curtain fabric:

geometric and small scale navy curtain fabrics

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

5 / 6 / 7 / 8

I was leaning toward #3 initially but something was holding me back. After a couple of you said you loved #6 I decided that I agreed! It has the playful polka dot vibe going on but is a smidge more sophisticated. I still haven’t sewn the curtains but after we finished the backsplash trim this weekend I draped the fabric over the rod to get an idea of how it would look. Love!

kitchen curtain fabric

I want to pre-wash the fabric before sewing but I have not had a working washing machine in nearly a month (seriously. We’re now waiting on a part to repair it). I’ve been taking our essential laundry to my friend Cassie’s house to wash twice a week but fabric for a decorating project does not fall into the “essential” category.

The other thing I asked your opinion on was the shelves I plan to mount on either side of the range. I asked you whether I should do stained wood shelves with dark brackets, white shelves with white brackets, It was fun to see how different the results were when I included a clickable survey instead of just asking you to respond in the comments. If I’d gone by the comments alone I would have said that opinions were mixed and maybe even leaning towards white on white, but on the survey wood shelves with dark brackets won by a landslide!

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Which is awesome, because that’s what I was leaning toward. Now I just need to source some inexpensive brackets! I’m considering these from Lowe’s:

Style Selections 6.5-in x 1-in Decorative Shelf Bracket (570x570)

Style Selections 6-1/2-in x 1-in Decorative Shelf Bracket from Lowe’s

They support shelves up to 12″ deep which is exactly what I’ll need and are only $5 each which is perfect because I’ll need eight of them. I dig the clean lines and understated arch as much as the price.

So thanks y’all for helping me decide on those two matters! It’s really fun to get your input and I think I’ll definitely be using more clickable surveys in the future. I totally get that lots of folks are just not into commenting and this is an another way for me to hear from you.

If slow and steady wins the race then we are KILLING this backsplash installation. I spent the first two weeks of January knocking out the old backsplash, then weekend before last we cut and installed the new beadboard panels, and this last weekend we installed the trim and knocked out a few other small tasks to get it ready for caulk and paint.

Here are all the supplies I needed for this weekend’s accomplishments:
Nail punch set–$6
Miter box/saw–$15
Outlet spacers–$5
(4) 1.375″ x 7′ primed pine stop moulding–$20
(4) 1.25″ x 7′ primed pine stop moulding–$20
(5) 1/8″ by 4′ poplar dowels–$3

Total for project to date: about $170

First step: knock all the nails used to secure the beadboard down just a smidge so that the trim can sit flush and the nails not covered by trim can be hidden with caulk. See how the nails stuck out just a bit?

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A handy little tool called a nail punch allows you to tap the head of the nail down below the surface of the wood without banging a huge hole with your hammer.

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I had to prop up the camera to take these photos by myself so I hope it’s clear enough to understand what I’m doing, Don’t mind the primer on my hands. You just put the tip of the nail punch up against the head of the nail and tap the other end with the hammer. It was easy but very tedious. It took me over hour to do the whole kitchen, but I told myself it was good exercise.

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The next day Nick and I spent Jack’s naptime familiarizing ourselves with the wonderful world of angled cuts. This was our first time ever doing anything like this but the $15 miter box made it so easy. I love that the little pins clamped the pieces in place so they didn’t move while Nick was cutting.

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I bought two different types of trim: The 1.25″ trim with the squared edges went all along the bottom perimeter and the slightly larger trim with the rounded edge went around the sides and top. I probably could have used the rounded trim for the whole thing but I worried that it wouldn’t fit under the pass-through window. Turns out it probably would have, but I don’t mind the two different kinds. It looks kind of like how your baseboards might be slightly different from the trim around your doorways. The blue tape was just holding it all in place until we nailed it all up.

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This is the only joint that we had to make that wasn’t in a corner. We just cut the two pieces at an angle so that they lined up gracefully (this is before either was nailed down).

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The purpose of the trim is twofold: 1) to cover up the raw edges of the beadboard paneling, and 2) to prevent us from having to cut a long, narrow strip of beadboard to fit underneath the pass-through to the dining room. The trim just runs right underneath it and that’s all that’s needed.

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Nick had to use the jigsaw to notch out a little piece near the right of this picture. I am definitely planning to finish out the bottom of those cabinets somehow as part of this kitchen mini-remodel.

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I went around the room with the nail gun making sure the trim was lined up just so before securing it to the wall, then it was time to cut the power so we could move on to spacing the outlets. Nick and I were both dreading this task. Maybe because we had no idea what we were doing. When we installed the beadboard it meant that the wall was now almost a quarter inch thicker but the outlets were still sunk back where they’d always been. These spacers are designed to bring the outlets forward to make them flush with the new backsplash.

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After cutting the power we unscrewed each outlet and slipped a spacer down behind each screw, then screwed it back and replaced the faceplate. Sounds simple enough but it took some finagling to get things lined up just right. I’m not sure if that’s normal or just because we live in a really old house. See the fluorescent spacers behind the screws in the photo below?

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Bam. Trim installed, outlets flush. All it’s missing is caulk and paint.

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All the blue tape is holding up small pieces of trim that will be secured with a bead of caulk when I get my caulk on next weekend. Nick was making jokes all day Sunday about my pronunciation of the word caulk. Is that an awkward word for anyone else or just me?

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I rearranged a few things for now. I’m actually thinking that when I put up the new shelves I might get a smaller microwave that can sit atop one but for now I am liking the microwave moved next to the refrigerator. It was really cramped next to the stove.

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And I think the mixer will definitely stay over here. Once I clear up some cabinet space by moving our most frequently used items to the open shelves I can use the cabinet directly above to store mixer attachments and baking supplies. I didn’t get any good close up pictures, but the small dowels that I bought were for spots like this corner behind the mixer, the sides of the range hood, etc. Each corner got a dowel.

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We still need to fill many, many cracks and gaps with caulk and give the whole operation a couple of coats of white paint but it definitely looks much closer to complete than it did sans trim. I can really see it coming together! I can’t wait to see how great it looks once we’re done.

This is kind of a big deal.

I posted a few weeks ago about our concerns that Jack wasn’t yet walking. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind for months. He was actually supposed to begin physical therapy on Friday, but the appointment was cancelled and he chose that very morning to take his first unassisted steps. He took his sweet time getting here but it’s so fun to see him experimenting with this new method of getting around.

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The appointment was cancelled because of another extraordinary event: a rare day of wintry weather in South Louisiana. My instagram was aflutter with the excitement.

I thought this was snow on our deck but it was ice.

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Louisiana “snow day”.

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The Great Ice Storm of 2014. Never Forget.

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Icicles!

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This kind of weather is so rare down here that it makes more sense to shut everything down once every five years than for municipalities to invest in snowplows and ice trucks. Unfortunately Nick still had to go into work (even though the interstate was closed!). Yesterday it was back up in the 60′s but Tuesday we could be seeing snow again. Isn’t that crazy?!?! I love this quote about snow in the South. It explains our collective obsession so perfectly!

Snow in the South is wonderful.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, my lovelies. Stay warm!

Thank y’all so much for your kind and supportive comments on yesterday’s post. You are seriously the best. Now back to decorating. As I slowly but surely work on improving our kitchen the ideas for easy upgrades just keep coming. Some of them I’ve already implemented, some are on the to do list, and some are not right for me but may be perfect for you. So if you’ve got a kitchen that is just not quite where you want it to be either functionally or aesthetically read on for a few ideas to improve it.

Nine Easy and Inexpensive Kitchen Upgrades

1. Hang your pots. Whether you spring for an official pot rack or DIY your own (my mind was totally blown by this Ikea-hacked version), there has got to be a better way to store pots and pans than stacked haphazardly in a cabinet. If you’re fancy you could even install pull-out shelves in your cabinets.

2. Install a USB wall outlet. If you’ve got iPhones, Kindles, or other USB-charging devices this could be a total lifechanger. It’s only $25 and I feel like this is one of those little things that would impress homebuyers if you’ve got resale in mind.

usb wall outlet

Amazon

3. Organize your fridge and freezer. Our freezer is on the bottom and has two deep drawers that are in desperate need of organization. I plan on taming it with plastic bins after my next trip to the dollar store.

4. New hardware. If your existing pulls have two holes instead of one be sure to measure the distance and buy hardware that will match, making the switch a breeze. You can even do this as a renter if you save the old hardware to replace when you move out!

5. Add a table lamp. No electrician necessary for this added task lighting and it lends a cozy vibe.

put a table lamp on the kitchen counter

Luca Trovato / House Beautiful

6. Change out the window treatments. Adding new matchstick blinds, a cafe curtain, or even just ditching whatever’s up there currently to let the light shine in can make a huge difference.

7. Pot some plants. Herbs are the obvious choice, but if you find them as difficult to keep alive indoors as I do give aloe a try. It thrives on neglect and you can rip open a piece to soothe a burn.

8. Put up shelves. I have been itching to do this for years and can’t wait! Wall-mounted shelves offer increased storage and display space for very little cost and effort.

9. Install a simple backsplash. Beadboard panels or sheet metal are easier to work with than tile and if you’re a renter you can even install them temporarily.

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I’m a firm believer in loving the place where you live! You don’t have to save up for a big remodel or move to have a place that feels like home.

I hope y’all each have a fabulous weekend and thanks as always for reading!