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My Kitchen Woes

76 comments
My Kitchen Woes
     Most of you know that Frenchie and I recently bought an old chalet up in the mountains of Le Bonhomme, France. This is in the Alsace region. It is an old vacation chalet that was built back at the beginning of the twentieth century as far as I can gather.

It was much smaller than it is now, basically half the house that we have. Sometime later they built on the second half and doubled the size. The base is made of concrete, the upper part brick and  wood. The older half having wood upstairs and the newer half brick covered in wood. 



I fell in love with this house the moment I went to look at it. It has a lot of character, very quirky, but I love that over a box house any day!



 Unfortunately it also came with a lot of problems. 



This is the kitchen that greeted me. As you can see the cabinets that were there were sitting on top of the counter or just in the middle of the room. It has a sloping roof and the base of the counter is concrete. No lower cabinets...only a hole with a curtain in front of it. It was also as dark as a cave. This is the brightest it would get and that was only in the sunniest part of the day...if there was sun. The light fixture did little to light the room.



I tried many organizing schemes. Here is a picture of one of them. I cut down the set of drawers that had been sitting in the middle of the kitchen and set them into the hole under the counter, then I built a few makeshift shelves and added baskets. This all needs to be reworked but it helped a lot. Then I set up that shelf mess on the counter. It was helpful for awhile to be able to find things and to have a place to put some things but it didn't last for long. Consider that a desperate temporary measure!


So now I am on the journey to making my kitchen into an organized, clean bright easy to work in space. I plan on posting my updates as I go along, Here is my first big overhaul.


 I painted the whole thing! I did not hold back even a second. All that wood...gone. Now normally I love the look of natural wood but this room needed bright white. I painted the under counter red for a temporary fix. I couldn't look at that dirty stucco another minute and nothing seemed to clean it. 



 It also ties into the red in the new addition ...



So now you can see what I am working on and what I am working with. It is quite the project but I do have some plans. My next project is shelves and pretty jars to put on those shelves. I will write more on that soon.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week, Diane

Here is a my first update on my next project to organize my kitchen.
Here is my second update on improving storage.






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Abdelghafour

76 comments

  1. It's coming along nicely! I love the new look of your blog, too.

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  2. The white definitely brightened it up a lot. And I actually like the red. I can just see red check fabric in there. Makes think French
    Love it!

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  3. Tina thanks so much, I needed a change!

    Cathy, funny you would say that. I have some red and white check fabric picked out as one of the materials for my jar toppers :)

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  4. I can completely understand why you fell in love with it. It certainly has character. And on the other hand - I can't imagine cooking in that kitchen. :)

    I'll be interested in seeing how you remodel it.

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  5. I'll be interested in seeing how I remodel it too! I can't even tell you how many times I have brainstormed on this one. The counter can't be removed because...the mountain is behind it! It is a puzzle but I am working on it :D

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  6. It is looking LOVELY Diane!! I'm fascinated to see how the "new" house is coming! I am sure it is all going to turn out as fabulous as you are.

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  7. Wow - what a beautiful home!! It's always great to know the history of a place that you live. I love it!

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  8. What a fantastic experience. I don't envy you your kitchen but it is looking really nice now.

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  9. What a wonderful house!! Open shelving will be gorgeous and I love the pop of red!!

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  10. You are a brave woman to tackle this!!!!

    Beautiful though.

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  11. Jamie, thank you! I was very lucky to make friends with our neighbor lady and she used to come here when she was a little girl. She is the one who gave me the photos of the house. I even have some of the inside and can see where they did extensive changes!

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  12. Benita, I can't wait to get the shelves up! I am so excited about it I am like a silly school girl. Frenchie pokes fun at me and my 'pretty' things but I dont care Haha!

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  13. Jozi~ It has been an experience to say the least. When we first arrived here I thought i would never be warm again, and struggling to find a place to put anything was a joke. IT has slowly evolved into a home. It still has a lot to go but I finally feel confident that we can do this!

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  14. Heather Thank you, I do love it. Looking down on that sleepy village is such a wonderful dream, I have to pinch myself some days. This kitchen still has a long way to go. We will be adding a real counter top, new sink etc. I am hoping my little fixes help too :)

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  15. What a cute little home you have I love that it is in France. I can not wait to see it when it is finished.

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  16. Thank you! I do love it but I am afraid the finish will probably be a long time coming! One thing I hope, that at least the kitchen will be done this year :)

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  17. Looks great! The red is fun. I agree with Just Plain Marie though...I can't imagine cooking in that kitchen. We had a narrow kitchen like that at my old apartment, and my husband and I could not be in there at the same time! Since one of our favorite things to do was cook together, this was problematic. So we moved to a tiny house with a huge kitchen, and we are in love! :)

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  18. Yeah I agree Jebbica, it is narrow but we somehow manage to cook together without running into each other too much. It is a bit wider than it looks in those photos though.

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  19. I can't wait to see the end product!

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  20. That's a lot of work but well worth it! What a great home!

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  21. Me either Jess!

    Morena, I agree it is well worth it. I do love it here, rustic but still so perfect :)

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  22. It seems like a lot of work but when you are done, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you made your house exactly what you wanted it.

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  23. I'm having a moment here... I want to be in that exact village on that mountain so badly!!! First of all, I took French for 8 years - through high school and college. Later in life I lived in western Germany for three years and went to France every chance I could get. Your photo reminds me of so many little villages throughout Europe. What is it about them??? It just makes me feel warm, cozy, and happy to think about them.

    So now that I got that out of my system :) great job on the kitchen progress! I too wouldn't normally paint wood, but it looks fantastic white! I'll be checking back and living European vicariously through you. A bientot!

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    1. Debbie, I'm not sure but you hit the nail on the head, warm and cozy for sure! I love it here. I am right near the border of Germany and Switzerland and Frenchie works over in Switzerland. You might even have wandered by here at one time :)
      Thanks for the encouragement, it is a long battle but I am determined to beat it! I will be posting more pics of France soon ;)

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  24. What a BEAUTIFUL house! I'd love to live in a home like that one day. It looks cozy and warm, something I think is missing in most modern architecture. The trend is always towards bigger and darker, and so much warmth is lost in that. I've never been to France, even though my husband and I both have French heritage. I dream of going one day, but who knows if I'll ever make it there! I hope the rest of your renovation adventures go well!

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    1. Thank you Lalia, I love old homes, they have so much more character, don't you think? You should come and visit some time, it's a beautiful country and they know how to make some good food! hehe

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  25. That house right there is a dream!! What a beauty. I love older homes because you can really make them your own and that you did. Love what you all are doing with the interior.

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  26. Love the white in the kitchen! I like wood too, but non in the kitchen, you are right! You have so much energy, I wouldn't be able to do what you are doing :) Good for you! I am sure the place will look amazing when you are done with it!

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    1. Svetlana, I am not so sure I have that much energy lol! Sometimes I feel as slow as a turtle but I keep plugging away :D

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  27. It's beautiful! We renovated an old house over several years, and only moved when our kids got bigger and we ran out of room. It was a lot of work, but the house was even more special because of the love and sweat we put into it. I'll be looking forward to reading about your progress.

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  28. Anne, I grew up in one of those old houses and watched my parents renovate it. I do think it makes it more special to put your own touches to a place. I know this place has already made it's mark on me and it would be very hard to leave it.

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  29. I have a tiny house too and I painted it all white inside to brighten it up. Worked wonderfully. I like the red in the kitchen. Might do something like that myself on the lower cabinets. Very nice.

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    1. Thanks, I thought it added a bit of a pow to the room. All white can be a bit much. :)

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  30. Wow! What an amazing home. I love the character, and the kitchen is going to be wonderful!

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  31. Oh my gosh, that house looks so adorable and awesome! I still live in an apartment as of now, but I'm looking forward to finding a house with lots of quirk and character myself! And I LOVE the white in the kitchen :) Good luck with the rest of your project!

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    1. Thank you so much Grady, I need all the luck I can get...I wish you some also in finding yourself a quirky house! :)

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  32. A complete kitchen overhaul like you're doing is definitely a lot of work, but super rewarding when you're done and it looks exactly how you want it :)

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    1. I hope I can get it even close to how I want it Julie, but functional and pretty will be good enough :D

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  33. Wow, want to meet at home! I love the kitchen painted white :-) very bright and welcoming. I wanted to paint our base cabinets white in our new kitchen, there is so much wood between the floors and cabinets, but my husband would never dream of painting oak...maybe I'll get white cabinets in our next home :-)

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    1. Oh Dawn, I think I would have a hard time painting oak too! At least this was just pine. I just hate a dark kitchen, That room was so dreary before and now it's always nice and bright :D

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  34. You have a beautiful home! And a beautiful kitchen. White definitely brightens up the kitchen and gives it a modern look. It definitely goes with the other part of your house. Looking forward to seeing the finished look!

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  35. Thank you so much Lerie, I am too!

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  36. Love the changes you did! It is amazing how only just painting the walls white can make a huge difference!

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    1. Thanks Michal, yes I was quite surprised at the transformation myself!

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  37. Choosing to paint the kitchen white was the prefect choice! It's amazing how different it looks - so bright and open! Love your house!

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  38. It looks fabulous! I envy you Diane, I would love to live just about anywhere in Europe. I love the lifestyle and visit as often as I can. Lucky you!

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    1. Thank you Liane, I definitely consider myself lucky an love being here. i am trying to enjoy every minute!

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  39. I must warn you I am officially going to be stalking your blog. You are living one of my fantasy lives. I agree with your choice on the white even over wood especially in that space. It needed it. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

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    1. Stalk Away :D It is slow going but we are slowly transforming it. I can't wait either!

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  40. The white definitely brightened it up. Did you add more lights too? And I like the bit of red you added - it makes it fun and interesting. Looking forward to see it finished!

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    1. Hi Marie, We added the lights before but it was still so dark, The white really made the difference. It was such a cave! NOw this summer we will add a new counter, sink, etc I can't wait!

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  41. What a fun house and great makeover! :)

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  42. I can't wait to see what organization solutions you come up with. Looks like there is just not that much space to work with. You may need to use some space right outside the kitchen area for shelves and/or storage. I will stay tuned....

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    1. You wouldn't believe how many schemes I have come up with that haven't worked! There really is no space except right where I am standing when i take the pictures (there is a shelf behind me) and the walls. that's it. But I am working hard on my first improvement. It is just turning out a lot bigger than when I started. Isn't that how it always works?

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  43. Looks good! My kitchen is my favorite room in the house. Love what you've done

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  44. We just bought a house and I see a lot of DIY in the future for our kitchen, bedroom, etc. Thanks for posting and inspiring me that I can do it without hiring others!

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    1. You definitely can! There is so much help out there on the internet these days. Even things I am really unsure about, if i search I am sure to find a tutorial somewhere to help me along. Good Luck!

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  45. I LOVE the character of this home! The improvements you made thus far are already lookin' good. I can't wait to see how it progresses.

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  46. Thank you, and yes, I agree...it has quite the character :D

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  47. What a beautiful space... and location! I agree... I wish I could paint my whole kitchen white right now. I think it is fun to create the food and keep the kitchen area as a blank slate. :)

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    1. That's a nice way to look at it, after all...food can be such an art in itself!

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  48. What a difference the white made! It looks like a bigger space now. And the red gives it an edge, just enough to make the room pop. Great job!

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    1. Thank you Marissa, I never thought about it but you are right, it does seem bigger!

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  49. What a fabulous house! Love seeing all the pics! Good luck with your adventure!

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    1. Thank you Katie, I need all the luck I can get :D

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  50. Great job so far with the remodeling. I would have done the same thing with painting over the wood to a brighter color. Are you also going to be changing the floor too? Good luck with the rest of the improvements.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, definitely changing the floor. I am leaning towards a light white board floor but havent decided definitely yet, also adding new countertops and a sink and raising those up on the left side (Frenchie and I are both quite tall) and other work on the lower part.. We still have a long way to go :D

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  51. What a lovely home! How exciting to have such an adventure and such a lovely place in France! Sigh!

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    1. Yes Pamela, it is a dream come true. I have to pinch myself often :P But it comes with it's own set of headaches as you can see!

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