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  1. Jennifer
    March 7, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Well… that kitchen certainly has a wide array of mismatched design features. It hits all kinds of things… color, shape, theme, era… like someone threw a handful of ideas into a pot and just pulled at random. Too much visual noise. And definitely not in tune with the classic, streamlined, period look you’ve recreated in other places… like that fabulous bathroom redo.

    The brick column is very interesting. I love the look of old bricks. The room beyond is… interesting? Can’t wait to learn more about that.

    Here in our historic neighborhood, the biggest, best, most gorgeously renovated of all the houses… really in a class all its own… just went on the market. Giving me a rare and much-coveted glimpse of the renovation work through the real estate website. Hooray for realtors! I’m going to attach the kitchen link . It’s pretty understated, particularly compared to the rest of the house… which is very 1900 glam. But it has some nice stonework and is just very… elegant? Also functional.

    I think your kitchen will probably have more personality than this one… but this was a house that actually had vines and shrubs growing through the walls and an indoor squirrel population… so not too different from the huge project you took on.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 7, 2013 @ 11:47 am

      Yes… like abstract art. The kind funded by small grants. Involving shoe boxes and Barbie dolls and pigeons. Or something.

      That house is amazing. Are you tempted to become inn-keepers? I see I need a stone fireplace. And a bookshelf in the kitchen… I guess some paying guests might also be in order to fund all of this.

      Also, I read the details (you know, just incase I want to make an offer,) and of all the amenities—it’s had soundproofing between floors. And that’s what I’m most envious of.


  2. Heidi S.
    March 7, 2013 @ 10:07 am


    Oooh I can’t wait for this adventure (and I’m sorry for your upcoming pain)! It is interesting that it doesn’t look THAT bad in picture. I like your thinking on trying out the open shelves. It is definitely a lifestyle choice (I don’t have the patience for dusting). Do you have a floor plan? Do you have a must have list? I would love to give my opinionated 2 cents!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 8, 2013 @ 11:50 am

      I’ve assigned Paul the job of drawing up a floorplan… mine would be totally not to scale. And have exclamation points.

      I don’t have a must-have list. I DO have an incredibly long list of things I like. That’s maybe the only post I’m looking forward to writing—the one where I get to show you all pretty photos and not have to write accompanying text…

      The shelving over the stove is incredibly convenient, and I like the look of open shelving… but Paul is coming down on the side of utterly impractical.


  3. Jim
    March 7, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    “Plus, I would rather live with this kitchen for the rest of my life than go through another construction project.” Yeah, right.

    Square is for sissies!

    There is a school of thought that says ‘If it works, leave it alone’ I feel this is not you. Good luck with the design stage, we have reached the ‘what if… stage of the redesign the kitchen process. Varying between “We can’t spend that!” and “Wow, that’s really cool, lets do it.” I’m hoping by next year we will be so tired and miserable we will go for simple and affordable.

    When designing, try everything. That way you know you tried everything. Otherwise, later, you will say. We should have tried it that way. Good luck

    In the meantime, for me, a bedroom redecoration beckons.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 8, 2013 @ 11:46 am

      Laughing… I have heard of that school of thought. I personally don’t have much use for it, but I can see why it’s good advice.

      Like you said– I’ve been to both “we CANNOT spend that.” AND wow! Obviously I NEED that! Those pull out drawer organizers are awesome. Hard to go with plain old drawers and shelves once you see all the bells and whistles…


  4. Ann
    March 7, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    I don’t know how you do it. Every time I walked into that kitchen it would cause an attack of the giggles. The cabinets! The shelves! It would also lead to an increase in alcohol intake.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 8, 2013 @ 11:47 am

      It genuinely amazes me what I’ve gotten used to. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible…

      Plus, it actually looks pretty good after a glass of wine!


  5. Alex @ northstory
    March 7, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

    I. Love. Your. House. It makes me so want to leave the suburbs you have no idea. Alas in our fun real estate market known as you can’t afford a 1 bedroom condo in the City unless you’re loaded that’s a pipe dream.
    I know you hate it. I understand why. Renovations are madness. But the bones of your house. OMG. *fans self* I look forward to the chaos!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 8, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

      I know it will be great when it’s done… but I tell you I am DREADING it. SO much. I’ve had enough chaos for at least the next decade.


  6. Andrew Schultz
    March 8, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    Hi there Victoria, Just here to answer your question about subway tile: I used Daltile in Arctic white. I have used this brand before (for clients) and think its a great value and gives you a lot of options trim-wise.

    Also, the marble is just polished Carrera, another basic favorite.

    I love your kitchen post too, by the way, and can’t wait to start following your progress.

    Andrew (Apt. Therapy)


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 9, 2013 @ 6:31 am

      I really love your Carrara… I went to two stone yards, and both of them had slabs that were REALLY speckled. Not at all appealing (to me).

      We did subway in two baths, and used different brands for both… trying to match to tub, sink, and toilet is impossible! You’d think they’d make just *one* color of white porcelain! I will look at the Daltile for the kitchen! Thanks!!


  7. Linn @ The Home Project
    March 8, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    Ah Victoria, I don’t know. I mean, I can see why you want to change it, that it’s not YOURS. But I think it’s kind of sweet. Perhaps it’s just that I can’t really see the imperfect nature very well of the cabinets, but I kind of like the idea that somebody built them (although you can tolerate imperfections and mistakes made by yourself SO much better than if they’re made by someone else!). I look forward to your kitchen party, I’m sure you’ll go absolutely crazy, in a fun kind of way…


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 10, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

      I think the photos do it more justice than it deserves… There are things I like about it, but his design is so haphazard! I don’t think he thought it through as far as practicality or design. I think he looked at what he already had (shutters, that glass cabinet) and built from there.

      I could have been fine with his mismatched drawers and things… if he’d spent a little more time on the actual details of how a person uses a kitchen.


  8. Victoria
    March 9, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

    Quite a project…beautiful result! A wonderful kitchen to make even more memories in. 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 10, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

      As with everything in this house… eventually it will be finished, but it will probably take 72 times longer than it should.


  9. Angelique
    March 13, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    Keep the powder room, but not in that corner. Move it to where the refrigerator is and have the door facing into the hallway or space outside the kitchen door. It can be small with just two pieces. There are very small sinks now that fit in the tightest corner. On the kitchen side put open shelves, a chalkboard and upper cabinets to blend it into the rest of the kitchen. Move the frig in front of the larger window. Take out the window and put upper cabinets above. That way you can put in new windows in the family room area and reclaim the corner. The new windows will make up for the one lost window that makes room for the frig.. If it was me, I would square up the addition ceiling and lose the semi-vault. It can be lower than the kitchen, but it’s way too busy and awkward. Put in a new longer center island so it extends in front of the new frig location, and you have a place to put items coming or going. You could even make the longer side of the island in the pathway a bit higher (for a two tiered effect) and have an eat-in bar height tabletop with bar stools with backs that would look nice as you walk by to the FR or French doors outside. Square up the walls, ceiling, and doors in the family room as much as you can. You will appreciate it later, and it will be very irritating otherwise. I can see a reading chair and ottoman facing out from that ex-bathroom corner looking through the windows that wrap around the two walls. GOOD LUCK!


  10. Angelique
    March 13, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    Actually forget the sink the powder room and maybe just do a toilet room. That was a common feature in Victorians. The kitchen sink is close by. Just a thought if you really don’t have the space. Just keep it somewhere.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      March 14, 2013 @ 10:37 am

      I never considered just getting rid of that window in the corner. That is going on the list of good ideas… it’s giving us all kinds of problems to work around it!!

      If the bath could have a door into the dining room (what you mean by putting the door outside the kitchen,) we would do it. But the wall is framed in a way that won’t allow us to make a space wide enough, even for a very small door. It’s a supporting wall, and the basement stairway backs up to it, so there are studs very tight together that cannot be rearranged… You are right about the tiny sinks! I was looking online and there are some that barely take up any room at all.

      Paul REALLY is set on not rearranging the angled door. I agree it would be SO much better… but after three years, I still haven’t budged him. I’m still debating whether I’m ready to really push the issue.


      • Angelique
        March 15, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

        If the door outside the kitchen is not an option, then frame in the refrigerator spot and put a pocket door that opens onto the kitchen. Paint the flat door with chalkboard paint and put a flat frame around it, so when it is closed it looks like a wall in the kitchen. Just the toilet is enough, and use the kitchen sink for washing up.


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          March 15, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

          Thank you so much for taking the time to weigh in… I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your ideas!!

          I’m going to have Paul lay out some measurements on the floor this weekend… mark the space with tape, and see what that layout would look like… I’ll post a photo when I write about the bathroom. Probably not next post, but one after.


  11. Cath
    August 6, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

    I love IKEA for kitchens. They’re brilliant.


  12. Cath
    August 6, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

    I forgot to add that they normally have an online plannification tool, very helpful.


  13. Kristin
    August 13, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

    The pictures in this post show us the evolution of your kitchen and the more you tear out the better it gets! You know you will LOVE it when it is done, so just focus on how beautiful it will be in the end.


  14. deb-u-naunt
    August 27, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    I am sure I missed it somewhere in these replies,…but is that ToiletPaper on the Fridge????


  15. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse
    August 27, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I think the previous owner of your house and the ones of my cottage should definitely meet: I had an orange kitchen (with yellow seagulls silhouettes) and two DIY cabinets with sliding doors and three different countertops! I got rid of most things to redo the floor and so now I have nothing till I redo the kitchen, hopefully before I retire!


  16. Random Projects. - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
    March 5, 2014 @ 9:41 am

    […] In case there was any confusion, we have not done ANYTHING with the kitchen. […]


  17. Mia
    October 12, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    OMG… I can barely read this post for the tears of laughter… from what you’ve written… the island ‘fix’… the different sized drawers… Do keep up the good work..! I would love to see the end result.. (If it ever happens) I’m going back to see the next ‘episode’ I don’t want to miss anything..! I need to see if you’ve actually finished, since these posts are from 2013.


  18. Melinda Mills
    April 10, 2017 @ 10:08 pm

    You are absolutely hilarious! I ran across your site this past weekend and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more. Oh and your post from early days of cordoning off the construction sites from “clean” areas cracked me up. My husband and I renovated an old pre WWII home in Lansing Michigan as newly weds while living in it. I was like a neurotic fiend trying to constantly have “clean” areas in every room. My mother in law called my clean area in our living room my “oasis”, complete with area rug and picture frames sitting on immaculately dusted end tables – with half opened walls including old lath and exposed electrical wiring in wide open space. Thanks for the laughs! Melinda


  19. Kitchen Tour: Fixing Dysfunction | Living in a Fixer Upper
    March 4, 2018 @ 5:43 pm

    […] as the kitchen renovation expert, Victoria herself, has stated so eloquently, it’s amazing what you can live with when the idea of having to go through ANOTHER […]


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