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Kitchen Progress: It’s a Spectacular Mess

Hubby and I have decided that the design world needs a new trend.  Open shelving is so been-there-done-that but open drawering is streets ahead.  It’s a great way to show off your gorgeous silverware!

I’m kidding, of course, although Hubby seems to be getting a little too attached to this sloppy system.  He’s dismayed by the amount of time we previously wasted opening, and closing, pesky drawers.  Where is our kitchen counter?  Most of it is propped up on saw horses in the dining room, of course!  (We kept the bit with the sink for now).

Actually, this is a super handy craft surface and I’ll be sad to see it leave . . .

Since you last saw the kitchen . . .

. . . my Dad and I removed the upper cabinets.  We started on the tile, too, but the Walking Dead was on so Handy Hubby took over.  Half of the drywall decided it couldn’t live without the tile so it went too.  New drywall has been added to the list of things to do.  Already the lack of upper cabinets has made our smallish kitchen seem airier and less 1998.  Is post-apocalyptic a style? 

In addition to tearing the kitchen apart, I also finally finished painting the ceiling and then we replaced the constantly buzzing fluorescent light with my trusty Ikea light fixture.  

Most importantly, I started painting the cabinets turquoise!!  The turquoise paint is definitely BOLD.  I haven’t actually finished painting the cabinets yet, but I’m close.  Already it commands attention.   Seeing my favorite colour splashed across the cabinets has been hugely motivational. 

Even more motivational: Hubby is making the most amazing solid maple counters.  His Dad is a talented woodworker and has led the creation of them so they will be furniture-grade gorgeous.  I had planned on buying construction grade, super inexpensive lumber at Home Depot, but Hubby’s Dad picked out some stunning solid maple from his supplier.  Truthfully the counters will be waaaaay too nice for this temporary kitchen spruce, but when we move on to phase II we can reclaim them and make a table or cut them down for the weird little fishroom.

I much prefer showing a room off when it’s a little less desconstructed, but then you can’t to follow along with the progress, which is half the fun!  But I will admit that I feel sheepish about sharing the giant mess that accompanies our progress.  Next time you see the kitchen the cabinets will be completely painted, the counter will stained and installed, and we will be getting to work on a nifty backsplash . . .     



  1. Angela Santaniello
    March 19, 2014 / 1:17 pm

    Looking fantastic so far! Even with half a kitchen it is such an improvement from the before. Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 19, 2014 / 3:00 pm

      Thanks!! I'm just so happy to see those awkward upper cabinets gone. I think seeing the kitchen would traumatize the former owner, who LOVED the cabinets and thought they were a major selling feature. But they were just so inconvenient – such narrow and teeny little cupboards and the one above the stove was fake!

  2. Lets just build a house!
    March 19, 2014 / 2:24 pm

    omg that color! It's going to be so bright and cheery. I can't wait!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 19, 2014 / 3:02 pm

      Ha ha, it's crazy seeing it on such a large area, right? When the cupboard doors were painted it still didn't seem like a lot of colour. Now it's obvious this kitchen will be insanely bright. But I am still loving it. It will be a blast on a dreary day!!

  3. Jordana @WhiteCabana
    March 19, 2014 / 2:54 pm

    So bold! So bright! The before & after of your kitchen is going to be just remarkable. Looking forward to seeing those maple counters!Jordana

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 19, 2014 / 7:04 pm

      Thanks!! I keep telling myself that so we keep the pace going. I had some trouble with the counter stain and now I can't find what I want for the backsplash. Darn this tiny city. I'm so used to Ottawa's selection!! We tried to buy a new dishwasher but would have had to wait so long for it to arrive, we decided to see if we can just fix ours ourselves. But every now and then I look at the kitchen, then close my eyes and picture my plans for it. It motivates me to keep working. We need to pick up the pace, though. I am sick of fast and easy food. I want a real meal!! No microwave involved!

  4. weirdscience
    March 19, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    I saw the second picture with the insulation poking out of the wall and thought "this is still phase ONE?" hahahaLove the progress Tanya, I check the blog daily as you're my favourite. I'm loving the way the lake house looks so far! I'm looking forward to more updates in the future. I constantly show my partner your blog as I love your fresh sense of style. Can't wait to have my own house to decorate and renovate!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 19, 2014 / 7:01 pm

      This is the second time we've given a kitchen a "spit & polish" instead of a full reno and both times I keep itching to go a bit further!! When the upper cabinets came down, I was so tempted to rip out the lower ones too, haha. It looks scary, but a little drywall repair is nothing – we had to do it when we re-tiled the townhouse kitchen backsplash. I still want the time to think about how we use the space and what finishes work for us before embarking on a pricier reno. I want phase two to be perfect!!Thanks so much for you kind words! I'm flattered to be your favorite. Are you house shopping right now? In a rental? I'd love to do a few posts about how easily what I do can translate to temporary abodes. I don't do much in the way of wall colour, but spend my time on art and furniture which can move with me. The townhouse sometimes felt like a rental because I was decorating for future buyers and knew we'd only be there 4-5 years. I still have that mindset sometimes and feel a little panicky about making permanent changes. No going back with the kitchen, though!!

    • weirdscience
      March 21, 2014 / 4:47 pm

      You're so wise, it totally makes sense to do 'small' renos before embarking on a full reno.My partner and I are in a basement suite rental, it's tiny – 500 square feet. I think I've made it cozy enough but being an Art History student I've picked up a lot of art over the years and I've run out of wall space. I'm not ready to commit to buying a house, as I have no savings and I'm only 23, but his parents really want him to buy a house and he longs for a garage of his own. I honestly thought white walls were boring before I found your blog, but you really invest in beautiful colour palettes that aren't over whelmed by crazy walls. Can't wait to see the kitchen finished!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 21, 2014 / 6:21 pm

      I don't see an apartment tour on your blog but your aesthetic is really cool (you have bold taste, I love it!!), so I think it's safe to say I'd be totally jealous of your art collection. Buying a house is super scary. We had some savings when we bought the townhouse but we were still really nervous. The condo/townhouse was a perfect combo for us: more fixed expenses than a freehold but we had a garage! Best of both worlds, although we still had plumbing emergencies that saw us dipping into our savings. If you're in a really small place right now surely your rent is decent so it's smart to wait. Our rent in Ottawa would have been more than our mortgage and condo fees combined, so it made sense to buy. You have to trust your gut and do what feels right.

    • weirdscience
      March 25, 2014 / 7:35 pm

      haha I forgot that my blog was linked…embarrassing! I haven't worked on it since last summer and I took down the banner so it's in the process of being reworked for when I eventually have more time to dedicate to crafting. Thanks for the advice!!

  5. Amelia Warren
    March 19, 2014 / 7:07 pm

    Many of us have been there! What an exciting transformation – I can't wait to see more 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 19, 2014 / 8:35 pm

      Full disclosure: it looked worse BEHIND me when I snapped these photos, lol. How does YHL make their in-progress makeovers look so tidy in every stage?

  6. Brynne Delerson
    March 20, 2014 / 4:26 pm

    Oh wow! This is gonna be good – I can't wait to see more! I love your bold style, and girl, it seems like you never rest – your blog is a very motivating read for me to tackle things around here 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2014 / 11:03 pm

      Awww, thanks! I think that about you and your blog. You MADE a desk and a light fixture – you're totally awesome and your projects are so inspired.

  7. brikhouse2
    March 20, 2014 / 5:46 pm

    Don't fret about the mess, we all know it comes with renovations ……plus it makes us average people feel better that you don't live in a magazine quality perfectly styled and clean space daily. Would you mind sharing the color of turquoise you are using? I know they can tend to be hit or miss and maybe too baby blue sometimes but I love this one and I have a lot of things I would loveeeeeeeee to be turquoise.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2014 / 11:08 pm

      I'm happy to provide a dose of reno reality because I crave it too! Absolutely!! The colour is Glidden Niagara Mist: I got it at Canadian Tire. It is very close to Pyrex butterprint turquoise, but more saturated. It's a very blue turquoise; what I've got in the closet nook seems positively green by comparison. What kinds of things are you painting?? I need some ideas because I will have some left over for sure.

  8. brikhouse2
    March 22, 2014 / 2:12 pm

    I was thinking of painting a dresser and projecting a bold abstract design/image on it and then hand painting it. Something similar to this I thought the closet color was the same, maybe they just photo graph similar. Any chance I can get that color too? Blue had been my fave color for about 20 years now, and turquoise has been the top shade for about 8 of those. I'm addicted to it but very safe with my decorating……boring beige, black and white……but trying to break out of that.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 22, 2014 / 4:42 pm

      Oh that dresser is so neat!! I love that idea. It's definitely very bold, but if you have a lot of neutrals it will be perfect. I'm like you, I love turquoise but it's only been recently that I've actually begun decorating with it. I used to do a lot of pink and brown for some bizarre reason. I'm going bolder too :)The closet has been colour-matched to the paint I used for the laundry room floor (the post has more photos of it in a different light)'s Valspar's "Dive in": has more green in it but I only realize it when they are side by side. Then it is really obvious. When I'm moving about from room to room, they seem the same – or very similar. If you like blue, you'll probably like the kitchen colour more.

    • brikhouse2
      March 26, 2014 / 12:22 pm


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