Before and After: My grandmother's kitchen

I spend a good bit of time in my kitchen. To me, a kitchen should not only be functional, it should reflect the person who works in it. I suppose whatever room I am working in I like my things around me. I like to set the environment.

As I mentioned in one of the "about" pages of this site, I'm a little bit of a collector. That doesn't mean I have huge collections of this or that, or that I scour flea markets and yard sales for old Pez dispensers. It means I keep things I like. I add other like things to my collection, and having them around makes me happy. My collections can be odd and random and often a little eclectic--meaning, that other people might wonder why I've paired this with that, but it makes perfect sense to me.

But back to the kitchen.

I remember my grandmother's kitchen always as being a little bit dark. Of course, Grandma never turned on lights, and that was probably why. So when my dad and I went into the house the first time after the renters moved out, I was thinking about how to lighten up the kitchen.

First, the entire room was bigger than I remembered, which was good. (I hadn't been in the house for probably ten years or so.) Secondly, the room did need painting, so this was a prime opportunity to choose the right color. I chose a sunny yellow for that reason, without putting much thought into how to decorate, the furniture, or even the existing back splash and counter top (which were 1960s gray-ish but still in very good shape). I just chose yellow.

Here are a couple of before pictures of the kitchen. The walls are an off-white and it's difficult to see the gray-white Formica counter tops and black splash in these views. The cabinets are in fairly decent condition, minus a few dings and peeling laminate on some drawers. In the second picture you can see the laundry "hallway" which is convenient off the kitchen area.

Organizing and getting settled in the kitchen was my first priority after moving in. I need a functional kitchen. I purchased a new range and washer and dryer for this house and had to wait a couple of weeks for delivery, but powered through. Once organized and functional, I could start thinking about how to personalize and decorate.

I kept thinking about the yellow walls and the gray counter tops and questioned if I made a wrong decision on wall color. But as I normally do, I put thought into what colors could pop or accent against the yellow and tie in the gray. In a spare room, I laid out my collection of wall art and decided to ditch the stuff that I usually put in my kitchen and come up with something new and different, without having to go out and by new art. Slowly, the blue-red-yellow theme emerged and I realized that was exactly what the kitchen needed. With blue being the dominate color contrast to the yellow but tying into the gray, the red popped as an accent and the yellow, mingled with the wall color. Perfect.

My old oak cabinet fit perfectly at the end of the counter. Luckily the warm wood tones of my furniture matched the cabinets. Note the old farm table made by my father and my miss-matched chairs.
I wish the yellow walls showed better in these pictures!
Some red, yellow, blue touches.
New range with my Grandma's microwave. Note that it's lowered, she was barely 5 ft. tall!
Handy spot for keys and dog leash. Note the Apache burden basket. 
Nothing is truly ever finished and I'm sure the kitchen will be an ongoing project as I get settled. I try things out, move them around, and eventually settle on how things will be. I like that for this kitchen redecorate, I didn't buy one thing but I looked at what I had and reused in a different way. None of the wall art had ever been in my kitchen before but it all feels brand new in how I used it.

When you redecorate, do you buy all new things? Or recycle what you have into something new?