Thank you for finding That Old House amidst the chaos of the Internet. We are delighted that you are here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting My Morph On, Thrifty Style!

We are in the midst of a Kitchen Metamorphosis at That Old House.

See, we have this awkwardly large counter in our kitchen.
It's like an Island, but it is not freestanding.

A picture from before we moved in; the painters used it as their staging area:

Last fall we got rid of the L-shaped green laminate countertop on the right of the picture,
removed the smooth cooktop and cast iron double sink,
and replaced it all with . . .
. . . soapstone countertop, gas cooktop, and stainless steel one bowl sink.
This picture is when we were washing wineglasses after Thanksgiving dinner.

That was Step One of the kitchen renovation.

Step Two begins today and involves the big awkward counter we call The Isthmus.
It's being cut back from 40-inches deep to a standard 24-inches, and we'll top it with a butcher block counter.

On top of the counter will go . . . this:

This is the top half of a cupboard we bought in Pennsylvania last week.
Open shelves, heavy old dark stained pine -- today it's being painted Ralph Lauren Bone Black.

The Isthmus base cabinets will also get a few coats of Bone Black, and new knobs.
Goodbye, oak!

When it's all painted, with the new configuration and new countertop,
I'm hoping to accomplish a Welsh Dresser sort of look. Think it will work?
Pardon all the clutter; it's not there to stay! Remember, this is a before!

We had planned to have a carpenter make open shelves above the base cabinets, but that's just not in the budget this year. So, since we paid $50 for the hutch, we figure that's $25 for the Kitchen Isthmus makeover, and . . .

. . . in the nearby Butler's Pantry, the hutch base --
the other $25 -- is going to get its own coat of Bone Black:

Although in the interests of time this week, with my Dad's 90th birthday party looming on Saturday, I may just let this piece wait for its paint a few weeks, and use it as is for now. It fits nicely here, with just enough room for the recycling container.

I think the hutch base in the pantry is an improvement over this arrangement:

For Mary's Mosaic Monday, at Little Red House blog, I have this, from this morning:

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, my daughter Alida planned to make crepes for our breakfast. But our plans changed and we took my Dad out to brunch.

So today, Alida made the crepes, and she and her friend Beth and I enjoyed them mightily!
So mightily, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures until we were all members of The Clean Plate Club.
Crepes, with sugar and fresh lemon juice, and strawberries on the side . . . heaven.
Too bad you didn't get to see them!

Go visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics!

Susan at Between Naps On The Porch has marvelous pictures of those tween moments
between daylight and nightfall, and of course -- Metamorphosis Monday!

Over at Southern Hospitality, it's Today's Thrifty Treasures -- thank you, Rhoda!

I had a delightful Mother's Day; saw both my girls, and my father.
Letters To Juliet was a sweet and well done, lighthearted movie -- thank you, Annie!
Now, back to the kitchen and paint brushes for me! -- Cass


  1. The hutch is just beautiful, Cass. So that was the surprise, eh? I adore it. It is going to look so good dressed in black. You have a great idea for that counter, it is going to open your kitchen space up so much. I also love the soapstone counter tops. How do you like them? I am going to be doing my kitchen counter tops soon. Whenever I mention anything besides granite, Mr. Journal starts to grumble.

    Your crepes look wonderful (in my mind!!). Love them with strawberries. Have a great week!!


  2. Cass.. so glad your day was spent with special folks so dear to your heart!!
    your makeover is/will be gorgeous!!
    Can't wait to see it all finished!!!
    warmest hugs..

  3. Cass,

    Your makeover is going to be perfect.

    I keep forgetting to take the pictures and I think Jack is relieved as he had to wait until I got a good picture!


  4. I think it is going to look fabulous. What a great idea. Love the hutch top. So pretty and the base is a fabulous piece too. That's really thinking out of the box. Love it. Hugs, Marty

  5. Cass, how nice to have a butler's pantry. I guess the newer houses gave them up in the 80's in favor of laundry rooms. So glad their making a comeback in new builds. I think the hutch base is perfect for your nice original pantry. We had a very large laundry room so I made one half a pantry with cupboards above with glass and nickel latches. The counter below is used so often especially during parties. My husband also built three large drawers below and a pull out curtained area for the cat litter.
    I finally have my pantry!

  6. Cass, it's going to be gorgeous! Though I don't envy you having to paint those cabinets- oak is a bear because of the deep grain. Can't wait to see it done!
    xoxo Pattie

  7. Cass-You are doing major work!! I know there is a lot going on with the birthday coming up!I can't wait to the cabinets painted black. I think my husband would croak if I talked about paint on wood! Love the hutch!!

  8. Can't wait to see it when it's finished! Happy Birthday to your dear father!

  9. In days gone by, I had that same hutch!!! Or it's clone! I think it will look marvelous in your kitchen painted black and what a great piece for your Butler's pantry. Not a bad deal!

    And I can't wait to see some of your pretties on those shelves!

  10. I think your idea for the isthmas will look wonderful. It's a great piece for only $50.00. Your kitchen is going to be really beautiful. I love your soapstone counters.
    Cindy S

  11. What a brilliant idea for the hutch! It's going to look fabulous! I love your soapstone counters! I wish I had done those when we re-did our kitchen. laurie

  12. Ooohh! You are going to love this whole change, slimming down the isthmus! I love your new countertops too! I love furniture painted black. I can't wait to see it all completed.

  13. What a find -- so neat that you can use it in two different places! We have slowly been making our home "ours' for the past 5 years. It is very satisfying seeing the before and afters. (We put in soapstone, too.)

    My children love crepes with lemon and sugar and whip cream. Yum!

    Hope you have a beautiful day!

  14. So creative and you get two pieces out of it ! I think it's going to look gorgeous !!!

    Thanks for sharing,
    gena in nj

  15. Love the hutch and the counter tops. I can't wait to see the finished room. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Oohh! A Welsh Dresser will be delightful! And I have always wanted a Butlers Pantry. In fact, I have always wanted a butler! :~D Wouldn't that be fun!

  17. From the looks of those empty plates I would swear those crepes were delicious. I can't wait to see the after photos of your kitchen renovation.

  18. I so wish I could remember to take a picture of the finished product. My gosh we eat it so fast and then nothing is left but the dirty dishes. Who wants to see that.

  19. I am loving your kitchen re-do. It looks great so far. Glad you had a great Mother's Day and that you enjoyed the movie. I can't wait to go see it. Don't worry about eating the crepes and not taking any pictures. When my girls and I went to Atlanta recently, I did the very same thing. Love & blessings from NC!

  20. I love the Welsh cupboard idea - brilliant!

  21. A brilliant purchase which solves two issues. And the paint colour will tie everything in with the soapstone countertop and the black finish to the fridge and dishwasher - you have such good natural light from the conservatory there.

  22. This will be a huge update for these pieces and will give your kitchen the nose it was lacking. Nicely done. :)

  23. Oh, that is a beautiful piece, I think it's going to look stunning when you are done. I'd love to find a big Welsh cupboard myself.

  24. Just now seeing this post. I am looking forward to seeing your black cabinets. I want to paint mine black, but so far have received negative responses (I have a small kitchen area) - What do they know?!? Sounds like you are having a wonderful celebration at your home!


Thank you for visiting That Old House; it's always exciting to find new comments -- they are treasured! Because of increasing spam, I have reluctantly eliminated "Anonymous" commenting. Legitimate anonymous commenters, please forgive me! You might try using "Open ID" instead. Blogger's spam software worked for a good long time, but, sadly, no longer.