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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kitchen Changes In Progress, Or: How To Tell If Your Marriage Is On Solid Ground

Whether you've been married for 6 months or 60 years,
there is one surefire way to test the strength of your marital bond:



 As we are nearing the end (fingers crossed!) of our year-long Kitchen Makeover,
trying to turn our kitchen into something that will look as if it belongs in That Old House
(the inspiration photo was in yesterday's post),
we are tackling the ultimate challenge: The kitchen walls and cupboards.

This involves many buckets of paint, and also wallpaper. 
(Cue scary music.)


Last week we finished the conservatory project.
Below, the freshly painted sunroom.  Just beyond . . . the kitchen.
That's the stair wall at the end of the room, where the back stairs come down to the kitchen.

Everything is still in its last-homeowner gold.
With swatches of paint and wallpaper adorning the walls.

"Wallpaper?"  asked my husband.  "Really?"
"Yes, please," said his wife.
"Well, okay," said my husband, which is why we've been happily married for 32 years.
At least, I've been happy.

A little bit of selective amnesia helps greatly in the decision to wallpaper a room.
The last painful episodes of Man Vs. Paper fade from your memory.
You go into the project mercifully stupid and optimistic.

How bad can it be, after all?
Witness this man's happy face:

 And body language.

But then you step back, after spending 'way more hours at this than you'd planned, and admire your handiwork.
The words you used that you didn't even realize you knew now fade from your memory,
and you are filled with a warm rush of pride and happiness, all bathed in the glow of relief.

It's over.  Finis.

Until the wife says, "Turns out I ordered more paper than we needed.  How about we do the butler's pantry?"

(Cue scary music.  Again.)

Stay tuned.

If you are wondering why I didn't paint before putting up the paper, which would be logical,
it's because I can do the painting on my own.  If you've ever tried to wallpaper all by your lonesome, you know that
-- even with all the extra time spent hollering at one another -- it still is easier with four hands than two.
I only had Howard's help for what turned out to be part of Sunday, so I took advantage of it.
I'll spend this week doing the painting.

Today I am priming.  Woodwork, wainscot, bottom of the back stairs.

We had to empty and move the big old walnut cupboard and the jam cupboard
into the middle of the room to do this project; where did all the dishes go?
A whole lot of them went into the study:
I hope that plastic folding table stands up to the load!

The sun just came out.  Dion and I are going for a little walk before
I start inhaling primer, and he starts finding wet paint to lie down next to.  A hobby of his.
Happy Monday!  -- Cass

Visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.  Click here!

Visit Cielo at The House In The Roses for Show Off Your Cottage Monday Click here!



  1. Paint and wallpaper - now that's a scary Halloween story opener! Your Howard is a treasure beyond gold - can't wait to see the paint, now!

  2. To cute - and typical of nearly every husband and wife in the diy world. Dion is such a doll.


  3. I love his posturing. I can just read "happiness abounds" all over his face and in his demeanor. You are lucky that he is able to help you. My hubster is NOT handy. His idea of "helping" is to hire someone as his stand in. I am loving that wallpaper. It is perfect...and looks so much like the inspiration kitchen you showed before. You go girl!>) Diana

  4. Cass, having just finished an outdoor project with my 'enthused' husband of 32 years, too, I know just what you're talking about. But your project turned out so well, how beautiful. I hope your husband is proud of his handiwork! Looking forward to seeing the progress as it unfolds.

  5. Cass..
    love it all!
    It's really beautiful !!
    and Dion..
    if you need a sitter..
    call me..
    I'm always available!!

  6. LOVE the wallpaper!
    You are a lucky woman to have a hubby that will do these little things with you around the house. I only wish my hubby would help! He looks at me like I'm crazy when I mention any type of idea and then he walks away, as if I never said a word! LOL

    Can't wait to see the finished project!

  7. Why is it that women can work on a project together and laugh and have a great time but switch out to a man and woman combo and everything goes down the toilet?
    Unless of course the project is installing a new toilet and then ain't nothing going down it.

  8. You are a brave soul!
    Even Dion's expression seems apprehensive. :0)

  9. Hi Cass...

    Yeeehawww! I was hoping that you did a post on your new kitchen wallpaper after reading your Sunday Favorites post! Girlfriend, it looks fabulous!!! is sooo pretty...a pattern that I would have chosen for myself!

    Hehe...wallpaper and are so right about this! My dad and mom remodeled and built several homes while I was growing up. I was never sure if there marriage would make it through the wallpapering part...seriously!!!

    Keep us posted, Cass! I'm so excited for you and your kitchen project!

    Warmest autumn wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  10. I am so excited to see the kitchen come together. And yes, wallpapering is definately a marriage tester. I about killed my husband and myself over a bathroom wallpapering job. I thought it was a small room - how bad could it be? Horrible - lots and lots of cuts around all the plumbing. Your kitchen is going to look stunning when it is done.

  11. It looks great. I put up a boarder in the bathroom by myself and it was hard so I know putting up wallpaper would be very hard. I love it. Good luck painting.

  12. Your husband did a fantastic job!!!! And aren't you really glad it is done????? I can't wait to see that wonderful paint and white is so pretty and vintage.....LOVE IT! Your pup looks just like my niece-dog Sophie.....:)

  13. Lovin' your new wallpaper, can't wait to see it (and Dion) after you paint! He's a cutie:@)

  14. I do like that wallpaper!
    You may have to put Dion in another room when you paint. :-D

  15. Cass it's going to be lovely! I can't wait to see it finished! And yes, cabinet painting can be done solo -- but I do wallpapering solo as well -- sigh -- I have my upstairs sunroom to paper -- and I think it will be a winter project!

  16. Howard is a riot in that pose with his legs crossed and the wallpaper is divine in your kitchen! Hat boxes covered in that paper would be pretty. ♥O

  17. when we were younger my Big Guy wallpapered at least ten different rooms in two different houses. He is a perfectionist, so it always turned out beautifully. But the last two houses we've had have had bumpy-paint walls (that's the technical term, you know!) that doesn't do well with wall- paper, so now all I have is flat boring color sans pattern. It actually looks fine but I miss the mood-setting thrill of wallpaper.

  18. Cass,
    I could look at kitchen posts all day! So exciting! It will be terrific!

  19. Hi- Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the nice comments! Your kitchen looks great, and your "old house" is wonderful. Guess what, I've been married 32 years too! I saw that in your profile! A++++ for hubby helping, that's always a good thing! I rely on mine for hanging pictures, or else there would be 3 holes for every one needed!! Happy Monday to you!

  20. I really like your wallpaper. We only have it in one room of our house. My father hates wallpaper because it's so hard to remove, so he tells us not to install it. However, on the rooms we remember to put wallpaper primer on, it seems to come off a lot better.

    I'm sure your room will look stunning when it's completed!

  21. Your kitchen is going to be fabulous! I am glad to see the return of wallpaper. Truly I was not that big a fan when I was a working designer, but now that I only have to worry about one house -- mine -- I have decided that maybe I want to have a go at it again. I bought some vintage paper in Savannah last summer, and am thinking of putting it in the DR. (Anything but that icky sage green!)

    Can't wait to see your finished projects!


  22. Dion looks quite worried! LOVE love the new wall paper! What a wonderful difference. I feel so much better knowing that your house has been torn up the same time as mine! **kisses** Deb

  23. Good luck for the painting!!! Catherine

  24. It is somewhat satisfying to see the transformation on your walls, especially since I didn't have to do it ... but do love the wallpaper. And, I see those green Johnson Bros dishes I grew up with--mom's "better" dishes for company and holidays.

  25. I'm glad you have Howard! You both are very lucky, and the dion is such a doll! Just had to jump out of my reader and say "job well done"

  26. Love love LOVE that paper. What cuties; Howard and Dion!

  27. I really don't envy you. Wallpaper scares me.
    Painting doesn't bother me so much.
    Good Luck and have fun!


  28. kudos to both of your! work hand in hand and the end result just awesome!

  29. A man who wallpapers is a sweetie and a keeper in my books. It looks lovely, cannot wait to see the painting part.

  30. Cass, Your kitchen will turn out so nice when you are done! I love the black/white floral. It looks very similar to toile, which is a fav with me. I always paper by myself- I'm way too picky to have someone else attempt to help. LOL
    I applaud your husband's achievement- funny look on face not withstanding... Silly girl- I can't believe you waited to paint your woodwork til after papering- Be careful when trim it out! :-)


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.