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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Diamonds, Polkadots and Kitchen Rehab Disaster

kitchenFriends of mine have handymen on retainers. These guys are wonderful workmen who are so awesome, they often stay to eat dinner with the family. When they decide to jet off to Eastern Europe to see their own aging parents, our friends are left high and dry. Or hot and cold. One family did not have air-conditioning for 3 weeks during the hottest of hot temperatures this summer, all because they didn’t want to call another company.

That’s loyalty.

Or stupidity.

I say get the air fixed NOW. I also say that a lot of this stuff, minor things, you can do yourself. Like DIY painting.

It’s fun. I enjoy a good rehab, but I have been involved with distressed properties worldwide, so maybe it’s just After photos of the Perrota Kitchen. As seen on HGTV's Kitchen Cousins.me.

Yet, if I want to be honest, I should really know when to stop. Benedetto would agree, but I’m not asking him right now. Let’s just say, he’s a bit upset with me at the present moment.

Okay, if you really want to know: our kitchen has been the same for maybe the last fifteen years and it was slightly renovated at that time, a few major walls removed, a peninsula added, new countertops, a maid’s bathroom removed and an eat-in area added, swinging doors to the dining room removed, while there’s still a maid’s call button under the dining room table (please don’t tell the kids so that their curiosity gets the best of them), and then we painted the old wooden cabinets, and tiled the floors, and painted the walls a bright lemon-lime color and the cabinets are a combo of glossy black and lime green, it’s really pretty fancy in an Italian-farmhouse-meets-halogen-light type of way and now that I am on a few-week break from my international projects and deadlines I decided enough of this bright-bright-bright stuff, we need some high-tech gray and silver, so I coerced Benedetto to go out and buy gallons and gallons of custom light gray and then darker grays and silver for the cabinets that I would personally do in a harlequin diamond pattern and so I climbed up and down our very rickety wooden ladder over 500 times to perfectly paint light gray all over every nook and cranny of wall expanse through the kitchen only to decide today that I don’t like it at all. At all.

kitchen-0I don’t think he’s speaking to me.

The kitchen has been in a state of disarray for two weeks because I have to work around meal times and we’re only in this house a couple of days per week. Then this weekend I tripped and smashed my knees on some stairs. I’m not really feeling like I should get back up on any rickety ladders.

But for now, everything is on hold for the holidays elsewhere.

After spending dozens of hours looking for cool grays or silvers with maybe a little accent color for the valances, I’ve given up. I’ve also searched hundreds of diamond patterns from stencils to how to tape off surfaces to get the desired pattern. I even briefly considered press-on vinyl decals for the kitchen cabinets, from diamonds to a splash of oversized polkadots— think Architectural Digest meets Elle Decor.

However, in all of my research and attempts to apply a well-considered design plan to our urban kitchen, grey-kitchennothing approaches the desired combo of chic-meets-bright-and-happy. And since our family tends to congregate in the kitchen, cooking, talking, laughing, solving the major issues of life, we need happy, people, we need happy.

So I blew it. The gray is going out. I take responsibility. We had a family council meeting at breakfast. I asked the kids if they liked the gray. All said it was fine. Benedetto said they told him that they hated it. At least we have an honest group with whom to make major life decisions, lol.

Now, with all of the shopping hysteria of Thanksgiving week and beyond, I will not be buying any paint in the next few days. But we’ll see.

I am tending toward yellow walls and black glossy cabinets. Kind of Checker cab-meets-bumble bee. Was getting a vintage Harrod’s tweed jacket tailored at the dry cleaner the other day. Their English basement, semi-subterranean business had bright yellow walls and checkerboard black-and-white flooring. Who would ever think that inspiration would come from such an unlikely place?

kitchen3But, like love, one can’t always control these things, but the damage may be mitigated by keeping a level head. Mistakes can be fixed. Soon, we will be moving from the metal-gray Milano look to a totally-sunny-Toscana-meets-Provence palette.

Ahh… I feel better already. And Benedetto even dropped the hint that if everyone pitched in, maybe we could knock it out in one night together. I’m feeling the love and warmth that inviting family kitchens inspire.


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