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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Repaint vs. Remodel

One of the last places people have money to spend during economically turbulent times is on a kitchen remodel. The price of new mid-range kitchen cabinets alone can run $10,000 to $20,000, ouch! When my husband and I wanted to refresh our time warp kitchen of many different decades, we learned how to tile and put in new Marmoleum flooring ourselves. The obvious fix for the cabinets was a fresh new coat of paint, but that project will discussed more in a future post.

A client recently recommended me to friends of hers that wanted to refresh their kitchen and entertain in it more. They also decided to go the route of new paint rather than breaking the bank for a kitchen remodel.

As with most couples, there was a little color fear with one half. The other half wanted to downplay or paint the large odd beam running through one area of the kitchen. We discussed the difficulty in painting or "killing" the large knots in the wood that would probably keep showing through the paler paint they wanted. Also, the rustic nature of the wood would probably not end up looking great when painted. The mass whiteness of the kitchen was not helping and, in fact, was making this dark beam more of a noticeable detail due to the contrast. In the before, you can see the dominating wood beam that was the subject of much discussion.

In the end we agreed that adding a bit of color and warmth would help balance out the kitchen and detract from this large beam holding court over the kitchen.

I agreed that their plan to move a wall of books and file cabinets into another room was a wonderful idea and would give them more room to entertain and enjoy their kitchen. I introduced the idea of reclaiming a window bench from storage, and painting a touch of green around the window bench wall to beckon in the lovely backyard.

The owners wanted to warm up the kitchen since it didn't get a great deal of natural light except from a small southern window in the kitchen, morning light from the patio window to the east and indirect evening light from the neighboring room. White is often chosen in the notion that it will lighten up a darker room, but it usually ends up making it appear colder and throws shadows. We decided on Potters Clay from Benjamin Moore for the backsplash, Sandy Brown from Benjamin Moore for the cabinets, and Dried Thyme from Sherwin Williams for the window bench area.

When I returned a few weeks later to see the kitchen after painting, I honestly have to say that even I was shocked to see how different the kitchen looked! It was transformed into a warm, inviting space. The power of paint wins again.

Their painter did a terrific, detailed job. He even sanded and refinished the beam and now it echoes the wood trim in parts of the kitchen without dominating the room. A win-win situation for the couple.

The bookshelves and file cabinets were banished to another room in the home to become the home office. The visual weight was lifted from the room while more space for entertaining was added.

Although one part of the couple expressed worry over the green bench, it ended up being something they both loved. They are looking to have a custom cushion made for the window seat so they can truly enjoy the tranquil view to their backyard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hidden Color in the London Underground

The London tube system is a huge maze of subterranean underground stations, platforms and rail-lines. Many areas are abandoned and not accessible to the public. I found myself getting constantly lost and turned around during my two visits to London and came to appreciate how massive this system is.

There was recently a surprise uncovered at the Notting Hill tube station in London. A time capsule of mid-century posters was rediscovered during modernization work on the station. In 1959, the old lifts were taken out of commission in favor of escalators. The passageways to the lifts were sealed off and the posters sat for fifty years untouched.

A look back at the cheerful pop color posters of yesterday give a great view into mid-century advertising, color and style. The public does not have access at this time to the posters or this part of the station.

The photos below are all credited to Mike Ashworth who is the Underground Design and Heritage Manager. His Flickr photos can be seen here:

The Notting Hill station opened in 1868, with the underground area opening up in 1900. Sadly, these posters will be resealed back up after modernization work if completed and left for future generations to discover.

I guess we can't tease the Brits for the stereotype of having bad teeth. Advertisers were trying!

A 1956 version of this popular story:

The graphics on this poster remind me of Disneyland, It's a Small World, colors and graphics from that era.

Can you believe that this home exhibition has been going on since 1908 and is still an annual event! Wish I could step into a time capsule and go back to take a look at the latest in mid-century homes.

A view of the posters grouped on one of the subway walls. They all date from 1956-1959.

This poster was designed by Daphne Padden who came from a family of artist/illustrators. I love that pop of blue and yellow. Very much part of the visual graphics of the 1950's.

You would have been seeing this Alec Guinness movie in the theaters in 1958

This poster was made by renown designer, Victor Galbraith, for the London Transport

This discovery makes you appreciate the world's hidden urban gems and what is still waiting to be uncovered!