The farmhouse was built in 1929. It has seen upgrades, like electricity and running water over the years, but since I have been here the biggest home improvement projects have been fresh coats of paint, replacing some drafty windows, things like a new countertop or a new sink basin, and installing built in bookshelves. Great stuff, but nothing too major. Dan does side work doing construction work for others- whether it's installing a new roof, fixing a foundation, or doing interior work, I am blessed with a man who is handier than Ty Pennington. But while he is able to fix anything that breaks, often that is all that gets done around here. Being winter, I've been going on my annual cleaning spree, and was doing my best to make the kitchen a little nicer. Deep cleaning, and little things like replacing dirty plastic containers full of spices with beautiful old canning jars full of spices. Some of the paint on the wall behind the stove was coming up as I scrubbed, and I thought perhaps we could get a few tiles and create an easy-to-clean backsplash while he has a bit more time, so I ran the idea past Dan. Much to my surprise, he suggested doing a pretty major makeover. He noticed (finally!) how very dark my kitchen counter is, and suggested doing a long-put-off lighting project. And starting on our much-discussed plan to put down laminate floor over the plywood that has been down for years and is pretty well impossible to clean by now. While I realized this was a major undertaking, now is the perfect time.
I was super excited to head to Home Depot to pick out some things for my favorite space, as up until now, virtually all our projects have started out with materials left over from a job, or reusing something someone else was replacing. While I love reusing and repurposing, it's a wonderful feeling to create something just how I want it! The choices there for lighting and floors are a bit overwhelming. Dan was thinking track lighting and some new flooring, we'll pick out something, no big deal. But these are pretty permanent changes, and I didn't want to settle for good enough, I wanted it to feel like my vision of home, and stay true to the wonderful historic quality of the farm. I didn't like the track lighting- too modern, too industrial. What caught my eye then were pendant lights. The ones I liked best basically look like an old, bare bulb covered by a wire cage. Dan looked a bit puzzled, as these were pretty much the most industrial things I could have found, but they looked old. As for the floor, I found laminate that looked like hardwood, but old, whitewashed planks. We agreed on brick-look, easy care siding panels instead of a backsplash (his idea) but otherwise left without making our final decisions. After sleeping on it, we agreed on the look, and were able to find more affordable options online.
The new shelf holding my spices uses brackets Dan makes in the foge. I've shipped out hundreds, but this is the first time I've gotten to hang any in here. And they coordinate beautifully with the pot racks he's made for me! The wood on the shelf is real weathered barn wood, salvaged from our barn door which we replaced late in the fall. More of this barn wood was put together to make a display of some vintage enameled Griswold cast iron pans which I bought at an auction back in December. The copper pig trivet is something my parents used when I was little, and the metal Old Bay spice container is the only container that didn't get dumped into a canning jar.
We also replaced a wobbly old ceiling fan with custom lights. The wood came from the 200+ year old tree we had to have taken down last year, Dan did the electrical work, and I had old zinc lids and vintage canning jars to complete the look. I love the fresh look, but what I honestly love the most is how much of it are simply pieces that were here all along, simply better displayed, or things we created ourselves!