Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sneak Peek: Studio Kitchen

Today we are previewing the kitchen of my studio apartment. At first glance, it looked liked it had the same amount of space as my previous apartment (view that kitchen makeover here)since the number of the cabinets was almost the same however once I got in the space, I learned that some of the cabinets weren't as deep as my prior apartment. Overall, of all the rooms, this one had the most space.
This is how the kitchen looked when I toured the apartment. This apartment was a model for the studio apartment, hence the red accessories. I don't think it was staged particularly well and I certainly don't care for white walls. But here is the before photo with their accessories.

When I moved in, the walls were white of course. White walls = renter, lol. Of course you know that I would not live with white walls for long. Give me 24 hours and a can of paint and they'll be gone. Dad took Dear Son at 7:30 on Saturday night so I got started painting my kitchen. It felt like an episode of Trading Spaces in terms of the time crunch since I only had 24 hours to move everything out, sand the walls, wash the walls, tape them and then paint. It's not a large space just lots of detail since there aren't any full walls. I simply used the same paint that I had in my former apartment. I had some left so it was easy. I did run out though and purchased two little testers to finish it off today.You know that I wouldn't live with walls that weren't totally painted, right?

I really like this color because it's fresh. When I paint a room, especially an apartment, it makes it seem more like a home. I really can't understand people who leave their walls white. Here's another picture of the kitchen as they staged it before I moved in.

And here it is after I painted it. Of course, I like mine better, lol. You know that when I move, I have to paint it white again but really, why live with white walls because of that.

Some people don't know how to pick a paint color so I'll share my secrets for picking a paint color.

1) Figure out a general color that you want. As a general rule, pick a color out of something you already have in the room. For example, if you want to paint the room blue and there is blue in the pillow, try to match that shade of blue, assuming you like it.

2) The absolute simplest way to pick a color is if you like a color that is already in the room, say in the pillow or a rug, take it with you to the store and have it color matched. If the color is not in the room, but say, you have a sweater that you love and you love the color, take that with and have the paint color matched. Home Depot can do this for you.

3) Suppose however that you are selecting a new color and don't have any items to work from meaning there aren't any items in the room in that color. This is easy. So let's say you want to paint your room blue, go to the paint store and pick up as many paint chips as you can in the shade of blue that you think you like. You are not selecting the paint yet, just picking up paint chips. You don't even have to worry about what brand of paint yet, just start by picking up a bunch of swatches. I might go home with some 20 different swatches of blue paint. This means 20 different pieces of paper, some of which will have 5 different shades of blue on them.

4) Now that you are home, you are going to hold these paint swatches up against the wall in the room you want to paint. You are going to do this in broad daylight with the daylight shining in on the wall. At this time, you'll hold them up to the wall. Within 5 minutes, you'll eliminate 90% of the swatches you just brought home. You'll know immediately what colors won't work in your room and you'll toss them.

5) Now then, you'll already have a few you like. Tape those to the wall leaving some space between them. For the next 24 hours, you are going to come and check out those swatches. When you see ones you know you don't like, get rid of it. By this time, you'll be down to 3 or 4 paint colors.

6) You'll want to look at these colors in all different lights. Your favorite color in the daytime, may wash out at night and at night you'll have a different favorite color. It will be interesting to see the color with your lamps on at night versus straight daylight. No worries. Continue the process for 24 hours and look at them and soon you'll pick the color that you liked best during all of the different times of day.

7) Within 24 or 48 hours, you'll have picked the paint color you like best. Now you will take the swatch to the paint store and select your brand of paint and the color. If you like the brand of paint that matches the swatch, fine, if not, purchase the brand of paint you like and have it color matched. Buy as much paint as you'll need up front. One tip is that when you buy the paint, they'll put the formula on the top of the paint can. Tape over the formula with clear tape when you get home and once you are done with the paint, you can keep the lid and you'll know exactly what the paint formula is in case you want more.

This is my own system and one I have used for some 15 years now. I've never regretted any paint color using my own method. If you are really unsure as to where to start with even selecting a general color, look at your wardrobe. What color is the article of clothing that you like to wear or what color is one you get the most compliments on? Another tip is selecting a color similar to a room you've seen in a magazine or online.

Here is a picture of the kitchen showing the flooring.

Probably my favorite part of the entire apartment is the view from the kitchen. I love to cook and look out at the trees. We get a lot of daylight in the apartment which is nice. I also have a nice prep area for cooking.

Here is another view. I used the same chandelier from my former kitchen. Not only is the chandelier pretty but more importantly is the task lighting. I really need task lighting, especially at night for washing dishes or in the winter. Apartments don't come with task lighting which is a shame. If I owned the place, I would have an electrical box (not sure what it's called) installed in the ceiling so I could have overhead lighting without any cords. When I had our home built, I made sure all of the bedrooms had overhead lighting installed. On the down side, I only have a one bowl sink. I think it should be mandatory to have two bowls. I mean really.

My pretty soap container.

Another before picture of the apartment before I moved in.

In this section, I added a shelf so I could store more things. I added these baskets. One stores Dear Son's formula and the other one stores his medications and syringes. It was difficult because we had to install the shelf above the phone jack. If I owned the place, I could remove it. Dad installed all of the shelving for me throughout the apartment. In this case, I just took the shelf I had installed in my previous apartment. Luckily the dimensions were identical even though the kitchens were totally different. Here you can see the shelf. I think it makes it look a lot more modern. I also changed all of the hardware and put on glass knobs. I saved the apartment hardware so I can swap it back when I move.

Since I didn't have a kitchen pantry, I needed to make one. Here is a picture of the other side of the kitchen before I moved in. The door you see is the laundry room but if you look to the side, you'll see the front door and next to that is the foyer closet. One other thing regarding the kitchen was that there wasn't any space for my pretty chalkboard. The light switch and the security system made it impossible to use that wall so I ended up using a large clock that I had instead.

In this photo you can see the foyer closet. Since it's a tiny studio apartment, at only 650 square feet, I needed to utilize every square inch of space efficiently. I couldn't afford the luxury of letting the foyer closet go to waste. I decided to make that into a kitchen pantry instead of using it as a foyer closet.

Here is a picture of the closet before I moved in. It had two shelves plus an electrical box for the security system.

Since I have to return everything to it's original condition when I move out, I decided to leave the two existing shelves and to add adjustable shelving to the remainder of the closet. I used Rubbermaid shelving from Menards and used this shelving system that attaches to the wall. It's quite simple actually. You attach the two rear vertical posts to a horizontal piece and screw all of them into the walls. Once that is done, you simply place the braces on the vertical posts and the shelves where you need them. Of course, I always sketch out a plan on where I'll put things before I ever go to the store. I think this closet cost around $100 to do; I don't remember exactly. The beauty of this system is that when I move, I can remove the posts and take everything with. I installed this system when I did a little girl's playroom a few years ago. Here is a look at the entire closet.

A view of the top shelves. I labeled them so you could see how I used them. Remember, the first two shelves are the existing shelves that were already in the foyer closet.

The lower half of the pantry looks like this. Sorry about the blender but the glass part was in the dishwasher when I took this photo.

So far, the kitchen pantry works really well. Now normally, I wouldn't recommend taking your foyer closet and making it into a pantry however this is a very small space. Also, I had thought out about where I would put our winter coats now that we didn't have a closet. I have a mirror/coat rack that hangs on the wall so we'll use that.

From here on out, there are only minor projects left in the kitchen. I still need to get some paper to line the drawers and a few more accessories but other than that, I am fine with how it looks and functions.

I hope you liked the sneak peek of my studio apartment kitchen.


Ladybug said...

I loved your kitchen in the other apartment-so glad you were able to replicate it here! I've seen kitchens with so much 'stuff' on the counters I don't know how someone could cook so it's a nice change to see one that is elegantly appointed but still remembers its function. And I agree, I'd rather have a pantry than a coat closet any day!

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, Ladybug! I know that people have different preferences regarding how many things they like on the counter but for me, less is more. I still like one or two things that are pretty and functional.

I like to think that any room in our homes should have a little bit of "us" in there and not look like it could be just "anyone's" kitchen; I want my kitchen to reflect my tastes. I am happy you think that it is "elegantly appointed"; one of my goals is to have a beautiful and "elegant" home, even if it is a tiny studio apartment.

To The Moon and Back said...

Hi Dream Mom! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment on our bathroom re-do.

Love how you transformed your kitchen with paint and some details. It looks lovely. I love the texture and interest those lovely baskets added. Great job!

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