Monday, October 18, 2010

My Big Fat 80's Kitchen

If you’ve read here long, you know I’m one of those people with the quirky need to name my stuff.

My car is Ebenezer.
The GPS is Gypsy.
My debit card is Debi.
I spell it that way in my head
so as not to confuse myself.
The list goes on…

Although I would love little more than to move to the country and dub my home with a poetic name, I have not named our house. Even in Debbie Land, it seems a bit silly to name a home in a 20 year old subdivision. So though I long for my Pine Knoll, my house is just called The House.

My kitchen, on the other hand, has a name.
And it’s Rip Van Winkle.

I named it after the man in the story who fell asleep for twenty years only to wake up a misfit in the world around him.  Yes indeed. Rip Van Kitchen is so stuck in the 80s that it has big hair.

Plaid wallpaper...

With a huge fruit border...

To be fair, the fruit was added in the 90s. I put it up to cover the original colonial blue border that said “Welcome Friends”.  I think it even had pineapples.

It was supposed to be a temporary fix.


The wallpapered kitchen went along with the rest of the wallpapered house. When we bought the house, it was covered with roughly 2,800 square feet of the stuff. Aside from the living room, every single room had either paper or border. Some had both.

It didn’t bother me at the time. I like a challenge. Of course, I was also over a decade younger and had more of a stripper’s body back then, too. I jumped right in, and over the first few years, did my stripping act all over the place.

In the den…
Up the stairs…
In the bedrooms…
In the home office…
In the bathrooms…

Had I been a blogging stripper, I'd have pictures…

But Rip Van Kitchen kept getting put on the back burner. Yes, I realize that it’s the heart of the home. Yes, I know that it’s supposed to be the priority room …Yes, I know it affects property value…
Wok Wok Wok Wok Wokkkk….

Rip stayed stuck in the 80s. 
Basically, there were three reasons:

First? Money. We’re committed to this cash only thing, and other room fixes were cheaper. The kitchen is the big Kahuna. We need want a new floor, and new cabinets, and new countertops, and sink, and lighing, and ...

Well, you get it.

Second?  My serious obsession with the big Ta Da.  I could have done any one of those updates over the years. I could have at least stripped that wallpaper and painted the walls for goodness sake, but oh no…

Oddball as it may be, it is more acceptable in Debbie Land to apologize for a kitchen with big hair for over a decade than to complete a portion of a project.

I know. Sad, isn’t it?

But mostly? Fear. You see, stripping wallpaper in this house has given me sheetrockaphobia. This is the irrational fear that wallpaper has been gorilla glued to bare walls and will come down in one inch fragments, bringing the sheet rock with it…

…which results in major reconstruction
 and unkind sputterings about builders and previous owners.

I would rather avoid it.

So in true Debbie Fashion,
 I have neglected Rip Van Kitchen for over a decade.

But blogland has an uncanny knack of inspiration.

So I decided to do a little experiment. I pulled the refrigerator away from the wall, soaked the paper behind it in a solution of fabric softener and hot water, closed one eye, and peeled….

And guess what? It wasn’t raw sheet rock! Nope. It had been painted beneath and came off fairly easily.

So I kept on stripping…
And stripping…
And stripping…
And by the time I finished,
 it looked like this.

No ugly wallpaper!
No fingernails either, but they'll grow back.

All told, the Great Stripping Adventure took about two weeks. The soffits were the biggest pain. Half of the wall paper was attached to bare wood there. This part came off in millimeter sized pieces most of the time, but I stuck with it.

So there you have it:
How Rip Van Kitchen
 Strip Van Kitchen.

 Of course, I jumped off Stripper Mountain with no clear vision as to where to go next... 

I know. Sad, isn't it?

So if you see me peeking around in your kitchens with a notepad and shiny red Kodak, don't be startled. Be flattered. I'm just looking for some inspiration.

By the way, I feel the oddball need to say that I took a few days away from blogland to spend undivided time with my two favorite college girls who were home for fall break.  I'm sure you missed me, right? right?

Yeah... that's what I was afraid of.


Just Plain Tired said...

It looks very nice, and modern too! I'm a fan of paying cash for projects myself. I abhor debt.

Denise said...

Well, I for one missed you VERY much. However, I understand oh so much as my college girl was home as well. How odd they were all home at the same time...Anyway, the kitchen looks super. I can't wait to see what you do in there. Those Lowe's gift cards should come in handy!! Hugs.

The Charm of Home said...

Looking good! My kitchen is stuck in the 80's. I did the HOH kitchen party with one eye closed!LOL I knew what kitchens were out there and yet I posted mine anyway. You have a blank slate now and it is really looking good.

Sandi (Meme) said...

What an exciting project! I know what you mean though. In the 80's I wall papered our new enlarged bedroom. Now, everytime I walk in the room, it mocks me. "na,na,na,na,na, you can't touch me!" **sigh** But one of these days................Sandi

Unknown said...

Debbie...this should have a warning label...I about spit coffee all over my screen, lol! I have stripped wallpaper and it is NO FUN! Great job getting that all off and I cannot wait to see what you end up doing. Your cabinetry looks wonderful...maybe some paint and new hardware to give an updated look :)


P.S. We are cash as we go folks too!

Miss Merry said...

You are WOMAN! My house was covered with 1980's wallpaper,too. I am ashamed to say (it was me). We purchased our house in the 70's and it was all the rage. There was a memorable moment five children and much bedroom switching later, when I stood up on the bed one night yelling no more and stripped poor winnie the pooh right off the wall! It was very expensive wallpaper from Sears that peeling right off. The rest of the house suffered from sheetrockphobia. And I am married to a spackle fanatic who never wanted to replace it - just patch and sand, patch and sand. Creating the wonderful white world of drywall dust.

Your kitchen is amazing already! We waited til last to do ours too. I hate to tell you, but they are right when they say it will cost 30% more than whatever you plan. I blew my whole budget on just the cabinets. But we, too, pay cash, And I love my peel and stick floor tiles (the whole floor $18). Good Luck and Best Wishes!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

LOL! You have the most delightful posts in the Land of Blog, Debbie! I've been gone, too, but I did drop by to read your last post. Glad you had time with your girls!

Oh, how I can identify with this situation! Only, I got Windex and did a number on a border and my fingernails! ;-) I still haven't painted our walls, either, and it's been two years??? Eek!

It was a hideous border in a bedroom which is an even more hideous shade of blue. I want a "designer" blue, natch, so I have to wait till Mr. Magpie paints the area where the border was so I can paint over it. OH, now let me ask you this... how did you get the fabric softener off the walls? You can't paint over that can you? Did you wash the walls with something? I was told by my painter to just paint over the area that once had border with Kilz, but I can't stand the odor. Just wondering if I could get the rest of the gluey area off with fabric softener. I'm about ready to use alcohol rubs. LOL! That took the sticky-as-all-get-out-stubborn-as-a-mule tape off Mr. Magpie's back along with the skin. ;-)

You're always a bright spot for me, and your kitchen looks great!


Sheila :-)

Anonymous said...

This post is hilarious and I'm laughing with you not at you :) I know, I know. Oh how we get stuck in time because it's easier, more comfortable. Your work so far looks incredible!!

Ann said...

You have a HUGE kitchen! I'm jealous! : D
What a lot of work you undertook. I know when I redid our downstairs half bath, it took forever to remove the paper (that I put up, even behind the toilet, when I was VERY pregnant with now almost 19 year old Nick)! I must have been REALLY good at putting up wallpaper! LOL!

Can't wait to see what you end up doing. Whatever it is, I know it will be done with much thought, care, design and love!

And yes, you were missed here and elsewhere.


Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh, it looks fabulous. I love the look with the paper gone. Now some paint and it will seem like a whole new kitchen. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

Jane said...

My kitchen is also stuck in the 80s, but like you, I don't need a ton of debt in making it over. Love the work in your kitchen!


Elizabeth Dianne said...

Oh, Debbie, this is a priceless post--so so funny.

But, hey, I caught you peeking in an old kitchen of mine I had in Tulsa but I think you're 1980's film had just run out and you didn't get a good enough picture so I will describe in words (you love WORDS, right?) what we did that made a HUGE difference in the appearance of our kitchen--

over there where you have the peninsula and cabinets above it--we took our door to a carpenter--he cut out a big opening almost as big as the door--(do this on both sides of the cabinet) probably left at least a one and a half inch border, had a glass guy cut fiber glass for the back--so can get some little tabby like things to hold it--and voila, it opened up our kitchen and made it look so much bigger--I put pretty dishes in that portion of cabinet and instant update--

I know this is going to be beautiful when you get through with it--please keep us up to date.

Exquisite writing--reminded me of one of my favorite writers ever, Erma Bombeck! I am sure you are too young to remember her.

Happy redecorating!

Elizabeth Dianne said...

And when I went back and reread this, the writing reminded me of someone who was still asleep or worse--forgive all the mistakes!

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Sorry to take up all your comment room--I just went back and looked at your cabinet doors up close and personal--yours are almost exactly like ours were--the carpenter cut flush with that decorative trim--left it on and the glass looked like it had been there forever.

Lynn said...

I noticed you weren't around, glad to have you back yakking at us! Congrats on tackling that big project, the kitchen already looks so much lighter, I'll bet you feel great. Maybe with sore fingers, but great:@)

bj said...

OMGOSH, have done SOOO GOOD !!
I am so impressed...bless your little heart, no fingernails...:(
You are so so cute.

Your kitchen is going to be so's so nice and big and looks like you have a clean slate to do just about anything you might want to do. Now, your flooring looks fine to me..don't worry about it right now. Just do what you want, when you can.

I have a bathroom that must have 14 coats of paint over OLD wallpaper..I am just like you were...scared to death to tackle taking off the paper because I just KNOW it will be micro size pieces that come off..o, i dread it.
Well now, you have inspired me..I'll tackle my bath....someday....after Christmas...maybe next summer...wonder if they have paint on sale anywhere....maybe I'll just put coat #15 on it and call it DONE !! :))))

I AM proud of you!!

Sharon said...

Debbie, my friend -
1) Yes, I missed you a lot!! (Like an itch that goes away - you kinda miss the know what I'm saying?!)
2) I'm sure you had a great time with the girls!! (Did you finish the laundry?)
3) Could you clear up some confusion for me? Are you a stripper that yaks or a yakker that strips?
4) Perhaps when your kitchen is done we could re-name it Lazarus - the kitchen everyone thought was dead rises to life again!

Great start - I just know the finished project is going to be something beautiful...

(p.s. Left an email for you - No worry, no hurry - just wanted to let you know!!)

Renée said...

This time I simple had to walk away to catch my breath! I did miss you and I'm glad you had time with your co-eds. So to say that this may be your biggest blogging accomplishment so far is fair, and I've cheered for you through several good projects. It looks clean and bright. You have such a lovely space and I'm excited to see what you do with it, and even more excited to read about it :D

PS I had to blog about my new Delta faucet and really wished I was you!

elizabeth said...

Oh I can't wait to see what you do in your kitchen. Just be thankful your kitchen is big and fat! My kitchen is a wee little galley kitchen...what my mom calls a "one butt" kitchen. Wouldn't you know that every time I am in there, the hubs comes in wanting something and it definitely only has room for one butt.
Love to you sweet friend...let me know how and when you use the "Jesus glasses" idea!

Jennie said...

Me, me, me! I've missed you! And whether you were stripping wallpaper, visiting with your college girls, or both at the same time, I *suppose* you're excused for your absence. (And hope you enjoyed every moment.) I cannot believe how much LARGER the room looks without the wallpaper. I'm proud of you! (And my husband relates to your all-or-nothing approach. When he gets started, it's whole hog or nothing at all. I might have a tiny dose of that affliction as well.)

Glad to see you back!

Vanessa said...

Oh Debbie, I totally feel your pain my friend! Not only did every room in our last house have wallpaper but there was some waiting for us in this house too...and it WAS hung right up on the sheet rock! Curses! My hands ached for weeks so I know what you are going through but it is going to be so worth it in the end. Kinda like is a price we gals pay for beauty, you know? :-)

Amy Kinser said...

I am so proud of you. My house was the same way except that when we built it, I wallpapered everywhere. WHY OH WHY would I do such a thing. I finally finished de-wallpapering every room this summer. RELIEF!!!! I will never have wallpaper again. Really, I won't. What a job to strip that stuff off and like you, I am no stripper.

I did miss you. I prayed for you last night because I hadn't heard from you. You're my buddy and I notice when you are not around.

Glad you had a great weekend.

FrouFrouBritches said...

I missed you!!! I wasn't around to miss you Friday because I had to work BUT I missed you when I got back! I'm so glad you got to spend time with the girls' though. YEA!

My car's name is Bessie and Hubby's car is Big Red. Hubby's GPS's name is Betty.

As for the wallpaper, I HATE removing wallpaper. I've only done it once and I refuse to EVER do it again. I laughed out loud about your "stripper body". So funny! The kitchen looks great. Can't wait to see what you do next. I'm not much for one little project at a time either. I'd rather wait and get everything I want all at once and get the work out of the way in a matter of a couple of days instead of spurts here and there. I'm lazy that way.

Sooo glad you're back!!!

Linda said...

We are the same about paying for things as we go...I couldn't afford a new kitchen, but we were amazed at how bright and new our kitchen lookedby just painting the cabinets and getting new hardware. We couldn't afford new countertops, but we went to Lowes and found a formica that looks just like will do until we can afford the real stuff andit was cheap because my husband installed it. You will get there...just take it one step at a looks way different with just what you have done!

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Debbie, I'm so glad that Rip got a new "do" and that it wasn't as difficult as it might have been! I love reading your posts. You are such fun! I really thought the wallpaper looked cute, but taking it off the walls really opened up your kitchen and made it bright and airy. Great job! laurie

Mevely317 said...

Woo-hoo! ... Imagine the possibilities!
Of course, me being me - possibilities can be frightening! (Be afraid ... be very afraid!)
'Looking forward to what's ahead in Strip Van Kitchen :)

PS - I, too, have a crazy need to name inanimate objects!

Kelli said...

My kitchen looks like your kitchen! LOL! I ripped the WP off in May and am still trying to decide on a paint color! I KNOW you enjoyed time with your girls! Now, just wait on your fingernails to grow!

Chatty Crone said...

I have missed you Debbie - but looks like you got a lot accomplished in two weeks. Visiting your girls and a kitchen redo - which turned out lovely. You go girl.


Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Whoa! Look at what you've done to that 80's kitchen, girl! Looking spiffy indeed! And it's a very nice kitchen. I wish mine was that large. I'm sure in no time you will be inspiring us all with your make-over. And yes, you were missed!!

Sue said...

Another great story Debbie and what a project! I did that once, started just a little spot and ended up doing the whole room too. Your new space looks so big and open. You are going to have lots of fun dreaming of what to do and we will get lots of great stories out of the adventure, I'm sure! Can't wait.

And we did miss you here in Blogland - there is nothing like spending some girl time with our daughters - and those college age girls are so much fun to be around! I'll bet you had a ball.

Angel said...

Oh Debbie, this was great! I love your clever use of word-twisting, i.e. rip van kitchen, the blogger stripper :)and your creation of new words like "sheetrockaphobia". I look forward to reading your posts and definitely miss you when you're gone. Thank you for the gift of laughter. You're awesome!

CAL said...

WOW Debbie - the transformation is awesome. I had to chuckle because you were so smart starting behind the refrigerator for your test area.

Can't wait to see your finished product. I read that faux finishes (badly executed) have now replaced the wallpaper fad.

Anonymous said...

I am so excited you are working on your kitchen! I can't wait to see what you do and help of course!

-your favorite niece

CindyC said...

Oh my goodness, that's an amazing transformation! And I had so much fun hearing the story of your process. :)

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

What a big project, you must have such a nice sense of accomplishment now!! It looks great!

When I first started reading this I thought you were in Sheila's kitchen meme (Heart of the Home) and wondered why I missed you that week when we were all looking at each other's kitchens. Did you see mine? I should have checked the comments first!

Looking forward to seeing the future progress you make!

Cute story too!



Related Posts with Thumbnails