Things for the Kitchen + an Update

It’s mid-January, and we thought we were going to be eyeballs deep in kitchen renovations and drywall dust – but nope. We’re not surprised (eh, it’s to be expected and there have already been a few minor setbacks), but we are off to a slower start than we would have liked. The contractors will actually begin their work at the end of this week – moving electrical, gas lines and installing a pocket door! – which means that this coming weekend, Scott and I will begin our drywall patch and repair work! I can’t say we’re excited about that, exactly, but we are excited to move forward. Onward!

While we had hoped work would begin last week, we took it as a sign to relish every minute of this past weekend and relax (somewhat), you know, before this kitchen takes over our lives. Instead of our usual monumental to-do list, we did normal, everyday things – cleaned the house, watched a movie, and slept in – but we also spent a day tile shopping and thrifting (the best way to spend a day, we think!).

We came home feeling inspired and excited for what’s to come, and better yet, our wagon was loaded up with this:


Our new kitchen layout will allow for a skinny island in the center of the room, and to the right of our soon-to-be wall of windows, we’ll have space for a small hutch! We’ve been on the online hunt for a while now, but a sporadic stop into The Brown Elephant (during a 50% off sale, no less!) had us hauling home this tiny cutie for all of $62. $62! It’s super petite at 34″ wide and maybe 5′ tall; in other words, it was made for our kitchen.


Now, it’s going to need work. The finish is too orange for our tastes, but we want to warm things up by keeping the wood alive with a really thorough refinishing job. Up close, we can tell that it was already someone’s project at one point, as there are telltale drips of polyurethane and door pulls that are just ever-so-slightly crooked. This will be a test in patience, for sure, but I’m going to attempt to strip the poly and re-stain.

The inside of the hutch is a bizarre two-toned finish, the glass panels are chipped and the drawer knobs look as though they were installed a half inch above the original knobs (what?). If we don’t forgo the glass altogether, we’ll have new panels cut, and we’re thinking of smoothing out those zebra stripes with paint – but only on the inside shelving! The whole thing will get finished off with new hardware, and whew!, are we excited to see what a difference that’ll make.


In other ‘Things’ news, we got ourselves a kitchen runner! With a lot of our finishes being white and gray, we wanted to bring in saturated color with a vintage rug, and after making the eBay rounds (like, every day) for months, we fell in love with this beauty. She was so, so pretty online, but my goodness. In person? She is drop. Dead.


It’s 2’x10′, which will run perfectly along our sink wall, and while we know that there are two sides to the whole rug-in-a-kitchen thing, well, we’re willing to take that chance. Plus – it’s red! It’ll hide our two favorite foods: pasta sauce and wine. (I mean, right?) It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep her folded up in storage, but the day she sees the light will be a happy one.

As for our tile shopping, we have fallen in love with matte white subway tile, and although we like the look of a classic install, I may or may not be trying to convince Scott to throw in a framed pattern above the sink. We will see! We have time to noodle on that, but it was thrilling nonetheless to land on a look we’ll love for the long haul. And about that countertop debate? We’ve collected a few more estimates on other options, but at the very least, we are now leaning towards a white/gray stone, so, we consider that huge progress.

Baby steps, people. That is, until it all starts crashing down. Yeah, kitchen!

24 replies on “Things for the Kitchen + an Update”

  1. Oh, man, that rug is great! I have a rug in our kitchen, and I have to shake it out every few days to get rid of crumbs, but I woudn’t have it any other way. And I’m excited to see what you do with the hutch!

  2. Ahhh, I love that hutch! I’ve been on the daily Craigslist hunt for a buffet/dresser with a similar shape. You guys got it at a great price. I can’t wait to see its makeover!

    We got a kitchen rug this year and my bf was so sure it would be gross, but I actually love it! It makes the kitchen feel warm and comfortable and its gotten me in the habit of vacuuming every 2-3 days, which is great. The whole kitchen area feels cleaner now. I’m going to try and just take it out once or twice a year when it gets warmer to beat it and maybe spot wash/dry it a bit? We’ll see!

    1. Glad to hear! We have a rug cleaner place we like that’s not too pricey, so it could get a thorough cleaning every year or so, but a vacuum and shake should be sufficient in-between!

  3. Love the vintage rug! We’re rug-shopping for our kitchen right now too. But ours has to be both food-friendly and kid-friendly, so I’m looking for an indoor-outdoor version that can stand up to dirt and my cooking mayhem. ;) Maybe not as design-y as I’d like, but maybe I can find something pretty AND durable. Definitely getting something colorful like yours – great at hiding stains!

  4. That rug is beautiful. Mind sharing the source? I’m constantly browsing ebay for rugs, and it’s always nice to have a recommended seller.

    1. The seller is orientgoods. Love a lot of his inventory, everything arrives super clean from the get-go, and his prices are reasonable!

  5. We did matte white subway tile for our backsplash as well! I think the matte looks so much better than shiny – the shiny subway tiles tend to make me think of a bathroom. Not ideal.

    What was your search for finding that beautiful rug? I need to find a runner that size for my upstairs hallway. Thanks for sharing your progress!

    1. What color grout did you go with? We’re on the fence.

      When we search, I start by searching for ‘rug runner’, then I select antiques, then I sort by price low-high OR just “buy it now” options, since I hate the bidding game! I’ve found some favorite sellers that way, and I bookmark for them later and check in all the time.

      1. Thanks for the ebay advice! Buying on Ebay intimidates me, but my husband is a pro at it (he loves vintage Culver glassware). As for grout color, we did a light gray (maybe an oyster gray?). I think it provides enough contrast to highlight the tile without being distracting. I found that the darker grays were too distracting. Our countertop is light as well (a gray-white granite) and I think the grout marries well with the light countertop. Plus, we have tile to the ceiling on one wall and I think a darker grout would’ve felt overwhelming. Hope this helps!

      2. Not sure if my other comment published, but I’ll summarize: we did a light gray (probably oyster gray). I think anything darker would be overwhelming or potentially be too heavy for a lighter countertop (ours is gray-white granite). Hope this helps!

        1. Thanks, just saw your comment stuck in the spam filter! We’re toying with a medium gray, but ours will just be backsplash. So happy you’re satisfied with the matte white subway tile. Thank you for the input!

  6. exciting your kitchen will start soon! We just finalized drawings with out cabinet maker on Monday. We have to get a start on our demo soon & will be drywall patching too! We also finally picked out our countertops which will be a stone grey Quartz (with white cabinets). I originally wanted something more white with swirls of grey but the husband was dead set on grey. Which I think will still look just as nice. Can’t wait to see how yours progresses as we’re in the same boat! Although our cabinet maker is booked up until maybe April so ours might take a bit longer. The wait is killer! :)

    1. Eh, I guarantee ours will somehow take just as long. We’re already jumping through hoops and we’ve barely broke ground…

  7. Beautiful rug! Randon – but I think your rugs are the reason I rediscovered how much I love pops of red. It’s not a color I see a lot on blogs. It’s going to look great with your neutral color scheme for the kitchen. And I am happy that you’re making progress with your countertops!

    1. It’s funny, because red is not a color we love to use in our home, and yet that first rug in the living room sort of started the whole thing! With our navy couch and other touches of navy throughout, however, we are now staying away from too much yellow to avoid the overly-primary-color look.

  8. i lurve the brown elephant! you can really find some hidden gems there :)

    when i volunteered there once, i was amazed by their “in-take” area in the back – mounds and mounds of stuff that they have no time to get through because the place is literally run by volunteers so sometimes there are only a handful of people that are putting stuff out!

  9. I’ve wanted to put a cool vintage rug in front of my sink but gave up on that years ago as all my previously fairly standard kitchen rug choices turned into something else that always needed cleaning. I’m on the hunt for one I absolutely love and plan to spray it down with that water proofing/protecting stuff you can find in the camping section of most stores; I figure since it’s worked so well at keeping my upholstered dining chair seats easy to clean and stain free maybe it’ll work on a rug. :)

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