Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another "Make Do" Kitchen

So, in my previous two posts I showed you the living room of our "make do," temporary, rental home as well as the little "office" area in the entryway.  Today I'll be sharing the kitchen and eating area.

Let's have a quick refresher on the layout.  You'll remember this is what the living room looks like...

and then behind the love seat you could see a glimpse of the kitchen.

Well, here it all it's sepia toned glory.  I love the beadboard, but I wish so much that it was painted white.  It would brighten up the kitchen a ton and be much more cheerful and inviting.  But I am thankful to have all that cabinet space! 

I kept a simple arrangement on top of the fridge, and since they put a much smaller fridge in this space than what it should have, I use the extra space to hang my vintage apron.  It's not exactly purdy, but I love that thing and use it all the time (all while wishing there were a bigger fridge!).

I kept the tops of the cabinets empty, partly to keep things simple and not have to repack when it's time to move, but also partly because they are disgustingly greasy and filthy up there and I didn't have the energy to clean someone else's grime where nobody can see, lol!  The only corner I cleaned was where my casserole basket is sitting, and it's only there because I couldn't find any other spot for it to fit.

The enamelware bowl on top of the microwave is like my junk drawer, it holds all the little miscellaneous stuff that I don't know what else to do with.  And you'll notice to the right there that I've put my canisters back in a soda crate turned sideways.

It gives a bit of interest to the canisters, but by keeping the top undecorated it still keeps things simplified.  And if you haven't heard the story or seen the pictures of how I made shiny new IKEA canisters look like old galvanized metal, you can see that {here}. 

Above the sink I have my valance that I made out of a vintage tablecloth, and my bright red potted plant lends a fresh cheery touch to the window overlooking the backyard. 

Just to the right of the sink is my little coffee corner.  I've had the sign for a couple of years, but never really had a place to hang it before.  Another canister holds my coffee, and a little metal scoop I scored at a thrift store for pennies is a fun way to fill my filter each day.  The little coffee tin was a yard sale find a few months ago and it holds my sweetener.

Notice the rust on the phone jack plate cover above the Keurig?  There are several different metal things in this house that are rusted and/or corroded.  It's very strange and less than desirable, but I try to just think of it as "patina."  : )

In the middle of the kitchen is my rolling island cart.  I originally bought it for extra counter space in a house that basically had no counters (that can be seen {here}), and in our last house it sat in the laundry room and I used the top as a folding station and the bottom shelves served as a pantry area.  Now in this house it's actually being used for it's intended purpose as an island.  :)

Underneath sits my cast iron dutch oven and a few glass canisters hold extra baking supplies, oatmeal, and popcorn kernels.  My family loves homemade popcorn.  A couple of vintage linens hang on the towel bar on the end and add a spot of bright and colorful cheeriness.  

Looking towards the other end of the room we see this corner.  My family had an antique rocking chair almost identical to this when I was growing up, but it went to my brother.  My in-laws also had one and when they were ready to get rid of it I gladly took it off their hands.  The living room is too small for it to fit, and the only place I could find for it was this corner of the kitchen.  
(You can also catch a glimpse of the lamp and red table in the background.)

This vintage sugar sack pillow, that my sweet cousin found at a yard sale and gave to me, cozies up the chair a bit.

On this little section of wall sits my little red table that I redid, and my farmhouse lamp that was a thrift store makeover.  The table holds our Bibles and devotional books for easy access at the kitchen table in the mornings.  

That door leads to the kids' bedroom.  I don't plan to share that because there's not much to see.  It consists of a bed, a toddler mattress stuffed trundle style underneath it, two dressers shoved side by side, and toys toys and more toys.  : )

This little vintage linen had the perfect colors to tie into the lampshade and added an extra pop of interest to the table, but still kept it simple.

From this view you can see the kitchen counters on the left, the area I just showed you on the right, and our table in the middle.  We sold our table and benches before we moved, so now we're just using a plastic folding table and an eclectic mismatch of chairs.  : )  I'm not planning to buy another table until we get moved to a permanent house.

What I didn't show you in the last picture was that above the table is this hideous view.  Apparently someone only had enough money for one roll of border and didn't bother with continuing it on around the room and just let it oddly stop right in the middle of the wall.  The landlord said I could remove it and I plan to, I just haven't gotten to it yet.

You might have also noticed the ceiling.  This kitchen used to have those square, drop down boxes that held those long fluorescent lights.  Well, they updated to better light fixtures, but didn't bother to paint over the brown discolored areas left behind.  :(

And finally, another "lovely" view is there to the right - the laundry room.

I know this isn't a pretty sight and the only reason I'm sharing it is because it shows up in the kitchen pictures, and also I'm just sharing this house to show you how I'm "making do" with the quirkiness I've been given.  

This is a horribly ugly sight to have to look at every day lemme tell ya.  BUT, the way they set up the a/c unit, the air return is at the bottom next to the floor and you can't put a door on the room or the a/c wouldn't run right.  I also tried hanging a curtain but the air return just sucked the fabric right toward itself and it didn't do a bit of good.'s just one of those things I do my best to ignore and try to remind myself "5 more months, 5 more months."

You can see I have a bookcase tucked in there to hold extra pantry items.

It's a tiny room and we have a lot of things stuffed in here, lol!  There wasn't a bit of storage in here, but I found this little shelf kit (brand new, still in the box for $8) at a thrift store and it tucked in perfectly between the electric box and pipes running up the wall.

A canvas basket holds our extra "junk" towels that we use for the dog and such, and another little basket holds my softener sheets and dryer balls.  (See the washing machine hose running up and over the dryer?  Such an oddly set up house.  Someone didn't think things through very well.)

Two extra jars hold Oxi-clean and misc. sewing supplies.  It also serves as the "lost sock" jar when needed.  A lazy susan allows me to fit more laundry supplies into a small space.

Across from the washer and dryer we have our laundry cart/separator, a laundry basket for taking clothes out to the line that I can't find any other spot for, our drinking water jugs, and an extra trash can for our recycling.  There's a door hidden behind all that mess that leads to the back yard, but we decided we needed the extra storage space more than we needed the door.

So, I apologize that these pictures aren't very pretty and maybe they were a little rough on your eyes, but now you know some of what I'm dealing with.  :)  And believe it or not, I haven't even shown you the worst of it, nor do I plan to.  The bathroom in this house is the weirdest set up I've ever seen (we literally have to stand in the tub with our kids to bathe them!), and its grey and pink wall papered and bordered 80's splendor would make you cringe and double over from stomach pains.  They made some minor repairs in there, but never finished them off properly so there are patches of drywall mud and air vents with no covers.  So...I will be sparing you from all of that loveliness.

Our bedroom has faded mauve carpet, a missing sliding closet door, and is sort of a holding area for boxes that have no other place to go.  So there's nothing to see there either.  I said all that to say, that's pretty much it for this house.  If I decide to purd-ify the outside of the house with some potted plants then I might share that, but don't hold your breath.  : )

We're finally feeling a little more settled and at the point that we've started searching the real estate listings and have been out doing "drive-by's" of a few places and checking out new areas to search.  Good Lord willing we'll be able to find something reasonbly soon.

Hope you're having a great week!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Repurposed Ironing Board "Desk"

*If you're just joining us, I've been sharing how I'm making a temporary rental home that I had no choice in, work for us.  I'm trying to work with all its quirks and make it cozy without going overboard since it hopefully is very temporary.*

After we bought our laptop and got rid of our PC a year or so ago we found that we no longer really used our computer desk.  It became a messy catch-all for papers, magazines, and bills.  So, in order to make sure we had plenty of room on the moving truck, and since we didn't really need it, we sold it.

Well, once we moved to this house we didn't really have a designated area for all those important papers, bills, and checkbooks.  They ended up on the microwave, on the kitchen island, our bedroom dresser, etc.  I knew we were going to need a solution and quick lest our credit score suffer.

If you remember from my last post, this is the layout of the living room.  The front door is there to the right.

There's a bit of space in that entry way area behind the recliner.  My husband's tool cart sat there for about 3 weeks after moving here waiting on him to take it to work.  If you follow me on Facebook then you'll recognize this picture and remember that I threatened if it sat there any longer I would paint it white and distress the edges.  He took it to work.  : )  

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that area and I was anxious for him to get his monstrosity out of there!

I have no idea why, just another one of the weird quirks of this house I guess, but this wall is completely mirrored.  
(Notice how the floor boards are separating?  It's water damage from a previous leak in the shower which is on the other side of the mirrored wall.)  :(

What do you do with a huge mirror?

You use an old wooden ironing board (yard sale find for $2 last year!), some hanging baskets, and other "junky" items and turn it into a "desk" area.  The rug is one we brought with us and covers up the damaged floor quite nicely.

I used suction cup hooks that I already had on hand to hang this set of chicken wire baskets I got from  They hold our checkbooks, bills, important papers, and address book.  I also added a clothespin to hold outgoing mail.

On top of the ironing board I added a little divided wooden box that was a yard sale find to hold different little odds and ends.  Another Pick Your Plum basket tray holds more papers, and an old ruler serves as a paperweight on top.  And finally, a cheesebox and some mini-canning jars hold pens, pencils, and scissors.

It has been the perfect solution to corral the paper mess around the house and keep everything "desk related" in one area.

And just for fun, a little before and after.

It bugs me a little that the rug isn't centered with the door, but if I center it then it makes the ironing board sit whopper-jawed so I just do my best to ignore it.  : )

Up next I'll be sharing the kitchen area, so be sure to stay tuned.


Sharing over at:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted

I titled this post "Bloom Where You're Planted" because that's what I'm trying to do in this house.  For those of you who aren't already familiar with what's going on, this is a {hopefully} very temporary rental home while we look for a place to purchase.  Once again, because of the circumstances I'm stuck with a house that I had no choice in, and I'm trying to do the best I can with what I've been dealt.  I don't have any "before" pictures because I was too busy sobbing over the filthiness of it all when we got here, so taking pictures never even crossed my mind.  

I'm not posting these pictures because they're beautiful or unique in their decor, nor am I posting them because I think they're pin-worthy.  I'm simply sharing what I've done with the house and how I'm trying to make it work.  Trying to bloom where I've been planted, so to speak.

Today I'm sharing the living room.  Now I realize this first picture is kinda terrible, poor lighting and pretty grainy.'s such a small house that my "big" camera wouldn't give me a wide enough angle to show you the whole set up of the room.  So I had to use my little point 'n shoot.  None of the pictures are all that great really, the lighting in here is terrible, but like I said, I'm not trying to wow you with it's beauty.  : )

So, in the picture above I'm actually standing in the kitchen (you can see the corner of the island in the bottom left).  That's the front door on the right, and you can see that I have the two couches facing each other with the recliner facing the fireplace.  That kind of gives you an overview, in spite of the poor quality.

The walls were already this soft color of sage green when we moved in.  It's not a color I would have chosen, but it's not horrible and it works so I'm not inclined to change it for just the few months we'll be here.  And because this home is hopefully very temporary, I kept the decor fairly simple.  I wanted just enough to make it feel cozy and homey, but not so involved that I would have a ton of extra stuff to repack.

I was tired of having my scrapbooks packed away because of lack of a place to display them, plus I was running out of room for extra storage boxes.  So...I decided to flip my crate table on it's side and put the albums in there.  The kids have had so much fun looking through them.  They call them "comic books," LOL!

Once we started unpacking and all the boxes got moved away from the front window we realized we needed some kind of covering for it.  Blinds that large are costly and we didn't want to invest in any.  I looked around the house and spotted these shutters laying amongst the unpacking mess.  The story behind them is that I rescued them from someone's garbage back in Ohio and have hung onto them waiting for the perfect project/use.  The ledge in the window was just wide enough for them to sit on and they fit in there perfectly.  I love no-cost solutions!  

I already had the valances and the colors in them matched quite perfectly with the sage walls.

On this end of the couch, next to the front door, I hung these numbered hooks.  They were actually bought for my son's room when we re-do it, but that won't be happening for a while yet.  I needed a place to hang keys, and leashes, and Hubby's ever-present hats so they got put to work here in the mean time.  A boot tray below isn't pretty, but it serves a very functional purpose since we don't have much of an entryway.

Here you can see the end of the couch, the door in the background, and a mirrored wall behind the recliner (more on that area in an upcoming post).  My crates are used as an end table again and sit between the couch and recliner.  I used some of my Etsy money and bought a large area rug from  It is SO cushy and soft, and feels great under our feet since most of the rest of the house is tile and hardwood.  

Now we're gonna swing back around to the other end of the couch.  My husband wasted no time in claiming the space around the fireplace for his "trophies."  I really didn't mind since I plan to keep things simple and have no plans of changing up the display on the mantel. 

The gate around the opening as well as the fireplace tools were already here and I just left them in place.  I figured if I moved them I'd have to come up with some sort of decor to replace them and I just didn't feel like it.  :)

The top of the mantel is very basic with four of my aqua canning jars and two pictures.  My son is on the right and his namesake (his great-grandpa) is on the left. 
(And just in case you're wondering if the hog is real, yes...yes it is.  My husband roped it {as in, lassoed it} while he was standing in the back of a moving truck, riding alongside the hog as it was running a ditch.  And also in case you're wondering, wild boar hog does not taste good.  I'm not really sure why it's considered a delicacy in some circles.)

Sitting next to the fireplace is one of my plants, a little worse for the wear from our moving trip.  It got left in the cab of my husband's truck and I completely forgot about it for the few days we were living in the hotel.  It's about half the size it used to be.

 Anyways, I lined this cute wire basket with brown craft paper to disguise the flower pot and also to help the metal tag on the basket stand out more.  It probably would be better lined with burlap, but you know... I haven't really felt like it.

Moving on around the room to the left of the fireplace is the TV corner.  I added just a few family photos above it to make it feel more personalized.  A wire basket holds the kids' DVD's and another basket helps contain some of the unsightly wire/cord paraphernalia.  And on a funny note, living so far from a main city we only pick up 3 channels, 2 on a rainy day.  So unless we want to watch re-runs of Columbo or some random cooking show, the TV is pretty much for movie usage only, lol!

Towards the left of the picture you can see the edge of a doorway and also the edge of the loveseat.  That leads us around to this view....

Here you can see that it's an open layout to the kitchen next to the living room.
 (More on the kitchen another day.)

The little vintage table I redid became an end table and holds my decorating books and a Bible.  Below it, a wire basket holds magazines.

In this little corner behind the recliner and right before the kitchen is our Bose radio and CD/movie cabinet.  Can you see that obnoxious blue paint in the left corner of the picture?  In the real estate website pictures that we looked at before moving here, the living room was also painted that eyeball burning blue.  I was glad to see it had been toned down in the living room at least by the time we got here.  (And that closed door leads to our bedroom, the only room yet to be unpacked and dealt with....thus, the closed door.)

Simple arrangement on the top of the cabinet.

A cute little wire basket keeps all the radio remotes contained.

I stood on a chair in the corner next to the radio to capture one more overall shot with my little point 'n shoot camera.  You may have noticed that there's no coffee table.  I sold the yellow trunk before we moved and I have another table in the works.  I got about halfway through refinishing it before we moved.  I'm not too worried about getting it done while we're here, though.  I think it would take up too much space in here, and 1) the recliner wouldn't be able to open, and 2) the kids wouldn't have much room to play.'ll get finished someday down the road.

So there ya have it, that's our living room.  Small and cozy, but it works.  In the next few days I'll work on getting the rest of the pictures of the house edited and share what else I've done to make this place home, temporary though it may be.

I hope you're having a great week!

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