sandyponder's unfitted, funky, budget kitchen

lakeaffectMay 8, 2010

Hi All-

It's hard to believe, but we're kinds, sorta finished with our unfitted, budget, funky and colorful k itchen. To give you a little background, this is a new build (well, new 3 years ago), and we purposefully didn't finish the kitchen, we knew we wanted unfitted and colorful, and the rest came together using showroom displays purchased on the cheap, items from CL, recycled cab doors from a previous h ouse and other bargain items.

We still have some trim to do, a few paint issues to clean up and a whole lot more stuff to hang up, but it's as done as it's going to get till the snow flies again, so I thought I would post it now.

If I have offered too much detail, I apologize, I'm not sure of the proper tone to strike (since it's obviously controversial). If you have questions, let me know, I'll try to answer them.


Here are the details:

Range area:

36" propane Garland with griddle (found in the dark corner of an appliance store, I think it's circa 1990 or so). Cabs on either side of the range, custom built by contractor, painted C2 Amontillado, counters are honed Vermont slate in a splotchy green and purple pattern (former tile store display, bought 'em for $20/each).

Range hood is a CL find, a 1967, 900 cfm, Broan "Chuckwagon" unit, painted Amontillado. Green cab to the right of the range was bought at an RH outlet sale, I painted it BM Medieval Times, then lacquered it, inside is BM Bainbridge Blue. It h ouses the oils and vinegars.

Sink area:

HD Pegasus 33" sink, KWC faucet (bought at an auction for $10!) Counters are old bowling alley sanded, oiled with Bush Oil, stained Heart Pine and finished with Epifanes, a marine grade finish. Counters are trimmed in locally harvested black walnut.

Sink cabs are painted BM Bainbridge Blue, semi gloss, contractor build the boxes and we used cab fronts left from a previous remodel. Lights over the sink were bought at an auction, $15/each. I sprayed them black, they were a depressing brown.

Cab to the far right was bought at a local tile place ($20), and was lacking a front for the top drawer. Contractor made one and it looks great.

DW is a Kitchen Aid scratch 'n dent.

Stainless table is from John Boos (via HomeGoods). Light over the stainless table is from PB, it's going to be replaced when I can find a nice vintage one.

All cab hardware is from Van Dyke's Restorers bargain closeout area, and is a mixed bag; glass, black, iron, ORB, whatever struck my fancy.

Trim color is American Accents glossy black ($1 quart from our local dollar store, it was cheap, but American Accents, you're no Aura, it took 4 coats).

Wall color was custom mixed by YT.

Hutch is a Wood Mode display we bought at a local kitchen place. It was painted the most depressing gray (I know it's in, but I detest gray), colors are all custom (mixing and matching all that $1/quart paint I bought).

Under window Bainbridge Blue cab is from a tile store, it had a marble top that broke, so we bought the base only. The cherry cab to the right is a Kraftmaid double trash pull out, bought for $60 on CL (*love* the trash pull outs). Glass pendant lights were bought at a local lighting place, on the, you guessed it, sale table.

Kitchen table is a CL find, vintage Thomasville, chandelier is solid brass, from a hotel in Cortland, NY, bought on CL.

Message center is a rescued metal table.

Here are a few overall room shots:


Under window cab:

Sink run:


Message center:

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I'm not sure what unfitted means, but I would describe it as confident, fun, and a little funky. I also think your kitchen will never go out of style or look date because it doesn't subscribe to one particular style or time period. I love the ceiling. Well done.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 6:48PM
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I generally do not post on anyone's "here is mine" kitchen pictures, but I had to on yours. You have the most exciting, original, inspiring, personal, unique kitchen of any I have seen here in a very long long time. Of course, I have to use the adjective, colorful. The beadboard on the ceiling is absolutely charming. The kitchen really stands out, and I LOVE it!

Where is that lovely place with serene water view? It is a wonderful place.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 6:50PM
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That is absolutely fantastic! You even painted the colanders! I love the green beadboard. It looks like it would be so much fun to cook or to hang out keeping the cook company in that room. (And what a beautiful view you have, too!) Now I'm seriously rethinking my latest desire for white, white, white, a touch of black, and more white.

Was it difficult to match paint colors? I assume that you needed to use a different type of paint for the stove vent than for the wood pieces, yet the yellows seem to match perfectly.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:05PM
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Colours! Your photos are so wonderful, the word deserves the longer British spelling...

What a GREAT kitchen, and so many bargains, too. Love the lights over the sink and the hutch - I'm drooling. Congratulations and it's truly one of a kind. It's the sort of room you would enter, stop in your tracks, then start jumping up and down.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:18PM
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Your kitchen makes me smile!! I bet you will spend many happy hour there!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:32PM
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I want to live there!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:32PM
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Love your kitchen! I didn't have the guts to go with that much color but I really, really like it. You have done a remarkable job and I know that you'll enjoy it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:05PM
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:-) !!!!!

That's what I think.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:09PM
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Your kitchen rocks! Love it love it love it! Doesn't look budget at all to me. What a breath of fresh color. ENJOY!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:21PM
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Oh sandyponder! What a fun space. I love that shade of blue (and I am not a blue person.) You have just posted one of the freshest kitchens ever on the GW.

Thanks for sharing it!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:35PM
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What a happy place! You just have to have fun in that room...

Enjoy your wonderfully personal kitchen.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:46PM
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Wow! It is such a sunny, happy place and you have done such a great job with it. If you hadn't detailed all your terrific finds no one would ever know you were on a budget! I didn't note the comment about detesting gray when I read your post, but scrolling back after checking the pics I saw your comment and laughed trying to imagine gray in this kitchen - no way. kudos to you for your imagination and style.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:00PM
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This is one of my favorite kitchens I've ever seen posted here! You are so brave putting all of those different things together, and using COLOR the way you did!!! It's just fantastic! (And looks like a great functional kitchen too.)

Can I come hang out there with you? ;-)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:03PM
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Oh, that is awesome! What fun. All of a sudden my soon to be white kitchen feels so boring...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:20PM
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What fun!

I love the colors. I love the feel of different eras and different cooks over time. The range hood was an inspiration.

Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:20PM
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    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:33PM
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Wonderful, exciting, fun and marvelously colourful kitchen. A breath of fresh air. Just love all of it, in its unfitted glory. Great job!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:37PM
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It's like looking through a kaleidoscope and seeing all the beautiful colors, patterns, etc. You have imagination and style!! LOVE IT!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:47PM
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What a great space - that hutch is a standout. If I were blessed with your nerve, your eye for color and proportion, and a more open-minded DH, I'd love to attempt something like that in my house. Such a happy kitchen. Well done!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:06PM
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When I looked at this kitchen .... two words came to mind:


Enjoy it!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:49PM
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Before I even read all the other responses, the first word that immediately came to mind was "FUN" :-D You did a fantastic job. I hope you and your family are already having a great time making lots of memories cooking and living in your new space!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:08PM
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I can't add to what has already been posted...this is such a unique, warm and outstanding kitchen. LOVE the fact you got deals and made them work into your plan. It looks like a really fun place to make amazing meals.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:24PM
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How do I love your kitchen? Let me count the ways! . . . . Well, nah. That's probably not a good idea because I wouldn't be able to stop counting! Suffice it to say that I totally love your kitchen because it's all yours! Meaning All you. Meaning not a magazine clone, not a KD's or ID's personal dream, not even a take-off on a favored GW "standard." Instead, it's just a wonderful, funky, unfitted, colorful, simultaneously unassuming and flirtatious kitchen that is cleverly assembled on an amazing budget. You gotta love it! And I do. Sandyponder, take a bow!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:30PM
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I LOVE your kitchen! It is so warm and personal.

I was just saying to my husband today that I am actually leaning towards an old fashioned, unfitted kitchen look. As a result, we can leave the blueprints a bit loose in the kitchen area and actually get started on this house.

sandyponder, you have been a wonderful inspiration. Thank you!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:56PM
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I hope you take this as a compliment...It looks like a Mary Engelbreit kitchen! You have definitely accomplished fun and colorful!

Everyone has adequately commented on the overall room, so I'm going to mention individual things that particularly caught my eye: For some reason, I really like the sink run; how it bumps back and you see the side of the blue cabs, and its overall asymmetrical shape. The shelf/coat rack is amazing. What takes my breath away, though, are those beautiful, thick wood counters with the wood ceilings and the view of the family room to balance the activity and color.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:24AM
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That's amazing. I'm still looking at everything you've put together.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:52AM
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I love it is my kind of decorating...right from the heart and out-of-the-box!!! Your range is especially awesome and the layout looks so user-friendly. Reminds me of an antique Swedish kitchen, colorful and full of energy.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:55AM
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Original and fun! A counter made out of a bowling alley - how resourceful! Congratulations.

Is that a lake that your kitchen overlooks? If so, what a beautiful, serene setting.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 5:35AM
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I just adore this! The most original I have seen in a long time. Too unique and will never go out of style.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 7:57AM
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What a cool, unique kitchen! Your kitchen SHOULD be in a magazine so everyone can see how great an untraditional, creative kitchen can be!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 7:59AM
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I LOVE your kitchen!! You definitely have an eye for decorating! I bet it makes you happy every time you go in there. And yes, it should be in a magazine!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:23AM
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What a cool, fun, vibrant and welcoming kitchen. It makes me smile. I love it! You have a great eye for design and are obviously very talented to have successfully pulled off such a unique and creative design.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:59AM
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This kitchen is brilliant, but no more so than your deliberate decision to trust your imagination and serendipity to yield a unique and wonderfully idiosyncratic space.

Your kitchen cannot and should not be replicated, but maybe the mindset that led you forward can free some other people struggling to escape from the cookie cutter path. In that context, you might want to provide some insight into your initial decision making and how you functioned in the house as the kitchen was evolving in its current transcendent funkiness.

Meanwhile, sandyponder, bravissima!

PS: Is your refrigerator visible?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:41AM
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I've already commented on your funky kitchen but I'm dying to know-Lake Ontario or Lake Erie??? Or not????

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:42AM
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Love love love it! So happy to see all the color. We are using three paint colors for our cabinets and you have bolstered my confidence that this will really work!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 10:48AM
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Everything about it is wonderful! Congratulations on creating such a fabulous space that must be quite a joy to spend time in!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 10:54AM
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Your kitchen is AWESOME! Never in a million years could I come up with that color scheme, let alone make it work. I bet you are excited to entertain in your new kitchen; all of your guests will be raving.

How do YOU like cooking in the new space?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 11:32AM
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Hi Folks-

I truly don't know how to thank all of you for your kind comments, we really, really appreciate them, more than I can adequately express, I'm sort of overwhelmed at the moment. I am very appreciative of having a place like GW to post and a tribe of TKO'ers who will look at my nutty vision.

apopherina, I cracked up when I read your comment about the colanders, I didn't paint them those colors, they came that way from the Chantel factory (by way of TJ Maxx) I merely used their colors as an inspiration when choosing colors. Thanks for picking up on that, it was oddly poignant to me.

Also, I used the same paint, C2 low-vo semi gloss, for the r ange hood, the plywood box above it and the cabs on either side of it (built by my very talented contractor). I painted the range hood with a fairly new china bristle brush and used long, swooping, vertical strokes, lightly sanded in between coats and called it good. There are 3 coats on there, but I only did the outside, I didn't touch the inside. We've run it for a few months with no problems (and we cook a lot), and hopefully it will hold up, but if not, paint is easy, cheap and covers multitude of sins.

WRT paint colors, I did a lot of paint alchemy, and, being perfectly honest, tried a *lot* of colors, some straight out of the sample jar, some mixed up by YT. The ones that worked advanced to the finals, the others were kicked to the curb.

kaismom and chrisny45, we're on a protected bay of Lake Ontario, and it is a great place to live, we have a lot of fun here (and if it's not fun, why do it?)

zipdee, thank you for allowing me to mention how supportive and adventuresome mr. sandyponder and little ms. sandyponder are, they were my partners in creating the kitchen (and h ouse). They participated heavily in color debates and eventual choices, placement of cabs, appliances and stuff, and in general lived patiently through splotches of paint on every surface, endless discussions of this or that color, combo, CL item or placement and the repainting of several items (if at first you don't succeed, try another paint color).

honorbiltkit, our fridge is in the pantry, I posted pics of that previously on the "Seeking images of modest, quirky k itchens" thread, you can check them out there. We have a very open floor plan, and I have a thing about seeing the fridge from the LR or dining table (we don't have a formal DR), so we put it in the pantry.

On providing insight, yikes, that's a tall order, but I'll try. I have strong likes and dislikes, and knew that I wanted a lot of windows, no uppers, a ceiling that draws attention and lots of color. I also knew that I had a budget of $15k or so (excluding the actual cost of constructing the rooms that became the kitchen and pantry, if that makes sense), and that meant I could not just order up the Crown Point, Liebherr, Meile and Lacanche room of my lotto winning dreams, so I had to get creative.

Like a crow, I'm attracted to shiny objects and bright colors, and I am also blessed with the attention span of a gnat, so I sort of bought stuff I thought was pretty as I came across it; on CL, at the dollar store, at TJX companies outlets, at tile and kitchen stores and at junque shops, and when we were ready to assemble it, I just kept throwing color, texture and pattern at it. Truly, once it's enough of a jumble, anything works. (Ahh, I just re-read that and it sounds incoherent, I'll think on it and see if I can come up with something that sounds like I have a brain.)

Again, our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments, we so appreciate each and every one of them.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 11:33AM
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Do I have kitchen envy or WHAT?? I absolutely love your bold use of color. You are definitely the queen of re-purposing for your ingenious use of so many found bargains and $$$ saving ideas. I think you've proven to all of us a home should reflect who *we* really are and not allow designers to influence/dictate their ideas. ;o)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:23PM
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I love it--and I have never felt that way about a new build. Love the color, love the funky spirit. Bitterly jealous of the wood countertops.... hoping one day I'll have those.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:11PM
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I love it too, and I know exactly what rhome means by a Mary Engelbreit kitchen. A lot of fun. And I think one of the most amazing things is that it is a new build and has the character of something that time has built.

One of the things I like about Woodmode cabinets is their great finish, so unless that hutch had been worn in it's display use, I might have had a hard time imagining painting it -- but that may be my favorite thing. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 5:40PM
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LOL about the colanders. They fit so perfectly I just assumed you painted them! I didn't know they made colanders in such fun colors. Now I must go find a pretty colander! (Sorry, I do obsess on small details sometimes.)

Thanks for the info on how you painted the vent hood and cabs. I'm frankly somewhat relieved to hear that you had to experiment quite a bit before finding the perfect color combinations. If they'd just jumped straight into your head, then directly off of the store shelf and onto your pieces straight from the cans, I think I'd feel a trifle spooked. My current kitchen has only two bright colors, and I remember how much agonizing was involved in finding the ones that worked right together. Pulling off that many of them is quite a feat! All of your experimentation and debating over them really paid off.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 6:51PM
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I adore your kitchen! Do you cook up enchanted spells in there or just regular food? I just bought my first spray paint gun and I'm not afraid to use it. The pictures of your kitchen and my new purchase make a dangerous combination.
Someone mentioned "fearless decorating". What a great example.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:01PM
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Anyone visiting in that kitchen can just be themselves and let their creative sides out! Maybe Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's kitchen! I mean what child or the child in any of us wouldn't enjoy that space? If yours is alive, mine is dead! I do need color when I do my backsplash!!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:09PM
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LOVE it. Much more authentic than Mary Engelbreit :). I bet your contractor had a blast working with you. Definitely one of the few most memorable kitchens in my--6 years here now? Congratulations and may you all have many happy years in it :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:40PM
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I just saw this: John Boos at Home, I wish I hadn't read that. Now I have a reason to go back in there. I thought it was all a big made-in-China fest...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:42PM
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What a cool, fun look!

I'd love to hear more about how you found the bowling alley wood, such a unique find.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:59PM
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It's definitely dated (dated about 1968, Haight district in San Francisco).

Love it!

I wish more people had the nerve to do it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:33PM
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Love this kitchen, thanks for sharing it and the details with us. Those colanders on the side of the cabinet look great.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:51PM
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I've seen John Boos tables and islands at Home Goods here -- definitely a place to keep your eyes open. Never know what you will find.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 2:19PM
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How fun! Truly magazine worthy!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:40AM
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You must love being in this kitchen! It is warm and oh so cozy! The other great thing is it will never go out of style which is another great accomplishment. Hope you enjoy it for many years to come.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 10:18AM
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Love it!

Love the way it looks, love the ideas behind it, love the colors, love everything about it.

I think it's worth pointing out that it's not a novelty kitchen that's all about a wild paint job with no substance underneath. You used good-quality components in interesting ways and got really good value out of them. Even if you changed the colors to something more moderate, it would still work. But why would you want to!

Enjoy your beautiful spot!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:11AM
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I somehow missed this post before. What a fun and colorful kitchen! Enjoy!!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:53AM
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I adore your kitchen. If I tried that color scheme, boy would it fail miserably, but you have some serious talent going on being able to pull it together so fabulously. I love everything about it, but especially that it looks so liveable. There is evidence of life lived all over - I love the message center and the colanders and the built in counter knife block and everything that says, "a family lives here and lives daily life". I am quite blown away by your kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:05PM
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That is beautiful! Wow--you are really good with color! Your kitchen makes me feel happy :-).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 3:30PM
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What a refreshing change from the regular kitchens that all begin to look alike. I love everything about it, the bright and happy colors, the fact that you recycled lots of old stuff and saved money in the process. It is just wonderful.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 4:40PM
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Now that might be the most fun creative kitchen I have ever seen. I just adore how you pieced together all your finds.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 4:43PM
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...It looks like a Mary Engelbreit kitchen!

YES! And I love it!

How could anyone be grouchy in that space? It is so happy and fun--really whimsical.

I sooo love color, and you totally rocked the color!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 6:34PM
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I love your kitchen.

Such a great reminder that kitchens are meant to be FUN!

It doesn't looke budget. It looks very well fitted and very well thought out.

It is so welcoming. It is a kitchen where I want to hang out with the cook!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:12PM
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Now that's FUNky!! Does look like a great place to be. Fun, fun, fun. Super views and I love the barrel ceiling in the other room.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:46PM
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Gena Hooper

I have no words!!! I love everything about your kitchen. The happy colors. The amazing ceiling. The great workspace. I'm in awe of the way that you repurposed things. So budget- and environmentally friendly! I wish I had one-tenth...heck, one one-hundredth of your creativity. I started out trying to be all repurpose and budget and creative, and ended up going more spend, spend, spend. What you've accomplished is amazing. Love. It.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Amazing space! How long did it take to collect all of the pieces? I am never that lucky to find such great stuff. I generally end up like pickle spending more trying to save. By the way, what are your floors? They are awesome as well.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 1:19PM
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Good for you for doing what you truly's awesome.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 5:45PM
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I'm a color junkie and that is an awesome fix! I love how different and creative it turned out. I also love how feels lived in and homey. I've never heard of a funky, unfitted kitchen before what a fabulous idea. Great job!!!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 6:02PM
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Sandyponder, I just practically snorted my beverage out my nose when you described yourself as a crow,"I'm attracted to shiny objects and bright colors," as I often tell people I'm letting my inner magpie rule...

I looked up your kitchen out of curiousity when it was mentioned in palimpsest's recent design post, and I must say I think it is brilliant! I love the use of found objects/furniture and re-purposing and your use of color. I have a very brown house (lots of pine paneling) so I'm always looking for color and your use of it is delicious. I hope you are still enjoying every minute in your kitchen!

Here is a link that might be useful: are kitchens headed in this direction?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Hands down one of my favorite kitchens that I've ever seen. Such soul and integrity. Humor, warmth, beauty, substance, intelligence. This is a marvel. You should be winning some kind of design award for this. I did an unfitted kitchen in my house (which we had to sell) about 8 years ago, but I didn't have NEARLY your cojones to go all out. I thought I was being all daring, but I was not even close. Next time I get a chance to do it, I'm going to do it right. I'm going to be fully inspired by your example and I am going to listen to my heart, not my husband or my contractor! Thank you so much for posting this. If you ever get around to posting even more details or updated pictures, I will be on the lookout. For example, I have no idea what some of the acronyms stand for. I feel like I am really missing out, b/c I have no idea what CL is, and everyone else seems to know! Maybe I'll figure it out someday.

Thanks again and I hope you are enjoying this each and every day.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:28PM
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