Paint It Black! .... or ?????

gyr_falconJuly 15, 2014

When we purchased our dated/fixer home, I knew the kitchen remodel was going to be near the finish line on the long list. However life happens between the DIY projects, and we are entering year 5 with no kitchen remodel. We are going ahead with some cosmetic adjustments and inexpensive upgrades, but choosing a paint color for the walls has had me stalled for almost 4 years and ticking.

The lighting is being changed real time. (Finally---yes!) But the existing cabinets, white laminate counter, appliances and the at-least-it-isn't-orange-this-time floor are going to be just as you see them a while longer. Wall paint, ceiling color, and possibly a cabinet hardware switch, are the toys for tinkering. Sorry 'bout that lean toy box.

So what wall color would help even an itty-bitty bit with this circa 1969 kitchen? Bold to jazz up the dreary? Or neutral to make it so bland as to slide the focus to the lovely garden outside the window? I'm open to considering almost any color (and have!). Pink, peachy, yellow/gold and that yellowy-chartreuse Valspar Lemongrass (the current offender Express/images/web_139578_usn_tif.jpg) would require a very strong pitch. But I'd be interested in hearing your suggestions for any color you think would be an improvement. See? Thousands to choose from! :)

Considering that I seriously weighed painting it jet black several years ago... yeah. If you don't want to see the reveal for that result on the kitchen forums, please help with your suggestions! Actually, even if you would like to see that reveal for your own amusement, please help me choose a workable color instead.

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 18:22

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Let's see the wall with the window to the garden. Sounds lovely, plus light plays a major role in choosing paint. Or should.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:32PM
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How's the white counter? Maybe a fresh simple white, gel stain/glaze the cabs to look a bit richer or refresh them with restore a finish, put a rug on the floor. Hang colorful art.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:51PM
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How about:

Make a DIY tile backsplash something like this:

stain wood diamonds to match cabinets, match white to counters, and add black and an accent colour (maybe include occasional diamonds that repeat one of the floor colours.

Paint walls white to match counters.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tiles for Commitment Phobes via Remodelista

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Fori is not pleased

Oh we need more pictures! What's that floor? What walls get painted? Is it open to anywhere?

Those cabinets...I really like the style on them. They look a little (no offense, please!) grubby. It could just be the photo and they don't need it, but have you tried brightening them back up with ummm, well, I'd ask the woodworking forum and use the back side of a door for practice. You might not want to do a full refinishing, but maybe a good scrubbing with mineral spirits? You don't want to do it with the wrong stuff and remove or gum up the finish of course.

ANyway, what's wrong with jet black? I'm thinking a black marble tile backsplash could be pretty nice in there. Not paint. For some reason, we just don't do that. :) But a deep dark green paint might work...

I'm really curious about that floor!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:21PM
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So, on my GW page, there's this little bunny next to your kitchen. What about these colors?

I'd pick a green (probably something like high strung)

Or maybe copper pennies or tile

Or I love any kind of blue

Or black and white and a tribal rug

I'd also look into Restor-a-Finish to revive the cabinets a bit.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:36PM
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I really like this suggestion! Though I'd probably soften the black to charcoal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:40PM
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Before you go doing anything to the cabinets, was them in Murphy's Oil Soap. It is incredible what grime it'll take away, that you didn't realize was there. It makes wood look GREAT. Then, you could use any of the Restore-a-Finishes on them.

Interesting that it's 1969. What a trend setting kitchen! Golden Oak of that door style didn't become the norm until the 80s!

But I have no idea on paint. I suck at that.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:31PM
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I believe restore-a-finish cleans as well, although they might have a heavier duty cleaner available too.

If that's an unappetizing old floor, you could always do a peel and stick or sheet vinyl over it. Then add a great rug. Love the tribal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Sometimes you just have to call a duck a duck. I have thermafoil cabinets that are peeling and teal green counter tops. We took down the wall paper, painted, new faucets, etc. But it's still not what we want. My financial planner gave me clarity on this issue, do you want a beautiful kitchen or to retire at a descent age? Alas we have not yet done the kitchen. If it works, embrace it and enjoy.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Due to the lighting construction taking place in the kitchen today and tomorrow, I used an older photo for the post. It looks just the same as the photo, unfortunately, except for the stuff on top of the countertops. I didn't want to wait to take a more recent photo because it will be much easier to paint before the crown molding gets installed in the old fluorescent light box.

That is how those cabinets look--at their clean best. lol They got scrubbed with Murphy's and finished with Deft. I am afraid the Deft would prevent the gel stain or restore a finish from penetrating the wood unless I stripped the cabinets. I doubt it would change the color dramatically without stripping, but it could liven the color up a bit. Part of the problem is that the frames' stain appears darker than the doors, some doors/sections have more wear than others or are just uneven in color, and the repairs from when we removed the knobs on everything ended up not being a perfect match to the existing. So under every pull is a repair. In conjunction, these issues may contribute to making the cabinets appear dirty.

We are aggressively tackling the to-do list for this house, (I was finishing up painting the exterior today, in fact) but we are not at "kitchen" in the queue. Painting the kitchen only got moved up because one of the transformers for the fluorescent lighting went, and I wanted to upgrade the lighting now to something better rather than waste money on a florescent replacement. And the new installs are inexpensive enough to be upgraded when remodel time comes. (But I am thrilled, because the new lighting is such a huge improvement over what was there, both in appearance and illumination!)

As much as I would love to upgrade to a backsplash, it isn't happening right now. It might happen 6 months to a year from now, as an interim fix prior to the remodel. As might better flooring, etc. But at this time, I get lighting and paint on the duck [as carolmka so correctly dubbed it. :-) ]

Whatever paint color that gets chosen for the walls, might get a slightly darker version, or matching, in the light box. And the kitchen ceiling will need to be repainted. My husband favors December white for the ceiling, but I am tired of that color (used on all trim, doors and many ceilings in other rooms), and would like to consider a slightly different shade of white or another light color.

Snookums, I don't think I can do white. Visually it would probably look nice, but I have carryover issues with white from decades of living in rental properties where white predominated in all rooms.

fori, the floor is 12" vinyl tile that looks like wood. I keep wanting to call the pattern parquet, but the design actually has another name that my husband knows and I can never remember. It isn't bad in quality or condition considering its age, but it isn't really to my taste even though I don't hate it. The kitchen flooring may get changed when the dining room and/or other rooms get porcelain tile--but we are not firm on when or if that will happen, or how much of the house will eventually get porcelain tile. The floor tile decisions are still not set, but with both the den and dining rooms both having access to the kitchen, they will affect each other.

I actually was considering the jet black wall color because of the much disliked gold window frames in the kitchen--desperately thought it might look better together. The two kitchen windows didn't get retrofitted with the rest of the house because one will likely get a slight size adjustment when we remodel the kitchen. I have decided to just ignore the hated frames for now, or metal paint them at some point. I do like black, and even lobbied hard for it to be our trim and frame color. But my husband really had his heart set on white.

I am a big fan of green, and like it with brown wood. My only hesitation was the amount of green used here already. The living room, dining room, part of the den, upstairs landing and bathroom, one upstairs BR, master bedroom, and below the chair rail in the guest and master baths are all shades of green. Our new exterior paint is gray, with greenish undertones. Even I began to think the saturation point had been passed with green! :) Although I think it would look good to use the dark green from the den wall in the kitchen, especially since the den opens to the kitchen and the green den wall and kitchen stove area are in the same visual. But it is a lot of green...

Nosoccermom, I'm touchy about blues, but I do favor that particular shade in your photo. It is a match to the blue of my son's bedroom, in fact. I worry that it looks better with the lighter oak cabinets in the photo and might be too dark for my cabinets. What do you think?

Had to look up high strung. (Gotta love those paint namers!) It looks too much like a darker version of my current yellowy greeny color--and no one likes the current color outside of my husband. Think the new color would have to be farther away from what I have now.

Although I am beginning to relook at using some black. Maybe parts of the room, as in your photo. The rest of the family isn't sold on black though, and there isn't much of it anywhere else in the house interior.

I am including some more photos for perspective, as requested, but in individual posts due to my online album being cranky. They aren't too recent, but as explained earlier, there hasn't been much change and ladders and dust barriers are part of the scenery right now. My fault; it would have been done tonight, but it was decided that my request for two more can lights would be easier to fulfill before the ceiling got patched.

Yikes, that was long!

The photo shows the wonderful, large corner windows. There is a patio along that side of the house, but the patio has two skylights, so the kitchen gets a good amount of bright, indirect light during the day.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:55AM
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The outdoor window shelf has been removed, so the potted plants that show in the photo above are no longer there. The sink window looks out at the sitting area shown in this photo.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:06AM
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It looks like a beautiful kitchen .... but kitchens need a lot of light in order to be functional as a workspace for food preparation. Making the walls or ceiling black would absorb a ton of light, making it seem very dark in there, even with those windows open.

The first suggestion I have would be color for the walls and ceiling .... a light sky blue or pastel blue wouldn't cut down on the light very much, and would still be visually appealing. Another color that may work is a light or pastel pink, but I would stay away from greens. Getting a greenish hue all over your food as you are preparing it may not be the best idea in the world.

The second suggestion I have would be ... a kitchen facelift. Measure all your cabinet drawer faces and doors and get new hardware and replacement faces for the drawers, new hinges and pulls for the cabinets along with new doors.

Strip the rest of the cabinet walls and facing and re-finish them along with the new wood faces/doors to match. I would suggest a slightly lighter shade of stain, perhaps white oak? It would be close to the lighter honey/tan colors that I can see in your floor.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:17AM
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The other wall to be painted is this one (my back is to the sink for this shot; note board now 1/3 size). The door is the access to the dining room. It is way too narrow, and is one of the things that the remodel will correct. At the left edge of the photo is the 7.5' opening to the den.

This wall could match the stove wall, ceiling color, or be split with a chair rail addition.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:25AM
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You are too kind, Skie M.--I consider it a workable kitchen, with potential, at best. :-)

I understand about the black. After today, I finally have a very well lit kitchen that could probably pull it off if done in part, with the ceiling and half wall white/very light. Black is not popular with the family anyway, though.

Although some purples pass, especially the smoky ones, no form of pink is going to happen. Blues take a lot of visualizing on my part. I am not naturally drawn to the lighter shades especially, and stumble over blues next to browns, but they aren't ruled out. I don't have any other blues/accents within visual of the kitchen. Do you think a kitchen needs to tie in color wise to another section of the house, or do you think it can successfully stand with an independent color? I lean towards it being allowed to be different because the activity/purpose are unique to that room. But I can also see the point of view that it should coordinate. I don't know which is correct. Color isn't my strongest skill, obviously, and is why I need and appreciate GWers help to get it right.

While sorely needed, the kitchen facelift will have to be limited for now. We simply cannot afford the DIY time investment or $$$ to fully resurface or reface cabinets, to only have them be torn out when we remodel. A hardware change is doable, but can be taken on at any time. I need the paint color(s) within a few days, or it will hold up the completion of other projects. That is why I am concentrating on that decision first.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:36AM
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Fori is not pleased

Woah. Who's gonna notice the paint? Or the slightly injured cabinets? That's a great setup.

If blue goes, and it's hard to tell if it will (your floor is reading orange on my monitor for some reason so I'm probably not getting a good impression of the situation), I think a sky blue would feel right in there, especially on the ceiling and window walls. If you can keep the window naked (no neighbors peering in there?) and go for an outside feel it could be nice. I see you're in south county so it's not like it'll ever look bleak out there.

The microwave wall doesn't have to be the same color as the rest of it, either. It can be whatever the rooms beyond are.

I assume you are familiar with the home decorating forum? If you aren't, it's time.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Hm, you know, I can really see the strong white/black or white/charcoal. Everything white and black and white on that wall where the clock is now.

If the family isn't feeling the black, maybe they'd go for chalkboard paint?

Also, are you sure that you can't use gel stain because of your use of Deft? General Finishes works on all kinds of surfaces, including laminate.

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 11:16

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:10AM
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I'm having time reading/following...demo here today. :) But if I understand correctly, the kitchen is fairly open to the den, which has some green to it. What color/colors are in the den?

I'm not feeling the black/white/charcoal, and I definitely wouldn't go dark. I like the idea of bringing that beautiful outside, in.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:16PM
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It is the floor

I think before I worried about a can of paint, I would pick some in budget (aka cheap do it yourself) flooring to lay on top of what you have. Even an click together laminate to float over might make that kitchen enjoyable. And then match your paint to the new floor. Who knows, you might really like the cabinets after.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:24PM
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a)Paint the cabinets in semi-gloss black -- would work so well with the appliances and your room has LOTS of natural light! :)

b)Paint the walls in green (that has a touch of yellow in the tones so that it works with the flooring) Example (just an example !) below .......

c)Do not add wainscoting to the wall -- it will only split the height -- and the room will appear to be shorter .....

Here is a link that might be useful: BM -- Herb Garden 434

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:34PM
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I agree that it's the color of the flooring that's limiting. At least on the computer, it looks very yellow.

I did the .99 a square from HD stick on over existing vinyl and it was wonderful for about 8 years. I'd recommend that wholeheartedly.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:40PM
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I wouldn't do black or dark except in accents as on the appliances already. As far as white, it's refreshing and a great backdrop. "Color" does not have to mean on the walls. Art, rugs, accessories bring things alive; similar to that awesome garden area. I would continue it right into the kitchen. Between the above rug and the patio, that was kind of what I see when looking at your kitchen.

Great space. It would seem pretty easy to overlook old furnishings.

Which Deft product did you use? A sealer or stain?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:41PM
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I'd do a blue with some green & grey in it, to tie to the outside and to the other rooms.

Like this backsplash-

Or a little darker, like this (this color is Mt. St. Anne, by BM)-

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Just for comparison and discussion -- here's a pin board from Pinterest featuring inspiration photos of all kinds of kitchens with black cabinets .....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- pin board of black kitchen cabinets

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Yes, fori, we are staying naked with the windows. That is actually a look that I picked up and embraced from the decorating forum. There isn't really room for window furnishing, so it was a relief to learn that bare was an acceptable design practice.

Nosoccermom, I think you are right about the gel stain. My many refinishing projects were mostly pre-gel era, so grasping the concept that it can be applied over an existing finish is a tough new concept for this old schooler. But, I agree it would make a world of difference and be at about the task level I would take on. In fact, gel stain is probably the answer for my dining room table problem, too!

The Deft was a clear sealer, but it is currently at the due-to-renew point, so I think this is the perfect time to gel stain and finish with a compatible product.

cal quail, the green den wall is a med-dark fairly true green; the brown portion Dunn Edwards Terracotta Sand, [] The brown is not my favorite, but it was chosen early on and it was the result of a compromise choice with my husband. Only the brown is visible from the kitchen; the green while sitting in the den.

Yeah, hear you about the floor Kippy and cal quail. It is difficult enough to get my husband to agree to switch out things I hate in a timely manner while facing so many throughout the house. And there are other items that definitely need to go first. Picking the battles' pecking order here! When that one rises to the top, repainting to match would be a fairly quick job.

A rug may help take away the floor visual without the hubby-fuss. Hadn't really considered kitchen rug due to how messy I am in that room. (Not helped by the current workstation to stove to trash triangle.) But indoor outdoor, and an easy drag out the nearby slider for a hose-off... The cushioning would be welcome for those 5 hr. cooking sessions and my bad back.

teacats, I am not a fan of painted cabinets for my own kitchen (meaning I don't dislike the look, but have other issues with painted cabinets), but am weighing going darker, or just livening up, with the gel stain. Love that green--similar to others I have already used. If I went green in the kitchen, I think mitigation of green elsewhere would need to take place due to green overload!

After weighing suggestions, and doing things like tacking blue shop paper towels to the wall to visualize blue in the space shortcut style :D, I did some photo surfing last night. The posted photo seemed to give me a bit of visual match to work from; orange toned brown floor, dark cabinets, white countertop with light blue walls and white ceiling. If I go less dark with the cabinets, and more greyish blue with the paint, is it a possibility or a forget it?

I cannot believe how much of a struggle it has been for me to hug a color for this room!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:09PM
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I would paint the walls black or charcoal before I painted cabinets black. darker walls will make your window view come to life.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:24PM
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I love grey-blues, with all colors of wood and with white. So I think your plan sounds good. Just be prepared to go through a lot of paint samples... there are endless variations of this general color, and they all look REALLY different in every space. So be sure to test your paint choices before you commit to them!

(a $2 sample can from Lowes/HD + a big blob on a poster board is all it takes to get a good idea of how the color would look in your space)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:02PM
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I can't see that in your space. It's very heavy; unbalanced looking , imo, with the dark cabinets. Even generally with the colors, how does it relate to the views?

Maybe a weathered wood and blue of the sky? But the gold floor would need a new layer over it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Your windows are spectacular!

If you get a rug to cover most of the floor, your DH might see how dramatic an improvement it is, and agree to changing the floor.

For the walls, I like the idea of a blue, or sage green, or bluish-gray. Not too dark.

New hardware on the doors would be nice too.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:04PM
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The far cabinets here give a weathered look, with a blue gray. Or maybe something that picks up your stone color or woods outside.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Was unexpectedly away from the forums for a few days, but I didn't stop thinking about all the wisdom in your posts. Finally had to accept that my uncharacteristically lengthy indecisiveness could only mean that none of the paint-alone options was going to bring a satisfactory result. Backsplash and paint it shall be. Hubby got onboard; he knew I'd given paint-only a thorough effort, and experience has taught that once he is in the middle of one project in an area, it is easier to nudge him with a little project creep. For multiple reasons we'll likely go with Lowe's allen & roth Temple Grey (which actually contains a lot of browns, too) for the backsplash. The cabinet's gel stain will have to wait for time and adequate working space recouped from other projects; we'll switch out the hardware when replacing the stained doors. I have tentative paint colors in mind, taken from the input here, but will wait for the backsplash to go in before finalizing that choice. The floor will have to wait for the cash flow to seep back into the project fund (alas, too many recent vehicle repairs and other unexpected financial hits). But at least there is a working plan now. Thanks everyone-- we appreciate your help!

We love our windows, annkh.They were one of the selling points when we bought. They aren't fancy, but wonderfully large. Even our 150sq' office has a 6'x5' window. Sometimes it interferes with getting work completed. :-)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:05AM
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I think you have a great layout and I LOVE the windows. If I were you, I would paint the cabinets in a heartbeat. Pick a funky color (you love) and go for it. You mentioned you like greens. I have seen some great cabinets painted in light greens or grays with green undertones. BM makes a color called Thunder (I think) - paint lady told me it's very popular cabinet color and I could have sworn there was some green in it.

I hated my cabinets. They were the bright orange oak. I painted them and have done a lot of other work, all of which took several months. Everyone says painted cabinets will go out of style (?) oh well, I love them and that's all that matters.

Go with things you love and make you happy, and you can't go wrong.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Ok. Unpainted wood makes me happy. :) The grain of wood, the knots and burls and beetle tracks all sing to me as the autobiography of a living thing. You see ugly orange oak; I see and feel the essence and spirit of the tree from which it came. [That, unfortunately, someone covered with ugly orange makeup...] I am sure there is a 30 step program for me, but no one has been successful in getting me to admit to having a problem.

Visually, your redone kitchen is beautiful and it makes a good case for painting (even though I couldn't bring myself to do it). The colors coordinate so perfectly and they are in the right balance. Your granite reminds me of the color of boulders where I grew up. I saw something very similar to that once but I only remember the nickname I tacked on to it at the time: Saluki Slab. Could you share the proper name for your granite, MrsShayne? I can really see us choosing that--not too busy, boring or loud. Just lovely.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:55PM
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Thanks for the compliments and I totally understand your appreciation for wood and not painting over it. I too love wood cabinets and maybe someday I'll have them again.

The granite I found was called ivory sukuri but I later found out it also goes by the name coral gold. If you google pics then you'll find much more under coral gold. It's a rather busy granite in opinion. When I picked out the slabs I didn't realize they would be so busy once cut and installed. Because of this, I went with a very simple back splash so the two wouldn't clash.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Ah-ha! I bet that is where the funny nickname originated. Names are not a strong memory item in my brain--after ten minutes I likely could not remember sukuri, and saluki was the closest word in the brain dictionary.

No small wonder that when searching online later, Google rarely understands.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:00PM
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