I’ve run into several problems with my conversion of a buffet into a kitchen island; so the project is taking a lot longer, with a lot more tears than I initially anticipated. In fact I hadn’t anticipated any tears, so….
Anyway to keep me going I search Pinterest for kitchen inspiration and my browsing has led me to bar stools. For your Saturday, downtime dreaming may I present these 20 lovelies…
When you are doing up an old house you have to make do and mend. Not only to get that vintage look but, unless you’re a millionaire, because it’s an expensive process. We’ve been lucky so far in that there have been no unforeseen costs – well apart from our boiler that is. We’ve just got our quote for that. 7,000€. It could be worse, but that’s a big dent in the finances this year.
As a result we make do with what we’ve got.
Having had the electrics nearly completed in the will be kitchen, we need the flooring done to be able to connect them to the kitchen island and move further forward. Yet the flooring will be expensive…😬.
I got a quote to have the floor tiled and the work alone was 4-5000€. Even pre boiler quote that just wasn’t possible post COVID. So we were considering laying a wooden floor ourselves. This is slightly more practical to diy than the tiles, which can be tricky to lay on a well used floor without the possibility of future cracking.
Even with that as a future plan money is a problem now. Leaving us with the expensive electrics almost completed and the majority of the bill paid for, but the need to finish the flooring around the wiring laid in the floor to be finished. As we’re using solid, freestanding furniture we have the options of laying the rest of the floor later, as long as we have the tiling around the central isle and the sink finished first. The latter would be needed so we could get it plumbed in without it being disturbed in the future.
A while ago I bought these tiles as I was going to use them for a splash back and worktop respectively.
I remembered the tiles and wondered if there was a way I could just tile these areas and then lay the wood around them at a later date. What would this look like? I started searching for some ideas. Here’s what I came up with. Some of them is just where wood meets tiles and some are a specific design called a tapis des carrés – or tile rugs. Let me know what you think…
This is the picture of the staircase – we needed to have a sink against that wall as we had planned to have the oven in the chimney breast. It was hard work, it took hefting a mallet over four days, but it’s gone.
The advice I received from pops when it came to the staircase removal was to take off the boarding underneath and have a look how the stairs are secured to the wall – making sure I had mask, gloves and protective eyewear as it was going to be dirty. It was, as I hammered into the underneath a scene from Raider of the Lost Arch faced me. Cobwebs and dirt showered down.
With the boarding removed I was left with this…
You can see the iron clips that pin the staircase to the wall. I’m hoping I can retrieve them and use them for an iron fireback that I want to position behind the stove. We’ll see how eroded they are. But even if they’re not suitable at least I have something to take to the diy store as an example of what I need.
Taking pops advice I started from the bottom. With a large, flat headed screwdriver, a hammer, a mallet and a heavy duty chisel I worked away at the back boards first. It was really heavy going. I did about two hours of work and this is where I stopped.
Although I worked for about five hours I only got this much further. The stairs had felt rickety, but they were actually very secure. I’ve been putting the wood aside for use as rustic shelving in the pantry we plan on having.
Final day and it’s all gone. There’s my husband in the corner of the picture. I was on the last step and had dislodged the side of the staircase unexpectedly. I was frightened it would fall and break the wall lights which are behind the bin bags which I placed there to protect them from paint.
As I was hanging onto it to stop it falling I had been crying out for hubby’s help – we’d talked about him coming down for this bit – but he couldn’t hear me through the thick, stone walls. I kept twisting it back and forward and eventually got it loose and away from the light fittings. The final step gave way and it was onto the back, side panel.
The opened up area looks a lot bigger than I imagined. Now I just need to fill the gap with beams. Not today though – I’m having a glass of wine with dinner and relaxing on the sofa.
You may have noticed these bottles when I gave you an update on our kitchen here.
I designed the bottle labels with the help of the Canva app. Living in France means that we can’t easily get our hands on a lot of Indian or Chinese cooking ingredients, so when we go to the UK we always bring lots back. Pouring them into these large bottles means that we save on space, so I wanted them to look good.
You can learn how to apply the labels by clicking here, I use waterslide decals to apply them. If you want to give them a go you can download the printout below.
As I said in this post I love kitchen signs, particularly the ones that look handpainted and a little Victorian. I really wanted a sign on the side of the bookcase where I’ve put the French baguette bin, but as it was a fixed position I had two options.
The first was to do a seperate sign and the fix it to the wall. This would have given me the opportunity to take my time in painting the letters.
The second was to apply something to the wall itself. I’ve never got to grips with image transfers, but as I’ve recently found water slide decals this seemed like the best option (see here and here). It meant that I could choose something with a lot of detail too, which is a bonus.
By the way I used an iPad and Canva app to do this, so the instructions obviously reflect that, however I’m sure you can adapt them for other systems.
The first thing was to design a sign. I’d done a lot of inspiration research and I really like a mixture of typefaces and scrolls etc. I also like illuminated letters. I trawled through Pinterest for free to download Wreath illustrations (thank you graphics fairy) and monogram letters to use.
Take a screen shot
When you come across an image or piece of typography you like you can take a screen shot of it – all computers have different ways of doing this, so you may have to look yours up. However on an iPad, as I tend to us, it means pressing the circular home button and your on/off button to the side of the iPad at the same time. When you do that a photo of the image you want will be taken and stored in your photos.
Edit the screen shot
Your screen shot will have lots of other things apart from the image you want on it, so you need to get rid of the excess. On your iPad when you have your photo open in images you’ll see an icon for editing it in the top, left hand corner; press on that.
The edit facility will look like this
The third icon down, the square with arrows surrounding it in shot 2, is the option you chose to edit the image. Once you’ve clicked on it the image will be smaller and you’ll have two capacities on your iPad; to rotate the image to a position you want it in using the dial on the right, or to resize it using the four corners at the edge of the image. Just move the highlighted corner to move the edges inward until the image is cropped. When you’re done press ‘done’ on the right hand side and your image stays like that. However if you want it to go back to the original go back through the edit system and press revert.
Creating your layout
Once you’ve selected typefaces and decorative details for your sign you want to create a layout. I used the Canva app to do mine, which is a free app that you can download. At the top of the open app you’ll see lots of different options – I chose poster for this project.
You can use a pre-existing template, but I just wanted a blank space to try different set ups on. In the left hand tool bar (see above) you can see an option saying uploads. If you click on it an icon for your photos comes up and clicking on this shows you your photo gallery including your cropped images.
Select your image and slide it into the work space. Above the image you’ll see lost of different functions. Move the image to where you want it and make it smaller by touching on one of the black circles moving them in (below).
As I wanted a monogram effect I’d already decided I wanted a stand alone type face in our surname, so I had the image stored in the gallery and added that in the same way. I used the same method to move and make smaller the image. As you can see in the image below, images added from your gallery will have a solid background, so if they overlap another image from your gallery they will block out that part of the image. Canva text boxes don’t have this problem though.
You can see in the next shot that I just position the V in a way that ensures no overlap.
In the next one you can see I’ve applied a text box using the text icon. There are lots of pre-existing layouts you can use, but I find that some are stuck in caps so it’s easier to use the simple ‘add text’.
In the next image down you can’t see a tool bar has come up above the keyboard. It does that when you touch the text to alter it. On the left hand side you can see the typeface which you can scroll through to get your preferred one. Once you see the one you like touch it and you’re text changes. Use the large and small capital to increase or decrease the size of the text and then position the text where you want it to go.
Carry on in this way until you have the design you want. You can see in my final design below how the text of ‘akery’ overlaps the B typeface that I’d downloaded. This is because the text box, unlike the downloaded images, doesn’t have a solid background so they give far more flexibility.
The image below is towards the end of my final design. If you look at the ‘Pastries’ text you will see there is a turning arrow symbol. I used this to give the pastries word a slant that mirrored the scroll design. You can also see the scroll design below has a part of the image I couldn’t crop out, but as I’m going to apply them with water slide decals this doesn’t matter as I can crop them in real life with scissors.
At this stage it’s best to download your image by pressing the download function button on the top right hand side of the screen and a box appears for you to download (See below). I always use the top option and it saves the image into my photos. I then insert the image into a document page and make sure it’s at full size.
The next thing to do is seperate all the parts of the image so that you can remake them on a bigger scale. I did this by using the additional page function, then copying an element of the design and putting it on an individual page.
If you see the images below you can see I’ve copied the image by pressing on the two, overlaying rectangles in the right hand margin. To get lots of seperate images delete all but the part that you want to use in a stand alone capacity. So the wreath and family name I’ve kept as one image on a page, the bread and cakes part another and so on. Some I didn’t make a page for, like the B, as I already had a cropped image of this to make this mock up.
Take a screen shot of these stand alone parts (see below) and crop them as before (below again).
In your pages section, using the mock up as a template, seperate out the parts so that you’ll be able to print them on waterslide decal paper.
In order to determine how best to lay your design out you need to think about how many pages your design will need to be spread over. I did this by holding a piece of A4 paper in landscape and then counting how many I would need to fill the space in the top portion and the bottom. The design was spread over this many pages.
Do a mock up first; printing on plain paper and placing them where you think they should go. This way you won’t waste any decal paper.
Also, once you have an idea of the text size you’ll need, you may want to rearrange your components of text into different groupings in order not to waste too much waterslide paper.
You’ll notice that the finished piece has some additional illustrations. When I put them on the side of the cupboard I wasn’t satisfied with the gap at the top between bakery and our family name in the wreath and bakery, so I hunted around for a suitable illustration and followed the steps again.
I’d also started placing the bottom part too near the base and there was an unsatisfactory gap. The illustration of the woman drinking her tea was perfect to fill it. As far as I’m aware all these are free to use by the way.
Finally, I’d planned to fill the original bakery B with my own colours, but as I sealed the design with a coat of spray varnish they ran. I’d use different sharpies and expected that to work, but alas no. So the B you see in the image was my second attempt.
Also, as you can see, I’ve changed the baguette bin from lavender to a teal blue. I think it’s a better tone for the yellow, don’t you?
What do you think? The kitchen is no where near finished and I might be a bit crazy to have done it already, but I’m super pleased with the result. Even the hubby likes it!
I’m really pleased with how this turned out; it was super simple to do and didn’t cost a lot at all. At the bottom of the post you can’t print out the chart for free, but this is how I did it.
Print out the image below on waterslide paper
Be sure to order either inkjet or laser paper, according to your printer, and that the type in question is clear. I used this one here. I’ve a more in-depth tutorial here, but suffice to say you print it out as normal (no need for a reverse image) so the ink goes on the glossy side of the paper. Leave it to dry for half an hour so you don’t smudge the ink.
Spray varnish the decal
I can’t stress this enough, but do it at least four times, making sure it’s fully dry in between. This will make it so much easier to dry. It really is the difference between using something that’s like cling film and something which feels like a laminate sheet pre the machine.
Clean the glass you want to put the image on
Remove the glass from the frame and clean it, making sure it’s dry. I used an old frame which had another image in. It was an old, old french photo which had just been glued on some backing and put in the frame; no mount and the corners where turning. I’d bought a new frame for the photo and put the original aside. So when I thought of this project I dug it out; it’s natural wear complements the image I was creating.
I kept the backing of the frame under the glass whilst I worked so I could see what I was doing more easily, but it wasn’t connected for ease of movement.
Put the decal in water
As the image is A4 in size I couldn’t use a bowl, so I just used this roasting tin to submerge the decal in water. As you can see it rolls up at first and then gradually unrolls. It takes seconds and when you see that it’s time to take it out.
Place the decal on the glass
Put it where you want it to go on the glass, with the decal backing still attached. It’s easier to position like this and leaving the decal in the water that long is going’s to make the backing’s removal easy.
Slide the paper
As you’ve given the paper enough time, separating it from underneath the decal should be relatively easy. Gently holding one end, slide the paper out, readjusting it slightly when necessary. However you can tear it if you readjust too much, so it’s better to get it in place as much as possible before hand.
Smooth it out
With your finger smooth out the decal from the inside to the outside to get rid of any excess water and bubbles. It helps if after you’ve done this once you hold the glass up to the light and do it again to get the best result.
Dry off the excess water
Start by using a dry cloth and lightly patting it, then prop it up somewhere safe so it dries completely.
Glue it to the frame
Using a clear, preferably water proof, glue around the rim but try not to use too much as you don’t want it smearing when you add the glass. Make sure the glass is facing the right way – yes, I did that 😳, 😆. Slot the glass in and put any clips in place to add an extra layer of security. Lay it face down to let the glue dry.
Here’s the finished image….
As you can see it just has numerous conversions that I need when I’m baking as well as some vintage looking illustrations.
As I do up the kitchen I’m trying to incorporate little unique features. In the upper part of my dresser, that I’ve painted yellow, there is a space that was crying our for a little touch. I intend to keep all our teas there; trusty PG Tips and my hubby’s collection of digestive, green, Earl Grey…..there’s a lot of tea.
I was cruising the internet one day and came across this quote – how fitting is that for a little tea corner? So I’ve put together this and your welcome to dowñload it and make one for yourself here. Enjoy!
As I was painting the bookcases for the kitchen I was thinking about where I’d put things and came up with the idea for a bakery corner, where I’d store all the flour, sugars, baking equipment etc. Whilst I was painting the French baguette bin I thought of putting it at the end of this section and, as I’d come across hand painted signs on Pinterest, thought I’d do one for this little area. More on that later, but I thought I’d share some of the other signs I found here with you. So here are some bakery ones…
I was thinking you could have a sign near the fridge for dairy, I especially love the ones with a cow image, and the one with glass only…
If you have open shelves like in my kitchen plans it might be good to consider designating an area for produce with a sign above it.
You could consider these practical signs for measuring……
Or these meat cuts…..
Or you could consider having a prayer or Bible verse…
If you’ve got a drinks area try a tea sign…..
or coffee, or both…
The kitchen is coming along nicely, I can’t wait to share more with you soon.
In this post I included in my list of French period home must haves a baguette bin. A little while ago I bought one for 10€ and it’s been sat there, ready for me to do it up. I used the easiest method to do so, in actual work time it took less than half an hour.
Here it was before…
The first thing I did was remove the panel which held the material, which was super, simple. It just consisted of putting a screw driver between the two pieces of wood and prising it away.
I also unscrewed the lid to paint separately.
Then I cleaned the wood and painted it in a white undercoat. I didn’t paint right inside the box, as it was too deep and would have been messy. I painted it enough to make sure you couldn’t see that.
When it was dry, thankfully undercoat always dries quickly, I spray painted it with this lavender colour. My colour scheme is grey, yellow and lavender like this….
I waited a half an hour, getting on with other things. I gave it a second, light coat and waited again. Each coat takes about a minute to apply and 15-30 minutes to dry. Then when it was dry I sprayed from the inside out, to make sure the bar detail was covered well.
I had this lavender toile material already and decided to use that for the covered panel. I used the old piece as a template, cutting round it and then spraying the board with aerosol fabric glue, before laying the fabric in place and smoothing it out. I attached it back to the inside of the box with my staple gun and replaced the lid.
The two shades, although complimentary, are a little vibrant together (and of course the background, being the old doctor’s surgery, has a lot of work to be done). However, I’m going to be surrounding it with sign writing which should tone it down. I’ll give you an update on that soon.
We had storage jars in our kitchen in England and they came wíth us to France. They’re excellent. Not only do they look amazing, in my opinion, but they’re practical.
My husband took the micky out of me when I first brought them home for his extensive flour collection. He used to bake his own bread and he makes his own pizza too. As a result we’d had lots of bags of flour in our cupboard. The thing is, bags split and the contents spill, making a mess. The jars save you from that and they keep your produce super fresh; as I said, we brought ours with us over two years ago and they were full. The contents are still fresh.
In my last post I spoke about labelling my mason jars and, as I’d added to these with jars I’d saved from the recycling bin, I was looking to label them as I’d done with my other jars. I also wanted to give them a uniform look and all the jar lids were different. The easiest solution, I thought, was to spray paint the metal lids.
At first it went well; I sprayed the lids with a light coat of mint and went off satisfied. However when I returned in fifteen minutes I noticed that all the lids with date stamps on them, you know those best befores, seem to run and come through the paint. A second coat was needed anyway, to give it density, so it would solve that this time surely?
Fifteen minutes later – nope. Another coat – nope. I had some gold colour and that covered it well, but I didn’t really like colour (sorry, no picture). However I had a can of matt, black spray paint that I’d bought for another project that resulted in most of the can being left over. So, I tried that.
Perfect! I’d also produced some water slide decal labels on white transfer paper to finish them off. So, brand new storage jars for the cost of a can of black spray paint and a waterslide decal sheet; about 3,50€.
Here are the jars on my painted shelves. Now these bookcases are all painted I’m a step closer to my dream kitchen.