Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pen & Hive Cottage Kitchen Reveal

cottage kitchen

Remember where we started with the Pen & Hive Kitchen? My darling mother-in-law passed away in May of last year and this is a picture of the kitchen with furniture emptied so it could be sold. It took 3 weekends of yard sales and several Craig's List listings to empty the cottage of most of what we didn't want to keep. To read about the lessons I learned about holding on to things you don't need read Less is More: How I Got Here. 

As you can see it was a daunting task.  On top of all this our daughter and son-in-law moved into a loft and didn't want to clutter it up with too much stuff. Guess where they wanted to store it. Over a year later two closets are still full of papers that need to be gone through and thrown out and things we are storing for our adult children.

After the sales and moving things to the closet to deal with later (not a good choice because we still haven't done it) it did look cleaner. But stark and cold. In this pic you can see the 80s style light fixture.

Some out of town relatives came to visit and I was inspired to make it as livable as possible. It was starting to feel like it could be a very nice space and then I tore my rotator cuff setting me back about 3 months. The first order of business after I was mostly healed up was to paint the cabinets which had a pink tint, and to hang the wallpaper on the kitchen wall. Yes, wallpaper. The thing I swore I would never do again. But this yellow and white on clearance at Target was screaming at me not to leave it there.

Here's a detail of the wallpaper. I'm pretty smitten with it. This picture shows a cutting board against it to cover the pink counter top. Design tip #1. Always choose a neutral for this. Because no matter what color you choose it will be dated in no time. Choose something natural or with texture: butcher block, granite, marble, stone, concrete, metal, tile or even the fake version of the above. But just say no to color. This counter top is clearly saying "I was put here in 1991."

beeswax candle

This was a great victory. The wallpaper and painted cabinets energized me to keep going. I kept looking at that trim. The walls were Builder Beige and the trim was the color of oatmeal. It looked like so much work. My husband and I had painted the kitchen walls white last winter but the trim hadn't been painted. The white walls only emphasized the how bad it looked. Design tip #2: Just always paint trim white. I don't care what the last decorating magazine says. Okay, yes I have a kitchen window with black trim. We can talk about that later. For now just remember that all trim should be white. Forever and ever, amen.

As I decorated for the Pen & Hive Open House and Apiary Tour the color of the trim only looked dingier and sadder...

White trim. Got it?

cottage window

The focus became on cleaning the entire house and garden from top to bottom and so at some point I had to realize the kitchen was not going to be done in time for the open house. I turned my focus to decorating for the event instead.

jar drying rack

 I ordered something I wanted and kind of needed for all the jars I wash, a drying rack.

I was hoping people wouldn't notice things like the trim and windows I hadn't had a chance to clean.

sunny kitchen

Ignore the pink counter top and the fact that there is no hardware on the cabinets. Look at that darling banner!

My goal in life became to get the cottage finished before the fall honey harvest. Assuming there will be one. Did I mention the worker bees are all female and do what they want? This week, miracle of miracles (!) I was possessed by some energy that allowed me to paint all the trim and baseboards, the front door, the outside of the back door. Then yesterday, our electrician called to say he could be at our house in a few minutes. Clouds parted. Angels sang. I was pretty excited. I can do a lot of things. I do not do electricity.

Why was I so excited about the electrician arriving? Because he took down the very last ceiling fan light kit in our entire house. I have no words to describe how much I despise light kits on ceiling fans. And that frosted glass hanging light is gone as well. Oh and a sad little front door light. But I'm going to make you wait to see that when I reveal the entrance makeover.

Now for the pics of where we are in the process. Btw have you ever painted a counter top? If so shoot me a message because you know what I'm thinking...

indoor windows

country table top


jar light

This adorable Pottery Barn light fixture is compliments of my daughter and son in law.

books and clock

That clock keeps getting moved...

sunny colorful cottage

Love my Victory Garden of Tomorrow poster!

grow organic food

queen bee

Get ready for October! I'll be writing a 31 day series about beekeeping starting with the most simple things. If you are thinking about beekeeping this will be just the thing!


  1. Beautifully done. Looks like a great place for a writer's retreat!

    1. It will be as soon as I can boost the wifi, it is also the perfect place for jarring up the honey harvest and whipping up soap and hand cream! So glad you stopped by!

  2. exactly how essential is the design element of your project and does the kitchen remodeler offer the skills to generate the quality of "wow" you're hoping for? commercial retrofitting


Let's put the social back in social media and continue the conversation on Facebook! Check out the Pen and Hive Page.