24 April 2013

(No longer) seeing red

When Mr. P and I were apartment-hunting last summer, I knew that we’d be unlikely to find a kitchen that I’d love as much as the one we were leaving.

It’s not just that I was being overly sentimental about all the blood, sweat, and tears we’d put into it (tearing out the ceramic tile for wood floors, installing new countertops ourselves, refinishing the cabinets, and painting the walls). Well, maybe it was a little of that.

But mostly, it’s that I had found this inspiration photo of a perfect light green kitchen with white cabinets and red accents:

And I wanted it for myself. So I DID IT. And when it came time to leave that kitchen, I knew, I just knew I wouldn’t find a kitchen I liked nearly as much as my dream-come-true light green kitchen with white cabinets and red accents.

But we did get a pretty nice kitchen in our new apartment – huge, lots of storage, new appliances (including a dishwasher!), and a ginormous bay window with a redonkulous amount of natural light.

I’m grateful! However. It’s a lot of dark wood, even with all the light. And it is very green. VERY. DARK. GREEN. Green green green. I’ve never loved it, which is why I’ve never even taken photos of it quote-unquote decorated for you. The best I’ve got is this still from the house tour video:

Hard to see, I know, but all my old red accents are there. Most of them, at least. I don’t have counter space for my red crockpot or red Le Creuset, but I did have my red candle, red teapot, red plaid towel on the oven door, red mosaic glass soap dispenser, red rug, even red rubber spatulas. Red red red.

Hmmm. Could I perhaps be overcompensating for the green green green with all that red red red? Totally ignoring the fact that, while the old light-green-with-red looked fresh and fun, this color scheme looked like Christmas year-round?

Probably. But I just felt so defeated by the green that I gave up trying. Until... until I received this present from an aunt and uncle.

Fancy Anthropologie soap and lotion! And hey, it’s... neutral. So fresh. So simple!

And just like that, it triggered an all-out accessory swap. I put away the red teapot, traded the red candle for a white one, and replaced the red towel with a simple ivory one with green stripes.

(Mr. P asked where I got that new towels, and I had to admit to him that we’d had them since we got married, as a wedding gift, and I’d never used them. Ever! Because they weren’t red! And I wanted only red accessories! Red red red!)

I also put away the red rug and replaced it with this neutral IKEA rug, first purchased for the entryway in our old house and last seen uselessly gracing the entrance to our apartment.

And just with those little switcheroos, I already feel a little better about the kitchen. I didn’t even realize that I’d come to hate all the red accessories until I put them away! Who’d have thought a neutral lover would love neutral accessories? I swear, I am such a dunce sometimes.

I still don’t know how to decorate around all the green green green, exactly. You guys, it is SO MUCH GREEN.

But, at least I’m breaking out of the old decorating ruts by no longer clinging to my old favorite green and red color scheme. Now I can see that neutral, natural textures might be my happy place in here. And with that fresh viewpoint, maybe I’ll be able to see how to work around this green, eventually!


Rachel C said...

Yay for small changes that make an entire room feel better and closer to "right." Just out of curiousity, do you know when the kitchen was last updated and the green flooring/counters were installed? They seem new and nice (at least in pictures) but it definitely seems like a more dated or older design pick. (No offense to the owner. Just curious!)

Also, what color green is your old kitchen? In my never ending search for the perfect green bedroom paint, I'm wondering if we should go for something lighter. Plus our bedding, which we love and don't want to replace, is gray and taupe, and I know neutrals will work with any paint you select!

Sarah said...

@Rachel, to answer your first question, I think it was probably redone in the early 1990s. Our neighborhood, gorgeous as it is now, had really gone to seed in by the 1970s, and didn't start to gentrify until the late 1980s. So yup, early 1990s = forest green! I really shouldn't complain as the cabinets are solid wood and custom, the appliance are newer, and the countertops and flooring are in great shape - not to mention the SPACE - but yes. Green green green!

And to answer your second question, the color of that favorite green is Weeping Willow by Olympic. It looked light green in the kitchen which got tons of natural light, but deeper in the laundry closet which had ZERO windows nearby. You can compare them here and google around for other images to get an idea if it would work in your room!