Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

CONNIE OLIVER: A splash of fresh paint is kitchen-decor garnish

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In early March, I wrote a feature about two affordable kitchen updates I'd completed. The updates included adding trim to plain kitchen cabinets and updating the backsplash with Smart Tiles.

Both projects were DIY and affordable and I really love the way both projects turned out, but, as you know, once you update something, the rest of the room usually needs attention as well.

After completing those two projects, I was inspired to update the rest of the kitchen. I wanted to paint the balance of the kitchen in a fresh, new colour and decided to pull one of the colours from the Smart Tiles Harmony Mosaic-patterned backsplash to use on the walls.

I found the perfect colour called Bellcourt Castle at a local Dulux Paint store. The Dulux Diamond paint is gorgeous, was easy to apply and has a lovely eggshell finish that is very durable, which is a great feature for any kitchen. The colour is fresh, neutral and really opens up the small space, yet is warm and inviting.

Of course, after the wall colour went up, I had to freshen up all the trim and window moldings with a fresh coat of white semi-gloss paint. The trim in my older home is lovely and is a great feature. The contrast between the wall colour and the white trim really adds dimension to the space and highlights all the great architectural details of this room.

To create a more tranquil, uncluttered space, I decided not to hang up the accessories or shelving I previously had on the focal wall, except for the knife rack and the bunny print, which you can see in the "before" photo here.

The knife rack was dated, dark-brown wood and had an acrylic insert that had yellowed over the years. I revitalized it with a fresh coat of the paint I had used on the cabinets, removed the insert and used a bit of leftover Smart Tile as a decorative insert. Smart Tiles can be cut with scissors, so it was an easy update to complete. Now the knife-holder looks current and has new life. The focal wall is now clutter-free and soothing, and the room feels more open and fresh.

The bunny print was previously framed in a blue shadowbox frame, which went well with my prior decor, but it wasn't going to work with the new palette. I painted out the frame in the same colour I used on the door and window trim and hung it in a new location on the opposite side of the kitchen.

On that same side, I installed a new room-darkening window shade from the Sears catalogue which I got on sale. Sears will cut the shades to your dimensions for free, which is awesome. That window gets a lot of midday sun in the summer and needs to be covered on hot days, so a shade was necessary. The crisp white shade replaced a navy-blue one with a scalloped edge. The simple window treatment allows the window trim and wall colour to take centre stage.

Normally, I would paint a door the same colour as its trim. But because I loved the Dulux wall colour so much, I decided to paint the back of the kitchen door with it, leaving the door trim white. I absolutely love all of the contrast of trim and wall colour in that corner of the kitchen.

(Hint: When painting only one side of a door, the edge of the open door should be painted the same colour as the side of the door in the room in which the door opens. In my case, for example, the edge of the door was painted in the Bellcourt Castle colour rather than white.)

There is one more wall to address in my kitchen, a brick feature wall. I like it, but it's faux brick and rather dated. What can be done to affordably update brick? Stay tuned.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2013 F10

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