Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our kitchen's got Gingham Style!

M and I rent our house. We were both in the military when we first rented it (from the best landlords ever), which is the reason we found ourselves in Georgia. We did not buy a house here because we plan to relocate once M has separated from the Navy and I am finished with my MBA. We have lived in this house for just over two years now, and it is an excellent place to live. Good neighborhood, big backyard, great landlords like I mentioned, and a really awesome layout with lots of space. Since we rent, we did not want to bother with any of the permanent stuff like painting- we would like to reserve the effort for a place that is ours someday. As far as decorating goes, we decided that we would just go with things that would not directly clash with the colors that were already in the house. For example: the kitchen is forest green (wallpaper) and white (walls and everything else). At first, I did not like that color scheme because I really was not thinking outside the box. White goes with everything, and forest green isn't bad. I even started liking it when I realized that I had a bunch of gingham fabric that went really well in there. So began the decorating.

We have a LOT of wall space in the kitchen (it is an eat-in kitchen, we do not have a dining room) and not as much cabinet space. It was getting crowded trying to keep all of our coffee mugs in the cabinets, so I painted an old shutter and used burlap with squares of gingham over top.  First, I sewed the gingham to the burlap and then I glued the burlap onto the shutters with craft glue. I got those hooks at Walmart and attached them, as well as a few of those saw-hook things that you hang pictures with on the back of the shutter, then hung it on the wall. Voila. Mug storage. You can also see the wallpaper in this picture. Pardon the fact that it looks crooked, I was being mauled by cats when I took this picture!

For the longest time, we did not have curtains in the kitchen. This project is still a work in progress, because I did not make the curtains wide enough to cover the windows fully when they are closed. This doesn't bother us, since we never close the curtains. I intend to make a middle panel with a little bow tie to put there, as well as putting tie-backs on the wall and changing out the curtain rod. I have not done it yet, but it is on my (very long) list of projects. :) This is how they look now, all made with fabric I just had laying around:

Pardon the crookedness of this picture as well.

Now for the walls. My mother gave me some very unique paper placemats she bought on clearance at Ross or TJ Maxx. They are a rolled, woven newspaper that is printed in Chinese (I think). They sat here at the house for a long time because I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I kept them because they are so unique, and I found the perfect use for them when decorating the kitchen. I made them into wall art! I even incorporated the gingham to tie it all together. Check it out:

Here are the placemats individually:

This first one is a postcard from Las Vegas when we went to our friends' wedding there (Chris and Christine- Chris is the one in the picture on the right with M), the middle picture is a guy in Vegas who dressed up like Garfield but then got drunk and passed out on the curb, and the last picture is M with our friend Chris from Sugarlow after a very unfortunate night in NYC.

The second placemat features our animals: Clyde, Darwin, and Fatty, in that order. That picture of FatSpice is the best. I know you cannot see it well, but I caught her yawning, and she looks amazing. :)

The third placemat is a postcard from Grand Haven, MI, my hometown, and the place where we got married. In the middle is a picture of M and Fatty cuddling (taken before we got married) and a picture of us taken in NM, where he is from.

The fourth placemat is hanging in another location in the kitchen by itself. I kinda stayed with the same idea in creating it though. On top is a picture of a wall at the canal here, where someone has scratched "everything will be OK" into the stone, in the middle is a picture of my hand holding the "hand" of the family dog I grew up with (Lucy, who is still alive, although very old and in diapers. I love her so much), and at the bottom is a picture I took in Chicago in the mirror of a mo-ped.

Then there is the backsplash, which I made using a big square of plexi-glass (and my dad on the phone telling me how to drill through it) and a big square of gingham fabric.

Last, there is the valance I sewed (but I guess I did not bother to iron it, haha) from the gingham to go over the little window over the sink. As you can see, M and I use the window sill for storage.:)

I hope you like it. Do you have a unique way you decorate your rental properties? I would love to hear it!


  1. What great ideas Emily! I have found some awesome "rental" design ideas through the years. A lot of them use Target Placemats as well. They're inexpensive yet can be so fun and colorful as well as add a little texture to a room!

  2. Thanks Rose! It is really tough adding your own style to a rental without doing something permanent! I have definitely found a new love of using placemats to help dress up a room. :) I love the stuff you guys have done to your house too!