Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home

Little Updates That Make Me Smile


Sometimes it’s the little things, right?

Last weekend — in between birthday party chaos — Kirk and I made a few little updates to our kitchen.  It’s funny how, now that the new flooring has been scheduled for installation (t-minus two weeks!), we’re getting excited about the smaller details, too.

I was at TJ Maxx last week and picked up this cute little rug for $12 to place in front of the sink.  I love the punch of colors and how they play off the navy wall.  (I also love that my husband cooks and buys me sweet flowers).


Our previous rug was blah and it had seen better days — no number of trips through the washing machine seemed to help.  You can spy it here when we talked about our adventure painting the paneled wall.  I can’t wait to see this colorful rug against the new light gray floor tiles we picked out, too!  I also grabbed a cute set of three mixing bowls because they have a fun atomic motif — you can spy  them on the counters in a few of these photos since I snapped them amid party prep activities.

In the photo above you will also see our paper towel holder in front of the window.  It’s gone now.  The way our counter wraps around with all those windows makes us try and keep the corner free of unnecessary clutter.  When large objects land there and block the window for too long it really bothers me.  Makes me twitch.  That’s also why I mentioned my desire to move the coffee maker in this post, something I promptly did — it’s over on the grill now.  I also wish we could find a better place for the spoons and spatulas — sadly, there are no drawers to stow them in conveniently near the stove.

To remedy the paper towel holder at least, I snagged a sleek chrome wall-mount paper towel holder (also at TJ Maxx — I need to stop shopping on my lunch hour!) for $7.   We mounted it above the microwave.  Much less obtrusive, yes?


We also tackled something that’s been bothering us from Day One.  The trash can.  There is no place for a trash can in our kitchen. It won’t fit under the sink due to the plumbing and there’s no out of the way nook to stash it in.  For eight months it’s sat in this corner — inhibiting us from really using those two lower cabinets and making it difficult for me to reach the upper ones since I have to awkwardly reach over it.


Side note: I love that I’m talking about de-cluttering while showing you some very cluttered photos.  I trust you understand that we live here and life doesn’t stop for blog photos — especially not when there is birthday cake involved!  Besides, I’m almost never home when the sun is up so I must multi-task.

For $34 I picked up a slide-out trash can system at The Home Depot and Kirk mounted it inside a cabinet.  It’s a little smaller than our old can, but we think it will be worth it to have the can out of sight.  There was only one type available in-store, but now that I’m looking at them online I see that you can buy kits that mount two cans — how perfect would that be for trash and recycling?  We may have to upgrade already.

No you see it…


And now you don’t! Muhaha!


On the other side of the room you may remember that below our charcoal grill (you can read about that here) we have two large cabinets.  They open up to a space the same size as the grill opening above it and right now we have a bunch of small appliances and serving platters thrown in there (including all the baking sheets displaced by our new trash can install).


It’s completely non-functional since it seems that no matter what we’re after it’s always at the bottom of the pile and we have to pull everything out to get to it.  Adding built-in shelving is difficult since the walls are solid brick, so, to solve this I’m ordering two of these stacking shelves, one for each cabinet:


Hopefully once these arrive we can store things below and on top of the shelves and bring some sense of order to those spaces.

And. last but not least, we’ve started to paint.  In the photo of the old trash can above you may notice we’ve painted some color swatches on the wall.  Do not adjust your monitor, they all look the same in real life, too.  In the end we went with the bottom color (Glidden’s Stone White) for the kitchen walls.  It’s not so cool a gray that it reads institutional and not so warm that it leans toward beige — it’s somewhere in the middle which is perfect for us.


We are doing a satin finish on the drywall and a semi-gloss on the brick wall to hopefully highlight the irregularities of the brick (it’s been painted several times so the texture isn’t as obvious as it once would have been).  Below you can see my painstakingly slow progress. It reads almost white next to the high-contrast black, but I promise it’s not! When we tried a true white on the wall is was absolutely blinding and we knew we needed to soften it up.  Eventually, we’ll paint the doors and trim in a semi-gloss bright white which will make the wall color pop off a bit more.


For now, we plan to paint those laminate sliding doors to match — they don’t get too much use so I think the latex paint  will hold up well enough.  I think the laminate of the desk area across the way will go white along with the counter tops.   I painted the brick wall behind it Stone White, too, and now the laminate looks really yellow!


I haven’t shown this angle on the blog much before so to orient you, when I took the photos of the trash can, this desk was to my back.  Directly opposite is our kitchen table — older photo below (see why I needed to move the coffee maker and the paper towel holder?  Please say yes).


Did I mention we’re getting new floors?!

Can’t. Wait.



Author: Olivia @ Mid-Century Modern(ization)

I am a wife, mother, and writer. I am also a crafting, furniture-refinishing, home-designing nut.

3 thoughts on “Little Updates That Make Me Smile

  1. I love you play-by-play narrative. I feel like I’m there and not 3000 miles away. I’m so happy for you and love your enthusiasm. I would die for some of your space; you know I’d have it filled in no time flat..No minimalism for this girl. I have been good about pairing down, need to do the garage next, and the Hell Room is no-more. I miss not having a name for it as it’s been know as that for 25yrs. Maybe it’ll be my bedroom one day.

  2. You are working really hard in your kitchen. I have to catch up and figure out what you are doing with the floors. It is the little things, isn’t it? The trashcan in the cabinet was pure genius.

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