The grass (or wall) is always greener... (Part II, OMG)

Sooo, yesterday.  HAAAAA.  We went to a party hosted by Mark's boss last weekend, and I guess several of those "So what do you do?" questions kind of got under my skin.  Couple that with the kid thing (that I am not quite ready to talk about, though I do kind of wish the community cultivated by some of my favorite online people still existed in force), and BOOM -- identity implosion.  Good times.

Anyway, onward to that cheery decorating post!  As I was trying to say yesterday before I was so rudely derailed by feeeelinggggssss, I spend a lot of my free time decorating my house in my head.  We are big on home improvements around here.  Mark bought a house that was in great condition but had not been touched from the original 1995 builder basics (other than some hellacious paint we discovered in removing woodwork and mirrors -- holy Crayola).  We spent the summer of 2009 gutting the main floor of our house, ripping out carpeting and laying hardwood floors, gutting the kitchen and putting it all back together.  It was a looooong 6 weeks, particularly for Mark, who worked Every. Single. Night. after a full day at the office.  The work totally paid off though, because we took this:

to THIS:

Not bad for six weeks, right?  These were actually taken right after we finished the work, so it has been accessorized a bit since then.  (I would totally take new pictures for you if it weren't so filthy right now.)  We have a rug in the kitchen sitting room, hardware for the cabinets, Polish pottery plates on the soffit above the cabinets, a new light fixture to replace the fluorescent box, etc.

So here's the issue:  the yellow is grating on my last nerve.  It's cozy, but I feel like the room is too much of a jumble of color, at least right next to the more subtle feeling in the living room and dining room.  It's hard to tell from these photos, actually.  The living room and dining room are primarily a warm tan/taupe, with the one long, shared wall painted a pale, pale blue.  This works really well with the tan and blue striped chairs, the cognac leather sofa, and the crewel work drapery panels, which have the tan, the blue, a darker brown, and a sagey green on an ivory background.  I love these rooms.  The rollicking yellows and in your face riot of Blue! Red! Green! Yellow! in the kitchen, though, I am loving much less.

I am bound by a few things:  the granite counters in the kitchen, which are the very common "Santa Cecilia" pattern; the kitchen rug, which you can see in the mood board below (although it is definitely more muted in person); and the artwork, also in the mood board (because those custom frames were pricey and I have nowhere else to stick them, nor any suitable replacements).  So here's what I'm thinking:

I think the soft gray color would work well for the walls.  There is quite a bit of gray in the counters and the background of the rug, and the ladies in the posters have gray skin.  It would also blend well with the adjacent living and dining rooms.  The couch is an easy fix; the cover has taken a BEATING, so I am leaning toward just picking up a crisp white slipcover from Ikea.  It can be thrown in the wash with some bleach when it gets dirty, and it's only $39.  Perfect.

Where I am torn is fabrics.  I would like to make two cornice boards, for above the couch and for the bay windows in the kitchen, which would hang over the existing white sheers.  I love the subtle blues and grays in the fabrics above, but I worry that they might be too muted when paired with the more vibrant artwork and rug.  Do they blend enough?

The other issue is the furniture.  The cabinet we use as a tv stand is currently just your basic "Ikea Pine" and the coffee and end tables are a cherry-ish wood toned top with black iron base.  None of the furniture is precious, obvs, so I am toying with painting the wood.  Would white be too light with the dark kitchen?  Maybe a gray that's a little darker than the walls?  Or a blueish gray?  Maybe covering the cabinet shelves with cool fabric or shelf paper? 

So that's the currently state of kitchen dithering.  What do you think?


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