I am still here.
I have made some other design improvements to the kitchen. Some may not be improvements. It's a...net improvement? I hope. Tim?
First of all, you recall this problematic wall:
Several people kindly offered insightful suggestions. As to the centering - the shelf is centered on the studs, since it was to be held up by brackets and any failure to center on studs would be obvious. For this reason (sometimes I actually engaged my brain in these projects, I swear), the cabinet above it is also centered on the studs. It's at least reasonably centered in the empty wall space (though what counts as empty space is made less clear by the radiator pipe on the left and the doorway on the right).
As to the upper cabinet dwarfing the shelf below - that may be true. I did what I could about that, but it may not be enough. The idea of skirting the shelf is clever, but won't work because that is actually a passageway and the skirt would immediately begin harboring filth. (I do not dust. Know thyself.)
Anyway, my somewhat less insightful conclusion was that the shelf looked too unfinished (due, perhaps, to its unfinished sides). I decided that I could solve both these problems by slicing 9" off the marble top of my baking table and turning that into the new shelf. Once I got that on the wall, I realized the white marble rather blended into the white beadboard. Also, the new shelf is smaller. Now the shelf was unobtrusive in the space (good), but it was vanishing under that big cabinet. I had long planned to use decorative corbels to conceal the heavy brackets. I now decided to move this item higher on my list, and also paint the corbels blue. Like so:
The cabinet still dwarfs the shelf. I still have plans to scribe the bottom edges of the cabinet, to achieve this effect:
But that is not happening until I get my hands on a jigsaw. And I doubt it will make the cabinet look more dainty, proportionately speaking. Besides, I need my cabinet to hold all that stuff. I need to cope with its largeness. In lighter news, the shelf now coordinates very nicely with the table next to it:
Don't ask why I didn't take a picture that includes both. I have no explanation. I will note that the table is now (obviously) 9" shallower than it was before, and while that means less work space, it lives much better in the room. It was just too darn big and square. I also want to draw your attention to those stools. I had one. Then I found two more at the ReStore for $10 each. They all looked like this:
But I had a vision of them looking much nicer with stained tops and white-painted legs. My visions so far have proved mostly nonsense, but I think this one turned out well. My DH (who doesn't over-analyze these changes the way I do) has noticed that people can now sit in the kitchen and have a cup of tea - and most people who stop in automatically end up on those stools. (Out of the way of cooking, by the way.) Success.
Moving on...I don't recall whether I've shared this photo:
It captures beautifully the horrors that remained after removing the (much more horrible) tileboard. Okay, okay. Focus on the backsplash area. I am aware - the picture captures lots of horrors. I saw this as the site of inevitable progress; I was serene about living with it for a while, while I tinkered with other projects. My DH saw it as a shocking eyesore that should be covered before anybody saw it. I covered it eventually:
And then there was this area:
Where I failed to replace that last base cabinet, long after I had replaced all the others. Not because I didn't have a replacement - it had been acquired, painted, and varnished long since. The problem was that I didn't have a replacement for the countertop. As I have mentioned (375 million times), I wanted a scrap of soapstone, because soapstone is heatproof, and this is the only countertop next to the stove, and I wanted to put hot things right on it. But there are no soapstone fabricators within driving distance (only retailers), so nobody had remnants for me.
After cursing the cruelty of the world and having no cabinet there for a while, I eventually found a remnant of honed black granite at the ReStore. It was three feet long instead of the 16" I needed, and since the ReStore bizarrely failed to have stone-cutting facilities on-site, that meant I had to pay a whopping $63 for more stone than I needed (I jest. I had budgeted for more. No complaints), and also buy a $29 diamond blade (still within budget), and figure out how to keep a hose on the circular saw while cutting through a slab of granite. Since the granite was too heavy for me to lift by myself (even a three-foot piece. Granite is heavy. It has nothing to do with me being weak), my DH participated in this process. Which involved his pants, shoes, and socks being soaked continuously with a hose for an hour in freezing weather. He thoroughly enjoyed it. Et voila:
In the picture before this one, you may also have noticed that I hadn't painted the walls yellow all the way around the kitchen yet. The yellow stopped just to the right of the window over the sink. And since I had to patch the door frame around that exterior door, I realized I needed to paint it. Matching stain is a bit above my pay grade. I eventually finished painting everything:
You know what else I did? I framed out the opening on the under-sink cabinet, and I built a custom-fit shaker-style door for it with my own two hands. Out of 3/16" luan, which is the wrong material, by the way. Then I planed and sanded it to size and caulked the laminated edges smooth and painted it and varnished it and added hinges and a matchbox catch and fitted it nicely into its frame. It took me days. Do you know what I didn't do? Take a picture of it. Stupid. There's a door there now, anyway.
Also, I agonized for a while over a rug for the room. As I may have explained, once I saw those hardwood floors (PSA: they are oak, and I should have seen that immediately), I moved away from my ticking-striped cotton scatter rugs idea, which I thought would have been quite fetching on slate. I started thinking the kitchen needed a "real room" rug. I wanted braided, for that country/Americana feel; I went through endless options. Oriental rugs kept sneaking themselves into my search results. I love Oriental rugs. Current trends allow them in kitchens, where before they did not venture. I don't like trends, but I do like Oriental rugs. And I would only buy a cheap little polypropylene one that I could wash with a hose. It would wear out before the trend did. Sold. Then I spent two weeks searching for a cheap one I didn't hate. I plunged into ever-greater doubts of my shopping abilities. Then I found this:
Granted, it doesn't look like that in person. The design is less bright, and I like bright. But the pile is actually very soft. It lies nice and flat. The shape and size are perfect for the space (crows over shopping abilities - still got it!), and I think it goes really beautifully with the dark floors and cabinets:
And the jelly cupboard, too!
I still have to get the two missing burner caps in for the stove (a local retailer ordered them - Amazon failed me utterly), attach the faucet properly to the sink (I've tried three sets of brackets that didn't work, and am moving on to flanges this weekend. I SHALL CONQUER!), level the stove, and maybe at some point in the distant future, re-paint three of the thresholds into the kitchen and replace the one burner assembly on the stove that appears to be really busted.
For now, I am watching TV with my husband and overeating. And also this:
Making a hideous mess of my porch. OK, actually, the mess is in service of this:
Another area covered with pink sheet vinyl that had an original wood floor under it. (I've already removed the vinyl; working on the plywood under it.) At least this time no linoleum or tar. And it will save me money in slate (which I will spend insulating the porch and hiring someone to intall a radiator, instead).
To be continued - obviously.