Dakota, who knows way more about paint than I do, thought we should use Benjamin Moore Natura Paint. It's a zero VOC paint, so it basically has no scent, and is presumably better for your indoor air quality. Benjamin Moore has a lot of great color choices, and we finally decided on "Seedling," which is a light green. The idea was to paint the walls a lighter, but very similar, color green to the cabinets. Dakota got this idea from an architect he really admires who did a gray-on-gray kitchen. While the idea of an all-gray kitchen didn't sound so good to me, the green on green looks really nice.
The Natura Paint went on very smoothly, and I was able to get two coats on the walls before Christmas. Dakota then added a simple, white trim around the French doors and along the base of the walls. The overall effect is really nice and bright, and having the walls painted makes the kitchen seem so much closer to completion.
Another exciting kitchen improvement was the removal of the ugly, aluminum windows over the sink and the installation of new wood windows. For this endeavor, Dakota built a scaffolding on the back corner of the house.
There was a lot of discussion over what type of windows we should install, and whether we should buy them or Dakota should make them. As you may know, windows are extremely expensive. So, we ended up going with the significantly cheaper Dakota-made variety. Let me assure you, though, they do not look cheap. Dakota decided on a simple casement style, which I think was a great idea because the single pane allows us to fully admire the view. The view from the sink, which looks Northeast towards the San Rafael and San Gabriel Mountains, may actually be the best view in our house.
We also spent some time discussing whether we should use regular glass or double-glazed with a layer of argon/krypton gas in between. This second variety, also known as insulated windows, are more expensive but also more energy-efficient because they prevent heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. Initially, we thought the insulated windows would be a good idea for our "green" remodel, but after thinking it over, we realized that the benefits in our kitchen would be pretty minimal. We don't have central heat or air, and since we already insulated the kitchen walls and the attic, we're in pretty good shape when it comes to heat gain and loss. So, we went with plain old glass.
To help with energy efficiency, Dakota added a small awning over one of the windows, which will shade it during the summer and also keep rain off the sill. It's invisible from inside, but did a good job keeping the window relatively dry in our most recent rain storm.
There is still work to be done on the kitchen, although, at this point, it's mostly details. Dakota is adding more trim, touching up some paint, refurbishing a small window and finishing up the new door. Then we just have to get the tile installed, and we'll be done! Hopefully all that work can take place in the next couple of months.