And so the Great Remodel began. After the trim on outside of the house was painted we started with painting the kitchen. Now we've lived in this house for about 10 years and have never painted. Actually the house needed painting inside and out when we moved in but we were busy and such and so forth. Above you see one of the painters tinting plaster to patch the hairline cracks in our kitchen from the April and May 2015 earthquakes.
This is the biggest crack in the decorative archway that joins the kitchen and dining area after being patched. Yes, it is most definitely YELLOW. That shade I chose is aptly called "Dizzy Daffodil." As you can see the kitchen and dining area were a pastel mint green. I hate pastels. That shade of green reminds me of the county hospital where I grew up that hadn't been repainted nor remodeled since 1952. I've always wanted a yellow kitchen and I certainly have one now!
Here's the decorative archway after being patched and painted. Dizzy daffodils indeed! You can see one of the large windows in the dining area in this photo. Large windows like that are throughout our home and are very unusual in Nepali houses. We really like all the natural light they let into our house. Unfortunately they are rather leaky, creaky homemade sort of windows that barely keep the wind and rain out. If you look closely you can see there are horizontal bars across all the windows. Those are to keep out robbers and monkeys. I'm not kidding about the monkeys. There are marauding bands of macaques in our town who will come into your home and steal food, pee, generally destroy things, and possibly even bite you. Those bars would really only slow down a determined monkey though.
A close up of the beautiful green marble that covers the floor, window sills, and counter tops in the kitchen. Can you imagine how costly it would be in the US to have marble floors and countertops like that? The marble floors in our house are beautifully matched and bookmarked too. I don't think marble floors are a good idea in a home though, they are dangerously slippery when wet. If you look closely at the photos of the painters you can see they use no masking tape or drop-cloths. That's right, spatters and drips go everywhere! I started putting newspapers down under the painters after I saw what they did to the kitchen floor.
Here's a shot of the kitchen being painted. That table the paint bucket is setting on is my potting bench from the backyard. The painters brought no ladders nor step-stools with them - just brushes, plaster, and paint. There's another very unusual big window letting lots of light into the kitchen as you can see. The sole light fixture is a bare fluorescent tube by the painter's head. The wires sticking out of the wall in the top right corner are potentially for another light fixture. The sink in the lower right corner is so tiny it's completely useless for anything other that washing your hands or rinsing a teacup. The round hole in the wall to the right of the painter's head is ventilation for the stove. The kitchen was designed for the sort of cooktop you see pictured below. We'd call that a portable camp stove in the US but that is what is most commonly used in kitchens in India and Nepal.
These cooktops are available in a variety of finishes and configurations featuring 2, 3, 4, or even 5 burners. The gas cylinder that powers the stove is stored in a concrete lined cabinet or shoved under counter below it. The hose or piping that connects the stove to the gas cylinder is simply left dangling over the counter. The cooktop was meant to be placed in the tiled corner beneath the hole. I have a freestanding "Western style" Italian made range so I use this corner for the rice cooker and storing the huge stock pots required for making Kashmiri noon chai or salt tea.
Here's where the dishes get washed. Thats my maid washing dishes right outside the kitchen door. A curbed outdoor concrete tub with a single faucet like this is typically where dishes get done in South Asia. Modern mansions as well as simple shacks have this same setup for cleaning kitchen utensils. No matter what the weather the dishes get done outside. This is also where we used to wash our clothes before we got a washing machine too.
And here's the paint samples for the rest of the house. The bedrooms and bathrooms are all that dreary pastel mint green while the hallway and living room are what I call "puke pink." My Swiss friend Cyn (whom is a professional decorator and upholsterer) has brilliantly named this pink, "The color that doesn't go with anything." For some reason this shade of pink is often chosen for rental properties. I chose the top shade called "Clean Khaki" for the hallway and living room since we have dark brown wood furniture and bookshelves throughout. Plus everything ends up khaki-colored here with the ubiquitous dust. I was thinking about the bottom shade of gray for the bathrooms. The tile in the bathrooms is a streaky pale gray but methinks that paint sample looks too much like bare concrete for my taste.
The house is completely torn asunder moving our stuff to paint. Cooking and blogging while all this hoo-haw is going on has been quite the challenge! The painter's boss drops them off at 9 am every morning with no food, tea, or even water. So I'm cooking tea, snacks and lunch for them too. I'm certain it will al be worth it though. The Sheikh (my beloved husband) says we can't move for another 10 years after all this hassle and expense. Hah!