After 5 long months of working on our first house, we're starting to see some real progress! We used to joke that we only had before and "during" since we could never seem to get to an "after". Well... *drum roll* we today we have an after! The kitchen!
We saw a lot of awful, outdated and useless kitchens (with fridges in the hallway!) while out house hunting. It had us a little worried! Luckily the house we bought already had nice stainless steel appliances and new Corian counters but we were still skeptical about those linoleum floors, lower orange cabinets and the dishwasher that stuck out like a sore thumb. We knew we would eventually enjoy cooking but we had some changes to make first.
Along the Way
While waiting for our closing date (we had three months between signing and closing) we came up with a lot of great ideas for upgrading the house. We didn't have the budget for a full kitchen renovation, but we had lots of ideas on how to give it a major face lift.
One of our ideas was to refinish the hardwood on the entire main level since some of the rooms were in bad shape. The only room on the entire level that wasn't hardwood was the kitchen. I had a theory in my mind that underneath the linoleum there was some original 90 year old oak wood. During our walk through I pulled out one of the bottom drawers in the kitchen and saw a beautiful sight - hardwood!
We had 6 weeks between when we closed and moved in. It was the perfect time to refinish the floors but if we were going to include the kitchen in that project (and you know we really wanted to!) we had to get rid of the linoleum first. It became our first project and it helped us jump into DIY improvements head first.
|Linoleum up, ready to finish the hardwood!|
Cabinets and Hardware
After conquering the hardwood floors, we turned to the cabinets. We had long debates about whether to paint the wood. We LOVE wood especially if it's original. But there was this constant internal battle between wanting to paint everything white for a nice clean look and bringing the house back to it's original character - which didn't involve white paint. In the end we painted all the kitchen cabinets because they were mismatched, mostly non-original, and the few originals were in bad condition. We also replaced the hardware with sleek nickle handles and knobs.
Although there is a lot of cupboard space, we quickly realized how few places we could store our pots and pans. Since we were super blessed to receive an awesome Calphalon set as a wedding gift, we wanted to take good care of the pots and avoid stacking them in one another (which can cause the non-stick stuff to get scratched and rub off). So, we did some researched and learned how to hang a pot rack!
Once we recovered from the exhausting cupboard painting work, we also painted the kitchen walls. We chose two shades of gray that picked up the hues of the kitchen counters (Behr Anonymous and Dark Granite). The previous owners had painted a wooden chair rail trim the same color as the lower half of the wall (orange!). We debated removing it completely since it's not ornate in any way, but decided to paint it white (along with all the other wood trim) and use both gray shades on the main wall.
Remember the 'sore thumb' dishwasher that blocked the path to the back door and made it impossible to get into the kitchen if the refrigerator door was open? Well, we moved that to the basement! It was a portable type that had to be hooked up to the kitchen sink while in use, meaning we lost access to the sink for a good hour and had to constantly roll it back and forth when we wanted to do the dishes. We tried hand washing for a few weeks and realized it was a realistic chore to accomplish each day, so we hauled the appliance to the basement. In the laundry room, the top of the dishwasher provides a great space for folding and if we're ever overwhelmed with dishes (like after a party) we can still hook it up to the laundry sink and do a load of dishes there!
Because we lost some counter space when moving the dishwasher and because there was a fairly ugly radiator at knee height under the kitchen window, we decided to find a table/counter for above the radiator. We scoped out some Ikea options, and decided that this one would work if we took out the shelves. Since we weren't sure how stable it would be without the shelves, we weren't quite ready to commit so we left Ikea waiting for a better option. Craig's List provided one the next week! Ironically, we actually found a posting for the same Ikea counter we had looked at and because the price was lower ($60 instead of $100) we decided we would make it work, even if we had to anchor the counter to the wall for extra stability. It turned out to be plenty sturdy and we were even able to hang our heavy cast iron pan and a tray without compromising the stability!
|Painting the GOLD radiator is a project for another day!|
Update: We gave this kitchen cart and stool and paint and stain upgrade!
With the larger refinishing projects done, we turned to the smaller additions. We hung some rolling pins for a fun and useful display, installed a roller blind for our huge window for evening privacy, and added a towel rack next to the sink for easy access to kitchen linens. For all the lids that coordinated with our hanging pots, we hung a lid rack that Katrina owned from an old rental apartment. To hold all our cookbooks that didn't have a place in the cupboard but needed to stay near the kitchen, we hung a shelf above one of the doors. And a rug on the floor now keeps our feet warm (but not always dry) as we wash dishes in the sink.
I enjoyed all of the projects (except for maybe removing that linoleum) but Katrina was most excited about decorating by adding little bits of turquoise everywhere. Our Kitchenaid mixer and blender earned prime counter spots as well as some useful canisters for baking staples and cooking utensils. We even whipped up some turquoise home-made art for the walls from food items and a perfect card.
$30 Wall Paint - 2 quarts of Berh light and dark gray
$30 Cabinet Paint - 1 Gallon of Behr cream
$93 Pot Rack
$0 Removing the linoleum (excluding paying Katrina's sister in Dilly Bars to help)
$65 Minwax Floor stain/poly and renting a sander - Multiple rooms averaged $0.60/sqft
$60 Used Kitchen Cart (we already had one stool from a rental apartment and got a matching one as a wedding gift)
$35 Roller Blind
$6 Accesseory Hardware: Towel Racks (reused from old rental apartment), Paper towel holder ($6 from Target)
$30 Cook book shelf
$30 Rug - We think it was from Bed, Bath, and Beyond but it's been discontinued
$190 cabinet hardware upgrade ($85 for knobs and pulls, $105 for partial over lay hinges and inset hinges)
$35 Art - Picture frames (one at $19.99 and three at $4.99) with owned pictures/objects, string already owned to hang rolling pins
$10 New Accessories: turquoise soap dispencer and cup holding pens (similar to this from Walmart),
$0 Previously owned and Reused Accessories: blue mason jar to hold dish cleaners (reused from wedding), mug for holding chopsticks (repurposed since it wasn't spill-proof!), 7 stainless steel canisters (bought from Walmart at least 5 years ago), large metal box (originally from Ikea), and a small metal box (reused from Christmas candy canister), small utensil caddy (Ikea) and large stainless steel wine caddy used for utensils (Target)
$20 Mugs (4 mugs on clearance at Starbucks)
(If there's anything you see that we didn't list, don't hesitate to ask where it's from and we'll try to remember and share!)
What do you think? Does it look like a space you could see yourself chopping some veggies? Do you have war stories from your own kitchen remodel? We'd love to hear them!