After two months of blood, sweat, and tears (the blood and sweat belonged to my husband, the tears were mine, mostly) our house remodel (Phase I) is finished. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, just four short YEARS after moving in, my kitchen dreams were finally realized. Look at her. Isn’t she lovely?
If you’ll recall, I posted this picture on July 29th announcing that work on our little renovation project had started.
Actually, now that I’m looking at it, I kind of miss all the oak. Psyyyyyyychh! (People just don’t do that enough anymore.) Before I taunt the cabinets too much, I should note we actually kept them. My hubby just gave them the most beautiful facelift. And, I literally mean they got a lift. They are about 12 inches higher than they used to be. The original plan was to raise them to the ceiling and install a shelf below, but I could barely reach the bottommost shelf at that height, so we brought them down to roughly a foot from the ceiling which was more manageable in terms of, you now, getting stuff out of them. (It’s all about function, people!)
It also gave our low ceilings the illusion of a little extra height. They have a super glossy finish thanks to the fact that we used oil-based paint. I’ve heard horror stories about it turning yellow with age, but I don’t regret the choice at all. It’s so smooth and shiny and easy to wipe down. My husband used an automotive sprayer, but had to use paint thinner in order to thin the oil-based paint out enough to use it. The sprayer made the job much easier with no unsightly roller or brush marks.
And so darn pretty!
Unfortunately, I didn’t really do a great job at getting before picturess, but I do have photos from when we purchased the house which will give you the general idea. I hadn’t done anything to the kitchen except for painting it three times in an effort to minimize the sheer magnitude of the oakiness and make it feel less cavelike, a task I failed to accomplish… UNTIL NOW.
Here is a shot from this same angle. (I found the old realtor photos from before we bought the house!)
We did lose some cabinet space, but there was more than enough to go around. We had like forty junk drawers and crap cabinets, and now I only have five. So, sacrifices had to be made, obviously. Here’s the other side of the kitchen before…
The kitchen, dining room, and living room were three separate rooms, and we tore down the walls to create one big great room. (Click here for more about the other spaces.) Here is a shot looking into the kitchen from the living room now. We had to keep a little sliver of wall to support cabinets on the other side.
Previously, there was a wall in front of our table (which my husband made from reclaimed barn wood – more about that here), and one just beyond it. So it was very wall-y up in here! The wall that came down between the dining room and kitchen was filled with cabinets and a large pantry cupboard. Just beyond the kitchen is a large mudroom/laundry room with a shower in it, because sometimes you just need a shower immediately upon entering your home. #countrypeopleproblems. We’re hoping to remove the shower (We’ve got two other bathrooms, so it shouldn’t make a dent in our personal hygiene routine.), and install a pantry closet for canned goods and such in its place. But right now we’re too tired to even speak of such things.
The biggest projects in the kitchen included ripping out the old flooring and installing new, building an island, installing new countertops, installing a glass tile backsplash, demo-ing a wall, relocating the electrical and painting the cabinets. We also purchased a new freestanding range to replace our 80s-era wall oven. Let me tell you, it’s been an adjustment setting it to the precise temperature at which the food is supposed to cook instead of 25 degrees higher than indicated in order to compensate for the age and general crustiness of our previous oven.
Structurally, the kitchen is really similar, but I love the bright, open, airy feel removing the wall and lightening the dark wood provided. Having an open concept truly does change the way our family does business. Instead of toiling away in the kitchen all by my lonesome while my family is hanging out two rooms away, we’re all just together now. With a 2 and 5-year old, it’s perfect for supervision purposes, but as my children get older I’m sure I’ll appreciate the forced togetherness far more than I can understand now.
Here’s the view from the living room looking through the rest of the common area. (Click here for more about those barn beam shelves.)
Overall, the entire kitchen/dining/living room renovation cost just under $6,000 to complete, which was basically all material costs. And most of that money was spent in the kitchen. My husband is an electrician, so that significantly reduced labor costs as he had to relocate electrical from two walls. He also did the dry wall finishing, floor installation, island construction, and tile installation himself. I painted the walls, so don’t look too close. I don’t get it. The man can watch how to do anything on YouTube and totally nail it. Meanwhile, I can’t even get through an eye makeup tutorial without jabbing myself in the cornea with a mascara wand.
Both the flooring and the countertops are laminate, which is significantly less expensive than other surfaces, so that was helpful in saving money. Laminate was definitely the right choice for our family in terms of the countertops, as they are very durable, inexpensive, and can take a beating (which they’ll undoubtedly receive). We had planned to go with butcher block countertops similar to the island top, but they require a level of care we are, frankly, too lazy to provide. I was sick to my stomach with regret after I finally chose the countertops because laminate gets a bum rap in the world of online design, but when they showed up I was not at all disappointed. We got them at Home Depot – it’s WilsonArt’s Spring Carnival with an “Ogee” edge. The butcher block island top is the Karlby from IKEA. The laminate flooring I’m a little more worried about since it can be damaged easily by spills, and we’re basically just up in here spilling stuff all day long. But we managed to find the same flooring that was already in the dining room and hallway so instead of replacing it, we just carried it on through the kitchen and living room. The flooring has since been discontinued, but this is very similar.
The countertops were the biggest expense at $1,100 for around 68ish sq. ft. We installed them ourselves, which saved on cost. The oven and microwave are new appliances, and clocked in a just under $1,000 for the pair – the range was a floor model and had the tiniest little ding, plus I had a coupon, so I managed to score it for about $650, which is less than half of its original cost. I’ve put like three more dents in it since I got it, so if you’re clumsy and haphazard in the kitchen like me, shop those floor models!
I was ready to splurge on a glass tile backsplash, but I found this frosted green glass on sale for $5.99/sq. foot. This is the same brand, style, and size except the color is “Spa Green,” which has been discontinued. Originally, I was going to go with a more neutral backsplash. Literally, the only reason I bought this backlash was because it was such a steal, which is a terrible reason to buy something, but I’m a sucker for a bargain and I’m so glad I snatched it up! I love it so much!
Thank you for looking at our new kitchen. I hope it inspires you on your own budget renovation endeavors!
Wall Paint – Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore
Cabinet Paint – White Dove by Benjamin Moore
Countertops – WilsonArt Spring Carnival
Tile Backsplash – LOFT 4×12 frosted glass in Spa Green (TileBar/discontinued)
Cabinet Handles/Pulls/Hinges – EBAY (Under $100 for EVERYTHING!)
Island Top – Karlby/IKEA