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Friday, March 13, 2015

The Kitchen, Before and After

Since we've already been living in our house for nearly two years, we already had a list of things we wanted to do to it well before we signed the closing documents. The very top thing on that list was "Remove the kitchen carpet." This seems like an easy enough thing to do, but it quickly turned into the homeowner's version of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie."  We knew we also wanted to paint, so it only made sense to paint before we had pretty new floors. And if we were going to paint we should retexture the ugly spots first. But if we were going to do that, maybe we should go ahead and add that open shelving? And, well, it just keep snowballing.  This is how we ended up spending every waking non-work minute thinking about or working on the kitchen for 17 days. It was exhausting. We are finally done tho and I could not be happier.

Before I start the pictures, I need to say. I feel like a total badass. This was not a remodel job that we hired someone to do, and it was not the case that my husband did 99% and I handed him tools. I am bragging, but I worked every bit as hard, and I used all the tools. The only thing I completely gave up to him was electrical work, and honestly, I could do that. I feel like I could totally tackle anything now.

This is the kitchen as whole. It looks a little dark in the after, but the lighting was hard to get even. That multi-fixture near the camera and the angle of the sun made it near impossible. I suppose I could have lightened it. We moved the cabinets up to the ceiling and added crown molding. We painted it a beautiful blue gray (Gunnel from Pratt and Lambert, I can't recommend it enough). We added the open shelving. Replaced the range hood. Built these little shells to cover the open bottoms of the cabinets. Refinished the counters. Replaced the floor.

 You can see the new counter tops in this one. We used a kit for this. It's called Giani Granite and we used the Chocolate Brown colorway.  We bought it on Amazon. This was super easy to do, if time consuming. I did all of it so that it would be more consistent, and I think just the "colored" step took me about 6 hours. It's hard to really tell in the the before, but we also removed some extraneous faucets from the sink. And when we put the sink back in? Mike did the physical lifting, but I did all the under sink stuff. I connected the water. I connected the garbage disposal. I R PLUMBR! (Ok, so there was one little leak. Coulda happened to anyone!)
And here's the floor. The beautiful, this is not carpet, floor. We used Congoleum Carefree Floating Vinyl Tile in Mountain Slate. It's much softer to walk on that real slate, and was really easy to put in, once we got the first row in place. (The walls in our house? Not so straight.) My brother-in-law came over to help with this step, because we expected it would be much harder than it was. It did help to have three people doing it. With the three of us working, it took about 6 hours. Guess who did most of the cutting around corners and piecing? Yes, that's right, me. Mostly this involved a utility knife, but I also got to use the jigsaw. Each tile is about 1/4" thick, but they kind of snapped off if you scored it with a knife. I got to use my quilting tools as a square and that was cool.  Lots of fun.
I am so happy to have both my coffee maker AND running water in the kitchen!

I sprayed all the hardware with Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray paint in Dark Steel. It looks terrific. We built the open shelving out of oak plywood and edge banding. Mike cut the boards, I sanded and did the edges and stained them and then Mike installed them.  The brackets are from Menards.

We replaced all the baseboards and toe kick. Mike swapped all the outlets from tan to crisp white. He replaced the door to the closet from a hollow core 1960s wood door to a pretty white two panel door and replaced the outdated broken screen door with one of those fancy ones that the screen rolls up into the top. He changed some of the door and window trim so it all matched the trim on the big window. He did all the miter cuts and thinking, I did all the staining and polyurethane.
I also painted those canisters. I have become one with a paint brush. Or in this case spray can.
 Before (above) and After (Below)
 (But if you couldn't tell which was which we can no longer be friends.)
And now we are taking a couple weeks off to recover... oh wait, no, we aren't. This weekend we start on the back patio...


  1. I never understand how people put carpet in a kitchen or bathroom.

    My biggest project to date was ripping out my carpet and staining the concrete. I really wish my entire house was strained concrete as the family area is still tile.

  2. Very, very nice. I love the color on the walls. It has a totally refreshed look. Are you liking the height of the cabinets. It's nice reclaim the space, but I think I'd need a stepstool. LOL

    Good job all the way around. I've lived through a total house renovation, but we weren't doing the work. Just living in the dust and upheaval. Don't know that I'd do it again - living there while doing it. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. You guys did a great job!! I enjoyed following your progress on instagram.

  4. I am so impressed! It looks fantastic!

  5. You rock. Those are some impressive improvements and might I add I'm having some serious pangs of envy over that kitchen table and set of chairs. My grandparents had those, in red.

  6. It looks fantastic! My in-laws had carpet in their kitchen and I never got WHY. I hate our kitchen floor currently, but at least it is not CARPET.

  7. Love love love that countertop. And all of it! Plus you guys must feel so great having done it yourself. I felt so accomplished and kick ass after we did our old place.


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