I know! I actually have a finished kitchen to show you! It's ok. You can say it...you were beginning to doubt that we were actually doing a kitchen reno. Or maybe that we even had a kitchen at all. I would too.
have a kitchen, and she's looking pretty dang snazzy!
Even though we're about to start packing, the kitchen update we just wrapped up at the end of September began long before a moving box was ever on the horizon. This was actually the 2nd phase in our 3-phase kitchen reno. The 3rd phase was supposed to address counter tops and flooring, but we'll just have to leave that for the new home owners.
And because we weren't updating the kitchen with neutral/resale tastes in mind, everything we did in this space was for us. In fact, I had just recently been able to let go of that crippling "what if a buyer doesn't like this someday" fear, and actually did what I really wanted. Hopefully, there's a buyer out there that loves it as much as we do!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let's jog the memory with the hideous "before", eh? This is actually after the 1st phase where we replaced the ancient appliances, pealed the tooty fruity wall paper border, and redid the
Ok so it wasn't totally hideous, but it was definitely drab. And dirty. And really, really blah-brown.
The light box was also enormous and made the ceiling feel like it was grazing the top of your head. Especially for the 6' 4" hubs.
The plan for this second phase?
-Ditch the light monstrosity
-Replace the back splash
-Paint the cabinets
-Swap out the hardware
-Replace the range hood
-Address the sink/faucet
-Organize a coffee station
Here's where we last left you - half-done and begging for doors....
And now we can finally stick a fork in her.
Even without the 3rd phase of this makeover, I am still head over heels in love with our kitchen!
Here's how it went down...
I knew without a doubt, the best way to freshen up this kitchen on our teeny budget was by painting the cabinets. I've always loved a fresh white kitchen, but dang Pinterest got my mind wondering to other colors. I really loved the two-tone cabinet look with light uppers and dark lowers, but I was a chicken. What if I hated it in a few months? I knew sticking with a neutral would help fend off painters regret and I kept being drawn back to grey cabinets.
The white upper cabinets sat pretty and painted for months while I wavered. (I googled "painting cabinets" and after reading several how to's finally just went for it with brush in hand. I found
tutorial to be the most helpful.) I was so close to playing it safe with all white, but showed James some Pins of two-toned cabinets. "Tell me your honest opinion....".
And darn if that man doesn't surprise me. "If you're going to do it, don't go half way. Go darker. Even if it's a color." Say whaaat? No wait, don't say anything else. One gallon of dark grey paint was purchased the next day (Ocean Storm by Valspar in semi-gloss).
Since we painted the cabinets by hand, it was still several weeks before they were finally finished.
I don't even know how to describe how happy I am with the grey choice. It completely makes the kitchen, and is perfect for our family with 3 kids under 6 years old. The dirt and fingerprints are much less noticeable.
Having both a dark and light cabinet to consider did make the hardware choice a little more difficult. The appliances are stainless and the faucet a darker slate, so I wanted something that would relate to both. I brought home all sorts of samples....nickel, brass, iron, bronze, polished, brushed....and in the end landed on the very first one I picked up from Lowes in a polished pewter.
Since the old hardware on the doors was a pull with two holes, we simply put the knobs in the top hole and filled the bottom one with wood putty. Once it was dry, a little sanding and paint, and the hole disappeared. You can also glue a wood dowel in the hole to avoid the amount of putty you need to use and the shrinking that can happen when it dries. If you find the putty receded further into the hole when it dried, then just apply a little more and sand it down to level with the door surface once it's dry.
It reads lighter on the grey cabinets and darker on the white.
Next up was the back splash. We saw these tiles at Costco about 6 months ago. We knew we weren't ready to install them yet, but at $18 for 5 square feet in a color we couldn't resist, they came home with us.
*Ironic side note - months later when we finally busted open those boxes of tile, I turned to James and said, "Watch. As soon as we get this up, we're going to move". Sure enough a few weeks later.....
As timing would have it, we ended up having to start our
at the same time, so we enlisted the help of a friend-of-a-friend contractor to do the tile work for us. After seeing Tim work his magic, I realized that was one DIY task I was glad to have in the hands of a professional. With all those intricate cuts, it would have taken me weeks...months....maybe years.
And man, were they a game changer for this space. So much lighter and brighter!
We also painted that small section of wall above the cabinets the same white as the uppers (but in an eggshell finish). It used to be the gray of the darkest stripe of our
in the nook but it was making the space look sectioned off. Taking the white on the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling, visually extended the cabinets giving the room some extra visual height.
Living without cabinet doors for so long (while I procrasti-painted), gave us the chance to experiment with open shelving. I love the look of open shelves, but I don't love the dust. Especially, when it comes to things you'll be putting in your mouth. But one open shelf in the right spot, I could handle.
We ended up leaving off three doors - the two small ones above the microwave and the large cabinet door next to it. I adore this little spot. Maybe because it's all about easy access to one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world....
We painted the insets the same dark grey as the lower cabinets. There was actually more of the old back splash behind the microwave and since it would be mostly covered up, I just painted right over it.
The gold striped baskets (spray painted over their original orange and green) hold our tea. The large coffee jar houses our grounds and the bowl next to it has our filters and scoop. Mugs and yummy goodness live on the bottom shelf.
Having all our coffee making/drinking necessities in one accessible spot makes things so easy and that much more enjoyable. It's also right between the sink and the fridge so we don't have to run all over the kitchen for water to start the pot and creamer to fill our cups.
By the way, best. coffee. treat. ever. Just sayin.
The area behind the stove was another chance for some fun. We had just enough tile to do this area, but it was all the scrap bits and pieces. We feared we might be short (or die a slow death of piecing together the tile jigsaw puzzle) and after checking for more tile with all three Costco's with no luck, we decided to do something different...
I wanted to prime this with a magnetic paint first...a place to pin up a recipe card, etc. But the reviews on it weren't so great (anyone with magnetic paint experience?). I decided a chalkboard section would work just as well. We make this recipe often and it's so nice to be able to read the ingredients from across the kitchen instead of squinting and fumbling with a recipe card. I can also jot down reminders for when to start the crock pot for dinner, or our family can leave notes for each other. I followed the step-by-step
This Pasadena faucet by Pfister is still one of my favorite parts of the new space. Easy to install, works like a dream, never smudges, and it's just so darn pretty. You can find all the details on the install
Especially given what we had before...
Speaking of pretty little things...
All these accessories make me enjoy being in this space that much more. And you can't beat accessories that do double duty. A pie dish corrals my everyday cooking supplies. So you know, if I ever need to make a pie crust from scratch, I can. Because I totally do that...well, it's a great extra serving dish when we have company anyway. As is the small cake plate that holds our soap and sponge. The red mug and candy bowls are the perfect size for a small snack or for holding pre-measured spices when we're cooking.
The floral mugs are from Anthro...almost all the other accessories and dishes are from Home Goods or TJMaxx. The rug is from Marshall's and the towels are a Target steal with a little DIY paint treatment.
So, how about a final before and after?
As an added bonus, the
no longer looks out of place..
The cost breakdown for this kitchen update looks like this (with the exception of the backsplash tile everything home improvement related came from Lowe's - with an extra 10% off with our military discount)...
Paint & brushes - $68
Hardware - $64
Tile & Grout - $122
Labor for back splash (demo/tile/grout) - $120
Switch plates -$12
Range hood - $97
Rug - $39
Sink - $99
Faucet - c/o Pfister
Accessories & miscellaneous supplies - $42
I truly hope the blood, sweat and tears that went into this kitchen update adds to the value of our home and blesses the next family to live here. In between now and then, I'm going to soak up every minute I can in this happy space.
P.S. Is it wrong to rip out a faucet and take it with you when you move? How about a back splash?
P.P.S. You can catch all the posts in this 31 day series