The house we've been talking about, working on, crying and praying about....is FINISHED. It's been constructed, listed for sale, photographed, videoed, and blogged about. But now it's time for some details. We're going to start with the kitchen, and in upcoming posts we'll talk about the exterior and bathroom, all of which were pretty major overhauls from their original form. If you don't have time to read, skip to the end where there is a video of me showing you around the kitchen and talking about the details.
Let's refresh your memory on the before of the kitchen:
When we lived there, we tried to give it all the pretty updates we could. But it was all cosmetic and if I'm being honest, it was putting lipstick on a super out of date pig. Look at all the scrolly woodwork. And the hardware on the cabinets. The update we did this time should've been done back then but we just didn't have the skills. This time, 10 years later, it was time to do it right.
We took down the upper cabinets for one big reason - there was no saving the doors on any of the cabinets, top or bottom, and getting all new doors was out of the budget. We patched and painted the walls the same color as the rest of the interior walls of the house - Greyrock Inn (Glidden). Also notice the missing floor by the dishwasher. We ended up using wood from the master bedroom to patch places that needed new wood and installed new carpet in the master bedroom instead. I spray painted the cabinet bases with cans of spray paint from Lowe's (here). We also decided to get rid of the wall oven and create a pantry where the wall oven used to be. We purchased a oven/stove combo and created a space for it where the old cooktop used to be.
Knowing that we had five doors and four drawers that needed replacement, we visited the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to see if there was something there that could work for our kitchen project. Thankfully, we were able to find enough matching doors and drawer fronts to make it all work out. Thomas had to move a few things around and resize some openings (which is an advanced carpentry project) to make it happen. But that's what budget renovation IS. Usually where there is a creative solution to save you money on material, it's balanced out by necessary skill in labor to make it look like it wasn't a budget solution.
We also removed the old countertops. The first time we renovated this kitchen, we ripped off the old formica covering and replaced with new. But, ten years later, it was pulling away from the surface in places so we decided to replace with butcher block tops. We were able to find them reasonably priced at our local Southeastern Salvage store and paid about $425 for what we needed. What I love about the butcher block is that its easy for a novice DIY'er to work with since its a lot of straight cuts that can be made with a table saw or circular saw. I also love that all you need to care for it is food grade mineral oil which is inexpensive and safe to use with food prep.
After we measured, cut, and installed the countertops, we covered them up with plastic so they wouldn't get stained or dripped on. Then I installed the subway tile backsplash. I probably would've opted for subway anyway, but my mother in law had several boxes stashed away from a renovation project and she offered them to me to use for this project. I discovered premixed grout and mortar on this project and I may never mix either of them again. Talk about EASY. The bucket is resealable so it doesn't dry out and you don't have to wash a bucket. Call me lazy but time is money and just mixing and washing saved me a LOT of time! Premixed is more costly than mix-it-yourself but if you don't use the whole bag of mortar, you'll come out ahead by purchasing the premixed that you can reseal and use on future projects. I used Delorean Gray grout and this premixed mortar for the job.
After the backspash was up, it felt like a lot of things started to come together really quickly. We hung floating shelves made from 1"x12" lumber, hung on the wall with threaded rods into the wall and through the piece of shelving. If you plan to make these, take my advice and use 2" lumber. Our shelves were sagging so we ended up securing them with meal rods with anchors into the ceiling on the corners. It definitely looks intentional but it was a thoughtful design fix after we made a bad calcualtion on the load that 1"x12" could carry.
You can see a lot of other seemingly small things starting to fall into place: Pantry doors are installed, new over-the-sink light is up, and new pendant lights over the peninsula are ready to go.
The pendant lights were another great example of huge budget savings balanced by skill of installation on Thomas' part. I found some clamp shop lights and immediately pictured them in the kitchen. For only $7 each, they won for best design/best price combo compared to similar pendant lighting. Thomas was able to expertly cut the clamp lights all the same length and install them into the ceiling, saving us about $120.
For the over the sink light, I took an inexpensive stock item from Lowe's and painted the cap to match the new base cabinets to give it an updated look. You may also notice that we replaced the old window trim with something a little more simple: mitered 1"x4" lumber.
The final steps were caulking, floating holes in sheetrock, sanding, priming, painting, and styling. Three weeks and about $1200 later, we have a completely updated kitchen.
And, in case you were wondering, and I know you were -
For those of you who have made it this far - or just skipped to the end - click the image below to watch a tour of the new kitchen.