Awhile back, I shared our pantry/utility room DIY makeover. While that project was definitely something I had always wanted to get done, it wasn't the first room on my list.
We ended up starting there because it was a necessity. What I really, really wanted to redo was my horrible, ugly, impractical kitchen.
Here are the before and after photos, and I will warn you now. The "before" pictures of this kitchen are the stuff of nightmares!
And yeah, that didn't happen. For awhile, we simply had a stove and a folding table in there to hold everything. His first attempt at actually fixing the kitchen came about a year later when he found some mismatched cabinets in a clearance store. He "kinda" put them in, got frustrated when they didn't fit right and abandoned the project.
The stove sat at the end of the kitchen and there was dead space in one corner that only collected dust, clutter and food crumbs. Crumbs and spills fell between the cracks where the counters weren't connected. The old board floors leaked cold air and never looked clean no matter how often I mopped.
My husband is one of those guys who thinks that as long as something is there, its good enough. I mean, the house had a kitchen, so that was okay, right?
It also had an okay pantry/utility room. But when we HAD to redo the utility room, he was finally able to see just how BAD the kitchen looked, and reluctantly agreed to start the really big remodel.
We were going to be on a super-small budget for this project, but luckily, its a super small kitchen. I sat down and made a list of the top priority "must haves" and drafted out some plans.
I had to make a lot of compromises to be able to afford all the necessities, and to keep it simple enough for two moderately experienced DIY'ers to do without hiring any help.
Now that you've seen some before pictures, lets move on to fun stuff!
But there was some work to do be done under the floor before we started the full gutting. So while that was going on, I painted.
The fridge was in the living room, we moved the stove in and out whenever we needed it, and the kids started to talk about a rebellion. :D
We did go and buy a new cabinet for the sink because we really needed the sink back!
That was way, way out of the budget though. I tried to include modern elements, like using cube shelves instead of straight plank shelves, and adding as many stainless steel accessories as possible instead.
The shelf turned out exactly how I drew it, but once it was done we realized that we are short, the walls are crooked and even together, we are not quite strong enough to hold a twelve foot shelf on the wall AND screw it in place.
Fortunately we had friends who came right over and helped get it up there in about five minutes.
I don't regret it at all. I have more than enough space and storage, and don't have to squeeze into any small corner cabinets to clean or hunt for items!
About this time my brother-in-law got excited about our progress and brought us some new LED light fixtures. So much better!
So naturally, something had to go wrong, right? This is where we ran into issue with color.
Until this point, the plan was for light grey cabinets with dark grey counter tops. I quickly realized that would make it almost as dark and overpowering as it had been before, since we only have that little window for natural light.
Change of plans! The stain for the cabinets did not turn out the color I wanted, so instead of actually staining them, I made it very thin and sort of washed them for a lightly greyish tone, and we decided to paint the cube shelf to match the wall, to keep the top of the kitchen bright and open.
Also, this was where my husband realized that he had paneled over the outlet for the fridge. We had to stop, take that down and fix it. Then rehang the panel before starting on the floor.
I used my cheap Hypertough sanders (belt sander and sheet sander) and they are such good sports. Haha.
I highly recommend them if you want a cheap sander that can still handle jobs like this. I ordered them as gifts for myself because I love DIY projects and my husband does NOT, so we didn't own a sander!
My brother-in-law brought us the lights to go under the shelf so we have an awesome, well lit prep counter with plenty of space spread out a lot of ingredients. He later brought another light with a blue tooth speaker, so we put that one in the kitchen and moved this one to the dining nook. Since the ceilings are only seven feet, having the low profile lights really makes it less closed in.
I also have two small shelves on either side of the stove, and some others cut to go by the sink.
We did have a few problems though. A series of happy little earthquake tremors shifted the wall (again) and we now have to redo the trim at the top of the shelf. Also one box of tile did not stick well and shifted to leave gaps. These things can be fixed!
Other than that, I'm pretty happy with it! What is amazing is how much room I have, even though we didn't really use up any extra space. The layout made the difference!
Lets look at the before and after again:
The funny thing is I imagined the shelf or the cabinets would be my favorite thing, but what I turned out to really love is the way the white trim in the corners breaks up the grey cabinets, and the way the stainless accessories look mixed with the wood.
Okay. I also really love, love, love not having to see the pipes under the sink!
So that was our big kitchen remodel. The whole thing cost us around $3500 and took about four weeks with just the two of us working on it. (Not counting the little things we've added along since then.)
So what do you think? Yay or yuck? :D