Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The BIG Kitchen Remodel

When I thought about blogging about each room we remodeled after we bought our first home, I was going to start off with the family room and then gradually work on posts over our dining and formal living rooms before getting to the "big kahuna" of our remodel - the kitchen. BUT, this being my blog, I can do whatever I want, so we're going straight to the kitchen.

The one thing I said to my husband before we even put an offer in on the house - "You have to promise me we'll remodel the kitchen the minute we step foot in this house." He promised, and literally 5 minutes after we walked into our house after closing, we started bashing out cabinets and removing cabinet doors. The kitchen wasn't 100% terrible, but it definitely was still out of the 70s and for the love of all that's good, they had brown black splash. I've discussed this before, but to clarify - the previous owners had an affinity for brown that made me cringe.

Some "before" pics for your viewing pleasure

Now, when I told Nate he had to remodel the kitchen, I knew we would be operating on a limited budget. Really, the biggest issues I had with the kitchen were that:

1. It wasn't as open as it could be (you can see the top cabinets in the first pic on the left blocking the view to the family room)
2. I hated the doors (and those scallop touches screamed outdated)
3. I didn't like that the microwave was on a baker's rack (which didn't come with the house) and wasn't under a cabinet above the stove.
4. That backsplash. Oh, that backsplash had to go.

So after nit-picking everything in our kitchen, we decided really the only thing we'd be keeping would be the box of the cabinets. Nate also couldn't stand the soffits (the box thingy above the cabinets that comes out from the wall), so we decided to rip those out as well. We already had somewhat of a game plan before we even closed, so we started working on everything starting the day we got the keys.

First up: remove the soffits, tear down that one cabinet blocking the view to the family room/eat in part of the kitchen, and patch everything in one weekend before the painters coming to take down the popcorn ceiling come the following Monday. Easy, right?

Except there's a pipe there. Uh-Oh. 

Down to bare bones.

A little better with the drywall completed. 

It was a a pain. A total pain. But, not really for me. Luckily my amazing in-laws along with my husband and father all worked together in a mere 3 days to get this done. Who can say they have a mother-in-law that not only knows how to drywall, but will do it at 6 am on a Monday morning because she knows you have a deadline until the ceiling guys come in? Very few I'm guessing. And you guys, she even brought homemade muffins with her.

I wish I could say this was the hardest part of our remodeling journey, but it wasn't. After tearing out the appliances (because my parents are awesome and helped us out with getting new ones), we ran into the issue of the cabinet by the refrigerator being too close to the wall because the previous fridge was keebler-elf sized. So we had to remove the cabinet down a couple inches, which we luckily did before we got our hardwood floors refinished in that room, because the owners had installed the hardwood floors after the cabinets. This meant we literally had to cut the bottom of the cabinet to move it, and then have the hardwood guys patch the floor.

The big ol' hole where the cabinet was. 

We couldn't afford to put in brand new cabinets, but we had done our research and decided instead to paint and install new doors. After paying for a couple of samples, we ordered custom doors from Cabinet Door World. This would give us the "new kitchen" look while saving us thousands of dollars.We however, did add a few stock-cabinets from Home Depot to our kitchen. We replaced the cabinet above the oven and refrigerator. This made it so we could put a microwave above our stove and we could fit a normal-size fridge in our kitchen. We also installed an upper and lower cabinet where the old baker's rack used to be to provide us extra storage. The best investment we made while going through this process was our paint sprayer. It cut down our paint time and made the finish look professional. I would highly recommend investing in one.

After priming/painting/installing the new cabinets, doors and appliances, we decided to also replace the counter tops (because when you're doing everything to the kitchen, might as well, right?). We chose a black/white granite that would mesh well with our white cabinets as well as a black undermount sink to match. We also tore down that nasty brown back splash and installed a tin back splash which we got via The Tin Man. The Tin was incredibly easy to install (just cut and add some liquid nails) as well as really affordable. Add some crown molding on top of the cabinets, some new hardware and lighting, and we were finally done!

We paid a little extra for the granite on the peninsula to come out farther to give us a "breakfast bar." Totally worth it.

No more Keebler Elf fridge and extra storage to boot!

Bye bye scallop details!

I'm so in love with the new kitchen, and all of the money and hard work we put into it paid off. My husband and our family did everything ourselves with the exception of installing the granite and patching the hardwood floors. This was the longest project we did, spanning the whole summer, but now that it's done we get to enjoy it for years to come.

Have you ever done a kitchen remodel before? What tips/tricks did you learn along the way?

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