We started the year with some pretty optimistic ideas about what big projects we could tackle this year – I even made a lofty 2018 project plan post about it. A new kitchen was a front-runner for our big-budget project for the year, but we soon realized the kitchen we want just isn’t in the cards for 2018. We let ourselves be bummed about it for 24 hours and then set to thinking about how we could give our current kitchen a facelift so we could make it more liveable for the next year. Because we do want to redo the whole thing SOMEDAY, we didn’t want to put too much time/effort/money/sweat into it to turn around and tear it all out in a year or two. I also didn’t want to make it SO liveable that we would put off a remodel indefinitely. With all this in mind, we set the following guidelines for ourselves:
- <$700 total spend
- No renovations/knocking things down/removing cabinets
- No painting the cabinets
- Let’s stick to things we can order with quick, free shipping or things we can pick up locally
- Let’s get this done in a weekend or two
The Kitchen: Before
Oh yeah. Take in that fan.
At the end of the kitchen is an extra space that Andy uses as a coffee nook.
The biggest issues we have with our kitchen are not fixable under the guidelines we set – we don’t care for the aggressively honey oak cabinets, the shape of the upper cabinets, the Ubatuba granite countertops, the faucet, the curvey ornate wood business above the sink, the vented microwave that is not actually vented properly and also is hung upsettingly low above the stove and a fridge door that opens into a wall. *Deep breath* we’ve accepted that these things are beyond our control… for the time being.
So what the heck can you do?
- Remove what’s left of the wallpaper border I ripped down over a year ago (don’t worry, I’ll show you)
- Finally, dispose of the dead stink bug that’s been stuck in the corner by the ceiling for maybe a year and also shame ourselves about it on the internet so we don’t let that happen again
- GET RID OF THAT FAN
- Replace the outlets/switches with white (not almond/ivory) ones
- Get a nice rug to really tie the room together
- Style those shelves, good heavens, Emily
- Recaulk the backsplash
Let’s get to it!
Ok, well before we get to the first weekend, I told you I’d show you the wallpaper border looked like when we moved in.
I know. Of course. What a perfectly aggressive match for that fan. When I pulled the border off the wall, it left some paper behind and we just lived with it. It was an improvement. It also left behind a darker green painted border, leftover from when the kitchen was a darker shade of green.
Ok, back to weekend 1 of the great kitchen facelift!
We used a wallpaper remover spray and a metal scraper to remove the paper backing. There was some adhesive still left so we went around a second time and cleaned it all with TSP substitute. I promise I did some of the scraping too, Andy just looks better doing it.
Next, Andy removed the old light fixtures, leaving the recessed lighting (which I kind of didn’t realize we had because of THAT FAN.) Even with a ladder in it, the kitchen looks so much roomier sans palm leaf fan. Andy taped off the cabinets and hung plastic drop cloths to protect all the things. I patched areas where the plaster fell away with the border and cleaned up a messy patch job from when the A/C vent was installed. Then, I painted the ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Simply White from our paint stash.
After that it was just more painting. Cutting in, rolling on, just a lot of painting. And then more painting until we fell alseep, the whole weekend gone in a blur.
I picked up my brush and climbed the ladder once again to finish painting the coffee nook and touched up other areas I missed in the kitchen. You may have noticed the chair rail in the coffee nook, which matched the orangey oak wood of the kitchen. Rather than tear it off (that’s demo, folks, and we said no demo!) I decided to paint it. This is my tiny attempt to be more like House of Brinson, ok?
I tore out the old caulking between the countertop and backsplash on the sink side of the kitchen. It took forever. Andy recommended I try heating up sections with a hair dryer to make it easier to pry out and it worked so well. Just don’t heat it up too much or it’ll melt and come out in tiny globs rather than one nice strip.
Andy swapped out the old leaf hardware with the new hardware we ordered from Amazon. He also replaced the old ivory outlets and switches with crisp white ones. Because our house is old and the wiring is old and every person who has owned it has done a new dumb thing concerning electricity – this was a harder task than it should have been. Andy communicated with my dad and to solve the mysteries lying behind our faux GFCI outlets via several hand-drawn diagrams. I found the diagrams lying around the house and at our place of work and it was like that moment in movies where the lead character finds a secret room full of drawings and pictures for a dramatic reveal that someone they love is losing their mind. Anyway, with the help of my dad, the internet, and Andy’s persistence, we have outlets that work.
Enough about that, let’s look at our new and improved kitchen!
The Kitchen: After
Andy and I wanted a moody color in the coffee nook but definitely wanted to brighten up the kitchen. I didn’t want to go full on white on the walls, so we looked at a variety of light grays, but most looked too cool against the warm (too warm) white of the backsplash tile. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray on the kitchen walls and Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron in the coffee nook. Both ceilings are Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.
The kitchen and coffee nook are separated by shelves. Before our facelift, these shelves were sorely neglected junk collectors. Now that our kitchen is much more pleasant to look at, I wanted to pretty up those shelves with books and plants. I’m excited to restyle this over and over again.
The new hardware is simple and classic.
The Coffee Nook – After
I really love that painted chair rail.
[ Ceilings – BM Simply White | Kitchen Walls – BM Classic Gray | Coffee Nook Walls – Wrought Iron | Light Fixtures – Stratford 1-Light Semi Flush Mount | Light Bulbs – Daylight Edison Bulbs |Cabinet Pulls – Franklin Brass Pulls | Cabinet Knobs – Franklin Brass Knobs | Rug Runner – Edessa Tribal Medallion Rug ]
- Light Fixtures – $195.98
- Light Bulbs – $9 ($27 for 6)
- Rug – $83.85
- Cabinet Hardware – $65.80
- Paint – $84.00
- Switches + Switch Plates – $60
- Caulk, Drop Cloths, Misc Supplies – $100
Total Spend – $598.63
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