Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: The Bad and The Ugly (aka Before)

As soon as I walked into our house, I turned to my husband and said, "We are buying this house!" It was one of those feelings you get when you know this should be your home. We love our home, but like all houses, there are some tweaks that need to be done. The first was our bathroom. Awful old sliding glass shower doors, navy blue ceiling and walls, and the tub flaking off every time we cleaned it were just some of our issues. That was our first project. Now we are on to bigger and better things. THE KITCHEN. We actually purchased a house with no dishwasher. And survived without one for 3 1/2 years! But no longer! This summer we finally saved enough and it's demo time! Let's take a look back at what once was...

Top left: Walking in to the kitchen from the hallway/dining room
Top right: A full view of the kitchen (and a little of the living room beyond)
Bottom left: cabinets and stove
Bottom right: View from the living room into the kitchen/dinette 

If you squint a bit, it doesn't look that bad. The layout and flow of the kitchen are decent, there are hardwood floors, stainless appliances, and granite counter tops. But let's take a closer look.

1-3: Storage and organization was a bit of an issue. We have no pantry so all our nonperishables were in a deep bottom cabinet which made them hard to access at times. We always had to take pots out to get to the pots behind. There wasn't enough storage either. Our 'flat' items like cooling racks and cookie sheets would fall down the minute we took out a pan. There has been a lot of kneeling to get to our things. Also, what is with the floral shelf liners and blue walls in the cabinet?!
4. What the heck do you put in a 6 inch cabinet?
5. This is one opening to the double blind corner cabinet (I believe that's what it's called). Basically you can put things in there, but expect to pull everything out in order to get it out again.
6. Oh you wanted to open the drawer all the way? Too bad! The previous owners put in new cabinet and drawer pulls which is great, but they were too big so interfered with the drawer opening. 
7.  REALLY dark floor stain with lots of mess ups on the baseboard (we didn't do it).
8. Ooo! Let's try to spruce up the vent and behind the stove by gluing random tiles (we didn't do that either)! 
9. And then let's put stain on top of the cabinets without sanding it down. Then put granite tiles on top of the existing countertops. Don't worry about grout. Or the edges showing, just add unfinished wood pieces. Side note: black granite sucks. Everything shows, fingerprints, crumbs, streaks...everything! And you can only clean it with granite cleaner and a microfiber cloth to get it all off. And then you have to clean it like 10 times a day (or more if you are a little OCD like me). Add that to the smudginess of stainless steel and I was constantly wiping things down. 
10. Where is the dishwasher? There isn't one!!

Overall, our kitchen was pretty dark. There wasn't great light and the finishes were all dark adding to the problem. Our goal was to lighten the kitchen, have better organization, more storage, and add a dishwasher. Also, we wanted it to all look nicer. :)

What did we have done?
-Add a dishwasher: Did we mention we don't have one?
-New cabinets: Basically the same layout, but add a pantry cabinet on the other side of the fridge to add more storage and make up for the storage we lost from adding a dishwasher. Cabinets will have pull out shelves and soft close drawers and doors.
-No more soffets: They are pointless and possible storage space. Get rid of them! Bring the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. 
-Refinish the floor. It's hardwood under that darkness so why get rid of it? Refinish to a lighter color.
-Over the stove microwave: Upgrade to a nicer microwave and have more countertop space
-Actual slab granite countertop, in a lighter color. Yay!
-Stone tile backsplash from countertop to cabinet.
-Get rid of the overhead light and install 4 can lights. 


  1. I can see why you wanted to renovate! The layout is pretty good, but everything else is awful! (No offense.) I couldn't stand a kitchen that dark either. All of the changes you made sound great, can't wait to see it! (And I can't wait until we have a house where we can make changes... once we get back to Nebraska we can start house-hunting!)

  2. No offense taken! :) Some people actually didn't think it was that bad (but maybe it's because they didn't have to live with it everyday??). It will be fun for you to be able to make a permanent home just the way you want it!