I feel like I should probably knock on some wood or cross myself twice and throw a teaspoon of salt over my left shoulder before saying what I'm about to say next, but I think we're pretty much done with the kitchen renovation.
You remember the kitchen renovation, right? Long story short, Sean smashed a whole bunch of stuff up and I endured what I have since come to think of as My Bleak Period, during which we had, at one point, neither a floor nor a stove nor a sink. We did the whole renovation ourselves---with the exception of the counterop installation; turns out IKEA requires "experts" to do that, who knew!---and it probably took, start to finish, about three or four weeks.
But look, I watch enough HGTV to know what comes next. Before and after pictures, man! Let's get to the good stuff!
Here is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house:
Hello, the 80s called, and they don't want any of this stuff back at all, thank you very much.
Just take a deep breath. There's potential. I see the potential.
Trust me, I swear.
Awkward story about that light: I went "it's horrible!" at the exact same time our realtor went "it's so cool!"
So let's recap: pink flowery wallpaper, wood paneling, dated tile, and grubby linoleum. What do you think? Can anything be done to save this kitchen?
I say we give it the old college try.
So what did we do? Well, we:
* Stripped away the wallpaper (actually, my parents did this, so we cannot take any credit at all. They did it as a surprise when we were at work and even though they knew we weren't fond of it and wanted to get rid of it, I still thought it might be a hilarious joke to be all "What? You did what? We really wanted to keep that! Thanks for ruining the entire central design theme of our kitchen!")
* Ripped off all the wood paneling.
* Painted the walls a pale grey.
* Painted the cabinets bright white and added new brushed nickel handles and hinges. We also decided not to replace the cabinet doors under the bar and instead kept the space open. Right now we're storing a Costco-trip's-worth of San Pellegrino in there, as well as some dishes that I like enough to look at all the time, but we're toying with the idea of trying to make it into a home-made wine rack. I estimate this will happen in 2015.
* Replaced the light fixtures and hung our pot rack.
* Ripped out the existing countertops with a sledgehammer---they were basically straight concrete and chicken wire, and I don't think my back will ever be the same again after carrying one of them downstairs and out into the garage---and had them replaced with Misty Carrera caesarstone, which we ordered (and had installed) through IKEA. This was the only part of the renovation we didn't do ourselves, as I mentioned, and it was wonderfully freeing not to be responsible for it. I count the day I came home from work and discovered we had kitchen surfaces again among the top ten happiest of my life.
In case you're wondering, now is a really good time to remember that you're supposed to be baking something for the office bake sale tomorrow.
* Ripped out the backsplash and replaced it with plain white subway tile from Home Depot. Twenty cents a tile, friends! You know I like a bargain. (What I don't like, however, is grouting. Grouting can go to hell. Even the word grout is gross. Grout. Stout. Snout. Look, it even rhymes with other gross words.)
* Ripped out the sink and replaced it with a big white farmhouse sink (also from IKEA.) Added a big curved faucet made of brushed nickel that pulls out and sprays things. I KNOW.
* Pulled up the linoleum and put down a sub-floor, then tiled over the sub-floor with a porcelain tile that is meant to look like canyon slate. I cannot tell you the conversations we had about this floor; it must be the most-discussed floor in the history of the world. We talked and talked and talked about this floor: which tile should we choose? Were we choosing the right tile? Should we go back to Lowe's for the sixty-eighth time and look at it again just to be sure? Should we also go to Home Depot and Florcraft and three other tiling stores and see what they have as well, you know, just in case? Should we go with a gray floor instead of a brown floor? Should I take this jagged piece of tile here and slit my wrists with it JUST SO WE CAN STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS GODDAMN TILE LOOK IT'S FINE IT'S FINE IT'S FINE IT'S PERFECTLY FINE LET'S JUST MAKE A DECISION ON THE TILE.
* Painted a chalk board wall so that we'd have a nice big place for all my many to-do lists.
* Nailed in nice new white baseboards to make the room feel finished.
* Hung a few pictures (a trio of black and whites Sean took---Rome for where we got engaged, Sydney for our honeymoon, and San Francisco for where we live now---plus the laughing 1940s schoolboys that you may remember from here.)
* Replaced the fridge, dishwasher, and stove.
* Installed an over-the-range microwave.
And.....I think that's it. So you know, nothing much then.
I should clarify, by the way, that when I say "we" did the kitchen---particularly the items above that start with "ripped out" or "installed"---I really mean that Sean did the kitchen; I helped, of course, but he did the bulk of the work. I'm still kind of pinching myself that I married someone who knows how to do this stuff! That was a pretty lucky surprise.
Anyway, I'd say we're pretty much finished---I might hang a few more pictures and I'm debating whether to put a sort of natural seagrass or jute rug beneath the table at some point, but other than that, we're done---and we're both so thrilled with how it turned out. Budget-wise, we did it for far, far less than everyone told us it would cost to renovate a kitchen, and I think that had a lot to do with a) keeping and painting the original cabinets, rather than replacing them and b) doing so much of it ourselves. The countertops were our biggest splurge, and we bought the fridge with stockpiled wedding money---and a healthy dose of patience while waiting for it to go on sale---but everything else was done with a hammer in one hand and a calculator in the other to make sure we kept within our means.
Next project: the bathrooms!
But first just let me take a three hundred year nap.
The entire set of kitchen renovation photos is here, if you're interested: lots more befores, afters, and quite a few middles.