Kitchen: Take Two

One couple’s adventure in kitchen remodeling

The Grand Finale

Posted by kitchentaketwo on May 14, 2009

Okay, this will probably be the final post – for a while at least. I’ve got a number of other household projects I need to work on, and if any of them are worthy of a post, I’ll be sure to add them. But I thought it’s only fair to provide some genuine After photos. If you started at the bottom of this blog, you saw the kitchen as it was when we purchased the house in 2006. Decent, working appliances, yellowed vinyl flooring and dark wood cabinets and wainscoting.

Before

Before

Before

Before

Then you saw it transform into a tan room with white cabinets…without doors. The cabinet painting was a fatal error on our part and led us to this most recent transition. Keep in mind, we didn’t have cabinet doors for more than two years. So, if you’ve never been invited over – that’s why.

White cabinets

White cabinets

White cabinets

White cabinets

We purchased new cabinets on Feb. 21. The old cabinets were torn out on March 11. New cabinets went in March 18. Lighting and tile floors followed. Then new beadboard paneling, baseboards and chair rail, new laminate countertop, new granite composite sink and hardware, plumbing, backsplash tile and finally all the appliances.

I wish I could say it has been easy, but this process has been one of the most exhausting, expensive, stressful and insomnia-inducing “events” in my 25 years. The good news? We’re both really happy with the result. And still married. And I think I may have a knack for hobbies that involve saws. Any sort really, I’ve become well acquainted with several (miter, circular, jig and tile, to name a few).

And now, for the AFTER pictures! Click on a thumbnail to see the photos full size.

Things I would have done differently if given the money chance:

  • Hired a pro to do all the electrical work.
  • Hired a pro to do the plumbing.
  • Not hired a plumber to put new valves in for nearly $400. I was dumb and let them take advantage of my eagerness to get it done. Expensive mistake.
  • Cabinet big enough for a trash can and recycle bin.

Things I love:

  • Subway tile backsplash. Cheap. Clean. Simple.
  • The countertop that was about $1,400 cheaper than granite and looks good to boot.
  • Huge single bowl sink.
  • Fresh white painted trim.

Drop me a comment if you love it, hate it or have any questions. Thanks to everyone who has helped us through this project!

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It’s getting close…

Posted by kitchentaketwo on May 5, 2009

This weekend, I spent a good portion of Saturday painting beadboard paneling and the baseboards and chair rail around the kitchen. Scott installed the dishwasher and hooked up the plumbing, so we can finally use our big sink!

Painted Beadboard

Painted Beadboard

On Sunday, we made another trip to Home Depot to get tiling supplies. Then I set to work on one side of the kitchen backsplash. Setting the tiles wasn’t hard, but it did take some time and patience. The little rubber spaces are a pain, but also help keep the lines super straight. Luckily, we have a small tile saw from a previous, ahem, project, so we didn’t have to lay out a lot of money for the backsplash. We used plain white 3×6 subway tiles, which were really cheap at Home Depot – just over $1 a square foot, I think.

Tile In Progress

Tile In Progress

On Monday night, I continued with the other side of the backsplash while Scott grouted the first side. The finished side looks good, and we were finally able to move the range into the kitchen and out of the dining room. I didn’t finish because it got dark and I didn’t want to run the tile saw at night (there are kids next door). So, there’s one more row to set tonight and tomorrow, we’ll grout that side. All in all, the backsplash has been one of the least expensive jobs, but also has had a lot of impact. Gotta love that!

Grouted Tile

Grouted Tile

We’re having family in town this weekend, so it’s been a mad dash to get the house back into order. Most of the kitchen stuff is still in the living room, and the dining room and entryway have become catchalls because we were without countertops for so long. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but I think the kitchen has turned out beautifully so far and I can’t wait to see the final product.

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Countertop is in!

Posted by kitchentaketwo on April 27, 2009

Just over three weeks after we placed our order with Mid-Cities Countertop, it’s in! And it looks great. It took them about two hours to install it. We chose Wilsonart Laminate in Brazilian Topaz – a brownish color with specks of black. It matches the cabinets really well and also ties in the black appliances. Also, we chose a blackish gray granite composite sink – that’s in the third picture.

countertop1

countertop2

countertop3

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Pantries, Paneling and Molding, Oh My!

Posted by kitchentaketwo on April 27, 2009

Two weekends ago, Scott and I took out the old wood shelves in the pantry and patched the walls. Friday, I primed and painted, and on Saturday morning, we installed Elfa shelving. It was hard because of the tight space (the pantry is about 6 feet by 1 foot, with a 4-foot wide opening).  The shelves look good, and we created a space to hang brooms, mops, etc. so they’re accessible but out of sight.

Elfa shelves in pantry

Also that weekend, I installed the new bifold doors for the pantry. They come with all the hardware and are primed for painting which is great, but they’re not very straight. Not sure what to do about it, but they’re better than the old brown ones we took off.

Pantry Doors

Then on Sunday, Scott washed the cars and did some yard work while I installed our new beadboard paneling on the lower kitchen walls. We had pulled off wainscoting that was pretty dated, so the lower parts of the walls were bare. With a circular saw (my new favorite tool), a jigsaw, and a nail gun (another favorite), I got all the paneling up. I still need to put molding in the corners, on the floor and need to add a chair rail.

Then this weekend, I installed the baseboards and other moldings on the paneling. I’ve put up the chair rail where I could. Because it sits right next to the counter top in a few places, I couldn’t put it all up.

Speaking of countertops, they are being installed as I type this and I can’t wait to see the final product.

After they are completely installed, we can put the sink in, do the plumbing to the dishwasher and  finish the chair rail. Then, final caulking and painting the paneling and molding. It’s coming together!

Beadboard Paneling

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Pepe and Co. or Our New Tile

Posted by kitchentaketwo on April 13, 2009

Scotty is a people person. I’m the first to admit it. He’s a people person and I’m not. And he can wheel and deal with the best of them. The combination is something to behold.

So I was thrilled, but not surprised, when he came home with a plan for our tile installation. We purchased our tile right after we got the cabinets in February from the Floor and Decor store in Arlington. It’s great tile – looks a lot like the travertine we have in both bathrooms – but was a lot cheaper. The plan was to have one of Scott’s old work buddies do the install, but he’s got a lot going on. So he recommended Pepe.

Pepe came by with his son to take a look at the kitchen last week and quoted us a great price for the install. (His son was so excited about los perritos! in the backyard – it was really cute).

Anyway, Pepe arrived Saturday afternoon with a crew of three other guys and they knocked out the tile installation in about four hours (it would have taken us weeks…) and came back again Easter Sunday to lay the grout. Pepe was a little intimidating. He was expressionless and didn’t smile, but he did a killer job on our tile. I tried to win Pepe and Co. over with Sonic Cokes but I’m not sure if it worked or not…anyway, we know who to call if we need any tile work done in the future. Backsplash, perhaps?

I could not be happier with the tile. It’s starting to look like a real kitchen!

New tile

New tile

New tile

New tile

You may be thinking: where is all their stuff? It’s in the living room. Yes, even the fridge. And no, I’m not posting a pic of that disaster area 🙂

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Lighting, etc.

Posted by kitchentaketwo on April 13, 2009

I have forgotten to mention this, but the kitchen was without lights for the entire cabinet installation process. So that we (my mom) could paint the ceiling and so we could see what the electrical looked like under our big, buzzing fluorescent light box, we took it down. We also removed the ceiling fan over the breakfast area (yes, you read that right) and the light above the sink because it was attached to the soffitt that was also removed.

We opted for bronze/black finished light fixtures to match the cabinet hardware. A simple pendant kit for above the sink, a decorative track light with adjustable bulbs to replace the big fluorescent box in the middle of the kitchen, and a small chandelier for over the breakfast area. Sounds easy, right?

Well, it wasn’t. Again, Lowe’s had what we liked at reasonable prices, though it took four different Lowe’s before we found the track light. The installation was a little more tricky. Old electrical boxes and new fixtures aren’t easy. Even with two people, it was tough getting everything into the ceiling and lined up correctly – but we did it.

Here’s the track light.

Track light

Track light

Chandelier

Chandelier

I haven’t taken a picture of the pendant yet, but it looks like a chandelier shade with just a plain cord to the ceiling – very simple. And while installing all these lights wasn’t fun and may or may not have involved some heated exchanges 😉 we are glad to have saved a ton of money by not hiring an electrician for any of the work. Scott and a friend converted several hard-wired areas (where the cooktop was and where the garbage disposal was plugged in) to regular outlets and added an outlet for the new microwave/hood combination, which we also installed. It was definitely a two-person job and took a lot of patience.

We opted for all black Kenmore appliances from Sears. Despite our desire for stainless steel, we decided to get a nearly-as-good look for a lot less money. Here’s the microwave – the installation picture is not great so I added a Sears pic, but trust me – we really installed it.

Microwave

Microwave

I spent the weekend of April 4-5 removing all the wainscoting and molding around the floors in the kitchen. It wasn’t hard, but did create quite a mess. So now the bottom half of the walls are bare. We’re planning to install beadboard paneling there to update the look a bit.

Bare walls and floor

Bare walls and floor

FYI: For those of you who’ve been to our house, you know baseboards have been missing for…well about two and a half years now. I’m happy to report that the entire hallway now has baseboards and several of the door frames also have new molding. That was also part of my last two weekends. The entryway is still not finished -we’re not sure the uneven wood floor is going to stay and I don’t want to put molding down just to have to tear it up.

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Cabinets are in!

Posted by kitchentaketwo on April 9, 2009

It’s been a while since the last post, and a ton has happened. Most importantly, the new cabinets are in and look beautiful. I’m biased, but I think they look way more expensive than they were and just as good as a lot of remodels I’ve seen on HGTV and DIY (which I’ve been watching a lot of lately).

We went through Lowe’s to buy the cabinets and have them installed. We also worked with them to have the old cabinets torn out – it cost some money, but I’m confident they did a much better job leaving walls intact than we could have.

Here are a couple of pics of the empty kitchen after tearout.

Sink side

Sink side

Oven side

Oven side

It was a huge relief to have the old painted cabinets out, but also left us with a lot of prep work before the new ones could go in. There were several small and moderate holes that required patches. I watched a video tutorial on how to repair drywall and was able to patch the holes fairly easily with low-cost supplies  including joint compound, a 4 inch trowel, and drywall patch kits – these come with a metal backing and a screen that you cover with joint compound.

Then I sanded the entire area where there were nail holes and adhesive from the backsplash and used more joint compound to smooth those areas.

The removal of the soffits created some more tasks. The ceilings and walls where the soffits had been were covered in popcorn and nothing, respectively. So, I worked with a looped roller and wall texture mix to create a knockdown texture that matches the rest of the kitchen. This was only after renting a texture sprayer and having NO success – it sputtered texture and was impossible to use.

Scott patched the huge hole where the oven had been with new drywall. I primed and painted the newly textured areas and the paint was barely dry the day the installers came (we had one week between tearout and installation).

Cabinet Installation

Cabinet Installation

It took them two days to get all the cabinets in and the hardware installed. We originally chose a nickel hardware and I had second thoughts a few days before installation. I ended up getting a oil-rubbed bronze type and am so glad that’s what we chose. It looks great (but this fuzzy picture doesn’t).

Hardware

Hardware

Here are a couple of pictures of the cabinets in. After the installers were finished, I decided I wanted to add an extra drawer cabinet to the end of one run on the sink side, creating a small desk area for cell phones, mail, etc. I installed that one myself (woot!)

Sink Side

Sink Side

Oven side

Oven side

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And the winner is…

Posted by kitchentaketwo on February 27, 2009

Just as I was preparing to order our new cabinets from Ikea (Adel Medium Brown), I took a trip to Lowe’s to peruse their countertop options. I’m not a huge fan of the laminates at Ikea, and wanted to get an idea of price.

Lo and behold, as I trek through the kitchen section, I see that the Kitchen Classics assembled in-stock cabinetry is on clearance! When I calculated costs for these cabinets a few months earlier, it was very close to the cost of Ikea’s cabinets. Not anymore! These babies are cheap, but they still look good. Spent a good part of the next day with super nice kitchen specialist who walked us through everything.

Finally, we bought our cabinets! They look a little darker/richer in person. And can’t beat the price! Less than $2,000 for our entire kitchen and two for the laundry room.

Our new cabinets!

Our new cabinets!

We had the Lowe’s contractor out Wednesday to measure and make sure the cabinets we purchased would fit – and yes! Our measurements were pretty accurate and they will. So now, our dining room is filled with new appliances and fully assembled cabinets.

The contractor will come out in about 10 days to tear out the old kitchen. Hopefully, we won’t have to do much electrical or sheetrock work. We’re pulling down our soffits, though, so who knows?

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Painted cabinets?

Posted by kitchentaketwo on February 10, 2009

Our first thought was to brighten up the kitchen by painting the cabinets and paneling white and adding a neutral sand color to the walls.

Scott and I painting the kitchen

Scott and I painting the kitchen

So, we began this process, and with the help of Scott’s parents, we were sure it was going to turn out great.

What we should have done, though, was research. We used white latex paint on the cabinets…bad idea.

The cabinet doors have many grooves and edges, which makes painting them difficult and tedious.

The primer and paint looked gunky…and still do.

We should have researched how to paint the cabinets – which would have included washing, sanding, primering and painting with oil-based paint.

Hindsight is 20-20.

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Where to begin…

Posted by kitchentaketwo on January 26, 2009

Rewind to September 2006. Scott and I had found a house with plenty of space, lots of blank slates (walls and floors) and in our price range. Score! But the house was built in 1977, so though there had been a number of updates throughout, there were still things we wanted to change. For now, though, I’ll stick to the kitchen.

Here are a couple of before shots. These were taken before we moved in. Not too bad for a 30 year-old kitchen, but the dark, dated cabinets and yellowed vinyl flooring didn’t set our hearts afire.

This was our blank slate.

This was our blank slate.

Facing the breakfast area.

Facing the breakfast area.

So, before we moved in, we vowed to lighten up the kitchen by giving the walls a neutral tone and showing the cabinets some love with bright white paint.

Or, that was the plan…

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