When we moved here, I thought I was in love with the cute vintage kitchen. It was the quintessential 1950s color scheme and vintage cabinets. If there is one room in the house that I spend the most time in it is definitely the kitchen. I absolutely love cooking. I find it truly relaxing and I enjoy eating just as much, if not more. Just mastering how to cook on the big electric stove was a feat in itself. It took me the good part of three months just to not scorch everything. As Steven predicted, within a few months here I grew tired of the kitchen. It turned out to be a complete eyesore. Most of the first floor was now finished, everything had been painted, the floors had been refinished, and it just intensified how old and dingy the kitchen really was. The florescent light did not to it any favors either.
We decided to give the kitchen a bit of a facelift- just enough of an upgrade that I didn’t loath being in there; something that was clean, tidy and user friendly. Eventually we want to really go to town and do a full gut kitchen renovation but for now I just wanted somewhere that I enjoyed being.
As with most of our projects, it began with ripping out the floor. I have grown into the habit of ripping up flooring. There have been so many outrageous floor coverings in this house and the kitchen was no different. It was textured linoleum that made it impossible to clean. So one night the kids went to bed and Steven and I went at it. Up came linoleum along with its plywood backing. Underneath was tar-paper which was an absolute nightmare so we decided to just leave that there for now.
The plan was to:
- Take up the old flooring and install something new
- Replace the “petri-dish” counter tops- that literally look like a sixth grade science experiment where you are growing bread mold
- Paint all the cabinets, ceiling and walls
- Install new cabinet hardware
- Install a new backsplash
- Install a new sink, faucet, and garbage disposal
- Install new electrical outlets
We wanted to do this kitchen on the cheap, and I am proud to say we have. Out came the floors and counter tops. We had a long debate about whether or now to modify the cabinets and remove the (unusable) portion that met with the ceiling. I won-they were taken out. We ordered maple countertops from lumberliquidators.com and they lead time was 10 days. That gave us 10 days to get everything else in order before they arrived. After taking out the bulkhead, Steven installed crown molding to the tops of the cabinets. I think this made them look complete, but also gave the sense that the room was bigger. Visually there was nothing blocking your vision to the 4 corners of the room.
As with many projects, I am always wondering in the back of my head when something was done. How old were the cabinets, or the countertops, or the backsplash. Lucky for us, this question was answered when we were removing the backsplash- 1949. There was a ton of old new paper in the wall behind the backsplash. This seemed about right. The cabinets had been many different colors we found while sanding them- there was green, pink, and white. All the cabinets were sanded, primed and painted. We painted all of the cabinets the same white that we had been using on the rest of the trim (Sherwin Williams Dover white). I really liked the look of open shelving so we used the cabinets and just removed the doors off the two cabinets flaking the sink where our dishes our kept.
We installed new GFI outlets and ran new electric for the Garbage disposal. Took down the hideous florescent light and installed a new light fixture that we found at crateandbarrel.com. One of my favorite, most useful things in the kitchen is the garbage disposal. We use an air activated switch that is installed directly onto the counter-top. It doesn’t use electricity so you don’t need to worry about getting any water on it, and it is hidden and doesn’t take up space on the backsplash.
By the time the countertops arrived most of the kitchen was finished. We got a fiberglass sink from Home Depot that we were able to under mount. This makes the sink feel much deeper. Steve made a template, cut and routed out for the sink before he treated the countertop. He made his own stain using aniline dye then sealed them with multiple coats of Waterlox. I really liked the matte finish of natural butcher-block so he used a satin finish and sanded. The backsplash is wide beadboard. It is easy to clean, and we can always repaint it. Plus, I think it matched with the kitchen nicely. I am always striving to make things look timeless. I don’t particularly like trendy materials- and I think coming into this house with so many dated things just intensified this thought. We installed a laminate floor. It is easy to clean, and doesn’t scratch, and it was easy on our wallet.
All in all, the kitchen is done for now. I still have to upgrade the appliances. I have replaced the dishwasher- simply because the old one hardly worked and I was washing dishes before I put them in, and washing them when they came out. I do need a new stove and refrigerator but I would rather get the ones I REALLY want, and be able to reuse them when we renovate the kitchen again in the future.
Doing the kitchen, in my opinion, has really increased my quality of living. Its now my favorite room of the house and I am cooking up a storm. I couldn’t be happier with the transformation and that we were able to do this under budget- just under $1,500.00.