So I am finally ready to share with you all my kitchen! Nick and I have worked so hard for the past few years on this space. We had to do things little by little as we could afford the changes, but I will say that this space was definitely renovated on a budget (meaning that there is so much more we would have done with unlimited funds ha!). I didn't choose fancy quartz, an expensive backsplash or refinish the floors (which I would like to :)), but I am so happy with my quaint little kitchen and am excited to share.
First lets take a peek at the original kitchen. Honey Oak cabinets, pink laminate countertops, and plaid & apple wallpaper. The wallpaper was the VERY first thing to go! My before photos were taken on an old phone and were very hard for me to track down, but I couldn't believe it when I found them. I remember this kitchen, but it was still shocking to see how far it has come.
The kitchen just seemed SO dark and gloomy. The first step in removing the wallpaper was a huge help! Because the kitchen already had a chair rail all the way around, we added a traditional wainscoting to brighten it up and painted the walls above the chair rail - SW7030 Anew Gray.
You will notice in the photo above that the peninsula consists of a 12" deep cabinet with a 12" overhang. When we got new countertops, my husband and I built out a skirt with 2 legs for support so the overhang could stretch out another 6". You will also notice that he had bought bar stools that were way too high! The new space has an 18" overhang which makes the peninsula look more substantial and creates a better work space for meal prep. I sit at this bar area often working on crafts and I have loved having the extra leg space. For a flush bar, 18" is best.
After countertops were in, we painted the base and upper cabinets and had the backsplash installed. Things were starting to look really good and I was super excited seeing the progress. The base cabinets I painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in the color, Chateau Gray. This grey has a green tint which I love. Green is my all time favorite color for those who don't know. Although, you probably do know because I feel like I say this all the time!
Getting the cabinets painted, countertops installed and backsplash up were a breeze so we were flying through this process. We were so close to being done. Honestly, I wasn't crazy about how certain things were looking anyways so the snag we hit last December was a true blessing. We decided to purchase appliances for Christmas. We had been looking at them for several months and pulled the trigger, finally. We ordered a cabinet depth refrigerator because of it's location in our space. It may seem large in the photos, but not in comparison to what was originally delivered. They accidentally delivered and installed a standard depth refrigerator at first and it was a monster. I am so glad we went with counter-depth - after seeing the standard size installed, the counter-depth made a huge difference. I highly recommend it if you have a tight space and/ or see the side of the refrigerator when entering your kitchen like me.
Here is where we ran into the snag that had me in tears. As a designer, this was also just super embarrassing that I can't get myself together for my own house. The refrigerator came in and was too tall for the cabinets. I had to take the upper cabinet above the refrigerator off the wall for the installers to set my refrigerator and then my kitchen looked worse than when it started. The refrigerator we selected was taller than the average refrigerator, and I didn't even think to check. That is part of my job as a designer, but I often wing things for my own home which is something I can't explain (pinky promise I am more detailed than this). This is when we determined that we could either fudge a solution or get all new upper cabinets. This may sound extreme, but I was not crazy about my original upper cabinets anyway. There was a space for a microwave that made the cabinets on the sink wall virtually unusable. There were two skinny cabinets on either side and two super short cabinets at the top. None of these cabinets could even fit a plate. Nick and I didn't even own a microwave so I was using that space for a fruit bowl and cook books. I did not like it, but it's what I had to work with. Another thing - the paint job I had done on the base cabinets, I was pleased with, but the upper cabinets just seemed to look painted and I couldn't make them look the way I wanted them to. We also felt like having the cabinets installed to the ceiling would help our kitchen feel taller, larger and more open so this was a chance to check off that wish list item.
Okay I'm wrapping this up, I promise! I know this one is long so I congratulate whoever has made it this far. We got the new upper cabinets and they truly made our kitchen! I have so much more space for storage. The wall where the microwave cabinet was has 4 full sized cabinets now. The cabinet over the refrigerator is now 24" deep instead of 12" deep which means - a) I can actually open the doors without standing on a step stool & b) I can store large items in there since I don't have a pantry. Another part that I love and highly recommend (read more about custom looking kitchens here) is that we included matching end panels on all of the new cabinets. This is an end piece that matches your door style and makes your kitchen look larger and more finished. The most important finishing piece for my set up is located at the end of the refrigerator. This is important for me because the side of the refrigerator is the first thing we see when we enter the kitchen. It is much nicer to look at than the side of an appliance.
After the cabinets were up, all we had left to do was to install the remaining portion of the backsplash to the ceiling (previously cut off my a cabinet valance - luckily we had the same tile leftover and I remembered my grout color) and get my favorite part - the goose neck wall light - installed. I searched for the perfect light for months. I did not originally want a pewter look, but I just loved this one and I am super happy with the way it looks. I found it on Wayfair for a great price! I am very happy with the way the tile looked installed around the window. Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted the kitchen to just look "finished" - It is details like this that make that so.
Although things didn't go quite like we expected, we are so happy with the turn out. I come home from work and love to do little things around the kitchen. I even enjoy cleaning it just because I love to see it when everything is put together. All of the little things that are imperfect about my kitchen, most people don't even notice. For instance, did you happen to see just how different the base and upper cabinets are? I actually love it! The base cabinets have a raised panel door style while the uppers are recessed. The base cabinets have exposed hinges while the upper cabinets hinges are hidden. These are the types of imperfections that give this space character & matches mine and Nick's personalities. There are still a few minor things that we would like to do to get things perfect, but when does that ever stop?
Remaining wish list items include: installing recessed can lighting to replace to middle - track look alike - fixture, refinishing the hardwoods someday (this would include the whole house so it's a big undertaking), refinishing the ceilings (also includes the whole house), and doing some minor touch ups to the garage door. It just needs a little TLC.
Tip - when renovating a space on the budget, you have to decide what areas you are going to splurge on and what areas you are going to keep simple. Nick and I splurged on Upper cabinets to the ceiling with end panels (end panels are a big chunk!) and appliances. We saved by selecting a builder grade granite, simple travertine backsplash and inexpensive wall mount light. We also were able to save by doing what we could on our own and accepting "imperfections" that were not practical for us to take on right now.
Thank you so much for reading! Please comment below if you have any questions or comments.
Interior designer inspired by color, nature, and texture. I love sharing my projects with you. Please have a look around and keep in touch by subscribing.