My Kitchen Makeover…FINALLY!

Many of you know we bought a new (old) house this past August. No mortgage was fun for a bit, but you’re not able to put your own stamp on a rental. Let’s face it, stamping is what my husband and I love. The restyle at the top of our list was the kitchen and our goal was to have it done by Thanksgiving. Several things got in the way. During the move one son contracted the West Nile Virus and then our main craft show season took off. There were many other things, but those were the most noteworthy. Through it all, we did get moving on the kitchen. While it’s still not completely done, we had the bulk of it done by Turkey Day. Yay, us! There are still a few jobs and touch ups to finish, but we were pleased with what we did get accomplished.

Before I dive in, I need to apologize on the quality of some of these pictures. Some were taken with my cell phone and others were taken with my camera. Some were not focused real well and should have been re-shot, but I didn’t edit anything until today…so, that opportunity was lost.

With that said, here we go!

We started the makeover with the walls. They were covered with a wallpaper that I hated. I didn’t want to keep it for several reasons… I don’t do wallpaper in a kitchen, it was filthy, too dark, the application was terrible (wrinkled, peeling, uneven, bubbling) and the design was not my style. It took me awhile, but I finally got it all scraped off. While the panels underneath were not something I would have chosen to work with, cost and logic determined that we use them. They cover plaster walls and they were not only nailed in place, but also glued. To take them down would have pulled off century-old plaster. That wasn’t a cost we were ready to undertake. Actually, we did need to take down a couple of them because of a mold issue.

We repaired the problem and replaced the panels with new ones. Definitely glad we didn’t have to do that everywhere. To hide imperfections in the panels I completely covered the walls with mud I applied with a sponge.

After that we primed them and applied a light gray color. After the darkness of the wallpaper you could almost hear the walls happily sigh.

We then moved on to the trim and cupboards. The trim! OH WOW! They were red. Just wiping them with a wet rag left the rag looking like we were cleaning a crime scene. We had to designate rags and brushes for just the trim so as not to transfer the color onto newly painted surfaces. After cleaning, sanding and priming with about 30 coats, we were finally able to paint them white.

The cupboards were by far much easier. If you’re a wood purist just look away. I have always wanted a house with white kitchen cupboards. As a matter of fact, that was one of the things on our check list when we were house hunting. If we bought a house without white cupboards, it was a given that I would be painting them. We changed the handles on the drawers and painted all the knobs and handles with a rubbed bronze color.

During this time my husband addressed the light over the kitchen sink. It wasn’t working and the wiring was left visible below the cupboards instead of hidden above it. I’m sure that’s why the previous owners hung a red curtain at the front of the cupboards instead of at the window. It was hiding the light and wires. Hubby replaced and rewired a new light and ran the wires above the cupboards. Bye-bye, curtain! Hello, brightness!By now you have probably noticed the red door in the after photos. Well, there is a story here. The hinges and door knob had been painted with layers and layers of paint. I loved the old hardware so we decided to remove the door and take off the hardware to clean them. They were stuck! I mean really, really stuck! After what seemed like too much time trying to get the pins out of the hinges, they finally came out. My husband walked a few steps away to set the pins down and over his shoulder I watched as the door quietly fell over. Quietly until the window section fell perfectly over the step ladder that was a few feet away. We stood there in shock as glass shattered everywhere. Needless to say, the door had a date with the glass shop and hasn’t gotten painted yet. The hinges look good though! 😉

The kitchen is a nice size, but the floor plan is a little funky. Appliances, sink and cupboards are spaced too far apart. The fridge is just inside the pantry, but I kinda like that. While a small table would be the obvious choice for most people in a kitchen, I opted for an island with cupboards, work space and a bar overhang so that we would have a place to sit and we could use our bar stools. BUT…the extra cupboard space and work surface was a big plus. We looked at several options for an island and finally it all came together.

Friends of ours were getting rid of old cupboards. Since they were the right height, I didn’t care what condition they were in. One section had drawers and the other a cupboard. After cleaning them we put them together and primed the fronts. The sides and the back were covered with wainscot paneling and we added a trim around the bottom edge.

The counter top was another issue. Purchased counter tops were very pricey, but my frugal mind kept telling me there was a cheaper option. I finally came across the “Nightstands Turned Kitchen Island” idea at Make the Best of Things.

While I already had the base taken care of, the counter idea had my name written all over it. I also used the pages from an old cookbook to decoupage the surface and then sealed it with two-part epoxy. It was my first try working with epoxy.

It may not be perfect, but I love it!

Lastly, we recovered the floors. Yes, they are peel and stick, but they fit the budget and I think the floor looks 200% better than what we started with. Tiles seem to get discontinued very fast, so we decided to purchase enough to do the mud room and the pantry at the same time since they all lead into each other. Those rooms haven’t been done yet, but it would be a total bummer to go buy it only to find it is no longer available.

So, like I said, there is still a lot to do, but I am elated at the transformation so far.

Enjoy!