My original plan for Labor Day was to be super productive and finish up a few DIY projects. Unfortunately, I caught some sort of stomach bug and was down for the count and spent some quality time with HGTV while in bed, drinking Gatorade. At least it didn’t happen until Monday, after hubby and I made HUGE progress re-mulching the yard (but still have a long way to go).
Instead of a DIY post, I thought I’d focus on our kitchen renovation, with before and afters, followed by some lessons learned/tips in the next post.
I mentioned in our home tour that the kitchen had space, but it was used really poorly. I think living in such a small condo (624 sq ft) made me very critical of space not used well – it can make such a difference on if a room feels small or large. My condo may have been small but every inch of that space was maximized and had a purpose (I think that’s what fascinates be about Tiny House living).
There was a huge amount of space on the other side of the peninsula that wasn’t quite big enough for another table, but too small to be used for anything else. The counter tops were gray laminate and it had chipped off in a few areas. The cabinets were white, but in really bad shape – I don’t think the original quality was great and 40 years had taken its toll. The counter also had a lip in it up the wall (with no back-splash) and rather than move the outlet covers to accommodate, the previous owner just cut the bottom part of the wall plates off. Very attractive and I’m sure it was up to code.
The biggest issue was the the kitchen felt really cramped because of the peninsula and where you cooked was really closed in. And even though it looked like there was a lot of storage, there really wasn’t because it had these weird corner cabinets that you couldn’t really access.
The overall goal was to maximize the space, including adding ample counter space. While I’ve had fairly decent sized kitchens over the years, I’ve never had enough counter space. The design the contractor and I came up with included:
- Cabinets the full length of the wall, ending with pantry cabinets (there was no separate pantry)
- Moving the stove from the peninsula to the wall and adding a range hood
- Adding a long island, with counter seating, that would store the trashcan, microwave, etc.
- Replacing the cabinets and counter tops, adding a back splash
- Doing a build-in around the fridge to make it look more custom (we did manage to negotiate the fridge as part of the purchase – yea! But in return, the sellers pulled all the mirrors out of the bathrooms, which had been glued to the walls)
- Repainting the walls
- Removing the blinds and adding curtains/shades to the window/door
- Replacing the tile floors with new hardwoods
I’ll share more in the lessons learned post about why I chose what I did for finishes, etc., but I really wanted something that evoked warmth with modern touches.
Stove/Range: The contractor (also one of my best friend’s husbands) came up with idea to tile the full wall up to the ceiling behind the range and it’s stunning! I originally wanted the microwave above the oven, but he told me no, since you see the oven from the living room and dining room, the last thing I wanted guests staring at during dinner was an ugly microwave. He was so right. The hood and tile wall make such a great visual impact. We also extended the gas line to the kitchen so I could have a gas stove instead of electric – I really wanted the double oven range, but with the budget I had to choose either gas or get the electric with the double oven and I chose gas.
Cabinets & walls: I love the look of Shaker style cabinets – really simple and clean. I knew I wanted to go a little darker with the paint color (I’ve always wanted a coffee-colored kitchen) but wanted to keep the space light so chose solid white. I did brushed nickle for the fixtures, mainly because at the time, we weren’t planning to replace the kitchen faucet to be more cost effective (of course, it broke anyways 8 months later and we got a new one). The paint color is Toffee Crunch, a Behr paint color, but Sherwin Williams paint. Honestly, it was supposed to be a little darker so I may go back and change it (with the tile wall, there are really only two walls to paint).
Lighting: We added six can lights to brighten up the space, under- cabinet lighting and three pendents over the island, plus one over the sink. I chose Ikea pendents – I don’t know if I’ll keep them forever, but I feel ok with changing them out in a year or two since I didn’t spend too much on them. We also got under-cabinet lighting installed, which I love.
Bar stools: The bar stools were Goodwill finds – $20 for 4 – can’t beat that! The seating was a little worn so I bought some cushions from Ikea and gave them a fresh coat of white paint. I’d like to use a color on these, but I’m having a hard time committing so they are staying neutral for now. I can only fit 3 at the counter but the 4th lives in the corner by the pantry and I can squeeze one more in when needed.
Decor Wall: With little wall space, I didn’t have a lot of room to hang things, but I love how this wall turned out. I found the two coffee paintings at a consignment store (I happened to swing by on the day they got a huge shipment from a model home so scored these plus a bunch of throw pillows). The right side of the wall are all pieces from Hobby Lobby. The chalkboard I use for our weekly menu but also for special messages (like Happy Birthday!). The fork took some creativity to get it to stay on the wall since it’s meant to hang vertically. The current fork is fork No. 3 because the first two got knocked off the wall and broke. I finally used a hook for the prongs and that seems to have worked so far!
The final item I’ll mention is our coffee bar. I love coffee and so does my husband. I love having this little area in the kitchen. The tray my mother-in-law made us with our rehearsal dinner invites and it’s a sweet reminder of our wedding on a daily basis. The coffee sign is a World Market find and our pods live in the drawer below and mugs are in the cabinet right above.
Stay tuned for my lessons learned and what I’d do differently!