Sunday, April 22, 2012

The kitchen....

Kitchen before.....

Kitchen after!
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home.  I guess it's because meals are lovingly prepared in there and you spend tons of time in there period.  It's not super inviting when the walls are blah, and everything else is just blah too.  Like I referenced before my old house was great....just not me.  The kitchen in that house was fairly big which I really liked.  The only problem - EVERYTHING there was white.  Appliances, cabinets and countertops.  We had long talked about switching out things but again we had spent our money in house and just never got to it before we left.  One thing I'd always thought about doing was painting the cabinets.  When I saw the blank canvas kitchen in this house I knew that's exactly what I was going to do.

When I say that Matt and I had some major freakout, unsure, panic attacks the kitchen cabinets are one of the biggest.  I decided before tackling the project I would do a sample door.  I painted and sanded and stained exactly like I wanted.  The sample door came out perfectly, didn't take a ton of time and we loved it.

thank goodness my dad helped me - bending over a zillion doors and drawers was killing me!
in progress drawers
So.....I started in on the cabinets.  The sanding took forever (thanks to my dad for helping me), the staining of the edges is a quick process - painting took forever because there were a million to spread out and paint fronts, backs, sides etc.  Then to poly coat the fronts, backs, sides etc.  I will confess I do think there is an exact fingerprint mark of my stained fingers on the inside of one door if anyone ever needs it.

The hardest part however - rubbing stain on the top of the paint and wiping it to give it the weathered look I wanted.  It was impossible for me to get them all looking similar.  The more I worked at it the more weathered they looked.  The more bewildered Matt looked as I went from a light weathering (something he came on board with hesitantly anyway) to much much more.

Finally we were ready to hang the doors.  We had an AMAZING find.  The super special, super old and custom hinges that are hidden on the doors (came with the kitchen and are cut out of the door so have to be used) suddenly didn't fit and allow the door to close with hopes of ever opening it again.   Matt had to carefully dremel each and every door on the edges to get it perfect.

Time to put on the hardware.  I had trudged through every store, online, lowes, home depot - everything to find hardware that I not only loved but was affordable.  I got it on the doors and HATED it.  Not just a little but a lot.  This is awesome when you've drilled holes in every door for this!

This is the basic cabinet doors before
This is our glass cabinets after!  

At this point I had a complete meltdown.  Matt was looking at the cabinets like I had mod-podged leaves or something and I was hysterical.  I hated it.  I had a screwdriver in my hand and he said he was ready to run because he thought I was gonna throw it!  I didn't (though it did cross my mind...)

We left for the night deciding we would start repainting in the morning - something that after a solid 2 weeks of nothing but cabinet work I was pumped about!...NOT.  When I returned however I didn't HATE them but wasn't sure.  I took to the stores, found new hardware that we LOVED and attached that.  We decided to put repainting on the back burner and went on with other projects.  One of which was we had 2 of the cabinet doors cut out for class pieces.
Lower cabinets after

Here's a money saving tip for you.....plain jane glass is cheap.  Glass with any sort of bubble or detail is NOT.  So we had plain glass cut for the cabinets.  I made a trip to lowes and for $18 dollars picked up a roll of the bubbly rain stuff you see them apply to glass on HGTV.  Matt was convinced this was awesome - I thought it was gonna look like cheap crap.  I can honestly say that I was completely wrong.  It was WAY (shockingly so) easy to install and has the exact look that we were going for and at about 1/4 of the price of getting glass cut like this.

Once we had everything in place, glass doors, hardware (and countertops installed) we looked back and LOVED the cabinets.  I guess it was something that has to grow on you.  It's for sure a specific style (which wasn't my intention at first but just sorta went in that direction) but I've received numerous compliments from people so I assume that they don't look mod podgy anymore and I'm proud to say I did them myself!  Matt has even come back lately and said how much he loves them and is so glad that we stuck it out because of the look.

I also painted the crown molding thats around the top of cabinets only (i.e. not the rest of room or window) the same color as the cabinets to make them look more custom like they had an extra finishing detail and were more grand.

Some other custom money saving tips were in the other finished we chose.  When it came to picking countertops we knew ours needed replacing but didn't want to spend a ton.  We went to Lowes and looked and the mid-grade color we liked was MORE EXPENSIVE than the basic color granite that we also liked.  Lowes was running a special on their most basic class A type of pattern.  We were looking for something neutral and nice and decided to go for it.  Man I'm so glad we did.  We never imagined getting granite but it worked out to not be nearly as expensive as we thought simply due to what we chose.

I have ALWAYS wanted a farm sink.  Always.  I HATE 2 sided sinks.  If you have one I don't hate yours it's just not functional for me.  That was my one request.  I really wanted cast iron but it was going to be several hundred dollars added so I spoke with the company and they were able to find me a stainless (aka comes with the granite install no charge) in a farmhouse and I LOVE it.

Appliances are something that add/take away from a kitchen.  Our existing super extra wide old stove was taking away.  We had a contract on our house around Christmas time.  Christmas time = stores running crazy deals that you don't always see the rest of the year.  When we saw Lowes running such a deal on stainless steel appliances (making a fridge, dishwasher, stove and microwave about 1/2 of what they normally are) we bought it.  We were able to keep them at Lowes and not have them delivered until we closed on the house.  Just paying attention to certain sales and time of the year saved us a ton.

As far as finished go I was oil rubbed bronze all the way.  I love the look and I love things that are nice but a little bit rustic.  Matt wasn't so sure.  I begged for the cabinet hardware to be oil rubbed and he agreed it did look better.  Then came time to pick out the faucet for the sink.  Naturally I wanted oil rubbed and he wanted stainless.  I won the battle and so glad I did.  We've used the oil rubbed bronze house throughout our house and I am thrilled with it.  In the kitchen we incorporated it into cabinet hardware, sink faucet as well as in the light fixture that hangs above my sink....

About that light fixture....I knew exactly what I wanted and everywhere I looked what I liked was stinkin expensive.  I'm not one who is going to pay $400 for a tiny light over the sink when it's simply cosmetic.  So I searched and searched.  We made a random trip into our hometown hardware store and there was the most perfect light and it was ...get this $60 bucks.  It made the trip home with me and I feel pulls the kitchen finishes together well.

Love this tool!
Another point of contention was on the backsplash.  I was thinking neutral originally and Matt wanted cool glass tile.  So I got online and started ordering samples (because ordering custom glass tile in Lowes or anywhere was OUT OF THE BUDGET).  I found a sale online and was able to order our dream color limey apple glass tiles for a few hundred dollars.  We did the install ourselves (not too hard actually) and this makes the kitchen in a way it wouldn't if we had done neutral and painted the wall a color.  This backsplash is so Matt and I loved the way it juxtaposed his style with mine.  It's one of my favorite features in the kitchen.
The diamond bit on the dremel made cutting the class tiles super easy!
This color should be named Matt Houser
Custom made open space for mixer and cookbooks

One thing that's always bugged me is a bunch of junk on the counter.  There is a perfect balance between nothing and too much.  Though beautiful (and I did want it displayed) my mixter was always in the way as well as my cookbooks.  Our old oven was way wider than normal ones today.  So when we replaced appliances I had some extra inches left over.  We were able to create an open cabinet that I had measured to perfectly fit my mixer (and it's deep enough my toaster that we rarely use is hidden behind it) and my cookbooks can be neatly displayed, accessible and leave my not so large counter space free!

Finally I painted the pantry door with chalk paint and love it.  I'm contemplating painting another entire wall with it because it seems to bring a cozy very homey vibe when we have our grocery list and the kids artwork in chalk in.  I've seen several HGTV kitchens where there is a floor to ceiling chalk wall and that's probably my next project....after this baby comes because I so can't start a painting project least I don't plan on it.

I keep chalk nearby and always have a grocery list going.  It's super handy and when I run out I add it.  When I leave for the grocery I take a picture of the door on my phone and go from there.

It was a bumpy ride with the cabinets for sure, 100x more work than I thought (just because nothing went as planned) but in the end I'm super happy I did them this way!  I love looking at the before and after of the kitchen. It's the most dramatic change in all of our house and I really do feel that for not a ton of money we were able to take a basic and boring kitchen and turn it into something totally us and very cozy and warm.

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