{home & garden} our kitchen ~ before, during, after

I am soooooo tardy in sharing our Home Tour with you all. But I’ve been poked in the ribs enough times with all the emails asking “WHEN??” that I’m going to get my booty in gear and get this done for us all.  My goal to you and to myself is to post once a week on our house.

You would think this would be easy, but it involves digging through THOUSANDS of photos we’ve taken along the way, along with taking the updated photo for you.  Which, of course, means I want the rooms to be realitively clean.

But as I’ve said before, the after photos will be how the rooms are 99% of the time.  You may see kids, toys, laundry, or half eaten meals.  And if anyone spots a lost sippy cup or 2, let me know please!

As a recap, this is our house the day we bought it. I’m gonna hang out here while you look through that post and laugh…..

So this is our kitchen the day we bought the house. And that’s me with 6 month old Addie (4 months pregnant with Hayden).

We had not planned on tackling the kitchen when we moved in. Kind of took all our pennies just to buy the house. But we knew we needed to open the front Family Room (meaning raising the ceiling, and pushing out into the backyard. Both being possible because the roof line was existing). That meant that we would be able to get rid of that wall at the end of the kitchen and open the kitchen into the Family Room.

But we really needed to try and live with the Kitchen for the time being. Paint and clean it up, and then hold out.

Thankfully some of the cabinets were actually pretty functional, and again could just be cleaned up.

So much nicer once the wall came down and opened things up a bit.

The ceiling had to be opened as it was just unfinished drywall to patch an old water leak. This helped us as it meant we could update the electrical which was in DESPERATE need of attention.

But then the Heaven’s opened up and had mercy on us. Hubs received a call from a friend who was helping a small design showroom leave their current space. Everything need to go and the space needed to be demoed for future tenants.  If Hubs could take care of it all, then he could have everything. (Let me reitorate, demoing is not Hub’s normal job, but we he was willing to take on whatever to help our house. Hubs’ brain works like this ~ if you want it badly enough, you will find away to make it happen). Lord love him!

So he took on the job.

Hubs grabbed a few guys and paid for a days worth of help. We were able to take the entire stainless kitchen, and most of the cabinets, then sell the rest to both help pay for the help that day, and loads of other house surprises we ran into later on in the project (which you will with an old house).

Now that our kitchen was opened up and more of a blank slate. We brought in some of the base cabinets from the design showroom and started puzzle piecing things together in a fashion that made sense for this space. (The kitchen it came from was filled with angles).

Crazy how a little bit of playing around showed us that we could come up with a very workable configuration for us!

Then we brought back in some of the old upper cabinets, and added trim to update it all.  For counter tops we REALLY had no extra budget. This kitchen basically happened because of that demo job. So even if we dreamed of granite, Ikea’s butcher block counters have worked PERFECTLY for our family. And we were able to add a nice peninsula area for eating with the kids, a work surface, buffet spot, etc.

We also knew that we wanted open shelves somewhere. I love Juliska (no secret) and love seeing the collection out. But practically speaking, I also love the easy access.

To further update the cabinets, Hubs made another trade with a friend to help us make new cabinet fronts.  Then found a stainless steel hood from a Home Depot an hour away. It was being phased out with the release of a new model, so was a steal compared to most new hoods. It was simple, clean lined, and with no brand names. Worked with us.

Coming together more! This is when it started to become real that we really were going to have a brand new kitchen!  WhooHoooo!

Primer went on and it became even more real.

I can’t say enough how important a good painter is. I’ll write about ours one day as he is pretty much my hero for EVERYTHING! Ultimately your painter may not like you for cheaping out in some areas of your home as it will be his job to make it look good.  BUT if you choose to go higher end in areas and cheap out on your painter, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of money because it will look cheap.

I will ALWAYS be ok paying more for a fabulous painter, they are worth their weight in gold.

I mentioned above that we used the Ikea butcher block top on our counters. At the last minute however we were nervous about the undermount sink and water issues with the wood (which probably wouldn’t be an issue today as Ikea is showing this as an option in their showrooms, but at the time, it made us nervous). Thankfully a friend had a piece of a marble slab left over from a project.  It had it’s imperfections, but nothing we couldn’t live with. If we paid for the installation, it was ours. Sold.

This is the kitchen today (well last Friday actually) but it’s the “AFTER” picture.

I love that we were able to reuse so many cabinets, and by just updating the doors and hardware (Ikea handles), and painting it all out white the DIFFERENCE it all made! Remember, some of these cabinets were from the demo job, and some were already here and we just moved them around. So this is an eclectic mix, all with updated trim and white paint.

The Ikea counters are very functional and 3 years into us living here, have never let us down.

We’ve never gotten around to adding the glass to that cabinet. (Which we placed there on purpose as we were able to add a wine fridge from the showroom too. Should have taken a pic of that, sorry. It’s on the other side of the counter.)

Also, note the outlet to the right of the photo, over Addie’s head. If you get the chance to make over, or build a new kitchen, add outlets everywhere you MIGHT want one. Can you imagine having that big counter to work on and having to go back to the wall for the mixer? I can’t tell you how many times we make cookies and ice cream on this counter!

This is my other favorite thing in the kitchen. The door was existing. I asked our painter to cut it in half to make it a make shift Dutch Door. Then he added trim and a little chalkboard paint. When I’m working I can keep the top half open and can still be aware of what’s going on, but the bottom door locked to keep little hands from getting to the desk. It also lets me open the office door (which is the room behind the door) to let more air into the kitchen.

I use the chalkboard everyday. Whatever we need from any store goes on that door. I snap a photo with my phone whenever I leave so the list is always with me.

So there you have it.  We started here….

And ended up here, with the entire project being almost for free. Lots of late nights & sweat, lots of friends & family, and thanks to my fabulous Hubs, keeping an eye out for good deals and helping other friends out. To clarify, while we did have help from Electricians and our FAB painter, the rest of the construction fell to us Hubs, and friends & family.

Happy to answer any questions, just leave a comment below.  Stay tuned for another room next week!

20 thoughts on “{home & garden} our kitchen ~ before, during, after”

  1. Pretty much nothing. They are sealed (and I’ll need to ask Hubs what we used). We sanded them when they were installed, then sealed them. I have not done anything to them in 3 years. We do projects on them, and the kids often (as in daily) draw and paint on them as staying on paper isn’t there thing yet, and it always wipes clean. I don’t use it as a cutting board per say (I use a cutting board on top of it) but I’m not above making a sandwich directly on it. I also don’t put a hot pot or pan directly on it. With the 6 burner stove top, there is usually a place to place a pot to cool, or I keep a wood cutting board next to the stove. I certainly don’t baby the counter, and I’m all about easy things in my life, so you can be sure it doesn’t require a lot. Hope this helps!

  2. how wonderful!!!! looks amazing!!! are you floors hardwood??? what color?? i love that look!! you have them throughout your house right??


  3. Thank you Trish! Yes, we do have hardwoods in the kitchen and throughout the house. However, it’s b/c when we pulled up the horrendous old disgusting carpet, that was the surprise we found underneath :-) So we chose to stick with it and add it to the kitchen (because it’s open to the Family Room) as well as the new addition where we pushed out the Family Room to the backyard, to avoid weird transitions. Everywhere else in the house it was existing.

    I’ll need to check the actual color. I asked it to be as “dark espresso” as possible. But having lived with it, I would NEVER do a dark stain again. Very hard to keep clean especially with little ones. When it’s clean, it looks amazing, but when it’s dirty, it looks really bad. However, because we were trying to use the existing hardwood under the carpet, it was really damaged and water stained. If we had sanded it down to remove the stains, there was no guarantee we would be able to sand far enough, and ultimately would most likely compromise the integrity of the wood. Best solution was to go dark.

    But if you do not live in a super high traffic home with dirty feet and food all over constantly, it will always be my favorite! I’ll need to get back to you on the color. Thanks! :-)

  4. The story of how your kitchen came about is inspiring. Creative, cost efficient and truly functional and beautiful. What an amazing makeover!

  5. Thank you Cindy! The whole house was such a fly by the seat of our pants project. It all happened so fast, but in the end we have loved the home we built. And that we were able to do it all using so many cost saving ideas, was the only way it all happened. So glad you like the first room. Love to know what you think of the others as they are posted! Thanks!

  6. Wow! I LOVE how you guys changed it and made it so much more functional and added more space. The hubs and I are saving our pennies right now so that we can, not only give our kitchen a make over, but add on to our little abode.
    The pictures are inspiring and I love the look!

  7. Really beautiful! I love seeing remodel jobs as we have also remodeled our entire house as well. We’re big IKEA fans as well. All our cabinets are from IKEA and we got all of our appliances free or extremely discounted. It’s amazing how much you can save if you really try. We didn’t knock down any walls or add on, but it was still a TON of work. The thing is, we did most of the gutting and big stuff before kids came along. How on earth did you manage to live there with little kids with all that construction going on? Did you ever have to move out or stay somewhere else? How long did the whole project take?

  8. Shana:

    YOU are amazing! I love your kitchen and your web page!!! Always so inspiring!

    sending love from Dallas!

  9. Hi Shanna! I love how your kitchen turned out! And all the rest of your rooms as well! We live in Huntington Beach, CA. We bought our house (a complete “fixer-upper”) seven years ago and are just attempting to renovate (we have 3 boys, ages 3 – 8.). I know you did a lot of the work yourselves but I was wondering if I could get the contact info for your painter and anyone else that you hired in the area that you would recommend. I really enjoy reading your blog! Thanks so much, Deanna

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