Monday, April 02, 2012

Kitchen Reveal: the before and afters

This process started with a lot of hoping and dreaming.

I was fortunate that my kitchen was pretty functional. It was big and had plenty of storage behind all those zillions of cupboard doors.

Many a meal was cooked in this kitchen: 

The picture above is how it looked for the last 10 years. The cabinets, counters, and floor were all yellow when we got the house a few months before our wedding. I don't remember choosing formica countertops and vinyl floors, but apparently I did. My dad and Jeff installed them. The cabinets got slapped with a few coats of ultra white paint.

Over the years I've asked Jeff questions like this continuously,

"How hard would it be to take down the soffit above the sink?"

"Do you think we could make this cabinet shallower?"

"Why did the previous tenant see the need to texture the walls when he was intoxicated?"

"I wonder how much new cabinet doors would cost?"

"Should we buy or build a cabinet for the right of the stove?"

God created me with this intense desire to create and make the space I inhabit more beautiful.

(I'm totally blaming this on God... 

and my grandmother who was an interior decorator 

and read to me from 1960's decor books instead 

of children's literature during my formative years).

Images of kitchen like this taunted me:

Photo credit: Alisberg Parker Architects via Decor Pad

Oh, the wood countertops!

Oh, the crown molding!

Oh, the shaker doors and drawers!

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

Oh, the wood countertops!

Oh, the open shelving!

Oh, the apron front sink!

Oh, the beadboard!

Oh, the classic, country simplicity of it all!

Photo credit: Tiek Built Homes

Oh, the lantern-shaped tile backsplash!

I toyed with the idea of selling one of my organs on the black market 

to pay for hiring a professional kitchen designer and contractor. 

I would leave them with the stack of inspiration photos, then me and the family would spend a few 

weeks at the Grand Velas while the kitchen transformation took place.

How much are organs going for on the black market these days?

It probably wouldn't have been enough money anyway.

Instead we began the journey of "what needs to be done and how cheap can we do it?"

Click here to see more "before" pictures.

Along with new cabinet doors (ours were badly chipping to expose original lead paint),

some of my wants made the list too...

wood counters,

crown molding,

glass cabinet knobs,


I even got my lantern-shaped tile, with much hard work.

I laid the tile, Jeff made cuts on the wet-saw. 

My pregnant belly got in the way. 

The children did not get in the way because we worked at night after they were in bed.

My beloved soffit is gone, replaced with beadboard wall paper on the wall and ceiling.

The two new pendant lights were easy to wire once the entire ceiling was down.

For about 10.1 years, I wanted a cabinet on the right side of the stove. 

I made do with a wire cart thingy that spent 10.1 years being gross and nasty.

Jeff built the cabinet in about 2 hours.

I love, love, love it.

It even opens!

All the cabinet placement stayed the same, 

but I was able to make things a little more functional when we put on new doors.

The door to my baking cupboard used to open the other direction, 

cutting off heads if it stayed open while working.

Also, the shelves were a semi-circle and not useful.

Jeff built the new shelves according to my specifications, 

even the brackets that I copied from our fireplace mantel.

The upper part of the wall was light blue before.

The wall was SUPER bumpy (remember the intoxicated tenant?), 

so I tried to cover it matte finish paint (yuck) and the bottom portions with a thick wallpaper.

It sort-of worked.

Here is a good/bad "before" picture.

It's hard to say what I like most about my new kitchen.

Everything turned out as I hoped and dreamed. I really, really, like it.

We saved a ton of money by doing all the work ourselves.

I did research on the "best" / "cheapest" options for years. Literally.

I am so thankful for my husband's willingness to give me this nice space to work in.

He isn't a professional builder and often said along the way, "I'm no good at this!"

The results beg to differ. 

He was willing to try new things and that's what I admire about him. 

He also didn't roll his eyes too many times when I said, 

"I watched a show on this once...." and then tried to lend my advice.

Watching endless hours of how to do something and actually doing it are worlds apart.


PS I won't go into the gory details of what we spent on what.

If you are curious about where we found certain items,

leave a comment and I'll get back to you. Thanks for following our process!


AK said...

Seriously beautiful, Alysun! Way to go. You are more productive at 9 months pregnant than I am at 5 months postpartum. Proud of you!

KT Barnes said...

I ADORE THIS. I want to eat food there every day...because Lord knows I can't cook.

Sherri said...

Its amazing!
Now put your feet up and relax for a few weeks :)

Jill said...

Wow!!! I'm so glad it turned out exactly like you wanted! You can thank all those years of planning and waiting to get started - a well thought out plan is so rewarding! Now go make yourself something scrumptiously delicious to eat, sit down and relax a while ;)!

Anonymous said...

Good husband you have there! Nice work.

Kitchen Cabinet Doors said...

Wow !! looks awesome

Jess said...

Love the new look! Great job you two!

Janelle said...

It looks like the perfect farm-house kitchen! I can't wait to see it in person. And Jeff did an amazing job! I know how happy a completed project can make a wife, especially right before she has a baby! :)

Tawny said...

It looks lovely and I can't wait to see it. The best part? You still have all of your organs!

Linds and Manda said...

It looks great! I can't wait to see it "in the flesh".