“I just wanna finish my. . .” kitchen remodel! After two years of work, we can finally say that we are finished with our on-a-budget kitchen renovation. I cannot WAIT to show you the before and after pictures.
We moved into this house in 2014, just a few weeks before our daughter was born. The timing was probably not the greatest, but thankfully, we have amazing family and friends that helped us move in and make it a home before our baby girl arrived. My priorities were getting the baby’s room ready (like she actually slept in there. . .), getting our room ready, and getting the kitchen usable. As long as those areas were functional, the rest would come with time!
House status: Needs improvement
We knew upon purchasing the house, that we wanted to make some changes. The stripes on the walls had to go, and the kitchen needed some updating. First off, every single wall in that house got repainted by our family and friends (mostly my mom, bless her hardworking heart!) because I was approximately 14 months pregnant and no one would let me exert myself. I had some, um, bold color choices that don’t make it the most neutral home on the block, but definitely the cheeriest!
The kitchen was functional, but had very little counter space. The floors were showing some wear, but they would hold up for a little while. There was a breakfast bar that I think we sat at maybe five times. We knew the kitchen would work as it was for a while, but we immediately started making plans for improvements. But before we get to that, you HAVE to see the “before” shots. These were taken the first day we went to the house after closing.
The first improvement was paint. The stripes were sanded down and a fresh coat of sunny yellow paint was applied. I know, you’re going to see the next picture and think, “She wanted yellow paint with those cabinets and those floors?!” But bear with me, I had an end goal in mind!
I have a lot of “during” pictures if anyone is truly interested in those, but I might just save that for another post sometime. The first thing we had to do, was figure out how we wanted to use the space. I wanted to add cabinets along the blank wall and where the breakfast bar was so that I could get a really long prep counter. During the planning portion, we decided to (have an electrician) move our oven and microwave to make better use of our space. Once we figured that part out, I went to Lowe’s and had them help plan our cabinet layout and get them ordered.
We Started from the Bottom, Now We’re Here!
The first step of our project was the floor. We decided on peel and stick vinyl tile that would get a thin line of grout in between. We could have just thrown a layer on top of the existing floor, but I wanted to tear out the carpet in the hallway that connected the kitchen and our bedroom and make it match the kitchen. So, we (my husband) tore off the peel and stick tile in the kitchen and found two layers of linoleum!! Why the previous owners needed to put new floors down twice in 14 years was beyond me. So, he tore out both layers there, and I tore out the carpet in the hallway.
After taking all the flooring out, the kitchen was a good 1/2 inch lower than the living room, so we bought quarter board and put down a layer to build the kitchen back up. We also had to lay it down the hallway to get all of the floor surface level. Our floors were plywood for longer than I’d like to admit. Finally, we put some adhesive primer and started laying our tile! I’d be lying if I said everything was square, but I’m pretty sure our house is a little crooked all around. We tried.
I think by the time our son was born, the tile all had grout and I could finally put those supplies away. He might have been a month old. I don’t even know anymore.
I’ve Got a Blank Space Baby, and I’ll Install a Cabinet
In the midst of the flooring project, my unfinished cabinets from Lowe’s came in. I went with unfinished so that I could paint them and the existing cabinets and make them all match. This was a budget renovation, so I was not about to replace any cabinets! Our electrician moved the power supply for the oven and the microwave, I got the cabinets painted, and a friend helped my husband install them. My one complaint about the cabinets was the lazy susan in the corner cabinet. There was so much wasted space, so we took the lazy susan out, busted out the back of the corner cabinet, and installed shelves to utilize the dead space between the cabinet and the wall.
I See a Red Door (Cabinet) and I Want to Paint it Black (White)
I’m not gonna lie. . . I was pretty tired of white paint by the end of this ordeal. Maybe if I had really gotten motivated and did it all in a weekend, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but most of this renovation was done on partial days of a weekend, after a kid (or both, because the remodel has lasted that long…) went to bed, or in a few short hours when I was kid free. This isn’t a tutorial, you’re better off searching Pinterest for that, but I will say: SAND YOUR CABINETS. The unfinished ones, the finished ones, the ones you think are prepped enough… Just sand them and know that your paint will look better. Mine all look fine, but they could have been better, and there are spots that I will have to touch up before we sell this house someday.
We hired out the countertops. I was not about to take chance with that!! The guys who installed the counters also installed our sink (found off Craigslist!) and our faucet (Lowe’s). I think this was all done while we still had plywood floors. Super fancy. We kept our eyes out for deals and bought our refrigerator out of the “scratch and dent” section at Lowe’s (it had been delivered to someone’s house, then they decided they didn’t want it. It has a tiny ding on the front and we got it for $1500 less than original price…), then we bought our oven and microwave several months later on sale. My parents bought us a dishwasher for Christmas (thanks, guys!). My husband replaced all the light switches with help from my dad, so those all look nicer. My husband made a built-in shelf for baskets, and a shelf for my cookbooks. I am slowly working my way through the house, painting baseboards and doors white, so that all happened in the kitchen during the renovations.
Are you ready to see the “after” photos? I am so proud of all of our hard work! This kitchen is so different from when we bought the house. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun to see it transform into what I had originally dreamed!
We are not Chip and Joanna Gaines by any means. We only did this with a lot of time, and a lot of help in various ways. I often told people that we were doing a whole lot of things we knew nothing about! Even still, I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out.
I do need to note, it is NEVER this clean. I took these pictures before our son’s birthday party and I still had to move my clutter pile from one counter to another as I took pictures… #realtalk
What’s the biggest project you’ve undertaken in your home? I want to hear about it!