Remodel your kitchen while your husband struggles to finish a Ph.D., find a job and you deal with infertility and chronic disease. Either the Professor and I are the strongest couple ever or we are certifiably insane. You choose!
So WAY back in September 2011 the Professor and I decided we were done with our kitchen. The cabinets were very old and in terrible condition. The counter was a DIY from the previous owner that was more of a HAIY (Half-Ass It Yourself). The red vinyl floor tiles looked like something from an outdated cafeteria. The wiring was a mess and circuits would blow if we dared to toast and microwave at the same time. The plumbing was a leaking mess and the floor had so much “bounce” in it that if you had enough people moving around in there at once it felt a little like a fun house floor. So we started gutting.
For the past year we have slowly chipped away at the room doing 100% of the work ourselves.
- New wiring so things would stop shorting
- New plumbing so things would stop leaking
- New cabinets
- Repaired the “wall cancer” that is all too common in old homes with plaster walls
- Ceiling repair
- Removed the “bounce” from the floor and reinforced everything
- Leveled the floor
- Installed ceramic tile
- Built a ton of new cabinets
- Installed all the cabinets
- Installed granite counter tops and an under-mount sink (actually Lowe’s did the “installation” but we did all the demo and prep)
- Made new curtains
- Reorganized and purged tons of old things
While still not 100% complete (there is a little more electrical work to finish and we still need to add a door down to the basement) it is at a point where I’m ready to share it with you all.
When we started this project a year ago I had foolishly thought that by this time we would have a little one in the house. Some days, when I’m really down, the kitchen is a tragic reminder of what we don’t have. Sometimes the drawer that now houses some random food that was originally intended to hold baby supplies makes me want to break something. Other days, though, the kitchen is a reminder of how strong we are. It reminds me that even when all the odds are stacked against us, we can still accomplish great things. Surely the tenacity and dedication we used to complete this project will help us reach our goal of one day having a family. Surely.
Until then, at least I have a fly new kitchen to make my delicious meals for two in. And the cats have their own spot for more canned cat food than anyone household should have.
Old cabinets, gross counter, creepy red floor and crayon-yellow walls = one dated disaster.
The cabinets are all Ikea. We made multiple trips to Cincinnati to collect them in our little Ford Taurus. The sink and counter tops came from Lowe’s. The faucet was on clearance at Home Depot. I made the curtains with outdoor fabric from Hancock’s that was on clearance. Plants prove I can keep green things alive. Tile flooring is clearance from Home Depot. The tile was so cheap that we built the entire kitchen around it.
The paint color is “Stone Brown” by Benjamin Moore.
The rickety butcher block was another HAIY (Half-Ass It Yourself) project by the previous owners. If you wiggled it while cutting on it the top would collapse. The creepy knife collection is what happens when two grownups marry and combine two cheaply stocked kitchens. The upper glass cabinets were the only redeeming quality in the kitchen. Despite our best efforts, though, they could not be salvaged.
New cabinets with Ikea lighting mounted for illumination. I both store and display our inexpensive Bed Bath & Beyond serving dishes on top. The teal bowl is a $1 find from the thrift store purchased to give the space a pop of color. Due to all the doors leading into the kitchen (3) we had to do a little creative engineering. By using a low profile cabinet here and having the granite cut special we were able to maximize our space and create a “coffee bar.” Small PP Make Muji boxes contain things like tea, bag clips, wine openers, etc. The switches and outlets here still need updated. The new dishwasher is a Bosch we paid $75 for at the thrift store. With a lot of cleaning and a little engineering it now serves us VERY well.
A small, non-energy efficient fridge covered in crap. This side of the kitchen did not have any cabinetry originally. The Professor added this huge wire wrack. Again you’ll see what happens when two people marry and combine two cheap kitchens – lots of cheap stuff! Last year I spent several months eBay’ing all of this and made enough money to purchase minimal high-quality pieces that should last us for many, many years.
Again we had to use a little creativity with this space. The kitchen is narrow and would have been absolutely claustrophobic had we used full depth cabinets. Instead we opted for low-profile drawers and then open shelving above. This creates a small work-space and maximum storage. A small PP Make box holds our most frequently used items – olive oils, pepper and hot sauce. All the clear storage containers were gifts when we got married and now hold my baking supplies, grains and dried beans. The “spice file” saves space by keeping all our spices tidy and alphabetized. Still waiting on some electrical work over here, too. Oh, and my Vitamix. (LOVE)
The old fridge was old and cramped and sounded like it might launch from the house when it kicked on. It was also covered in crap.
The new fridge is a little larger, silent and energy efficient. A white box on-top holds appliance manuals and warranty information. A two-tiered basket holds produce.
I hated this stove. The oven burned everything. The stove burners were weak. All the utensils hanging on the wall were a mess and the zillion spice jars on the shelf collected a ton of grease.
New cabinets provide utensil storage. An old clear vase has new purpose holding my bamboo and silicone pieces. We purchased the Ikea microwave and mounted it above the stove to save space and double as a vent. I’m so pleased with this Ikea appliance. Next time we’ll skip the fancy Frigidaire brand and go for Ikea. (Buyer beware: We have already had repairs done to the stove and the fridge.) Cat potholders take up a prominent residence on the side of the stove. Two small prints of a rooster and an owl from a gallery in Cincinnati wait to be hung.
We sold the huge pile of cookware and used all the money made to replace it with 3 le Creuset pieces, one non-stick wok and one non-stick egg pan. I love this teal color and look forward to spending the rest of my life making nourishing meals in it.
This wall is right by the door to the basement. It was largely unused so we added an Ikea rail and now hang our lunch boxes in a prominent location, encouraging us to pack lunches! The “Beat It” print is from a seller on Etsy. She customized it so the colors would match our kitchen.