Complete Kitchen Remodel (Old House)
The biggest and most expensive undertaking we have done in the 28 years we’ve been married is the gigantic kitchen remodel… dun dun dun (that was supposed to be dramatic music). Now before you decided to take on such a task- you need to be certain and sure your marriage can take it… and your nerves… and your patience… This is assuming you do as Marty and I did and do 97% of the work ourselves. The only thing we hired out was the granite countertops and travertine backsplash. So… be warned. Also be prepared to be without a usable kitchen for what could be months. This wasn’t much of a problem for me as I really only cook one meal a year and that’s Thanksgiving. And even still…. I almost went crazy for lack of said kitchen (we still had to have some dishes, coffee mugs, etc and the bathroom sink is quite small for washing dishes). The first thing I did was scour Pinterest for ideas and design styles. I love the trend of dark cabinets – so rich and warm. But I also loved the coziness and warmth of French Country, and ultimately decided to go in that direction. Following are some before pictures.
The first thing we did was decide on cabinets. We knew we couldn’t afford custom built cabinets so we searched for RTAs- ready-to-assemble cabinets- which means they are shipped to you in flat boxes with the parts ready to put together. Thing is… ain’t nobody got time for that… so I negotiated with our lovely salesperson at KitchensPro.com and got the cabinets sent to us ALREADY assembled for the SAME PRICE. The great thing about these places, is that they will work on a design with you so you’ll know exactly what to order. But guess what… I thought I could do it on my own… so I only had to send one cabinet back because I didn’t figure in the space I needed between the wall and the cabinet box… so what… (I actually cried- real tears- for making such a dumb mistake- a dumb $300 mistake). So in other words… work with the designer and get your measurements precise.
Next came demo.The best decision we made was to take the bar down to counter height. It totally opened up the kitchen into the family room and also provided a nice breakfast bar. Sadly in our new house I’m right back to the high bar!
We debated between having someone come in and put texture on the walls where the wallpaper had been but decided to go with a paintable textured wallpaper. You must use a great paste for it to stick properly. If you’re patient and take your time doing it- it is lovely.
And for the true French country feel, I knew we had to go with toile wallpaper. I was not disappointed. That is not disappointed in the look – but kinda disappointed when one of our perfect seems sort of separated as it dried. It was virtually unnoticeable after everything was completed, happily.
Then it came time to install the cabinets. All I can say is THANK GOD for my in-laws. We could not have done this without their help (and tools).We determined the height the cabinets needed to be (I believe we gave 19″ clearance from the countertop to bottom of the upper cabinets). We laid all of the cabinets out on the floor on their backs and then fastened them together before putting them on the wall. This may seem awkward (and you need a few people to make this work), but unless your wall is perfectly flat and square, mounting them one at a time and getting them even is nearly impossible. So with much teamwork, Kenneth (my father-in-law), Charlotte (my mother-in-law), The Mean Man, and I hauled those suckers up the ledger board (2×4) that we had screwed into the studs of the wall to be sure they were level, and proceeded to secure them to the wall with cabinet screws. We then set the bottom cabinets and screwed them into the wall studs as well.
I found the door and drawer pulls that I liked in an oiled bronze to match the faucet. Those are pretty pricey! But I checked on trusty Amazon.com and found the exact ones that I wanted for $1.05 for the birdcage pulls, and $1.59 for the drawer pulls. Whattt???!!!
And then we shopped for the granite. We decided on the old standard: Santa Ceclia… we bought the travertine backsplash tiles ourselves and had them installed. I believe those were purchased at Floor & Decor for about $4 for a 12×12 mesh piece (there are 2″ little tiles that make up the entire piece). We purchased the bronze 4″x4″ tiles at Lowe’s- they were about $7 each I believe- but they really just are the finishing touch. We added a white cast iron sink and ORB faucet to complete the kitchen…. then WE SOLD THE HOUSE less than a year later and moved to the country.