Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I’ve been dreaming of a kitchen renovation.  Truth be told, we had grandiose plans to rip everything out this past year and make everything all nice and pretty.  But…umm…well, I got scared.  There were sooo many important and costly decisions, the husband wasn’t as gung-ho as I was, and it’s really really hard to plan all this stuff out on your own, ya know? 

Enter take #2: a scaled down kitchen update.  I’ve devised a plan to make our kitchen more functional and less homely than it currently is.  The goal to keep the total cost to $1,500 - $2,000 max.  I’m sticking to my guns this time and getting results, so bear with me while I take you for a ride on the crazy train…

Plan #1: We’re going to keep 90% of the existing cabinets and appliances.  Since cabinets and appliances are THE most expensive part of a kitchen renovation, we’re just going to stick with what we’ve got.  Our cabinets aren’t very pretty, but they are solid wood, which means that nothing is going to take these babies down…except for maybe a bulldozer.  I’d love to have stainless steel appliances (along with 99% of America, I’m sure), but a new refrigerator alone would blow my entire budget, so we’re sticking with the black ones we’ve got. 

Plan #2: Remove the wall oven and cook top, and install a single slide-in oven.  Not only would this free up counter space, but this would also allow me to install normal upper cabinets around the stove area.  See the existing cabinets above the wall oven?  I can’t reach them.  At all.  Like, not even if I stand on my tippy toes.  With standard upper cabinets I could reach at least the bottom shelf comfortably without having to scale Everest (aka: the counter).  The large vertical cabinet on the right is dingy and dirty inside…we use to store our recycling.  It’s such a bunch of wasted space, and I would love to increase its functionality. 

Plan #3: Install a new countertop.  Pulling out the wall oven/cook top pretty much screws up the existing counter, which means that I don’t have much of a choice on this one.  We were mulling over concrete countertops for a while…but I honestly don’t want to have to worry about the structural issues that their weight might pose to our house.  I’m thinking that wood countertops would be pretty aesthetically, and are a totally affordable option because I could make them myself.  I even found this tutorial from The Mustard Ceiling where she made her countertops out of wood doors.  

Plan #4: Install a new sink with drain boards to prevent water issues associated with Plan #3 above.  I know that you all are probably yelling at your computer right now about the maintenance surrounding wood countertops, and I totally thought about that too.  I think that a sink with drain boards would solve 90% of the issues that come with water + wood counters, plus I really like the look of them.  The inspiration for this is the kitchen over at Keeping it Cozy (plus the kitchen at The Mustard Ceiling also has a drain board sink + wood counters). 

Plan #5: Do something with floors and ceiling.  The existing peel and stick tile is stained and shifting; the resulting tile gaps collect dirt and mud.  It’s sooo not pretty.  I could live with the popcorn ceiling if it had been done well to begin with, but it’s all unevenly corny.  Everything needs to get covered up—I’m thinking about wide plank board like this redo on The Lettered Cottage

Plan #6: Add trim molding to the cabinets and paint them.  I’m thinking wide thin molding to make them shaker-style cabinets, something that's kind of covered in this kitchen feature here.  I’m also contemplating grey paint on the bottom cabinets and white on the top, although it’s all subject to change.  The bottom cabinets HAVE to be a darker color to deal with dirt/mud issues that come with owning two large dogs. 

Bonus Plans: Retrofit an upper cabinet to fit the microwave.  Right now the microwave is taking up precious counter space, and it’s always in the way.  Moving it off the counter would really help open things up. 

Install a dishwasher.  My husband is the resident dishwasher (I’m in charge of all the cleaning), and I can’t tell you how many dish items I’ve lost due to his manly death grip.  Having a dishwasher would reduce dish clutter in the sink, and probably save [dish] lives.  I’m not 100% sure where we’d fit one in though…it’s something to look into at least. 

So this past weekend I hammered out a few details of the plans above.  First, I found molding for the cabinets.  It’s thin project molding that I found at Lowes.  It’s ¼” thick and 2.5” wide—perfect! 

I found this gorgeous vintage sink complete with two drain boards on Craigslist and picked it up for $40.  It was a total steal!  It’s got one tiny little chip in it that I will repair with the porcelain repair kit that my husband surprised me with (awww!). 

I also bought a Jenn-Air slide in electric oven for $400 (also from Craigslist and originally listed for $600).  The well-off older couple who owned it were upgrading to a gas unit.  It’s about 7 yrs old, but they hardly ever used it since their kids had already moved out.  This picture is of the stove when it was still installed at their house.  Right now it's sitting in our dark basement, which isn't exactly conducive to taking good pictures!   

So that's the plan!  I'm sure that you'll hear more about all of this in the coming months, so stay tuned!  


  1. Wow, that's a lot of work. I can't wait to see all the changes. I love following along a great transformation.

    1. I hope that it's less work than ripping everything out! I've already told the husband that he has to help to some extent, so hopefully he's a good sport about it!

  2. can't wait to see the final result..that sink is awesome!

    1. Thanks! I know, I was so happy for the rest of the weekend after scoring that sink!

  3. Congratulations! I love renovations. Can't wait to see what the result is!

  4. Sounds like a good plan. As long as you have the plan in your head, you can definitely make it possible. I suggest that once you have finalized all the changes to be made, stick to it. It would save you time, effort, and of course, expenses. Know what you truly want to happen with your kitchen and make them happen one step at a time. Good luck!

    Herb Koguchi @Kroll Window