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My Finished Kitchen

There are times in our lives when it is hard for us to appreciate the progress we have made in our home, especially when that progress seems to be moving at a snail's pace. When things happen so slowly, we somehow forget how far we have come, and the progress that has been made. That is until you actually look back at how it used to be.

This kitchen is a good example of what I mean.

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I will walk you through the progress we made, and show you how we accomplished it in sizable chunks. This will show you how I avoided getting overwhelmed by not taking on too much at once, and how we pulled it all together at the end.

This post will help you understand the importance of thinking several steps ahead to create a completed room.

This is my superpower! Not only can I visualize it, but I can also break it down for you in workable steps.

Follow me, I’ll show you.

This is how it looked in 2003 when we moved here.

This is how it looked in 2003 when we moved here.

After the flooring and paint in 2004

After the flooring and paint in 2004

Step 1 - Flooring and Paint

When we moved into this house, the only rooms that had carpet in them were the master bedroom, the hall, and the family room. Everything else had vinyl flooring, even the living/dining room, and the smaller bedrooms. Ewe!! This made installing new flooring throughout the house a priority.

But first, we had some major water damage in the back half of the house we had to repair. The house had been vacant for 4 years, and the damage was significant. Once all of that had been taken care of, and we had passed about 9 inspections, we were able to move in and start our new lives.

After the new floors and been installed, I was ready to paint the walls.
In the interest of full disclosure here, the paint color is not something I would have picked out on purpose. You see, we had been pretty tapped out at that point, and the hardware store is over an hour away, so getting supplies is a big deal. So I looked around at what I had on hand, and that was the only can of paint I had, that had enough paint in it, to do the kitchen without having to buy more paint. So that's what happened. Don’t judge me.

Step 2 – Lighting

It stayed like that for a long time while I put myself through design school and the kids were in school.

Then, I got to the lighting course; that's when things started to change.

Since I discuss the lighting situation in detail here, I won’t go over that again, except to say that it was a MAJOR IMPROVEMENT!!!

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Step 3 – Appliances

We had been living with those builder grade appliances for more than 10 years. It was time for new appliances.

I have to say, there is some weird right-of-passage thing that happens that nobody tells you about, when you buy a set of new appliances for the first time. I mean, not because the old ones had broken down and you NEED a refrigerator. I mean, because you want to upgrade. I really felt like "wow, I am a real grown-up now." Funny, I know. But it’s true.

Step 4 – The Island

So, there was this time that I was helping a new business in town get their store ready to open its doors, and I was over there painting the bathroom. When I was finished, I had about 2 cups of paint left over and I didn’t want to just dump it out, so brought it home and started painting my island with it. Nope, didn’t even prep it, plan it, or anything, just started slapping paint on it. You know what? I loved it. Okay, maybe ‘love’ is a strong word here, but it was a lot better for sure. It was a very dark espresso brown, almost black and it was great. That is when I knew that when I redid my kitchen for real, I wanted to have a different color island than the rest of the cabinets.

After that, there were a few years there where I took a break from designing and was focused on painting furniture, you know that whole chalk paint craze. I had learned a lot of amazing finishes during that time. So when it came time to paint the island again, I was confident about the quality and style of the finish I was able to achieve.

Now I have a very special finish on my island. It is called a ‘two-color distress’. The base coat is Graphite by Annie Sloan, and the top coat is Aubusson by Annie Sloan. In a this type of finish, the top coat gets distressed so the base coat shows through a little and then it usually receives a dark wax top coat which gives it an antiqued look. In this particular case, I didn't want any additional antiquing, so I just used clear wax to protect it. It is perfect!

You can see that without the proper prep work, the paint will wear off.

You can see that without the proper prep work, the paint will wear off.

Two-color distress with custom trim new hardware.

Two-color distress with custom trim new hardware.

Oooh! Aahh!

Oooh! Aahh!

The countertop is American Black Walnut from Walnut Wood Works. They did an amazing job and it was a pleasure working with them.

Step 5 – The Rest, The Home Stretch, The Finish Line

Cabinets

I hated my cabinet doors! I wanted doors that were more interesting, but I couldn’t replace them because there was nothing wrong with them. They were solid wood and in good shape so I couldn't justify the cost of replacing them.

This is where my DIY brain went to work.

I knew that I could get some trim molding an apply it onto the doors to give it some interest. This is one part of the project I am SUPER PROUD OF! Not only did I do it all my lonesome self, but it turned out great! There are no wonky squares and they all line up perfectly and they looks like they were made that way. Yea!!

I also decided that I wanted routed edges on the doors. That would give them the additional interest that they needed.

Okay, I have to tell you that I have never used a router before, never even watched someone else use a router, but I knew I could do it. So after I bought one, I had to have the neighbor guy come over and show me how to use it. He and my husband had a good time laughing at my girlfriend and I trying to figure out this man toy. But after a bit of fun, he was great and helped me figure it out. I practiced a bit on some scrap wood and I felt confident about it. I was ready. So, I took off the first door on the island and started routing and, um, it went very badly!

“Oh No!! I just broke my kitchen!”

What went wrong? I didn’t realize that this indented handle thinky on the back side of all of the doors, would affect the routed edge on the front. Dumb, I know. Now I have one door down, and I have to figure out what to do.

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After freaking out for about a day, I did the only logical thing I could do; I removed two of the upper cabinets altogether so I could use one of those doors to replace the one I messed up. Then, I simply installed open shelving there. What else would I do?

I had actually thought of using open shelving there before, but my husband wasn’t really on board with that. But when this happened, he said “go for it”.

This was the vision. Open shelves on top of that marble subway tile. Yum!

 
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Subway Tile

I absolutely fell in love with the Calcutta marble! I liked it better than the Carrera that everybody seems to be doing. Not because it was different, but because it had that gold vain in it that I wanted to tie in with all the wood I have going on. It was perfect! I also liked the 2x4 size instead of the regular 3x6 size, it just seemed like a better choice.

Now that the cabinets were gone, I could run the tile all the way up to the ceiling. Yes!

Of course, they were going on the adjacent wall behind the stove too.

This is me, the day they showed up to put my countertops in.

This is me, the day they showed up to put my countertops in.

The day after the subway tile got installed. I looked just as happy that day too.

The day after the subway tile got installed. I looked just as happy that day too.

Countertops

The countertops are: Pental – Imperio Quartz

The Sink and Faucet:

I love my 80/20 sink!! It is nicey nice, it’s deep and it’s so big.

The faucet is a single hole, single handle pull-down gooseneck faucet. I love the simplicity of it and it has everything I need and nothing I don’t.

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Windows

The windows needed to be framed. I don't really like unframed windows anyway, but with the subway tile coming up to the edge, there needed to be an easy transition. Either that or I would have to buy a whole lot of expensive marble trim. I decided to use stained wood here, not painted. This would give a finished look and bring balance to the whole space. And that is exactly what it did. The framing was the last thing to go up in this renovation and as soon as it did, it immediately felt grounded and balanced.

Just so you know what you are looking at, the wood slates that you see through the upper windows in this picture is the ceiling of the covered deck on the other side of that wall, we used tongue and groove pine out there.

Just so you know what you are looking at, the wood slates that you see through the upper windows in this picture is the ceiling of the covered deck on the other side of that wall, we used tongue and groove pine out there.

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Now that all is said and done, I can honestly say that I LOVE IT!!

Wouldn’t change a thing!