Good Morning everyone,
I hope you are enjoying your weekend, we are relaxing, just watched a couple of episodes of ‘Buffy the vampire slayer’ and of ‘Angel’ on Netflix. Yep! We are really living it up over here. Nate was bored, he was asking for ‘scoobydoo’, it sounded more like ‘soubidoo’ but we understood him, so instead of watching more TV we went outside to play with him in the yard.
Last month, my friend Alex over at northstory posted about her basement renovation and I loved seeing her before and after pictures. You should check it out too, now I’m just waiting for her to decorate her space. After reading her post, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted about our kitchen renovation yet. So I am finally taking the time to write this post. Also, many of you have left comments on my previous posts about my kitchen and how you would like to see more of it.
One sunny Saturday morning, hubby and I woke up before Nate did. It was 7 am and I asked hubby to help me clean up to the kitchen to finally take some pictures. The kitchen doesn’t always look like this. Okay, it almost never looks like this but I try my best to keep it this way. Anyhow, today I want to give you a tour and show you some before and after pictures:
You might already know this but if you are new here, we live in a 1987 skinny, narrow townhouse with a very small, never before renovated eat-in kitchen and we don’t have a formal dining room. Last July, one of our upper cabinets started to loosen and started falling off, we were scared and decided that it was time to renovate. Thankfully, my parents-in-law were able to help with this renovation.
Have you ever watched those renovations shows where they redo an entire kitchen or space within 30 minutes to an hour? I’m sure you have. Don’t you wish they could just come over and do yours? This being our first major renovation, it felt like an entire mini-series instead of a 60 minute episode. I can also tell you that the construction crew looked nothing like the ones we see on HGTV.
The first step of the renovation was to decide if we kept the existing layout or not. We decided to have small changes done:
- we changed the placement of the fridge
- we added countertop space and cabinets to the left of the kitchen
- we removed the oven and decided to have a stove with oven instead
- we had the microwave added above the stove (I could write an entire post about this but I won’t bore you with the details)
- we removed the small peninsula on the right side
- we extended the length of the countertop on the right side
- we added open shelving to the design
Here is a before picture of our kitchen, sorry I know these pictures are not great but most of them were taken pre-blogging days. I love white kitchens, they always look so fresh and bright but our white kitchen didn’t, it looked like this … it looked like my old dentist’s office; sterile and frightening:
then this happened …
isn’t this scary? In this picture, you can see the tiny peninsula we used to have, we got rid of it in the new layout because it made the kitchen feel smaller.
The second step of the renovation was to choose the type of cabinets. We had plenty of options but we went with a classic style. You might be surprised that we went with ‘classic’ cabinets instead of ‘modern’ in a city townhouse but I couldn’t resist the beautiful details of the cabinetry and the crown molding. I also have to admit that when we received the cabinets, I was a bit surprised that they weren’t as white as I thought they would be. I should’ve known just by their name ‘vanilla glaze’.
The third step was to chose the type of countertop, we chose a light granite. We did consider black granite as well but I’ve always been fond of bright kitchens and thought it would’ve been too heavy in this space. In the picture below you can see the right side of the kitchen. I try my best to keep this area clean because when we prepare our food, outside of the butcher block island, this is the most used work surface.
Do you see a big ugly cable in the next picture? Unfortunately, when they installed the new floors and the baseboards, they punctured our video cable to our satellite TV and left it without repairing it. Hubby had to use an alternate cable, which we previously owned and were hoping to get rid of with this renovation. This was really upsetting because now I have this grey long cable that goes around my kitchen and another that comes out of the wall of our living room and it doesn’t work. When we mentioned this to them, they said that the cable was faulty and that they were sure that they didn’t puncture it, despite the fact that it worked prior to him installing the floors. Of course, they wouldn’t admit this was their fault, it would’ve meant them ripping off the baseboards that they had just installed and starting the work over. Because at this point, the renovation had dragged on so long and hubby and I we were getting irritated with the lack of quality on the finishing’s of the work, we decided to let this one go. Discussing details such as these with the contractor and his workers was exhausting and upsetting because they made us feel as if you don’t know what you are talking about. Next renovation (not anytime soon), I hope to be able to afford a designer to keep the workers on their toes and make sure the finishing’s look like they should. I suggest, for anyone who plans on doing a kitchen renovation any time soon to do a lot of research. If you are like me and hubby who would never be able to a DIY kitchen renovation, you need to ask the questions before it happens and not during or after they start demolishing your space.
Removing the small kitchen peninsula was the best decision we made. We now have a better flow between the kitchen area and the dining area. This also allowed us to extend the length of the countertop and we gained an extra upper cabinet to store all my plates. Cooking with hubby in this new layout is also much better because it allows us better movement.
The fourth step was to chose the backsplash, another difficult decision we had to make. At first, I wanted those beautiful white subway tiles that you see in all the beautiful pictures of the magazines but when we were in the store looking at everything, I forgot about those subway titles and started looking at stone instead. We chose Ledgestone tiles. Big mistake. The person that installed our backsplash obviously didn’t know what they were doing. They installed them wrong and we can see their mistakes around the window frame, the electrical sockets and the lights switches. One day, I am hoping of replacing them with the white subway tiles that I originally wanted.
Now, unto the left side of the kitchen! In this before picture, you can see how close the fridge used to be to the adjacent wall, making the surface area next to the fridge unusable. You can also see that we had an outdated oven, stove top and microwave. It was not practical baking there:
Can you see the difference? We had extra cabinets and countertop space added and the fridge no longer blocks the doors of the upper cabinets. It is now a much more functional space:
Now, we have a new stove (with oven included), and an over the range microwave installed (the old stove top is no more). I won’t go into the details on this post of the ‘story’ behind the installation of our range microwave because it would be too long but it did take them 2 times to install it appropriately:
The fifth step was not as easy as I thought it would be, we had to chose the cabinets hardware. We went to the hardware store with my mother-in-law and there were once again too many options to chose from. I really liked the look of the cup cabinet hardware pulls for our drawers but unfortunately they didn’t carry those. We went with these small ones instead for the upper cabinets and larger ones for the rest of the cabinets. If we want, one day we can easily change the hardware of the cabinets to give our kitchen a new look. We also picked up a nice matching Moen faucet but once again they installed it incorrectly. They didn’t install the soap dispenser because when they made the holes for the granite they didn’t consider this. We bought the Moen faucet and the hardware of the cabinets at Home Depot. You might have also noticed that we have this small space between these two cabinets with open shelving and think this was intentional. In reality, we didn’t plan this, it was another mistake from them when they took the measurements of the new cabinets. If we wanted this ‘mistake’ to be fixed, we had to wait for them to re-order and get new cabinets. Hubby and I didn’t want to wait anymore. Staying at my parents house for over a month was great but the 3 of us sleeping in my old room with our two dogs was tiring and we had enough. We had them create these shelves instead. I love having these shelves to display my cookbooks and small items. For the Holidays I get to display my ‘Santa Claus’ cookie jar and my Christmas bowls (you can still see them here, I use them every week when I bake):
I’m glad that everything is now in it’s place functioning well:
The last step of this renovation was choosing the type and color of floors we wanted. Again, they are so many options out there but because of our little boy we opted for these dark brown engineered wood floors. My son runs around the house all day and he falls all the time while playing with his trucks. We had pink ceramic tiles before and we were scared of him hurting himself. You can see the old floor from the picture below. I love pink but not on my kitchen floor.
In this after picture you can see the same side of the kitchen but unfortunately the butcher block island is covering the floor for you to see it. In the next pictures you will be able to see it better:
The renovation started much later than it was scheduled to and lasted much longer than the contractor said it would. We couldn’t stay in our house either during this period because had wanted to have the engineered wood floors run through the entire main floor (including dining area and living room). Not only did this choice made our house look nicer and warmer but it also made it safer for our son. To be honest, even though I love the new floor, some days I really regret selecting this color. Not only has Nate already scratch them many times with his toys, we can see all the scratches and imperfections on them because they are so dark. Try to keep the dust away from them; impossible.
Now, some before and after pictures of my dining area. Having an eat-in-kitchen is not easy because you need to have a place to eat, a place to entertain family and friends and for us a place where to store items that don’t fit in our tiny kitchen.
Below is a picture of how our dining area used to look, I took this picture from my old iPhone just days before I gave birth to Nate. It’s only during maternity leave that I stared paying attention to everything in our house. Before that I used to come back from work late, eat and work from home and go to sleep. When you are home, that’s when you start looking at all the small details and imperfections of your home and you want to fix everything.
Back then I also used to get upset with hubby leaving papers on the kitchen table. I never even imagined the kind of mess a two year old can make in a matter of minutes.
This is how our dining space looks like now. The IKEA white kitchen table you see is the same one from the picture above. I painted it white last winter. I never posted about it because I’ve been meaning to add the final coat of paint soon (another project to do before summer ends). The dark brown chairs are now in our basement, they were too big and heavy for this small space. I was also reluctant to post pictures of this space because it doesn’t look the way I want. But my blog is there to show you the reality of my projects and of how we live. This is our home, my playground when I will look back on my blog years from now, I want to see true images. For now, I will continue dreaming of beautiful spaces when I browse through all those beautiful pictures on Pinterest.
Hubby and I want to buy a new dining table ( this might take a while, I want to make the right choice this time). The chairs you see in the pictures belonged to my mother-in-law, she didn’t want them anymore. I took them and now I’m considering painting them. I haven’t made a final decision about this yet. So, there will be no post about this anytime soon. If you have any suggestion about this or your own post about this, please leave me a comment, I want to read everything about it.
I’m glad that you can see my pantry in these pictures, it’s not far away from the kitchen and it’s perfect for when I bake. I love that all my baking items are displayed and I get to see them every day when I come in my kitchen. This pantry has helped me keep everything organized, so it always looks pretty. One day when we will have a the perfect dining table, I want to remove the pantry from there and try to find a new place for it (maybe). In my head, if this happens I have already designed a small little corner for all my baking items in a small corner of the kitchen. IKEA has a new collection that caught my eye (I will post about this another time)
In the picture below to your right, you can also see a big brown dresser. I’ve had this dresser for over a decade now, it is made out of solid, massive wood and weights a ton. I kept it all this time and now it serves as a ‘sideboard’ in our kitchen to store many kitchen items. This is a dresser that I’ve been meaning to paint in a bright color but again I haven’t decided if I will do it or not. Where the dresser is now, I used to have a small office area here and removed it days just before I took these pictures. I had to remove it because Nate would get on top of a chair and pull down on the computer screen and play with the printer (he managed to damage the printer). I couldn’t leave him 1 minute without supervision, he would run to the computer and the printer
as you can see from all these pictures, we have a very small eat-in-kitchen that serves different purposes but I have tried my best to make it work for us and to make it cozy and comfortable. This is where we live and where everything happens. One day, I will have the dining space I’ve been dreaming of but now, this is what it is. What I really love about this space is the amount of natural light we get throughout the day. This space opens up to our living room so our main floor is always flooded with natural light:
You might have also noticed a skinny bookcase next to the dining area, I placed a skinny IKEA Billy bookcase there to hold my magazines and my son’s books. It’s very practical for us to have it in this space because our kitchen is where we do most of our living. The bookcase is not always this tidy (only for the pictures), a lot of my son’s toys end up there. Also when Nate has one of his tantrums, most of these magazines end up on the floor. See the butcher block island there, well this is where I do most of my ‘blogging’ while keeping an eye on Nate, on the dogs and on the food. I sit on my stool every day and read my favorite blogs from there. Yes, I do have an office in my craft room but the reality is that with a 2 year old boy I don’t get to use it as much as I would love to. I should write a post about this very soon and name it ‘WHERE I REALLY BLOG’, what do you think?
What I forgot to mention:
- You might have noticed that we weren’t able to save much from our previous kitchen, the fridge was the only big item we got to keep. We got our fridge less than 3 years ago and is still in good condition. It doesn’t mean I don’t dream about a new one.
- Nate woke up while we were taking the pictures of the kitchen and it took us the whole morning to take good shots. I had to hurry and transfer them to my laptop to take some more. I am still learning to take pictures, so I took over 300 of them that day and only a couple of them made it to this post
- I don’t have a lot of decorative items displayed because I don’t like to see clutter and Nate grabs the kitchen chairs to reach for everything he can. When we prepare coffee, we have to be very careful here.
- The ugly lighting fixtures: Okay, please, stop. I beg you to stop laughing at them. I know. This is another expense we have to make in the future. I don’t like them but every time I find something that I really like; it’s too expensive. So I’m looking and waiting for the perfect ones. The one above the sink has probably been there since the day this house was built (not kidding)
- The kitchen island is a GROLAND IKEA island that hubby chose. He fell in love with it when he saw it at IKEA. After the renovation, we asked the contractor to add a small kitchen island made out of the same cabinetry and with a granite countertop but hubby saw this one from IKEA and called to cancel the order. This one from IKEA was priced better and if needed it can easily be moved around.
The picture below is from July 2012 in our old kitchen, you can see Nate in front of the camera after we had worked on a project for him (he was 1 year old) and you can take a good look at our old floors too:
Now, here he is only minutes after waking up, moving the chairs around while I was trying to get a good shot (that’s why you can see a chair appear in some of my pictures). Hubby had to distract him, while I was ‘staging’ the space. I can’t believe he is already 2 years old and how much he has changed:
Do you see now what I’m talking (writing) about, here is a picture of the chair left behind, I was perched on the dresser to take this picture and I didn’t want to come down to remove it:
I know this was a long post and I’m thankful you read it all. You’re still here right? I hope you enjoyed the tour of my small eat-in-kitchen. Even if going through this kitchen renovation was exhausting, I really love my new kitchen, it feels like home:
I also wanted to let you know that today August 4th is my 1 year Blog-Anniversary, I still can’t believe I’m blogging. A year ago, I wasn’t sure about opening a WordPress account. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I don’t regret it. I thought blogging would be easy and that I would always have something to write about. Not true, managing a blog is time consuming and more complicated than it seems. There are so many tasks to do before you hit that ‘Publish’ button; you have to come up with an idea, complete a project, take pictures, edit pictures, write a tutorial, write the post but for me sometimes the most difficult task is finding the time to write. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. I’m also very happy that so many of you are great supporters of bloggers. What a great community to be part of. I have met wonderful people this last year and I am happy when I see an e-mail of a new post pop in my Inbox, I can’t always read them all the same day but I try my best. It’s like receiving a letter by mail from a Pen Pal.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Thanks again for stopping by!
Linking this week to these fun parties!