Sunday, January 17, 2010


Finally got around to scrounging up some "before" pictures of the house and scanned them into my computer.  Let's start with the kitchen.  This is what it looked like when I bought my house about 4 1/2 years ago:

Hmmm.  Where to start?  Well, the kitchen cabinets were in great shape.  But I was just not loving the color.  Oak cabinets are fine, but they just seemed so overwhelming for the space.  It was like you were hit in the face with a big piece of oak when you walked into the kitchen.

The flooring was a 8 x 8 white tile.  White. Very white.  See that black dog in the picture?  Yeah, well, at the time there were 2 of those black dogs.  Black dog + White tile = not good.  So I knew that had to go. 

The backsplash actually was quite interesting.  I'm not sure where the tile came from, but the tile with the flower design was king of cool.  It had a Mexican vibe and was somewhat pretty up close.  Now, I love cobalt blue, but only small touches of it.  The cobalt on the wall was a bit much for me.  So that had to go as well. 

So, the first step was the floor.  We pulled up all of that white tile which was in the hall, dining room and kitchen.  The bedroom and living room had carpet.  In went oak hardwood floors.

There's that black dog again!  So, after the hardwood floors went in, I tore down the backsplash.  Even though I wasn't at a point where I knew what was going to do in its place, I just could not stand it.  Next came new countertops, which were a high end laminate.  I just couldn't justify spending the money on granite or what have you.  It looks beautiful but I knew I wanted to make a lot of changes to the house (and still have a life!) so the budget just didn't allow it.  And you know what?  Even though they are laminate, I really love them!

With the new countertops came a new sink and faucet.  I chose a double sink except that the sink on the right is actually a "mini."  It's great for thawing stuff out. 

Oh, and see that dishwasher?  There was just a cabinet there but a dishwasher was a must, so in it went!

Next came a big decision about the cabinets.  Since I could not justify replacing them, I knew they needed a facelift . . . .but what should I do?  I thought about new doors but that would have been too expensive.  I just couldn't imagine stipping them and staining them a darker color.  Too much work!  So then I thought I'd paint them.  People thought that I might end up regretting that since once I painted them, then that was it!  But I thought that would be the best thing to do. 

Once the decision was made to paint the cabinets, I had to decide on the color.  Or colors, I should say.  I figured if I only painted them one color then I would be left with same effect as before--too much of one color.  I thought black would be great for the bottom cabinets.  For the top cabinets, I finally decided on a cream color. 

So began the 3 week or so process of painting the cabinets.  First, I removed all of the doors and set up a sort of assembly line in the basement.  I used a foam roller so I would get a nice smooth finish with no brush marks.  I scuffed them up ever so slightly.  Then, I had a gallon of primer tinted a grayish earthy color.  I primed all of the doors with 2 coats of primer on each side, allowing them to dry a day in between coats.  Then, I found a gallon of "Oops" paint at Home Depot for $5!!  It was black!  I painted 2 coats again with the black paint.  I did the same thing with the bases of all of the bottom cabinets.  Next came the fun part--Sanding!!  With my palm sander, I scuffed up all the edges to give it a distressed look.  I sanded lightly in some areas so the color of the primer showed through and harder in some areas so the actual wood showed through.  Here's the bottom cabinets:

After I was finished with the bottom, I started on the top.  I bought some whitish paint, but when I applied to the cabinet doors, it seemed blinding.  I added a bit of brown paint to make it a nice creamy vanilla shade.

Which leads us to the backsplash.  I have always been obsessed with tin tile.  It is beautiful.  It is also difficult to cut, hard to find, and expensive.  I found this "fake tin tile" at Menards.  It came in sheets and is glued on with construction adhesive.  I just love it.  If it's dirty, you just wipe it down with a wet rag.

One other decision--what to do with the microwave?  See where it was in the before picture? 
It was in a microwave cabinet attached to the wall.


Well, one day I came home from work and the microwave was running!  I'm not even kidding!  I was so hot I couldn't even touch it.  So once that blew up, it was the perfect excuse to pull that cabinet down.  I bought a microwave with the built in hood to put over the stove:

Ahh, much better than before.  The hood that was there before was pretty ugly. . . .here it is again:

As far as appliances, I added a new dishwasher and a  microwave but have decided to keep the stove for now.  It works well and looks okayish.  Which leads me to the fridge!  I had an almond fridge that came with the house.  It was alright.  Then one day, shortly after Country and I started dating, he called me up and asked if I wanted a fridge.  He was working and someone across the street from the house he was working on was throwing away a fridge.  It was literally across the street sitting in a snow bank.  He went over and asked the guy if it was working.  He said yes!  So Country hauled it over.  The only problem?  It was in tooooough shape.  The previous owner had made custom cherry panels for the doors.  They were in terrible shape from sitting outside for awhile (in a snow bank).  Plus, the fridge was white.  So, stainless dishwasher, black and stainless microwave, black and almond stove.  I didn't know what to do!  Even though the fridge was an upgrade to what I had (meaning it was only 10 years old compared with the current fridge being about 20 years old) it was still WHITE!  So, I bought some appliance grade black spray paint and away we went!  Country removed the wood panels on the doors and we stripped them then stained them with the same color stain I had used on my doors and trim.  Wella!

To the right of the fridge is where the microwave used to be.  Country built me cabinet/shelf to go in it's place so there wasn't a weird empty space there.

Now I have a place for my recipes, the weather station and some bills/mail.  I think he did an awesome job!

Here are a couple of "after" pictures:

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