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Kitchen Renovation Complete Overhaul

30 March 2011

Kitchen Renovation Complete Overhaul
contributed by Home Sweet and Savory
You know when you watch the decorating shows on TV and they do the reveal at the end? And the home owners always squeal with delight? Invariably, they give a shout-out to a higher spirit and with great predictability say “Oh My ....!” I love this moment. (And I’ve always thought a good tag-line for HGTV would be: “HGTV: It’s not Divine Intervention, It’s Design Intervention.”) In every place I’ve lived, I’ve always worked on small projects, changing little things here and there. Painting a room, adding new artwork, saving to buy new furniture when needed and other little alterations. But I had never done a complete overhaul of a room. Until I moved into my present home.
When I bought my little semi-detached, I knew it was the right home for me. The setting is so beautiful, and it is my little peaceful corner of the world. Coming from inner-city Calgary, it took me no time at all to get accustomed to the peace and quiet here. But I also knew right away that I’d be doing lots of work on the home. And now that I’ve lived here for seven months, I can say that after a lot of hard work, nothing, aside from the flooring upstairs, is the same as the day I moved in. Every room was painted, most of the light fixtures were changed, new window coverings were installed on all the windows and a host of other major and minor changes took place. The two biggest jobs were the bathroom and the kitchen. I’ll write about the bathroom another time, but for now, I’ll tell you all about the kitchen transformation.
First of all, let’s talk about what the kitchen looked like when I bought the home. In a word – yuck, right? And I was so happy about this, because I’ve always wanted to re-do a room completely. So I knew when I saw it in its sad, sad state that it was perfect:

The realtor's photo of my kitchen when it was listed for sale

Where to begin? There wasn’t one thing about the room that I loved, except for its potential. What had to go? The countertops, the appliances, the sink, the faucet, the lighting, the hood fan – pretty much everything!

After I moved in

The countertop was a horrible, mottled laminate with too many colours all mish-mashed together. Is it clean? Is it dirty? Who can tell? The honey oak cabinets, while in good shape, were not my taste at all. And the cabinet hardware – really? Couldn’t have been uglier. And the kitchen sink was in such a sorry state – the house is only seven years old, but the sink looked like it was 27 years old. I just couldn’t imagine what the previous owner had done to it – it was scratched and banged up so bad that there was no question I’d have to replace it.
For someone who likes to cook as much as I do, lighting is really important. And the lighting was not working for me. The dull pot lights did nothing to light the workspace, and the light over the kitchen sink was one of those flourescent tubes that stuck out and could be seen from all angles. Not for me.
As for the appliances, well, they just made me laugh! The brand was “Roper.” Ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither. The oven wasn’t calibrated so the temperature was always wrong. And the fridge? This was the best. Everytime I opened the door, I ended up pulling the whole fridge out a good foot. I soon learned to push with one hand and hold it back while I opened the door with the other hand.
So, all in all, the kitchen needed a complete overhaul, and that’s what I set out to do. And after a lot of deliberating over colors, finishes and options, and a lot of hard work on my part (and the contractor who installed the backsplash and the faucet), it’s now finished. I couldn’t be happier, and when all was said and done, I had my own squeal of delight…
The first thing I set out to do was order new appliances. But with my budget, I knew that the ones I chose would have to be pretty basic. Which was alright with me. I’m not one for needing tricked-out appliances, or getting the best and fanciest models. Just something that works fine, and looks nice. So I ended up with Frigidaire, which were very reasonable. The new stove, fridge, dishwasher and microwave all cost me less than $2,000, which thrilled me!

The new fridge...

Wonderful new stove, dishwasher and microwave

And let’s see… what else did I do? Well, the biggest project was painting all of the kitchen cabinets and changing the hardware. It was a lot of work, but so worth the effort! I will write more about this soon, providing detailed instructions on how I did this. But suffice it to say – if you are considering changing your cabinets, and they’re in good condition, you will save thousands of dollars by painting them.
I also had a new countertop installed… I was kind of sad that I couldn’t afford granite or quartz, but I am absolutely thrilled with the laminate I chose – the colour is just perfect. And everyone who has seen it up close has asked if it is Corian, so all is good. I also had a backsplash installed, bought a new sink and faucet (Moen Wickston faucet, model 87444), added under-the-cabinet lighting (Liteline), and sewed a new tablecloth that works really well.

New countertop, with my Crate and Barrel compost bin and Etsy napkin holder. And the new subway tile backsplash - only 37¢ each!

New sink and Moen faucet

Another sewing project... my new tablecloth

A space-saving spice rack from Target - room for 18 different spices!

And for the finishing touch? My beautiful new light fixture, which was a going away/housewarming gift from my dear and thoughtful friend, Beth. It’s a Martha Stewart product that we found at Home Depot. Isn’t it divine? I just love it!

Beautiful new light fixture!

And that’s it – my new kitchen! Some folks have said I should now sell the home, make a bit of profit, and buy another house so I can do it all over again! I have to tell you – it’s a bit tempting because I so enjoyed the process of completely redoing a kitchen, and now that I know how to install a tile backsplash I’d love to try it myself. But no… I will stay and enjoy my new space for the foreseeable future – it really is a joy to cook in, and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? 


Green Gal March 30, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

What a transformation! First, let me say my kitchen looks a lot like your "BEFORE" picture! I have one question though, how did you make the decision to go ahead with the entire remodel. It looks like everything was in working order and fairly new to being with (just outdated). I struggle with this because I am a designer by trade, but also very much into the whole "green design + sustainability" trends, and sometimes I find them butting heads. I would love to get all new stainless steel appliances and countertops, and perhaps donate the "old" ones to ReStore or something like that. Am I the only one who struggles with this? Just curious! You did a fantastic job! I love the crisp white look!

rachel March 30, 2011 at 5:32 PM  

Hi Green Gal!
Thanks for such nice comments on my kitchen! A photo can be deceiving, for sure. Actually, the old kitchen was barely in working order - the oven never cooked anything properly, because the temperature was way off, and one of the burners didn't work at all. There were burn marks on the old countertop. The lighting, while it worked, was so dull and dark that it was nearly impossible to cook in. So in addition to being not to my taste at all, it was not functioning for me, and I cook and bake all the time!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants March 30, 2011 at 10:18 PM  

It looks so fresh and clean! I have been wanting to paint my cabinets forever, to gave me a little nudge.

Pacific NW Blogfan March 31, 2011 at 2:45 AM  

Looks great. Can you provide more details regarding the laminate countertop you had installed (company that makes it, color your chose, etc.)?

rachel March 31, 2011 at 7:03 AM  

The laminate is from Home Depot – hopefully they have the same selection where you are! It’s called “Rocky Mountain High” from Pionite. It also says: AT161 Suede.

Odile April 1, 2011 at 10:43 AM  

J'adore la transformation de votre nouvelle cuisine, elle est formidable. Bon weekend and hello from spain.

Jen April 1, 2011 at 2:27 PM  

I can't find that spice rack on the Target Website... is it older? Or do you have a link? I LOVE IT!!

rachel April 1, 2011 at 3:05 PM  

Hi Jen!

Oh no... they don't have it anymore? I bought it in the store back in October. I hope you can find it somewhere...

I did a quick search on Google, and found one on Amazon.com. If you're on the website, search for "Trudeau Tube 16-Bottle Spice Rack with Spice". It's really nice!

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