Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Epic Kitchen Renovation

Well, it might not necessarily be the most epic renovation ever, but it certainly is to us. We've never tackled anything like it before, and so like a good little blogger, I have begun to do my homework when it comes to renovating our kitchen. Before we break down the nitty gritty details of things that may or may not have been decided upon as of yet, I thought I would begin by giving you a quick tour, and then wrap up the post with Bob. Villa. I wish. (Read more about Bob-- no relation to Villa whatsoever-- here.)

Let's get this tour started, shall we? Below is the view of the kitchen as you enter the house from the back door. As you can see, it gets a lot of natural light thanks to the large picture window to the right.

The kitchen doesn't appear to be that large, and I think that is mostly due to the current layout. While it does have that holy appliance to sink trifecta going on, it doesn't leave much in the way of counter space. In fact, those corner cabinets are so deep and low that it is difficult to really even put anything under there. My Keurig is not impressed.

To the left, we have a nice little hole where our refrigerator is supposed to go. Since the old one that came with the house decided to die two days after we moved in, we quickly removed it from the kitchen to make way for its replacement. Unfortunately, the big, beautiful stainless Amana that I scored for cheap on Craigslist doesn't quite fit through the kitchen doorway. So it is sitting right behind this wall in the dining room.

You might be wondering how we are going to get the fridge into the kitchen in the future, and the answer is simple. We intend to remove this wall to open up the kitchen into the dining room. More about that later.

I'm not exactly sure what inspired the previous owners color palette for the kitchen. I wasn't born yet when the yellow and black tile with maroon 50's counter tops must have been all the rage. Despite the eyesore, can't you just envision a beautiful apron-front sink? Rather than install another wall of cabinetry, we're thinking about subway tile and open shelving that flank the window to keep things from looking too heavy.

Our stove is such a small, basic appliance. It works, though, so we can't complain. The venthood overhead, however does not. Well, it would if we used the extension cord that it is wired to to plug it in, but something tells me that an electrical cord hanging over a hot stove is a bad idea. So we've opted to pretend that it doesn't work instead. You know, for the sake of safety and all.

Here, I imagine a lovely gas cook top with a large, rustic venthood. To the right, a double wall oven. The baker in me demands it. I can't tell you how many times I have wished we had an extra oven, or have run next door to a neighbor's house to use theirs.

In order for our wall ovens to fit, however, I think that the large picture window will have to be cut in half. While this will take away some of the lovely natural light that we love so much in this space, we'll be getting two additional windows from the dining room that will reflect into the open space. I think I can live with that.

As for flooring, we haven't really decided on what we want-- mostly because we don't quite know what lurks beneath the linoleum. I have toyed with the idea of just painting the floors to help keep the budget down. I think a large-scale black and white checkerboard painted onto the floor could look quite nice. We'll have to see how easily it will be to cover the transition from kitchen to dining room where the wall used to be as well.

This picture brings us full circle to where we started: the rear door. The wall on the upper right side of this picture is where our fridge will find it's new home. With the counter to the left gone, it should fit quite nicely there and still give plenty of pathway to the back door. This will likely be where the first phase of our renovation begins: removing the cabinetry, counter top, and tile to make way for the fridge.

Lastly, here is a view into the kitchen from the dining room at the front of the house. Here you can see our lovely new stainless steel fridge in its temporary home. This is the wall we intend to remove, and you can see just how much it will open up our floorplan for the kitchen. While I will be losing wall space, I will be gaining so much more with an island here. The storage I lost will be retained with the island, and I will have added SO much more workspace for cooking, baking, or coupon clipping.

We had a small conversation about removing this wall with our home inspector (who also happened to be a contractor). While this wall is a load-bearing wall, it does not mean that we cannot remove it. Obviously we will have to find a way to provide support by using a beam to run the length of where the wall used to be. Wouldn't a salvaged barn beam look beautiful there?

To wrap up this post, let's talk about Bob (our list, not the handy-dandy former This Old House guy).

1. Remove cabinets, counter, and tile from the nook next to the basement door, and prep for fridge.
2. Knock out the wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room.
3. New lower cabinets and floating shelves that flank the window above kitchen sink.
4. Apron front kitchen sink
5. Pick a counter top material.
6. Subway tile backsplash.
7. Gas cooktop and vent hood.
8. Close in half of the picture window and install double wall ovens.
9. Flooring: to paint or not to paint?
10. Island
11. Lighting.
12. Planked ceiling and exposed "barn beam" support.
13. Upgrading the electrical wiring before we drywall/tile.

I am sure there are a million little bullet points that could be listed beneath each number, but in general these are the things we are going to be focusing on as we forge ahead with our kitchen renovation. Now that we know the basics of what we want, we can begin to go down each point, make a decision, and begin a budget. A lot of the beginning work will be the demolition (read: fun part), and most of our budget will likely be eaten up by the cabinetry and counter tops. I've been virtually stalking so many kitchen renovations that have been done through my pinterest board, and so I am determined to do this within a reasonable budget. I have seen other people with fabulous kitchens on a low budget, so I know it can be done!

Are you all as excited as I am? Have I left anything important out of my list? If you've undergone a kitchen renovation, please clue me in on where the best place to start is! Right now we are still in the concept stage, but I am itching to get my hands dirty! :)


  1. Ahhh I can't wait to see what you do with it!

  2. Thanks, Nicole! I can't wait to get started! I have soooo many ideas floating through my head and on my Pinterest board. :)