The Kitchen: The Reveal

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

After several months of working each evening and weekend in the kitchen, we are so happy to post the reveal! We are thrilled with the result and we definitely spend a lot more time in the kitchen now that it's finished. Enjoy the photos!

One disclaimer: The one thing you will notice that is not updated is the laminate flooring. We do have a plan for the floors, but we weren't ready to move forward this summer. Hopefully this fall we will install hardwood floors on the entire main floor of our town house.  So for this reveal, you'll just have to use your imagination when it comes to the floor!




Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to answer as best as I can.
Special thanks: Justin (aka the contractor/engineer/plumber/electrician/cabinet installer/architect/carpenter/dry wall repair specialist/painter/husband/design assistant), Father-in-Law (painter, second opinion, cabinet installer) and my dad (painter). So, what was my role? Designer, Cabinet Assembly Specialist, Interior Decorator, Organizer of moving everything back into the kitchen cabinets, Shopping Expert, Receipt Manager, Painter and General Support.

Kitchen Reno: The Details

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Now on to the fun part, the details (or as Justin says: "the finishes"). These are the decisions that ultimately make each kitchen different - Appliances, Countertops, Backsplash, Hardware, Sink and the Faucet

Appliances: We replaced all four major appliances in the kitchen (Refrigerator, Range, Microwave and  dishwasher. The brand we chose was LG because it had a more modern/clean line look and the price was right. Of course, we like the newer refrigerators that have the bottom freezer, but those cost at least $600-800+ more. We also liked the LG stove that had large knobs on the front and was a slide-in range (meaning it didn't have the back part that sticks up); however, once again it wasn't worth the extra cost.
One update we wanted for the kitchen was adding shutters to the bay window. They definitely cost more than blinds, but they also look better. We constantly used the shutters as a gauge for decisions by asking, "do we want the slide in range or the shutters?" I highly encourage using the approach when you're on a budget. The shutters were our last big purchase, so it was up to us whether or not the money would be in the budget. This technique definitely helps you prioritize what matters most when making home decisions.
Countertops: In every home magazine and home décor Pinterest board, you will find beautiful marble countertops. However, when you walk into the store to purchase counters, they will quickly advise you to not use marble in the your kitchen. Marble is a soft material that is not ideal for kitchens because it will etch and will not withstand the acids found in foods. Basically, if you plan on using your kitchen, please be advised that marble is not a good choice. If your kitchen is just for looks - go right ahead!
After talking to the sales associate, she showed us an option called quartzite. It's a much more durable countertop that is available in lighter colors. The warehouse of the company we worked with didn't have much of a selection of quartzite, so they gave us the addresses of a couple of their distributors so we could see what else was out there. We spent a Saturday looking at two huge warehouses and ended up finding the perfect counter (above). One thing that's pretty special about our countertop: it was made in Brazil (where I grew up).
Backsplash - I love the simple look of subway tile, so this was an easy choice. Besides, it's also very economical.

 Hardware - A great way to make your Ikea cabinets not look so "Ikea" is to pair them with accessories that you find elsewhere. We used hardware from home Depot that we found online. This polished handles definitely make the cabinets look more upscale.
Sink - We ordered the sink (three times) from Amazon. We definitely wanted a double-sink and we also decided to go with a sink that had a lower divider in the middle.
Faucet - This is probably one of my favorite things in the kitchen. I wanted something that made an elegant statement and this beautiful faucet does that! I was inspired by another blogger's faucet, but they had used on that was custom made in England for $2,000+. Obviously, that was not in the budget. Meanwhile, I scoured different websites and Pinterest to find alternative faucets that were budget friendly. (For a look at the various faucets that I came across, visit my Pinterest Kitchen Reno board.) We ended up finding one of the faucets I wanted on ebay, so that saves us some money because the original box was opened. This faucet definitely makes a statement!
Check back next week for the reveal! We're so excited to finally share the result of all of the hard work!

The Kitchen Cabinets

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Figuring out where to buy the cabinets depends on a variety of things. Cost, material, look, finish, and style are all factors to consider. After weighing all of the options, we decided to go with Ikea Akrum cabinets and Adel doors. Why Ikea? Besides the fact Justin loves everything in the store…. It ultimately came down cost and style.  We did look at stock cabinets at big box home improvement stores, but we weren’t satisfied with the options and the overall look. We already knew the custom ones on display weren’t an option! We have always wanted our kitchen to be light and airy, and the Akrum cabinet with and off-white Adel door were the perfect ones to complete the look.

Ikea has done a great job of making the process relatively easy. First, we started our journey by downloading the kitchen planner from their website. This allowed us to play around with some different design concepts, as well as see what cabinets would fit in our space. (note: this was especially handy as the design concept constantly had to evolve with each change). The next step was to take our initial design and meet with a kitchen specialist in their store. They were able to help us finish the design and get the order started. We originally planned to order and just have it delivered to our house, but we were lucky enough to borrow a truck from a family member. This was not only useful to haul off the old cabinets, but it also meant we didn’t have to pay any delivery fees!

Then the fun part started, box after box had to be brought into our house to begin the assembly process. For us, Ikea was a great decision, but we realize it’s not for everyone. But if you’re up for 108 boxes, following directions that only have pictures, and ultimately you care about getting the most bang for your buck - then Ikea may be just the right fit!

A few things to note:
  • Don't go to Ikea on a weekend. If you've been to Ikea.. then you know why! We went on a weekday when we placed the large order and it was definitely less chaotic.
  • Start planning your design at home. We went to Ikea several times to look at the various cabinets, but when it came to design we did it in the comfort of our home. We did make a list of questions as we worked on it that we could take with us to the store. Once we went to Ikea, we could just log in and get started with our questions.
  • Don’t plan on having everything in stock. We ended up going to Ikea three times to get all of our cabinets. The night we placed the order we were able to get almost everything (minus a few cabinet doors). We went back a couple of other times to complete the order.
  • <!--[endif]-->I would only do an Ikea kitchen if I lived within an hour of the store. We literally went probably  6+ times during our kitchen reno. If you lived hours away from a store this could be very frustrating.

Kitchen Reno: The Demo

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As with most renovations, ours started with a Bang! Out came the hammers, pry bars, and saws! We originally wanted to salvage all of our cabinets and donate them to our local Habitat ReStore, but very quickly we realized that this wasn't going to be an easy task. These cabinets were the originals from when our home was built in the late 70's. After a few attempts to keep them in tack, we decided that the only place these were going, was the trash. We did manage to keep two base cabinets that we are planning to reuse for a built in entertainment center for the family room sometime in the near future.

The original design that we came up with involved a pass-through from the kitchen to the family room to open up the space a bit more. We laid out the original location using blue painters tape. After taking the drywall down on the inside, we ran into our first major problem. Right in the middle of our opening, we found a 5" x 14" duct that feeds air from the basement unit to the attic for the second floor. (The funny thing is, the original installer painted "HI" on it, so every time we looked at it, it was like we were being taunted by the crazy thing.) So after sitting there and looking at more design ideas, thinking of ways to shift the duct over, and realizing we didn't want to pay what it would cost to move the duct; we decided to cut a small window between the blue tape (original plan) and the green tape (possible shift) to see if we liked it (refer to top left image). The result: we felt like we were at a drive-thru window. Needless to say, we quickly went from Plan A, to D, and then back to C. No cut out, but instead we would add larger cabinets and some shelves over the sink.
The change in plans required us (aka Justin) to relocate the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher, move the electrical for the stove, and add some receptacles and wiring for the under-cabinet lights. The last step was to hang some new drywall. Fortunately, we were able to use some remaining drywall from previous house projects which saved us a few dollars and also cleared out some space in the basement (which is always a win!).

Next week on the blog: the cabinets go up and we will break down why we chose IKEA!

Kitchen Reno: The Inspiration

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In any house, the main room that usually gets the most renovations is the kitchen. If you remember our original house tour, you saw how desperately our kitchen needed a facelift.

We knew we needed to completely gut the room - appliances, cabinets, countertops. Even the bay window had to be replaced! Of course, as with any home renovation room we quickly moved from Plan A, to Plan B, to Plan C, Plan D, and then back to Plan C. It was definitely good for me to practice adjusting my expectations as no project is complete with out a few hiccups.

Before we begin, it's important to show you two things. 1) Where we started. 2) Our inspiration for the design.


the inspiration

left: House Beautiful | right: Molly Frey Design
left: TerraCotta Properties | right: BHG
left Cococozy (Designed by Bear Hills Interiors) | right: Nicole Davis - Me Oh My Blog
 Come back on Thursday for more details on our kitchen renovation. Enjoy!

Want to see more inspiration photos? Visit my Pinterest board to see how our design concepts evolved. My friends even teased me about the fact they could follow our renovation based on what I was pinning. One day it was faucets, then it would be sinks, and then it was shelf décor. Always something to look for!
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