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 counter tops the appliances, the sink, the faucet, the lighting, the hood fan – pretty much everything!
The counter top was a horrible, mottled laminate with too many colors 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 work space and the light over the kitchen sink was one of those fluorescent 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. Every time 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 back splash 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!
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.
Cabinets painted Cozy Cottage by Behr.
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.
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? ♥
Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.