Small Kitchen Cha-Cha-Changes!

I am here to try and help undo the damage I might have done to your psyche yesterday by showing you what our kitchen looked like when we moved into our house.  I want to show you how our kitchen slowly, and I am talking tortoise here, moved along.  Over the first few years, we didn’t make any significant changes, just little things here and there that needed to be attended to.  Remodeling life and real life butted heads, and real life won? Go figure!  ( I had two babies, with long barfy pregnancies, and learned how to be a mom- a kitchen remodel was the least of my worries.)  But here are the few things we did do:

1.  Changing the sink and Faucet

The first thing that HAD TO GO was the tiny (scummy) sink.    Since we had just remodeled our last kitchen and put in a new sink(I found and awesome Kohler sink for $75 bucks and the Habitat store in Asheville), I knew the joys of an awesome deep, large kitchen sink. I was not going to deal with a 4″ deep kitchen sink, heck my bathroom sinks were bigger.  So one day while exploring Fort Worth, I found a discount home builder store and a great deal on a sink sink for about $125.00.    Not an impulse buy, but also not a huge investment, and since the mid-range  sinks cost  $300-400 dollars, I thought I had done pretty well.  

<KENOX S730  / Samsung S730>

The new faucet  at about $60 bucks, was a good deal and I really liked the look of it.  Not to mention that it was twice as tall as the last one, and it has a soap dispenser which is a requirement for me!   I love not having a bottle of soap on my counter.   

<KENOX S730  / Samsung S730> <KENOX S730  / Samsung S730>

IMG_5638 (396x263)

2. Raising the Half Wall

Between the kitchen and living room there was a bar.  I am not a fan of eating over carpeted living room space, and it made the living room feel really small, because it expanded the kitchen into the living room space.   But there were two other reasons I didn’t like the bar, our piano and my sink…  There was no place to put our piano on a full interior wall.  So we wanted to raise the height of the bar to allow for the piano to be placed on that wall.  And the sink.  I don’t like it if people can see if I have dishes in my sink (…and I probably do), so raising the bar (ha ha) to hide the view from the living room was important as well.

<KENOX S730  / Samsung S730>

(you can’t see it but the piano was overlapping the stairs, and wasn’t looking so great there!)

half wall before raising (600x450)

First thing that I did was to remove the counter top when Justin was at work so I couldn’t get in trouble for my shenanigans.  Then we just took some scrap 2×4’s to the right height.  I also added small spacers to the sides, the same width of the sheetrock, to nail the new molding on to.

raising half wall (600x400)

raising half wall (1) (600x400)

I ended up nailing the top on first.raising half wall (2) (600x400)

Then, I nailed on the base molding trim upside down, for a nice finished look. Now the piano can sit better on that wall and  feel better in the whole space.  (Although ultimately the location wasn’t ideal and we moved it upstairs with the help of some awesome friends)raising half wall (3) (600x400)Not long after we made that little change to the bar, I started thinking about adding columns to the living room

 3. Installing columns:

I talked about installing the columns and my thoughts about it so feel free to check that out there.   While I know people like a big open space, the columns to me still left the space opened but defined  rooms AND added MUCH needed architectural character.  (this house had NONE!)



We gained a bit more wall space in the kitchen and the height of the bar changed a bit.  But I have to admit, the project came to a standstill at this point.  We were debating about how the kitchen plans would effect the columns, so we didn’t move very far on this end for about a year. 

4. New Dishwasher

The old one just didn’t wash dishes, which is sort of a deal breaker to me when it comes to dishwashers.. Why have it, if it doesn’t clean, I don’t  need a glorified dish drying rack.  So we found this one  to replace it.  We went for stainless steel to match the fridge.

Here is the old one.

installing new dishwasher (560x600)

Kitty is always wondering what is going on in our ever changing house, and looking for items she can get a better view from.

installing new dishwasher (3) (400x600)

installing new dishwasher (2) (600x400) installing new dishwasher (4) (600x399)

New dishwasher installed! I love that the controls are hidden, so sleek!   And guess what, it actually washes dishes, amazing I know!

new dishwasher (580x575)

5. Range Change

I told you about our multi-colored range yesterday,  and while a multi-colored coat was cool for Joseph in the bible, I don’t quite love the split personality the range was causing in our kitchen.  I couldn’t paint the top at home, because of the heat and scrubbing issues.   But at least I could unify the front of the range.   So I used  glossy black appliance paint and painted the drawer.  It made a huge difference especially for only $4.00 in paint with plenty to spare.

<KENOX S730  / Samsung S730> <KENOX S730  / Samsung S730>

6. New lighting

Well newish light.  I didn’t like the fluorescent light so I switched it out with one I found at our local habitat store for $15.00.  Then we hung a pendant light from Ikea above the sink (the same one we used in our last house before installing a hardwired light) And installed some under cabinet lighting.  ( you can see in the picture below that Justin changed out the swinging pantry door to a pocket door a while back I count that as a laundry room remodel, but you can read about part of it here)


I never really got an after picture… so here are a few shots that have some view of the light ( I miss Buddy! my cat on the top cabinets  I had to add this picture cuz he is so stinking cute, and you can sorta see part of the light.  That counts right?)


So here we are, with the overall kitchen.  We’ve installed all the door trim, column moldings and crown.  I painted all the doors in my house black it started with the front door and went on like wild fire from there!  I LOVE the look of black doors right now!

Before white subway tile

Before white subway tile

Okay, so that, in a nutshell, is all the changes we made for three and a half years.  At this point in time, we have decided to move.  And move quickly.  We had about 4 weeks to finish our entire house.  Yes, I just said every unfinished project had to be done in 4 weeks.  That included the kitchen, living room, entry, half bath, stairs, family room, Etta’s Room, the extra bedroom, staging and photographing (for the blog) and packing up the entire house, patching walls, cleaning  and painting all the patches.  So remember when I showed you the dream plans I had for the kitchen yesterday?

Well this is precisely where the wrench got thrown.   Because the housing market isn’t great, we decided to rent our house.  When our Realtor came through and we told her our plans to paint the kitchen a beautiful, gleaming white.  She told us absolutely NO!   I tried to restate my case for painting in different ways, ya know like maybe somehow she would change her mind.  But she said, that if the property was going to be a rental, wood was best.  Having a white painted kitchen that would eventually get nicked up would look awful- fast with renters and that by keeping the wood tone we could keep the wear and tear hidden more easily.

I could not deny that she was right, in our first apartment we painted out little tiny rental kitchen white, it was gleaming and beautiful for about 3 weeks and it was dinged up ever after and I didn’t really care cuz I was renting…   but how in the world was I supposed to face the readers of my blog (yes these are some of the thoughts that I had) with my still orange kitchen. I’ve been complaining about my orange kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And I don’t complain about something unless I know that I plan on changing it.  If it can’t be changed, then whatever, I don’t have time to waste complaining . 

Besides the truth of the matter was that we did not have TIME to paint them anyway.  But I wasn’t going to give up transforming my kitchen, at least a little bit.  So let the fun begin…. tomorrow!  I mean, let the fun begin tomorrow, when I post about the next stage of the remodel!  Hope to see you there!)   If you want, you can go back and see our kitchen before we did anything to it and to see how we updated the back splash with included tutorial. 

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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.

We love hearing from fellow Remodelaholics, so let us know what you like about this and leave any questions below in the comments. If you've followed a tutorial or been inspired by something you've seen here, we'd love to see pictures! Submit pictures here or by messaging us over on Facebook.

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  1. What if you stained your cabinets rather than painting them an elegant dark color rather than painting them white? You could still get the wood appearance that your Realtor wants without having them orange. I’ve heard really great things about Rustoleum Transformation and they have a kit for both cabinets and counter tops. As far as I can tell, the product is also fairly inexpensive and easy to use.

    1. I was talking to my husband about that, maybe trying that after the renters move on. But the truth was, we didn’t have the time to do a single thing more. But don’t dispair, it will look better soon (tomorrow and the next day) We have two more major changes to show you tomorrow and the next day.

  2. I have been reading your blog for a bit now. It was fun to see the transformation of your kitchen. The stairs was another favorite project. My hubby is impressed with all that you did as well, as I showed him some of your projects (like all the built ins upstairs). As for our kitchen, we changed out the sink and faucet back in 2/2008. Gone is the stainless sink/chrome faucet with a composite sink and ORB faucet replacing them. We replaced the brass knobs they put with ORB. We tiled the back splash too.

    1. AWESOME! I love to hear and see what people have done in their homes. I know that there are different stages in all of our lives, but I really think we should always be doing little things to better our homes, or we are in essence decreasing value in one of our biggest investments even though we pay a mortgage for that each month… so, good for you!

      1. We are always doing little things here. We need to do lots of big things too. It wasn’t built by a very reputable builder (our mistake for not looking into it more). We have already had to start replacing windows. The furnace has always had issues (that is an ongoing battle with the city). There are drafts that we can not for the life of us find. Which sucks when you live in WI and the temps are in the negative with nasty winds.

  3. What an amazing change already! Was really nice of you to leave it in a much better place than you found it. Awaiting tomorrow!

  4. Cassity, that wall looks AWESOME!! I’m in Fort Worth you have to tell me where you found the discount home builder store. I love your blog! Keep up the good work! Hope to meet you one day.

    1. It was the Surplus Warehouse on the 377, Somewhere around 4110 Denton Highway, just a few blocks south of the north east loop of the 820. Hope that helps!

  5. I was wondering what brand and model the dishwasher was. I’m looking for one that cleans and is reasonable in price.

    1. Melanie, it is a Maytag, but I don’t remember the model number. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. I hope you can find one that works for you.

  6. Cassity you’re a genius! I LOVE how you updated your kitchen without a full re-model. It makes me think I can make some changes around my house. Regarding the arch you put in, any chance you’ll offer more of a tutorial? I have a very similar set-up and the arch would improve my space by about a million percent! Thanks,
    from a new follower

    1. Heather, that is on our todo list for the near future. We have had a lot of requests for that. Thanks for the comment and thanks for following.

  7. Hi! I love the arched opening above your kitchen sink! You have inspired us to do the same in our home! Do you have any pictures of the opening from your living room? I would love to see what the moulding looks like from that side as well! Great job! It looks amazing!!!