Sunday, December 1, 2013

house tour: the kitchen

I spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen.  Most weeknights I make dinner for the family after I get home from work and, whenever I am able, I am in the kitchen during the weekend baking up something sweet.  The kitchen in the rental house we had been living in over the last year made doing all that fairly difficult and not all the enjoyable.  It was tiny, which is not a huge deal, but no matter how much we cleaned it always felt dirty.  It was just gross.  Most importantly there was no dishwasher.  With as much as I cooked (and as many cups as Clio insisted on drinking milk from on a daily basis) there were always dishes in the sink.  We felt like we were spending so much of our time washing dishes.  I know, a first world problem if ever there was one.  Still, I kind of resented the fact that after working ten hours a day and making dinner, after we finally got to spend time with Clio we had to end the evening washing the dishes.

Over the years when I have fantasized about owning a home most of the time my thoughts were centered around having a functional and clean kitchen.  This past year they have centered around having a dishwasher.  Just the thought of owning a dishwasher would make me giddy.  I know folks, I am easy to please.  After our offer on this house was accepted, Leif and I laid in bed on many different nights and talked about how excited we were to be getting a dishwasher.  The free time we would have just by having a dishwasher was going to change our lives.  We would learn a new language!  We would start our business (finally)!  We would be able to renovate the house!  Here we are, dishwasher running, me writing this post and Leif dozing on the couch.  Yep, lots more free time to do all those things that we want to get done.  Right...

The kitchen, as it is currently, is fairly functional.  There is abundant storage, it's clean, and there is plenty of countertop space.  But, the oven is a downdraft Jennair which is 32 years old and there are some other weird quirks that need to change.  Upper cabinets above the peninsula that houses the oven block the view from the kitchen to the family room, the overhead lighting is terrible fluorescence and makes me feel like I am in a department store, and there is an odd cabinet that was built to house a monstrously sized microwave from the 1980s.  So that is all going to change, eventually.

First step, other than to remove the upper cabinets and get a range hood, is going to be painting the cabinets.  The cabinets are in really good shape despite their age and the truth is that even if Leif and I were to gut the entire thing I doubt we'd be able to afford new cabinets made from the same quality wood as these custom ones are.  They are actually quite pretty in their own way and I would probably consider keeping them as they are in the right setting but in this house there is just too much wood everywhere.  Wood paneling, wood flooring, and wood trim that along with the wood cabinets the whole thing feels a little too cabin-in-the-woods for me.  So they are getting painted.  White uppers and gray lowers.  I know it is a bit on trend right now, which I always tend to avoid, but I figure in five years we may end up renovating and so it won't matter much.

These kitchens are my inspiration.  I know mine won't turn out quite so beautiful but I think I can get a similar feel without spending an ungodly amount of money doing so.

The countertops are laminate and therefore you can safely assume they are butt-ugly.  My consolation is that they are clean and a fairly neutral color.  I was going to live with them until I could afford to spend some real money on replacing them but then I came across a tutorial online for using a material called Ardex Feather Finish that would transform them into basically concrete countertops.  Little Green Notebook used it on her laundry room and was happy with the result so I figured that I'll give it a try.  It can't be any worse than what is there now and the bag of mix only costs about $15, which totally appeals to my bank account.

This will be the first big project we tackle around here.  It will probably take a couple of weeks and there will be some late nights given that we both work full time.  But it will be a fairly cheap renovation and I think will make a large impact to the overall look of the house.  We are going to be living here for many, many years to come so I look at it as an investment in my future happiness.


  1. Looks awesome! Can't wait to see some before and after pictures. And let's get to removing those upper cabinets! See you soon.

    1. Haven't you had your fill of home renovation?

    2. Ha! I guess not. I'm happy to help if you need me! It's like babysitting another child and then getting to go home and not have the responsibility. :)

  2. Looks so exciting! I can't wait to see the finished product.