Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kitchen Renovation

My house is a 1960's ranch. This means it has lots of... quirks. The front porch steps are slightly perilous in that they are  very narrow and very steep. The guest bedroom closet is strangely long and narrow. The guest bathroom came with NO electric outlets. (You didn't really want to dry your hair in front of a mirror, did you?) Eccentricities aside, it is a great little house and Matt and I have spent a lot of time and effort into making it our own. When Matt first bought the house it had poop brown long shag carpet in EVERY room but the kitchen. Yes, that means it was in the bathrooms too. The walls were brown wood paneling. The furniture was the heavy, Mediterranean style that takes up lots of room and was not comfy in the least. It was the closest one could come to living in a cave without actually doing so.

Then I came along. We now have ZERO shag carpet. Not one single wall is unpainted. Our furniture is super comfy, if not quite fashionable. There has been, however, one last hold out- the kitchen. My mom and sister helped me paint the walls a bright yellow and I changed out the old dirty hardware for some more colorful, Anthropologie-esque knobs in hopes of brightening up the kitchen. It worked pretty well, for a while. There is only so much you can do when your cabinets are chocolate brown and the natural lighting throws weird shadows everywhere. This summer I had finally had enough. Even though I knew (in theory) that painting the entire kitchen was going to be a beast, it had to be done. I could not live with my dreary, dirty looking kitchen any longer. Here are my before pictures, so you can see how dated and dank it was.

(I must admit, I am thankful that my oven and hood are Harvest Gold and not Avacado Green.)

(Please note the terrible red light fixture. It gave my friend fits when trying to help me pick out colors. She told me it belonged in a red-light district.)

(Yes, the handle for the fridge is missing.)

As you can see, it needed a lot of work. A lot. After sitting down with my very gifted friend, Ashley, and talking about colors, we finally decided on wall and cabinet color. I was ready to go! I will skip over how hard it was to paint the windows (excruciating) and how many coats I had to do on the trim (more than 2) and all that boring stuff. I will say it was hard work. Painting the whole kitchen is not for the faint of heart. Luckily, I had my very amazing mother-in-law there to help me. I seriously could not have done it without her. She painted my walls in, no lie, about an hour- 15 minutes of painting, 30 minutes of drying, 15 minutes of painting (my mom and sister popped in for a couple hours one day, too, so it was a family affair). I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. Ready for the after pictures?

(I don't think the Harvest Gold looks too bad with this color haha)

(I love how much lighter and cleaner this area looks!)

(Our fridge ended up dying right before we started painting, so that was an unintentional renovation.)

There were two surprises during this renovation (aren't there always at least two?!), one that worked out surprisingly well and the other that made my year. The first had to do with the color of my walls. It is a bit hard to tell in the picture, but they are a light gray, not white. Ashely and I (but let's be real, mainly Ashley) spent a long tine picking out the right gray to go with the cabinets and with the poor lighting in the room. Well, I got an ocular migraine in Home Depot while I was in the middle of talking to the paint guy and I told him the wrong paint color. Yep, you read that right. I told him the gray that was one shade lighter than the one we had picked out. But as I said, it actually worked out really well. My house tries its best to be dark and cave-like, so the lighter gray really helped fight that. 
The second, more amazing surprise? My hardware. I had kept the original hardware when I replaced it with the colorful knobs because I liked the pattern but they were too dark for my dark, dark cabinets (I am so tired of writing that word!). I pulled them out of Matt's shed and spent 5 hours polishing them by hand. My fingertips, no lie, lost feeling and I might not have had any fingerprints until my skin started to regenerate, but it was so worth it.

If we ever move, you better believe I am taking my hardware with me! I am in love with these knobs.

So, there it is. This has been my life for the past 2 weeks. I have no fingertips, have developed carpal tunnel, and my legs are bruised to the point I look like I don't know how to walk, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat for the results that I got. I love being in my kitchen now. I still have to redo my counter tops and back splash, but we recently purchased a new car so those have been put on the back burner. I am now able to be content with that because of how wonderful my kitchen looks now.

What does this have to do with books? Admittedly, nothing. I do, however, want y'all's suggestions for my one wall that completely blank. I am wanting to do a gallery of picture frames that have quotes about food in them. Do you know any great food quotes? Here is one I have found that I plan on using-

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" - J.R.R. Tolkien

If any of you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them! I have quite a large space to fill and I want to fill it with beautiful words. Words nourish the soul the way food nourishes the body. My soul and body are being even more nourished in my new kitchen :)


  1. Kitchen looks Awesome!
    C.S. Lewis — 'Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.'

    1. Can't wait for y'all to see it in person! And thanks for the quote, I love it :)

  2. Jen, this is an awesome update! There is nothing like a bright, clean kitchen. I LOVE that you polished and reused the old hardware. Well done, friend!

    1. Thanks so much! I knew you would love that hardware like I do. Great minds and all :)

  3. Love this so much!! We bought a house about a year and a half ago that's similarly in disrepair. Little by little we've been fixing and changing things, and it's really turning into a great house. I absolutely LOVE what you did with your kitchen...I might even love it more than mine! haha

    1. Thank you! It's so nice to be able to turn a house into your own space and to do it yourself. I'm sure your kitchen is just as wonderful :)