I really can't believe its been a year since we closed on our house and started renovating. On the one hand the time has really flown by, and on the other it feels like we've lived here a decade. The first few months were such a struggle. We remodeled every square foot of this house so we really couldn't unpack anything for months. We worked from room to room with chaos everywhere. I definitely wouldn't recommend this strategy for everyone, but we were able to save a lot of money and invest into our home without going into debt.
The room that absolutely took the longest and most work was the kitchen/dining room area. Aside from being the most time consuming and literally taking everything out (including walls!) and starting from scratch, some of our cabinets were on backorder and took an additional 6 months to arrive due to covid. We finally got the remaining cabinets in September (that we ordered in February) and everything is installed. We still have a few finishing touches left to do, like a backsplash (which I need help from you guys picking out!) But first, keep scrolling to see the before and afters!
Tada! We took out the big wall separating the front room from the kitchen to open up the space, and I love how bright and open it is. Plus the peninsula adds sooo much countertop and storage space. It feels so much bigger now! We also removed the wall to the right entrance to make the hallway to the bedrooms wider. We gutted the old 70's cabinets and countertops and completely replaced everything. As far as what we had our contractor do, it was a lot more than what we had him do for other rooms in the house:
- remove the walls
- install cabinets
- install countertops
- install sink and create plumbing for garbage disposal
- update electric
- cut/add recessed lighting to kitchen and living room
- install appliances
As far as the work B and I did, we removed old flooring (two levels of it :/), laid new flooring and baseboards, painted, and updated hardware.
We really wanted a simple, European style kitchen. We both loved the glossy white cabinets, and these were actually difficult to find. Americans are far more interested in the shaker wood cabinets. For the cabinets and countertops, our contractor hooked us up with a killer deal at a wholesale warehouse. It was the complete opposite of fancy and organized (and quite a nightmare), but these wholesalers are the ones supplying material to the fancy kitchen design businesses, so we cut out the middleman and markup. It was way cheaper than even Ikea! It was well worth the headache. For our quartz countertops, we paid roughly $40/sq ft for material and installation, when the average is anywhere between $75-200/sq ft! The old kitchen only had countertops on either side of the sink. I don't even quite know what to do with all of this peninsula countertop space now!
All of our appliances were bought secondhand through Offerup. We bought the Kitchenaid dishwasher and oven/microwave wall combo together from someone who was replacing a kitchen in an investment property. They were about 6 years old but barely used. We got the dishwasher AND oven/microwave combo for $900 all together. For reference, a Kitchenaid oven/microwave wall unit alone starts at $3500 new!
I really had my heart set on having a separate cook top from the oven, and naturally this is way more expensive than a stove/oven combo. The electric cook top is Ikea but we actually found it for $150 cheaper new on eBay!
The dining table and chairs are Ikea, and the countertop stools are Wayfair (all new). I was searching so long for a big black wall mirror but they are so expensive, I don't even understand why?? This one got listed on Offerup $40 and I had B drive me that night to go pick it up.
Something else that is surprisingly expensive? Doors! I wanted a modern, European door with the three rectangular windows down the middle, but those are thousands of dollars. What? This one was $300 from Home Depot and originally white, so I just used some leftover matte black paint to make it a little more edgy.
Fun fact - the gas company guy told us there was actually a market for those super old (&dangerous&expensive) wall heaters (the one in the above before picture that is in the wall we removed). We listed it on Facebook Marketplace as vintage and sold it pretty quick! We invested in central air for the house and if you had asked me last month when the California temps were 116F, I would tell you that was by far our best investment in this house. I have no idea how anyone lived in this house for the past 70 years without central air conditioning.
We even had some left over quartz to add to the little window opening between the kitchen and the living room.
Something to think about when designing a kitchen - white is nice and open and all until you have to clean it! Our old house had brown countertops and honestly I just liked being ignorant about how dirty my kitchen was. White does NOT lie and shows every single drop of whatever you spilled. I am constantly wiping and cleaning. Going back I would've looked for countertops that had more gray in them haha.
Products We Bought
Here is where I need your help! What type of backsplash should we go with? I've added pics of my top three ideas below. Black herringbone, white subway tiles w/black grout, or a silver to break up the black and white?? Comment below and let me know what you think would look best! I'll share the results on IG @fancyfreeblog next week!
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- Marie Claire, September 2016