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The Kitchen Remodel — Beginnings

2013 June 5
by Becky

**See more kitchen renovation posts here, herehere, and here

Before we moved in, I described our new house as “very finished” and say that I had “little to do” project-wise…with the exception of the kitchen.

There was nothing wrong with the kitchen.

It had newer appliances, nice cabinetry, big windows, nice granite counter tops (our first!) and is a decent size. But…well it was ugly. Plus, the upper cabinets made me feel as if the room is closing in on me. Like the scene in Star Wars?

See for yourself.



The word that comes to mind is BROWN. And BORING.

Those cabinets made the room feel tiny. I wanted them gone so I purposely only used them for things I’d want to display on open shelving. To give it a try, I started by taking down the doors to open things up.

It’s imposible to tell from the pictures, but the missing doors made a huge difference. We loved having our every day dishes at an arms reach and occational pieces displayed higher up.

After talking about making changes for over three months, I decided to take advantage of our free child care (Stu’s mom was in town a couple weekends ago) and put some primer on the wall.

It felt soooooo good.


Seeing the difference just a little primer made to the room, Stu jumped into action fulfilling my wish of taking down those cabinets. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to second guess myself.

Kitchen Remodel Cabinets Coming Down

And then they were gone…


It only took four days to get the cabinets and microwave sold on Craiglist. Cha-ching!

Over the next few days we patched holes before I pulled out my trusty rollers, brushes, and our eight foot ladder. Surprisingly, cutting into the ceiling wasn’t that tough, I was just able to reach it from the second to last step of the ladder (eeeekk!).

I used the same color from our rental house, Moonshine from Benjamin Moore. It’s a gray, which is a very tough color to buy, so the fact that I’ve seen it used quite often online (especially on YHL) I knew it would be a winner. Just gray enough to make the white trim pop while still being bright and cheery. *Note, I do NOT recommend doing what YHL does and have the color matched in Olympic paint. Olympic coverage is not good…you’ll use twice as much.)


On the list after paint was:

  • new white subway tile back splashes with gray grout
  • new outlets and switches
  • new outlet covers
  • new faucet
  • new range hood
  • new countertop microwave to replace the over-the-stove one we took down
  • build open shelving
  • new lighting
  • under shelf lighting
  • replacing recessed windows with wood
  • new flooring (?????? this is a big ?)

Stu got to work on the outlets and covers…he has done this in every house we’ve owned. What a HUGE difference it makes!! Why people buy these things in off-white is beyond me. White goes with everything. And looks so clean.


Our new faucet arrived a few days ago. It’s just gorgeous. Very similar to the one I bought for our Maplewood house and much better suited for actually reaching all areas of the kitchen sink. Plus we love the industrial look and feel.


With all the cabinets down, we had to start making some major decisions. I had some very specific ideas of what I wanted but wasn’t sure it would all work together. And of course I wanted to do it with our budget in mind. Hunting for an affordable range hood that would fit our 10′ ceilings alone was driving me crazy!

Since I’m such a visual person, and I had all this stuff floating around in my head, I put together a very quick (very crappy) photoshop job of what the kitchen could be. It started like this:


All the components were there, but something was missing. The tile just wasn’t going to look right.

Then I realized a) subway tile is really cheap and b) it would look amazing if the whole wall was covered with it. So I added a few layers and got this:


Tile to the top! We were sold.

I was nervous to dive into the more difficult projects but Stu urged me to get in touch with our contractor, John (who helped us do things like add a bathroom in our old house), to help get some of the big stuff done. I’m convinced John can do anything home related. His craftsmanship and attention to detail is unbelievable and he has every tool anyone could ever need. Which came in handy when he helped us take out all the old tile…by cutting it (and the drywall behind it) out of the wall. He has no fear. Ethan and I came home from the park to giant holes for a back splash, which John and Stu quickly covered up with new dry wall.


It was time to build shelves and tile.

Miraculously Home Depot had plenty of this gorgeous glazed white subway tile and we bought up bunch…like 80 square feet worth. Plus some bull nose for the trim areas and a HUGE tub of premixed adhesive.


I’m proud to report I have taken on the tiling duty with gusto–it’s almost done! No lie, it feels very good to do this part of the project myself. I’m using a saw people!!! Next week I’ll share photos and details of the tile and the “floating” shelves John whipped up.


In the meantime, things are very construction-zoney around here and I guess our porch is just going to continue as our “staging area”. Good thing its big…still plenty of room on the other side for evenings spent outside in the beautiful weather we’ve been having.

Man it feels good to work on a house again.

**See more kitchen renovation posts hereherehere, and here


10 Responses
  1. June 5, 2013

    Cant wait to see the rest!!

  2. Linda Johnson permalink
    June 5, 2013

    Love it, Love it! Wow, you sure got a lot done since I left. I like the subway tiles to the ceiling. The room looks so much bigger!!

    I’m sure Ethan enjoyed watching all the construction. One of these day’s he can be an apprentice tool helper.

  3. June 5, 2013

    That is going to look great! I love a good subway tile, and the open shelves really do wonders!
    Jen recently posted..what’s on our shelves: June editionMy Profile

  4. Cara permalink
    June 6, 2013

    Holy project!!! Can’t wait to see more….

  5. June 10, 2013

    So glad to finally see someone post about Olympic. I have no idea how they use it for EVERYTHING. We tried it when I was pregnant and paranoid about VOC’s and that’s the worst paint job of the entire house, forget double the coats, I had to completely repaint it using good paint. Olympic is the worst no matter what uber popular home bloggers might say. YECH.

    now that my pent up Olympic aggression is out, it’s looking good! The brown gone is such a bright update!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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