We have now owned our house for one full week. In that one week, we’ve done a pretty good job of teetering on renovation overload. Moving into a home that we have so many ideas for, sometimes starts to feel overwhelming, like you don’t know where to start.
Let me at least fill you in on our ideas and what we’ve already done so far.
We like the structure of the house. You always want to find a home with good bones, good neighborhood, and good layout. Ours has all of these features, but it was built in the 80s, and not much has changed since it was built. The only changes made is new carpet in the bedrooms and the living room has laminate. The bedrooms are fine (for now – I hate carpet but it works for now), but unfortunately the laminate is no good already. There was no weather stripping on the back door when we had a rain storm and the water leaked in and caused the laminate to expand, ruining it. There was another spot where the HVAC system leaked water into the living room and ruined that spot as well. We’ve repaired the weather stripping and the HVAC was fixed so we won’t have those problems anymore, but there isn’t an easy way to fix laminate. Plus I want the kitchen and living area to have the same floor so it flows nicely, so it’s coming up!
We want to upgrade the paint, technology and lighting as well. The outside of the home is baby blue and needs a modern touch with a rich deep gray/brown/greige color, with modern house numbers. The thermostat in the house was as basic as you could find, with an up/down toggle for the temperature; It wasn’t even programmable. The lighting is random and sparse, and someone went switch happy in the house, so when you enter, you have your choice of five light/fan switches. Good luck when you’re carrying five bags of groceries and two dogs are jumping on you in joyful greetings. I don’t want to have to play “guess the light switch”. There’s even a set of two switches for ONE fan. Bizarre and confusing in my opinion, and there’s another two switches in the kitchen, one for the disposal and one for the dishwasher. This freaks me out and I imagine myself turning on the wrong switch at the wrong time.
But the big project, the money maker (and sucker), the Great Bambino of our projects is the kitchen. It’s old and outdated and not too functional. There are only about six good cabinets in about 20 feet of space, the dishwasher is original, (we also found out it’s been recalled due to a fire hazard), the cabinets themselves are store model oak with no hardware and no organization, and the counters are off-white laminate with random chips from carelessness and 20-some years of use. It’s 80’s rental throwback style, and since we love to entertain, this isn’t going to work for us. There’s also a little nook that looks like it would have been used as a dining nook, but we’d like to turn it into storage instead. The living area is almost 30′ long, so integrating living and dining together would be more of our style, and turning the kitchen into one big entertaining area would fit our lifestyle better.
The problem and fear for me is logistics. I’ve never done a kitchen remodel. I’ve tiled and painted and laid down flooring, but never tackled an entire kitchen. At first we thought about going through IKEA. We could save a lot of money and we like the styles IKEA carries, but then reality slapped us. We want to push out the line of cabinets for more space and functionality. If we do that, we have to figure out if it would work with plumbing, and we’d have to lay our own counters (or hire someone for a fee). Plus the amount of time it would take for us to do this, including putting together every piece of cabinet, sounded awful. This was one of those projects that just wouldn’t do by watching a couple videos on YouTube. So we buckled and went to Home Depot to chat with a designer/sales rep, and although we’ll be spending more money going through Home Depot, I think the amount of peace of mind we’ll get to keep, and the speed at which the project will be done, will be worth it. We’ll be able to lay floors, tile the fireplace, and paint the exterior of the house, while they are working on the kitchen.
I’m excited, even exhilarated, thinking about what our finished product might look like over the next few months, but I’m also nervous. Spending money, especially a large amount of money, makes me apprehensive, and the thing about a kitchen is, you don’t get to see the final product until it’s done. It’s not like buying a chair, or even a car. You see that product right away and know what you’re getting. A kitchen is a mystery. You know the idea of what you’re getting and even the product pieces (espresso cabinets and white granite top), but you don’t see it until it’s done. Every time I think about it, my stomach knots up, and I feel a little pukey. But I also remind myself, that my home is very important to me. My husband and I love to entertain and have people over, we want to get more into home brewing again since we have a garage again, and I work from home sometimes as well, so our home will become our center. Because of this, investing in our kitchen, and our home altogether, will be a great investment. You look at your home and walk through it every day. It’s where I come back to after a long hard day of work. I want to come in, instantly relax, and love it the second I enter. I want it to feel warm and welcoming. I want to be so proud of it!
So for now, this blog will most likely be turning into my house renovation blog. I hope it’s entertaining and maybe even inspirational to you.
This is the first tear up of the floor. It’s hard to see, but the torn up piece of laminate has a darker stain on the plywood. That’s the water that had leaked in. It expanded the boards, leaving them warped. The tile on the top left of the photo goes into the dining/kitchen area. This too,will be torn up and all of the living and kitchen/dining area will have the same flooring.
The living room floor pulled up! The sub-floor is cement which will make it easy to smooth out and put down new floor. The fireplace is also going to get a face-lift, and the mini-blinds will eventually go, once I’m able to make some curtains, but all in due time. All in due time.
I apologize for the blurriness. I didn’t notice until I uploaded the photo. This is going to be our new floor! This is a vinyl plank. It’s available at Home Depot, is highly water resistant, easy to install and requires very little extra tools/equipment. It gets great ratings so I’m hoping that installing it will go smoothly. So far I’m planning on laying it down in the living room, dining and kitchen. I feel like this will encompass the entire area so it feels more like one big space. Right now, with two different floorings, it feels like the kitchen is supposed to be a separate area and I don’t want that. Our kitchen, and food, is an integral part of our lives and we want it to be just as important as the living room.
Here’s our before kitchen. Pretty 80’s eh? The cabinetry, like I said, is basic store bought oak. The counters are laminate. The backsplash by the stove is glued on. There is almost no storage here and it doesn’t scream, “Cook, create!” at me.
Another view of our very 80s kitchen. And like I said, there’s not a whole lot here for cabinet space. I’d like to widen this area by pulling the main part on the left out about two feet. This area will have the same gray flooring the living room does, so it will be a smooth transition from living/dining to kitchen.
This is behind where I’m standing in the picture above. It’s a small dining nook that I know we won’t use. Since we are planning on integrating the living room and dining into one area, I’m planning on putting added storage here instead. I think this area would be best used, possibly for a nice, big pantry, along with dining ware, and possibly a recipe storage/desk area. We’ll see what the designer/planners say about the feasibility of those ideas.