Do you remember what it looked like before? Here's a side-by-side comparison because I think you need to see it to believe it:
This makeover, as smitten as I am with it, is temporary-ish. Down the road we'd like to gut the kitchen and do all new cabinetry, flooring, counters, tile - the works, but it might take us years to save up the cash so we decided it would be wise to spend a little bit now to make it look and function better for us while we squirrel away some dough and figure out what we want from the space. Here's a summary of what we did (with links to previous posts included throughout, and also listed at the end - along with our nutty budget and sources):
The upper cabinets were removed because they were so small and offered so little storage space. Thanks to Canadian Tire, the lower cabinets were primed and painted a turquoise that is nearly identical to my Pyrex butterprint collection. With the cabinets and tile gone, the walls needed a little TLC so we installed a few new pieces of drywall and, for an affordable cover-all, put up some paneling. I've updated the post about the installation to include the ways in which we finished it off for a more polished look (I didn't want to drag out the reveal with the nitty gritty, but I wanted to make sure the info was there for anyone who needs it). Thanks to a paint partnership with CIL, I painted the paneling a slightly creamier white than the rest of the house. I waffled about painting it the same as the rest of the space because it would make the paneling blend in even more, but I worried that the cream flooring and off-white stained counters would really too yellow against a bright white. The difference is subtle, but it does seem a bit sunnier and cozier in the kitchen.
To replace the storage we ripped down, Hubby and I built a simple open pantry from plywood, which was primed and painted to match the walls (using a semi-gloss finish). Windsor Plywood sells laminated wood shelving which is the perfect width, so we grabbed four of those which I primed and painted to match the walls and pantry (also in semi-gloss), courtesy of CIL.
It took days to prime and paint the shelves, with all of the dry time and flipping required (one coat of primer, plus two-three coats of paint per side).
Even though I painted out all of the knots, some of the texture of the wood grain remains, which is what I had hoped I would achieve. Because the shelves are constructed from small pieces of wood laminated together (like our counters), they likely won't cup or warp like a solid piece of wood could.
Hubby used wood glue and pegs to join two pieces together to make the longer, top two shelves. You remember our bracket debate? On the studs or where they looked good? I lost and we originally put the brackets on the studs. We were so focused on our respective concerns for the placement of the brackets, we goofed up the shelf height! We realized (thanks to readers!) that our wood shelves violated Ontario building code by being too close to the stove - oops! For the second attempt at a configuration I wanted the brackets centred on the stove but when we removed one row they left massive holes from the giant screws required. We filled them with wood filler, but they didn't look perfect so we left the other brackets where they were. It was my Mom's idea, actually, not to centre the brackets on the stove because, as luck would have it, both sections of shelf on either side of the stove are now exactly the same size. In the end, half of the brackets are on studs, and the other half are held with giant anchors. Floating shelves might have been a simpler solution, but we thought this would be easier - ha! (Plus Hubby was adamant that he wanted these brackets, which hold 500 lbs each. I think he's telling me to go buy more Pyrex . . . ). A canister of new turquoise kitchen utensils and a row of three of my framed enamel landscapes from Hungary offset the asymmetry.
To make the shelves look more intentional, we installed them so they lined up with the shelves of the pantry we made. We also lined them up so one shelf runs right over the top of the fridge, so the fridge looks less "out there," and more built-in, for a similar feel to cabinetry.
Happily, the solid maple counters Hubby built still look amazing - as does the stainless steel sink and faucet we installed awhile ago. That's the genius of working at a snail's pace: by the time the reveal is ready, I've had a chance to put everything though the wringer. Over the weekend a friend lusted after the faucet and I think her Hubby just had "new faucet" added to his honey-do list. Sorry!
I've been trying to be relaxed about the wood counters and just use them, but I do take certain precautions. After wiping them down or after an especially splashy dish-washing session, I wipe off any water with a dry tea towel. I used trivets for hot things and coasters for beverages - although even rogue glasses haven't left any rings. I also have this thing about the rubber feet on the bottom of the knife block and blender. I'm worried they will stain, so I bought a little cream-coloured cutting board to set these permanent counter fixtures atop. I'd like a piece of marble or slate eventually, but for now this helps me sleep at night.
Like any space, the kitchen isn't 100% done-done. Of course my Pyrex collection must grow!! I'd also like to add some art to the right of the window (I'm thinking a vintage map of Lake Superior, with lots of blues and aquas naturally, because everyone who visits wants to see exactly where we are on the lake). We're also planning on adding a microwave to the open pantry - I just couldn't stand the thought of plunking it down on our shiny counters!
I did end up stashing my beloved orange kettle because I'm just really loving this icy palette of cream, white, and shades of turquoise. I've got some mint and blue in there for variety ;) My Mom gave me her vintage, clear Pyrex kettle which doubles as a tea pot and I like that it doesn't draw the eye away from all of my pretty dishes and turquoise Pyrex.
I think that concludes the tour! We stopped and started working on this kitchen so many times, and I lived without a functional space for so long, so it feels really, really good to have completed it. It's better than I could have ever imagined and I just wish you could see it in real life, where it is brighter, less grainy (!), and more aqua (it looks denim blue in some pictures). The glassware sparkles and the wood counters gleam. It's a joy to cook and bake in here, and it has such a great vibe when we entertain. Guests sit on the stools, chatting with me while I bustle, and they stare at the shelves, all glassy-eyed.
Here are all of the kitchen-related posts (click on the link to read more):
Turquoise kitchen inspiration
Painting the cabinet doors with a paint sprayer
Painting the cabinet boxes and installing hardware
Building the solid maple counters
A little bit on wood movement
Staining the counters with a sprayer
Installing the sink and faucet
Choosing paneling as a backsplash
Installing paneling (and now, trimming it as well)
The great bracket debate
Building a DIY pantry, and working around some weirdness
Reveling in the mess
Enjoying our new kitchen stools
Here is the budget breakdown:
Maple for counters = $611
Counter stain and finish = $40
Sink = $200
Faucet = FREE
4 Shelves = $80
13 brackets = $102
6 sheets paneling = $108
Paneling trim & screws = $112
Window trim and baseboard = $30
Electrical box extenders = $42
Ikea light = $30
2 plywood sheets for pantry = $90
Knobs = $24
Floor vent = $13
Edge tape = $10
Primer for cabinets = FREE
Paint for cabinets = FREE
Paint for walls, pantry, and shelves = FREE
Modernica stools = they don't count, they're technically in the dining room ;)
Pantry canisters = FREE
Grand total = $1492!! I'm pretty excited that we made such a significant change with less than 1500 bucks. I'd need to add a bit more if I had paid out of pocket for items like paint and a faucet. Conversely, I think buying prefab wood counters from Ikea might be cheaper, but I'm totally in love with the decadently thick slabs of solid maple we've got going on - they make the kitchen. I'm not counting kitchen accessories, like my Pyrex collection, linens, glassware, etc., because some of these accessories I've collected over time. Hopefully our ancient appliances can hang on until the next kitchen reno, otherwise this budget will be doubled! Oh, and if you see an adding error (of I've forgotten something), please let me know.
Cabinet primer (Zinsser Bulls Eye 1,2,3), courtesy of Canadian Tire
Cabinet paint (Premier Interior Laxtex Semi-Gloss, in CIL's Niagara Mist), courtesy of Canadian Tire
Panel paint (White on White, Eggshell), courtesy of CIL
Pantry paint (White on White, Semi-Gloss), courtesy of CIL
Paneling (B Grade Dover), purchased from Windsor Plywood
Trim, laminated shelves, metal brackets, purchased from Windsor Plywood
Faucet (the Lita), courtesy of Pfister
Sink (Atlantis Commercial Grade Pro Series), purchased at Costco
2 Gallon Glass Montana canisters, courtesy of Canadian Tire
Cabinet hardware, purchased from Lee Valley
Glass light, purchased from Ikea
Stools, purchased from Modernica
Birdie foaming soap pump, courtesy of Umbra
Skinny Robin Egg blue can, courtesy of Umbra
I'm so excited about the transformation, I'm sharing it with: Miss Mustard Seed, Design, Dining, Diapers, My Turn for Us, The Brambleberry Cottage, From My Front Porch to Yours, My Re-Purposed Life, Serenity Now, French Country Cottage, Whipperberry, The DIY Showoff, Tatertots and Jello, Be Different...Act Normal, Nifty Thrifty Things, Rae Gun Ramblings, VMG 206, Elizabeth & Co., Coastal Charm, A Stroll Through Life, Persia Lou, That's What Che Said, Delineate Your Dwelling, The NY Melrose Family, Ginger Snap Crafts, Domestically Speaking, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Seven Thirty Three, The Blissful Bee, Creative Geekery, Burlap and Babies, City of Creative Dreams, We Call it Junkin.
Whew, shall we ogle it a bit more before I get on with my birthday festivities? Yes, we shall. The before, one last time:
And the kitchen now: