It is no secret that my most popular post of all time is my tutorial about transforming your oak cabinets into gorgeous, dark espresso colored cabinets. I am fairly confident the reason that 90% of you are even reading this is because of THAT tutorial, so I’m grateful and humbled you’re still reading.
That being said, a lot of my traffic comes from people googling “Monica Wants It kitchen” because they want to see how my kitchen turned out after my initial inspiration post. Well, um…I’ve never gotten around to it because I was so indecisive!
Well, I was indecisive until this past Saturday when we started renovating our kitchen! It was not planned, definitely a “whoops!” kind of thing, but I couldn’t be happier to have finally ripped off the band-aid.
Part of the reason I was so stuck is the kitchen felt so closed off. I’ll show ya:
Here we have what I consider a functional space. No major issues in the photo above.
On the other side, we have a similar L shaped area with the sink, dishwasher, etc. And we also have the biggest obstacle in the kitchen…those two ginormous cabinets that block my view to our backyard. I’ve been wanting them gone FOREVER to bring in more light and open feeling. Plus, those huge cabinets make it nearly impossible to efficiently use that counter space, and if someone is standing on the opposite side, you can’t really talk to them.
Another tricky part to the kitchen is that it has three entrances to contend with- the living room, the laundry/garage exit, and the dining room. Therefore, a major layout change is not feasible without investing MAJOR dollars. No thanks!
So, back to those two cabinets. The corner one is a lazy susan that we use as a pantry. There’s one on the opposite side as well that was relatively empty. The other cabinet held glassware and mugs, but wasn’t full.
Remember how I was talking about wanting to live simply and have less stuff? Yes? Ok, great. That’s why we decided to pare down our kitchen stuff and sacrifice two cabinets for the sake of an open feel and backyard views. We took the cabinets down! The items we housed in those two cabinets were easily relocated to other cabinets. We never use the third/top shelf, and now we will…as soon as we get a kitchen stool. We’ll put items we don’t need super often on the third shelf.
In terms of resale, we don’t know if ridding of cabinet space will hurt us, but I’d like to think the open view and upgrades we’re planning will help. Right?
It took Daniel and I about two hours to remove both cabinets because unlike those House Crasher shows we all know and love, I do not have a demo crew, dumpster and help to get all that stuff out if we were to just go nuts with a sledgehammer.
We very methodically and carefully removed the two cabinets to ensure hardly any clean-up and no damage to the cabinets we are keeping and countertops. The two cabinets were “joined” together by a huge plywood panel thing (see pics below), so whipping out the reciprocating saw was a must in order to separate the cabinets and then take them down.
One down, one to go. That HUGE cabinet was held up by some tiny strips of wood stacked together.
All gone! Insert happy dance and subsequent fist pump here. Our cordless drill died before we could remove those strips, but they did eventually come down. The only major wish I have that I know will not come true is having an eat-around kind of island thing. There’s just not enough space (see below) to accommodate barstools without impeding the traffic flow to the living room. Boo.
Up next… removing the popcorn ceiling. A full tutorial on this really isn’t needed because it is EASY. Make sure you don’t have asbestos in your ceiling, first and foremost. Proceed with a spray bottle and warm water– spray about 4×4 foot sections, wait 2-3 minutes, scrape and repeat. I used this popcorn ceiling scraper tool, which has very mixed reviews, but we loved it. It worked really well. We still had dust and such to clean-up, but overall this scraper + a 4-gallon bag took care of the dirty work. Our kitchen and breakfast nook took about 3 hours total, including prep and clean-up.
And here’s what it looks like thus far. We have some areas to patch up the ceiling and then we’ll proceed to painting it and moving on.
My biggest decision now is what color to paint/stain the cabinets. I adore white kitchens, BUT with all the wood grain, I think that would drive me bonkers. I’ve seen a tutorial where a blogger posted on how to cover the wood grain, but I am just not interested in that intensive of a process. I’m lazy.
I made a few mock-ups to help me decide. Here we have white uppers and espresso lowers.
Classic all- white kitchen.
And finally, espresso (java) cabinets.
Which color should I pick? Sound off in the comments!
Now, here’s what to keep in mind:
1.) I am not replacing countertops, backsplash or appliances…yet. Those will be phase 2 of our renovation, which will be in 2016, or maybe Christmas 2015 if Santa takes a hint. I’m wanting marble-esque quartz countertops that SPARKLE along with a marble backsplash. We currently have a VBB (very boring beige) solid surface countertop that is in good shape.
2.) I will not be replacing flooring until phase 3, which could be in 2017 (or never) at this point because this flooring also runs into the laundry room. It’s a big project to undertake.
3.) I love to be trendy, but I’m all about resale value and sweat equity. I want a return on my investment and time.
Phase 1: Monica Wants It Kitchen Renovation Checklist
-Open up the kitchen layout (done!)
-Remove Popcorn Ceiling (done!)
-New Light Fixture for Bay Window/Breakfast Area
-Possible(?) New Fixture to Replace Track Lighting
-Add in 4 Recessed Lights
-Add Open Shelving
-New Cabinet Hardware
-Table/Chairs/Bench for Breakfast Nook
-New Roman Shades for Bay Windows
-Add Moldings to “Island” and Breakfast Area
Total Spent: $0 to Date
Linking up at astrollthrulife.net