Remember back in March when I shared the ‘Before‘ of our new home? Yeah, neither do I because it was SO long ago! The kitchen has actually be done (well, this much done) for a while, but I’ve been too lazy to share it! Lazy? Yes, cleaning your kitchen day to day is much different than photo clean. Since we’re in the middle of renovations everywhere else the kitchen is the most used room of the house. Our kitchen/dining room doubles as my office until it’s done, laundry folding station (the only surface out of babies reach), and paintbrush washing hub. And those shiny appliances? They don’t stay shiny for long with curious little fingers running around. I took these pictures while the kids were eating breakfast and as soon as I let them out of their seats, Miss A ran to give herself kisses in the reflection of the stove.
So let’s look at what we started with. So sad! This kitchen wasn’t functional at all. Appliance wise, the stove was hardwired in and wasn’t working, the fridge was smaller than our apartment fridge, and there was no dishwasher. The linoleum flooring was cracked and had grip strips? on them, the counter was rotting around the sink- which leaked, and there was SO MUCH wasted space. Before we bought, we decided the kitchen would be done before we move in (along with some other things- like our floors).
To help make sense of it, I made out a little layout… where we took the wall out, we added a header and made it level with the header that hits the wall (above). We also took out the valance that runs into the kitchen from the dining room- it helps make two separate spaces. The kitchen was missing out on a ton of counter space by having the door to the backyard in the middle of it. We took that out (when we add a deck, it will move to the dining room), moved the window out of the corner, and ripped out the wall that separated the living room and kitchen. Also- there was a coat closet at the top of the stairs… this became a pantry and we’re building a coat closet and some shoe closets at the bottom of the stairs.
Now that we’ve made these changes… this kitchen is FUNCTIONAL. We put it to work and the lay out works so well for us. The over-sized island gets abused the most. This is where prep happens. We built the garbage and recycling into a pull out in the island, so after chopping veggies, I can swoop the scraps right in. It’s also awesome for entertaining! I can be working in the kitchen and still take part in conversation in the living room, have several hands helping me, or fill the island with party cups and drinks. The island has normal depth cabinets and drawers facing the sink, and the backside has shallow 12″ cabinets (meant for the uppers) without knobs on the cupboards. It blends right in but provides storage for all my cookbooks, mason jars, vases, and party plates/napkins. The end of the island was too wide to get a side panel from Ikea. We ended up using two doors and it carries the paneled look around the whole island- I love it!
Our cabinets are the white Ikea Ramsjos- by designing the kitchen myself and us installing it ourselves, we were able to save big. Plus, twice a year Ikea has their Kitchen Event, so we got 20% back in gift cards on our kitchen (score!). We chose ceiling height cabinets to maximize space. Plus, we hated dusting on top of our cabinets and found we were always tempted to shove extra stuff on top of our standard height ones in our apartment. We added the deco strip and cornice to dress it up a bit- we’re still planning to add under the cabinet lighting in our coffee corner, but we’re slow movers. The 12″ pantry isn’t actually one piece. Ikea didn’t make full height 12″ pantries, so we improvised and stacked three 12″ standard height upper cabinets. It works perfectly- the only downside is you don’t have complete flexibility where your shelves go as you would with an open pantry.
We chose Formica laminate counter tops (180fx Soapstone Sequoia) to keep within our budget and love how it turned out. I really like the flat finish and although I wish stone was in our budget, this doesn’t look cheap, and it works perfectly. The only thing to consider is how it affects your sink. We chose a brushed sink with square corners but made sure to choose one that dropped in- not undermount. Although under mount can technically be done with laminate countertops, we were strongly warned about it, because the seal is basically just clear silicone and if water gets under there- it will swell the counter tops. We use our sink a LOT, and the counters get scrubbed often, so we steered clear of that option.
The hardware we chose is made by Amerock. I had spotted this style on Pinterest and had to find it- they’re the Rochdale line and you can find the pulls here and the knobs here. These might be my favourite decision. Other good decisions? Kenmore appliances (they rock), our DIY open shelves, and our Home Depot marble backsplash. I love the hexagon shapes but had a hard time deciding how to edge it- I thought about leaving the edge. Metal edging was recommended to me, but when I spotted the marble edging just a few steps away from the backsplash at Home Depot, I couldn’t turn back. This would not be an economical way to edge the entire back splash. Since we carried it to the upper cabinets most of the way, we didn’t need much though.
Those lights are actually from Home Depot and I’m in LOVE with them. Would you believe they were only $79? Another ‘splurge’ was the screw-less face plates on the electrics. The cost difference wasn’t much since we needed to replace them all anyway. I think the aesthetic is WAY nicer. I really had to sell Shane on this, but he’s so glad I did (also Home Depot- we pretty much lived there these past few months). We went with a neutral tile on the floor as well, just like we talked about in my Kitchen Inspiration post. We used Fuzion Grout for this and I couldn’t be happier with it. My only caution is that it is a PAIN in the butt for smaller tiles. We spent hours scrubbing on the back splash, but since the floor tiles were so much larger- they were easy to wash the haze off of before it dried.
Whew! That was a bit of an epic-long post. But I’m so excited to share our first official room reveal with you! The before and after is nuts, we still can’t believe that’s what our kitchen looked like before. Are you thinking about renovating? Can I recommend x1000 open shelving and Ikea cabinets? They’ve both been amazing. Oh, and having your garbage in a pull out- that’s awesome too.
PS. We have a coffee bar! That’s probably my favourite function of this kitchen- and the most used ;). I can’t tell you how happy we are with the kitchen- it was a labour of love, we did everything ourselves (with help from family and friends) except for the counter top install and ceiling patching. Knowing how much we put into the kitchen renovation makes it pretty easy to love and care for I suppose.
So, let’s hear from you… what’s the best thing about your kitchen? What would you change?