Allow me to introduce you to our kitchen. Let me preface all this with the following information (before anyone says anything bad about the kitchen - namely me) the guy who owned this house before we bought it, did a total remodel of this kitchen around 2002-2003. He did it for his wife, who apparently liked country decor and PINK. The whole first floor was Pepto Bismol Pink and Colonial Blue. So in that sense, this was a lovely kitchen and a nice gesture of the man's love for his wife. Okay, that's the last nice thing I will say about it. Neither M nor I like pink, other than the singer P!nk, and we don't like country decor. That's not to say country decor is bad, or that it can't look nice, it can and it does, it's just not our style.
Living in a house of pink and country is like living in a house decorated by your mother-in-law, or some relative who's taste might annoy you. It wasn't our choice and we never would have chosen pink counter tops deliberately. Oh, and if you click on the pictures, you'll not only see much better detail, you will see minty colored sponge painting on some of the walls. - But WAIT!! There's more!
The floor was a lovely creme and green (originally) but now it is only a dingy scratched mess of peel and stick linoleum tiles, that also were not to our taste. The floor bothered me more than the pink counter tops because I could never get it completely clean, no matter how hard I tried. The closest I got was when I would get down on my knees with a bucket of hot water, a rag and a big can of Comet to scour each tile clean. That only took off what remained of the dingy finish and encouraged the accumulation of even more dirt. So, after a while . . . why bother? It's hard to say whether it was the pink counter or the dingy floor that finally pushed M over the edge. I'm going to go with the floor since that's the first item she attacked in her frenzy of frustration.
Her frustration began as asides during conversations on other topics, "do you think there's hardwood under that linoleum?" Later her comments would become more direct, "some day we should tear up that floor," or "we'll never sell this house with that hideous kitchen." To finally, "I just want to take a peek and see what's under the linoleum." At which point she began chiseling away at the molding, breaking it away to reveal, linoleum on top, then plywood, then tar paper, then hardwoods. Yep, the hardwoods were there alright. "I'll bet I can get some of my friends over here and get this floor ripped up in no time." Okay, so it now appeared that "some day" was here and the floor was going.
There were other areas of annoyance in this kitchen, no exhaust fan or light over the stove. The ancient fan was never operational.
Some of the walls were covered by hideous, ahem, I mean, lovely country themed wallpaper with cherries and
watermelons. Fruit can be an appropriate decoration in kitchens. My idea of fruit in a kitchen is lemons in a tall clear vase, or a wire basket of various colored apples hanging from a hook, not tacky wallpaper with fruit printed on it. Sorry, personal taste choice here, some people must like it, otherwise they never would have sold such wallpaper.
Another area of annoyance, for me in particular, I don't think M really cared very much, is the top of the cabinets. There's almost 16 inches of wasted space up there. We store all our big items up there, crock pots, woks, fryers, etc. Since we have no exhaust fan, the grease from cooking finds its way up to the top of the cabinets and the items end up covered with a combination of grease and dust that is very hard to remove. So I always wanted smaller cabinets up there for covered storage. I thought cabinets going all the way to the ceiling would look more old fashioned in keeping with our 1930s house and make the kitchen look taller.
Oh, and let's not forget the tarnished knobs and pulls painted with flowers, another nice country touch. So, it's obvious that the kitchen needed some updating, some additional touches to make us feel comfortable in it. Now, kitchen remodels can cost $30,000 - $50,000, catch your breath, that's right. I don't know about you, but we certainly don't have that kind of money. So we had to think, what's the best remodel we could do on the smallest budget? The obvious answer was to keep everything where it was at, no moving cabinets or plumbing, but we still needed a dramatic change. The pink counters HAD to go, so did the nasty linoleum. So if we replaced those two items, the only things left to change would be paint and wallpaper on the walls, hardware on the cabinets, getting 5 additional cabinets on top, and installing an exhaust fan/light over the stove. We looked at lots of home improvement shows, seeing what we liked and didn't like, we knew we wanted something timeless and classic to fit with the age of our house and not go out of style like the latest trendy kitchen designs would do. We knew we would have to do a lot of the work ourselves to keep the costs down. We decided to pay professionals to do the two things we either couldn't do, or that would take so long for us to do a sloppy job, that it was worth paying someone to do it. So we hired people to put in a new floor and new counter tops. We would do all the tearing out, cleaning up, sanding, painting, etc.
So in the next post, and in following posts, I will take you step-by-step through the tear up phase and show you all the work that has been done in the last few weeks, until we finally reach the finished project. Are you excited?! I'm mostly tired. You have no idea how much work we've been doing to reach the finished project.