Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodels...what an undertaking! 
We finally finished ours, and it was a long process. 
We had to do this in stages. For many reasons, time, budget, kids, work, and of course, indecision.
Here is what we started with... 
An awfully faux finished kitchen, I know, I know, who am i to judge...oh wait :)
The cabinets were your basic orangey oak, laminate counters, florescent lights, linoleum flooring, an some really bad tile back splash. 
We  knew this kitchen had to be completely redone from the moment we walked in. 
It was over 6 months before we even touched the kitchen though. It was excruciating, coming down the stairs every morning seeing how bad it was, knowing that we have the ability to fix it, and not being able to do anything. 
The first step for the house was the flooring. Which ill get into another time, but we did lay it our selves, it had to be done first.

We quickly realized there was no microwave, the only option at this point was to place one on the counter, and I was not ok with that. Trying to keep as many electronics off the counter as possible....We decided that the microwave needed it's own home. Since we had room between the cabinet and the back door we decide to add a cabinet. I knew I was going to be painting the cabinet so it didn't matter what it looked like. We did find a pantry cabinet that was the same style door, as the rest of the cabinets, at Lowe's. It wasn't as deep as the base cabinets, so we had to make it look that way. Using blocks of wood to brace the cabinet against the wall, gave it the extra 8" we needed. They sell the side panels in different sizes, and had one that was the perfect size for the end piece. We cut a smaller one for the other side of the cabinet panel. 

This is where we house the microwave, and coffe maker. I made sort of a coffee bar out of it. The top shelf houses the coffee mugs, and the top drawer holds the coffe containers. 

The next step was the removal of the back splash and counter tops. This seemed like such an easy task. I started above the oven, and most of those, popped off super easy. The more I popped, the harder they stuck. By the time I got to the sink area, I was pulling off the drywall in chunks. I knew we had to replace the drywall along the outside wall. These little tasks seem so easy at first. This should have been an hour long thing, but turned into a two-day thing of course. 
Never goes as planned.

The next thing we worked on was the vent hood and island. We started off wanting granite. But it wasn't really the farmhouse look we were going for, and the ones we could settle on were way out of our price range. Since we are DIY'ers we knew we could come up with something ourselves.  
So we looked into using reclaimed wood on the counters. I found some amazing wood that had come off of an old barn, but it was obviously in rough shape. It needed to be planned, twice, and I felt like you would loose to much of the character this way. I also looked at old flooring, and cleaning it up. It had to much of a butcher block feel, and I didn't really want to mimic small planks from my floor, on my counters. 
 So we opted to use "new" wood, and make it look like "reclaimed" wood. 
We didn't use pine since it is such a soft wood, and has a yellow undertone to it, that might change the coloring we were going for. Poplar was the next choice. This does have a green tint to the wood, so it was hard to work with as well. Technically poplar is still a soft wood, but I like that the counter would show a bit of age with dings, it makes it look older. Oak was similar in price, but to reddish, and a very hard wood, which meas cutting and adhering would be tougher. 
We settled on the Poplar. 
My husband is very visual, so he wanted to see a sample, just like my clients do, of what I planned on doing. 
So I obliged. 
I started making all sorts of stained samples. Some of these even have back sides.
  I give you all the steps to making these counters, and finishing them another time. 

For the vent hood.... husband had ordered a vent insert on Amazon.  We ripped out the small cabinet above the stove, and built a large vent hood around the insert. This is your basic track home, so the vent was never installed properly. It didn't vent to outside. Looking at the brick siding, we decided to leave it this way. 
The cost far outweighed the need. 

The island was so dinky compared to the room. The top overhung only a 4" or so. We decided to beef up what we alrready had insead of buyigng an new one. This is such a great way to make it look more custom. I knew I wanted the island to be painted red, and look more like a piece of furniture than an island. We added heavy legs, found at Lowe's., and gave the island an additional 4" in width. By just adding some pine trim to the base and edges of the cabinet, we really changed the look of it.

From here we added the the wood to the top, stained, and sealed  the counters, and vent hood.
We eventually did the same with the other counter tops. We just wanted to do a trial run on how the finish would hold up. I left puddles of water overnight and poured different stain-able products on it, to test it out. It held up perfectly!

This kitchen doesn't get much lighting, so this was the stage to fix that. We grabbed some very inexpensive under-cabinet lighting from Ikea, and hardwired them into the sockets. Thank goodness my husband is handy and knew just how to do this! hiding the cord, was a whole other project. 

You know that tool, you always end up needing, but don't ever buy, because your sure you'll never need it again? My husband is always saying he needs a router. So for Christmas last year, that's just what my parents bought him. I don't think he really thought he needed it at first. But when we started the kitchen project the next week, it became his favorite tool. 
We chose a tongue and grove paneling for the backslash, which was time consuming... cutting each piece, and around light sockets, and window trim...ahhhh what a looonnnggg project. 
This did made it easy to work with each individual piece, to hide the electrical cords.
When we got to a piece that would have the cord, he notched out an area for the cord to come through at the top, and put an indention down the piece, with the router, so the cord would have somewhere to sit. If you don't have one of these tools, get one. They have simple hand held ones for around $60. We ended up using one you could mount on a stand like a table saw would be. It was so easy to just slide the piece along the blade, and wa-la!

Since we were having such fun with the router, we decided to keep on going. 
These were the doors that came on the additional pantry piece. Same style but the edged's were routed.

 These were our cabinet doors...So we took all the doors and drawers off, and did the same thing to them.

With the router on the table, we use the size bit that matched the other edges, and raised it just enough to chip the same area away. All it took, was a push of the door, over the blade, on all the edges

The sink was a total find, from Ikea! If you've searched for any kind of farmhouse sink, you know how expensive they are. This was only $300! A steal, all the others I found were over $600. They carry a single and a double bowl. 
To install it, we started by taking off the fake drawer fronts. We cut the braces for that off as well, it wouldn't provide the support we needed, the sink is very heavy. We added a brace and a piece that would cover the gap from the door to the sink. 
Measuring the counters and backslash fit, all along the project. Which means we dry fitted this sink over a dozen times, and again, it is heavy. Lets just say I'm a little buffer for it. 
There is no real mounting mechanism here, so the weight just held it. I forced my husband to add some other type of security braces...just in case! In this house you never know. I love, love, love, this sink. Wouldn't trade it for anything. To this day...no chips, and it cleans so easy. It has a ribbed area on the back for soap and drainage, and the bowls are nice a deep, you can fit a whole frying pan in it. 

Here is how the counter tops came out....

Find the  how-to HERE.

We added molding to the tops of all the cabinets. 
The dinky 2" stuff previously attached wasn't cutting it. I'll get into why this is so important, and an easy way to do this on another post. 

Lastly, and most excitingly, hwere magically making the orange cabinets disappear.
Ok, so not so "magically", but with the help of alot of oil primer, and oil paints! 

The basic finish I was going for on the cabinets.

The paneling also got the same treatment. 

The cabinets before the glaze...

 After the glaze...
 It just sits in the cracks and crevasses, it isn't over the entire surface.

Here's how the whole room came together....

I'll be posting all sorts of tips and tricks, from the little details, you can do yourself to update your kitchen, to the full blown how-to's, of a minor remodel. 
The rugs are from Ballard design, they don't sell this style anymore (probably because its a mess all over my floor) but here is a similar, less messy version. The terrarium  is homemade, and the bar stools were the neighbors trashed old bar stools, that got a transformation. The lighting was all custom made, and put together.

Check out these posts for how-to, and ideas from this kitchen... 

How-To: Faux Reclaimed Wood Countertops
Glazing Cabinets
How-To: Paint Cabinets
Adding Cabinet Molding
Hidden Coffee Storage & Trashcan Cabinet 


  1. Love your kitchen! You and your husband did a fabulous job .Love the counter tops. I am also considering painting my oak "like" kitchen cabinets as well. Have you posted how you did the kitchen cabinets in detail? The colors you used and glazing? I am also thinking of staining some of my cabinets espresso. Any tips?
    Thank you for sharing your tips.

  2. Thank you! Yes I recently posted on how to paint cabinets, see the link below...and spcoming very soon, I'll give a how to on glazing cabinets. http://theraggedwren.blogspot.com/2014/03/how-to-paint-cabinets-like-pro.html

  3. Thanks for the blog post on your remodel. It has totally inspired me to put in wood counter tops. However, I was wondering if you have any problems with food getting stuck in between the groves of your wood planks? I have a kitchen table with grooves and I feel like I am always trying to get food out of the grooves/

  4. Your kitchen is lovely ! I also had a builder grade kitchen and have painted my cabinets white and tiled my backsplash with white subway tile. My kitchen is set up similar to yours and I would love to put an island in and take me peninsula out. Would you be so kind as to tell me the dimensions of your island and the distance from the sink and stove from the island. I found your blog on Remodelaholic, and am looking forward to reading more ! Thank you

  5. We just glued up the same tongue and groove planking on our backsplash and one wall where we removed a cabinet. Now that we've got it up, one of my blog readers told me that she glued each piece together and then caulked each and every seam before she painted. I was wondering if you did the same, or simply painted them after the installation. I'd appreciate any tips as to whether or not you did this and how your backsplash is holding up. Thanks!

  6. You had the same cabinets I have. Can you tell me exactly what kind of bit you used to router the edges? My husband bought a router at an auction, but we don't have any bits. I don't want to buy the wrong thing. Any advice you could give regarding this would be amazing. I also have your island and I am starting a makeover on it, but can't paint and glaze until we router the edges. Thanks again for sharing your kitchen redo.

  7. Love the kitchen counter tops! We are looking to do the same thing! How thick was the plywood you used? Do you recall what kind you used? Never realized there were so many different choices??