I realized the other day,after all of this time, that I had never posted about the entire process and story of our kitchen remodel, and how we ended up doing the entire kitchen remodel for around $12,000. I wanted to show you all of the steps and the before ,after and during pictures..
This was how the kitchen was t when we moved in. It had been remodeled last sometime in the 1980’s. When we moved in we pulled out a really old double oven where the current oven was and that was it besides some(scary,what was I thinking.) cosmetic updates here and there. While it was totally functional, it wasn’t our style, but there really wasn’t any money to do anything major. We had considered painting the kitchen cabinets, but just hadn’t bit the bullet yet.
We had some plasticky laminate floor, and if you notice,whoever put the cabinets in didn’t : 1. line up any of the top cabinets and 2. shoved the stove right up against the wall so there was no right-side work space.
Our kitchen is only about 7 x 11 ft with the cabinets. We had not planned on doing a remodel until the kids were much bigger. A burst pipe over the summer of 2010 and the resulting water damage and mold changed all that.
After the pipe burst, and we thought everything had dried out,I kept smelling a faint, stinky dampness, and having some weird tummy upsets. Then I noticed the floor felt funny under my feet. We had the inside bottom of the sink cabinet cut out to see what was underneath and the amount of water damage I found was incredible. My heart sank. It had to all come out.
I interviewed 6 contractors till I found one I could work with and went with our budget. He wasn’t lowest bid, and he wasn’t the highest, but he was the right one for us and he did beautiful work.We had to replace the bottom cabinets but couldn’t afford to replace the uppers and insurance wouldn’t give us enough to do the entire thing.
When the floor came out we saw why there was such a smell. This was October and the flooring was still wet under all of the layers of old vinyl flooring. It had been 4 months since the burst pipe, and had never totally dried out. The wood underneath was composting. Two layers of wet stinky mushroomy ick. I cried. A lot.
Then when all of the bad flooring was out; I felt relief like I hadn’t in months. The subfloor was completely new and clean. Since we could not afford to replace the top cabinets, so we opted to paint them,move a few around, and have the new cabinets come unfinished so we could match them.
Our contractor reconfigured the upper cabinets around for us so we could gain that right sided work space, and the kids didn’t risk the chance of burning themselves coming right up the stairs. He moved the small cabinet that was next to the sink area to the other side of the stove. You can see the difference in the picture above and the picture below with the cabinet placement.
Once plywood went in (though, I kind of missed the wide planked subfloor. :), I wanted to go as low VOC as possible so I opted for plywood as sub-floor over OSB. Same as the cabinets. We paid a bit more for plywood backs instead of pressboard.
We also knew we wanted to go with real wood this time. We opted for what’s known as “grade 2” rustic red oak. it has knot holes and dings and it’s full of character. After the flooring went in, the cabinets went over the top. Some how I missed a picture of this step. We added trim to the bottom of the cabinets before we painted. Sometimes it was such a rush to get things done between the contractors.
With the countertops, stone was out of our budget and laminate off-gasses VOC’s for up to 7 years, plus it’s not a recyclable or biodegradable material so we went with wood countertops. Now I am SO HAPPY I did, in fact you can time travel and see how they have held up 6 years later! I also found a sink made with 93 % recycled materials for under $200. Being eco -friendly is REALLY HARD on a budget, so it’s about the best choices for you.
In our home, the same flooring runs through the entire first floor. I didn’t want to re-carpet the stairs and we were lucky, these oak stair treads were already under the old carpet. So we had them refinished to match the floor. Later, we also stained the original hardwood on our upstairs floors as well.
The color is a mixture of Dark brown and Mahogany. Did you know you don’t have to be stuck with the color right out of the can? You can mix them to get a custom shade. I knew I wanted dark, rustic floors. The refinishing products were all low-VOC as well . Though, I still thought they smelled. We didn’t have that issue with our upstairs floors.
One of the really big decisions we made in our kitchen was to actually remove some cabinets. I wanted character and storage and I didn’t just want more painted cabinets. This hutch was a $200 Craigslist find. I did want something old; but the $900 one I loved from the flea market broke the bank. By putting in the hutch, I actually gained more organized storage, and it gave us a few more inches as standard cabinets are 24 inches and the hutch is only 19. Plus, the average cabinet is roughly $250 per cabinet. That would’ve been almost $1000 for the same storage!
I painted and distressed it to make it look old.
For our wall color in our kitchen remodel, I picked the color Bennington Grey from Benjamin Moore paints and had it mixed in their Aura line. It’s a great taupe-y grey color, that has a bit of a warmish-green under-tone. The base color is BM Linen white the same as the cabinets, only flat instead if satin.
Originally, I tried green on the cabinets, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I really wanted to bring some color in. So I stayed with white on the cabinets, and
I decided to add the color on the hutch. Even though that hutch is long gone and replaced with a buffet, it will love forever in our hearts as our first thinking out of the box moment…
One design decison I made that goes against convention is I also decided to NOT put knobs on the upper cabinets so there is not as much attention on the fact the upper cabinets are so wonky.
To take the grain down on the cabinets, after sanding, I puttied over the deeper ones with wood putty and sanded again till smooth.The last step was adding the now painted and distressed hutch,saying buh-bye to the boob light and hanging my grandmother’s rewired chandelier. We added a embellished element to cover up the gap with the old light and new light.
Above the sink area, we removed the wood piece over the sink and replaced it with corbels we found on-line. It was a really inexpensive up-grade.
And I needed a spot for my dish towel, So why not a towel bar on the front of the cabinet? And the light is a thrift store make over, I spray painted the fixture part and ordered a new glass globe from a lighting shop on-line. With the butcher block countertops, I also didn’t want a big hunk of brown wood for a back splash, so we used trim against the beadbaord wallpaper. Some day, we’ll do a subway tile (check out this post to see how it looks!).
The countertops need to be oiled with a sealer every few months. Mostly around the sink where it’s wet all of the time. The other part I do twice a year.
You put it on and it dries overnight. You can tell because the water beads right up. The best part is when your coffee maker overheats and smokes about a week after they are installed and leaves a burn mark (true story), you can just sand it right out and reseal.I found some tiles at the tile store that I put on my window sill to keep the water from ruining the wood sill and it’s a nice southern window for my herbs and plant starting.
And so even though there are still little things we need to do, it’s mostly finished. I really want marble top for my island for bread and pasta making, and some day some new appliances, but I love the brightness the white brings and am so happy we are finally out of the oak cave!
Here is a break down of the final cost:
New base cabinets : $2300
Flooring Lumber liquidators: $3900 materials, laying and finishing’
Paint Aura Benjamin Moore:$150
Knobs Amerirock: $170
Countertops (Ikea): $169 each for 2-8 foot sections, $450 for fabrication
Hutch: $200 Craigslist
Corbels over sink: Premier wood $8 each plus shipping