Here we are, four months later from the day I started working on the kitchen (or, uh, thinking about working on the kitchen). And it has finally reached a spot that I’m happy with. Considering that we didn’t have the budget or inclination to rip anything out, I think the small changes all add up to a huge improvement, even if they’re not the most dramatic before/after photos. Let us recall what it looked like when we first moved in:
I was turned off by the paint color in here, “Acorn Yellow” says the can left in the basement. From a distance, it was the same color as the fake butcher block laminate counters, so the whole place just looked like a blob of brown. I went with a light blue shade that would compliment the blue tiles on the floor, which I was not prepared to replace. The Sherwin Williams guy sold me on the expensive “Duration” paint, because even the flat finish is wipe-able for cleaning. Considering that the paint is covering the whole backsplash area I thought it would be worth it. And over the last few months it’s proved itself as extremely easy to clean, and it went on so smoothly and thickly, it barely needed the second coat. The fresh trim/door paint also did a lot to update and brighten the room.
Next up, how do I make this small kitchen more functional? The tiny closet was an awesome asset in this kitchen. I’ll take storage wherever I can get it, and this saves almost an entire upper cabinet from being taken up with spices and condiments. The inside needed some work, which was kind of a bitch. But now it looks completely awesome. Everything looks so organized on a clean white background. I’m getting goosebumps… could I actually be capable of organization?
I cook a lot. We eat dinner at home at least 6 nights a week. For me this kitchen needs to be functional, uncluttered and easy to clean up. There is not a whole lot of counter space, so I need to make the most of what I’ve got and take as many items off the countertop as possible. We use the toaster oven and coffee maker everyday, so they had to stay. You might notice the lack of microwave oven in some of these pictures. Well, ours hangs out on top of the fridge. I almost never use it, and on the odd occasion that it’s needed, we just take it down and set it on the counter. I’d rather have that hassle than have it constantly taking up valuable work space.
The other counter space savers are the magnetic knife strip, which eliminates the bulky knife block, and the white shelf we put up over the range. I was looking for a nice metal shelf of some kind that would work here, but the only ones available are at least 6 inches deep. In this position, 6 inches or more would have been ridiculous hanging over the cooktop, totally annoying and probably a fire hazard. So what you see here is a 1″x4″, cut to match the width of the stove, then painted with semi-gloss white (same as the trim). I used some white spray paint on the cheap little L-brackets, and it worked out perfectly. I need to have salt, pepper, and olive oil out in the open for cooking, and this seemed like the best way to have them out without taking up space.
The finishing touches for this room were also pretty easy and inexpensive. I sort of splurged on these mason jar soap dispensers, but I do like them a lot, and I hate having an ugly soap bottle on the counter all the time. The bulldog clip message board was another awesome addition, and practical use of an awkward space. The window treatment is kind of a sore spot, but it’s sort of growing on me. I do like the framed chalkboard, although I probably spent more on it than it’s worth. Anyone need 99% of a quart of chalkboard paint?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, by no means did we “re-do” the kitchen. This was not a renovation, just a little spruce up to make things more attractive and functional for our short term happiness in the house. We’ve mentioned the possibility (in MANY years) of adding on to the back of the house and relocating the kitchen to create more connected downstairs living space. But obviously the costs of doing something like that are extremely prohibitive, and would only make sense in this neighborhood if we planned to stay here for 20 years or more. Aside from that pie in the sky dream, I think it would be nice to get new countertops, put in a backsplash, and upgrade the sink/faucet. But that will still need to wait a while, because those upgrades could easily run a few thousand dollars.
In the meantime though, there’s a lot to love about this kitchen. The appliances work great. I LOVE having the fridge on top and freezer on the bottom. I love the big window over the sink, and that I can see a car pull into the driveway when I’m standing in the kitchen, and that it’s a nice place for tomatoes to ripen. I LOVE the girl who lived here before me for painting those cabinets so well. And I like that the kitchen is a pass-through to get out to the back porch, which makes it a high-traffic area and not shoved off in the corner so the little wifey doesn’t disturb the guests while she’s cooking dinner.
I got away with not spending too much cash on these updates. Since there was no furniture involved it was a hell of a lot easier to keep the costs down. Here’s the breakdown.
- Paint & supplies [Sherwin Williams]: $55
- Mason jar soap dispensers [Van Dyke’s Restorers via Amazon.com]: $39
- Chalkboard supplies [rummage sale frame and paint from Lowes]: $38
- Window shade supplies [Joann Fabric]: $28
- Tiny closet shelves and supplies [Home Depot]: $21
- Bulldog clip message board supplies [Stapes & Home Depot]: $18
- Magnetic Knife Strip [Bed, Bath & Beyond]: $17
- Silver switch plates & outlet covers [Lowe’s]: $16
- New tea towels, dish clothes, and pot holders [Target]: $13
- Shelf over stove & supplies [Home Depot]: $8
- TOTAL: $253