Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kitchen Update: Projects and Progress

If you have been wondering what I was working on during my blogging break, one of my answers is my kitchen.

Waaaaayyyyy back last September, I blogged about plans we had to update our tired, old kitchen:

Along with our family room, it is the room we spend the most time in, yet it didn't represent us or our style. We don't have the budget for a major remodel, so this kitchen update was all about what we could do ourselves. We ended up not getting started until February and, like most DIY projects around this household, it took us a lot longer than we expected. Now it's September and I finally feel like I am seeing the light at the end of the kitchen tunnel. Today's post will catch you up on six months of blood, sweat and tears in the kitchen. Here's what we've been up to:

1. Installed extra shelves inside our cabinets: This was a quick and easy way to increase storage in our kitchen. You can read the full post here.

2. Added trim and crown molding to the top of our kitchen cabinets: By far, this was the hardest project we did since we had absolutely no idea what we were doing and we were learning a lot through trial and error. But let me tell you, it was well worth the trouble. I can't believe what a huge difference it has made.

3. Cleaned all the cabinets: Like really really REALLY cleaned them. We had white cabinets; I wanted white cabinets. Still, I thought I was going to have to paint all of our cabinet doors because they were so dingy. Instead my friend suggested I try cleaning them first -- REALLY cleaning them. I wipe down our cabinet doors at least once a week, so I thought they already were clean. I was wrong. Very very wrong. This time around I got down and dirty with the cabinets. I emptied each cupboard and drawer and scrubbed down the inside. Then I busted out a toothbrush, baking soda and a spray bottle full of vinegar and got into every nook and groove on the front of our cabinet doors. Lastly, I used a small paintbrush and some paint I had color matched to our cabinets and very carefully painted over any areas that were scratched or worn. All in all, it took me thirty hours to finish all forty-six cabinet doors and drawers. THIRTY HOURS, PEOPLE! While it is hard to see the transformation in photos, in person the difference is quite substantial. Even my mom was fooled by my deep cleaning. She came over to pick up the kids for an outing, saw the cabinets and said "Oh, so you did decide to paint the cabinets after all." No, mom, just thirty hours of scrubbing.

4. Cleared off the counterop clutter: I can't stand clutter and our countertops were driving me crazy with the array of kitchen gadgets and appliances we had living in plain sight. We moved the coffee maker and grinder stuff into our cupboards when we added the extra shelving, the utensils got placed into a drawer that I managed to empty out during the deep clean, and the knives went into another drawer in this handy dandy knife block.

5. Installed a new microwave: We actually installed three new microwaves, this one being the third. The first one was too deep and stuck out too far. The second one is a long story that I will make short by saying that when manufacturing a microwave, I would like to suggest not creating a huge opening on the top of the microwave that screws can fall into and get lost forever.  Lessons learned, the third microwave is perfect.

6. Installed all new cabinet hardware: We decided to go with the stainless steel bar pulls. I wasn't sure this was my first choice, but I also wasn't about to fill, sand and paint the holes from our previous hardware. I knew I needed something with a 3-inch center spread and these fit the bill. We ordered most of the pulls from www.pullsdirect.com, but purchased the longer pulls from Ikea. I love the look of the extra long handles on our pantry doors.

7. Put a magnet on our pantry door: Speaking of pantry door, one of the things that has always made me and my husband crazy about our kitchen is that our pantry door would never stay shut. We tried adjusting the hinges but it didn't work. Finally, a $2 magnetic cabinet latch was the perfect answer. Now they shut tight!

8. Installed door mounts on our garbage pull-outs: Of all the things we did in the kitchen, this may be my husband's favorite. We installed the pull-out garbage cans when we first moved into our house. Accessing them was a two-step process: 1) open cabinet door, 2) pull out garbage bin. A few months ago, I saw on a blog that you can order door mounts for the pull-outs on Amazon. I did a little research, figured out which mounts would work with our pull-outs and 2-days later they arrived on my front porch. Now accessing the garbage is one simple step -- pull!

9. Replaced the sink faucet: I really wanted an industrial looking faucet like this, but my husband wasn't a fan, and since he does nightly dishes, I deferred to him. He chose this sleek beauty (with some input from me) and it dresses up that little corner of our kitchen nicely.

10. Added trim to the ends of the cabinets and the island: This project came purely out of necessity. The facing on the ends of our cabinets was beginning to peel. I knew it wouldn't work to paint over it, but I wasn't sure how to fix it. I decided to frame out the edges of the cabinets with wood to stop the peeling in its track. And I am so glad I did!  I honestly had no idea how much a little trim would upgrade the look of our 20 year old cabinets. This project cost less than $20 but the overall impact looks so much more expensive. 

11. Painted the recessed lighting fixtures: This took ten minutes and a $5 can of spray paint. The can lights in our ceilings were dingy and yellowed, so a quick coat of paint brightened them up nicely!

12. Purchased new barstools: We bought our old barstools in our last home when we had a bar height kitchen island; now we have a counter height kitchen island and they were way too tall. The new barstools were purchased at Target. I love the white/wood combo and that they swivel to adjust height.

13. Painted all the trim. Not much to say here except that I hate painting trim. And the color is Swan Wing by Behr.

14. Painted the walls. I am not joking when I say I had at least ten different gray paints scattered around the walls of our kitchen and family room before I finally decided on Conservative Gray by Sherwin-Williams. I will fully admit I had a bit of a panic attack when it went on the walls and was concerned it was too green, but once I got the whole space painted, I absolutely loved (and still love!) it. Paint color is always hard to photograph, but in person it is mostly gray with very subtle green undertone.

I have more photos to show you, including some updates in our family room, and a list of projects we are still working on, but I will save those for a post later this week since this post is already too long. I'll be back soon with the remainder of our kitchen update!