KITCHEN FINISHES

"Did you really want to paint the kitchen island Dallas Cowboy blue?" is not a question you want to be asked by your husband after your kitchen island has been painted -- as you walk through the door -- when you are excited to get home to see the just-painted result.

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Absolutely not. 

I had researched the perfect blue and sampled several on mock up doors and settled on what I thought was the right navy blue hue. Funny thing is, though, once we pulled up the kraft paper on the floor, exposing the wood tone of the floor against the island -- whew! -- the navy looked like it was supposed to! (Though I often stare at it accusingly-like and think maybe it does really look like electric blue?)

Speaking of blue islands -- certainly a trend, right? Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but the beauty of paint is that you can always re-paint if needed.  In the meantime, I will thoroughly enjoy my too-trendy blue island until I'm ready for a new color! 

Read on for details on how we stretched our money and made our kitchen selections. 

KITCHEN CABINETRY

Before this house, I had just gotten through with the dark wood cabinets, deep red and olive green wall trend (anyone remember this?!?) and was ready for light and airy. White cabinets, bold islands and subway tiles had me swooning. My husband, Rick, wanted to try his hand at some woodworking so we blended all of our wishes together to create our kitchen. 

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KITCHEN COUNTERS & BACKSPLASH

Because cash was low, we used a discount-shop for our kitchen counter quartz. Instead of a creamy white with pretty veining, we ended up with a dull-grey-white. I don't like it, but the subway tiled wall behind the range makes up for it. So cheap were these subway tiles, they were almost free! 

Half of the island top is a tabletop wood top crafted by Rick. Making the wood features for the kitchen was something new for him, it took a while, but I think it was satisfying to him. I know I love that he made them. 

Kitchen finishes

I wanted Rejuvenation everything when picking out our kitchen lighting and hardware finishes.  I know quality details can really make a difference, but, unfortunately, I don't have a money tree in my backyard. We have an entire house to remodel, furnish and style.

It is painful to pay $25 for one cabinet pull when I can buy a pack of 6 for the same price at a big box store. I did, however, really want brass in my kitchen so I paid the $25 per cabinet pull; the knobs were a little less expensive.  (note: this has been my one and only Rejuvenation purchase to-date and I can testify that getting a Rejuvenation package is more satisfying than picking out fixtures and accessories at a big box store!)  

Kitchen Sink & Faucets

I love the idea of brass plumbing fixtures, which are hundreds to thousands of dollars, and when I win the lottery I'll  splurge for them. In the meantime, chrome fixtures are fine with me. I don't have a matchy-matchy personality so mixing metals works for me, and chrome saved us $$ for something else.  

I wanted an apron sink with only one compartment (easier for washing large pans and platters).  I searched high and low and finally settled on a high-quality sink and pull-down faucet combo from Kraus. The quality and appearance are great and I get an A+ for the price ... got both the sink and faucet for a little under $600 with taxes and delivery.  

Rick aded a cold water supply line behind the cooktop when renovating the kitchen. It wasn't really on my wish list but was on his. The plumbing cost was minimal since he was already re-routing the plumbing lines, so it was more or less just his time. I was shocked at the cost of the actual finish -- pot fillers can be expensive, starting around $350 (*%&!).  I found our $70 plain fixture through Amazon.  And I must say, for the record,  this is a point for my husband --  a pot filler is by no means a necessity but is convenient because we cook a lot. 

PENdant Lighting

We purchased simple brass fittings & glass globe through Amazon's site. The maker seems pretty cool and quirky.  You can check out his website and even buy fixtures directly from him here: mpdesignshop  My pendants are simple and gave me the look I wanted without costing a fortune. 

Appliances 

Our luckiest kitchen buy was floor model Kitchenmaid appliances purchased from Pacific Kitchen and Home located inside of our local Best Buy.  Pacific Kitchen and Home is an arm of Best Buy dealing with contractors, but open to the public. We were in a rush situation, had to make a decision fast, and I found it very cool that we were able to pick out our appliances, pay a small down payment and pay them off at delivery. The floor models came with a full warranty.

If you're looking for a great deal, shop the floor models and talk to the sales people. Our appliances weren't marked down in the store but through conversation we found out they were getting ready to be significantly marked down. There were some nerves involved with buying floor models but they came with a full warranty. 

    Kitchen Finish Summary

    • Unlaquered Brass Cabinet Pulls & Knobs: Rejuvenation
    • Kitchen Sink and Faucet: Amazon
    • Pot Filler Faucet: Amazon  (note: mine is in chrome, what is available now is stainless steel but the price is still great -- around $70)
    • Pendants: Ordered through Amazon:  brass fittings & glass globe

    Kitchen Progress - Almost Done!

    There are so many things I love about this kitchen, but my favorites items were handcrafted by my husband: the vent hood, open shelving and island wood top. Of course, I also LOVE the unpolished brass handles (complete splurge), the pot filler, the stainless steel apron sink with pull down faucet, glass dome pendants with brass fittings from mpdesignshop.com .. and many more! I'm working on a product link post to share next. 

    kitchen remodel

    After two years of starting and stopping, mostly related to time constraints and budget, we are almost done with the kitchen! Remaining in the kitchen is a final wall of cabinets at the north wall and a little detail work. Link to our before pictures. 

    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel
    kitchen remodel

     

     

     

    Kitchen Vent Hood

    I just had one of my best birthdays ever! Progress had been at a standstill and all I wanted was to get moving again.  I got my wish ... I was Rick's "helper" for the 3-day weekend which coincided with my b-day. It took us the better part of the entire weekend but am so pleased with the outcome. 

    Wood Vent Hood

    I'm truly blessed that my husband is a general contractor. These days he mostly manages projects yet he still enjoys building things with his hands. I love that he can add custom touches here and there like this vent hood. 

    Kitchen Progress

    We've nicknamed the laundry room the "break room" since it resembles an office break room and has been our stand-in kitchen. Initially adventurous but now frustrating. How many times can you make one-pot spaghetti on a hot plate? We're ready to have a semblance of a kitchen, even if it doesn't check all the wish-list boxes. We're six months in, short on budget ... yet determined to have a working kitchen by Thanksgiving. 

    Renovation Update

    The popcorn ceiling is gone and boy what a difference it makes. Primer is now being applied to all surfaces in preparation for paint. I'm in love with the bright and airy look of white walls and wood trim ... I also love color but have decided to paint the walls white and add color with furnishings and accessories.  It's a gamble if we will really like white walls; we can always re-paint it. 

    This house has wonderful, large picture windows. I love the view from the dining room.  The two large picture windows not only let in light but also provide a nice backdrop of mature trees. 

    This house has wonderful, large picture windows. I love the view from the dining room.  The two large picture windows not only let in light but also provide a nice backdrop of mature trees. 

    The real-wood paneling in the family room is being painted but we are keeping the wood beams covered in order to maintain the wood look on the beams. We can paint the wood beams to match later on if we don't like it. 

    The real-wood paneling in the family room is being painted but we are keeping the wood beams covered in order to maintain the wood look on the beams. We can paint the wood beams to match later on if we don't like it. 

    Eeeks! The 1970's stone fireplace is getting primer before it is painted SW Alabaster white. I can't wait to see if the fireplace looks good with a fresh coat of paint. If it doesn't look good, we'll need to replace the stone which is costly. We need to save wherever we are able. 

    Eeeks! The 1970's stone fireplace is getting primer before it is painted SW Alabaster white. I can't wait to see if the fireplace looks good with a fresh coat of paint. If it doesn't look good, we'll need to replace the stone which is costly. We need to save wherever we are able. 

     

    Staircase: Traditional vs. Modern

    Our 1970's fixer has a very traditional staircase. As-is, the staircase is beautiful and would look even better painted a traditional two-tone white with black trim or something along those lines. We had this look in a previous home and loved it.

    I’m cringing when I write that the traditional staircase just doesn’t feel right in this house. It clashes with the angled ceilings and modern feeling we want to emphasize, but the staircase is pretty and it almost feels wrong to replace it.

    I brought up the idea of a modern staircase to my husband Rick and he ran with it ... there was no coercion, no pleading, NOTHING.  Next thing I knew, he was a man of action and the staircase was OUT. DEMOLISHED. RECYCLED.  GONE.  I just love when we are on the same page!

    Staircase BEFORE

    Staircase BEFORE

    The new staircase in progress. 

    The new staircase in progress. 


     

    Kitchen Goals

    The kitchen is the most drastic and expensive part of our home remodel. Here is a high-level list of what we want to accomplish with the remodel:

    • Remove walls between kitchen and living room
    • Raise ceiling; add new lighting
    • Completely reconfigure the layout with new cabinets, sink and appliance layout
    • Add an island with pendant lighting

    Starting point: 

    View facing outward from the kitchen to the dining room/den. What you can't really see from this pic is the condition of the cabinetry and appliances.  Appliances are old and the cabinets are in rough shape having been improperly painted several times.  Everything will be demo'd ... we will recycle as much as possible. 

    View facing outward from the kitchen to the dining room/den. What you can't really see from this pic is the condition of the cabinetry and appliances.  Appliances are old and the cabinets are in rough shape having been improperly painted several times.  Everything will be demo'd ... we will recycle as much as possible. 

    View looking into the kitchen from the dining room/den area. We want an open-flow between the kitchen and the other living areas, so the groovy wetbar and breakfast bar will have to go.  

    View looking into the kitchen from the dining room/den area. We want an open-flow between the kitchen and the other living areas, so the groovy wetbar and breakfast bar will have to go.  

    Up close view of the wetbar,  I've always wanted a wetbar but just not quite this style!

    Up close view of the wetbar,  I've always wanted a wetbar but just not quite this style!

    Initial Game Plan and Demo Progress

    We have five short weeks from close of escrow to move-in. We have an aggressive list of what needs to be done by move-in:

    1. Demolition 
    2. New flooring downstairs
    3. Removal of acoustic (popcorn) ceilings throughout
    4. Fresh paint throughout
    5. One working bathroom downstairs

    The actual kitchen renovation will be on hold until these top 5 items are done. We'll set up a make-shift kitchen in the laundry room.  The laundry room has a sink, small counters and space for our fridge. While it won't be ideal, it will work in the interim. 

    Rick got working on the demo the very night escrow closed. He soon discovered that this 1970's fixer in fact has a sunken living room. I've always kind of liked sunken living rooms! I asked for input from friends and found that folks are usually strongly for or against them. 

    View of the living room with the tile floor removed.  Surprise, surprise this room had a sub floor, underneath is a retro sunken living room! 

    View of the living room with the tile floor removed.  Surprise, surprise this room had a sub floor, underneath is a retro sunken living room! 

    The entire kitchen is coming out including the wall between the kitchen and the dining/living areas. We are also tearing out all of the Spanish pavers. We LOVE Spanish pavers just not in this house. 

    The entire kitchen is coming out including the wall between the kitchen and the dining/living areas. We are also tearing out all of the Spanish pavers. We LOVE Spanish pavers just not in this house. 

    Hall bathroom with flooring and cabinets removed.

    Hall bathroom with flooring and cabinets removed.

    Debris for days! So many trips to the county construction recycling center!

    Debris for days! So many trips to the county construction recycling center!

    Property Features and Before Tour

    It wasn't exactly "love at first sight" with this 1970's fixer.  The neighborhood is excellent and we liked the exterior enough to take a look at the interior. Whew! The inside was less than desirable, but did have loads of potential. The California architectural style of the time period it was built totally sold us on it. I just loved the idea of the potential. 

    We wouldn't be able to make all of the improvements at once and agreed as a family that we would be okay with the upcoming mess and inconvenience during the remodel process. We decided to go for it and make an offer! It had sat empty on the market for a year  -- unheard of for the area -- and we were able to negotiate a terrific sales price. 

    We have no immediate plans for the outside but will eventually brighten it up with paint and landscaping.  

    We have no immediate plans for the outside but will eventually brighten it up with paint and landscaping.  

    Before Tour

    View of the formal living room as you walk in through the front doors. The angled ceilings and windows give the architecture a bit of the California modern flair we were wanting.  It's hard to see from the pic, but there is "popcorn" acoustic ceiling throughout most of the home.  

    View of the formal living room as you walk in through the front doors. The angled ceilings and windows give the architecture a bit of the California modern flair we were wanting.  It's hard to see from the pic, but there is "popcorn" acoustic ceiling throughout most of the home.  

    Dining room -- this house has Spanish pavers almost everywhere! We love the look of Spanish pavers but it doesn't mesh with the architecture. 

    Dining room -- this house has Spanish pavers almost everywhere! We love the look of Spanish pavers but it doesn't mesh with the architecture. 

    Kitchen view looking toward the dining room/family room area. This will be the most costly part of our remodel and will have to be finished in phases. 

    Kitchen view looking toward the dining room/family room area. This will be the most costly part of our remodel and will have to be finished in phases. 

    The redesign will create an open flow between kitchen and living areas.  The ceiling will be raised to be flush throughout the kitchen.

    The redesign will create an open flow between kitchen and living areas.  The ceiling will be raised to be flush throughout the kitchen.

    This area is looking from the sunroom to the nook area in the kitchen. The nook space will be integrated into the kitchen design. If you look straight ahead to the left of the pantry, you can see straight into the powder bath. We are considering closing off that doorway. 

    This area is looking from the sunroom to the nook area in the kitchen. The nook space will be integrated into the kitchen design. If you look straight ahead to the left of the pantry, you can see straight into the powder bath. We are considering closing off that doorway. 

    A view of the downstairs sunroom. Opening this space back up to a patio would give us an outdoor dining space but would mean we would lose valuable permitted square footage ... to be determined. 

    A view of the downstairs sunroom. Opening this space back up to a patio would give us an outdoor dining space but would mean we would lose valuable permitted square footage ... to be determined. 

    Rear of House aka the most undesirable feature of the house. It actually looks like a storefront with all of the windows (14 in total!) This part of the house will get a makeover down the road. Fixing this will be costly and require engineering so will need to table this for now. 

    Rear of House aka the most undesirable feature of the house. It actually looks like a storefront with all of the windows (14 in total!) This part of the house will get a makeover down the road. Fixing this will be costly and require engineering so will need to table this for now. 

    The pool is a definite plus in the California heat! You can tell the previous owners really loved these Spanish pavers because they are EVERYWHERE!  They look okay in the backyard but are rough and sharp on the edges around the pool. It's on my wish list to change them out.

    The pool is a definite plus in the California heat! You can tell the previous owners really loved these Spanish pavers because they are EVERYWHERE!  They look okay in the backyard but are rough and sharp on the edges around the pool. It's on my wish list to change them out.

    Back inside, this is the family room. We are going to add new flooring and re-paint all of the surfaces, Replacing the fireplace mantel/surround isn't in the budget so fingers-crossed that painting it will look good. 

    Back inside, this is the family room. We are going to add new flooring and re-paint all of the surfaces, Replacing the fireplace mantel/surround isn't in the budget so fingers-crossed that painting it will look good. 

    View of the main hallway downstairs. This hallway leads to the powder bath, laundry area and office. 

    View of the main hallway downstairs. This hallway leads to the powder bath, laundry area and office. 

    Laundry room. Nice-sized and includes a sink. 

    Laundry room. Nice-sized and includes a sink. 

    Powder Bathroom ... the carpeted floor will be the first to go! Let's face it, this house isn't vintage and does't have many cool features, but I do love this rectangular window with its cool obscure glass. 

    Powder Bathroom ... the carpeted floor will be the first to go! Let's face it, this house isn't vintage and does't have many cool features, but I do love this rectangular window with its cool obscure glass. 

    Hall Bath has two vanity sinks and a separate shower area. 

    Hall Bath has two vanity sinks and a separate shower area. 

    This is the shower area of the hall bath. It's so cramped and I'm hoping we can open it up a bit. 

    This is the shower area of the hall bath. It's so cramped and I'm hoping we can open it up a bit. 

    Yes, those are VERTICAL WINDOW BLINDS and they are being used as a closet door! Who knew!  Apparently this is a cheap alternative to actual close doors. 

    Yes, those are VERTICAL WINDOW BLINDS and they are being used as a closet door! Who knew!  Apparently this is a cheap alternative to actual close doors. 

    Staircase to the second floor leading to the master bedroom suite. 

    Staircase to the second floor leading to the master bedroom suite. 

    Spacious master bedroom. Game plan to be determined. 

    Spacious master bedroom. Game plan to be determined. 

    Master Vanity with a view to the teeny-tiny closet. 

    Master Vanity with a view to the teeny-tiny closet. 

    Master Bath: Commode lovingly sits right in between the shower and the tub

    Master Bath: Commode lovingly sits right in between the shower and the tub

    Upstairs sunroom #2, directly off the master bedroom looking over the pool and backyard. 

    Upstairs sunroom #2, directly off the master bedroom looking over the pool and backyard.