The nice everyday kitchen I always dreamed of...

So I want to blog about the kitchen remodel because it was a big deal around here.

I don't want to blog about it because I don't want to sound all hootie-tootie throwing around phrases like pendent lighting and undermount sinks.

Ughhhh - when did having a nice functioning home get thrown under the bus in exchange for attempting to format our living spaces into immaculate showrooms. So many times in the planning process, I would mention that we were considering laminate countertops and I would get this look of horror like I had just said that I was smearing poo on my cabinets. In the end, I wanted to put them in just to spite people. But we didn't... more on that later.

People would ask if I was building my "dream kitchen." My response become, "Nope just a nice everyday one." Dream kitchens don't have budgets - ours did. It turned out lovely and functions far better than what we were previously using and I smile everyday when I am in it so I think we pulled it off.  

So without further ado, I present our new nice everyday kitchen:
(Complete with flour on the floor, antibiotics for the baby on the windowsill, and dishes in the sink because people really live here.)

Let's break it down:

Cabinets: This whole process took place because of how pathetic our old cabinets were. If they had functioned on any level, I know me and I would have sanded/painted/stained them to make them work. Since they needed to go, it snowballed and became a full-on remodel. They were where most of our money would be going.

Originally, white was the only color I considered. White is clean and classical and all the rage at the moment. Our cabinet guy was referred to us by two separate friends, I wanted to like him but the first thing he said to me upon entering my kitchen was, "You don't want white. You will regret white." I instantly hated him. His three reasons to not go with white were this:
1. You have 5 kids. I can see you are clean. You will spend all your time cleaning them.
2. They will chip. Our paint is not what it used to be because of EPA standards and in 5 years you will already be thinking about repainting them.
3. Painted cabinets are in at the moment but stain is far more durable - paint is great to extend the life of cabinets but starting new you really should consider stain.

I didn't want to listen to him so I started shopping around. But I couldn't get his words out of my head. Ultimately I went into the showroom and said "K - I won't do white so show me your grays." I was still leaning paint until he pointed me in the direction of their display of cabinets with "barnwood" stain. Boom - I was sold - it was beautiful. Blake wanted a little more gray of a stain and we found the perfect one at Lowes - the only problem was the quote came back $20,000 over the first one. Ha - what?!? I guess it is their most expensive cabinet option they have... so naturally we walked away. But if it were a dream kitchen, this would be the color of the cabinets and we would be broke:

Appaloosa (Ain't she pretty?)

The cabinets are a warm gray in natural light. In artificial light, the brown of the wood shines through so they look like a washed out brown. In both lights, I love them and since we filled every ounce of the kitchen with cabinets - they are the predominant feature.
Kitchen lights on.

Kitchen lights off.

And because when I was researching for our remodel, I HATED that no one included costs, I am going to be all taboo and discuss money just so that if you are starting out on this journey you can have some ballpark figures.

Our cabinets ran us $7000 (does not include install). They are from a local company and came already assembled. Another local company quoted us $8500. Lowes and Home Depot were quoted around $9000. A RTA (ready-to-assemble - meaning they come in pieces and you put them together - think IKEA) rough estimate was $5000. We spent extra to extend the uppers to the ceiling, include one lazy susan, and a trash roll-out (my favorite feature). 

Countertops: Oh the hours I spent thinking about countertops... ughhhh! 

From the get-go, I was willing to go laminte because:
a) They are cheap (the internet says 4 times cheaper than stone - more like half the price of stone)
b) They are durable - I've always had laminate and have very few complaints about them.
c) I am obnoxious and didn't want granite like everyone else 

We ended up going with quartz in Arctic White and they are my happy ending to all the countertop drama I endured.

The laminate I had picked out was this:
Luna Frost by Wilsonart

 We were going to do a bullnose edge (so it hides the brown seam line that everyone finds so offensive about laminate). Our quote was $2700 which seemed high. Then I talked to my friend who just put granite in for $3500. Blake mentioned if we do ever want to sell we have to have stone so get a quote if the price is really that close. So I get like 5 quotes. No one ever returns my calls. I go to the granite showroom and can't find one that isn't "too busy." I see marble and swoon over it's beauty. I google marble pros and cons to remind myself that it is SO NOT WORTH IT. I get like 5 more quotes. Still no one returns my calls. At some point, we realize there is this thing called quartz and unlike the info on the internet that says it is 3 times the cost of granite, we find it for the same price for the same level as the granite we were looking at. I notice it is simple and clean. I fall in love. Someone finally returns my call a few days before we need it installed. He comes, he measures, and a week later I have the countertops I never realized I always wanted. The final cost of them installed was $5000.

I love these countertops. I made cinnamon rolls and I felt like I was rolling them out in the temple. The white isn't all that scary to keep clean. I wipe them with water on a daily basis and for stubborn black marks (think belt buckle against the edge) I use this based on the countertop installers recommendation and it works like a charm.

Flooring: The floors were the ban of Noel's existence. 

The tile in the kitchen was impossible to demo. It cost us 2 extra days of work because of how much time it took for him to jackhammer it out of there. Once we cleared the tile and the backboard and found our subfloor, we realized that it was insanely unlevel - a 3 inch tilt from one wall to the other. Because we were trying to match the dining room right next to it, we realized we could not use the 3/4 in Red Oak hardwood that I wanted to match the dining room. It would be an inch too low on one side and 2 inches too high on the other. This was a major bummer because no matter what we choose from this point on, we knew it would not be an exact match. 

We tossed around ideas - checkerboard linolum in yellow (Blake could not believe his ears when I suggested such a thing), re-tiling (I could not believe my ears - we just spent hours and hours getting rid of tile), or some of the fake wood products. Finally, Noel found engineered hardwood in the same board widths and close to the color of our dining room floor. He poured leveler then floated the floor. Miraculously he was able to match the level of the floors. Unfortunately, even with sanding and refinishing the dining room floor - the two floors are definitely different from each other. This is frustrating because we spent lots of money and Noel spent lots of time in hopes of making a seamless looking floor. I keep trying to remind myself how petty this problem is, "Ughhh - my two hardwood floors don't match." and in 18 years when the kids have enacted all the damage they can do on this house, we will refinish all the floors together at the same time. Until then, I will just avert my eyes.
The line from kitchen new floor to the existing dining room floor.

Those are the BIG things - here are a few details on the little things (if anyone is actually still reading):

Appliances: I am used to simple appliances and I like white. Our fridge and dishwasher are less than 5 years old, so we kept them. The oven was $75 on Craigslist. The over-the-range microwave was a $200 oops purchase because we accidentally threw out the hardware for the old one and since it was an old Canadian model, we could not find the replacing bolts.

Sink: The Domsjo from IKEA and Noel is still cussing me out over it. The sink is great - the hardware that comes with it is garbage so Noel went and bought his own and fitted it to it. Cabinet guys mis-cut the sink base for it so Noel retrofitted it with the tile plate. Blake and I are discussing reframing it so that it is only surrounded by cabinet trim just to simplify the lines a bit. Everyone is undermounting their sinks these days but I like the big clunky look of this sink sitting on top with the drainboard in back so we went with that.

Faucet: From Amazon. It works.

Light: From Lowes. I like it.

Backsplash: Subway tile - the only kind of backsplash I would even consider. I love it and it "makes" the kitchen.

Shelves: I love the look of open shelving but understand the not-practical-at-all of it. So I just included a smidge of it and it is my favorite thing about the room. It was way neutral in here so this allowed me to add some color splashes. I made them from brackets from Lowes and a board from behind the shop that I had to fight the wasps for. Drilling through the freshly laid tile was 1000 times scary but thanks to a diamond bit and Blake's patience we got it done without cracking any.

Bar stools: A total steal on Craigslist for $10 a piece. I got four and recovered them and added new leg tips. While looking for vinyl color ideas online, I realized these stools go for $70 on etsy - SCORE!

Door: The only major structural change was moving the door out to the garage from inside the kitchen to into the dining room. The flow works so much better and I love not having the dead space in my kitchen. We used the old existing doorway as a cubby for our fridge so that it is flush with the cabinets which is a perk.

I think that is all. It took 17 days of no kitchen use.  My brother Noel was our contractor. He lived here and was working usually between the hours of 9am to 9pm. I am pretty sure he got the job done in half the time had we gone with someone else. The kids enjoyed the extra time with their uncle - especially Perry who cried and cried when Noel left. The lack of kitchen was annoying but it was the subsequent mess in the garage, living room, laundry room, and deck that really started to grate on me. We grilled a lot - including a low point of Totino's Pizza Rolls on the barbecue. When we got sick of eating outside, we would eat at Blake's parents house or out. Materials were $13,530. Labor $7,000. The grand total for our kitchen was right around $20,530. I don't know if that is high or low - for us, who struggle spending more than 5 bucks on a pizza, it felt like a fortune and I am so very happy that it is done and I will never have to do it again.

And because the pictures don't do it justice, my offer still stands - please come... I'll make you cookies.




Crystal said...

Very nice! Sara and I were just saying a couple weeks ago that we were excited to see the finished result. My dream kitchen will have corian countertops. I HATE granite. :)

Kassie said...

It looks great in photos AND in person!!! Awesome job choosing and coordinating all materials. :)

Jo said...

I love it and I'm happy it's finished. I figured it would be about $20K to do it. I know it was a pain, but you will enjoy it forever!

Essie Reed said...

Interesting, I never thought about my wife liking the new cabinets with the lights on and off. Your cabinet guy was right, we repainted our cabinets white 3 years ago. With 3 children, they are never clean. The constant cleaning caused the paint to start peeling within the first year. We hate them and are currently shopping for new ones.