Monday, August 26, 2013

Down to the studs: The Kitchen Part 1

After originally planning to create one big post about our kitchen renovation, I looked through dozens of our progress photos and was brutally reminded of how big of an undertaking this project was. (Nathan was also very quick to remind me). In order to not overwhelm you with kitchen overload, I decided to make two separate posts. Not as fun as seeing a quick before and after, but it definitely makes me much more appreciative after breaking down all of the steps that were taken. Apologize in advance for some of the bad iPhone photos. I promise to have some good 'Afters' of the kitchen.
 
Let's get to the good stuff shall we? Behold Pre-Renovation College House Madness:
 
       Ahhhh.... I can smell the Red Bull and Vodka now. 
Note: Chalkboard had to be blurred due to inappropriate boy humor.
 
1960's cabinets, floral window treatments, and rotary phone were just a few of the gems. 

As we were going through these pictures, Nathan said point blank, "You must have really loved me to date me in these conditions." Why yes, Nathan, I do love you enough to overlook the monstrosity that was this kitchen. (If you didn't know already, Nathan bought his old college house and we are currently turning it into our first home.... room by room) Thankfully, this kitchen didn't last long because just a few short months later (as I first mentioned here), our friends demolished everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink during our Tear Down the Walls Party. While that certainly was a night to remember, reality then hit us and the real work had to begin. Party is over folks! Put down the sledgehammer and finish your beer! At the time, I'd make a sure bet that we were definitely 'that house' on the street. Can you imagine a bunch of mid 20-somethings walking in and out of our house covered in plaster dust and swinging hammers all while gripping a case of Bud Light? Our poor neighbors! I should really bake them some bread.
 
The party aftermath. This is what we call 'Progress'


The start of the kitchen renovation occurred two years before I moved in. Just barely into our 'grown-up jobs', budget and time were our main concerns before starting the transformation. What would be the most affordable materials?, What should we splurge on for resale value?, What do we NEED to do right away for a functional kitchen? It’s crazy to admit, but I don’t even think I had a real ‘design’ plan in mind other than the space planning. In fact, I remember looking through countless magazines (This was well before Pinterest, folks) and it was difficult to make up my mind knowing that everything was being done as we could afford it and based on deals we could find. It was definitely challenging to predict the future decisions we were going to make in the house. Luckily, our choices and hard work ended up working out and we are really happy with the end result.

The first thing we did was tear down the baby blue wood paneling... which led to ripping out dropped ceiling tiles, plaster walls and plaster ceiling. Talk about dusty! We then pulled up at least 3 different types of linoleum flooring that led us to the rough hardwood. It was actually pretty cool to peel up different eras with every floor. Our house was built in the 1920s and to think about all of the different feet that have walked on that flooring was pretty wild to think about. To add some extra square footage, we tore out the pantry and pushed out the wall toward the addition of the house. Our addition is a large room with windows and a loft ceiling, but it's currently used as our workshop since we don't have a garage. (I'm crossing my fingers for future craft room.)


Check out those studs!
 
From there we framed out a new pantry (which is actually over the exterior stair entry to the basement) and started putting up some new drywall. Now I have a disclaimer: when I say “we”, I mostly mean Nathan and his roommate/best man/confidant/carpenter/overall great friend, Josh. If anyone knows him, you won’t be surprised to know that he put in a TON of hard work and his own free time into the house because, honestly, that's just the kind of guy he is- always helping out his friends. We are forever indebted to him and immensely thankful!
 
  Drywall, electrical, paint, tile complete!

In order to save some pennies, we found some Lowe's tile on clearance and we opted to forgo purchasing cabinets and instead build our own... yes build our own cabinets! I'll admit it- I think the only activity I partook in the actual construction of the cabinets was drilling in 3 screws for 'fun' (pathetic, I know) but the guys worked tirelessly (most of this occured in the living room) to put them together. Slowly but surely, the cabinets were built and installed. It ended up being a longer process than standard kitchen renovations, but that cabinet construction was HARD work. The thought of nailing, sanding, and staining after coming home from a full-time job wasn't exactly appealing, but thankfully we got it done.

 The living room construction zone.
 
Putting the cabinets in place.
 
Once the cabinets were in, we were able to get a great deal on some granite from Josh's brother-in-law. After a few mornings of eyeing some beautiful granite slabs, we played it smart and safe by going for an affordable and neutral option. We were also able to use a local countertop installer recommended by our friend, Jeff, which helped us tremendously. I still remember stopping by after work that day and hardly being able to walk inside because I was so nervous! Thankfully, we were very happy with the installation. Who doesn't love new granite and a shiny new sink?
 
Shiny..............

OK... so I think that is plenty of kitchen overload for one post. Shewww! These pictures bring back a lot of memories and I'm starting to get tired just thinking about it all (Where's the red bull vodka? Kidding... kind of ) I'll be back soon with round two of the kitchen makeover. In the meantime, here's a little sneak peak of the kitchen as it is today. Hope you come back to check it out!
 
 
-Tricia


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