I’m so excited for our next stop on the JSH Home Tour, our kitchen remodel! I’ll show you how it looked the very first time we saw it (ew), the behind the scenes of our demo and reno, and how it looks at this very moment. It is so gorgeous that I am almost inspired to cook in there!
First let me say that the first time we saw this house, I did not love it. The backyard was an absolute atrocity, everything was “builder basic” and early 2000’s, and more than that, it was about 20 miles from the area where we’d lived for the last seven years. I was skeptical about becoming a pioneer – y’all the closest Target is a solid twenty minute drive – to move out to suburbialand. Lane, however, was already writing the contract on the way out of the front door. Obviously I got over my skepticism and once we were under contract, we got to work on budgeting and a design plan. The kitchen was our main focus since it would receive the most attention and work.
It was nice as it was, it just wasn’t our style. The cabinets were good quality and had some cool features, (like all giant drawers for the lower cabinets, which we now love and will never live without) so we decided right away that we would keep the cabinets, paint them white and change the hardware. Correction, we would have someone paint them white. We’ve painted a kitchen full of cabinets twice in our lives and we were not really feelin’ it this time around.
We were already planning on replacing all of the flooring in the main living areas, so that was added to the “to do” list for the kitchen remodel. The existing countertops were Corian on two of the sections, and black laminate on one section. Why, previous owners, why?! So we definitely wanted to replace those. That black thing to the left of the refrigerator is an icemaker, which turned out to be pretty cool. (I did not mean for that to be a pun, but I’m leaving it.) With the exception of the range, the appliances were pretty much brand new, the dishwasher had never even been used, so we decided to roll with the black instead of stainless, which we actually ended up loving. We also planned for a new backsplash, lighting, blinds, sink, and kitchen faucet.
First was the floor rip out. Luckily I have a contact who has a machine that looks like a little baby tractor that a guy rides around the house and it plows up all the flooring as it goes. If you have never done (or survived) a tile ripout, it is horrible. The dust is unimaginable. In this house the tile that was installed was a red-body ceramic tile (i.e. cheap), therefore all of the dust was red. Every single wall in the house had a pinkish hue when they were done. My asthma hurts just thinking about it.
While everything in the house was destroyed, we ripped out the backsplash and took out the appliances, then the floor was installed. We chose a porcelain 6×24 wood look tile from Shaw called Borneo Driftwood. We had wood tile in our last house when it first became the thing and we loved it. So easy to maintain, super durable, and people actually bent down to touch it because they didn’t believe us when we told them it was tile. It was a no brainer decision for kitchen remodel in this house.
Next came meeting with the cabinet painter and choosing granite. About this time I randomly saw a post on Instagram became obsessed with a brand new “leather finish” granite called Fantasy Brown. It did become my fantasy. It was so different than anything else I’d seen. Granite is traditionally either honed or polished. Leather finish is a special process done by either the granite supplier or fabricator with a bunch of discs (and possibly magic?) that creates an amazing honed and textured finished on the surface of the granite. It is great for hiding finger prints and is just as easy to care for as regular granite. The texture is really what makes it so cool. Everyone that comes into our kitchen touches it and asks what it is. And then we bust out our PowerPoint presentation and run down the 50,000 reasons that we love it.
We had another contact with a granite fabrication shop who was going to “hook us up”… and while we greatly appreciated that, one thing to consider during a kitchen remodel is that contractors who are doing you “favors” do not put you at the top of the priority list. Favors are great, but there is definitely a certain value to being a regular ol’ customer that warrants the best service. Otherwise, when stuff comes up for that contractor, the people “getting the hook up” (a.k.a. YOU!) are bumped to the back of the list. Because of that we had a few delays in getting the countertops installed. They ended up to be worth the wait.
I originally wanted a farmhouse sink, because DUH, but when we really examined what we’d have to do to retrofit the sinkbase cabinet, I decided I could live without it. I’m glad that I did because I really love our sink. It is a single bowl stainless undermount by American Standard and it has all of these sweet inserts that fit right into the rim of the sink. There is a strainer, a cutting board, and my favorite is the large basin with drain, which is perfect for a separate compartment to toss all of the baby bottles that need to be handwashed. It keeps them away from all of the other food and nastiness that goes in to the sink. I sincerely can’t imagine a sink without it now, so it’s a total bummer that I tried to look it up to link it here and it’s discontinued. *single tear streams down cheek*
The faucet is also amazing. It’s a ginormous industrial-looking guy and is actually a two-in-one that has a sprayer and a pot filler. We love this because apparently I have an obnoxious habit of jumping in to wash my hands when Lane is rinsing dishes, so now we each have our own faucet. Problem solved.
Next the guy came to paint the cabinets and he blew us away with his professionalism and level of service… we were not “getting the hook up” from him. His team turned the entire garage into a full-on paint booth. They took one entire day to set up, take the cabinet doors off, and scrub everything down. They came back for the next three days in a row to do additional coats of paint. This fella was not cheap, so we held him to a pretty high standard. We scrutinized every single door and drawer and they are absolutely perfect. You’d never know the cabinets didn’t come this way originally.
When the painting was done, the durock for the new backsplash was up and the under cabinet lights were installed, it was reeeeeeeally starting to come together! We were down to about four days until move in and we were ready to wrap this kitchen remodel up with a nice little bow. We had been working full time, going home to play with Lila and put her to bed, and then traveling back and forth 20 miles each way to work until about midnight. We were tired.
Next was the backsplash install and then we were done!
We chose a glass tile, which is risky (I will explain later in a different post) but we love the way that it turned out. We used a 2×6 instead of a traditional 3×6 “subway tile” size.
After that, it was time to put the appliances back. We had to order one little oven knob after the floor rip out guys knocked it off, but that was a pretty simple fix and much cheaper than replacing the oven.
Finally it was move in day! Once we actually moved, we had the basics unpacked and the kitchen was functional within a day or two. Lila was nine months old when we moved in, so we needed all of her kitchen stuff ASAP. I was a possessed person until this house was unpacked. Her room and the kitchen were the first ones complete. Well, as “complete” as I can get a room until I get bored and have to change it all.
I love the way the kitchen remodel turned out, but of course there are still a few accessory type of things I want to work on, and I have some ideas for a trim treatment for the front of the island… and I maybe want to add some pendant lights over the bar… and maybe we’ll replace those appliances with that hot graphite finish at some point… Oh my gosh I have to stop!
So here is our “finished” kitchen remodel as it is today!
We hope you loved our kitchen remodel tour! Stop by and have a snack with us sometime… we stock puffs, wallermeyon, cackles, and pasickles. That’s watermelon, crackers, and popsicles for those that don’t speak one year old.
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