Mike convinced me to tour our current home by sheer trickery. After showing me the listing photos he knew I had no interest in it but somehow we ended up here one day anyway. I had dragged him to quite a few doozies so as we pulled into the driveway I decided to not be a total ass about it and keep an open mind. It was in a great location after all. Great neighborhood, great schools nearby and backed up to the Illinois Prairie Path (which at the time I didn't understand how cool that actually is...more on that another time).
After a walk around, it pained me to say that it did meet our needs. My main objection was the kitchen. We had just ripped out our kitchen in the city and the update was, in my opinion, pretty great. So, our standards were kind of high in this department. And the real bummer was that this kitchen was basically new. The cabinets were solid, granite countertops, stainless appliances, etc. And while there was nothing terrible about it, I knew I would want to put my stamp on it but the price tag of our last kitchen made us both cringe at the idea. So we actually did walk away from this place.
And then we changed our mind a week later and went back to the sellers with an offer. It really was a good house and the inventory was so low...and our condo was on the market so we had to make a decision fast.
We couldn't afford to have the whole kitchen ripped out and luckily the appliances were still in great shape so here's the breakdown of how we made this kitchen more us on fairly tight budget...as far as kitchens are concerned, that is.
Cabinets: The day we closed on the house I had a guy come out and take all of the cabinet doors to be painted. I had researched some before and afters of successful cabinet painting and the price was definitely more appealing than buying new...like way more appealing. I had no interest in trying to tackle this project myself and would highly discourage it unless you have tons of time, no toddlers at home, and you are really meticulous. I met none of those requirements, so I bit the bullet, hired a professional and chose a color. Here is the mood board I was working with...
Countertops: We decided to have the granite counter removed for something a bit brighter. We chose marble because A. it's gorgeous and B. it's actually less pricey than many of the other stones. I will save another post to discuss this decision. For now, just know we chose it and it's ours until we stumble upon a big pile of money to replace it (ok, it's soft and scratches and chips ALL THE TIME and is a terrible match for my personality...I want to love it but it causes me so much angst that it's more of a love/hate thing.)
For the peninsula (which faces THE WRONG WAY...don't you wish you could find the previous owners of your home and either shake them or have a sit down and discuss why on earth they would have the island seating face the dining room??? I do and this is my blog, so...) we had an Ikea butcher block installed which saved us a ton over a solid walnut piece. It's essentially walnut-wrapped particleboard but honestly I cannot tell the difference. We left the positioning of the seating alone for now and figured we would tackle it later if we decide to stay and gut the entire joint...when we win the lottery.
Backsplash: We had subway tile in our previous place and loved it for a few reasons. It's a clean look, fairly classic in style and super duper affordable. Would I put it in my dream kitchen? Probably not, but for now it works well to brighten the space.
Lighting: I found our pendants and chandelier on Etsy (Triple Seven Home - very cool stuff). If you're a living female person you know that Etsy is a great place to find unique goods for sometimes far less than what you'd pay for them elsewhere. While likely not a cheap as you might find things at a big box store, you'll have something cool that your neighbor might not also have. Use specific search terms if you have an idea what you want and your hunt will be less overwhelming. Or hire me and I'll do it for you ;)
Hardware: New hardware can freshen up any kitchen and for not a lot of dough. I didn't go totally low end but not crazy high either. I love anything by Schoolhouse Electric, especially these brass beauties. Maybe I'll regret brass in a few years (I doubt it) but if I do, it's an easy swap for something else.
So, new-to-us cabinets, updated hardware, backsplash, lighting (probably my favorite part) and white paint on the walls and we now have something that resembles us for around $7000 with labor. And man, that still seems like a LOT, right?
Yeah, it adds up quickly but still a fraction of a complete renovation. For most of us, the kitchen is the center of our home and the look of it goes a long way to show your style. This is why we started here in this house. Remember, where we came from (see below)...not bad at all but not us or who we want to be. And sometimes your home can make that for you. This year I am trying to be more light hearted and upbeat and to me our kitchen says that. Now, how can I help you to do that in your place?