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Kitchen Renovation



We are beginning a renovation project in our kitchen. It looks just the same as when we moved in 21 years ago, along with the wear and tear from raising four kids--tired wallpaper border that I was crazy about in 1994--not so much now; dark cabinets;two-tone walls (lower with wood paneling, upper in white); tiny pantry; a couple of cabinets with missing drawer-front panels; some crumbling floor tiles--pretty much a dismal mess.


About a month ago, DH and I were browsing in our favorite local furniture consignment store. DH called me over to demonstrate a really comfortable dining room chair he was trying out. The set was washed oak dining table with two leaves (total 100 inches when extended), and eight lovely solid French provincial style chairs with upholstered seats. It was love at first sight--for both of us. The price was right--$370 for the whole set. They offered 60-day layaway. We bought it, on layaway, cash down, budgeting the balance over February and March. The deadline to get it delivered out of layaway is April 2. Now, DH is letting me pretty much design the redone kitchen around this set. (We don't have a formal dining room.) The table and chairs will take up a little more floor space than our existing smaller set, so we need to allow for that in our renovation.


I've done some preliminary sampling at the Home Depot and Lowes and with some online companies. I've decided we will paint the cabinets that are in good shape (most of the upper cabinets, except one unit), replace all the base cabinets (except one unit) with unfinished ones and paint them all a nice off-white shade, with new door handles and drawer pulls. One "must-have" on my list is a pull-out trash bin--I've already chosen which 15"-wide base cabinet we will replace with this. While in Lowes, an employee in the paint department pointed out a new Behr product that is guaranteed to cover in one coat. I've found a nice shade--called Varnished Ivory--that would probably work well for the cabinets. I want to paint the upper walls in the same color, and paint over the wood panels of the lower wall with a nice accent color (yet to be decided). DH is going to knock out one wall of our tiny pantry, and we are going to use nice looking metal shelving along one wall to provide storage for appliances, cookbooks, pantry items. The shelving will provide lots of useful shelf space while freeing up the floor space we need to accommodate the table set. I'm really excited about how it is going to look.


We don't plan to replace any appliances (fridge, dishwasher, stove, microwave) because the ones we have are still working great. I think we should also be able to use our current double stainless sink (with new faucets) and garbage disposal.


I haven't yet decided on flooring or countertop--both of which we will replace. I'm not wanting real tile for the floor, because I frequently drop things (poor hand strength as part of aging), and can envision lots of crashes. Although granite is the big buzz word for countertops, I'm really more interested in whatever material will be most heatproof, scratchproof, etc.


I'll take some "before" pictures and then document each step of our progress. We are going to cash-flow this and do most/all the work ourselves. It is good that we have that deadline of April 2...


I need to establish a timetable/checklist for all the "to-do's".

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Huge project and not much time.  Have fun - I still enjoy my kitchen.  I went with Silestone countertops because they don't require any maintenance.  I'm happy with them so far.

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I spent most of today with my notebook and samples, first in Home Depot, then at the ReStore (found a replacement cabinet for my 15" unit between the stove and fridge, for $20--had priced a new, unfinished unit for $79.99). I went to Hancocks' Fabric and got the material for recovering the chair seats--love the pattern--and on the remnant table found a lovely piece that I will use to make a valance for the window over the kitchen sink. It was originally $39.99/yd, but the piece I got was 1.5 yds for total $5.99.  I believe it will coordinate beautifully with the chair fabric. After pricing flooring options, I realized that certain brands of the real tile are actually much less expensive than vinyl, and they look really nice.  DH and I are going to reconsider using the real thing versus the vinyl. I've chosen the cabinet and wall paints, and decided which shelving I'll get for the pantry area.  I've moved several pieces of furniture around to be able to start clearing out the kitchen of things that won't be staying (a bookcase, a drop-leaf table that was DH's grandmother's). We are getting rid of our chest freezer--it was a hand-me-down about 5 years ago. DH thinks the thermostat isn't working right--it still freezes but he thinks it is using too much electricity--it definitely isn't one of the newer energy-efficient products.  Now that it's mostly just DH and me, we really don't need the extra freezer space. That's going to free up quite a bit of room.  

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We emptied the freezer on Sunday and moved it out to the back deck to defrost and "drip" dry.  We will offer it to our nextdoor neighbors who have several children and might find it useful.


Fun demolition session in the kitchen last night! DH had his trusty crowbar busy tearing out one wall of our tiny pantry. I was on clean-up duty--bagging the fragments of sheetrock and boxing the lumber pieces for us to reuse.  DH even removed all the nails from each pine 2x4 so they are ready to grab when he needs it in the next phase.  The room is already appearing so much larger, and it's funny because there is somewhat of an "echo" when we talk, due to most stuff being moved out.  So far we are pretty much on schedule to get this done, with our goal to complete at least one small step of the process each evening. DH was going to work at it a little in the mornings before heading out to his jobs (he is self-employed so has flexibility), but I asked him to do it in the evenings so I could help and watch.

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We went with Quartz instead of granite because of the maintenance required, the heat sensitivity & the bacteria growth if not maintained properly.  The price varied a good bit between one seller & the next (exact same brand & color).  We used  http://www.cambriausa.com/Designs/design-palette/  (our color is Canterbury).  We just did all this in the fall.  DH actually left a towel too close to the burner this week.  By the time he smelled it & got back to the kitchen, it was in 6 inch flames.  No damage to the counter top. 


We have hardwood in our kitchen & it is much easier on drops & on my back than tile flooring  (my mom has tile & it KILLS my back).  


Looking forward to pictures!  

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Demolition complete, reconstruction of partial wall complete, sanding complete, dust settled, everything has one coat of paint.  Still to go, flooring and countertop.  One unexpected expense we have encountered is meals out--because our kitchen has been almost completely unusable for food prep for about a week now.  We can manage breakfasts fine, but weekend lunch and dinner we went out.  We did order very frugally and split meals when possible and save parts of meal to take home.  For example, we had leftover pieces of salmon (my meal) and roast beef (DH's meal) on Friday. We added them to our salads on Sunday, salads which were leftover from our pizza dinner on Saturday.  It is possible now to really "see" what our finished room will be, and I like it!

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