At long last I can show you my “new” kitchen! It was one long, ugly Do-It-Yourself road but I can report that Jay & I are delighted with the results. Our daughter has informed us that the kitchen looks “classy” now, which makes me wonder what she thought of it before!
To be clear, most of the DIY was on Jay’s shoulders even while he was still keeping up with full-time ministry, so he deserves a lot of credit. Additional credit goes to my father, without whom the powder room wallpaper wouldn’t have happened and the paint wouldn’t have happened as quickly. I also need to thank friends who helped, loaned us tools, and cheered us on. THANK YOU!
This is what the kitchen looked like before we started updating. We had oak cabinets, ivy wallpaper straight out of the 90s, a cream counter top and stained linoleum floors. Everything looked pretty dingy and needed some sprucing up.
I should add that the kitchen is absolutely the heart of our home. We probably spend more time together in that room than anyplace else in the house. The kitchen is large and has lots of natural light, which is probably why I fell in love with this house to begin with. If I remove the normal kitchen table and counter stools I can bring in larger tables and chairs to seat up to 18 people for a meal. This is the room where we host my husband’s staff dinners. This is the room where I sew and do craft projects. It was absolutely worth the investment to make it look nice again.
Here is what the kitchen looks like now. (Look at my ginger bug nestled on the counter!)
We first painted the ceilings a fresh white and the walls a soft gray. Then I painted the fireplace bricks a darker shade of gray and was amazed at how much it updated the room. It took three coats of white paint and new hinges and knobs to transform the cabinets.
We were gifted the used stove and microwave a little over a year ago but hadn’t been able to install the microwave because the cabinet over the stove was too tall to allow the microwave to have proper clearance over the cook top. We had to remove the old cabinet, purchase a new one and paint it out to match the others, then install the microwave.
We didn’t have room in the budget to replace the counter top, but careful tile selection made it work with the “new” room. The next project was installing new laminate flooring. The laminate was the first thing we sourced for the room and almost the last thing we installed, followed only by base molding.
Here’s the fireplace all dressed up with accessories, many of which I’ve had for years. For now my daughter’s artwork, displayed in one of the DIY chalk finish painted frames I made, is prominently propped up for me to enjoy. The wire basket on the hearth holds small scrapbooks I’ve made over the years. The paint colors are listed in my earlier post about how to paint a brick fireplace.
I filled one wall with a variety of things that have meaning to me. The baskets were a gift from my father-in-law upon his return from a mission trip to Africa. The prints came from the U.S. Patent Office and are displayed in DIY chalk finish painted frames. The details about that project are available here. The painting is a project I completed in a painting class. I am better at painting walls than canvas, but I was pleased enough with this picture that I am willing to display it in my home and share it with you here.
Our kitchen updates are considered a “minor” remodel because we didn’t move any walls, electric lines, or pipes. Avoiding the need for licensed electricians and plumbers kept our costs down. But even a minor remodel can be costly if you aren’t careful. If you’re considering such a project of your own, here are a few suggestions.
Suggestions for Would-Be Do-It-Yourselfers
- It will cost 1 1/2 – 2 times more than you think because you’ll uncover things you need to remedy as you go along. Plan for the extra cost and do the updates the right way.
- Do it yourself when you can but hire help when you must…and know the difference. Many professionals make a lot of money fixing do-it-yourself projects, so it might be cheaper to hire the pro at the beginning. Be honest with yourself about your skill set and budget accordingly.
- Paint is relatively inexpensive, so get good paint and the right painting tools. You can make a dramatic change with just paint if you do it well.
- Barter when you can and be willing to help others. Friends and family helped us and we expect to help them. The world just works better that way.
- Borrowing or renting tools may be cheaper than buying them, or maybe not. Calculate the costs in advance.
- Doing it yourself costs less money but more time. A lot more time.
- I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, make smart choices about your undertaking to get the “most bang for your buck” from each sub-project. For example, we spent the cash and picked a tile that allowed us to make the old counter top work. It was a net savings over replacing the counter top in addition to the back splash.
- And finally, spend CASH. Avoid debt like the plague. Improving your kitchen may improve the value of your home, but your net worth doesn’t increase if you run up debt in the process.
Thanks for following along with our remodeling adventures! I hope our experience helps others who might be considering a similar project. If I can answer any questions, I’d be happy to do so, just leave them in the comments.
What will be your next home improvement project?
This post was featured at Five Star Frou-Frou #46.
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