07 March 2011

the big kitchen "after"

She's done! Well, okay, not done, because nothing is ever done. (Not in a "nothing is ever good enough" sense, but more like how a yoga pose is never "done." Everything is a constant evolution.) But the kitchen is ready for her close-up.

As I always love to do at these moments, let's take a little look back in time, shall we?

This is what the kitchen looked like two years ago when we bought our place:

And here she is, after we...

...changed the light fixtures
...repainted the cabinets
...changed the cabinet hardware
...replaced the appliances and added a built-in microwave
...changed the countertop
...demo'd the old mirror backsplash and put in classic subway tile
...updated all of the electrical outlets and switches
...swapped in a new, more functional single-bowl sink
...changed the faucet to give us the sprayer we were missing before
...covered up the old tile with much comfier, environmentally friendly cork
...got rid of the pocket doors that used to close off the kitchen
...added counter space and tied the whole kitchen together with a new wine bar
...added storage that's easy on the eyes with shelves and an Ikea buffet
...added hidden storage that makes the whole kitchen function so much better
...made the eat-in kitchen a place you'd actually want to eat
...repainted everything in warm neutrals to make the kitchen nice and homey
...finally rid our home of pink for good!

Isn't she pretty? While I still need to do the final tally (tricky since I returned almost as many things as I bought), I think that we can still say we got a pretty awesome bang for our buck. Keeping our existing cabinets not only saved us a ton of cash, it also kept the old cabinets out of the landfill and prevented new cabinets from being made. Going with a wood countertop instead of granite meant that no mining or quarrying had to be done for our kitchen. And laying cork over the existing tile kept the old tile out of the landfill while also preventing our downstairs neighbor from going into complete mental collapse while we jackhammered up the tile floor. (That's what you call a win-win.)

The cork floor also gives us a much better flow with the rest of the place's dark floors than the old yellow tile did.

Stay tuned for lots of detail about how much it ended up costing us (admittedly, I'm a little scared to see the final number, even though I know we made economical choices, just because I know all those little trips to Home Depot add up), how we made some of our key decisions in what materials to use, and the little things we did that make a huge difference.

I can't believe it's finally finished!

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  1. ohmygoshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    It was well worth the wait and hype -- it is GORGEOUS!!!! The super modern table and chairs is a big ole favorite! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. Beautiful!!!! Love every detail. The wine cooler, double door fridge, wood counters, floor....LOVE!!


  3. Absolutely STUNNING! Love all the choices so much. You packed a lot of storage into a small place. It is smashing. And I really love how you said no to granite etc. You would think that so many eco-friendly designers would realize that the granite and marble take millions of years to make and you can't get it back! Ok off my soap box. Did I mention I love the kitchen? :)
    Cat @ BudgetBlonde

  4. It looks SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!! I love the flooring! I have been wanting to do cork flooring in our kitchen, but I wasn't sure how it would look. But after seeing it in your kitchen, I love it! :)

  5. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Ok I might have to type up two comments cause I have so much to say.
    First of all, LOVE countertops...gosh how I love those countertops. OH and that sink! I'm having heart palpatations here. And a cork floor! Still think the microwave is handsome. That wine bar is genius! I also really really like the cleaness of the subway tile. OH and your little nook with the shelving in your dinette area. My gosh what a fantastic job you guys did.
    Now you better get to posting some recipes! BRAVO. I gotta go now, I need to look at your photos again!

  6. looks great! you guys did a fabulous job!

  7. Amazing! This looks so wonderful and I am totally impressed with your renovation skills! We are spending the weekend in Chicago with my future sister-in-law and her husband working on their newly-purchased fixer-upper house. I'll be thinking about your amazing results the whole time.

  8. Gorgeous, love it! You did an amazing job! And I am jealous of that wine bar!

  9. You must be ecstatic to be done and have such a great looking space. Love your choice of art in the space. Kudos!

  10. Very nice! Your blog also inspired me to start using coupons! :D

  11. Wonderful, wonderful job, I hope you're both jumping for joy. You definitely got a huge bang for your buck - don't fret too much over cost, I'm sure it was only a tiny percentage of a complete "cabinets and all" remodel. I think your countertops are my favorite part, closely followed by the lovely art which is clearly very meaningful to you.
    Fantastic kitchen, many congratulations.

  12. Thanks, everyone! It is so nice to hear all of your sweet comments... and to get a little reassurance that we made good materials choices. One never knows for sure, and when you're considering resale heavily when make your decisions (as we are), the decision carries that much more weight. So I love that so many of you have commented so positively about the wood counters! (That was my biggest worry, since they're so inexpensive!)

    Cat -- I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one bothered by the granite obsession. (Confession... I kinda love marble and might possibly consider it for a future kitchen. But more likely we'll do something solid surface like Caesarstone or one of the brands that's mostly recycled glass. Pretty! Okay, seriously... how am I talking about a future kitchen when we haven't even finished cleaning up all the dust from renovating this one?!?!)

  13. Just popped by from Apartment Therapy and have to say you did a fabulous job on your kitchen! We are looking at a DIY refurb on our kitchen soon as well and it's so inspiring to see how successfully you can improve your space on a budget! We are totally doing wood countertop as well, love it.

    PS I saw the 'after' and actually said "oh my god!" out loud and BF had to ask what I was OMGing about and I had to show him. He agreed you guys have done an amazing job! ;)

  14. Popping over from Apartment Therapy.

    Holy smokes! What a beautiful remodel of the kitchen. I'd love to know how your cork floor holds up. I'd like to have similar flooring in our kitchen but we have a dog and I'm not sure if the dog's nail would mar the floor. Anyway wonderful job. Love the kitchen.


  15. Moni -- Great question about the cork floor, and Carolyn raised it too. It is definitely *not* the world's most durable floor, and for all of its positives, there are some definite drawbacks. I'm going to do a post all about the cork tomorrow, so check back, but in the meantime... I think dog's nails are probably fine (ours are, though we have two veeeeeeeerrrrrry little dogs). Cork can fade in sunlight (we have no windows in our kitchen, so not an issue for us), and it dents easily from furniture and appliances, so it's not good if you ever hope to rearrange your place (for us in the kitchen, that wasn't an issue). But it's warm and beautiful, was a snap to install (literally!), and is less harmful to the environment than lots of other floors.

  16. Looks great! Very inspiring, as my husband and I are halfway through our own remodel.We are doing almost the exact same things that you did (keeping old cabinets, but getting new appliances, etc.) and it's true that the little trips to Home Depot do add up...but your "after" makes me think that it will be worth it. :)

  17. Tanja, I had to post and say how much I like your kitchen! It is actually very similar to our kitchen (before and after). We had those same pink laminate countertops. We didn't go as environmentally friendly as you, as we did get granite countertops. But it is still strikingly similar:) The cabinet painting idea is genius. Wish we had thought of that before buying a professional grade sprayer!

  18. It's so, so beautiful! What a major accomplishment!

  19. Absolutely gorgeous! I love your counter tops, and the white tile. Amazing!

  20. amazing kitchen styles are here in your blog. blue cabinets with Golden countertop looks stunning. the whole kitchen gallery is cool ans stylish, I like it.

    Granite Countertop

  21. Hi. I would love to know what cork you went with and how its holding up.
    We love how cork feels but are worried about wear and tear. We have 2 kids and a dog and the door to the backyard is in the kitchen.


  22. Hi - I love what you guys did with your kitchen! We're looking to do a similar renovation -- did you guys use a contractor and, if so, do you mind sending me his/her name/contact?

  23. I second jho--I am dying to redo my kitchen but finding a good a contractor is a bit daunting! Would love to know who you used or if you did it yourself! Looks great--thank you for sharing!


Thanks for taking a moment to leave a note! I would love if you would leave your email address so I can write you back! But no pressure. :-) (No anonymous posts, please.) xoxo, tanja

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