9.02.2012

making over the kitchen, part 3

Once upon a time our kitchen looked like this:

suffering from a bad case of the blahs

And now it looks like this:

punched right up!

Woo hoo!  SO VASTLY IMPROVED! 

As I described previously, two major aspects of the kitchen makeover were painting all the cabinets white and installing porcelain tile on the floor. We also replaced all the countertops.  We ripped out the old almond laminate and installed pre-made black laminate ones from Ikea (the Numerar series).  All we had to do was cut the 8' pieces to length and glue the edging strips on the cut edges (not to mention that we also had to borrow our friend's mom's truck and drive 2 1/2 hours each way to Ikea in Charlotte to get the suckers).

the yellow tape helps prevent the laminate from splintering when being cut with the circular saw.

Additionally, we fabricated a bar top out of a 3/4" thick pine board (bought at Lowe's) cut to length and  trimmed with pine 1x2s to give it a more substantial appearance.

the pine top is coated with mineral oil at the moment

In the course of the cabinet painting, we removed the one large upper cabinet to the right of the stove, with the plan of putting in a few open shelves in the same spot.  I am not a fan of lots of wall cabinets because, to me, it makes the room feel boxed in and visually dull and too much like cabinet-world.  To make the open shelves, I stained three pine boards black and sealed them with with water-based polyurethane.

staining in progress

Then I mounted the boards to black Ekby Valter wooden brackets from Ikea.  I made sure to use extra-heavy-duty dry wall anchors to secure the brackets since all our breakables are sitting on them.  These open shelves are my favorite part of the new kitchen.  I love how the black contrasts with the green walls and the white cabinets and having all the plates, bowls and glasses within arms reach is so convenient.


easy reach everything
I hung the magnetic knife rack below the shelves and keep the cutting boards out to the side for easy access.

Another Ikea item in the kitchen are the red and white enamel metal Snodd knobs, which seem to be discontinued already.  Looks like we got them just in time!

you can also see the stainless steel edge detail on the countertops

We are so happy with how the newly made-over kitchen looks and functions.  It's so refreshing to walk in the front door and see this:

such a satisfying after!

Instead of this:
waaaaaaaay before.

We even got a new fridge and a new range hood in the course of all this, which are both huge improvements over the still-functioning but had-seen-better-days 1970s ones that were there before.

This kitchen makeover is the most extensive project we've ever undertaken and I learned a bunch of new skills and feel so proud of the outcome.  What can I say, I love projects!

(And while I'd say the  kitchen is now fully functional and aesthetically pleasing, there are still several tasks I'd like to accomplish before calling it officially complete:
- Touch up the window and base trim (really needs to be done throughout entire first floor).
- Reinstall the base shoe molding.
- Sand and polyurethane the bar top.  We attempted using just mineral oil to seal it on it the way you do for cutting boards, but the proximity to sink makes it just too wet and the grain is raising too much on the wood to leave it.
- Pick and install a tile backsplash.  Originally I had wanted to put in white subway tile all over the entire wall where the open shelves and stove are, along with tile around the sink, but now I think I just want a modest little 4"-6" row of something cool along the countertops.
- Buy and install lighting under the bottom open shelf (electrical is pre-existing).
- Find a non-hideous floor grate for the HVAC vent in the kitchen floor.  Current grate is chipped and peeling mud brown color.)

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