Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kitchen Remodel

Some time ago, my sister and her husband, who live about 4 hours away from us, started dreaming of a new kitchen.  You can see in the photos below that their kitchen was difficult to work in and not a joyful place to be.  The refrigerator blocked the doorway that leads to the basement and to their exterior.  An old, unused chimney was taking up valuable space and the stove top was pressed against a wall, making it very difficult to put pans on half of the burners.

Planning for a full kitchen remodel is a long and daunting task.  Trying to keep within a reasonable budget but also creating a dream kitchen is a difficult balance to strike.  I can easily say it took months and months of planning and sketching to figure out what we were going to do with this space. Luckily my Dad has done plenty of kitchen remodels so working alongside him and learning from a seasoned pro was a great experience.

To begin with, my Brother-in-law and his dad removed a chimney that ran alongside the right side of the stove.  With the chimney out of the way, the refrigerator was moved to the opposite side of the room so that it wouldn't protrude into the doorway.  And then their kitchen stayed in that state for a few months until we could decide how to proceed.

 We removed the soffit above the space where the refrigerator was to make room for 42" cabinets.  Recessed lighting replaced the old fluorescent fixture.
Choosing a cabinet color was the trickiest part of this process.  My sister and brother-in-law were torn between choosing a "safe" cabinet finish that would be the best choice for re-sale down the line OR do they choose a finish that appealed most to their taste.  I finally asked my sister what type of kitchens she was most drawn to when browsing Pinterest.  A quick look at her dream kitchen Pinterest board pointed towards gray cabinetry.

After checking around the local home improvement stores, they settled on American Woodmark Cabinets sold by Home Depot.  The paint color they chose is called Stone and the door style is called Reading.  Removing the soffit allowed us to have all of the cabinets in the kitchen go to the ceiling, whereas before, we were dealing with two different heights.

We chose to add this pantry cupboard where the fridge used to be to give them additional food storage.  Just to the left of the pantry on the bottom set of cabinets is a pull out trash cupboard - which is essential for a small kitchen with a dog and a toddler.  You can't afford to lose valuable floor space with a trash can, and this pull out cupboard is great because it has two trash cans in it.  One for trash and one for recyclables.

This sink was somewhat of a debacle.  In the original kitchen, there was a very teeny tiny dishwasher, so compact that it barely held anything so my sister and brother-in-law just removed it to make way for a trash can.  It was easier to wash dishes by hand than to load such a tiny dishwasher.  But in their new kitchen, they really wanted and needed a dishwasher because they have a three person household now instead of two.  The length of this wall is just a little too short to accommodate a dishwasher and a standard sink base cabinet.  So we ordered a smaller sink base cabinet and a single basin (but VERY deep) sink.  We were afraid the sink was going to look out of place because it was going to be impossible to center it under the kitchen window.  But it worked out that the right edge of the sink lined up with the right side of the window!  And since the faucet is set into the back right hand corner of the sink, it drew less attention to the fact that the sink was centered under the window.  We could have avoided the problem by putting the dishwasher in the set of set of cabinets to the right of the window, but that would have meant turning around to load the dishwasher, which sounds like a disaster in my book!

That little space to the right of the sink base unit was just going to be a dead space covered by filler, but my dad said we could trim it out to create a small space to put cutting boards or cookie sheets/cooling racks, etc.  I'm glad we went ahead with that plan to give them a place to keep those awkward size items.

Here you can see that we shifted the stove about 30" to the left of where it used to be.  This created a countertop on both sides of the stovetop for more convenience when cooking.  The refrigerator is tough to see but it's to the far right.

Under cabinet lighting was easy to install as you simply plug in a transformer to an outlet inside the cabinets and the wire and light are attached under the cabinet.

At the last minute before placing our final order with Home Depot, we opted to add the shallow cabinet to the left of the microwave.  The wall was just going to be painted but then we realized you would see the side of the microwave when you come in the back door.  We are so happy we added that cabinet, even though it's only about 5 or 6" deep - as it is perfect for holding spices and cooking items right next to the stove!

Below you can see how the placement of the refridgerator no longer juts out into the main walking space.

My sister and brother-in-law chose this rustic iron look hardware from Hickory.  They went with the same pulls on the upper cabinets and lower cabinets for a consistent look.
The laminate countertop was ordered with a bull nosed edge that wraps around underneath the countertop.  
When you have a smaller house, you don't always get a dedicated dining area, such as the case in this home.  Luckily, they have an eat-in kitchen large enough to hold a small table and chairs.
We added the horizontal planked walls to make the dining area feel cozy and separate from the kitchen.  Home Depot ripped two sheets of plywood down for us, with each strip measuring 5 7/8" wide.  To begin planking the wall, we trimmed it out with 1x4's and then filled in with the planks, using a paint stick as a spacer between boards.
The planking ended up being a perfect way to transition the end of the cabinets to the wall behind it!
My sister chose this new light fixture to hang over the dining room table.
After choosing a cabinet color, flooring was the next hardest decision.  Hardwood floors were not an option because the rest of their home has the original hardwoods and there was no way we were going to be able to find material to match.  We looked into sheet vinyl because of its low maintenance and ease of cleaning but couldn't find anything we were in love with.  Tile was our last option, but we were so hesitant because I didn't want my sister to have to deal with keeping grout clean in a very high traffic kitchen, since their back door heads out to the garage.  But we found a tile from Lowe's that we liked and had decided that was the direction we needed to go in.  My sister and mom were out shopping at Home Depot and happened to walk down the laminate flooring aisle.  They found this product made by Pergo that looked like tile but was actually a laminate.  It looked identical to the tile we were about to purchase.  After reading the reviews about it's durability and ease of installation, we knew it was the perfect choice.  It installs like any other laminate, just click and interlock it!  The whole floor went down in a matter of hours, Brent said it was simple to install once you got the hang of it.  It's not as hard and cold as a tile would be, which is great for these guys with a baby crawling around.  They also have a large golden retriever and haven't had any problems with scratching from her nails.
My sister tells me that she and her husband still can't believe this is their kitchen, as they got everything they wanted and love each and every finish they chose.  For a full list of sources, please see below:

Cabinets - Home Depot American Woodmark Cabinets with Reading style door painted in Stone
Countertops - Wilsonart Spring Carnival
Flooring - Pergo XP Monson Slate
Cabinet Hardware - Hickory Hardware Refined Rustic Cabinet Pull in Black Iron
Sink - Blanco Diamond Dual Mount Composite Sink in Anthracite
Pendant light - Menards Tangier 1 Light Aged Bronze Mini Pendant 
Ceiling Color - Benjamin Moore White Dove in a flat finish
Wall Color - Benjamin Moore Gray Owl lightened to 50%
Plank Color - Benjamin Moore White Dove in a semi gloss finish
Backsplash Color - Sherwin Williams Peppercorn

DISCLAIMER: Hickory Hardware graciously provided the cabinet hardware for this kitchen.


  1. I can't believe how great this turned out!

  2. Beautiful kitchen! Love it!! I found your site because I was looking for pictures with the Hickory hardware pulls you've used. It's given me the confidence to move forward! Thank-You! A couple questions:
    1.) What size pulls did you get? They are perfect!! 2.) On a 36" drawer cabinet, would you just double the number or increase the size of the pulls? Thank-you for any opinion! Bobbi

    1. Glad you like the kitchen! I linked to the cabinet hardware at the end of the post. There were two sizes of that hardware and we went with the smaller of the two. You could do two pulls on a 36" cabinet or maybe one of the large ones. Either way would look great.

  3. Thanks for your quick response! I've sent in an order!