When we first bought our home, we knew some walls were going to have to come down. We had about a month to work on some major renovations before we closed on our old home.
Our ideal to-do list before move-in looked like this:
Paint every wall while we didn’t have to worry about splattering floors or furniture.
Take down those partition walls in the kitchen!
Remove old carpet and tile.
Run electrical through the slab to the center of the kitchen floor for island prep.
Bring in kitchen island cabinets.
Install new floors.
I decided on Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt for the majority of our walls. Tip: if you’re working on a budget, have Lowe’s mix any Sherwin Williams color for you in a Valspar paint.
With some help from Tommy’s parents, we got every wall painted and those partition walls torn down in about a day or two. Then, we were able to get all of the flooring torn up, and prepped the kitchen slab for electrical to the soon-to-be kitchen island. Read more about that here.
Hello, open floor plan!
From there, we had to lay out the island. I chose a variety of mahogany-toned lower cabinets based on the size we wanted and the amount of drawers and storage we thought we’d need. It was like putting a puzzle together!
I’ve never had to think about which cabinets and drawers should go where, in regard to both functionality and aesthetics – whole new appreciation for kitchen design over here! But I can't tell you how awesome it was to pick out exactly what I wanted and how surprisingly budget-friendly this option was.
So why mahogany? When it came to this stage in the game, we were on a time crunch. We knew we were going to be keeping the existing cabinets on the main kitchen wall (big money saver). They were the standard oak cabinets and pretty tired looking to say the least, so we decided to paint those white. To be quite honest, we didn’t want to have to paint the island cabinets too, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to match our white paint to any set of new white cabinets we could buy.
After realizing that, I decided I liked the contrast of the dark wood the best, and the richness it would bring in to ground that island down. From there, I chose nickel hardware for both sets of cabinets to bring everything together.
Once we got our cabinets and new oven in, we were able to lay new floors throughout the house. Everything was fresh and clean!
We managed with plywood countertops for a while (as in months, ha!), so we could save up for granite. Tommy installed recessed lighting where the old disco ball and other ugly light fixtures were, and put up a pony wall behind the new island.
I do not miss living in that construction zone, but it was so worth it.
We bought a couple of pendant lights mostly for looks, but with the hope they might provide some extra lighting over the kitchen island for cooking. Tommy took on the challenge of installing them – because, why not?
These guys were total game changers. We opted for 60w clear bulbs instead of soft white or [the much cooler looking, but less vibrant] Edison bulbs. I wish I could show you the difference they’ve made, but I’m not that skilled of a photographer. Let’s just say if I chop off my finger during meal prep now, it wasn’t because of poor lighting.
When the time came for granite countertops, we opted for a light grey tone with specks of black. While I'd love to have marble or quartzite countertops someday, this was a great alternative. I wanted this home to feel light and airy, so I’ve tried to stick with cool tones throughout the house.
Final choices to make were the kitchen sink and faucet. I wish we had taken close-up before pictures of the old ones. I'm pretty sure they were the originals from 1992. The faucet was about to completely fall off and the sink was so shallow, you couldn't wash dishes without getting water all over the countertops ... maybe I’m overexaggerating, but for real it was bad.
We went with a single bowl, composite undermount sink in black and a stainless steel faucet to match the cabinet hardware. I'd totally recommend both products if you're in the market. They've been easy to keep clean, and I’ve loved having a deep single bowl sink!
Anyway, that’s pretty much our kitchen from start to finish. We’ve loved slowly watching this transformation take place, from closed-off and worn out to open, fresh and inviting. Most of these projects were a first for us, but we’re so glad we took them on. The reward has been great.