Reading about kitchen transformations are always so much fun, especially when you get to see a kitchen before and after! So I’m going to revisit, in a manner of speaking that is, the kitchen in our former house. So get your hard hats out! I’ll be showing some of the things we did to transform this kitchen.
Even though we kept the cabinets, and basic floor plan, we revamped or altered in one form or another, basically every surface of this space. We added new cabinets and built in a couple of pantries, added a 2nd sink, and opened up a few walls or doors, replaced all the appliances and plumbing fixtures and light fixtures. In other words, by the time we sold this house last year, the kitchen looked very different from what it was when we originally purchased it back in the mid 1990’s.
I cannot find any pictures of the kitchen from when we first bought the house, but all the cabinets were like this one, this is a picture of the cabinet that was in the master bathroom:
I had a big final master plan for the kitchen, but I needed to patiently pick away, to get my way there. I was working with a very limited budget, so to realize the final picure took several years to achieve.
The first year, I had my carpenter cut out the inside wood panels of the upper cabinets and install glass inserts for them. Then I painted the cabinets a light green color, and installed wood beadboard on the backsplash and walls to a 5′ height. (I bought all the beadboard with this factory finish blue, at a garage sale for just a few bucks!)
That in itself was a great improvement. Just getting rid of all that busy oak grain on the cabinets. But you can see, we still had the dark vinyl flooring, the ugly popcorn ceilings, the formica countertops, the old cheapo brassy hardware, the table in the center of the room, and one of my pet peeves: the fridge with exposed sides!
Here’s another view of the kitchen after phase 1. This shows the ledge wall I had built behind the sink blocking a direct view from the living room to the back of the faucet. But the 4′ cabinet to the left of the dishwasher is still there… removal of that will be part of the 2nd phase.
This angle of the kitchen is standing at the sink looking out to the sun room. In phase 1 it was still only a 3 season porch, so the existing patio doors were necessary. But you’ll see in phase 2 how we were able to open this up so much more.
So at the end of phase 1 of transforming this kitchen, this is what we had, you can’t see it, but the table in in the middle of the room, below that chandelier that is too high for it. (I’d change the decor a bit now, but remember, this was still about 1996!)
The next small step in getting the kitchen changed was changing the flooring. What a welcome change that was too! I was so happy to get that faux ‘plastic’ brick off the floor, replaced with 5″ wide plank flooring from Bruce Hardwood.
When it finally came time to install the next phase into the kitchen plan, it was a big step, and a major job!
We cut a hole in the wall, connecting the kitchen, with a large doorway to the garage… yes, part of this change including transforming the garage to a dining room with a coffee bar transitioning between the kitchen and new dining room.
Oh, and one part of phase 1 I forgot to mention, is this pantry closet you see with the transom over the door. We built this in using an old door and antique piece of decorative glass. It provided great storage and divided up the ‘kitchen’ from the ‘living room‘ just enough.
In the final phase of the kitchen transformation plan, we were finally able to address the ceiling and the popcorn texture it had been sporting all these years! And what an important part it was, to make this room what it is now… With these high pitched cathedral style the ceilings are an important element to the space for sure. What a huge difference the gorgeous wood and beam ceiling made too.
This built in pantry cabinet was added in phase 2 or 3…
The table and chandelier were moved out to the sunroom, which we insulated and installed Andersen windows in, creating a wonderful breakfast room overlooking the river below the meadow. (the chandelier I had found at a garage sale for $3, it was a wonderful vintage chandelier and I was sad to leave it behind when we sold the house)
Now, back to the main part of the kitchen. Let’s talk color for a second. Here’s a great example of how a darker color but with less vibrancy can actually give the visual appearance of lightening a room, by being less demanding. So, about 10 years after I originally painted the cupbards the more vibrant green shade I repainted them to a dark black/gray/green/brown color. (haha… it was an ever changing color. I think it was called ‘Tudor House’ and was from Hirshfield’s)
It was important that the coffee bar and new built in pantry cupboard all connect and be part of the kitchen, so they and the main cabinets all got the same dark color, and all same new hardware as well as all same new granite countertops, (we got the granite counters from HomeDepot) this unified them and made the kitchen feel really wonderfully large. (if I would have done the pantry and coffee bar different colors than the other kitchen cabinets, instead of pulling it all together with the kitchen, it would have defined the kitchen space as just the area between the island and the stove area)
Besides painting the cabinets darker, I painted all the beadboard lighter. Another part of this final phase was to chop off that extra 4′ cabinet to the left of the dishwasher, opening that walkway to the rest of the house up.
The island built by a cabinet maker from my design, was purposely painted and treated with different colors and details to created a freestanding furniture like piece. I also designed and had him build the big pot rack that hangs over the island.
With details like these bun feet, (ordered from Van Dyke’s)
as well as these hand carved corbel brackets giving the granite overhang the added support it needs. (corbels from Van Dyke’s also)
The kitchen looked like this when we sold our house… who knows what the new owners will do to put their ‘stamp’ on this space.
The ‘moral of the story’? Have a plan! By having a road map, you know where you’re going, even if it takes you years, like it did in the case of the kitchen from our former house, it took me over 10 years to get to the end of the plan, but I knew where I was going. That way I didn’t have to do, undo, and redo, wasting time, effort and money. (and isn’t that a good ‘moral of the story’ for life as well? Have a plan… know where you’re going in the end, and be sure you’re working for that end!)
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