The winds of change are blowing through my kitchen . . .

3 Jan
Did you know that Greg and I are total do-it-yourself-ers? We are! We have remodeled our houses so many times, so many ways, from minor paint changes to major construction projects. It helps that Greg is an architect so he plans things out carefully and we’re sure they will look good when we’re done. It also helps that his parents were total do-it-yourself-ers as well and have always jumped right in to help us out with our major construction and minor remodels.That said, my kitchen is UGLY. It’s the kind of ugly that you try to avoid looking at — I can go in, cook a meal, clean it up, and leave without REALLY seeing it. That’s not a good thing, really. Once you reach that fingers-in-your-ear-singing-la-la-la-loudly stage, you have a serious problem. We’ve lived with this ugly kitchen for way, way, way longer than we should have.Part of it isn’t our fault. First of all, remodels are expensive. Second of all, we had some major financial damage to repair before we could think about something like a remodel of our kitchen. Also, we did some other major construction to the house like turning the carport into Greg’s office and little things like that. I know, excuses, excuses, excuses. Enough.
My name is Liza Miller and my kitchen is ugly.
Greg has been bugging me to get with the program — his program — so we can fix the ugliness. Well, that’s not been going well because I wanted all new cabinets and he wanted to refinish the existing cabinets. Log jam.I caved. My kitchen is ugly and I want it changed. So, I caved. Even the cheapest IKEA kitchen cabinets would cost a butt-load of money and I’d rather spend that money on other things. So, I caved. Sigh. It’s going to be a butt-load of work but (ha!) we can do that.Meanwhile, we’ve slowly been replacing the old, worn-out, nasty appliances with nice, new, stainless steel appliances. First the range — a gift from a friend who was remodeling her house. Then the dishwasher — the old one finally stopped working — I promise that I didn’t sabotage it! Most recently, the double oven was replaced with a gorgeous single oven. And, just two days ago, we ordered a microwave/range hood. Hip-hip-horray! Now I can wash dishes in style — my favorite feature? It has a delay wash setting so I can do the dishes but not have it run until the middle of the night. So nice! And, i can cook chicken and know how long it will take — the old one was iffy on that sort of thing. And, now I can turn on a light over my range with less three clicks of the button. Oh, life is good!
But the kitchen is still ugly. Nice appliances, I’ve found, in an ugly kitchen mean that the ugliness is more noticeable.So, what are we going to do about it? Well, first off, we are going to dismantle the cabinets, sand and paint each part of them, put on new hinges and drawer hardware. We will then put on new hardware. Then we will put on new countertops — oh the discussions and conversations and planning over this one. Lastly, we’ll put in new floors. There will be other goodies along the way — one of the counters needs to be raised to the height of the rest and then we’ll be replacing the tile there with butcher block. Here is some eye candy of what we’re planning . . . the good news is that at the end of all this nasty work, we’ll have a gorgeous, gorgeous kitchen.

Decisions we’ve already made

Kichen PlanningPaint color — green for the cabinets, pale yellow for the little bits of wall that show, laminate counter tops, and bamboo flooring.

Paint color — Greg suggested a Williamsburg kind of green. We ended up with a sort-of more modern version of that. The wall paint is just to brighten up the darkest corners of the walls. It’s beautiful but there will only be a little bit of it showing.

Laminate countertops.
Oh the decisions about this one — back and forth and forth and back. Neither of us is happy with the laminate decision. We’d both like to put in a gorgeous Silestone countertop like this one {click} — oddly enough, though, we don’t have a spare $3 grand lying around so we’re compromising. Greg wanted to leave and live with the old tile counters which I hate with a deep and abiding passion (think Ruby and Christmas Sweater and then magnify x10). So, we are doing laminate and we’ll live with it for a few years and then we’ll do the Silestone or something similar. The good news is that we saw this particular laminate on display at Home Depot and love it. It looks great! Yay!

Bamboo Flooring
We’re getting bamboo floors from Lumber Liquidators. Bamboo is very green. I had to laugh when the guy said that the one we wanted was “old growth” — in bamboo, that means it’s 4+ years old. Living in a redwood forest, old growth lumber being cut down sets my nerves a-jangling. But, I can handle using “old growth” bamboo!

New hardware for cabinets
You gotta love IKEA. This is what we’re using for our cabinets — sideways for drawers, upways for doors. Sleek, smooth, and lovely.

Glass Tile Mosaic Backsplash
I don’t know that this is the one we’ll use but it will be something like it. Isn’t that gorgeous? I’d love to see that behind my sink everyday. Lovely, luminous, glowing, yum!

Metal Backsplash behind range
I don’t know that it will look just like this but I know it’s going to be gorgeous shiny metal of some kind. Gorgeous and easy to clean. Yes!

Interior Fittings for Cabinets
Part of making all this work is making all this work. My kitchen doesn’t function well so getting the cabinets to work smarter, not harder is a big goal of mine.

Still in Dispute Discussion!

One new cabinet!
Is it too much to ask? Is it? One new cabinet? I’d like to do this to replace the cabinet that we’re raising — rather than adding new drawers to the top of an existing cabinet, let’s just get a pretty new one! Isn’t it lovely? Sigh.

Dining Room Door
Our dining room has a gigantic 8′ single-pane glass slider. It’s ugly, inefficient, and doesn’t even lock anymore. We hate it.

Simple vinyl slider — smaller, double-pane glass, possibly with built-in blinds between glass


Real French Doors in vinyl — way more costly but a more elegant look.

Well, there you go. My obsession the last few days has been putting all this together. It’s going to be gorgeous when it’s done. When will it be done? Hopefully in the spring. The trouble with do-it-yourself is doing-it-yourself. It takes time, it takes work, it makes me whine. But I am always so proud of the end results!

3 Responses to “The winds of change are blowing through my kitchen . . .”

  1. amarkonmywall 10 January, 2008 at 5:05 am #

    This is all incredibly exciting. GREAT choices- the Flor products are very very nice. Yes- get that one new cabinet. If you don’t tell me where it is so I can buy it. The backsplash tile- delicious. I’m not sure about the paint with everything else looking so streamlined but it may very well work. If you’re going to look at bamboo flooring, also check out cork floors. Same price range or less and surpisingly, it’s incredibly durable and comfortable. We had it in our Ann Arbor house and I LOVED it. We had sort of a gray/brown/gray blue mottled one(that sounds terrible but it was really cool). They use it at the Metropolitan museum- it’s that forgiving.

    Yes- windows and doors are a must. The more light the better.

    Now. Where are the pictures of the before????

    • Carolyn 25 June, 2009 at 11:24 am #

      I’m in the process of remodeling my kitchen as well and just love the metal backsplash! Where did you find it cause it’s just what I’ve had in mind after I rip out the nasty 1960’s stuff!

      • Liza Lee Miller 25 June, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

        The one in the picture is from KitchenSource. However, I ultimately bought my kitchen tiles from AJTiles. Great service, great options. Really loved the end result!

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